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.
UN4LA News will be taking a break in August. Hope you have an enjoyable summer.
ANOTHER HUGE JUMP IN HOMELESSNESS ACROSS L.A. COUNTY
The results of the 2019 Greater LA Homeless Count were released early in June, and the news was not good. The total numbers went up by 12% in LA County and 16% in the City of LA. One of the most disturbing facts to emerge was that even though thousands of people were moved into shelters and supportive housing in 2018, even more people ended up becoming homeless. Will we ever turn a corner on this crisis? Click on the link below to view the presentation from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. There is some positive news, but the overall picture is far from reassuring. One important point the report makes is that in order to resolve this situation we all need to get involved.
2019 Greater LA Homeless Count Results
SB 330: NANCY SKINNER'S GIFT TO DEVELOPERS
Earlier this year State Senator Nancy Skinner introduced SB 330, which she calls the Housing Crisis Act of 2019. The bill is aptly named, because it threatens to make California's housing crisis even more severe. SB 330 is extremely complicated, and if passed would affect hundreds of cities and unincorporated areas. Among the bill's most disturbing impacts would be the loss of protections for renters, larger loopholes to help developers avoid building affordable housing, and the increased threat of legal action against cities, making them less likely to reject bad projects for fear of a lawsuit. SB 330 would also prevent voters from repealing any aspect of the bill.
This toxic piece of legislation has already been approved by the State Senate, and will be heard by the Assembly Local Government Committee on July 10. For a thorough breakdown, read the analysis from the Embarcadero Institute.
SB 330 Analysis from the Embarcadero Institute
SB 592: SCOTT WIENER'S TROJAN HORSE
Earlier this year SB 50, a bill proposed by State Senator Scott Wiener that would have upzoned parcels near transit, was put on hold until the next legislative session. Not willing to wait until next year to continue his assault on planning, Wiener used the the legal but controversial "gut and amend" tactic to mount an attack from another direction.
How does this work? In February of this year Wiener introduced SB 592 which was related to licensing for barbers and cosmetologists. But on June 13, the Senator gutted the bill's existing language and inserted entirely new language. SB 592 now proposes to amend the existing Housing Accountability Act (HAA). The HAA already prevents a city from disapproving a housing project if it's consistent with the city’s general plan, zoning, and development standards. With SB 592, Wiener intends to expand the HAA to make it apply to "any form of land use decision by a local agency".
To better understand how truly dangerous this is, read what the League of California Cities has to say about the bill.
SB 592 Analysis by the League of California Cities
L.A. CITY COUNCILMEMBER RYU OFFERS HOUSING SOLUTIONS
There is some positive news on the housing front. In June LA City Councilmember David Ryu introduced a series of motions which, if they become law, could limit evictions, incentivize the construction of middle-income housing and expand eligibility for the California Renter’s Tax Credit. This story from the Los Feliz Ledger has the details.
Ryu Looking for Fixes to Homelessness and Housing Shortage from Los Feliz Ledger
PASADENA RESIDENTS DOUBT TOXIC TESTING RESULTS
A proposed project on Foothill Blvd. has Pasadena residents up in arms. The application to build a four to five story mixed-use development was approved by the Pasadena City Council, but now residents claim that testing for toxic chemicals was inadequate. The site was formerly used by Caltech for research into jet propulsion, and also by the Navy for classified projects. The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) says they've studied the location and found no significant concerns. Shouldn't that be enough?
Actually, no. The residents may have good reason to be worried. The DTSC has been the target of intense criticism for years, and many have levelled the charge that it has failed to scrutinize sites where development is planned. If you want to get an idea of how bad things actually are at this agency, here's a quote from an oversight hearing held in February of this year.
"In recent years the Department has faced criticism over fiscal mismanagement, inconsistent record keeping, insufficient administrative processes and lack of transparency. Specific incidents across California have exposed and continue to expose glaring failings in DTSC’s implementation of its core programs, as well as its support programs. Such incidences include the mishandling of the hazardous waste facility permitting and enforcement of Exide and the Quemetco battery recycling facilities; delayed site remediation; failed public participation and transparency activities; and personnel issues have all led to decreased stakeholder confidence and public trust in DTSC’s ability to meet its mandate to protect public health and the environment."
Can you see why these Pasadena residents are so upset?
Angry Residents: Testing Not Enough at Space Bank Development Site from Pasadena News Now