Building Mayor-Elect Garcetti’s Black Community Relationship Begins with Crenshaw Rail Line

Unofficial results of the exit poll conducted by Loyola Marymount University’s Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles show that Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti won or tied every political constituency group, except African-Americans. Black voters selected Controller Wendy Greuel over Garcetti by a large margin of 71%-29%. With the Crenshaw Line contract award and Leimert Park Village decision currently scheduled for June 27, three days before he takes office, and closing briefs in the Crenshaw Subway Coalition’s lawsuit against MTA due his second day of office, July 2, one of Garcetti’s first big decisions directly affects the group his campaign had the most trouble earning support – the black community.

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Mayoral Candidates’ Scorecard on Tunnel: Greuel B+ & Garcetti C

L.A. voters go to the polls Tuesday to elect the next Mayor. The victor will take a seat and make three appointments on the 13-member MTA Board, replacing current Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and his three appointees (Councilmember José Huizar, former Assemblyman Richard Katz and Mel Wilson). We vividly remember that at the May 2011 MTA board meeting Villaraigosa’s block of four voted against the motion to fund the Leimert Park Village station and Park Mesa Heights tunnel. The motion failed by exactly four votes. Accordingly, flipping the Mayor’s block from “No” to “Yes” is critical to our effort to secure a tunnel in Park Mesa Heights to protect/enhance Los Angeles’ last black business corridor and protect life, and guarantee a station at the Southland’s African-American cultural district.

On the station both received grades of “A-”, while on the tunnel Controller Wendy Greuel received a “B+” and Councilmember Eric Garcetti a “C.”

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Where Do the Mayoral Candidates Stand on the Crenshaw-LAX Line?

Voters in Los Angeles have an important decision to make. One of the two remaining candidates, Council Member Eric Garcetti or City Controller Wendy Greuel, will assume the office of L.A. Mayor on July 1, and in that role will take Antonio Villaraigosa’s seat on the MTA board. They will also make three new board appointments to the agency.

This is a literal gamechanger. Four votes on the 13 member body will change. The ramifications for our issue and South Los Angeles transportation in general are HUGE! In May of 2011, Villaraigosa used his four votes to oppose the effort to add money to underground the Crenshaw-LAX Line on Crenshaw Blvd and add a station at Leimert Park Village. Those votes WERE the difference, as the motion failed 3-10.

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Special Screening of Leimert Park: The Story of a Village in South Central Los Angeles

As we plan for the May 23rd MTA board decision on the Leimert Park Village subway station, now is the time to make our village and the Crenshaw community shine. Black Talkies On Parade and the Leimert Park Village Book Fair are doing their part by hosting a special FREE screening at the Mayme Clayton Museum of Leimert Park: The Story of a Village in South Central Los Angeles. We encourage you to attend.

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MTA to Bond $10.2B with $0 for Crenshaw Subway or Leimert Park Village Station

UPDATE 1:00 PM: At today’s meeting, the MTA board passed the motion, without any resources dedicated to the Crenshaw-LAX Line. The law requires the agency to first provide public notice about their proposed action, before they can vote to approve it. The vote to approve it is expected at their June 27 meeting.

A key item on today’s MTA board meeting is the acceleration of all MTA transit and highway projects currently on track to be built in the 2020s and 2030s by bonding against future tax revenues. By using this financing plan the MTA board would make available $10.2 billion in public funds to build transportation projects. Not one penny of the $10.2 billion would go towards the Leimert Park Village station, or tunnel in Park Mesa Heights. At the MTA board today, we’ll both highlight this injustice and suggest a remedy. The following is our email to MTA Board sent this morning:

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Critical Community Organizing Meeting May 2nd

Join us at our May 2nd Community Meeting where we will discuss the Mayoral Candidates’ Stances on the Crenshaw Line & Preparing for the May 23 MTA Board Decision on the Leimert Park Village Station. Download the flyer.

Thursday, May 2, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
Christ Temple Church Auditorium
3125 W. 54th Street
(Two Blocks East of Crenshaw Blvd)

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A Brief Update on Our Struggle & The NY Times Article

Tomorrow morning the struggle of the Crenshaw Subway Coalition will hit newsstands across the world. In addition to posting the New York Times article in it’s entirety below, here are a few critical updates about the status of our effort to make MTA underground the rail line on Crenshaw Blvd to protect and preserve the future of Los Angeles’ last black business corridor, and build a stop at Leimert Park Village to serve the center of African-American culture in Southern California.

The three primary focuses of our organization currently are our legal challenge, our efforts to pass The People’s Motion, and ensuring that the Crenshaw-LAX Line issue is a key barometer for evaluating the 2013 L.A. Mayoral candidates in South L.A. and beyond.

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Black Community Voices Against Measure J

An amazing cross-section of African-American leaders in the civil rights, political, faith and residential communities agree, VOTE NO ON MEASURE J:

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Our Measure J Op-ed in This Week’s Our Weekly

Next Tuesday, the ballots of Los Angeles County voters will feature Measure J, a 30- year sales tax increase that is projected to generate an additional $90 billion in revenue for the MTA. Measure J is the brainchild of L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who sits on the MTA board and directly controls 4 out of its 13 votes. Villaraigosa’s proposed tax hike seeks to extend the half-cent sales tax for transportation passed in 2008, known as Measure R, to 2069. It is currently scheduled to end in 2039.

Every South L.A. voter must ask, how much of the $90 billion will come back to the South L.A. community?

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Measure J - We Will "Remember in November"

WHEN YOU VOTE ON TUESDAY REMEMBER MAY 26, 2011. 600 black leaders of the civil rights, faith, nonprofit, political and residential communities swarmed the MTA board room. It was a show of political unity unseen in a generation. The “black community had finally come together.” With one voice we respectfully requested our tax dollars be added to the Crenshaw/LAX Light Rail Project to: 1) underground the line on Crenshaw Blvd for 11 blocks to protect the last black business corridor in Southern California, and 2) add a station at Leimert Park Village to assist our revitalization of “Little Africa.”

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