A monthly newsletter published by United Neighborhoods for Los Angeles.
UN4LA's mission is to bring communities together to plan for a sustainable future. This city's growth must be shaped by community engagement, not developer dollars.
SB 50 WILL NOT SOLVE OUR HOUSING PROBLEMS
State Senator Scott Wiener believes that upzoning near transit will solve our housing problems. He thinks that simply by letting developers build bigger projects near rail and bus lines we'll reduce housing costs and increase transit ridership. But a look at SB 50, a housing bill authored by Wiener, shows that the Senator doesn't even have a basic grasp of the facts.
SB 50 Will Not Solve Our Housing Problems
DOWNTOWN L.A. PROJECT STALLED, FUTURE UNCERTAIN
Work has stopped on Oceanwide Plaza, a $1 billion project located in Downtown. In January a contractor on the project, Webcor Construction, filed a suit claiming that it was owed $52 million. The suit names the primary contractor, Lendlease, and the developer, Oceanwide Holdings.
This is making the folks at City Hall nervous. When activity stops at a high-profile, big ticket construction site, it's likely to make investors skittish about putting more money into Downtown. Oceanwide Holdings has said they intend to resume construction after they've recapitalized the project, but many observers believe the stoppage is related to economic conditions in China. The Chinese government has been taking steps to reduce the flow of its currency overseas in recent years. Also, the Chinese economy took a big hit in 2018, and there's a good deal of uncertainty about what the future holds.
This could cause problems for Downtown, since Chinese money is backing a number of high profile projects. Shenzhen Hazens is planning to construct two towers near LA Live. And the long-delayed Grand Avenue project is now moving forward after receiving an infusion of $290 million from Chinese firm CCCG Overseas Real Estate. Hopefully financing is firm for both of these deals.
After Huge Project Stalls, Questions Rise At South Park’s $1 Billion Oceanwide Plaza
L.A.'S HIDDEN HOMELESS
No one will be surprised to hear that high rents and no-cause evictions are making people homeless, but CBS News has produced an excellent documentary that gives the problem a human face. This video tells the stories of people from all walks of life who are facing displacement. It can happen to anybody.
High Rents Create a New Class of Hidden Homeless in Los Angeles
CAN WE REALLY TRUST THE MAYOR'S CLAIMS ON RECYCLED WATER?
Last month Mayor Garcetti announced that LA will recycle 100% of its wastewater by 2035. This is certainly a goal worth working toward. As LA's water resources face an uncertain future, we need to boost recycling as much as possible. The plan is to invest about $2 billion in making improvements to the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant over the next 16 years. If all goes well, this would be a huge step forward in achieving water sustainability for the City.
But that's a big "if". Garcetti loves to makes sweeping pronouncements about his bold initiatives. Like his RecycLA program, which was supposed to be a quantum leap towards make LA a zero-waste city. Here's what the program's web site says....
"The City of Los Angeles is launching an exciting new public-private partnership that will, for the first time in the history of the City, offer customer-friendly and efficient waste and recycling services to all commercial and industrial businesses, institutions, and large multifamily buildings."
Anybody who's been following the stories about skyrocketing waste pick-up costs and piles of trash left sitting for weeks will be laughing at the words "customer-friendly and efficient". While implementation has improved in recent months, there are still many citizens who are infuriated by RecycLA's botched roll-out. And the City's claim that it will achieve its stated goal of 90% landfill diversion by 2025 is pretty hard to believe. Especially since it just renegotiated contracts with waste haulers, reducing its short term goal from 45% to 35% diversion by 2023.
The big question regarding recycled water at the Hyperion plant is whether the City can actually fund $2 billion in improvements over the next 16 years. But for what it's worth, here's the press release.
Garcetti Says LA Will Recycle 100% of Its Wastewater