Sat, Apr

Developers, Listen Up! Here are 5 Great Ways to Convince Us We Need More Overdevelopment and Taxes


TRANSPORTATION POLITICS--Silly me!  To think that my desire to have more transportation options, create more affordable and family-friendly housing, and establish more open space in an elegant manner that helps the Economy, Environment and Quality of Life of Angelenos was enough.  

I should have known better!  And you, Friend Reader, well YOU should have known better, too! You've taxed yourselves aplenty for transportation, schools, the environment, police/fire, parks, etc. But perhaps my recent CityWatch article about taxpayers being attacked and brow-beaten was all wrong. 

Because after seeing a presentation of a now "by-right" project proposed for 12444 Venice Blvd., taller than anything on that boulevard for miles, and a self-righteous presentation of the developer who had NO CHOICE to make it that big, I've come to the conclusion that … 

... maybe we're just not being taxed enough ... or impacted enough ... or overdeveloped enough.  Fortunately, we've got some first-rate developers, patrician-citizens, and elected leaders to help us find our moral compass and think straight. 

Here are FIVE great ways that developers can convince us we need overdevelopment--while our electeds find more ways to tax us and raise our utility bills to MAKE US PAY AND GIVE OUR FAIR SHARE!!! 

1) Decry our lack of affordable housing--yes, the City of Los Angeles could have emulated other cities by not transforming neighborhoods and allowing some reasonable height/density compromise, but...darn it all, there should be NO limit to height and density! 

(... and that lack of true affordable housing that comes out with the details of what the rent/cost really is, and the relatively small number of units for affordable housing...let's keep THAT on the down low, shall we?) 

2) Decry our lack of transit-oriented development--yes the City of Los Angeles could have emulated other cities by establishing a more realistic radius and definition of bus/rail stations...but what we REALLY wanted when we voted to spend $2.4 billion tax dollars on the Expo Line was to overdevelop the begeezus out of the Mid-City and Westside! 

(... and the impact of this overdevelopment on us spending more taxes for transportation--particularly mass transit--this November...naw, that overdevelopment couldn't POSSIBLY affect our interest in funding more mass transit) 

3) Decry our lack of Westside housing, Valley housing, etc.--yes, we've got a shortage of new developments in South L.A. (whose residents, by the way, want their neighborhoods IMPROVED, not TRANSFORMED FOR THE WORSE, too!), and very little new development south of the I-10 freeway, but don't let that get in the way of new megaprojects in overpopulated areas. 

4) Decry the lack of taxes or money that rich homeowners pay for their easy, lazy lifestyles--yes, both property taxes and utility bills are going up, but I guess we have to admit that L.A. homeowners are just lazy and selfish.  And those seniors and others on fixed incomes...well, nuts to them because others deserve to, and have to, live anywhere they want. 

That whole supply and demand thing?  That whole environmental sustainability thing?  Well, clearly that's for the rich and selfish--and fortunately, our developers are anything BUT rich or selfish. 

(Except, of course, for those developers who--and you DO exist--know how to keep a project modest, reasonable in its variances and height and parking and density, and free of acrimony from the residents and community leaders) 

5) Decry our car-based lifestyle--yes, Angelenos and others are spending and compromising aplenty to allow for pedestrian, bus, bicycle, and train-based commuting, but cars are going to be a thing of the past, doncha know! 

Because EVERYONE wants to use car-sharing, Uber, Lyft, etc., and even the Millennials (when they start having kids) will want nothing to do with owning their own car, or owning a second car, to accommodate a two-parent family with small children. 

So SCREW the whole parking requirement thing, and SCREW the neighbors concerned about how a new development will cause spillover parking on their property...because they're selfish...and evil...and living in the past that was probably based on cruelty, racism, elitism, and fascism 

... and ... there ya have it.  I could probably throw out a few other ideas, but you get the picture.  No, a seven-story development in a three-story neighborhood, with very little affordable housing, woefully-inadequate parking couldn't possibly be bad. 

The developer just had NO CHOICE but to make it that tall, that big, that dense, and with that little parking.  And seeing the sun again with that height ... probably over-rated, too. 

So thank you, Sacramento and Downtown Los Angeles, for coming up with policies that to my Neanderthal way of thinking will destroy the Environment, Economy, and Quality of Life for current and future generations of Angelenos. 

Thank you for allowing a 7-story monstrosity on a currently-open boulevard at 12444 Venice Blvd.  My community's hopes of mitigation, compromise, REAL affordable and transit-oriented housing and development have been turned around. 

We all now know better.  It's not the developer and her enabling political leaders who are the problem. 

WE'RE the problem.  And we're ready to pay a whole lotta taxes on transportation, parks, schools, the homeless, etc. this November...and maybe, some day, we can start thinking about how to pay for our sidewalks to be fixed in 7-10 years (instead of 30 years) after we get through embracing this new wave of taxes and development!


(Ken Alpern is 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  [email protected]. 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 Mr. Alpern.)


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