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 827: IGNORING PLANNING WILL NOT SOLVE OUR PROBLEMS
You can't build for the future without planning for it. Scott Wiener's SB 827, an assault on local zoning, is a massive giveaway to real estate investors. Wiener claims that giving developers more freedom to build what they want will lower housing costs and encourage transit ridership. He obviously hasn't noticed what's been happening in LA over the past several years. The City Council has been been empowering developers for years by handing out zone changes pretty much on demand, arguing that they're creating needed housing and promoting transit-oriented development (TOD).
But what's actually been happening? Instead of creating housing that the average Angeleno can afford, developers have been building for the high end of the market, and demolishing rent-stabilized units. As for promoting TOD, transit ridership is lower now than it was 30 years ago, and ridership continues to fall.
You can read Wiener's bill here.
And you can read UN4LA's response here.
Sacramento Pushes to Override Local Planning
LONG BEACH RESIDENTS REBEL OVER LAND USE ELEMENT UPDATE
There's a lot of anger in Long Beach these days. Many residents are up in arms about the proposed update of the city's Land Use Element (LUE), which will allow higher density construction in some areas. The debate is familiar by now to anyone who's been following development issues over the last decade. City planners point to the need for new housing stock, and argue that higher density is necessary to accommodate growth. Residents believe that the planning department hasn't properly assessed the impacts of upzoning, and fear the results will harm their neighborhoods.
Another familiar thread in this story is the claim by many residents that city staff prepared the LUE without seeking community input, and then tried to get it approved without giving citizens an opportunity to weigh in. After a series of heated meetings last summer, planners made some changes and posted the revised maps on-line. The revised LUE is on the agenda for the March 6 City Council meeting. For a detailed breakdown of last summer's meltdown, check out this article from the Long Beach Report.
Long Beach LUE Background from LBReport
GARCETTI AND THE M.T.A. BOARD: THE BLIND LEADING THE BLIND
With all the problems facing the MTA right now, you might think the Metro Board would want to take some time to figure out what's going wrong, and then do some careful planning to ensure better outcomes. But you'd be wrong. Throwing caution to the wind, the Metro Board just voted unanimously to accelerate the pace of construction on major infrastructure projects, embracing Mayor Garcetti's Twenty-Eight by 28 initiative. Garcetti wants to push for completion of over two dozen transit projects in time for the LA Olympics.
Like so many of Garcetti's proposals, it's basically a catchy phrase that's being used to disguise an ill-conceived and poorly thought out program. If you've been following the news in LA County, you know that transit ridership declined again last year. It has declined over 19% since 2013. In fact, ridership is lower now than it was 30 years ago, when LA County had a million less people. And while voters recently handed the MTA billions of dollars for new construction, the agency's operating loss is growing every year. But why should falling revenues and poor performance keep the MTA from gunning the engine and driving over a cliff?
Some of the jobs that will be done on this accelerated timeline are small scale, but others are major projects, including a line running through the Sepulveda pass. And get this: The MTA doesn't even know if the Sepulveda line will be bus or rail at this point. Without even having answered this fundamental question, they're saying they'll have it done within a decade. Forget about the fact that engineering studies, environmental assessments and public hearings will take years to complete. The MTA Board says it'll be up and running by 2028.
This article from Curbed gives a rundown of some of the projects included.
Metro Board Approves Mayor's Plan
WHY WE NEED TO RESTORE THE BALLONA WATERSHED
You may have heard about the fight to restore the Ballona Wetlands, but the wetlands are just one part of the Ballona Watershed, and the health of the entire ecosystem is crucial to LA's future. Watch this short video to learn how investing in the restoration of this important resource could enhance stormwater capture, replenish aquifers, and provide park space for Angelenos to enjoy.
Why the Ballona Watershed Is Important to LA's Future