More than 1,000 concrete buildings in Los Angeles may be at risk of collapsing in the event of an earthquake, but researchers have declined to provide a list of these specific structures. Older buildings may appear strong, but they lack the steel necessary to keep columns in place. This leaves them susceptible to sideways movement during a big earthquake. UC Berkeley engineering professor Jack Moehle is leading the research and said he and others conducting research could be legally liable for any possible errors in the list, as the data may not be entirely accurate.
Mayor Eric Garcetti also expressed concern about the possibility that building owners mistakenly included in the list could sue, as this would decrease the structure value. One other concern is that retrofitting these buildings can cost thousands of dollars. However, once the list of buildings is revealed, further examination of each will be required to assess if the building requires strengthening.
Seismically vulnerable structures are not the only thing that city hall has to worry about these days. Now come reports that city staff knew about price increases on the LA streetcar project but were told to keep quiet on the matter. When proponents first proposed the streetcar, estimates ranged between $100 million and $125 million. However, staff did not account for inflation and utility relocation costs, especially if those utilities were unknown to exist. Now the cost has soared to $200 million, dampening the enthusiasm of those who both want the streetcar and those in Downtown LA who voted to tax themselves for it. Thanks to these revelations, staff may have to shorten the route so as to serve fewer venues just to keep the project under budget.
Not helping matters is an internal revolt at the LADOT, where those opposed to recent managerial changes by department general manager Jaime De La Vega took their case to the City Council. Specifically, existing workers took exception to the hiring of outside contractors to replace managers who know the internal workings of the LADOT. De La Vega defended his moves by stating that they are consistent with an internal review of the department and would bring experienced managers to positions where their leadership would be of utmost use. De La Vega was appointed by former mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in 2011; it is unknown if current mayor Eric Garcetti will retain him.