Some South LA residents are angry by the recent decision of the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation and the State of California’s Baldwin Hills Conservancy to build a public trail for easier access to Hahn Park.
Many residents feel this public trail is unnecessary as it will intrude on South LA communities and add more damage to the already existing problems.
“We’ve been trying for years to reduce crime in our neighborhood and establish a peaceful place for families to thrive. Smart urban planners try to further that agenda by helping to reduce traffic through neighborhoods. In this case, they’re doing the opposite. They want to increase traffic, increase public access and in doing so are potentially in violation of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), which requires environmental, traffic, public safety, and other reviews prior to implementing a project,” said Angela Baber, a 20-year resident, schoolteacher, and co-chair of the new Neighborhood Association of South LA.
“Equity would dictate that we have a crisis of dying generational wealth in the Black community and government should leverage its resources towards protecting, not destroying property values and our quality of life,” she said.
The county justified its decision by stating its “equitable access,” and they have the right to do as they see fit. Residents then questioned whether they would do this in any other neighborhood.
“This is another outrageous chapter in a long history of the government using the facade of ‘public necessity’ to willfully bulldoze South LA neighborhoods. This would never happen in Malibu or Beverly Hills. We will not take this sitting down.” stated resident John Murrell.
The association is serious about fighting the decision made by the county department and has hired land attorney Ben Reznik, who sent a letter to the county addressing the concerns of the community.
“The county is turning my client’s neighborhood into state-park entrances, without considering how doing so will impact the neighborhood, our clients’ rights as access easement holders, or how it will impact community safety, traffic management, crowd control, noise, security, parking or trash management,” the letter stated.
Reznik also sent a letter to Mayor Eric Garcetti, the City Council and city officials stating, “how ironic that the City of Los Angeles has gone to great lengths to protect similarly situated neighborhoods around the Griffith Park area, the Hollywood Hills area, and the Brentwood Area from users of the adjacent parks and trails.”