Mayoral foes clash over Playa Vista, U

Neighbors and environmentalists have for months argued the pros and cons of DreamWorks’ proposed Playa Vista development and Universal’s proposed expansion.

The latest players to square off are L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan and state Sen. Tom Hayden.

In their first, and perhaps only, debate, Riordan and State Sen. Tom Hayden cited the two massive projects Thursday in underscoring their different approaches toward development and growth.

‘Quality jobs’

Riordan defended DreamWorks and the Universal expansion as vital to creating high-quality new jobs in the city. “This city needs quality jobs,” he said.

But Hayden has characterized both developments as quality of life issues, saying that both projects could worsen traffic problems. With DreamWorks, he said he didn’t necessarily oppose the company’s plans to build a studio, but expressed concerns over the thousands of additional vehicle trips per day that would come from the entire project. As for U, he said that the city and county were on the cusp of approving a 25-year-plan, giving residents no additional input once it gets the go-ahead.

Hayden-Katzenberg summit

Hayden also questioned whether inner-city residents would reap the benefits from high quality jobs at Playa Vista. But Riordan noted that the studio has an agreement to train people from poor areas of the city. Hayden, however, said that the agreement arose from a conversation he had had with Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Riordan shot back: “A minute ago you said he was not going to do it, and now you’re saying it was done a different way. Which way are you going to go on this, Tom?”

The half-hour debate aired live over Century Cable in Santa Monica, where it will be rerun several times before election day, April 8. It was also broadcast on radio station KCRW at 1 p.m. and only one local TV station, KCAL Channel 9, at 2:30 p.m.

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