By Besha Rodell
By Patrick Range McDonald
By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
That‘s the first time I’ve seen the term ”gentrify“ used in a positive sense. But Palmer implies the economic realities behind the Medici: An increasing number of the 300,000 or so people who work downtown would rather live near work in an affluent, high-security unit than drive an hour to a similar place in Palms or Pasadena -- let alone Orange County. In other words, the region‘s rocketing housing costs may finally be lifting Central City’s developmental depression. But what kind of place would a gentrified residential downtown Los Angeles be?
While Palmer is selling exclusivity, Sheppard is optimistic that L.A.‘s future midcity will be economically diverse. He noted that the city is also developing a low-income housing project nearby, on the corner of Hope Street and Olympic Boulevard. Sheppard said that the low-income site, closer to Staples Center, ”is the more valuable property.“
The great downtowns of recent history have all included both low-income and high-income residents: Think of Paris with its nine-story walkups, New York with its much-reviled rent control, whose lucky beneficiaries sometimes paid $250 a month to live within a block of Bloomingdales.
This urban inclusiveness is certainly a noble idea -- but is it possible anywhere in the 21st century? Rent control is fast phasing out in New York, and I’ve read that it‘s becoming impossible to rent almost anything in Paris without somehow breaking the law.
Los Angeles might yet have such a mixed-resident downtown if this Staples-area patchwork of high-to-low-income housing continues to develop. (Low income is currently defined as a family earning $22,500 a year or less.) But if public-housing funds become even scarcer (as they would under a Bush administration) and luxury housing both more in demand and more profitable, upscale is another direction the area could take: Imagine Banana Republics, Crate and Barrels, and Starbucks lining Broadway, a Gelson’s replacing Grand Central Market with occasional high-security residential blocks, their units facing inward toward choice private amenities, private lives, the poor people shoved out beyond the downtown peripheries. ”The external world could take care of itself. In the meantime, it was folly to grieve, or to think,“ as Edgar Allan Poe put it in ”The Masque of the Red Death.“
Updating the City Attorney‘s Race
Last week, I said that Mayor Dick Riordan favored his chief deputy, Rocky Delgadillo, in next year’s city-attorney race. Not so, said the other leading city-attorney candidate, City Councilman Mike Feuer, who called me after the piece appeared. Mike said he‘d talked to the mayor himself at some length, and had been told that Riordan would not take sides in the race to replace termed-out incumbent (and mayoral candidate) Jim Hahn. He suggested I give Riordan a call to confirm this.
I decided instead to ask Riordan and Delgadillo in person after a worthwhile City Hall news conference initiating a public-private partnership project to renovate some 500 derelict inner-city homes. When I asked Riordan if he had endorsed a city-attorney candidate, he said, ”No.“
Then, putting his arm around Delgadillo, the mayor added, ”But I do sort of like this nice young fellow here.“
So perhaps Mr. Feuer really ought not to count on the mayor’s endorsement this time around, I thought. But then there was more to come. This week, the phone rang. Unbelievably, it was Dick Riordan (who had never before called me during the seven years he‘s been mayor). Riordan told me that he’d heard that I‘d been saying he endorsed Delgadillo. He said he had not.
I told him what I’d heard him say, above. ”Yes, that‘s about what I said,“ Riordan said.
Then Feuer called me to explain why he’d told the mayor to call me. And I told Feuer, ”I think I‘m unbuckling my saddle, because this horse is just about dead.“
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