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Lobbyist Report – February 2018

Thank you to all Beverly Hills / Greater Los Angeles Association of REALTORS® Centennial Club members who attended the first Legislative Luncheon of 2018. For a lot of you, it was the discovery of a new area of Los Angeles that was a mystery until then. Chinatown is thriving! Or, should I say NEW Chinatown is thriving! That fact was an amazing discovery for me. What we all know as Chinatown in Los Angeles, is not the original Chinatown. Union Station now sits on what was Chinatown, after it was condemned and demolished in the early 30’s, allowing for the consolidation of the train services of Union Pacific, Santa Fe, and Southern Pacific all at one terminal. Until then, each train line had their separate depots in the general area.

New Chinatown, where we feasted at the Plum Tree Inn, was opened in 1938. Very much a tourist magnet, Chinatown houses the most foreign born residents in Los Angeles. Tourists and residents mingle on the lively streets with Chinese curios, herb shops, vegetable stands, and live poultry shops. New construction of tall apartment buildings is happening. METRO has a Chinatown stop for the Gold Line. Chinatown is experiencing such a resurgence in popularity that art galleries and millennials are locating there now. Another gem right here is our own city.

Just five years ago, we hosted a Legislative Luncheon just North of Chinatown, in the area that was Little Italy, at the San Antonio Winery. Our Guest Speaker was LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. However, you may recall that a rogue cop named Christoper Dorner was on the loose after being terminated by LAPD. Chief Beck was on his “Hit List”. He killed four and wounded three during this rampage. At the last minute, Chief Beck was sequestered from the public since Dorner had somehow gotten ahold of the Chief’s schedule. While we had an excellent presentation from a member of the Police Commission, unbeknownst to our members were the dozens of plainclothes officers in and surrounding the San Antonio Winery. I had been briefed on the situation and the deployment around us, but could not share that with anyone. Luckily, Dorner didn’t show up and we were well protected.

At this event, Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell was our Guest Speaker. In the past, we had his predecessor, Lee Baca, twice. McDonnell is now finishing his first term as Sheriff, after serving as Chief of Police in Long Beach. McDonnell is continuing Baca’s goal of emphasizing education to the inmates, to make a difference in their opportunities once released. Currently, the County Jail system houses 17,300 men and women every night. Finding the inmates who express a desire to change their life is difficult when dealing with so many at one time.

I admire McDonnell’s efforts to make a difference, but the Sheriff’s Department can’t do it alone. It also takes organizations like Home Boy Industries, to take on that task of helping make the change needed. We can all lend a hand by contributing to the organizations that do this great work.

But, that’s just our FIRST Centennial Club Legislative Luncheon of 2018. There are three more. The next one will be Friday, June 1st, and will be our annual Rent Control event. This year should be more exciting then ever, with the Repeal Costa Hawkins initiative on the November ballot.