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Association Leader Denies Conflict of Interest

December 08, 1985

In response to Sam Hall Kaplan's column (Nov. 17), I would like to clarify several points.

Before accepting the mayor's appointment to the board of the Community Redevelopment Agency, I asked for and received opinions from both the city attorney and the CRA general counsel. Both determined that serving on the CRA board was not a conflict of interest with my role as president of the Central City Assn. Also, I have no personal financial interest in any projects in downtown Los Angeles. The association, as a nonprofit organization, also has no direct financial interest in any downtown projects.

Contrary to Mr. Kaplan's implications, the working relationship between CCA and CRA has benefited the community at large. Over $39 million will be spent on provision of new and rehabilitated housing, particularly in North Hollywood.

Our interest in the revitalization of Pershing Square has spanned a number of years. CCA raised over $1 million to successfully enliven the park during the Olympics. And we took the lead in organizing the private sector's commitment to spearhead the current redevelopment and funding effort for Pershing Square. The ultimate responsibility for this public space indeed rests with the city.

Yet, both the public and private sectors should be congratulated, not castigated, for attempting to work together on such a massive undertaking. A public-private partnership, while not without difficulties, has actually been achieved in the Pershing Square revitalization effort.

CHRISTOPHER L. STEWART

Los Angeles

Stewart is president of the Central City Assn. of Los Angeles.

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