In Business This Week
REBUILDING REBUILD L.A.
Mission Impossible? Could be the case. Arco Chairman Lodwrick Cook will
try to revitalize a badly bruised Los Angeles economy--and, too, a battered RLA, formerly known as Rebuild L.A. As RLA's new voluntary chairman, he heads a highly visible organization that so far has not met its original mandate, set out in the wake of the 1992 riots: enticing business to build and create jobs in the inner city.
Initially led by former baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth, who quit after one year, RLA has been plagued by cumbersome bureaucracy, an unwieldy board--Cook will replace four co-chairs--and hostile press. The result: Although businesses pledged $585 million for new development, only about $200 million has been spent so far.
"The expectations were too high," admits Cook. Now, he says, RLA will focus on nurturing small businesses. Cook brings impressive business connections. Former L.A. Deputy Mayor Linda Griego, recruited as RLA's paid chief executive, has the political savvy. Their problem: stiff competition for funds from appeals to rebuild local roads and buildings following the Jan. 17 earthquake.EDITED BY KEITH H. HAMMONDS Ronald Grover