Jan 25 2013

Ron Kaye LA: Jan Perry and South Central Farm: Hero or Villain?

The history of the South Central Farm acreage is telling.

Developer Ralph Horowitz owned the land before selling it to the city by eminent domain in 1986 for use as a city garbage incinerator (Lancer Project). The community fought having another insult added to their already blighted and bleak streets. And they won.

In 2003, Horowitz sued to get the land back and got a settlement with Jan Perry’s help without even a token for the families that had turned the weed-covered, garbage-strewn eyesore into an oasis with fruit trees, gardens and flowers.

She sold it out from under them and back to Horowitz without a care for the Latino community; who make up 92 percent of her constituency, or for the farmers who put food on the table from the farm and found escape from the asphalt and concrete of the surrounding area.

Perry had the leverage to cut a deal with Horowitz that preserved the farm and given Horowitz a handsome profit of more than $10 million at the peak of the real estate. boom. She chose to brush off the community and play to the developer.

It was an extraordinary political calculation, siding with a Westside
developer, against Latinos whose numbers were soaring in her district.

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