Fernando Valenzuela has not thrown a pitch for the Dodgers in 34 years, however he stays beloved in our city, even amongst followers too younger to have seen him play. When the Dodgers introduced their neighborhood caravan to Homeboy Industries not too long ago, lots of of followers of all ages fortunately lined as much as take an image with Valenzuela.
However simply as many followers lined as much as take an image with Father Greg Boyle, the acclaimed founding father of Homeboy Industries, which calls itself “the biggest gang rehabilitation and re-entry program on the planet.” For hundreds annually leaving prisons and gangs, Homeboy affords jobs, coaching and social providers, together with entry to dozens of therapists, tutors, and tattoo elimination specialists.
Its grand imaginative and prescient consists of Hope Village, which would supply transitional and inexpensive housing together with new areas for job coaching, psychological well being counseling, and substance abuse therapy. The location envisioned for the village sits beneath what can be one of many towers supporting the proposed gondola from Union Station to Dodger Stadium.
In 2020, Boyle and California Endowment chief govt Robert Ross co-signed a letter to Metro and the town, opposing the gondola and characterizing it as “a vacationer attraction for the good thing about personal enterprise.”
The gondola, first pitched by former Dodgers proprietor Frank McCourt six years in the past, is scheduled for its first public vote Wednesday.
A Metro committee is ready to contemplate a employees suggestion to advance the venture to Metro’s board of administrators. The venture comes with an anticipated building value of as much as $500 million and a projected opening in 2028, and with the lure that the gondola would supply free rides to followers whereas easing congestion and air pollution on the oft-clogged method to the stadium.
A sure vote Wednesday might set the stage for the Metro board to bless the environmental influence report subsequent week, the primary in what can be a sequence of required approvals from an assortment of public businesses.
The Metro board might have voted final month too, which is what a Metro official recommended would occur throughout a public assembly in December. However proponents don’t need to push the vote except they’ve the votes, and the votes weren’t secured final month.
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass chairs the board, and he or she appoints three of the opposite 12 voting members. Bass hasn’t mentioned how she would vote. When my colleague, Rachel Uranga, requested mayoral press secretary Clara Karger what place Bass has taken on the gondola, Karger mentioned she didn’t know and mentioned Bass has been busy coping with results of the waves of storms.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, whose district consists of Dodger Stadium and surrounding neighborhoods and who additionally sits on the Metro board, declined an interview request from Uranga. A spokeswoman as an alternative supplied a 77-word, completely noncommittal assertion from Solis.
The one politician to say a lot of something concerning the gondola is Metropolis Councilwoman Eunisses Hernandez, whose district additionally consists of the Dodger Stadium space. Hernandez doesn’t sit on the Metro board.
If the Metro board approves the environmental influence report, the town council would have its say, however Hernandez has launched a movement that may stop the council from contemplating the venture till the town completes its personal research evaluating the gondola in opposition to various technique of enhancing transit to Dodger Stadium, together with expanded bus service from Union Station and the sort of regional park-and-ride service efficiently operated on the Hollywood Bowl.
Hernandez advised me she additionally needs to see ensures — not simply guarantees — that building and operation of the gondola can be privately funded, in order that taxpayers wouldn’t be on the hook for even a part of the venture.
As well as, though gondola proponents say they’re pitching a transit venture and nothing extra, Hernandez mentioned she needs proponents to be up entrance about any visions of eventual improvement of the Dodger Stadium parking zone, co-owned by McCourt.
“On this a part of the town, for much too lengthy, too many voices have been left unheard and unprotected,” Hernandez mentioned. “We’re not shifting this venture ahead at the price of neighborhood to profit one individual and to counterpoint one individual.”
Does she imply McCourt?
“Sure,” she mentioned.
Have his allies reached out to you?
“Sure,” she mentioned. “With all their may.”
With pro-gondola and anti-gondola forces working to marshal neighborhood assist, Father Boyle can be an excellent man to have in your facet. Boyle advised me he has met not too long ago with McCourt.
Boyle, who wrote in opposition to the gondola 4 years in the past and whose chief govt raised critical issues in a letter to Metro final 12 months, now says he’s “impartial.” His issues that the gondola would hamper the proposed Hope Village, he mentioned, have been resolved for a while.
So why the conferences with McCourt?
“We didn’t focus on the gondola,” Boyle mentioned. “We’re making an attempt to launch a marketing campaign for this Hope Village, so we need to get lots of people to assist us with that.”
Did McCourt supply to assist in trade for Boyle dropping his opposition to the gondola?
“Fortuitously,” Boyle mentioned, “that by no means got here up within the 4 conversations I had with him.”
Brin Frazier, a spokeswoman for McCourt, didn’t reply to a message asking which individuals McCourt had spoken with concerning the gondola venture, or at the least how many individuals.
As varied authorities businesses take their votes on the gondola, Boyle mentioned he would sit this one out.
“My hope is that elected officers will do their job and their due diligence and, if they’ve points, they’ll handle them,” he mentioned. “That’s on them.
“It’s not a battle that we’re going to combat.”