LOCAL VOICES: Truck corridor planned for Wilmington Avenue affront to residents
Wilmington Avenue truck route will transform quiet residential area into a quagmire of heavy trucks, noise, and diesel pollution By CYNTHIA MACON and SUSAN ADAMS Compton residents may not be aware of a plan and grant proposal
Wilmington Avenue truck route will transform quiet residential area into a quagmire of heavy trucks, noise, and diesel pollution
By CYNTHIA MACON and SUSAN ADAMS
Compton residents may not be aware of a plan and grant proposal by Mayor Aja Brown and the City of Compton in conjunction with the County of Los Angeles to rebuild two bridges along Wilmington Avenue to bear the weight of large trucks from the Port of Los Angeles — the busiest container port in the U.S. It’s called the Compton Ports Access Connector Plan.
In view of this plan, one is compelled to ask if there was a vote in the City of Compton to make Wilmington Avenue a major truck route for the Port of Los Angeles that will run directly through the residential area of Compton to the 91-freeway and Carson?
The cost of the project is estimated at $14 million. The grant proposal was for $10 million with $4 million in funding pledged by the County of Los Angeles Department of Transportation ($1,505,000); County of Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority ($1,499,000); and the California Department of Transportation ($996,000).
We have to ask at any point did Mayor Brown hold discussions and town hall meetings with Compton residents to ask whether they want the kind of progress that changes Compton from a residential low- and middle-income community into a truck thoroughfare and industrial center with yet another trucking superhighway. We already have the Alameda Corridor that runs through Compton on a rail line beneath the street.
Did anyone at the city take a survey of residents who live on either side of Wilmington Avenue, like Richland Farms, for instance, to determine if they were agreeable to what will ultimately become a constant rumble of 18-wheelers and other heavy trucks in the community? Anyone survey the parents from the five schools in the vicinity (Chavez, Willowbrook, Davis, Washington, and Walton) located along Wilmington Avenue to see if they wanted to place their children in jeopardy in the midst of heavy truck traffic?
Did anyone notice that there is no industry to speak of along Wilmington between the 105 Fwy. just shy of the 91 Fwy? Residents are not the ones in need of an improved street route and bridges on Wilmington? Has anyone stood on Wilmington or Central Avenues and declared — “What we need are more trucks!” Do residents know exactly what type of progress and change they have bought?
And, it would be ridiculous to argue that trucks already use this route, like the argument put forth that trucks already use the Brickyard. Both of these projects—the Brickyard and Port Connector — will bring a heightened decibel of traffic noise and deeper intrusion into our neighborhoods and private lives. This is the “tail wagging the dog.”
And what of our city councilpersons? They are constantly being duped into voting for something that sounds innocent and simple, but in actuality are nothing more than Aja Brown’s hidden agenda. Think about the Brickyard: “We just need the council to approve changing the zoning.” Think about the Measure P: “We just need the council to put it on the ballot and let the people vote.” Think about Wilmington Avenue: “We just need the council to approve the removal of the “No Trucks” signs.”
Wake-up Councilpersons Tana McCoy, Emma Sharif, and Janna Zurita. You are daughters of Compton who are supposed to love Compton. Then step up and defend it! Start voting “No!” to the mayor’s high-minded progress which is nothing but a “sell-out” of Compton in disguise.
According to a growing consensus, Compton is literally being railroaded and “sold down the river out by two outsiders” — Mayor Brown and Councilman Isaac Galvan, both recent newcomers who relocated to Compton just in time to run for office. They have allegedly made promises to bring the powerful and famous to Compton, like Hillary Clinton, Oscar de la Hoya, and our own Compton heroes, like some world renown rap artists.
They have allegedly made promises of glory for insiders without offering a single written plan or survey of the people. They involve as many of Compton’s established leadership as they can — pastors, nonprofits, block clubs, commissioners, and community groups. Brown and Galvan are allegedly buying the silence and co-opting the influence of these individuals and groups.
They sell these entities on a fake premise that “they alone” are the ones for progress in Compton, while their longtime families, friends and neighbors who voted “no” on Measure P and dared question the nature, means, and methodology of “change” have been categorized as enemies of progress.
People need to start questioning what part they are knowingly or unwittingly playing in the selling out and demise of Compton. Wake-up all of you “Yes On P” voters and stop drinking the kool-aid. You are being treated just like the councilpersons and are blind to the hidden agenda. Aja Brown is playing Compton like a fiddle with your help. Grow a conscience.
The Compton Ports Access Connector Plan report is a 4-color, multi-page, sophisticated, and detailed plan. Who wrote it? It is one of most detailed plans from the city ever seen. Now ask yourself — where is Mayor Brown’s detailed written plan for Measure P (also known as “Yes On Provisionals”) after three years in office? Nowhere to be found, yet citizens voted blindly for it.
While Mayor Brown works on implementing her undisclosed agenda, the city has removed the Compton 2030 Plan from its website. This was a long-term plan for the redevelopment of Compton commissioned by former mayor Eric Perrodin based on a survey of a cross-section of citizens that met, envisioned, outlined, and memorialized their collective ideas into a citizen-driven Compton Vision Plan. The 2030 Plan was based on the desires of residents, first and foremost, unlike Mayor Brown’s plan, which not one single person — not even your council representatives have been privy.
We are in the third year of Mayor Brown’s 12-point agenda, and we have been left holding a “promise bag” full of air — streets and parks without significant improvements in three whole years, and pretty pictures of a promised new downtown. That’s it, folks!
Then late in her term, Mayor Brown flimflams the public into paying a 10 percent sales tax to get an endless stream of money to cover her administrative failures. So, thank you for passing Measure P, Mayor Brown’s “Hail Mary-full-of-grace-give-the-dog-a-bone-eleventh-hour” solution.
Why bring up this Connector plan now? Because Mayor Brown has been spending her time actually on a different trajectory. Pass the Brickyard, check! Pass Measure P, check! Streets paid for by the people for the trucks, check! Bridges attempted repair for the trucks, check! Park projects and funding held up until after Measure P is passed to fool the people, check! And so on — always industry and trucks first.
Aja Brown is running the agenda of outsiders and regional interests, that’s why there was no time for a written plan for citizens. Just look at her backers for Measure P — developers, unions, and L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. People have feared county intrusion and takeover of Compton for decades. It is now here — full blown — in the form of Aja Brown, an instrument of Compton’s destruction, not salvation.
Why would anyone who loves Compton construct an industrial center, the Brickyard, right smack in the middle of a residential area? Why would they even contemplate transforming Wilmington into a trucker’s delight and super highway, straight through a residential community with multiple schools? Why would anyone who loves Compton saddle citizens with a 10 percent sales tax on top of some of the highest property and utility taxes in the state of California? Why would they encumber Compton — where the median income is $44,000 — with this burden?
Who in Compton would hold up city maintenance and park improvements for our children until after passage of Measure P, just so they could pressure the public into voting “Yes.”
Everything Aja Brown has been successful with has to do with industry, not residents. Measure P was not about “progress” for Compton; it was about getting the streets paved by its citizens just in time for the trucks to roll. The trucks cannot roll to and from the Brickyard until it receives its Certificate of Occupancy which cannot be acquired until street modifications ordered by the local Department of Transportation are completed.
Street modifications cannot be carried out until someone pays the bill, which can be either the City of Compton or the Brickyard, which will then be compensated by the City according to their terms. Either way, residents will definitely pay. If modifications were only needed directly due to the Brickyard, why are citizens and other businesses located at the intersection of Rosecrans and Central being made to pick-up the tab? Now the City has announced major streets like Wilmington and Central will be the city’s first priority versus neighborhood eyesores like the potholes that dot the city streets. See how it works? See how Compton’s residents were fooled? Trucks first, always, thanks to Measure P.
Wake up, everybody! Blacks and Browns have been forced out of Brooklyn, Harlem, San Francisco, Oakland, and Washington D.C. due to “Progress.” Blacks and Browns together are currently being thrown out of downtown and South L.A. Inglewood voted on “Progress” that first enticed residents with a new NFL football stadium and plenty of jobs. But that has become a new revelation, instead, and has begun the process of gentrification. Accompanying that is land speculation, dislocation, and disenfranchisement of the very same residents that voted for “change.”
They are now packing and backing up the trucks and being forced to move out. Keep it up Compton, the writing is on the wall. Stop fighting with your neighbors and thinking of yourselves as superior. Your neighbors wanted progress also, but they were right to question the type of progress, the type of change, under the control of whom, and the absence of a written plan, details, and a budget. We are headed exactly where?
To further illustrate, they are tearing up Crenshaw Boulevard courtesy of Supervisor Ridley-Thomas — not on behalf of Crenshaw because Black businesses are closing — but to move the good people from one side of Los Angeles to the other side and to LAX. They are fixing the streets of Compton courtesy of backers like Ridley-Thomas, not on behalf of the citizens but on your dime, to satisfy industry and regional planning and moving goods from Los Angeles to the Port of Long Beach. You’ve been hoodwinked, bamboozled, and led astray. You asked for streets to be done and you got an entirely different agenda — theirs.
And don’t fall for the sidewalks and bicycle trails and more pretty pictures. Demand that the “No Trucks” signs are replaced on Wilmington, rigorous traffic enforcement, and raise the cost of traffic citations high enough to “bite” truckers who commit traffic violations. Who cares if they have to turn off and go around.
Protect the residential areas of Compton. You failed with the Brickyard, and now industry is pushing right into another residential sector of Compton. Draw a line in the sand. Residential first! Industrial down by the 91 Fwy. This is what citizens envisioned in their plan. To hell with what the county, the Port of Los Angeles, regional planners, and Aja Brown want.
We have to live somewhere, too!