L.A. City Planning Department has released a backward-looking, slow-moving, poorly reasoned plan — more than a year in the making — that fails to reduce greed-driven evictions of residents, or to preserve thousands of low-rent units being eyed by land-flippers and speculators.
The proposals, to be heard today by the City Council’s Housing Committee, favor wealthy developers, fan the displacement of at-risk families and solidify L.A.’s worsening reputation as a homeless capital filled with mindless gentrification.
The five recommendations are a recipe for the urban cleansing of our Latino working-class from once-affordable areas that City Hall has aggressively targeted for luxury development, including Hollywood, Westlake, L.A. River communities and others.
The misguided planning department recommendations include these five:
1. Find a way to measure “vacancy rates” in hot areas so the City Council can determine how the zoning favors it grants to developers lead to “cumulative impacts” — i.e. skyrocketing rents — in the areas targeted for luxury makeovers.
Our response: Measuring the luxury housing glut will not slow down the City Council or mayor, who take large campaign contributions from developers, then look the other way when “cumulative impacts” pile up.
2. Instruct the planning department to tell its staff how to assess “cumulative impacts” on rental markets and to develop “model criteria.”
Our response: L.A. is years behind San Francisco and other cities in research, and should call experts such as San Francisco’s Council of Community Housing Organizations and the San Francisco Homeless Coalition, rather than continuing to wonder why gentrification creates skyrocketing rents.
3. Look into a one-to-one affordable housing replacement requirement to be placed upon developers who are being granted zoning density favors by the City Council and planning department.
Our response: Again, San Francisco is far ahead in this research. A one-to-one affordable unit replacement creates, does not fix, affordable housing losses and here’s why: For every 100 luxury units built, 40 affordable units are required to service the needs of the luxury dwellers. It’s one step forward, two steps back.
4. The planning department should create a report on Small Lot Subdivision impacts on older, rent-stabilized affordable housing “when more information becomes available.”
Our response: That should take about a week, City Hall. You have the data on small lot subdivision approvals and demolitions at the same addresses. (And please stop calling Small Lot Subdivisions “affordable.” It’s among the costliest housing in L.A. Developers make extreme profits, granted by the City Council.)
5. Ask city departments to develop a law that ends City Hall’s issuing of demolition permits to developers whose plans haven’t been approved or whose building permits haven’t been obtained.
Our response: Mayor Eric Garcetti and the City Council have had years to crack down, and this proposes yet another long delay when the emergency, and the choice, is clear-cut.