Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Two Articles, With Just a Few Comments

Here are two articles, back to back, concerning development in the city of Los Angeles:

New LA Housing Plan will be Based on Faulty Info

LA Needs to Know
By Ken Marsh

Pending the imminent action on the New Housing Element, here's something residents of Los Angeles need to know.

The City has NOT been meeting certain requirements of its General Plan that are prerequisite to moving ahead with a New Housing Element.

A New Housing Plan is required every eight years -- the 2006-2014 planning period is to be voted on by City Council in July.

Specifically, at issue with the Plan's New Housing Element is an environmental impact report (EIR).

An EIR would look at the infrastructure and the proposed increase in housing to assess environmental and economic impact, information needed to qualify new housing proposed for the 2006-2014 planning period. The City wants to use the seven-year-old EIR that was done in 1996 and updated in 2001, claiming it is good enough.

But, neighborhood organizations disagree. The General Plan's Framework Element requires Annual Reports on Growth and Infrastructure, essential to monitor and mitigate serious environmental impacts. But the Annual Reports on Growth and Infrastructure have NOT been done by the City since 1998.

Two Public Records Act requests for the reports have been filed and on both occasions the City has admitted that NO monitoring has been done.

Without the reliable, up-to-date information the required reports would provide and a new EIR to assess the impacts, moving ahead with the New Housing Element will perpetuate the environmental and fiscal irresponsibility that has characterized planning in the City of Los Angeles for decades.

The lawsuit that was recently filed against the City is to enjoin it from approving any further zoning ordinances, specific plan amendments, general plan amendments, development agreements, or tentative subdivision maps, unless and until the City complies with the Plan's mandatory requirement to establish a monitoring program, a transportation database and the Annual Reports on Growth and Infrastructure for years 1999 through 2008.

No one knows the true state of our infrastructure. The Annual Reports on Growth and Infrastructure were meant to let us know if we have enough water, power, schools, police, and fire. What is the state of the sewer system? Which Community plan area's have gotten capital improvement funds in the last 10 years? Etc.

The list of those who gave input on the New Housing Element does NOT include Neighborhood Councils, long-established homeowner groups, renters groups -- in a word, the People.

Some City Council members are talking about laying low on this issue. To lay low on this is to be complicit with perpetuating business as usual.

Issues of NIMBYism vs. developer greed aside, city government accountability is at stake.

There is an opportunity for a sea change in our municipal government culture that will be missed if requirements of the General Plan are allowed to be ignored. Every elected officials accountability is in question. The long-term impact will be significant, however this goes. Again, not a time for those in positions of decision-making to be allowed to lay low.

We must demand that our elected officials represent the People of Los Angeles in the public interest!

Support the demand that the Mayor and City Council direct the Planning Department to complete the Annual Reports on Growth and Infrastructure from 1998 to the present and require a new EIR, before they vote on the New Housing Element or update any more Community plans.

Ken Marsh was the Mar Vista Community Council, Zone 3 Director from 2005-2006.
This message originated with James O'Sullivan, Miracle Mile Residential Association, and has been edited by Ken Marsh, stakeholder, Mar Vista Community Council.
For further information: . For info on the LaBrea Willoughby Coalition law suit to stop the City at: )

CityWatchVol 6
Issue 54
Pub: July 4, 2008

Coalition Sues City; wants Approval of Zoning Ordinances, Development Deals, Put on Hold

The City
By Ken Draper

Taking a unique tack to slow unbridled development in Los Angeles until the city’s General Plan is brought up to date, the LaBrea Willoughby Coalition and its president, Lucille Saunders, have sued the City.

The group is asking a Superior Court Judge to stop the City from approving any zoning ordinances, General Plan amendments, development agreements or Specific Plans until the City … in particular the Planning Department, obeys the law.

In short the brief says that the Planning Department, by law, is required to monitor population growth, infrastructure and services … and provide an annual report on the results of that monitoring … so that decisions made by the city on development, zoning, transportation and Specific Plans can be done so with real and timely knowledge on whether the LA is prepared to support those decisions.

The Coalition argues that the City issue close to two million construction permits for new building just in 2nd quarter of this year, yet the last annual report, which helps determine if the city’s infrastructure and transportation system can handle those permit approvals, was issued in 2000 for the years 1996-1998..

Saunders says that her Coalition is concerned that these plans, like Housing Element Framework for which somewhat controversial hearings are currently being held, continue to perpetuate polices and approve developments based on outdated information … in the end, harming all of LA’s neighborhoods.

The suit is not asking for any monetary recovery but wants the Annual Report produced post-haste, as the law requires.

Vol 6 Issue 53
Pub: July 1, 2008

During the time Bob Bisno's house was going through foreclosure proceedings, at least two temporary restraining orders were written to place holds on the sale.

Eventually, the house issue was settled.

Perhaps if Bob can get temporary restraining orders approved to stop foreclosure sales on his personal house, someone may take Bob's Ponte Vista project and get a temporary restraining order against any further processing and/or development until the lawsuit is settled.

In case you don't know, Bob's organizations have begun SIX new Web sites and/or blogs.

There is one blog created for his Ponte Vista at San Pedro project.

I took a look at the blog and when I tried to use its "Search" icon for 'the truth' I couldn't get "Search" to find 'the truth' on that particular blog.

Perhaps the blog master/blog mistress will open up the "Search" icon to allow folks to read Bob's version of the truth.

The blog also mentions the Southern California Area of Governments (SCAG) as a source for some information.

I might need to post the many, many criticisms of SCAG just to show folks that it is not a very reliable source.

According to a member of the R.P.V. Emergency Planning Committee, SCAG has opined that if it is necessary for the residents of R.P.V. to evacuate that city, they are to gather as much as they can carry, and WALK towards Ventura.

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