[SENIOR MOMENTS] Realizing a Livable Community

Stephanie Vendig

A recent article in the Los Angeles Times entitled, “Angelenos Take the Long View,” was encouraging for those of us who are wringing our hands over an uncertain future with a new White House administration.

At least Los Angeles voted for specific solutions to four visible problems confronting Los Angeles County and City: transportation, housing, parks, and community colleges.

Measure M, the Metro Plan, received more than two-thirds voter approval. Proposition HHH, which would begin to tackle the very complicated problem of the city’s homeless population of over 26,000 individuals, won with 77% of the vote.

As an older adult who may not be around to see the final results of this vision, I realize that all of us have to take the long view to imagine Los Angeles as a truly livable community for all ages and for all people regardless of their financial circumstances.

We can’t continue our dependence on one means of transportation. We need to balance our housing expansion between affordability and luxury. We need to expand our park space and facilities to promote wellness and social engagement for all ages.      And we need to support community colleges to promote easier access to job opportunities and higher education for generations to come.

In another encouraging example of our city’s forward-thinking leadership, on December 6th, the five Los Angeles County Supervisors—including new Supervisors Janice Hahn and Katherine Barger—unanimously placed a quarter-cent sales tax proposal on the March 2017 ballot.

This measure will fund much-needed services to assist over 47,000 people in Los Angeles County to move into housing over the next ten years. The sales tax would complement Proposition HHH funds that are focused only on construction. This measure must pass with a two-thirds majority.

At the hearing, nearly a hundred speakers from community organizations were there to promote the tax and to speak of the problems that are overwhelming their resources.

The Los Angeles Times reported that “labor unions, veterans groups, churches and synagogues, business organizations and dozens of non-profit groups” represented the growing diversity of this population and its needs.

Mitchell Katz, Head of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, shared that unlike other serious conditions such as diabetes, homelessness has a cure. That cure is housing, but unless there is more funding than what is currently available, the cure will be elusive.

Will Angelenos step up to help their fellow citizens by voting for the quarter-cent sales tax increase come March? Based on our recent voting record, it appears we just might.

 

 

 

 

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