Sun, Jul

The Fight for Affordable Housing Is Just as Important Here in LA!


ALPERN AT LARGE--So why fight the good fight in L.A. against State Senator Atkins, Governor Newsom, State Senator Scott Wiener, and all the other Democratic (and Republican, too--you know you are!) corrupted cowards in Sacramento willing to turn California into a crudhole just to line their pockets with ill-gotten money and job promises...if our own City of the Angels is just as bad? 

While it's not hard to conclude that Sacramento is corrupt as hell, led by State Senator Atkins and State Senator Scott Wiener who are doing anything BUT creating more affordable housing (for both the lower AND middle classes), it just as easy to conclude that Mayor Garcetti, as well as many on the City Council, are just as bad.  

In fact, many are tied to Sacramento interests and bad actors.  

Why the hell ANYONE in LA would vote for someone who fled Sacramento simply because of term limits is becoming increasingly important to anyone who wants to improve and restore LA's character as a city of opportunity for anyone other than the very rich and famous. 

Meanwhile, we're seeing too many "transit-oriented development" being built near and far from transit that's clearly car-oriented and NOT too affordable, as my fellow CityWatch writer (and urban planner extraordinaire) Dick Platkin reports. 

"Affordable housing" isn't just for the working poor, starving students, and seniors on a fixed income (although the urgency for them to get affordable housing is arguably the highest among other groups).  

It's also for middle-class individuals such as teachers, social workers, firefighters, small businessmen and women, etc. If THOSE hard-working individuals can't afford a new housing unit (single-family home, condo, apartment, etc.) then it's NOT really affordable.  

Because Silicon Beach and rich tech executives and/or higher-income individuals in "the biz" working in Hollywood or the music industry aren't the only vital folks who need prioritization for L.A. to thrive.  


A new apartment complex of 409 units at Palms and Sepulveda at a once-thriving-but-now-deserted supermarket site is hardly a bad idea. 

Having only 10% affordable housing, and with most of the apartments being higher-end and unaffordable except for the very wealthy, however,  IS a bad idea--the project is car-oriented, doesn't do much for the community, and is as awful as Alan Casden's Pico/Sepulveda project that was and is too big, not transit-oriented, and is transformative to the region in the worst way. 

West L.A. is filled with residents who did NOT want to live in Manhattan, despite all those who think that the Manhattanization of West LA is really, really "kewl". 

And what's a really, REALLY bad idea? 

Exempting this new gigantic project from TIMP fees. 

Transportation Improvement and Mitigation Specific Plan (TIMP) fees are critical to establish and confirm that transportation/traffic mitigations occur to allow communities to grow sustainably. 

For example, the Sepulveda Expo Line bridge was built with TIMP fees. 

And if the Palms/Sepulveda project gets special consideration and exemption of TIMP fees, will Casden and the other local developers want their money back, too? 

Of course, they will. 

I can't presume why this development would get special consideration over other major projects, or why the local Councilmember, Paul Koretz, who has boldly opposed SB 50 in Sacramento, would allow this special consideration. 

Suspicions abound, but let's give Koretz the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he thought there was already enough mitigation from the Palms/Sepulveda developers.  

But this mega project is the reason why we need TIMP fees more than ever.  

We need to build middle-class AND upper/wealthy class housing as much as any other city, in addition to those for the struggling lower classes...but exempting TIMP and other vital fees is the wrong way to do it.  

And giving some developers (our neighborhood council's experience with the Palms/Sepulveda developers has NOT been very good, and we're fearing a "Casden, Part Two") more privileges than others will do anything BUT create more affordable housing, or provide the right incentives to do that. 

If Sacramento needs to be brought to bear, then so does Downtown L.A. 

Councilmember Koretz, please rethink and withdraw this terrible exemption motion ASAP!


(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 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 Dr. Alpern.)


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