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Neighborhood Assessment of Park Mesa Heights Paul Ong, Project Director Executive Summaries, May 2010

Civic Engagement Karissa Yee, Paul Ong, Linda Hui, and Silvia Jimenez Education Karissa Yee and Paul Ong Employment Silvia Jimenez and Paul Ong Housing Silvia Jimenez and Paul Ong Public Safety Silvia Jimenez, Paul Ong, and Linda Hui

www.publicaffairs.ucla.edu

Civic Engagement in Park Mesa Heights May 2010

In 2007, the Los Angeles Urban League (LAUL) announced the “Neighborhoods@Work” Initiative, a 5-year strategic plan designed to address issues related to education, employment, health, housing, and safety in neighborhoods throughout South Los Angeles. The ultimate goal of LAUL’s initiative is to create a best practices model for sustainable neighborhood change that can be replicated in other urban communities across the nation. LAUL’s initial effort focuses on a 70-block area in the predominantly African American community of Park Mesa Heights. At the request of LAUL, the UCLA School of Public Affairs (UCLA-SPA) agreed to assist LAUL by assessing neighborhood level changes associated with the quality of life for stakeholders in Park Mesa Heights, as defined by LAUL. The project is critical to understanding the nature and magnitude of the problems facing stakeholders in Park Mesa Heights and to identify potential effective interventions. In addition, the project aligns with UCLA-SPA’s goal to create greater capacity in monitoring changes and evaluating neighborhood progress by developing a framework for future neighborhood assessments. This analytical brief on civic engagement, number five of five, is part of the 2010 series on the status of the PMH project area.

BACKGROUND One goal in the Los Angeles Urban League’s (LAUL) strategic plan is to increase community participation in their projects and encourage civic participation in activities that would improve the quality of life for Park Mesa Heights’ (PMH) stakeholders. There are several lenses to examine changes in civic participation, but ―in a democracy, voting is the most fundamental act of political participation‖ (Highton 2004). This brief uses voter registration and voter turnout to explore political engagement in PMH relative to the City of LA and LA County, for the 2000, 2004 and 2008 General Elections. Absentee voting and neighborhood councils are also briefly discussed.

VOTER REGISTRATION RATES The City of LA, with a population of over 4 million, has approximately 1.5 million registered voters. A voter registration ratio, the number of registered voters to the adult population (18 and over), can show a community’s level of political engagement, indicate the presence of barriers to voter registration in historically underrepresented areas, and a predictor of election turnout. Voter registration rates appear to be higher in PMH relative to the City of LA and LA County. Average voter registration across the three General Elections was 21% to 25% higher in PMH than in the City and County (77% in PMH, 52% in the City of LA, and 56% in LA County). 2008 registration rates in PMH (79%), a predominantly African American neighborhood, are also significantly higher than national estimates for African American voter registration rates—the Current Population Survey reports that 65.5% of African Americans were registered to vote at the time of the 2008 General Election (U.S. Census Bureau 2009).1 Figure 5.1 shows that the change in voter registration patterns overtime in PMH also differs from Los Angeles. PMH voter registration decreases in 2004 (by 11%), but rose again in 2008 (by 8%). In contrast, both LA City and County experienced lower registration rates in 2004 (a 5% decrease for both) and remained steady in 2008 (at 50% for the City and 54% for the County).

Paul Ong, Project Director

UCLA-SPA NEIGHBORHOOD ASSESSMENT OF PARK MESA HEIGHTS

Karissa Yee, Paul Ong, Linda Hui, and Silvia Jimenez

VOTER TURNOUT RATES Voter turnout is a direct measure of the level of political engagement in a community. The voter turnout rate, the ratio of official votes cast to eligible (registered) voters at the time of the election, measures the percentage of residents registered to vote that actually voted. Figure 5.2 shows that for the 2000 General Election, PMH had a voter turnout rate of 63%, which was 4% to 5% lower than the City of LA (67%) and LA County (68%). The authors are solely responsible for the content and interpretations in the brief. Organizational affiliations are listed only for informational purposes.

Civic Engagement in Park Mesa Heights In 2004, PMH had an 80% turnout rate, which was 1% to 2% higher than the City of LA (79%) and LA County (78%). In 2008, the PMH voter turnout rate remained steady at 80%, while the City of LA increased to 83% and LA County increased to 82%. In absolute numbers, votes cast by PMH residents have increased since the 2000 election. In the 2000 election, 3,714 votes were cast, whereas 4,633 votes were cast in 2008. Factors such as population change or voter mobilization efforts can influence voter turnout levels. Regardless of the cause, the absolute number of PMH residents that vote has increased, and this is an encouraging sign for LAUL’s newest goal to increase civic engagement in PMH.

ABSENTEE VOTING PATTERNS The absentee voting rate is calculated as a percentage of absentee votes out of the overall number of votes cast in a given election. Changing patterns in absentee and polling place voting have operational implications in for adapting get-out-the-vote strategies to meet the preferred voting methods of residents. Figure 5.3 reveals that absentee voting in the past three General Elections comprise a large proportion of registered voters in Los Angeles area. However, PMH has a lower absentee voting rate relative to the City and County of LA. This corresponds with literature showing that racial minorities vote by absentee ballot at lower rates than whites (Dubin and Kalsow 1996; Oliver 1996). Between the 2004 and 2008 General Elections, PMH experienced a greater increase in absentee voting than LA City or County. If this trend continues, PMH might eventually ―catch up‖ to similar absentee voting rates as the rest of LA City and County.

NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL VOTER TURNOUT In 1999, City of LA voters passed a revision that created neighborhood councils to give residents a voice in City Hall and local decision-making. The 70-block project area of PMH falls within the boundary of the Park Mesa Heights Community Council, District 80. Figure 5.4 shows the absolute vote count for the Park Mesa Heights Community Council from 2002-2007. In general, since the creation of the neighborhood council in 2002, the absolute numbers of votes cast in the PMH Community Council elections have decreased over time, with a small increase in 2007. Comparing neighborhood council participation in the City of LA is not possible; prior to 2010, neighborhood councils did not have uniform election days.

CONCLUSION The 2010 assessment of civic engagement in the PMH project area finds that over the past General Elections, PMH voter registration rates were consistently higher than in LA City and County. In 2000 and 2008 elections, the voter turnout rate was lower in PMH relative to LA City and County. The proportion of absentee ballots cast by PMH residents has also remained below LA City and County levels. However, the absolute number of votes cast by PMH residents has risen since 2000, as have absentee voting rates. Absolute voter turnout in the PMH Community Council increased in the 2007 election, but participation by PMH stakeholders remains low. Participation in midterm elections and community groups (e.g., faith-based) is recommended for future explorations. 2

Civic Engagement in Park Mesa Heights NOTES 1

In other cities such as Chicago, speculation exists of a possible undercount of the African American population in the 2000 Census, resulting in distorted registration rates that may overestimate the actual rate (Simpson 2010). If this problem persisted nationally, then PMH (approximately 72% African American) might have a greater population than the 2000 Census reported, biasing reported registration rates upwards, as these were tabulated using 2000 Census counts (tracts 2345 and 2346 for PMH).

REFERENCES Dubin, J. A. and G. A. Kalsow. 1996. ―Comparing absentee and precinct voters: A view over time.‖ Political Behavior 18(4): 369-392. Highton, B.. 2004. ―Voter Registration and Turnout in the United States.‖ Perspectives on Politics 2(3): 507-515. Oliver, J. E.. 1996. ―The Effects of Eligibility Restrictions and Party Activity on Absentee Voting and Overall Turnout.‖ American Journal of Political Science 40(2): 498–513. Simpson, B.. 2010. ―Considering the Undercount.‖ The Chicago Reporter. Online at: http://www.chicagoreporter.com/index.php/c/Sidebars/d/Considering_the_Undercount U.S. Census Bureau. 2009. ―Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2008‖. Online at: http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/socdemo/voting/publications/p20/2008/tables.html

PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS The Los Angeles Urban League (LAUL) traces its roots to 1921 when the Tuskegee Industrial Welfare League merged with the National Urban League, with Katherine Barr as the first LAUL President. Today, the LAUL has a staff of over 300 and a budget in excess of $26 million, making the 86‐year‐old Los Angeles Urban League is one of America’s largest civil rights entities. Its current mission is to enable African Americans and other minorities to secure economic self‐reliance, parity, power and civil rights through advocacy activities and the provision of programs and services in our uniquely diversified city and region. The effort in Park Mesa Heights (an area roughly bounded by the W. Vernon Avenue on the north, S. Van Ness Avenue on the east, W. Slauson Blvd. on the south, and Hillcrest Drive and Crenshaw Blvd. on the west) utilizes a strategy of concentrating efforts on a selected neighborhood to develop and refine approaches that maximizes the chances for success in the area of public safety, employment, education, housing, and health. Charles Boyd, Deputy Neighborhood Officer for Safety and Systems, served as the main liaison for the UCLA‐LAUL collaboration. Founded in 1994, the UCLA School of Public Affairs incorporates best practices in scholarship, research and teaching in the fields of Social Welfare, Urban Planning, and Public Policy. The unique intersection of these disciplines within one School allows for academic cross-collaboration and a graduate education that values perspectives at the macro- and micro- organizational levels. Faculty of the School of Public Affairs are actively engaged in research that address pressing national and regional issues including immigration, drug policy, prison reform, health care financing, transportation and the environment, national security, economic development, and an aging U.S. and world population.

UCLA School of Public Affairs 3250 Public Affairs Building, Box 951656 Los Angeles, California 90095-1656

Name Street: City:

State:

Zip Code:

Education in Park Mesa Heights May 2010

In 2007, the Los Angeles Urban League (LAUL) announced the “Neighborhoods@Work” Initiative, a 5-year strategic plan designed to address issues related to education, employment, health, housing, and safety in neighborhoods throughout South Los Angeles. The ultimate goal of LAUL’s initiative is to create a best practices model for sustainable neighborhood change that can be replicated in other urban communities across the nation. LAUL’s initial effort focuses on a 70-block area in the predominantly African American community of Park Mesa Heights. At the request of LAUL, the UCLA School of Public Affairs (UCLA-SPA) agreed to assist LAUL by assessing neighborhood level changes associated with the quality of life for stakeholders in the Park Mesa Heights (PMH) project area. The project is critical to understanding the nature and magnitude of the problems facing stakeholders in Park Mesa Heights and to identify potential effective interventions. In addition, the project aligns with UCLA-SPA’s goal to create greater capacity in monitoring changes and evaluating neighborhood progress by developing a framework for future neighborhood assessments. This analytical brief on education, number two of five, is part of the 2010 series on the status of the Park Mesa Heights project area.

BACKGROUND Residents of inner-city neighborhoods often face barriers in the labor market due to lower human capital related to their educational achievement, increasing the economic hardships they may face. LAUL’s Education Initiative seeks to promote a pathway to college, which will allow for future economic success. This brief focuses on college-going rates and graduation rates for Crenshaw Senior High School (Crenshaw H.S.) students. Crenshaw H.S. is the main secondary school located in the Park Mesa Heights neighborhood, and LAUSD is the geographic unit of comparison. This brief builds off of a previous brief on education in PMH for LAUL by the UCLA Department of Urban Planning.1

COLLEGE-GOING RATES A college-going rate shows the proportion of public high school graduates who enroll each year in college or university immediately following high school graduation, and can indicate future success in the workforce. Data from the California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC) and the California Department of Education (CDE) show that Crenshaw H.S. students appear to be performing relatively well with college enrollment compared to LAUSD (See Fig 2.1). With the exception of 1998, Crenshaw H.S. graduates’ college-going patterns generally reflect those of LAUSD.2 Averaged over 15 years, the total college -going rate for Crenshaw H.S. (70%) is higher than LAUSD (60%), reflecting positive progress towards LAUL’s goal of increasing college-ready students at Crenshaw H.S (Fig 2.1).

Paul Ong, Project Director

UCLA-SPA NEIGHBORHOOD ASSESSMENT OF PARK MESA HEIGHTS

Karissa Yee and Paul Ong

However, a large proportion of college-going students enroll in community colleges, and matriculation and transfer rates at community colleges are low, so the total college-going rate does not fully reflect the Crenshaw H.S. graduates that may eventually obtain an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.3 Overall, Crenshaw H.S. has experienced positive trends in college-going since 2005, with the exception of 4-year college-going in 2008 (See Fig 2.2).

The authors are solely responsible for the content and interpretations in the brief. Organizational affiliations are listed only for informational purposes.

Education in Park Mesa Heights HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION RATES CDE reports graduation rates based on two different formulas: the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) formula that relies on official dropout counts, and the Basic Completion Ration, which estimates the annual statewide graduation rate. The NCES method reveals that Crenshaw H.S. graduation rates have been low relative to LAUSD since 2005 (Fig 2.3). After 2004 Crenshaw H.S. graduation rates began declining; however, this trend reversed itself in 2008. The Basic Completion Ratio estimates graduation rates, or net attrition for a given unit, by dividing the total number of high school graduates in a given year by the number of students entering 9th grade four years prior. This measure reveals that, both LAUSD and Crenshaw H.S. graduation rates were approximately 50% until 2006, when they started to diverge. In 2006, LAUSD experienced a 4% decrease in its graduation rate, while Crenshaw H.S. experienced a decline of over 20% between 2005 and 2007, with graduation rates remaining constant at 22% from 2007 to 2008 (Fig 2.4). Research suggests that the California High School Exit Exam has been a barrier to graduation for minority and female students in the Class of 2006 and later (UCLA/IDEA and UC/ACCORD 2006; Reardon et al. 2009).

HISTORICALLY BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES (HBCUS) Data on college-going to Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) are not systematically collected. Estimates by Crenshaw H.S. site staff imply that excluding HBCUs in 4-year college-going rate calculations for Crenshaw H.S. may bias the rate downwards.

CONCLUSION The 2010 neighborhood assessment finds that college-going rates for Crenshaw H.S. graduates have generally increased over time, and they compare favorably relative to LAUSD college-going as a whole. Collecting data on college-going to HBCUs can increase Crenshaw H.S.’s true 4-year college-going rate. Although overall collegegoing rates for Crenshaw H.S. graduates are high, using this as the only indicator to measure educational success may distort issues of actual college degree attainment and high school graduation. Graduation rates have decreased relative to LAUSD in recent years, and Crenshaw H.S. attrition rates have recently increased during the junior and senior years. Further study is needed to explain why students may be opting to leave or transfer out of Crenshaw H.S. instead of remaining there for the duration of their high school career, or why they drop out completely.

2

Education Park Mesa Heights NOTES 1

This education brief builds on the 2008 report, “School Achievement in Park Mesa Heights,” produced for LAUL by Dr. Paul Ong, Zachary Plopper, and Alfredo Torales from the UCLA Department of Urban Planning. 2 Crenshaw H.S.’s college-going rates are more exaggerated and may be subject to greater fluctuation than the overall LAUSD because, as an individual high school, it has a smaller sample size and is more sensitive to change and variation within the sample. 3

Retention and completion rates at community colleges and four-year colleges are particularly low for minority college students (Carey 2008; Kelly et al. 2010; McIntosh and Rouse 2009). Therefore the college-going rate is an imperfect measure of the proportion of Crenshaw H.S. graduates that eventually obtain a Bachelor’s or Associate's Degree.

REFERENCES Carey, K.. 2008. “Graduation Rate Watch: Making Minority Success a Priority.” Washington: Education Sector. Kelly, A. P., M. Schneider and K. Carey. 2010. “Rising to the Challenge: Hispanic College Graduation Rates as a National Priority.” American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. McIntosh, M. F. and C. E. Rouse. 2009. “The Other College: Retention and completion rates among two-year college students.” Washington: Center for American Progress. Reardon, S. F. and M. Kurlaender. 2009. “Effects of the California High School Exit Exam on Student Persistence, Achievement, and Graduation.” PACE Policy Brief. UCLA/IDEA and UC/ACCORD. 2006. “California Educational Opportunity Report 2006.”

PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS The Los Angeles Urban League (LAUL) traces its roots to 1921 when the Tuskegee Industrial Welfare League merged with the National Urban League, with Katherine Barr as the first LAUL President. Today, the LAUL has a staff of over 300 and a budget in excess of $26 million, making the 86‐year‐old Los Angeles Urban League is one of America’s largest civil rights entities. Its current mission is to enable African Americans and other minorities to secure economic self‐reliance, parity, power and civil rights through advocacy activities and the provision of programs and services in our uniquely diversified city and region. The effort in Park Mesa Heights (an area roughly bounded by the W. Vernon Avenue on the north, S. Van Ness Avenue on the east, W. Slauson Blvd. on the south, and Hillcrest Drive and Crenshaw Blvd. on the west) utilizes a strategy of concentrating efforts on a selected neighborhood to develop and refine approaches that maximizes the chances for success in the area of public safety, employment, education, housing, and health. Charles Boyd, Deputy Neighborhood Officer for Safety and Systems, served as the main liaison for the UCLA‐LAUL collaboration. Founded in 1994, the UCLA School of Public Affairs incorporates best practices in scholarship, research and teaching in the fields of Social Welfare, Urban Planning, and Public Policy. The unique intersection of these disciplines within one School allows for academic cross-collaboration and a graduate education that values perspectives at the macro- and microorganizational levels. Faculty of the School of Public Affairs are actively engaged in research that address pressing national and regional issues including immigration, drug policy, prison reform, health care financing, transportation and the environment, national security, economic development, and an aging U.S. and world population.

UCLA School of Public Affairs 3250 Public Affairs Building, Box 951656 Los Angeles, California 90095-1656

Name Street: City:

State:

Zip Code:

Employment in Park Mesa Heights May 2010

In 2007, the Los Angeles Urban League (LAUL) announced the “Neighborhoods@Work” Initiative, a 5-year strategic plan designed to address issues related to education, employment, health, housing, and safety in neighborhoods throughout South Los Angeles. The ultimate goal of LAUL’s initiative is to create a best practices model for sustainable neighborhood change that can be replicated in other urban communities across the nation. LAUL’s initial effort focuses on a 70-block area in the predominantly African American community of Park Mesa Heights. At the request of LAUL, the UCLA School of Public Affairs (UCLA-SPA) agreed to assist LAUL by assessing neighborhood level changes associated with the quality of life for stakeholders in Park Mesa Heights, as defined by LAUL. The project is critical to understanding the nature and magnitude of the problems facing stakeholders in Park Mesa Heights and to identify potential effective interventions. In addition, the project aligns with UCLA-SPA’s goal to create greater capacity in monitoring changes and evaluating neighborhood progress by developing a framework for future neighborhood assessments. This analytical brief on employment, number one of five, is part of the 2010 series on the status of the Park Mesa Heights project area.

BACKGROUND Employment status varies with the business cycle. In periods of economic recession, unemployment rises. During economic booms, unemployment declines; however, higher unemployment may linger for some time after an economic recovery. The problem of poverty in Los Angeles’ inner-city neighborhoods is linked to the labor market, which is dictated by the business cycle (Ong and Miller 2004; Ong 1993). In the context of the current national economic recession, understanding how the variability of the business cycle impacts Park Mesa Heights’ (PMH) workforce is crucial to informing the Los Angeles Urban League’s (LAUL) Employment Initiative. This brief analyzes the employment dynamics in PMH relative to the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County between 2000 and 2008, with particular emphasis on 2007-2008—the years of LAUL’s involvement in the area. This brief builds off of a previous brief on employment in Park Mesa Heights by the UCLA Department of Urban Planning.1

PRIMARY JOBS2 A widely used source for understanding primary job patterns is the annual Longitudinal Employment and Household Dynamic (LEHD) dataset published by the U.S. Bureau of the Census (BOC). LEHD defines a primary job as the highest paying job for an individual worker in a given year covered under a state’s unemployment insurance program. 2002-2008 LEHD data show primary job gains in PMH over time, peaking at 3,592 in 2007 (See Fig 1.1). However, data also suggest that PMH is more susceptible to the business cycle than the City of LA—during the economic boom years of 2004-2006, PMH residents saw a greater increase in jobs compared to the City of LA. Post-recession (post-2007), the decline in primary jobs has been much more pronounced in PMH (4% loss) than in the City of LA (0.8% loss).

Paul Ong, Project Director

UCLA-SPA NEIGHBORHOOD ASSESSMENT OF PARK MESA HEIGHTS

Silvia Jimenez and Paul Ong

Working adults (ages 31-54) make up the core of the labor force. Job stability, security, and earnings generally rise with tenure and age. During economic recessions, younger workers with less seniority are more likely to lose their jobs than workers with longer tenure (Bureau of Labor Statistics 2008). Figure 1.2 shows the percent change in jobs by worker age between 2007-2008 for PMH and the City of LA. Data suggest that workers age 31-54 in PMH have experienced a much higher job loss relative to the City of LA (7.2% decline compared to 1.2% decline, respectively). The same trend applies specifically to workers age 30 and under–3.3% loss in PMH compared to 1.5% loss in the City of LA. Relative job counts for older workers (55 and over) increased three times as much in PMH (6.1%) than in the City of LA (2%). This may indicate that the population close to the retirement age in both geographies may be delaying their retirement, motivated by the decline in retirement benefits. The authors are solely responsible for the content and interpretations in the brief. Organizational affiliations are listed only for informational purposes.

Employment in Park Mesa Heights For many inner-city residents, unstable employment, low wages and earnings compound the difficulty of finding a job. This situation may be aggravated during a recession, affecting the likelihood of economic hardship faced by low-wage earners (making less than $1,250 per month). Figure 1.3 shows that between 2007-2008, the number of low-wage earners decreased by 11% in PMH, while the City of LA saw a 5% increase. In the high-wage category, PMH also fared much better than the City of LA (3% increase compared to 3% decline). However, Fig 1.3 also shows a marked decrease in mid -wage jobs for PMH—a 4% loss compared to a 2.7% gain in the City. This reflects the tenure-age-earnings relationship previously discussed. Workers that compose the core labor force (age 31-54) are more likely to hold mid-wage jobs; therefore, it seems that these workers in PMH are the most affected by the recession and the financial pressure on older workers to put off retirement.

INDIVIDUAL INCOME3 Analysis of changes in the number of LEHD-reported primary jobs shows that jobs in PMH have increased over time. Zip code-level data from the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) Statistics of Income (SOI) program support the same conclusion; however, the earnings of PMH workers do not correlate with the increase in number of jobs (Fig 1.4). In constant 1998 dollars, average wages reported on income tax returns have remained steady in PMH, decreasing by about 1% in 2006. In contrast, average wages reported in the City of LA have increased about 21% during the same time period. This may suggest that PMH residents have not experienced the same benefits of increased wages during times of economic growth that other LA City residents have

UNEMPLOYMENT4 Unemployment Insurance program (UI) claims are a timely indicator of labor market conditions. Employers who pay taxes on wages paid to employees fund the UI program. In California, the Employment Development Department’s (EDD) UI program provides weekly payments to laid-off workers. Figure 1.5 shows the percentage of claims filed within a calendar year to the adult population for LA County and PMH (zip code 90043).4 In 2007, a higher number of claims were filed in PMH compared to LA County (18.6% compared to 12.6%, respectively). This trend continued in 2008, with PMH rates increasing by 9.7% from the previous year, while LA County rates increased by 6.9%. The data suggest that, when compared to the County, PMH continues to have higher levels of unemployment .

CONCLUSION Like the rest of the nation, Los Angeles has not escaped the problem of increasing income inequality that faces residents even during times of economic growth (Ong 1993). The 2010 neighborhood profile of PMH finds that, while jobs counts in PMH have increased over time, wages have not increased on par with those reported by residents in the wider City of Los Angeles. The assessment also finds that the core workforce in PMH has been disproportionately affected by the recession and experiences higher unemployment rates when compared to the County of Los Angeles. 2

Employment in Park Mesa Heights NOTES 1

The full 2010 report, including a technical brief, was written for the Los Angeles Urban League. This employment brief builds on the 2008 report, ―Employment in Park Mesa Heights,‖ produced for LAUL by Theresa Firestine and Dr. Paul Ong from the UCLA Department of Urban Planning. 2 Primary job counts for PMH is the sum Census tracts 2345 and 2346. The count of primary jobs is the same as the count of workers. Primary jobs were normalized by the 2007 count, as it represents the peak before the start of the recession. 3 Analysis uses zip code 90043 (which encompasses PMH) as a proxy for the 70-block PMH project area, and data for zip codes partially or completely within the City of LA as a proxy for the City. 4 UI claims are not a measure of total unemployment because several important groups are excluded from the UI program. Further, available data limits the analysis to the zip code 90043 for the PMH project, which encompasses more affluent communities found south of the 70-block area defined by LAUL as PMH. Population estimates vary greatly by source, the data also limits our definition of adults to those 18 and over. 5 The data available limits the analysis to the adult population 18 and over for 2007 and 2008.

REFERENCES Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2008. ―Employee Tenure in 2008.‖ U.S. Department of Labor. Ong, P. 1993. ―Poverty and Employment Issues in the Inner Urban Core‖ Pp. 1-18 in South-Central Los Angeles: Anatomy of an Urban Crisi, edited by A. Scott, and R. Brown. UCLA Ralph and Goldy Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies. Ong, P. and D. Miller, 2004. Spatial and Transportation Mismatch in Los Angeles, Journal of Planning and Education Research, 25(1):43-65.

PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS The Los Angeles Urban League (LAUL) traces its roots to 1921 when the Tuskegee Industrial Welfare League merged with the National Urban League, with Katherine Barr as the first LAUL President. Today, the LAUL has a staff of over 300 and a budget in excess of $26 million, making the 86‐year‐old Los Angeles Urban League is one of America’s largest civil rights entities. Its current mission is to enable African Americans and other minorities to secure economic self‐reliance, parity, power and civil rights through advocacy activities and the provision of programs and services in our uniquely diversified city and region. The effort in Park Mesa Heights (an area roughly bounded by the W. Vernon Avenue on the north, S. Van Ness Avenue on the east, W. Slauson Blvd. on the south, and Hillcrest Drive and Crenshaw Blvd. on the west) utilizes a strategy of concentrating efforts on a selected neighborhood to develop and refine approaches that maximizes the chances for success in the area of public safety, employment, education, housing, and health. Charles Boyd, Deputy Neighborhood Officer for Safety and Systems, served as the main liaison for the UCLA‐LAUL collaboration. Founded in 1994, the UCLA School of Public Affairs incorporates best practices in scholarship, research and teaching in the fields of Social Welfare, Urban Planning, and Public Policy. The unique intersection of these disciplines within one School allows for academic cross-collaboration and a graduate education that values perspectives at the macro- and micro- organizational levels. Faculty of the School of Public Affairs are actively engaged in research that address pressing national and regional issues including immigration, drug policy, prison reform, health care financing, transportation and the environment, national security, economic development, and an aging U.S. and world population.

UCLA School of Public Affairs 3250 Public Affairs Building, Box 951656 Los Angeles, California 90095-1656

Name Street: City:

State:

Zip Code:

Housing in Park Mesa Heights May 2010

In 2007, the Los Angeles Urban League (LAUL) announced the “Neighborhoods@Work” Initiative, a 5-year strategic plan designed to address issues related to education, employment, health, housing, and safety in neighborhoods throughout South Los Angeles. The ultimate goal of LAUL’s initiative is to create a best practices model for sustainable neighborhood change that can be replicated in other urban communities across the nation. LAUL’s initial effort focuses on a 70-block area in the predominantly African American community of Park Mesa Heights. At the request of LAUL, the UCLA School of Public Affairs (UCLA-SPA) agreed to assist LAUL by assessing neighborhood level changes associated with the quality of life for stakeholders in Park Mesa Heights, as defined by LAUL. The project is critical to understanding the nature and magnitude of the problems facing stakeholders in Park Mesa Heights and to identify potential effective interventions. In addition, the project aligns with UCLA-SPA’s goal to create greater capacity in monitoring changes and evaluating neighborhood progress by developing a framework for future neighborhood assessments. This analytical brief on housing, number three of five, is part of the 2010 series on the status of the Park Mesa Heights project area.

BACKGROUND Similar to most neighborhoods across the U.S., the major problem currently facing homeowners in the Park Mesa Heights (PMH) project area is the foreclosure and mortgage crisis. The Los Angeles Urban League’s (LAUL) Housing Initiative closely monitors housing conditions in the 70-block radius of PMH to ensure a stable resident base. With an increasing proportion of Californians facing notices of default that lead to foreclosure, this brief explores the state of housing in the Park Mesa Heights neighborhood by analyzing foreclosure and notice of default rates, their spatial distribution, as well as housing resale values. This brief builds off of a previous brief on housing in Park Mesa Heights for LAUL by the UCLA Department of Urban Planning (See Acosta and Asher 2008). HOME FORECLOSURES Home foreclosures (the repossession of a property by the mortgage lender) impact families and communities in various ways, primarily by increasing the number of vacant properties and reducing property values, which impact residential stability. Neighborhoods with lower-income residents are at a higher risk of foreclosure, since families have greater difficulty meeting their mortgage payments. An elevated foreclosure rate (the ratio of total foreclosures to total homeowners) may be indicative of a weak housing market. For the period of 2007Q1 to 2009Q4, the estimated foreclosure rates for PMH were consistently higher than those of Los Angeles County and zip code 90043, which encompasses PMH and its surrounding area (Figure 3.1). Within that period, foreclosure rates were highest in 2008 for all three geographies, although the greatest differences between PMH, zip code 90043 and LA County occurred in 2009 (3.14%, 2.42% and 2.01%, respectively). The data further suggest that the decline in foreclosure rates in PMH have been slower than in LA County and the 90043 zip code area. For example, between 2008 and 2009, foreclosures in PMH declined by approximately 0.16% compared to a 0.61% decline in zip code 90043 and 0.35% decline in the County. Fig 3.1 - Est. Foreclosure Rate, 2007-2009 3.5%

PMH (Tracts)

3.30%

PMH (90043)

LA County

3.14%

3.03%

3.0% 2.36%

2.5%

2.42% 2.01%

2.0% 1.5% 1.0%

1.14%

1.00%

0.83%

0.5% 0.0%

Paul Ong, Project Director

UCLA-SPA NEIGHBORHOOD ASSESSMENT OF PARK MESA HEIGHTS

Silvia Jimenez and Paul Ong

2007

2008

2009

Sources: 2007Q1-2009Q4 DataFile (DataQuick) & 2000 Census (Geolytics)

NOTICES OF DEFAULT A notice of default (NOD) is typically issued to the borrower when he or she has fallen behind on mortgage payments. There is a close association between default and foreclosure rates, since the former is the first step in the foreclosure process. Between April 2007 and March 2008, the NOD rate in zip code 90043 (which encompasses PMH) was almost three times that of Los Angeles County (Acosta and Asher 2008:3). Between 2007Q1 and 2009Q4, DataQuick reports that 203,392 NODs were sent in Los Angeles County, 1,603 were issued in zip code 90043, and 406 fell within PMH boundaries. Figure 3.2 shows the notice of default rates (the ratio of NODs to homeowners) for years 2007-2009. The default rate was consistently higher in PMH relative The authors are solely responsible for the content and interpretations in the brief. Organizational affiliations are listed only for informational purposes.

Housing in Park Mesa Heights to comparative geographies. 2009 was the year with the highest NOD rates for all three areas. The largest difference between Los Angeles County and PMH occurred in 2008, when PMH experienced a NOD rate 3.24% greater than the County. This trend is consistent with the high foreclosure rates of PMH, zip code 90043 and the County in 2008. Similar to foreclosures, the data also suggest that default rates in PMH have declined at a slower pace than LA County. For instance, between 2008 and 2009, default rates in LA County declined by 1.35% compared to a 0.60% decline in PMH. MEDIAN HOME SALE PRICES Between 2000-2007, the nation saw an unprecedented increase in home sale prices and homeownership rates, in part due to sub-prime loans, adjustablemortgage rates, and other risky financial products that allowed families with lower incomes to purchase a home (Kingsley et al. 2009; Immergluck 2008; Reckard 2008). However, the foreclosure and mortgage crisis has substantially depressed home sale prices across the nation. Figure 3.3 shows the annual median price for single-family residences in zip code 90043, which encompasses the PMH project area, and Los Angeles County as a whole. In general, PMH resale price fluctuations mirror those of the larger County. Despite the housing resale price increases during the housing bubble (2000-2007), resale prices in PMH remained consistently lower than LA County. Sale prices also tended to decline more rapidly in PMH relative to Los Angeles County as a whole. Early 2010 data begin to show improvements in resale values, and continued monitoring will provide a clearer picture of housing trends in PMH. SPATIAL PATTERNS IN PARK MESA HEIGHTS Spatial analysis of default and foreclosure numbers for the period 2007-2009 shows that the two indicators in PMH were generally related—Census blocks with higher counts of properties receiving default notices also had higher counts of foreclosed properties. Maps 3.1 and 3.2 show that the highest concentration of both indicators occurred in the northeastern part of the PMH project area. This suggests that in PMH, a strong correlation may exist between property owners receiving a notice of default and subsequently losing their home to foreclosure. The LAUL Housing Initiative might have greatest impact by targeting remedial measures toward the areas most affected, as seen in Maps 3.1 and 3.2.

CONCLUSION The 2010 neighborhood assessment of PMH shows that the area is experiencing greater housing instability than the County as a whole. Early 2010 data begin to show an improvement in resale values for both PMH and Los Angeles County. Continued monitoring of 2010 data will provide a clearer picture of the state of housing in Park Mesa Heights so that LAUL may properly respond to the needs of stakeholders. The LAUL Housing Initiative might have greatest impact by targeting remedial measures toward the homeowners in areas that are most affected (See Maps 3.1 and 3.2). 2

Housing in Park Mesa Heights NOTES 1

The foreclosure data is benchmarked to 2007 to account for the “burst” of the housing bubble (years 2000-2007) when housing prices rose faster than inflation. 2 For example, in 2008, patterns of default and foreclosures were generally related in South Los Angeles and Los Angeles County as a whole—zip codes with higher default rates also tended to have higher foreclosure rates (See Ong et al. 2008:21). 3 Total defaults include multiple fillings for the same property. 4 For this spatial analysis, default counts were limited to one count per property; therefore, the count of default notices is different from the one used to compute the default notice rate (See Appendix).

REFERENCES Acosta, A. and L. Asher. 2008. “Foreclosures in Park Mesa Heights.” UCLA-LAUL Park Mesa Heights Project, directed by Paul Ong and staffed by Linda Tran. Immergluck, D.. 2008. “From the Subprime to the Exotic: Excessive Mortgage Foreclosures on Neighborhood Crime.” Housing Studies 21(6): 851-866. Kingsley, T., R. Smith, and D. Price. 2009. “The Impacts of foreclosures on families and communities.“ Washington, D.C.: The Urban Institute. Reckard, Scott E.. 2008. “Saving broken mortgages: Investors buy loan cheaply and offer homeowners new terms.” Los Angeles Times. 01 May.

PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS The Los Angeles Urban League (LAUL) traces its roots to 1921 when the Tuskegee Industrial Welfare League merged with the National Urban League, with Katherine Barr as the first LAUL President. Today, the LAUL has a staff of over 300 and a budget in excess of $26 million, making the 86‐year‐old Los Angeles Urban League is one of America’s largest civil rights entities. Its current mission is to enable African Americans and other minorities to secure economic self‐reliance, parity, power and civil rights through advocacy activities and the provision of programs and services in our uniquely diversified city and region. The effort in Park Mesa Heights (an area roughly bounded by the W. Vernon Avenue on the north, S. Van Ness Avenue on the east, W. Slauson Blvd. on the south, and Hillcrest Drive and Crenshaw Blvd. on the west) utilizes a strategy of concentrating efforts on a selected neighborhood to develop and refine approaches that maximizes the chances for success in the area of public safety, employment, education, housing, and health. Charles Boyd, Deputy Neighborhood Officer for Safety and Systems, served as the main liaison for the UCLA‐LAUL collaboration. Founded in 1994, the UCLA School of Public Affairs incorporates best practices in scholarship, research and teaching in the fields of Social Welfare, Urban Planning, and Public Policy. The unique intersection of these disciplines within one School allows for academic cross-collaboration and a graduate education that values perspectives at the macro- and micro- organizational levels. Faculty of the School of Public Affairs are actively engaged in research that address pressing national and regional issues including immigration, drug policy, prison reform, health care financing, transportation and the environment, national security, economic development, and an aging U.S. and world population.

UCLA School of Public Affairs 3250 Public Affairs Building, Box 951656 Los Angeles, California 90095-1656

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Public Safety in Park Mesa Heights May 2010

In 2007, the Los Angeles Urban League (LAUL) announced the “Neighborhoods@Work” Initiative, a 5-year strategic plan designed to address issues related to education, employment, health, housing, and safety in neighborhoods throughout South Los Angeles. The ultimate goal of LAUL’s initiative is to create a best practices model for sustainable neighborhood change that can be replicated in other urban communities across the nation. LAUL’s initial effort focuses on a 70-block area in the predominantly African American community of Park Mesa Heights. At the request of LAUL, the UCLA School of Public Affairs (UCLA-SPA) agreed to assist LAUL by assessing neighborhood level changes associated with the quality of life for stakeholders in Park Mesa Heights, as defined by LAUL. The project is critical to understanding the nature and magnitude of the problems facing stakeholders in Park Mesa Heights and to identify potential effective interventions. In addition, the project aligns with UCLA-SPA’s goal to create greater capacity in monitoring changes and evaluating neighborhood progress by developing a framework for future neighborhood assessments. This analytical brief on public safety, number four of five, is part of the 2010 series on the status of the PMH project area.

BACKGROUND Higher crime rates negatively impact communities in a number of ways, including increased stress and anxiety among residents, a weaker attachment to neighbors and the community, lower housing values, and depressed business development (Thacher 2004; Davis 2006). The goal of the Los Angeles Urban League’s (LAUL) Safety Initiative is to measurably reduce the overall crime rate in the Park Mesa Heights (PMH) project area. PMH stakeholders also share LAUL’s concerns about safety in their neighborhood—in 2008, stakeholders identified public safety as the biggest challenge facing Park Mesa Heights (UCLA 2008). With updated data, this brief analyzes 2000-2007 Part I crimes and builds on the 2008 assessment of public safety in Park Mesa Heights by Dr. Paul Ong and his staff from the UCLA Department of Urban Planning (Helt et al. 2008).

PART I CRIME1 Part I crime rates are the aggregate of violent crimes and property crimes.2 Law enforcement agencies consider offenses designated as Part I crimes as the most likely to be reported and most likely to occur with sufficient frequency to provide an adequate basis for comparing and monitoring crime trends (FBI 2004). Between 2000 and 2007, annual Part I crime rates decreased in PMH (Helt et al. 2008:2). Figure 4.1 shows that this downward trend continued in PMH through 2008, but was followed by a 5.7% rise in 2009. Data also show that property crimes tend to drive Part I crime in Park Mesa Heights. For example, the increase in 2007 and 2009 Part I crime was mainly due to spikes in property crimes. Overall, Part I crime decreased by 9.3% from 2007-2009

ANNUAL VIOLENT CRIME TRENDS LAPD data show that between 2000-2009, residents in PMH were more likely to fall victim to violent crime than residents in the wider City of LA. Figure 4.2 illustrates that the number of violent crimes reported per 1,000 residents in PMH is higher than the City of LA. The greatest difference between PMH and the City was in 2001, when 29 violent crimes per 1,000 residents were reported in PMH compared to 10 violent crimes per 1,000 residents in the City. The gap in violent crimes between PMH and the City started to narrow in 2007. The smallest difference between PMH (16.9 crimes) and the City of LA (6.2 crime) occurred in 2008, while 2009 marked the year with the lowest number of crimes reported for PMH (15.9 per 1,000 residents).

Paul Ong, Project Director

UCLA-SPA NEIGHBORHOOD ASSESSMENT OF PARK MESA HEIGHTS

Silvia Jimenez, Paul Ong, and Linda Hui

The authors are solely responsible for the content and interpretations in the brief. Organizational affiliations are listed only for informational purposes.

Public Safety in Park Mesa Heights Between 2000 and 2009, the overall decrease in violent crimes for PMH (31.6%) was smaller than the decrease experienced in the City of LA (34.8%) (Fig 4.3). However, between 2007-2009, PMH experienced a greater overall decline in violent crimes than the City of LA (22% decrease compared to 14%), suggesting that PMH crime reduction may be catching up to the City of LA.

ANNUAL PROPERTY CRIME TRENDS Since 2000, the number of property crimes reported per 1,000 residents has decreased in PMH. However, when compared to the City of LA, PMH has not experienced a sustained decline in property crimes (See Fig. 4.4). In 2006, the number of property crimes reported per 1,000 residents was about the same in PMH (27) and the City of LA (26). Between 2007-2009, the number of property crimes reported in PMH increased while those in the City of LA decreased. The increases PMH has experienced since 2007 may be due to various reasons, including improved communication between stakeholders and police officers which may lead to more crimes being reported, or due to financial motives brought on by the current economic downturn, and even increased opportunities for people to commit crimes as an increasing number of foreclosed homes may lie vacant. 3

Between 2000-2009 property crimes in the City of LA have decreased almost twice as much than for PMH (a 29.5% decline compared to 14.6%, respectively. From 2007 to 2009, property crimes reported in PMH have experienced about a quarter of the decline the City has (1.7% decline compared 7.5%). Between 2007-2008, the number of property crimes reported in PMH decreased by 12.8%, while the City of LA saw little change (0.3% decline). The following year, PMH experienced an increase almost equal to the decline in 2007 (12.7%), at a time when the City of LA as a whole saw a decrease of 7.2% (See Fig 4.3).

CONCLUSION Residents in PMH are likelier to fall victim to a property or violent crime than residents in the City of LA. However, between 2007-2009, PMH has seen higher decrease in violent crimes relative to the City of LA. This is a positive trend as violence in inner-city communities injures not only victims but also fractures social relationships within communities by altering the perception of safety residents may have, adversely affecting the social cohesion of neighborhoods (Fillilove et al. 1998). On the other hand, property crimes reported in PMH have spiked since 2007 and overall have not decreased on par with the City of LA. Within the context of the current economic downturn, the frequency of property crimes may be due to a greater number of vacant foreclosed properties or even higher unemployment. Programs such as LAUL’s neighborhood block clubs, may also explain the continued increase in the number of property crimes reported as these programs not only build trust between neighbors and strengthen a community’s relationship with law enforcement officials, but are also often associated with a decrease in the number that go unreported.

2

Public Safety in Park Mesa Heights NOTES 1

Data for crimes reported in the Los Angeles Police Department reporting districts 1211 and 0392 were used to represent crime in the Park Mesa Heights project area. 2 Violent crimes are the aggregate of murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Property crimes are the aggregate of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. Property crimes may or may not involve the use of force . 3 Unemployment in PMH tends to be higher than the City and County of Los Angeles (see brief on employment in PMH). Studies show that individuals who commit crimes tend to be unemployed, and that low employment leads to an increased propensity to commit property crimes, while violent crimes are driven by other factors (See Bushway and Reuter 1998)

REFERENCES Bushway, S. and P. Reuter. 1998. ―Labor Markets and Crime Risk Factors‖. P. 539-573 in Preventing Crime: What works, What doesn’t, What is promising: Report to US Congress. Nat. Inst. Justice. Davis, John B.. 2006. ―The Distribution of Property Crime and Police Arrest Rates across Los Angeles Neighborhoods.‖ Western Criminol. Rev. 7(3), 7–26. FBI. 2004. ―Uniform Crime Reporting Handbook.‖ U.S. Dept. Justice. Fullilove M.T., Heon V., Jimenez W., Parsons C., Green LL., and R.E. Fullilove. 1998. ―Injury and anomie: effects of violence on an Inner-city community.‖ Am J. Pub. Health. 88(6):924-7. Helt, Deborah, Katie Mika, and Steven Simon. 2008. ―Public Safety in Park Mesa Heights: Analysis of LAPD Data.‖ UCLA-LAUL Park Mesa Heights Project. Thacher, David. 2004. ―The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Robbed: Inequality in U.S. Criminal Victimization,1974-2000.‖ J. Quant. Criminol. 20(2): 86-116. UCLA Urban Studies Research Group. 2008. ―Public Safety in Park Mesa Heights: Analysis of Survey Data.‖ UCLA-LAUL Park Mesa Heights Project. Wilson, R. E. and D. J. Paulsen. 2008. ―Foreclosures and Crime: A Geographical Perspective.‖ Geography and Public Safety, 1(3).

PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS The Los Angeles Urban League (LAUL) traces its roots to 1921 when the Tuskegee Industrial Welfare League merged with the National Urban League, with Katherine Barr as the first LAUL President. Today, the LAUL has a staff of over 300 and a budget in excess of $26 million, making the 86‐year‐old Los Angeles Urban League is one of America’s largest civil rights entities. Its current mission is to enable African Americans and other minorities to secure economic self‐reliance, parity, power and civil rights through advocacy activities and the provision of programs and services in our uniquely diversified city and region. The effort in Park Mesa Heights (an area roughly bounded by the W. Vernon Avenue on the north, S. Van Ness Avenue on the east, W. Slauson Blvd. on the south, and Hillcrest Drive and Crenshaw Blvd. on the west) utilizes a strategy of concentrating efforts on a selected neighborhood to develop and refine approaches that maximizes the chances for success in the area of public safety, employment, education, housing, and health. Charles Boyd, Deputy Neighborhood Officer for Safety and Systems, served as the main liaison for the UCLA‐LAUL collaboration. Founded in 1994, the UCLA School of Public Affairs incorporates best practices in scholarship, research and teaching in the fields of Social Welfare, Urban Planning, and Public Policy. The unique intersection of these disciplines within one School allows for academic cross-collaboration and a graduate education that values perspectives at the macro- and microorganizational levels. Faculty of the School of Public Affairs are actively engaged in research that address pressing national and regional issues including immigration, drug policy, prison reform, health care financing, transportation and the environment, national security, economic development, and an aging U.S. and world population.

UCLA School of Public Affairs 3250 Public Affairs Building, Box 951656 Los Angeles, California 90095-1656

Name Street: City:

State:

Zip Code:


Neighborhood Assessments of Park Mesa Heights