Roybal-Allard, Chu, Napolitano Still Support East LA Cityhood

By Gloria Angelina Castillo, EGP Staff Writer

East Los Angeles’ incorporation effort received wide-spread support from elected officials during their signature petition drive to get a Comprehensive Fiscal Analysis (CFA) done for unincorporated East Los Angeles to determine if the area has enough financial resources to become an independent city.

The CFA has been completed and discussions on whether cityhood is a good idea are ongoing. As the process continues to unfold, several local officials are saying they still support the movement and the proponents, the East Los Angeles Residents Association (ELARA), despite the concerns of some residents and business owners that the CFA raises concerns about the area’s economic base.

Read this story IN SPANISH: Roybal-Allard, Chu, Napolitano Apoyan una Ciudad del Este de Los Ángeles

In the near future, U.S. Rep. Grace Napolitano will no longer represent East Los Angeles, now that redistricting has eliminated the area from the 38th Congressional district. Yet she remains invested and committed to supporting ELARA’s efforts to achieve cityhood.

The group’s president, Benjamin Cardenas, is a member of her staff.

“I think its time has come,” she said about cityhood.

Incorporation will benefit the county and East Los Angeles, currently ELARA is working with officials to determine what can be done — what funds, if not credits, they could get, Napolitano told EGP.

She says a review by the State Controller should be requested.

“East LA has been ignored for a long time, whatever funds are disposable and legal recourses, then they have a right for those services…” she told EGP.

Napolitano noted the low public participation at LAFCO hearings and said residents are afraid of government, but they “need to understand that this is their government.”

U.S. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (34th District) supported ELARA’s originaal effort to explore the feasibility of cityhood for East L.A.

“While I have not read or studied the Comprehensive Fiscal Analysis, it is my understanding that ELARA disagrees with the findings presented by the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) and they have offered different fiscal scenarios to overcome the projected ‘shortfall’ as reported by LAFCO. I continue to support ELARA’s efforts to ensure a complete and fair process so that the community has accurate information to make an informed decision on the future of East L.A,” she told EGP in a written statement.

U.S. Rep. Judy Chu (32nd District) also supports ELARA’s efforts and believes the CFA backs the incorporation effort, according to Chu’s spokesperson, Fred Ortega.
“She believes the recently released fiscal analysis supports the case for cityhood, with a $26 million benefit to county taxpayers that more than offsets the roughly $19 million shortfall to the new city. That shortfall could be further reduced by, among other things, having the county maintain responsibility over Belvedere Regional Park and the county library, as it does so for so many other cities,” Ortega said. He said the $2.8 million in possible CDBG funds should also be taken into consideration.

“Saving taxpayers $7 million annually, indefinitely, is a great deal and the county should seriously consider this as a benefit to our residents.”

Senator Kevin de León (22nd District) also supports the incorporation effort, according to his spokesperson Greg Hayes.

“The communities of East Los Angeles suffer disproportionately from civic neglect. Cityhood will empower people of these communities to govern in a more responsive manner that respects the unique needs of the region,” Hayes said.

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October 13, 2011  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.


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