Letters to the Editor: L.A. needs city charter reform. Nury Martinez and her colleagues show why.
The Times’ editorial board has been all over the place lately. They decried the recent killings in Arizona, but it was their failure to call attention to the killings in New York that was the worst. But the more serious problem for Los Angeles, and the rest of the West, is a shortage of good-paying jobs, the biggest social problem facing the American West since the Dust Bowl.
One-third of all new jobs in America have been created in the last eight years, and their average pay is down to $37,000 for a family of four.
Last month, the Los Angeles Times editorial board declared that “the West is still the best place in the world for the job-hungry.” But it is not true anymore. In the past 30 years, the number of new jobs in the West has been cut by 60 percent, and in the last five. The West has lost more jobs than any other region in the world other than Japan. The jobless rate in the United States is twice that in the Japanese economy.
We can’t blame the decline in West-created jobs on immigration. The number of foreign-born workers in the U.S. has dropped sharply since 1990, and the last two decades were not worse for illegal immigrants than the first two decades after the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965.
The reason is that the U.S. economy has increasingly become about international trade and the ability of foreigners to buy things they can’t make here.
Last week, there were 1.1 million new jobs outside the West, mostly in the Midwest and East Coast. The rest of us need a city charter that can guarantee us jobs.
Los Angeles has lost more than half its jobs to automation-as long as there are jobs left for people who have the skills we are losing.
We can’t make better housing and better schools without more housing and better schools. But we can’t make both in Los Angeles without a city charter that supports a high standard of living for all.
As Los Angeles struggles with homelessness and high unemployment, those who have the money to spend should spend it on our city, not the profits of the corporations that are laying off