Lots of buzz this week about a proposed ordinance to establish the Los Angeles River Improvement Overlay District. That’s a mouthful to say to Washington, “hey, Obama, where’s our money?”
Cash, authorized by Congress, is needed to complete an essential Corps study that analyzes the effects of ripping out lots of concrete. Currently, the last phase of the study is years behind schedule. Until it’s finished, Reyes’ river project can’t be completed.
As Councilman Ed Reyes, who chair the council’s Ad Hoc River Committee, told the Daily News:
“This is the final step for us at the city to offer a map to developers on what the river can offer. It has taken us eight years to get to this point and we can use this as a way to convince the Obama administration to provide the funds to the Army Corps of Engineers to complete its study.”
The Army Corps has loosened up its river grip since the establishment of the Urban Waters Initiative in early summer, even going so far as to permit a pilot kayaking program, close to the Sepulveda Basin.
But, remember, even though the enforcement arms of the law, the LAPD and Griffith Park Rangers, have lightened up on handing out tickets, it’s still illegal to fly fish or even walk along the river’s bank, once you’re off the path.
And without the environmental impact statement, reshaping the river to echo what it once was ain’t gonna fly.
We’ll see where it goes, as Councilman Reyes’s office told Curbed L.A. that the council did not pass the final ordinance: “The Council approved a Note and File update report on the RIO. Final ordinance will come back to Council in approximately 3 months.”
I heard on NPR last week that our own Councilman Ed Reyes traveled to Washington to bend President Obama’s ear about the need to fund a study critical to the river’s re-imagining. Although it’s an opinion piece, Jim Newton, from the Los Angeles Times, puts the Reyes trip into perspective.
From the piece:
”The Corps is supposed to be completing a study of the river that analyzes the effects of ripping out large chunks of the concrete, but that work is years behind schedule. Until it’s finished, Reyes’ river project can’t be completed, and he’s now trying to force that work forward. His latest thought: President Obama, as commander in chief, could order the Corps to accelerate the study.
Will the president issue an order to help a Los Angeles city councilman complete a local riverfront project? Reyes thinks he might.”