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.
EQUITY GROUPS VOICE SERIOUS CONCERNS ABOUT SB 50
Claiming it would help solve California’s housing woes, last year State Senator Scott Wiener presented SB 827, a bill that would have upzoned parcels nears transit as a means to incentivize the construction of new housing. SB 827 failed, in large part because social justice groups saw it as a threat to low-income communities. Wiener came back this year with SB 50, again promoting upzoning near transit, claiming that new language in this bill would protect communities threatened by gentrification. But the groups that opposed his last bill aren't any more impressed with this one. Read the letter for yourself.
Equity Groups Submit Letter Expressing Serious Concerns with Wiener’s SB 50
LOSING FAITH IN CITY HALL
Ordinary citizens are having a hard time trusting their elected officials these days. In LA many people are skeptical about the ethics of the folks at City Hall. This uneasiness was reinforced last year when it was reported that the FBI had raided Councilmember Jose Huizar’s office and home. Adding more fuel to the fire, a search warrant surfaced early this year that showed the Feds were looking into shady development deals Downtown. Among those mentioned in the warrant were former Garcetti deputy Raymond Chan, LA City Councilmember Curren Price, Board of Public Works Commissioner Joel Jacinto, and Deron Williams, Chief of Staff to Councilmember Herb Wesson. Crimes mentioned in the warrant included bribery, extortion, and money laundering. In this article Dick Platkin laments the loss of trust in those who were elected to serve us.
How City Hall Lying Contributes to Plummeting Trust in Government: An LA Case Study
DOES ANYBODY REALLY KNOW WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THE NEW L.A. CIVIC CENTER PLAN?
If you've been following Downtown development news, you've probably already heard that Parker Center is going to be demolished and that a new civic center building is going to take its place. But actually, our elected officials have much bigger plans for the area around City Hall, though how it's all going to unfold is kind of vague and confusing.
The project that's supposed to replace Parker Center is called the Los Angeles Street Civic Building (LASCB) Project, and it seems its primary purpose is to create new office space for City employees, but it could be other things as well. In fact, it's kind of hard to say at this point what it's going to be. The Environmental Impact Report (EIR) describes "a new office building, which would consist of approximately 753,730 gross square feet", but it also says the project "could be accommodated in one or two buildings on the site." The EIR goes on to say "The new building(s) could take on a variety of configurations, but would generally fill the footprint of the existing Parker Center building." Well, at least they kind of know where it's going to be located.
But Jose Huizar posted a video in June 2018 where he says the LASCB project will involve the demo of Parker Center and construction of a 27-story structure with around 713,000 sq. ft. of office space, plus 37,000 sq. ft. of street level retail. So according to Huizar it will be a single building that will include retail as well as office space. Which is kind of weird because the EIR doesn't say anything at all about retail. In fact the EIR doesn't give very many details at all, which makes you wonder if the authors have any idea what the project's impacts will really be.
And actually the Huizar video is about the much larger Los Angeles Civic Center Master Plan. This is a massive project which would involve the construction of a number of buildings in muLtiple phases, including office space, commercial space, housing, a cultural facility and a public plaza. Looks like it adds up to around 2,000,000 sq. ft. in all, and it's projected to take at least 15 years to build. Most people might think that before embarking on a project of this size you should have a pretty clear idea of what it's going to entail. Not the folks at LA City Hall. They're already looking for bids on the LASCB, which will be either a single 27-story building, or a couple of smaller buildings, and will consist of 750,000 sq. ft. of office space, though there might also be some ground floor retail. Apparently it could also include a tunnel to City Hall East, or maybe a bridge, they're not sure yet. And some kind of open space, even though no one has any idea where it will be.
But one thing you know for sure: You can trust that Jose Huizar wouldn't be pushing for this project unless he had your best interests at heart. You can watch him explain the whole thing in this video.
Los Angeles Civic Center Master Plan Presented by Councilmember Jose Huizar
30TH ANNUAL L.A. RIVER CLEAN-UP
Every year Friends of the LA River (FOLAR) organizes a clean-up day to remove waste deposited in the river bed. It's a great way to help maintain one of our most important resources, and maybe meet some interesting people in the process. Click on the link below to find out which dates and locations are best for you.
LA River Clean-Up: Schedule and Locations