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
Like almost all of the housing solutions from City Hall, Woo’s stick-and-carrot analysis is largely untethered to reality. The very day after the Westside “workshop,” the Metropolitan Transit Authority Board voted to cut 150,000 bus-service hours annually in June; another 200,000 hours will probably be cut in December. So while city planners are peddling transit-oriented development, Metro is removing transit.
Yet so far, the push for density is not boosting “affordable” housing at all but is achieving the opposite. According to POWER, the city’s own data show that “in the last planning period, the city only met 29 percent of its housing need for moderate- and low-income residents.” However, it “met 189 percent of the housing need for people earning over $135,000 per year.”
The mismatch is so acute that City Hall is considering yet another law, to require landowners who demolish old, cheap rentals to replace them, a tacit admission that city policies are destroying cheap housing, as alleged by Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky.
On their density map, city bureaucrats have circled big areas of the Westside as good spots to squeeze in “transit-oriented” apartments, even though buses in Westwood and other areas crawl at perhaps 10 miles per hour. POWER notes that some of the proposed sites for erecting affordable housing are occupied by dozens of churches — and even a yet-to-be-opened Whole Foods Market. “This is bullshit,” says community leader Helen Garrett.
In a letter slamming the entire, quiet process, Gerald A. Silver of the Homeowners of Encino alleged that the new Housing Element would wreak havoc on single-family neighborhoods — almost none of whose dwellers worked on the plan (the 1,500-foot “transit corridor” guideline identifies fat strips of the Valley, including Encino, as future sites for big apartments).
City planner Blumenfeld says that while the city is required to adopt plans that do not “unduly constrain housing developments,” Sacramento can’t actually force L.A. to erect any of these buildings. John Ledbetter, principal planner for Santa Barbara, concurs, saying cities need only demonstrate that they have created the capacity to meet population targets, but they can’t actually be forced by state officials to make housing materialize. However, the city of Santa Barbara is not exploring a high-density remake like the one leaders are pushing for L.A.
POWER and other critics say the big difference between L.A. City Hall and places like Irvine, which is fighting in court the state population targets, is that Los Angeles politicians generally placate the construction and development industry, even if it produces absurd results and unintended consequences.
The Housing Element of the General Plan is at http://cityplanning.lacity.org.
Contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org.