Friday, May 09, 2008

Odds and Ends 64

Another week goes by with no real news to report.

I did see some workers using week whackers down by the ball field on the Ponte Vista site. It seems like it looks a tiny bit cleaner behind the fences and gates.

And no, I didn't see any of the Clean San Pedro vehicles doing the cleanup.

Fast Tracking SB1818 is Dead Wrong

Land Use Revolution
By Ken Marsh

Please consider weighing in on the issue of Fast Tracking SB 1818, the state law that trades developer’s bonuses for affordable housing.

It is imperative that we challenge the global-warming-ignorant, pro-development culture that pervades our city government. At stake are both affordable housing and a sustainable urban environment in Los Angeles.

Our best hope is a moratorium on development to allow proper deliberations on a citywide policy to define both long and short-term housing and general planning.

The Backstory
(Excerpted from LA Weekly, April 23, 2008)

Angelenos Sue City Hall over Prodensity “Affordable Housing”
Pretense by D. Heimpel

".... 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. 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....

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

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... The City Council is being led around by the nose by [bureaucrats in the] planning department and the city attorney."

For urban development in a time of global warming there can be no business as usual. Commercial and residential projects, affordable and otherwise, must conform to a new set of business-as-unusual prerequisites to establish the necessary balance between growth and protecting the environment for the long-term survival of life.

When it comes to the effects of climate change, we are all NIMBY -- "Not in my back yard" is the only sane response to any and all development that adds population density, traffic congestion, environmental pollution and aesthetic degradation to the areas surrounding it.

Private interest can no longer dominate decision-making by governmental bodies entrusted with the stewardship of the infrastructure and development of our cities. In the face of growing threats to the health of the planet, public interest must be subsuming.

Those who would benefit financially by the erection of a project must provide the infrastructure that will mitigate the project's negative impacts or it must not be allowed to proceed. Fast Tracking SB 1818 is dead wrong and the leaders who support it are like Jim Jones administering the poisoned punch to gullible followers.

A moratorium on housing projects, including demolitions of existing "affordable housing," needs to be in place so that a city housing policy that defines both long and short-term planning can be developed, including preservation, protecting and expanding rent stabilization and new programs for the homeless. Home renting and owning need to be treated with equality.

The city must be mobilized for survival: fight Fast Tracking SB 1818, support a moratorium on development and encourage engagement of the neighborhood councils in a citywide effort to establish a plan for a sustainable urban environment -- Make LA Livable. (Ken Marsh is a long-time community activist and a member of the Mar Vista Community Council board.)

Vol 6 Issue 38

Some talk has been growing in OUR community about the Clearwater Program, the Sanitation District's new tunnel project that will impact many somebodies somewhere.

You can look up information about the program at:

I sure hope we can all get together in our own homeowner groups, residents associations and create a coalition that makes sure that when the 500-foot deep shaft is drilled, the tunneling machine is carefully dropped in and then the thousands and thousands and thousands of truck trips to remove the dirt, it doesn't get drilled in any neighborhood, anywhere.

Terminal Island is my first choice, but that is only one of over a dozen sites the Department is going to study to find their best place to sink the shaft.

We have plenty of time to bond together and make funny motto's and statements like' "We don't want OUR neighborhoods to get shafted".

One of the other sites appears to be Ken Malloy Park, close to P.C.H. and the Harbor Freeway.

There are three sites residents living along the coast of San Pedro sure don't want to see get 'shafted'. Royal Palms, White Point Nature Preserve, and even part of Angel's Gate is on the list for having the required five acres of land necessary to dig the shaft and have all the machines, offices, and materials on the surface while having a giant deep shaft on the site to lower stuff in and take lots and lots and lots of dirt out.

Since the two older tunnels/pipes run basically, underneath Western Avenue and out into the Pacific at Royal Palms, there is some concern that the Sanitation District will look more favorably on the three sites along the coast and Eastview Park, which is on land they already own.

We'll wait to see what commotion is stirred up at the annual election meeting of the Palisades Residents Association, the folks with the three sites, and how Councilwoman Janice Hahn will approach the subject during the meeting.

The future looks to be quite interesting for OUR community, so take a ringside seat, join a group supporting or opposing whatever you wish, tighten up your seat belts, because it will become even more of a bumpy ride.

I would hope Bob Bisno and his supporters would like to join groups opposing the placement of the shaft at Eastview Park, near the corner of Western and Westmont. Here is one more example where folks like me would be glad to join again with Bob and his supporters to accomplish things for OUR community like we did when LAUSD attempted to come up with plans to build a 2,025-seat high school at Ponte Vista.

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