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Local control for East L.A. heats up again

There's a column in today's L.A. Times by Gustavo Arellano about a new resurgence of interest in local control for East Los Angeles. On three previous occasions voters rejected cityhood for East L.A. and in 2012 the Los Angeles County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) rejected a cityhood petition. Now there is yet another try. This time the notion of local control is taking shape in the form of a proposed state law authored by Assemblywoman Wendy Carillo, who represents the area. Her bill, AB2986, has passed the Assembly Local Government Committee and is headed to the Assembly Appropriations Committee; the bill's fate there is uncertain. We intend to post more about AB2986 shortly.

In the meantime, we applaud the author of the L.A. Times column for his candor. When he writes of the staunch opposition to the proposal by L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis, he notes that East L.A. is:

...just one part of her district of nearly 2 million people, and she’s just one supervisor out of five. It’s hard enough for any small unincorporated community to get attention. When you’re as huge as East L.A., it’s probably best to have more than one local elected official looking out for you. For that official to say a study looking into expanding representation isn’t worth it because she knows better comes off like she’s clinging to power.
Gustavo Arellano, "The dream of East L.A. as its own city rises again — along with doubters" (Los Angeles Times, 04/30/2024)

Mr. Arellano goes on to explain that nearby cities have chipped away at East L.A.'s tax base and noted that the state does not provide new cities with a property tax revenues from vehicle license fees, a revenue source enjoyed by 482 existing cities in California. He reported on the strong community sentiment in favor of Assemblywoman Carillo's bill, including support from prior opponents.

We here at California (un)Incorporated, while watching events in East L.A. unfold, are cheering on the locals' efforts. It simply boggles the mind that a fully-urbanized community of some 120,000 people in the heart of the L.A. basin does not control its own municipal destiny. And the fact that the citizenry of East L.A. is overwhelmingly Hispanic adds a dark cloud of injustice. Whether AB2986 survives the legislative process or not, it is heartening to see that the people of East Los Angeles are passionate about their own community and continue to promote its self-determination. California's process for the formation of new cities is archaic, unfair, undemocratic, and in dire need of reform. We fully expect the legislative conversation to continue, not only for the 120,000 residents of East L.A. but for all 5,000,000 Californians who reside in urbanized, unincorporated areas of the state

A sunny street scene with cars, palm trees, and a decorative archway saying "Whittier Boulevard East Los Angeles."
Whittier Blvd. in East L.A., where the County controls the infrastructure and the local economy - unlike miles and miles of other downtown streets just like it in the L.A. Basin that are under the control of cities.


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