Measure ‘S’ Stands for ‘Stop’ … the LA City Planning Politburo!

SUSTAINING THE CITY-Try to ignore the federal election results for a moment, if you can. There is a lot of fear, dread and loathing about City overdevelopment, worsening traffic (as a result of overdevelopment), and worsening environmental issues (also a result of overdevelopment). In short, we have the foxes guarding the henhouse and a Planning Politburo that appears hell-bent towards shredding all law and livability in the City of the Angels. 

Corrupt City Councilmembers and Mayors? Nothing new. Oversized influence of mega-developers at City Hall? Nothing new. But what appears to be a growing trend is that, even when a City Councilmember is doing the right thing, LA City Planning ignores the will of the citizenry and their elected leader, transforming a neighborhood into an environmental and quality-of-life-nightmare. 

ENTER MEASURE S:  This spring's elections (March 7, 2017-- closer than you might think) will feature a measure that -- no matter what the agenda-driven professional liars and self-serving creepies say -- does the following: 

  • Developers will have to have to pay for their traffic and environmental impact reports to be done by independent experts, and not by their own hired guns. EIR's have to mean something, and they have to be credible.
  • Backroom deals between billionaire developers and City Councilmembers will be made illegal, and City Council rules and laws will be adhered to and enforced. 
  • Developers will have to prove to impacted communities that their new megaprojects can absorb the new development with respect to traffic and other environmental impacts. 
  • Despite claims by mega-developers that they want to create affordable housing, the opposite has been the result of these at-market and oversized, over-tall projects (which often have over 50% vacancy) that ultimately leave fewer, and not more, truly affordable housing for Angelenos. 
  • The City Council will have to (finally) update the City’s legally-required Community and General Plans that balance growth and environmental impacts. 

You know...follow and obey the laws!

After years of being told that we were decades (not years, but decades) behind in our Planning for the regions and totality of our City, it's time we had the ability to catch up in our Planning infrastructure the way we just did with our Transportation infrastructure. 

The City spends gobs of time and resources on lots of priorities, but the basics of planning for a big city that makes scientific and environmental sense? Nope! 

But no longer. 

If the Planning Department can tell the Mar Vista Community Council, its residents and its Councilmember (Mike Bonin of CD11) to go pound sand when a developer (Pamela Day and her Crimson Holdings cronies) consistently lie, obfuscate, and disempower the neighborhoods of Mar Vista...what can we do? 

If the Planning Department ignores the pleas of the Mar Vista Community Council, the CD11 office and planners, and the local residents (who have always been for affordable housing) when they plead for a 3-5 story project but get an 80+-foot tall, 7-8 story project that is the tallest development for miles, and with entirely insufficient parking and infrastructure so that the developer can win the lotto...what can we do? 

And what can you do when this keeps going on in your neighborhood -- black, white, Latino, Asian, mixed, poor, wealthy, etc.? What can you do when the Planning Department gives us the cold shoulder and ignores our legal rights, recommendations and pleas? 

Vote Measure S into law -- we have to STOP the LA City Planning Politburo. We have to STOP the unsustainable, environmentally-destructive madness. We must have a civilized, sustainable city that has rules that are followed. 

STOP the tone-deaf, agenda-driven, wild-eyed, build-build-build group-thinkers at LA City Planning. 

Vote YES on Measure S!


(Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D. is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties.  He is also a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Planning and Outreach Committees, and currently is Co-Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee. He is co-chair of the CD11Transportation Advisory Committee and chairs the nonprofit Transit Coalition, and can be reached at He also co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.