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WOODLAND HILLS : Hope Grows for Day Laborer Pickup Site

August 04, 1993|KURT PITZER

Efforts to provide a day laborer pickup site away from residential areas in Woodland Hills may be gaining momentum with a shift in attitude among transportation authorities and the turnover on the City Council, officials said Tuesday.

Although no formal proposal has been made, representatives from two City Council offices, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and local neighborhoods and businesses have started discussing the possible use of MTA-owned land on Canoga Avenue between Sherman Way and Saticoy Street as a day laborer hiring site, said Eric Rose, district director for Councilwoman Laura Chick.

For years, residents have complained that dozens of day laborers looking for work on Ventura Boulevard between Fallbrook and De Soto avenues and other large West Valley streets can slow traffic and disturb the tranquillity of neighborhoods, said Rose, who said he has taken the lead on the issue since Chick was elected just over a month ago.

Many people feel that the ideal place for day laborers would be in a semi-industrial part of town, such as the area on Canoga Avenue, where contractors and homeowners could hire them without stopping near residential areas and busy commercial centers, Rose said.

A plan to create a supervised pickup site in Van Nuys at an empty lot, where about 150 day laborers gather daily, has drawn protests from people who live nearby and who want the laborers to move to an industrial area.

Before the MTA commits to allowing day laborers on its property, though, the city must ensure that the operation will be clean and safe, including fences, gravel, portable toilets and trash cans, said Rebecca Barrantes, director of MTA's Transportation Land Preservation Corp.

Rose said the funds for a day laborer site would come from the federal government through the city's Community Development Department. Representatives of Chick and Councilman Marvin Braude plan to meet with MTA officials on the matter later this week, Rose said.

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