DAY-LABOR HIRING SITES CONSIDERED.
Designated waiting areas for day laborers looking for work would be required at all large home improvement stores in the city, under a proposal making its way through the Los Angeles City Council.
The measure aims to end a long-standing dispute between the city and businesses over problems caused by day laborers loitering near home improvement stores, liquor stores and other businesses.
Last month, the City Council delayed the opening of a Home Depot store in Sunland-Tujunga in part to deal with the day laborer question.
"I think all of us get the most calls about liquor stores, bars and home improvement stores," council President Eric Garcetti said. "None are inherently bad entities, but they can have a bad spillover effect."
The council's Housing, Community and Economic Development Committee asked that big-box stores -- those over 100,000 square feet -- have negotiations on creating special day labor centers at their sites.
Damian Jones of Home Depot said the firm wants to work with the city to deal with the issue.
"We would like to work with the city on a positive approach," Jones said. "We believe we're a good corporation and want to be a good corporate citizen."
Jones said Home Depot is willing to rent part of its land to the city for such centers at $1 a year and would build a facility for the workers. However, attorneys for the company said they are concerned about the ongoing costs and suggested the city measure include provisions to divert sales tax revenue from the stores to pay for such gathering places.
However, council members said they wanted to leave funding options open.
Councilman Tony Cardenas said he is concerned about the day laborers who gather at other sites around the city.
"I could drive to a home improvement store and see a day-labor center, but across the street is a hardware store where a group of workers are gathered and down the street is a paint store where other would-be painters are standing around," Cardenas said. "Would this apply to those facilities as well?"
Cardenas was told the city wants to deal with the larger stores that attract the most workers, hoping such centers would attract workers from smaller sites.