FROM Mott Smith
Will SB 827 smash local control of development? State senator Scott Wiener has taken the fight over housing to where it hurts: single family neighborhoods. SB 827 is a bill that would allow for the construction of taller and denser housing projects in neighborhoods within a half mile of major transit stops or a quarter of a mile away from stops on high frequency bus routes. It would upend local control over planning and upzone parts of some single family neighborhoods. Residents of such neighborhoods do not like the bill and nor do the councilpeople representing them. But, says Wiener, and the YIMBY groups supporting his measure, “pure local control has driven the car into the ditch….because local elected officials, and I am a former local elected official, have enormous pressure not to approve housing because of a strong incentive not to allow any change.” Meanwhile, developers and planners are divided over the possible physical impacts of the bill. Developer Mott Smith argues it will incentivize a desirable blend of single family homes and duplexes and fourplexes while UCLA geographer Michael Storper says it will produce an undesirable “linear or sort of chaotic density rather than the build up of of true interactive urban centers.” From the macro perspective, says city branding consultant Thomas Sevcik, the bill is vital because “the 21st century is the Pacific century” and Los Angeles needs to rise above “homeownership small solutions” and plan strategically for becoming the great American city of this century. Senator Scott Wiener, who represents San Francisco in the state legislature, is the author of SB 827. He says building more housing is critical to the state’s future. He says putting housing near mass transit would also cut down on traffic and sprawl. Photo credit: Saul Gonzalez
There Goes the Neighborhood LIVE: Who Benefits When a Neighborhood Improves? Saul Gonzalez hosts a live panel discussion about what happens as many working-class areas in Los Angeles gentrify and housing costs rise. Can a neighborhood’s quality of life improve without leading to displacement of the very people who have worked hardest and waited longest for the changes?
Breaking Point: Housing, density and the future of LA Angelenos will vote next week on Measure S, which restricts development in the city for two years. It’s stirred up a heated debate: Should LA build higher, denser developments near public transit, or stay as a network of neighborhoods with single family homes and small apartment buildings? Press Play hosts a special broadcast live from Hollywood’s Barnsdall Gallery Theatre, exploring how the housing crisis in LA has caused an identity crisis for Angelenos.
The effort to ban developer donations Photo by Tim Ahem There's a development boom underway in Los Angeles. Big commercial and residential projects are being built across the city. Not everyone is happy about this growth and Angelenos opposed to these projects argue that developers have too much clout in City Hall. So some Los Angeles elected officials have called for a ban on political campaign contributions from developers who have projects pending before City Hall. The proposed ban comes just two months before voters will decide on Measure S, a ballot initiative that would place a two-year moratorium on new development projects that require zoning variances or other special exemptions. Is such a ban legal, or is it "misdirection" from the real problem -- a dysfunctional planning process that ill serves a city in need of smart, optimistic thinking about how to grow for the future? DnA talks to developers and critics of money in land-use politics.
Density, Development and the Battle for Hollywood Two skyscrapers won't be towering over the Capitol Records building any time soon. A local judge has sided with community groups and Caltrans, ruling that a $1 billion project will have to go through another round of environmental review.
Does Parking Punishment Fit the Crime? Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti says his office is working with "stakeholders" to address frustrations about parking citations, which now average $68 a ticket and provided $161 million last year to the city's general fund. If there aren't satisfactory changes, the grassroots Los Angeles Parking Freedom Initiative says it will seek a vote of the people.
Why did Jared Kushner want a back channel with Russians? News broke Friday that President Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner, tried setting up a back channel between the Trump transition team and the Russian government. What are the consequences for Kushner, President Trump, and the investigation into Russian meddling?
Securing Public Spaces, Super Wealthy Asians Vehicles are increasingly being used as weapons, as seen in the London Bridge attack over the weekend and in New York’s Times Square last month. The Compton-based company Calpipe is designing security bollards to help make public spaces safer. And novelist Kevin Kwan satirizes the “crazy rich” Asian jet set and their luxurious tastes in his latest book, “Rich People Problems.”
Why is Trump so behind on filling staff jobs, establishing concrete policies? Yesterday Donald Trump signed a “decision memo” to revamp the air traffic control system. But there was little legislative detail in the plan. There’s not much to other splashy announcements from the White House, including tax cuts and the arms deal with Saudi Arabia. And hundreds of positions are unfilled in federal agencies.
Trump says goodbye Paris Accord: What does it mean for U.S. and the planet? President Donald Trump announced Thursday that the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, the landmark international agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Trump was to renegotiate a new deal, but will that happen?