More than 950 stakeholders participated in a telephone town hall with Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who fielded and answered questions from second district residents on the progress and future of the Crenshaw-to-LAX line.
Participants asked the Supervisor about job eligibility along the Crenshaw Corridor, the impact of the 600 residents who packed the Metro Board Meeting on May 26, and what Leimert Park homeowners can do to ensure a Leimert Park station is included in the Crenshaw-to-LAX line.
During the hour-long discussion at the Los Angeles Urban League, the Supervisor reaffirmed his commitment to ensuring that the best possible rail line is built. That means pushing forward on several fronts: locating the financial resources to fund a Leimert Park Station at Vernon as part of the Crenshaw-to-LAX light rail line, advocating for the safest possible alignment through Park Mesa Heights and pushing for a Community Benefits Package that includes a local hiring policy, a small business contracting initiative, and sidewalk, landscape and storefront improvements along Crenshaw Boulevard designed to build enhance the Crenshaw Corridor communities.
[pullquote_right] “Get Ready. The push for a superior Crenshaw to LAX line is not over. Remain informed; contact the Metro Board and your elected officials. Stay on board,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.[/pullquote_right] The tele-town hall, co-hosted by the Urban League, was organized in response to the outrage and disappointment among Crenshaw community residents, businesses owners, and stakeholders along the Crenshaw Corridor at the Metro Board’s refusal in May to underground the proposed light rail line through Park Mesa Heights and its unwillingness to include funding for Leimert Park Village Station at Vernon.
On May 26, the Metro Board rejected Supervisor Ridley-Thomas’ motion that directed Metro staff to look into funding alternatives to finance a Leimert Park Village Station and underground the portion of the line that runs through Park Mesa Heights using non-Measure R sources. The motion received three favorable votes and needed seven of the thirteen Metro Board votes to pass. Instead, the Metro Board rejected the Park Mesa tunnel option outright and paid lip service to the Leimert Park Village station at Vernon, agreeing to add it to the final environmental document, but failing to provide funding for it. Mayor Villaraigosa’s vote and the additional three votes of his appointees were critical to the passage of the weaker motion after unanimously opposing the tunnel.
Although the Metro Board did not deliver the outcome the community hoped for, the Supervisor reminded listeners that the community must move forward, they must “stay on board” – insisting on a Crenshaw-to-LAX line that is safe, efficient and provides economic opportunities and benefits for those who live, work and trade in the heart of South Los Angeles.
At the end of the tele-town hall, the Supervisor called on listeners to attend the Sept. 22 Metro Board meeting to support the Local Hire/Construction Careers Policy element of the Community Benefits Package, and left listeners with these final words, “Get Ready. The push for a superior Crenshaw to LAX line is not over. Remain informed; contact the Metro Board and your elected officials. Stay on board.”