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Thu, Jul

Report: LA City Council Puts Neighborhood Integrity Initiative on March Ballot … “Fairest Way to Deal with This”

LOS ANGELES

VOX POP--The Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted to place the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative on the March 7, 2017, ballot today – a major victory for all Angelenos who want to reform City Hall’s broken and rigged planning and land-use system. Jill Stewart explains why there is so much support for the ballot measure. 

Noting that community activists worked hard to gather nearly 104,000 signatures from the public to put the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative on the ballot, City Council president Herb Wesson said that the “fairest way to deal with this is ask the voters what they think.”

Coalition to Preserve LA campaign director Jill Stewart said today, “Our measure allows 95% of all development to continue while the greediest 5% of developers are put on a timeout while we force the City Council to come up with a real plan for Los Angeles. How are they going to improve the roads, get the water we need and fix the infrastructure to accommodate the City Council’s desired huge projects?”

Stewart added, “Our ballot measure forces them to answer this crucial question and follow our zoning rules, instead of ignoring them as they have in recent years. It will also force them to address the growing luxury housing glut of 15% vacancies – three times what is healthy – that has left LA with ghost condos and empty penthouses while rents skyrocket and homelessness spikes. Again, this City Council has no plan.”

The Coalition to Preserve LA is a burgeoning, citywide, citizen-driven movement that seeks to reform City Hall’s broken and rigged planning and land-use system. It is the sponsor of the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative.

Inside City Council chambers today, several Coalition to Preserve LA supporters explained the desperate need for the reform measure.

Grace Yoo (photo above), an attorney and co-founder of the Environmental Justice Collaborative, detailed how a 27-story luxury housing skyscraper was approved by City Hall for a low-slung, working-class section of Koreatown. The community overwhelming opposed the mega-project, but the City Council and Mayor Eric Garcetti didn’t listen to them. 

“The residents are tired of the city bulldozing over them,” said Yoo.

Xochitl Gonzalez, a Neighborhood Council member and Westside resident, spoke about City Hall’s recent approval of the Martin Expo Town Center mega-project at Olympic Boulevard and Bundy Drive, where traffic is already gridlocked. The oversized development will only worsen car congestion, and numerous community groups opposed the mega-project. But, again, the City Council didn’t listen—and green lit Martin Expo Town Center. 

Explaining that LA’s planning and land-use system consistently favors wealthy developers over ordinary citizens, Gonzalez said, “People all over LA are beginning to understand how skewed the process is.”

(Patrick Range McDonald writes for Preserve LA. Read more news and find out how you can participate: 2PreserveLA.org.) 

-cw

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