CORRUPTION WATCH-No one likes to admit to being mentally deficient. But denial is not the best response to a gross inadequacy. Nonetheless, it may be the most common response.
Since we are a nation that prefers to blame rather than think, let’s blame LA’s plight on the Los Angeles Times. This publication, which does not merit the label of newspaper, was established in 1881 to benefit LA’s wealthy and everyone else be damned. Although the LA Times has some pit bull investigative journalists, they are leashed, muzzled and locked away in the basement. As a result, we Angelenos are woefully ignorant of the most elementary facts about Los Angeles land use policy.
We exhibit stupid behavior. For example, homeowners support the destruction of the homes of 60,000 poor people and then we become outraged that there are homeless people in our neighborhoods. We see people demanding that affordable housing be constructed on the most expensive land in the Basin as if cost of land were not a factor in housing costs. Garcetti refused to allow public restroom facilities for the homeless on the vacant triangle patch to the east of the Hollywood exit on the northbound Hollywood Freeway. Who had made this sensible suggestion? The independent consultant his CD 13 council office had hired. I guess his thinking was that if the homeless lacked toilets, they wouldn’t defecate.
The Lack of Construction Myth Revisited
Our mayor and wanna-be President Eric Garcetti prevented the construction of more affordable housing. The city’s own November 17, 2015 HCIDLA report makes it clear that while Garcetti was city council president and then mayor, the city refused to build affordable housing.
“Loss Opportunity: During the housing boom and the recent growth in overall construction activity, the City of Los Angeles missed a tremendous opportunity to increase the affordable housing stock through an Affordable Housing. If an affordable housing benefit fee, even at the lowest level studied in 2011, were implemented in 2011, the AHTF would have received an average of $37 million in annual revenue, enabling the City to finance 370 affordable housing units every year. At this rate, a linkage fee program would double the amount of affordable housing the City can finance from 367 with current federal funds to over 700 units annually with linkage fee proceeds included. The losses are magnified when we consider the leveraged dollars that are missed when the City does not invest in affordable housing.” — November 17, 2015 HCID report.
Instead, Garcetti destroyed thousands of rent-controlled apartments greatly reducing the supply of affordable housing, while subsidizing above market rate luxury housing like 5929 Sunset Boulevard. The fact that Garcetti was subsidizing the rich at the expense of the poor was reported in CityWatch more than a year before the HCID report.
We Angelenos Think Giving Billions of Dollars to Developers is Wise
In what world of stupid does subsidizing dumb business investments constitute prudent business? If a developer will not build a project without public money, that means the project is a bad investment.
Landowners know land use and transportation are based on mathematics, including finance. A toddler soon learns that candy is dandy but too much gives one a tummy ache. While cities need some density because zero density means zero population, 3,000 to 4,000 ppl per square mile may be the break-even point (LA has 7,000 ppl/sq./mi). The government’s duty is to provide for the general welfare, not to aggrandize the profits of a few landowners. Thus, the city government’s function is to limit density so that people have a decent quality of life. Sad to say, Angelenos are unaware that the purpose of government is to benefit the people rather than to transfer society’s wealth from the 99% to the 1%. As LA’s increasingly bad GINI Coefficient score shows, the main thing at which Garcetti excels is transferring our wealth to the 1%.
The developers understand that planning decisions based on realistic mathematics militate against aggrandizing the land values. That’s why they own the LA Times and City Hall – to guarantee that we voters continue to make dumb decisions.
A population that is too mentally slow to understand that increased office density in DTLA increases traffic congestion should not vote. A population that is too mentally impaired to realize that increased traffic congestion results in worse air population likewise should not vote. A population that cannot distinguish between the construction of homes and tearing down people’s homes is too mentally dysfunctional to vote.
Will Prop 10 Solve Anything?
Prop 10 itself will not solve anything anymore than driving to the hospital will set your kid’s broken arm. But if you don’t get him to the hospital, the doctor cannot help him. As long as Costa-Hawkins prevents us from addressing this aspect of the housing problem, we cannot remedy the situation. Hence, Yes on 10!