ALPERN AT LARGE--Contrary to what the Mayor and his erstwhile City Council allies are promoting, affordable housing and related issues, such as homelessness and mobility, are getting worse under their watch.
Of course, so long as we keep re-electing them, and demonizing anyone who promotes fixing those problems then they'll never get fixed. Which is fine with Garcetti and his allies ... because he's been re-elected and planning to be King of this City until he's either recalled or leaves office because of term limits.
But at least Garcetti, who's as awful if not worse than Donald Trump ever was to the City of Los Angeles, is being termed out ... and it's up to Ron Galperin or any other mayoral wannabe to prove that he/she isn't in bed with overdevelopers or their Abundant Housing Tools, Fools, and Ghouls.
(Refresher/reminder: Fools are those who think they'll be taken care of for free or virtually free. Tools are virtuous and idealistic "useful idiots" (I've been one) who think their efforts will help us all but end up realizing they've been used to make creeps rich. Ghouls are those who know damned well what they're doing but will lie and enrich and/or empower themselves at the expense and suffering of their neighbors; I place Garcetti firmly in that camp.)
1) Lie #1: Older voters and/or homeowners don't care about affordable housing
Perhaps it should be presumed that those who worked damned hard, and still work damned hard, to pay increasing taxes and home expenses and mortgages don't love our children and grandchildren...but that would be false. We want our children and grandchildren to have a future...but that involves them working their butts off as much as we did. And how do citizens of L.A. vote to tax themselves for more infrastructure and housing? They vote yes.
2) Lie #2: More development means more affordable development
Most of the development is market value, or acceptable for either foreign nationals or real estate firms to gobble up and prevent hard-working Angelenos from buying or renting at realistic and reasonable prices. There is no shortage of teardowns of affordable housing, and with a few token very-low-income housing units replacing a previous development of greater numbers of affordable units, it's evident that the middle class is being chased out of the City altogether.
3) Lie #3: We have a coherent affordable housing policy
There are different levels of income, and different qualifications for affordable housing, but the game is rigged for "Silicon Beach" types who make way more money than your average nurse, teacher, or business owner.
In the end, there's Workforce Affordable Housing, Senior Affordable Housing, and Student Affordable Housing. Other than that, it's just a bunch of folks who feel they're entitled to live by the beach.
4) The homeless crisis and affordable housing are tied together
Ever hear a census of how many homeless, either in cars or on the streets, have jobs and/or family ties hear in L.A?
Me, neither. It's a drug/mental illness problem with the homeless. And we're enabling terrible behavior while not going with the recommendations of mental health professionals. After all, why does neighboring Culver City have clean streets and follow the law while L.A. doesn't. Homeless ARE, however, being used as props to justify overdevelopment.
5) Neighborhood Councils are dominated by NIMBY's and noncaring jerks
Are YOU one of those who believe that older folks and/or homeowners and/or neighborhood activists need to either move, die, or just otherwise go away? I've heard it all, despite my fighting for affordable housing and mitigations without a dime of reimbursement for years, and against City electeds and developers who don't give a damn about any of that.
I assure you I am not alone--Neighborhood Councils are replete with volunteers who were empowered by a former charter reform arranged by former Mayor Richard Riordan (who is despised and disrespected by Herb Wesson and Eric Garcetti).
But I also assure you that Eric Garcetti, the City Council, and Sacramento are all dominated by those who want to emasculate and eliminate any democratic/grassroots input and effect that taxpaying citizens have on either transportation and/or planning and/or environmental policies. They'd terminate Neighborhood Councils in a heartbeat if they had the chance.
Garcetti and Newsom and all their allies can say their "Democratic" but they're anything but.
Goodbye, altruistic and "serving your country" JFK Democrats, and hello socialist, top-down overlords (and Lord help anyone who dares to say that truth).
To summarize, Mayor Eric Garcetti doesn't give a good goddamn about affordable housing and the future of those playing by the rules. Governor Newsom is just as bad. Ditto for Scott Wiener and the Sacramento Legislature, and a whole lotta officials of the City and County of L.A.
But we've decided they're all here to stay, haven't we?
(CityWatch Columnist, Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D, is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties, and is a proud husband and father to two cherished children and a wonderful wife. He was (termed out) also a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Outreach Committee, and currently is Co-Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee and Vice-Chair of its Planning Committee. He was co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chaired the nonprofit Transit Coalition and can be reached at email@example.com. He also co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)