Neighborhood Councils Get Sophisticated

San Pedro, CA is the scene of a battle between developers and locals, and local neighborhood councils are using increasingly sophisticated organizing tools to bring residents to the table.
March 12, 2009, 10am PDT | Tim Halbur
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"The boarded-up duplexes line a stretch of Western Avenue in San Pedro -- decaying relics of an era when the Navy needed housing for its Long Beach shipyard workers. A decade after the yard closed, the property is now home only to a handful of goats brought in to keep down the weeds.

The inactivity masks a heated battle over the massive Ponte Vista development planned for the site, one that proponents say would bring much-needed housing and jobs to the area but also, critics maintain, an unacceptable level of traffic congestion and a drain on services.

In 2005, developer Bob Bisno bought the property, which offers views of the Vincent Thomas Bridge, and proposed squeezing 2,300 condos onto its 61.5 acres.

In proposing what officials say would have been San Pedro's largest residential development ever, Bisno unwittingly galvanized potent opposition from within the community's increasingly sophisticated neighborhood councils."

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Published on Wednesday, March 11, 2009 in The Los Angeles Times
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