Looking ahead, the numbers are startling.
In the next 15 to 20 years, the San Pedro Community Plan envisions adding 4,500 housing units and 5,000 new jobs.
“Because we live here,” he said, it’s clear that the community’s “oldest parts of our residential and shopping districts” will be insufficient to support that kind of growth.
To sate the desire for improved sidewalks, streets, parks and other amenities as a result of the increased development, McOsker said, he is pushing to establish what would be the city’s first Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Distirct, which would use future property tax increments for the city and county to support those needs in neighborhoods such as Vinegar Hill, the historic downtown business district, Rancho San Pedro and the surrounding areas.
“These are not new taxes,” McOsker said, “but our share of taxes attributed to increasing values in our area.”
It would be the first EIFD district in the city of Los Angeles if approved, he said.
That was only one of the topics the council member touched on during the luncheon speech at the Dalmatian-American Club in San Pedro, which more than 300 people attended. The event was sponsored by the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce.
McOsker expressed concern about the upcoming roadbed replacement that will close all or part of the heavily traveled Vincent Thomas Bridge that spans the busy Port of Los Angeles.
Caltrans, he said, has “accepted my requests, including creating a community advisory committee to get feedback to minimize construction impacts on adjacent communities.” While the work is needed, McOsker said, mitigations to offset and repair impacts on local communities must be included.
In other remarks, McOsker, an attorney and lifelong San Pedro resident, stressed the importance of his rebranding the 15th Council District as the “One-Five.”
“The ‘One-Five’ is about one district and five beloved communities,” he said, adding that he’s attended “at least” 427 community events in just the past year to spread attention to all parts of the disparate district.
“Watts, Harbor Gateway, Harbor City, Wilmington and San Pedro — each with its unique qualities, needs and attention,” he said. “It’s a great slogan, but it’s more than a slogan.”
Challenges are many, he said, spending much of the speech enumerating those issues, as well as motions he’s put forth to the City Council to answer those needs.
His proposals include:
- Establishing a Jobs and Economic Development Incentive Zone on San Pedro’s Pacific Avenue to provide grants and recourses to improve the commercial stretch; similar zones exist on Avalon Boulevard in Wilmington and on Wilmington Avenue in Watts.
- Focusing on assisting mom-and-pop landlords as more rental units are built and homeless interventions continue, though McOsker pointed out that not all proposals are ones he supported; he voted against Mayor Karen Bass’ move for $80 million to purchase the Mayfair Hotel in Westlake for 300 units of permanent interim housing, saying residents complained it would impact neighbors and local businesses.
- Increasing funding to hire more Los Angeles police officers, along with moves to increase salaries and benefits during a time in which, he said, “we currently have fewer LAPD officers on the force than at any time over 20 years.” McOsker also expressed support for the Port Police in their ongoing labor contract talks.
- Reviewing the automation efforts by the Maersk/PM Terminal at the Port of Los Angeles with regard to job protections.
- Having more trash cleanup efforts throughout the district. McOsker said that to date under his watc,h with a Clean 15 Team, 320 tons of dumped trash has been cleared in Watts, 100 tons in Harbor Gateway, 60 tons in Harbor City, 515 tons in Wilmington and 70 tons in San Pedro.
“The most important thing is that residents feel safe,” McOsker said. “Today, safety means that you don’t have to experience a ‘flash rob’ in a store, that you can get into and out of your car without a confrontation or that you can enjoy your neighborhood park without fear.
McOsker also lauded the West Harbor waterfront development, noting that the process has been long but that the opening in 2025 will be worth the effort.
“For more than a decade,” he said, “the developers of West Harbor have been working with the port to build a world-class destination for dining, shopping, recreation and entertainment.”
Among the “little” things McOsker said he’s not forgetting about are creating “quiet zones,” where train horns currently disrupt neighborhoods, replacing the closed Knoll Hill Dog Park and tending to the old Fire Station (No. 53) that opened in 1925 on Mesa Street and has been used more recently for nonprofits.
“I know we won’t get it right all the time,” McOsker said in closing. “We will have successes, and we will have times when it is something less than that. But, in the words of the great 20th century American philosopher, Cher, ‘I’m not stopping.’ Well, neither do I and neither will you.”