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Mayor Davis. No, it is not. Actually, because under the laws of Los Angeles County, that inability can accrue to a period of, I'm not sure, about 3 to 5 years is it?-before they are evicted on that basis, so the real problem seems to be on the maintenance of the property itself and on the actual payment ability of those persons who are buying to pay the notes. I think that is the crux of the matter.
Senator CRANSTON. Does the city of Compton acquire homes very often through condemnation ?
Mayor Davis. No, the city itself does not.
Mayor Davis. Well, we do, yes, but generally we have stepped this up a great deal because of deterioration.
Senator CRANSTON. If you do acquire a home, what do you do with it?
Mayor Davis. Well, that is why we hesitate in the acquisition, because many times by the time we have acquired it, it has become a safety hazard, and it goes to demolition; and then, naturally, it goes off the tax roll, and it gets to the point where it has gotten so far beyond our reach that we have to take another residence out of the city and that is regretable. That's another continuum of the problem that we have been faced with, but we have done quite a bit of condemnation recently.
Senator CRANSTOX. Congress Hannaford, do you have any questions?
Congressman HANNAFORD. I would just like to commend Mayor Davis for this statement. I was previously a mayor of a city that is somewhat smaller than yours and, perhaps, slightly more affluent, but the problems you described are exactly the problems that brought this to my attention and interest as mayor.
I'm fascinated, Senator, with the "licensed squatters'' concept that you mentioned, but I wonder if that is not precluded by the problem that I think the mayor has experienced. This problem is the length of time between actual abandonment and repossession, during which time there has been no legal possibility of anyone moving in because it is still in the ownership of the person who is abandoning it.
Do you have any figures on how long that is, Mayor Davis ? Mayor Davis. I did go over that entire schedule. I don't know if there is anyone from the area office here that could give us the exact figures on that, but as I recall, it can be something from 9 months to 1 year before the entire process has gone back to the Federal Government. At that time, even at 1 year's time—now, that means that this house is sitting there, perhaps, even for a period of 1 year or greater, and before the Federal Government rightly can legally step in and begin something, I don't know.
I think this is a very critical problem, because if you could in some way add some provision here that could streamline or enable an emergency provision, for example, that the local jurisdiction could step in prior to the completion of these, and then there is always legally the possibility of a person being able to go back and recoup their losses and take the title over or repossess their property, but I'm sure that the studies would show that this is very rarely done, as you've pointed up.
I don't know what we could do; but I think if we could do that, we could salvage our areas.
Senator Cranston. There must be a way to make it possible to do that.
Congressman HANNAFORD. I hope so, Senator, because I really think this is the crux of our problem.
Mayor Davis. I do, too.
Congressman HANNAFORD. It's not what the Federal Government is doing with the house after it gets it
Mayor Davis. No.
Congressman HANNAFORD [continuing). But it's that long delay before it becomes a part of the federal inventory, which you as a mayor cannot do anything about, and I as a mayor could not do anything about; it sat there
Mayor Davis. That's right. Congressman HANNAFORD [continuing]. And it's during that period of time that it has become unmarketable. At the time of abandonment you could market it very well.
Mayor Davis. That's right. I'm so glad, thank you, for this responsive note, because we've gone through this. We have looked at every single possible means; and, obviously, HUD's hands are tied on this.
I believe, as Senator Cranston says, that there must be a way; and if you could in some way address this problem in here in terms of emergency acquisition, and I don't know-do you have any ideas? Has anyone brought anything out ?
Senator CRANSTON. Since I'm not an attorney, I'm not going to venture any opinions at this point, but I intend to find one who will look into it.
Mayor Davis. Very good. Thank you.
Senator CRANSTON. One attorney at my left is going to have the responsibility for finding the way to do that.
Mayor Davis. May I say that the attorney at your left was at one time one of our city attorneys, so she is very much aware of the problems of Compton.
Senator CRANSTON. Doris, thank you very, very much.
Senator CRANSTON. You've been very helpful. Before going with the panel that will be next, we are going to take a 3-minute break.
[Short recess was held.]
We will next hear from the panel consisting of Ralph Fertig, Michael Salzman, David Lizarraga, Joseph Korpsak, and Henry Dotson. Would you please come forward and be seated over here, those of you that are present.
Ted Watkins is not here. I was with him earlier this morning, and he is well aware of what we are doing, and I was given his thoughts.
Would you please identify yourselves for the record, starting at the left.
Mr. SALZMAN. I'm Michael H. Salzman, executive director, Los Angeles Housing Authority.
Mr. KORPSAK. I'm Joseph Korpsak, executive officer, Valley Association of Cities.
Mr. Dotson. I'm Henry B. Dotson, of the Concerned Compton Citizens Organization.
Senator CRANSTON. If you have any prepared statements, I would like to ask that you submit them to us for the record. The committee would like to have each of you just briefly summarize whatever key points you feel you want to express to us, and then we have some questions for you. STATEMENT OF MICHAEL H. SALZMAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE HOUSING AUTHORITY OF THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES
Mr. SALZMAN. Senator Cranston and Congressman Hannaford, good morning. My statement is not too long, but basically what I
propose is this: that for a Federal demonstration to make a mark of success, it should establish a system for process that becomes reproduceable by either local units of government or by the private industry; and, otherwise, the success could be very limited and would help very few people or help even fewer communities.
There have been a number of instances where there have been successful Federal demonstrations, but they never had caught on. We can go back to the New Towns or the Green Towns bill, way back in the early days of the New Deal administration. From many aspects those projects were highly successful, but they never generated the ability to be reproduced by private industry.
Similarly—and one of the major points I make—is that there are large-scale abandonments and repetitive abandonments in many areas, particularly here in the south-central part of Los Angeles, and most things that could be done aren't going to help unless you can also increase the job opportunities for people in the area.
Not very far from here there was a very good demonstration of this. An aircraft assembly plant was built where the local indigenous people were trained to fill those jobs, and it has been so successful that about a year ago that firm wanted to recruit people for another firm in Palmdale. They advertised in a Los Angeles paper, and that kind of success cannot be rubbed out; but, on the other hand, to really do any good, maybe we need a thousand more plants like it.
Yet, that was done with some economic development administration assistance, but it is not a reproduceable system so that we can keep going with it; and as long as people are largely unemployed, we are going to find that we will continue to have abandonments.
Now, back a few years ago, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles was able to cosponsor with the local area office of HUD so that we were able to put out a bid proposal for developers to purchase 25 homes from HUD on scattered sites, rehabilitate them in accordance with the Housing Authority specifications, and then lease them to the Housing Authority under section 23. But under section 8, it isn't possible. As far as substantial rehabilitation under section 8, there are no set of sites that the Housing Authority could get. We could only respond to advertisements that HUD might make.
So far they haven't made any to this area organization; and if you want to respond to the ad and you have only a short time, how do you work out the mechanics to take a lot of these houses out of HUD? You can't entice the private entrepreneur to purchase these from HUD and then rehabilitate them to lease it to us.
Changes made in section 8 could help pick up many of these because many of these homes are in areas that people don't want to buy in, but they certainly can make very good housing for people who can't afford to buy them. We frankly would prefer many singlefamily homes to putting people in projects. It works. We have got several hundred that we operate right now.
Essentially, those are the points I wanted to make, Senator.
Senator CRANSTON. Thank you very, very much. It's very helpful to have you with us, I appreciate your testimony. [Complete statement follows:] STATEMENT OF MICHAEL H. SALZMAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE
HOUSING AUTHORITY OF THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES The purpose of S. 1988 is laudatory in that it proposes a demonstration to test new ways to acquire and dispose of abandoned property and to develop new financial resources for communities affected by the disaster of large-scale abandonment. I support the purpose wholeheartedly.
FO a federal demonstration to make the mark of "success" it must have established a system or process that becomes “reproducible" by either local units of government or by private enterprise. Otherwise what might have been a success is only successful in a very limited way, helping few people, and helping even fewer communities. But, what is probably even of greater importance, valuable time may be eaten up waiting for the demontration to prove itself. Obviously then, other existing programs must be continued and future cries of "let's wait for the demonstration to run its course before we consider other possible programs” will hopefully fall on deaf ears.
Large-scale abandonment and repetitive abandonments are symptomatic. They aren't only indicative of a downturn in the economy but realiably indicate those areas of a metropolis where historically much higher rates of unemployment and underemployment have existed and still exist. Ways must be found to create employment opportunities for the people in those areas, thereby tackling the root cause of large-scale and repetitive abandonments as well as finding bonafide solutions to the many other problems faced in metropolitan, areas: reduction of vandalism, reduction of crime, elimination of human degradation, and improving the financial condition of cities. The rapid and wholesale elimination of unemployment and underemployment is the one single step this country can take that would be most meaningful in uplifting this nation, in preserving the moral fiber of our people, and in revitalizing the morale our forefathers were noted for. This country, historically known as the land of opportunity, must gird itself with the will to make our land one of opportunity for all its inhabitants.
There are some malingerers but the fact remains that the enormous and vast majority of American people are imbued witn the spirit of work and the knowledge of how work can improve their lives—and this applies equally as well to those who have been unemployed for long periods of time, even to members of second- or third-generation families on welfare. But they want work, meaningful work, not governmental make-work programs that seem to get turned on and off-obviously, they even rush to make these if there is nothing else. They want permanent jobs in private industry, jobs that produce goods and services and such jobs will exert deflationary pressures to help combat infiation that robs our people of their savings, their ability to live decently, and to improve the circumstances of their lives.
Federal policies and programs, spanning several decades, have contributed to the flight of industry from the cities and to the flight of those who were and are more affluent, leaving cities relatively destitute and with large segments of their population unable to find jobs. In the land of opportunity, America's cities have historically offered the greatest opportunity for education, for jobs, for advancement and for improvement.
I would agree with the President when he speaks of the necessity of tax investment credits and increased stock dividend exemptions from taxation as a means of increasing the flow of money into the creation of new plant facilities and hence the creation of more jobs; but only if there are greater incentives to assure that new plant facilities are created within the cities and that the jobs thereby created go to the indigenous population residing in the plant's vicinity through specific on-the-job training. There are several very successful
illustrations of the foregoing, one only a short distance from the site of this hearing.
SPECIFIC RECOMMENDATIONS FOR S. 1988 P.13(e)-The addition of: "However, where a community redevelopment agency exists, said acquisition shall be achieved by contract with the community redevelopment agency following the established procedures of the affected community." p.13(f)-Change as follows: breaking (f) into two sections:
(f) with respect to any real or residential properties the Corporation has acquired pursuant to this section, the Corporation may, by contract or otherwise-(1) Insert existing (2); (2) Insert existing (5); (3) Insert existing (7); (4) Insert existing (8) with the following changes so that lines 13, 14, and 15 of page 14 read as follows: "change in its use, the Corporation, or in the event there is a prospective purchaser, the prospective purchaser shall make application for such change in use in accordance with the established procedures of the affected units of government. Any instrument ex-"
(f) With respect to any real or residential properties the Corporation has acquired pursuant to this section, the Corporation shall, in the event any of the following are deemed desirable, contract with the affected community to: (1) Insert existing (1); (2) Insert existing (3) ; (3) Insert existing (4) ; (4) Insert existing (6).
P.14(g)—Change to read as follows: (g) Except where the property is being disposed of in conjunction with and urban homesteading program being carried out by the affected community, tne Corporation shall determine that the homes it sells are in decent, safe, and sanitary condition at the time of sale. In the event of a sales which does not meet this requirement, the Corporation shall, at its option, make expenditures to correct, or to compensate the purchaser of any dwelling for occupancy by fewer than five families to place such homes in decent, safe, and sanitary condition; if (1) the dwelling was sold by the Corporation, (2) the purchaser notifies the Corporation not later than one year after the sale, and (3) the defect is one that existed on the date of the sale.
P.16(i)—Change to read as follows on lines 17 and 18: "(i) The Corporation shall provide directly or by contract with the affected community counseling on household management, property man-"
Comment on p.18(5): A desirable but probably an impossible objective to achieve in many areas affected by the diaster of large-scale abandonment.
Senator CRANSTON. Mr. Korpsak, you may go ahead.
STATEMENT OF JOSEPH KORPSAK, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,
VALLEY ASSOCIATION OF CITIES
Mr. KORPSAK. Thank you. My name is Joseph Korpsak. I'm executive director for the Valley Association of Cities. I am supportive of your legislation. I wish to thank members of your panel hereCongressman Hannaford, Jerry Buckley, and Carolyn Jordan-for this opportunity to speak regarding S. 1988.
I wish to thank you, Senator Cranston and members of the Senate Subcommittee on Housing, for giving me this opportunity to testify regarding S. 1988.
The purpose of this act, as I understand it, is to establish a neighborhood protection corporation to make possession of abandoned residential properties in order to prevent the continued deterioration and destruction of neighborhoods and communities and to hold and assemble parcels of land for the orderly development and redevelopment of neighborhoods and communities consistent with local government codes and ordinances.
Review of this legislation is consistent with VAC's policy statement which proclaims it will support legislation related to its functions, goals, and objectives of its organizations.