It has been five years since riots broke out after the acquittal of four police officers in the beating of Rodney King. Many city officials, politicians and business owners vowed to bring Los Angeles back after the devastation of those few days and nights. It appears that economic revitalization is not taking hold in Los Angeles South Central’s economy remains below pre-riot levels. The Business Journal Form asks:
Has business fulfilled its role in helping Los Angeles recover from the 1992 riots?
Commercial Real Estate Broker
Julien J. Studley Inc.
I think people still think more about the earthquake than they do about the riots. I’m not aware of what businesses have done to play a direct role in helping the city recover from the riots. I think people have moved away from the problem, they’ve moved from Hollywood and Mid-Wilshire to downtown, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica. From a geographical standpoint, I think that they ran away from the problem. I just haven’t seen businesses stay in places like Mid-Wilshire or South Central to fight the problem.
Chief Executive Officer
The Blaze Co.
There have been businesses in the greater Los Angeles area that have stepped up to the plate and done everything within their power to rebuild and try to smooth damaged sensitivities and sensibilities. But it’s not my perception that it has been a widespread effort. I believe that the outreach from those agencies in a position to dictate to business what they could do has not been adequate to achieve citywide business support, nor has it been consistent. I do think some businesses, running the gamut from fast food to retail, have indeed succeeded and embraced that as part of their mission, and they should be applauded for it.
Group Executive Vice President
Sanwa Bank California
It’s in businesses’ best interests to do that what’s good for Los Angeles is good for local business. You cannot avoid helping yourself by helping the local economy, and I think everybody is trying to do that in their own way. I know from our own efforts and everyone else that I talk to that has been involved has put forth a special effort to be supportive of the rebuilding efforts and cure the economic issues that might have been a factor in it.
Operation HOPE Inc.
Enough is never enough. Business has done more than government. There was a huge outpouring of support after the unrest of ’92. The government said they would provide money, too. But it was dead on arrival, or, in other words, it never arrived. That money was counted on to enhance and encourage private-sector investors, but it never came. Without that money coming in, there was not the encouragement or impetus to go back to the private sector to ask for more money. The private sector needs to do more, but they did more than city, state and federal governments did.