Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.


New Report Spells Out Doom And Gloom For Our Future: 'Los Angeles Is Barely Treading Water'

Before you
Dear reader, we're asking you to help us keep local news available for all. Your tax-deductible financial support keeps our stories free to read, instead of hidden behind paywalls. We believe when reliable local reporting is widely available, the entire community benefits. Thank you for investing in your neighborhood.

The new report from the 2020 Commission came out today, and it's a doozy. The commission's report is 20 pages of doom and gloom that makes Los Angeles out to be some kind of failed empire.

The complaints outlined in the report, theatrically titled "A Time For Truth," offer a grim picture of a the city in general, and harshly touches on a number of topics, including public school and traffic, as well as other areas like the poverty rate and an inability to get large projects done in the city.

Here's the dramatic opening line from the report, which can be found in its entirety here:

Los Angeles is barely treading water while the rest of the world is moving forward. We risk falling behind in adapting the realities of the 21st century and becoming a City in decline.
Support for LAist comes from

The commission, convened by City Council President Herb Wesson and chaired by former U.S. Commerce Secretary Mickey Kantor, compares themselves to the tragic Dickensian character of Mr. Micawber, who has become synonymous with hopeful expectations of something getting done.

The report offers 19 and a half detailed pages of what is wrong with Los Angeles: the city isn't friendly to small businesses, USC's projects aren't getting the support they need, the schools have the highest dropout rates in the country and cooperation between regional areas is at an all-time low, among others.

But the section titled "Where do we go from here?" is surprisingly brief, aside from a vague request for leadership that is "willing and able to make a change." The commission has stated that they will release a more detailed report complete with concrete solutions later in the year, so we'll wait with baited breath.

The best part, is the apparent conflict of interests certain members on the commission have, which was first reported by the Times and highlighted by Curbed. Per the Los Angeles Times:

Part of the report criticizes city leaders for taking eight years to approve a rail yard backed by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway -- a company that was represented by Kantor, a corporate lawyer. Another passage hit city leaders for taking three years to approve a $1-billion development plan sought by USC. "Not a sensible way to treat the city's largest private employer," the report states.

Thomas Sayles, USC's senior vice president, serves on the 2020 commission.

In addition, the report claims that the city has not invested enough into the Department of Water and Power. Three members of the commission—Brian D'Arcy, Austin Beutner and Thomas Sayles—are connected in some way to the DWP.

So basically, the report is a grab bag of legitimate city problems and frustration over pet projects that are not getting done.

Mayor Garcetti's official response to the report sums everything up perfectly: "We welcome the authors' ideas as we focus on growing our economy and reforming City Hall. We appreciate this report and look forward to the next one."

Translation: Well, great! Thanks for that. This is going right on the fridge.