East LA can stand on its own

East Los Angeles is in a conundrum. For the past half-century, the residents of the unincorporated area have tried to make it an official city within L.A. county. Incorporation would give East L.A. freedom to develop and advance.

Many other Angelenos, however, claim that incorporation is not economically viable.

The Local Agency Formation Commission plans to meet Wednesday to decide whether to reject the decision to make East L.A. a city or to postpone the vote. The area has been stagnant for too long for the commission to postpone the vote again.

As residents of Los Angeles, USC students should appreciate what is at stake. East L.A. might not be our side of the city, but it is close. And though our campus is an oasis, it is important to understand there is still much improvement to be made in neighboring areas.

Many people are wary of leaving East L.A. to its own devices so soon. This fear is understandable: A study performed for the commission said that East L.A. would not be able to sustain itself after three years.

But we should not see haste as an issue. The issue is erring too much on the side of caution and condemning East L.A. to a cycle of perpetual postponements.

Advocates of incorporation have noted that the report is shortsighted and pessimistic. They say the report was overly liberal in projecting how many new expenditures the newly incorporated city would require and overly conservative in estimating how much revenue the city could produce. Moreover, advocates add that without being in charge of its own future, the area’s potential for growth is significantly stunted.

Home to more than 126,000 residents, East L.A. thrives with political activism, art, music and food. Though it lacks adequate economic growth, there is definite potential for development.

Incorporation is the riskier proposition, but it would afford the area room to progress, room it doesn’t have in its current situation.


Daniel Grzywacz is a sophomore majoring in neuroscience and anthropology. His column “72 Degrees and Shaking” runs Wednesdays.