DISTRICT 4 Press Releases
Council Adopts Motion To Return Surplus and Underutilized Public Lands To Historically Marginalized Communities
For Immediate Release: August 9, 2023
COUNCIL ADOPTS MOTION TO RETURN SURPLUS AND UNDERUTILIZED PUBLIC LANDS TO HISTORICALLY MARGINALIZED COMMUNITIES
LOS ANGELES — Today, the Los Angeles City Council voted to adopt a motion introduced by Councilmembers Nithya Raman, Marqueece Harris-Dawson, and former Councilmember Mike Bonin, to direct city departments to identify mechanisms to return surplus and underutilized public lands to historically marginalized communities for their use and benefit.
In the City of Los Angeles – and across the nation – a history of exclusionary policies like redlining, urban renewal, restrictive housing covenants, predatory lending, and the commodification of land, have legally and economically prevented many communities of color from living in integrated and well resourced neighborhoods. In recent years, municipalities have taken steps to implement land reparations and redistribution to redress these practices as part of their core racial justice initiatives.
“I was so proud to present this motion with former Councilmember Mike Bonin and Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson late last year following the leaked tapes to reaffirm the City’s commitment to racial justice and inclusion, and work towards restoring faith in City government,” said Councilmember Raman. “With this legislation, we are acknowledging the central role that land plays in reversing decades of segregation and displacement, and moving forward to return land to Indigenous, Black, and Brown communities.”
“It is the responsibility of the city and policymakers to redress our historical wrongs and discriminatory policies. This motion paves the way to create the infrastructure to revolutionize land usage and empower self-determining communities. This is how we shape an equitable future from the shadows of the past,” said Councilmember Harris-Dawson. “I am proud to stand beside Councilmember Raman with her dedication to progressive policies, and commend former Councilmember Bonin for his leadership on this legislation.”
“We thank Councilmembers Raman, Harris-Dawson, and former Councilmember Bonin for their leadership in identifying publicly-owned land to be used to create vibrant communities for residents,” said Laura Raymond, director of ACT-LA. “Communities of color within Los Angeles, working class Angelenos—these are our neighbors who have been displaced from their homes, or are at most risk of being displaced from their homes. Turning underutilized or surplus land owned by public agencies into social housing, public green space or gardens, or other cultural hubs will allow us to address our exclusionary past that has disenfranchised communities. Instead, we can move our city forward and create a Los Angeles where all residents have more equal access to opportunities and prosperity.
Councilmember Raman’s legislation instructs various departments to provide a full property inventory that identifies all underutilized, surplus, and/or remnant lands within the City held by the City, and, as feasible, any public lands held by county, regional, state, and federal agencies that could be transferred or redistributed to historically marginalized groups within the City. Additionally, the motion instructs the City Attorney to examine how any potential policy recommendations developed as a result of this motion may conform with Assembly Bill 1486, also known as the Surplus Land Act; and instructs the Chief Legislative Analyst for recommendations on how these identified underutilized, surplus, and remnant lands can be utilized for uses such as community land trusts, urban agriculture, environmental stewardship and restoration, cultural spaces, or any other uses that center principles of self-determination, community building, and healing.