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.
CITY OF L.A.'S 2020 BUDGET: LESS REVENUE, LESS TRANSPARENCY, LESS OVERSIGHT
As the City of LA's budget numbers go deep in the red, the City Council apparently wants to keep the public completely in the dark. Budget & FInance Committee Chair Paul Krekorian has authored a motion asking that the City forego the usual process of holding hearings with City Departments to write the budget, and instead approve a streamlined process where the Committee would receive input from a few senior advisors. Krekorian claims cancelling the hearings is necessary because of the pandemic, but it's hard not to suspect that his real motive is to avoid public oversight completely. While in-person hearings may be out of the question, there are a number of alternatives that would allow department heads to offer input and allow the public to have a voice in the process. Last year the City kept the public in the dark during the budget process and we ended up hundreds of millions of dollars in the red. It's crucial that City Departments and the public have a say in the writing the budget. Jack Humphreville explains why in this article from CityWatch.
Creating City Budget Behind Closed Doors
CITY WANTS TO GRANT LIQUOR PERMITS WITH NO COMMUNITY INPUT
You may have already heard about the City's proposed Restaurant Beverage Program, a plan to grant over-the-counter liquor permits to restaurants with no public hearings. The Department of City Planning (DCP) has been working on this for years, and recently published what they claim is a stronger version of the ordinance. The DCP said in April that they plan to bring to the City Planning Commission in the coming months.
While some Neighborhood Councils support the Program, others are strongly opposed, largely because it prevents the community from having a voice on applications for liquor permits. The Program is also opposed by Alcohol Justice, the LA Drug & Alcohol Policy Alliance, and the Community Coalition. Here's the latest draft of the ordinance.
Restaurant Beverage Program Ordinance
What you may not have heard is that in March Councilmember Bob Blumenfield submitted a motion, supposedly intended to help restaurants cope with the pandemic, which would not only enact the ordinance immediately but make it retroactive. If approved, the motion would direct the City to....
Implement the Restaurant Beverage Program as instructed by Council on August 14, 2018, to be
made retroactive to include any pending applications for conditional use permits where the
applicant accepts the standard conditions of Restaurant Beverage Program.
This link will take you to the complete motion.
While everybody wants to help neighborhood restaurants survive the shutdown imposed by the pandemic, this program will have far-reaching and long-lasting consequences for our communities. City Planning has already been dumping alcohol on our communities by approving Master CUPs that grant 20 liquor permits (Crossroads, Hollywood) and 30 liquor permits (Metropolis, Downtown) at a time. This reckless abuse of the permitting process shows a complete disregard for the health and safety of Angelenos. The Restaurant Beverage Program is just another examples of the City's flagrant disregard for the well-being of our communities.
CITY OF L.A. REFUSES TO EXTEND HOLLYWOOD CENTER COMMENT PERIOD IN SPITE OF PANDEMIC
In yet another sign that the fix is in regarding the controversial Hollywood Center Project, the Department of City Planning (DCP) has released a letter saying that it will not grant an extension on the comment period for the Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The project is a massive one, consisting of residential and commercial uses and encompassing over 1.2 million square feet. It includes two 11-story buildings and two skyscrapers, one rising 35 stories and another rising 46 stories. The fact that the City of LA chose to release the EIR during a global pandemic made it clear that City Hall hopes to limit public participation to speed approval of this toxic project. Now, in spite of communications from numerous individuals and community groups asking that the comment period be extended, the City has said it's sticking to its original June 1 deadline.
In the letter rejecting the request for an extension, the DCP argues that the EIR is readily available on-line
and that interested parties can obtain a copy on CD-ROM or flash drive. Apparently City Planning doesn't realize that the coronavirus has caused severe disruptions in the lives of thousands of Angelenos, and that they may have other matters that they need to focus on right now. Unemployed workers have no money for food or bills. Businesses owners are trying to figure out how to keep from going under. Parents are struggling to be both teachers and entertainers for their school-age children. And adult children are trying to ensure the health of their aging parents with existing health problems. But the DCP apparently believes that none of this will deter anyone from submitting comments on the Hollywood Center Project by the current deadline.
If you would like to contact the DCP to express your opinion regarding this matter, you can send an e-mail to:
Mindy Nguyen, Department of City Planning
Please include the following text in your subject line:
Hollywood Center EIR Extension, Case No. ENV-2018-2116-EIR
PERMANENT SUPPORTIVE HOUSING PROJECT PROPOSED FOR RAMPART VILLAGE
Enlightenment Plaza, a permanent supportive housing project slated for Rampart Village, could break ground as early as this summer. The project would be comprised of 454 units in five eight-story buildings within walking distance of the Metro station at Vermont/Beverly. Funding would be provided in part by Measure HHH, a bond approved by voters to create housing for the homeless. More details in this story from The Real Deal.
Affordable Developer’s First Project Will Be a Big One in Rampart Village
CANDIDATES AND OFFICEHOLDERS RECEIVED OVER $66,000 FROM JUSTIN KIM AND ASSOCIATES
You've read about real estate appraiser and former City Planning Commissioner Justin Kim's efforts to deliver a bribe to a member of the LA City Council. But you may not have heard that Kim also gave generously to finance the campaigns of a number of current Councilmembers. The LA Times has done some digging, and they report on what they found in this article.
LA's Politicians Took His Campaign Donations. Then He Admitted Arranging a Bribe.