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PLATFORM : Is Ueberroth the Only Rudder?

July 22, 1992| JORGE R. MANCILLAS is an assistant professor of anatomy and cell biology at the UCLA School of Medicine and a member of the Mexican-American Political Assn. He commented on Rebuild L.A.:

Why have we fallen into the trap of making Rebuild L.A. the sole focus of our dissatisfaction with the pace at which the process of rebuilding long-neglected areas of the city is moving? Why should it be the sole focus of discussions about political representation and the shape our city should take? Did I miss the general election when Peter Ueberroth was elected as leader of Los Angeles? Why are we letting city, county and state government off the hook when it is ultimately their responsibility (and their job) to provide the leadership that they were elected to deliver?

It is them who we support with our taxes and whose salaries we pay. It is them who concentrate the necessary financial resources and have access to the established mechanisms for mobilizing "the communities, government and private sector." It is them who can provide continuity to any effort long after "Rebuild L.A." is dismantled. And it is them who can be held accountable.

"Rebuild L.A.," on the other hand, has a restricted role and a limited lifespan. As important as concerns about its composition may be, we should be more concerned about long-term political and economic institutions being more representative, efficient and responsive to the needs of the majority of the population. Whether intentionally or not, Rebuild L.A.'s real mission is turning out to be to deflect the heat of criticism from City Hall and Sacramento. No complaints about that from them. No solutions either. Leave it to Pete. For politicians it is business as usual.

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