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Overhaul of CRA Is Narrowly Approved

August 20, 2004|Patrick McGreevy | Times Staff Writer

A divided Los Angeles redevelopment board Thursday approved a major reorganization of the financially troubled agency even though some members said they doubted the change would make it more effective.

The plan by Robert Ovrom, administrator of the Community Redevelopment Agency, would decentralize the organization, dividing the city into seven regions, each with a regional administrator based in the community.

"It was my goal to make the agency more effective by moving people out closer to the communities they serve," Ovrom said.

The reorganization still must be approved by the City Council.

The redevelopment board approved the plan on a 3-2 vote, with board members Marva Battle-Bey and John Schafer opposed.

Schafer and board member Shu Kwan Woo questioned whether the agency would be more effective if the staff were spread out.

"Sometimes it's easier to just walk down the hall and point to a piece of paper and a number there," Woo said.

Schafer said city officials fought the proposed San Fernando Valley secession two years ago "trying to explain that by centralizing it's more efficient."

Battle-Bey objected that the regional administrator proposed for South Los Angeles would be classified at a lower rank with lower pay than administrators in other parts of the city. Ovrom said that the classification was set by the city administrative officer and that he would try to upgrade the position.

In other action Thursday, the board approved a $100,000 study to determine whether it would be feasible to set up a Red Car trolley system for downtown Los Angeles, using trolleys like those operated by Pacific Electric until 1961.

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