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More Limits Sought on Day Laborers : Neighborhoods: Angry Ladera Heights residents say the new county ordinance does not do enough to keep workers off their properties.

March 27, 1994|ERIN J. AUBRY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Complaining that a new county ordinance does little to stop day laborers from congregating near their homes, a group of Ladera Heights residents is vowing to take its case for stronger restrictions back to the Board of Supervisors.

"They haven't seen the last of us," said Ronnie Cooper, president of the Ladera Civic Assn. "We're not done, not by a long shot."

More than 50 residents attended a Board of Supervisors meeting March 15 to hear the vote on the ordinance, which prohibits laborers from seeking work in parking lots only when property owners set up alternative work sites and inform laborers accordingly. It was proposed by Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke.

The measure was a watered-down version of an earlier Burke proposal that was prompted by Ladera Heights homeowners' complaints that laborers were spilling into their neighborhood from the Slauson Avenue HomeBase store, littering, urinating in public and creating disturbances.

The original measure would have prohibited laborers from congregating near residential property, and also would have banned day laborers from seeking employment in commercial parking lots and on public street corners.

"People have called me in the past in tears saying that some workers were blocking their driveway, that they couldn't get to their cars," Cooper said. "That residential clause is something that we want back."

The association has drafted a letter to the Board of Supervisors asking for stronger restrictions against day laborers. Cooper says she will push for Burke's original bill to be made into a two-year pilot measure that would apply only to Ladera Heights.

Other residents vowed to continue their fight for stronger restrictions.

"My wife won't shop at HomeBase because of the disturbances the laborers cause, and that store has a vested interest in my business," said Clifton Fisher, a parks and recreation commissioner for the city of Inglewood. "This is an economic and behavioral problem."

Waleatha Taylor, a block club captain whose street borders HomeBase, called the new law "a good first step," but said more must be done.

"A lot of us can't get to our homes in the late afternoon because the alleys are filled with these workers," she said. "We really need to take this matter further."

Don Lopez, who lives on Slauson directly across the street from HomeBase, was less diplomatic.

"Everybody loses--the residents and the laborers," he said. "This will only allow the exploitation of the workers to continue. We have to go back to square one and get the first measure approved."

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