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Hayden on L.A. Neighborhoods

June 16, 1996

* Writes state Sen. Tom Hayden (Commentary, June 10), "Neighborhoods should have the right to vote on any large-scale development decision affecting their quality of life." In virtually every city in the nation, it is called "zoning," and the 5th Amendment also applies.

Neighborhoods also need industries, new jobs creation, a tax base and freedom from simplistic solutions that ultimately lead nowhere and do nothing.

PHILIP W. GREGG

Venice

* Hayden criticizes Mayor Richard Riordan's Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative (LANI) as a program that "spruces up neighborhoods without empowering anyone." The senator should first speak with some of the more than 150 citizens who serve as representatives in Recognized Community Organizations (RCOs) in the eight neighborhoods participating in LANI's demonstration project. The Virgil Village LANI (East Hollywood) held neighborhood elections for their RCO. These citizens have been given the power to determine how their allotted funds are spent, to plan neighborhood improvements, approve the designs and hire the architects and contractors to do the work.

In addition, they have been given assistance in fund-raising and organizational development. Neighborhoods have leveraged their LANI funds with additional public and private dollars, and have spun off into legal organizations that will allow them to continue neighborhood development programs when the LANI program ends.

If Hayden looks closely he will see that LANI is an important first step toward people achieving "a real voice in their neighborhoods."

JOYCE PERKINS

Executive Director, LANI

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