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Mayor’s Column: Good things come with patience

Being mayor in city government has taught me one thing… government generally moves slowly and if you want to see something happen that is good and in the best interests of the residents, you have to hang in there and just keep working it, working it and working it. And that is what I want to briefly talk about today as we have had several long-term projects that are now slowly coming to fruition.

Last week I talked about the Groves at Whittier project that started way back before any of us were in city government in 2003.  It took that long for the state to decide what to do with the property and to move it out of its blighted condition into what is going to be a wonderful addition for all of Whittier here in 2020.

Starting in 2008 and after years of pressing and advocating, we were notified last week that the Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro) staff believes that the best route for the eastern Gold Line extension is to Whittier down Washington Blvd. This recommendation must go to the Metro Board later this month, but this is a huge development for Whittier and its Washington Blvd. partners. It means comfortable transportation to DTLA or the rest of Los Angeles County without the stress and wear and tear of driving. 

The Whittier terminus will be across the street from PIH Hospital and within a short number of steps from the Groves. Adoption of the Washington Blvd. route is merely an early step as it will be some years more and many dollars more before the first Gold Line rail car arrives. But we will be patient and keep working it, and working it until it is here for the generations who follow.  

The beginning of another long-term project to deal with the homeless mentally disabled was started two weeks ago when your City Council adopted Resolution 2020-05 asking the State of California to start working toward solutions specifically geared for those who are homeless with mental issues. 

I have previously written in this column that many homeless on the streets of Whittier and Southern California are mentally disabled and have not been properly attended to by the State.  Belatedly, it appears that the State might be stepping up and we, who are bearing the brunt of the situation, are asking the State to do its job in making homeless mental health a top priority.  

The state has an opportunity to do something about it right here with the mental health facilities they already possess at Metropolitan State Hospital. I understand that this is a long-term issue with a need for long term persistence but we are committed to seeing this happen. 

There are other long-term projects currently moving forward (Central Library rehab, Uptown parking structure and streetscape, etc.) but patience and persistence are the keys.  And your city is committed to seeing these projects become a reality for our community.

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