Friday, April 18, 2008

Odds and Ends 61

We wait.

Some wait with antici.................................................................................pation.

Yet still we wait to hear from the L.A. City Department of Planning and their take on what Bob could build at Ponte Vista.

We sit.
We wait.
We speculate.

The following was lifted from today's Daily Breeze and their article on Earth Day.

"Supporters of the Ponte Vista project in San Pedro will sponsor a series of community cleanup and tree-planting efforts in recognition of Earth Day.

The development will work with Clean San Pedro on Monday and Tuesday to clean up curbsides on Western Avenue from the Ponte Vista site to Palos Verdes Drive North on the north and First Street on the south.

More than a dozen trees will be provided by Ponte Vista for planting Wednesday at the Port of Los Angeles Charter High School.

The developer will present a green reusable grocery bag to the first 300 people who stop by the Ponte Vista site at Western and Green Hills Drive.

And on Friday, Ponte Vista will join in the "Green Carpet Reception" for the Los Angeles Harbor International Film Festival's "A Short Opening Night" at the Warner Grand Theatre."

Perhaps some folks were actually wishing Bob would clean up his blighted project site and remove the weeds, dirt, broken glass, and other trash continuing to pile up inside a fenced area that should have has tarps placed along the fences to lessen the offense that site causes residents and others driving along Western.

Do you think with all the 'goodness' Bob's Outreach Team is trying to do, anybody new might be added as supporters?

Thanks Bob for all you claim to be doing for Earth Day. But we would appreciate it more if you cleaned up the area of Earth that is called Ponte Vista at San Pedro, too.

Here is a perspective from Citywatch L.A.
By Ken Draper

Another Citizen Coalition takes City to Court

Want to sue the City? Take a number. Get in line. The number of citizen and citizen group litigants is ballooning.

Now comes the Environment AND Housing Coalition Los Angeles … a group of residential and homeowner associations, civic organizations and individual citizens … to challenge the City on the recently enacted LA version of the so-called Density Bonus Ordinance. They filed their paperwork this week. The EAHCLA says that they are “concerned no only about how the densification (ordinance) will affect the quality of life in Los Angeles, but also that the ordinance actually may result in a net loss of affordable housing.

Their suit charges that the City passed the new ordinance … which they say will significantly intensify development throughout the City, without the environmental review required by the California Environmental Quality Act.

EAHCLA also claims that the City’s ordinance went “far beyond” what State bill (SB1818) required, “allowing developers to increase the number of residential units, increase the size and scale of their projects and reduce otherwise required parking” … if the project includes some affordable housing.

Those conditions could actually allow a reduction in affordable housing, EAHCLA spokesman, Jim O’Sullivan, says. “For example,” O’Sullivan explains, “a project could involve the removal of 100 affordable rental units and (after the bonus) the construction of 150 new, high-end condominiums. Under the Densification Ordinance,” he continues, “the developer could get the density bonus by designating just eight of the 150 units as ‘affordable.” That would mean a loss of 92 critically needed affordable units.

The Coalition is represented by Chatten-Brown & Carstens. Partner Douglas Carstens says that his firm supports the creation of affordable housing, “but the need for such housing does not excuse the failure to conduct an environmental review.” Which, as noted earlier, the group believes is required by CEQA.

As we reported a few columns ago, a number of the City’s stakeholders have come to the conclusion that a law suit is a more effective why of getting heard at City Hall than the city-controlled advisory system provided by LA’s neighborhood council program.

Jay Handal, who chairs both the West LA Neighborhood Council and the Greater West LA Chamber of Commerce, went to court on behalf of a coalition of business and community organizations to stop the Mayor’s Pico/Olympic Traffic Plan. His claim also argued that the right to know … through an environmental study … that the new traffic fix wasn’t going to, in fact, generate more rotten air for the city. In particular, the neighborhoods along the traffic plan route. He believes it will and that the City has not completed its homework on the plan. The City has been forced to delay implementation of the Pico/Olympic plan until the legal action runs its course in the courts.

Meanwhile, there is another SB1818 law suit cooking in Studio City and, it appears, the Pico Union NC folks are looking for a way to join the litigation line.

Offering another perspective, Raphael Sonenshein …a Professor of Political Science at Cal State Fullerton and the Executive Director for the NC Review Commission … offered this caution on the surge to sue. To paraphrase, Sonenshein said that it is important to distinguish between suing because you’re being ignored or some vote didn’t go your way and suing because you believe some law has been violated.

In most cases, he said, using the democratic system is still the best choice of action.

My friend Keith Bright makes another point: Sometimes, he said, you sue government “because it refuses to listen. Sometimes, simply because they are wrong.

A City Hall veteran I know … and also a friend, whose name will not be included here … says that “if they would just smarten up and involve the public in the development of these things, they could avoid some of this litigation.”

“City Hall,” he says, “still defines leadership as being able to come up with solutions on your own.

“Some councils are weary of being patronized and just listened to …public comment style. They also want to be heard.

It seems safe to predict that as long as the public continues to believe that the politicians are playing them, or ignoring them, they will look for ways to raise the decibel level.

It also appears that as long as their representatives refuse to take action on their behalf, on issues like the Density Bonus Ordinance, the public will continue to generate its own leadership and take its own action.

Most of LA’s City Council believe that LA’s Density Bonus bill is wrong and that the State’s SB1818 is not now going to accomplish what it was designed to do. Yet, no one steps forward asking for repeal or modification.

Maybe LA’s stakeholders are maturing. Maybe they’re just stepping in to fill a leadership void.

Looks like there are a number or reasons to expect the surge-to-sue to continue to pick up momentum.

CityWatchVol 6 Issue 32
Pub: Apr 18, 2008


Anonymous said...

The fact that Bisno is attaching himself to Clean SP makes me sick. Kleinjan should distance himself from Bisno/Ponte Vista....ohhh what the heck he needs the money...screw San Pedro.

Anonymous said...

Hey, the Clean San Pedro Website says their non-profit status is based on cleaning the PACIFIC CORRIDOR!!! What's up with this group moving up to Western? I know it's the $$$$, but don't sell out to this fool, CSP! Is Bisno also sponsoring the DooWop Concert and Cruise Night? Yuck!