4 Things to Know About the Future of Los Angeles

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1. Should a severe earthquake or other natural disaster occur, be prepared for up to 10 days on your own.

Robert J. Fenton, Regional Administrator for FEMA Region IX, which includes California, Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada and Guam among others, addressed the “total government failure” that occured after Hurricane Katrina and improvements that have been made to their organization since. Constant assessments occur, especially when the risk of a major earthquake along the San Andreas fault becomes more likely. A more realistic approach is being taken to rescue efforts and resources which typically converge from all over the country. Considering those who are in more rural our mountainous terrains and responders’ ability to access them, FEMA’s emergency supply list will soon recommend keeping 10 days of supplies in preparation of a natural disaster instead of three.

2. We’re bringing waves back to Long Beach.

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, the youngest mayor of any big city in America, addressed the summit with excitement for the future of his city. One of the most surprising initiatives he brought to light was the sinking of the Long Beach breakwater which was built during World War II. Since the breakwater was installed, the city’s waterfront has experienced deterioration due to stagnant pollutants. Removing the breakwater has the promise to cleanse the shores and return an ocean swell to what was once dubbed the “Waikiki of the West Coast.” The Army Corps of Engineers is currently conducting a feasibility study so plans can commence.

3. Homelessness wasn’t always a problem in Los Angeles and we’re working to get back to that point.

In a panel discussion about solving L.A.’s housing shortage, Tanya Tull, founder and CEO of Partnering for Change, reflected upon the origins and escalation of our city’s homeless population. In 1980, Tull worked on Skid Row and watched as affordable housing became increasingly scarce. The demolition of SRO (single room occupancy) hotels and buildings that once housed low income men, women and families pushed them onto the street. “In the 60s and 70s, we lost almost 10,000 units which is greater than the homeless population on skid row today,” said Mike Alvidirez, chief executive officer of Skid Row Housing Trust. Proposition HHH, which would authorize $1.2 billion in tax funding, is on this November’s ballot. These funds would be used to build 10,000 units of housing over 10 years. But we can’t build ourselves out of this, Tull warned. We need help from the public to provide these people their human right to housing.

4. Life expectancy in South Central Los Angeles is 10 years lower than that of coastal cities in part to a lack of healthy food in low income areas.

A lack of affordable healthy food options in low income areas creates a vicious cycle of illness and low quality of life, and Sam Polk is doing something about it. As co-founder and CEO of Everytable, Polk addressed the summit to bring light to “food deserts,” areas where fast food is aplenty and healthy options are scarce. With Everytable, Polk’s team makes healthy meals and distributes them at costs relative to the income of that area. A meal may be available in Westwood for $8 and in south central Los Angeles for $4.