LA Councilman Price wants $5 million for residents in area of LAPD fireworks blast

Councilman Curren Price on Wednesday, Sept. 1, introduced a motion seeking $5 million — some of which would come from the Los Angeles Police Department budget — to help South Los Angeles residents recover from a massive explosion set off by an LAPD bomb squad that injured 17 people and forced many residents from their homes.

“Our neighbors face an uphill battle and a tough road ahead for years to come,” Price said. “Long before this disaster, they faced systemic inequality, structural barriers and racial disparities that have been exacerbated in the wake of this disgraceful LAPD action. We need our own version of a Marshall Plan that is going to bring stability to the lives of those affected, revitalize and uplift our neighborhood once and for all.”

The June 30 detonation on East 27th Street, near San Pedro Street, sent 17 residents and first responders to hospitals, destroyed a bomb squad truck and damaged 22 residences, 13 businesses and 37 vehicles.

The motion, which was seconded by Councilmen Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Mark Ridley Thomas, would allocate $5 million to the recovery effort and establish a Neighborhood Recovery Center with additional services to support residents’ needs, including infrastructure improvements, mental health services, job and workforce development, access to children’s services and business grants. It also seeks to prioritize affected residents who may be eligible for the city’s Guaranteed Basic Income pilot program.

Price’s motion requests that some of the funding for the relief effort come from the LAPD’s $1.76 billion budget.

A preliminary investigation into the blast by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives’ National Response Team found that the LAPD bomb squad significantly underestimated, based on a visual assessment, the weight of explosive material being loaded into the containment truck for detonation.

Following the blast, Price provided relief to displaced and impacted residents through a $1 million emergency relief fund using dollars from his council office.

On Aug. 11, Price and Councilman Mike Bonin introduced a motion calling for a report on the city’s protocols providing compensation to victims of city-caused disasters, citing discrepancies in the city’s response to compensate South Los Angeles residents compared to its response compensating more affluent, westside residents after a July 11 sewage spill.

“The discrepancy of these two responses, with (LA Sanitation and Environment) subsidizing residents to relocate due to the Hyperion sewage spill versus households displaced by the LAPD explosion being left to wait for assistance found by their council member, lays bare inequities in the response by city departments to various communities throughout the city,” the councilmen’s pending motion reads.

As of Monday afternoon, five dozen people were still being housed in 29 long-term units while they await repairs to their homes, according to Price’s office.

The LAPD has begun implementing new procedures as a result of the explosion, including the required presence of a commanding officer during future detonations.

The City Council earlier ordered a report from the department on the “failed operation” and on how the public can be better protected in the future. The City Attorney’s Office was also instructed to ensure that residents are properly compensated for property damage and injuries.

The office received 184 claims for money for damages, 40 of which have been approved for payment. Of the 40 that were approved, 23 have been mailed out and one is pending, the City Attorney’s Office reported Monday.

The city is waiting for more information regarding 132 claims before approval is complete. Nine of the 184 filed claims were canceled as duplicates, two were denied and one was closed at the claimant’s request.

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