INSANITY: California Proposes Reparations For Those Impacted by Construction of Dodger Stadium

The California legislature’s proposal to offer reparations to those affected by the construction of Dodger Stadium in the 1950s and 1960s is not only misguided but also fiscally irresponsible, especially considering the state’s substantial budget deficit and numerous pressing issues.

Assemblywoman Wendy Carillo, D-Boyle Heights, introduced AB 1950, which calls for the creation of a nine-member task force to investigate and assess the value of lost housing and land in the Chavez Ravine community.

The task force would also determine compensation requirements for displaced residents, landowners, and their descendants. Carillo’s bill states that the City of Los Angeles condemned the 315-acre area housing 1,800 families in 1950 “through the power of eminent domain for the purpose of constructing public housing.”

By 1952, the land was “sold below the market value or auctioned off against the will of the landowners,” and the proposed “Elysian Park Heights housing project had unraveled” by 1958. The city then sold the entire area to a private company for an “insignificant amount” to be developed into Dodger Stadium.

While the historical events surrounding the displacement of Chavez Ravine residents are undoubtedly unfortunate, the decision to pursue reparations at this juncture is ill-advised.

California is already grappling with the contentious issue of reparations for descendants of slaves, with the California Reparations Task Force proposing cash reparations of up to $1.2 million per black resident.

Instead of focusing on direct monetary compensation, legislators have introduced a package of 14 bills aimed at providing non-cash reparations, such as exemptions from the state constitution’s ban on racial discrimination or preferences in public employment and education.

Carillo’s bill, while more limited in scope, still places an undue burden on the City of Los Angeles to either “convey city-owned real property for housing, use, and enjoyment equal to the square footage area of land acquired by the city from the property owners unjustly displaced between 1950 and 1961” or provide “monetary compensation, equal to the fair market value at the time of sale or taking, adjusted for inflation.”

Given California’s current economic challenges, including a projected budget deficit of $31.5 billion in the 2023-2024 fiscal year, allocating resources to compensate for events that occurred over six decades ago seems imprudent and tone-deaf to the immediate needs of the state’s residents.

Moreover, the pursuit of reparations for the Chavez Ravine community sets a dangerous precedent, potentially opening the floodgates for countless other historical grievances to be revisited and compensated.

While acknowledging the injustices of the past is essential, attempting to rectify them through monetary or real estate compensation decades later may not be the most effective or responsible approach.

In conclusion, the California legislature’s proposal to offer reparations to those affected by the construction of Dodger Stadium is a misguided and irresponsible endeavor.

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Given the state’s significant budget deficit and numerous pressing issues, allocating resources to compensate for events that occurred over 60 years ago is not only ill-advised but also fails to address the immediate needs of California’s residents.