When will the City of Los Angeles commit to our neighborhoods what they have already committed to everyone else?
I was driving through different parts of Los Angeles the other day and I was amazed to see how cities like Vernon and other parts of Los Angeles have drastically improved over the past few years, but then I realized our community, my community is still the same (and in some cases worst).
Crenshaw Boulevard is a major thoroughfare not only in our community, but throughout all of Los Angeles. It is world famous not only for cruising and rap videos, but for being a historic Mecca of business within our community. How often have we heard about the Great Central Avenue, and the hotels and businesses that thrived during the 40s and 50s, but today we think of Central as nothing more than a once has been.
Well, my friends if we are not careful Crenshaw can be the same thing. This would be terrible. How many African American businesses are still on Crenshaw? Do you realize that some of the most famous Paul Williams architecture aligns our streets? Do we really understand how important institutions like Leimert Park, The Vision Theatre and yes, The Bakewell Building (Washington Mutual) really are in our community?
There is a reason that the Urban League is where it is. There is a reason why Ken and Jennifer Thomas moved the Sentinel from Central to Crenshaw and there is a reason why most of our high valued real estate (Stocker Avenue, Baldwin Hills, View Park) are all right off Crenshaw.
The reason why I point all of this out is because the City of Los Angeles and The State of California have invested millions of dollars to reinvigorate communities throughout Los Angeles. The Kodak and Disney Theater on Hollywood Boulevard were both at one time sitting in areas people would consider run down and raunchy but with millions of dollars in investments and incentives that area is back on top. Figueroa, home of the Staples Center, The Nokia Center and L.A. Live have all gotten a mega boost from the millions of dollars the city has poured into changing the landscape of that area. Even the valley has gotten its share of revitalization dollars (Ventura Boulevard) to bring investment, business and jobs back to the area and change the landscape from a once thriving area, to a fallen off area and back to a thriving area once again.
Well, when is our turn? When is Crenshaw going to get its 40 acres and a mule? When is Watts going to get its investment dollars to make the businesses which leave the port of Los Angeles stop right there where the 105, 91, and 405 freeways all meet up off the 101 to create shipping and warehouse jobs, like Ontario and other thriving city’s have?
Well the time to reinvest in our community and our people is now! It is our representatives jobs to pitch these ideas, but they have to know we have their support, and more importantly their colleagues in city hall, in the legislature have to know they have our support. But it is time that we demand our turn for economic change, economic stimulus and economic justice.
So, whether you agree or disagree, now more than ever I really need your input. I need to hear from you. I need to know what is going on in our community. I also need to know what other stories we need to tell and what is on your mind. I really do want to hear from you, I want you to “Talk to Danny.”
God Bless You,
Danny J. Bakewell, Jr.
President & Executive Editor