A monthly newsletter published by United Neighborhoods for Los Angeles.
UN4LA's mission is to bring communities together to plan for a sustainable future. Growth must be shaped by community engagement, not developer dollars.
WHERE DOES L.A. GO FROM HERE?
The last week has been an extraordinary one for Los Angeles and for the country. Massive protests have caught the attention of elected officials and other leaders, forcing a conversation not just about policing, but also about budget priorities, housing, and government accountability.
The protests have moved these issues to the forefront, but the problems have been with us for years. The LA area has been struggling for nearly a decade to reduce rampant homelessness without much success. In a number of cities throughout LA County the budget process is opaque and important decisions are made behind closed doors with little or no public input. And the string of guilty pleas that have emerged as a result of an ongoing DOJ investigation in the City of LA have confirmed the view, held by many Angelenos, that the development process is rife with corruption.
There are no easy answers to any of these problems, but a good way to get started on solving them is to demand complete transparency and real accountability in government. UN4LA believes that government exists to serve the people. UN4LA also believes that our elected officials have largely grown complacent, more interested in maintaining the status quo than in responding to the needs of citizens.
Taking to the streets to demand change is a great way to start, but it's only the first step in the long, difficult process of actually making change happen. The next steps involve engaging with city officials, speaking up at city council meetings, and using the ballot box to hold elected representatives accountable. We look forward to working with all of LA's communities to create a more open, more responsive government.
COUNCILMEMBER RYU TAKES ACTION TO ADDRESS CORRUPTION
The recent headlines regarding the ongoing investigation of wrongdoing at LA City Hall have made it clear that change is needed. In May Councilmember David Ryu presented two motions aimed at tackling corruption. The first would create an office to investigate corruption at City Hall, and the second would take away the power Councilmembers currently have to alter land use decisions. Ryu has been an outspoken voice for transparency, and has previously presented other motions targeting pay-to-play politics, but his earlier efforts were either watered down or shot down. It will be interesting to see if, with the DOJ corruption investigation still going, Ryu will face the same opposition this time around.
Below are links to the press release issued by Ryu, and also to the motions themselves.
Ryu Press Release
Council File 20-0608
Office of Anti-Corruption and Transparency / Independent Auditors and Investigators
Council File 20-0609
Los Angeles City Charter Section 245 Subsection (e) / Limiting Unilateral Influence in Development Decisions
TWO MORE GUILTY PLEAS IN L.A. CORRUPTION INVESTIGATION
And to underline the need for the City of LA to tackle systemic corruption, we've had two more guilty pleas as a result of the Department of Justice's investigation into pay-to-play practices at City Hall. Please note that these individuals have acknowledged that they did not act alone, but were part in an ongoing criminal conspiracy involving at least one LA City Councilmember, as well as other City Hall staffers. This is not just a matter of rooting out a few random crooks. It is now clearer than ever that the project approval process in the City of Los Angeles is rigged to favor the interests of real estate investors. It's almost certain that we'll see further charges filed against City of LA elected officials and/or their staff members.
Consultant Agrees to Plead Guilty to RICO Offense Related to Bribery Scheme that Enriched L.A. City Councilmember and Associates
Former Aide to L.A. City Councilmember Agrees to Plead Guilty to RICO Charge Stemming from ‘Pay-to-Play’ Corruption Scheme
CITY PLANNING COMMISSION APPROVES MODIFIED PROMENADE PROJECT
At the end of May, the Los Angeles City Planning Commission (CPC) gave their unanimous approval to a modified version of the Promenade 2035 Plan. The lengthy session involved hearing appeals from four individuals/groups based in the community, as well as an additional appeal from the developer. The appellants from within the community had numerous concerns about project impacts, including traffic, noise, and the lack of affordable housing.
One of the most serious concerns was the inclusion of the 15,000-seat stadium proposed by the developer. With respect to this component, the CPC approved two possible options: a 10,000-seat stadium with an enclosed roof, or a 7,500-seat stadium with a with a partially open roof. The developer also agreed to modify the original plan, in which all housing was to be market rate, to include 15% affordable and workforce housing.
INGLEWOOD CREATES HOUSING PROTECTION DEPARTMENT
As the City of Inglewood has seen an unprecedented wave of new development, it has also seen the displacement of many long-time residents as rents rise, forcing out low-income tenants. In May the Inglewood City Council voted to allocate $1.2 million to create a Housing Protection Department. The creation of this new department will involve the hiring of up to 17 new staff members, but implementation could be delayed due to loss of revenue as a result of the pandemic.
City of Inglewood Creates Housing Protection Department