Two months ago I wrote a column that addressed the first part of a report on the future of Los Angeles. The commission formed to address the issues facing the residents and their government has now delivered the second part of their report which lists solutions to the problems facing America’s second largest city. The report may be a bigger failure than the city itself.
In the interim period, the Anderson School of Management issued a forecast which stated that Los Angeles has not had positive job growth over the last 23 years. The county has lost more net jobs than any large metropolitan area in the nation from 1990 to 2013, the study stated. The study by the prestigious school added pressure for the commission to come forth with some solid proposals.
The second part of the report is entitled “A Time for Action.” After the usual flowery verbiage to start a report like this the Commission pinpoints five things from the original report; 1. a jobs crisis, 2. chronic budget shortfalls, 3. abundance of poverty, 4. traffic congestion and 5. public education.
The Commission then immediately bows out of dealing with the two most essential aspects of the report – transportation and education. While Los Angelinos twitter away millions of hours moving to and from their jobs there is little planned relief. Going somewhere on a Saturday night can compel one to stay home and watch Netflix. Travelling the Ventura Freeway at noon on a weekday can be demoralizing and it is nothing compared to the San Diego Freeway which is almost always an adventure in time management.
As pointed out in our first column, the single biggest issue facing Los Angeles is the horrible, immense school system. The graduation rate is 13% below the national average and 12% below the state average. Chicago and New York have systems where the mayor can battle the entrenched bureaucracy though de Blasio is attempting to undo Bloomberg’s advances in New York. Los Angeles is left to the whims of the school board which is handpicked by the teachers’ union and serves the teachers first and then the students. A bold move would have been a call for a restructuring of this relationship. L.A. will never improve until its school system does because it continues to drive the best students out of the city and underserve the residual.