East LA Cityhood Backers Raise Funds to Get Their Message Out

Assemblyman Ricardo Lara endorses East LA cityhood study.

By EGP Staff Report

A group backing an effort to incorporate East Los Angeles netted nearly $20,000 last month at a casino night themed fundraiser attended by about 100 people.

The fundraiser was the latest effort from the East Los Angeles Residents Association (ELARA) to raise revenue to support its campaign for East Los Angeles cityhood.

The cityhood campaign is currently in the Comprehensive Fiscal Analysis (CFA) phase to determine the current costs for services in the area and whether unincorporated East LA can sustain at least the same level of services with revenues and taxes generated there. The results of the independent analysis are expected to be made public later this spring or in early summer.

“The funds will be used to educate the community on the importance of the CFA and its findings once we have the CFA in hand. We want to ensure that we reach as many residents as possible through an educational campaign as soon as we have this historic document,” ELARA president Benjamin Cardenas told EGP in a written statement.

If the fiscal analysis satisfies the requirements of the County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO)—the government body that oversees the incorporation of cities—and after East Los Angeles residents have had time to review the report, cityhood could be put on the ballot, allowing voters to decide if they want to become a city.

Opponents of the cityhood effort have cited concerns of possible reductions in services and tax increases as some reasons why they do not want to see East LA become an independent city.

The fiscal analysis is expected to address those concerns.

A number of elected officials have already endorsed incorporation, including Assemblyman Ricardo Lara (50th District) who attended the casino fundraiser.

Lara lived part of his childhood in unincorporated East LA. He says Supervisor Gloria Molina has done a great job of serving as the community’s voice, but the community is now seeking to determine “its own identity and future.”

“I support giving the voters the opportunity to make that decision for themselves,” Lara said in a written statement. “The residents have proven to be great advocates and have vowed to continue to be involved in moving their community forward. It’s important for us to continue this dialogue and not let it get stagnant, but rather encourage the community to look for ways to ensure that their local tax revenues are invested back in their local community.”

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April 7, 2011  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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