Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Los Angeles Has Its Work Cut out Riot Damage Could Cost $550 Million and Will Delay Economic Recovery

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Los Angeles Has Its Work Cut out Riot Damage Could Cost $550 Million and Will Delay Economic Recovery

Article excerpt

FOR the second time in a quarter century, Los Angeles is looking to mend its streets and soul.

While 13,000 police and troops still patrolled the city over the weekend, the sounds of peace marches and swishing brooms echoed through neighborhoods torn by the costliest riot in United States history.

Blacks stood shoulder-to-shoulder with whites, Asians, and Hispanics in the first faint efforts to begin the healing process amid lingering threats of violence and long-term anxiety over recovery.

"The spirit of cooperation that has evolved," said Mayor Tom Bradley, "might be one of the hopeful signs to come out of this situation."

At the corner of 27th and Vermont, about 50 local residents with brooms and shovels clear rubble from a collapsed church and shops. Torched in indiscriminate rioting that spread throughout parts of the city, the charred remains were being cleaned up, in hopes that the businesses and church would soon return.

"Isaiah 58 says, 'You shall be restorers of the streets,' " says the Rev. Steve Smith, pastor of the nearby North University Park Baptist church. When he started cleaning up the morning after, a local hardware store donated dozens of brooms and shovels. Work gangs formed spontaneously.

The metropolis has its work cut out. Ten thousand local businesses were burned, looted, or destroyed in three days of rioting, according to the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (EDC). Early estimates put the damage at $550 million but several experts said the eventual figure could be much higher. It will take a veritable Marshall Plan to reverse the consequences of 36 hours of rage.

Beyond sheer physical damage, "this riot cost the community its own jobs," noted Peter Ueberroth, the Olympics czar appointed by Mayor Bradley to head a special task force to oversee the recovery. Los Angeles County is already the most job-depleted county in the state, with estimates ranging from 90,000 to 220,000 lost over the past 18 months.

The damage could put off the region's economic recovery to perhaps 1993, says Jack Kyser, EDC's chief economist. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.