Friday, April 25, 2008

Odds and Ends 62

"A watched pot never boils."

Perhaps a certain developer is boiling because he most probably won't get what he wants and things may be moving much slower than he wishes.

Oh well.

Here is an article concerning Proposition R and term limits, suggested by a great member of the Rudderless Steering Committee of R Neighborhoods Are 1.

Please don't forget about R Neighborhoods Are 1. IF and when the Planning Department lets all of us know what they think Bob could build, we are ready, willing, and able to instantly comment on the Planning Department's beliefs and we're quite able to move forward.

Here is the article:

Prop R Legal Challenge-Community working together

Community Victory

Legal Briefs filed March 27, 2008
2nd Court of Appeal

It has been more than a one and a half years since our effort began and many are unaware or have forgotten that the battle continues on.

The Lobbyist doing business at LA City Hall (approx 200) formed a group titled Los Angeles Lobbyist and Public Affairs Assn. The group hired Sutton & Partners to lobby government officials on the industry’s behalf. The “Sutton” of the firm, is Attorney James Sutton.

In March of 2006 Attorney James Sutton formed “Citizens for Reform”; ID # 1284556 with James Sutton listed as the Treasurer. James Sutton wrote Measure R!

In July of 2006 Sutton changed “Citizens for Reform” to Committee to Reform LA-Yes on Prop R. They kept the same ID number. This was to be a Sponsored Committee and to add creditability he had the League of Women Voters and the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce sign on as Sponsors. The Treasurer was changed to Kaufman & Associates.

On July 14, 2006 City Council President Eric Garcetti sent a letter to the Los Angeles City Clerk Frank Martinez stating the LWV and the LAACC had sent him a request for a “proposed Ballot Initiative”.

On July 14th the City Clerk assigned a City Council File number to the request and gave it an official title. The city file number was 06-1800-S1 and the title was “Ethics Reform/Term Limit Extensions/Ballot Initiative”

This is what was sent to the LA City Council and what was adopted on July 18, 2006. The council voted on this file number item and had it placed on the November 2006 ballot.

In combining the Ethics Reform and extending the city council term limits from two four year terms to three four year terms, they violated the California Constitution.

The single issue rule was established to prevent elected officials and special interests groups from forcing the voters to vote for one issue in order to vote for another.

The argument presented by the City Attorney was that the Ballot title did not contain the word “imitative” and therefore did not have to comply with the single issue rule. The Superior Court Judge who had initially ruled Prop R was unconstitutional changed his ruling in light of the City Attorneys argument.

Our argument in the Court of Appeals is clear. The City does not have the right to violate the State Constitution by manipulation.

The success of this Legal Challenge is a direct result of the community of Los Angeles coming together and standing up against City Hall and the forces which until now operate with impunity.

Those who will celebrate in the final outcome will be Neighborhood Councils, Trade Unions, Media and Press ( LA Daily News, LA Times & LA Weekly, North Valley Reporter), Community Groups such as Valley Vote and Citizen Advocate Organizations such as US Term Limits and Judicial Watch. Thank you to some of our strongest supporters in the Animal Rights Community. You made all the difference in the world!

The Los Angeles Daily News must receive a Special Thank you for your reporting and humbling editorials. Thank You Ron Kaye.

The Community Blogers such as Mayor Sam and LA Observed were instrumental in getting the message out to the public. Michael Higby and Zuma Dogg, many thanks!

The two individuals who will be named as leaders in the effort will be David Hernandez and Ted Hayes, but many more individuals should receive well deserved credit.

Donna Connolly for one is to be recognized for her research which was vital in uncovering the truth about the origins of Prop R. Her writings which outlined many of her findings can be found at our web site.

Sandra Needs for her never ending support and encouragement.

The Web site created and maintained by Mr. Eric Ramos provided a central location where information could be found.

Our legal teams, Attorney Candice E. Jackson who agreed to take this on as a labor of love and allowed us to move forward on a promise.

Thank you Attorney Eric Grant and Attorney Anthony T. Caso who have taken up the fight and have provided us with the tools needed to achieve Victory.

Most of all, this is will be a victory for every man and women in Los Angeles who made it possible for us to get here.

From David Hernandez and Ted Hayes, we will see you in the Winners Circle.

For your reading 'pleasure', here is an article from LAWeekly about the pro-density law.

Angelenos Sue City Hall Over Prodensity "Affordable Housing" Pretense

Wednesday, April 23, 2008 - 4:59 pm

THE LOS ANGELES CITY COUNCIL and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa have inadvertently united a patchwork of neighborhood groups stretching from the Valley to Venice, whose members have joined to stop city leaders from tossing out hard-won neighborhood zoning rules that keep a lid on ­overdevelopment.

The Council and mayor, saying they were complying with a state requirement to encourage more affordable housing, recently put on the books an ordinance that allows much bigger apartment complexes in areas whose residents believed they had won the battle against overconstruction.

“They broke the law, like usual,” says Robert Silverstein, a Pasadena attorney who opposes the so-called “density bonus” that waters down existing zoning.

In February, Villaraigosa signed the contro­versial ordinance to comply with Senate Bill 1818, a California law that gives developers permission to build far bigger apartment complexes and condos than are actually allowed on the land — if the developers include a smattering of “affordable” units.

But critics, including mayoral appointee and Los Angeles City Planning Commission President Jane Usher, openly questioned the legality of the Los Angeles ordinance — and now two lawsuits have been filed to stop it.

James O’Sullivan, president of the Miracle Mile Residential Association and an activist in the coalition, believes the ordinance will push L.A. over the edge into nonlivability: “The best business to own will be a U-Haul franchise.”

When the legislature passed Senate Bill 1818 in 2005, they hoped it would entice developers to include affordable housing in their projects. In exchange, developers would be allowed to reduce the number of parking spaces, exceed height limits — and pack in more units to reap higher profits.

But Los Angeles critics see the city’s interpretation as a “Trojan Horse” which all but prevents community debate over much bigger projects than are allowed by the zoning, letting developers erect ­inappropriately dense and tall luxury apartments and condos.

If the developer devotes just 11 percent of the building to “very-low-income units,” the building can blow past zoning rules — it can even be constructed right out to the sidewalk’s edge.

Buildings can be 35 percent bigger than is now allowed but with far less parking. Under the new ordinance, such projects are deemed “ministerial” — a technical designation that allows them to ignore California Environmental Quality laws.

In other words, there will be no environmental-impact review of proposed new construction under the new law.

In an e-mail obtained by Curbed LA — a blog about Los Angeles real estate — Planning Commission president Usher appeared to advocate that Angelenos sue City Hall. She questioned whether the ordinance “was fatally flawed” and whether it violates California environmental laws.

Usher did not return calls from the Weekly about her decision to publicly denounce an ordinance signed by the mayor, who appointed her to her commission post.

Doug Carstens, representing the coalition of community groups suing City Hall, points to California cities like Albany, Santa Cruz and Palos Verdes, which have implemented Senate Bill 1818 — but didn’t try to end-run environmental laws as did Los Angeles.

In L.A., under the new ordinance, “you could have projects built ‘by right’ and without recourse,” Carstens warns. In other words, there would not be any room for public opposition at the core of the traditional civic process.

In early April, attorney Noel Weiss made similar claims on behalf of homeowner Sandy Hubbard of Valley Village. Weiss calls the ordinance “one of the grossest examples of political malpractice and ineptitude I have witnessed. ... The City Council is being led around by the nose by [bureaucrats in the] planning department and the city attorney.

Councilman Tom LaBonge voted against the ordinance, saying developers could abuse it to demolish rather than build affordable housing. Says LaBonge, “It will ultimately take down Section 8 housing and could erase stabilized housing for some.”

Council president Eric Garcetti, an ardent advocate of much denser housing throughout Los Angeles, voted for it. Garcetti insists now, “We wanted to accomplish three things: provide more affordable housing; not take money out of the city’s pocketbooks; and protect neighborhoods from the wrong type of development.”

But critics say Garcetti and the City Council have achieved the opposite. Garcetti admits the ordinance is flawed. “I was trying to fix something that was broken,” he says. Now, he may support a “moratorium” on demolitions.

Whether he does or not, the downtown pols have managed to bring together disparate neighborhood groups that might never have collaborated on anything, but that are joining forces now — to stop City Hall.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Constituents have to wonder what Bisno is getting in return for his generous donations to Los Angeles politicians.

It appears Bisno paid Lobbyists, including Rudy Svorinich, $270,000.00. Svorinich has contributed $354,369.92 to L.A. politicians between 2005 and 2007. Another paid lobbying firm, Irell & Manella LLP, has contributed $116,063.00 during the same time period. Bisno also contributed $20,000.00 in support of Proposition R, TERM EXTENSION for Los Angeles Councilmembers in 2006.

This is a total of $760,432.92 and does not include the public relations firm, Tom Tomlin & Associates, or the additional lobbying firms, Christensen, Glaser, Fink, Jacobs, Weil & Shapiro, LLP, Ek & Ek, Psomas, and Afriat Consulting Group Inc, that have or are contemplating future contributions.