We’ve lived within the city for over ten years, and we lived within two blocks of the city line for 15 years before that.
Our kids, now Juniors in college, started with LAUSD in pre-school. We’ve enjoyed sushi at Sango even before then, shopped at local stores all along, and have close friends throughout the area.
Thought I’d throw all that out to kind of set the stage or maybe add some credibility to today’s rant.
Exhibit 1: A vacant lot
Over the years I’ve driven by the corner of Los Alamitos Blvd and Cerritos hundreds, if not thousands of times. Seems to me I remember a gas station there, back in the day. Then it disappeared, and the space has been empty, and an eyesore, since.
It doesn’t seem reasonable that in a city starved for space, an area with such potential can sit fallow for 20 years. I’ll bet if one of our newly minted city council-persons decided to act in our best interest, this space could be added to our future.
Exhibit 2: An improvement abandoned
The fancy center divider was installed along the block and a half on Rossmoor Way leading into Rossmoor Highlands some years back (around 2003). Within a year the bricks began to sink and soon after one of the trees was removed.
Periodically I would contact city hall and inquired about when they were going to be fixed/replaced. A couple of years passed without an appropriate response and I gave up.
The project was a good idea and added to the look and feel of the neighborhood. But, alas, it has still not been addressed, and tax payer money has not been used wisely because of the lack of city employee follow up. Will anyone ‘fess up to be the person responsible for this? I’m just askin’.
Exhibit 3: The City’s largest park
The subject is Cottonwood Park, the biggest open space controlled by the city. And if my math is right (hope someone double checks my numbers), without the end zones, you can fit almost 6 football fields within its 6 acres.
One would think that folks are clamoring for times to use this expanse. Not so. And it has not been so, for as long as I can remember.
The primary cause is the condition of the field. To put it bluntly, it stinks. What it’s not: green, level, safe. What it is: brown weeds, divots and holes, mounds of gopher raised dirt.
It’s been unplayable as long as my kids were growing up. Now they’re too old to use it. Who’s responsible? I’m just askin’.
Exhibit 4: Big weed patch (not medical)
Let’s look at the big weed patch on Los Al Blvd between Serpentine and Sausalito/Briggeman (why two names for one street?). Yet another example of not enough push from a coalition of concerned citizens, the Chamber of Commerce, city council, and paid staff.
How many of us have passed it for 20 + years and licked our chops at its potential? The space looks to be about 2 acres. Why not a civic center? Why not a commercial area of small restaurants and shops surrounding a small park and koi pond? Maybe just a city park with naming rights for the donating owners? Git ‘er Done!
Exhibit 5: 2 abandoned corners?
Although the northwest and southwest corners of Bloomfield and Ball are in the city, they don’t feel like it.
Although I’ve passed this way hundreds of times, the businesses have not reached out to me. It may be the missing city trees and other plantings, it may be that the most evident sign being “Liquor”, or it may be that the location has not been included in any discussions that I’ve heard at city council meetings.
The corner represents us. Can it be improved upon? Yes. Is it being used to its full potential? I don’t think so.
A lesson from the LAUSD:
Maybe we need to turn to LAUSD for a refresher on how to be a successful city and accomplish the will of the people.
One of the tenets they have touted over the years is letting everyone know their expectations of each and every student. And the ‘expectations bar’ is continually on the rise.
We need to let the city council and the city staff know how high their bar is, and hold them accountable for not reaching it. And if they can’t do it, there are lots of folks waiting in the wings to let us see what they can do.
“We say we want to create beauty, identity, quality, singularity. And yet, maybe in truth these cities that we have are desired. Maybe their very characterlessness provides the best context for living”
-Rem Koolhaas. (born Nov. 1944). Dutch architect. Professor in Practice of Architecture and Urban Design at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University.
…And that’s just the way I see it.