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Clean Up the City's Streets to Stop Business Flight : Mayor's race: Start recovery by attacking crime, homelessness and related problems that depress the job market.

L. A. '93: THE RACE FOR MAYOR: The Times invited mayoral candidates to describe their ideas for Los Angeles and a vision of the city's future. Their articles will run on this page in the days to come. * Today, Ted Hayes

April 05, 1993|TED HAYES | Ted Hayes is an activist for the homeless.

Los Angeles is America's most visible multiethnic city. It is also the "Pearl of the Pacific Rim" and an international financial center. Because of its significance to the United States and the world at large, it is imperative that we in Los Angeles confront our internal challenges and conquer them immediately.

The broad challenges this city faces are:

* Overpopulation, which impacts housing, population density, pollution and employment competition.

* A decaying economy largely due to local business flight, as well as national financial problems and a city government deficit.

* A system of public education that no one seems happy with.

* Street crime.

These problems cannot all be solved at once. First on my docket is correcting business flight. The reasons for business flight--at least in the heart of our city--are: Negative gang activity, street violence and illicit drug dealings; homelessness leading to aggressive panhandling, loitering, public deviancy; filthy streets littered with garbage, trash and human waste; the fear of an imminent violent urban upheaval due to frustrations with poverty and law enforcement and perceived judicial and penal injustice, and ethnic friction resulting from ignorance, fear, misunderstanding and competition for survival.

Of all the "front-runner" candidates, none sees these "street problems" as integral to our city's success. In fact, they all are. And no other candidate is as qualified as I am to defeat these problems. That's a bold statement for a man who for years has been homeless, and to this day spends much of his time as an activist for the disenfranchised and disempowered. Why can I make it?

While others talk about schools, security and taxes, I am the only candidate with a plan to address the above-mentioned challenges immediately and specifically. What would I do?

* Create a project that would hire homeless persons, disenfranchised youth and the jobless to clean and sanitize the streets. The cost would eventually be underwritten by the merchants and businesses profiting from these services.

* Use former military bases to house the homeless population voluntarily, where they would work with President Clinton's domestic peace corps to become self-sufficient.

* Create a "United Nations of Los Angeles," which I would call United Ethos, a public forum on public-access television where different ethnic groups can work out conflicts in a civil, meaningful and public way.

* Release Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) units to temporarily relieve pressure on emergency services at institutions such as County/USC MedicalCenter. This can be done under Article 5 of the McKinney Act.

My multiethnic approach speaks to all the varied peoples of our city. I am the one candidate who can readily communicate with, and get cooperation from, those in the city who could soon cost us billions in lost revenue: the homeless, the frustrated youth, the unemployed and those angered at the legal system.

I do not pretend to know all that ails Los Angeles. However, as we seek healing for the city, I as mayor will form a "Medicine Cabinet" of qualified personnel on the issues where I may lack experience, such as fiscal and budgetary control, education, environment, legal matters, transportation, affordable child care and health insurance.

The job of mayor is not one of litigation or administration, but inspiration. I can inspire the right people to come forward to participate in this "Medicine Cabinet." I may not know how the prescribed remedy works, but I can motivate our people to take the pill.

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