chapter  4
26 Pages

Successful Planning in Los Angeles

AFTER THE 1994 LOS ANGELES EARTHQUAKE, also known as the Northridge earthquake, public-sector planning institutions played a crucial role in crisis response and recovery. Moreover, their efforts won enthusiastic praise from residents, public officials, evaluation reports, and the media. Mary Kapich, one of thousands of community members assisted by public institutions, said, “I was impressed with the speed [of recovery efforts], and the man [from the government] that came was very nice and very thorough, and gave us a lot hints on what to do” (cited in Simon and Levin 1995, A24). Within days after the government’s inspection, she received a check to help repair the damage to her home. Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said that “despite $5 billion spent so far by federal agencies on residential and commercial relief, the area’s long-term rebuilding effort is a financial problem, not a governmental one. The insurance companies have made government look entrepreneurial” (cited in Los Angeles Times 1995, U2). A report of the highly independent and well-reputed U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) issued six months after the earthquake stated, “Many state and local officials said that the emergency response immediately following the earthquake went very well . . .” (GAO 1994, 3).