By City News Service
Mayor Eric Garcetti will be in Washington, D.C., Thursday for a White House event at which Los Angeles will be named one of five "promise zones" that will receive millions of federal dollars aimed at combating poverty.
The Los Angeles "promise zone" includes the East Hollywood, Pico- Union/Westlake, Thai Town, Little Armenia and Koreatown communities. Mayoral spokesman Jeff Millman said the city will likely transfer the funds to nonprofits and other groups involved in anti-poverty efforts in those communities.
The mayor is expected to return to Los Angeles tonight, Millman said.
The other promise zones to be officially announced by President Barack Obama today are in San Antonio, Philadelphia, southeastern Kentucky and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.
Obama first discussed his Promise Zone Initiative in last year's State of the Union address. Today's announcement will coincide with the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson's "war on poverty." The event comes one day after a 13-member panel called the Los Angeles 2020 Commission released a set of findings that focussed on poverty as one of the persistent threats facing the city.
The report points to the 40 percent of Angelenos living in "what can only be called misery," with 28 percent earning poverty wages and the rest unemployed. It also points to "chronic budget deficits" preventing city government from providing quality public services and paying the salaries and benefits of its city employees.
"L.A. is treading water and there is a serious prospect of decline," former U.S. Commerce Secretary Mickey Kantor, who chairs the panel, said at a downtown news conference Wednesday.