Monday, February 27, 2017
Yes on S
If you live in L.A., you probably know about Measure S. It’s the proposition that limits development in the city for two years. Obviously, as a Realtor, I stand to gain everything from this measure going down in flames. There will be lots of new properties to sell – yay! However, perhaps surprisingly, I support passage of Measure S.
Before I get into why I support this, here is a quote from a column in yesterday’s L.A. Times from none other than Richard Riordan. Mr. Riordan was the L.A. Mayor for two terms. He says, “The current political environment is rife with corruption and backroom deals servicing land speculatiors and luxury housing developers over the needs of citizens. If passed, Measure S. will give the decision-making process back to the people. It will make City Hall work for us, not for the developers, special interests and lobbyists.” Remember, Mr. Riordan has already served his term with the city, seen this up close, and has no dog in this hunt.
Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal is a member of the L.A. Tenants Union and she wrote a column for yesterday’s L.A. Times opinion page as well. Here’s a quote from Ms. Rosenthal: “The housing market doesn’t produce homes; it produces opportunities for investment. The goals of maximizing profit and making the city livable are at odds.”
I support Measure S for the following reasons. In my work, I have seen L.A.'s development up close in many neighborhoods.
First, “affordable housing” is anything but. Builders aren’t building it. Instead, they are building either McMansions in expensive private neighborhoods or luxury apartments close to transit stops. Developers are not in business out of the goodness of their hearts. As Ms. Rosenthal indicates, developers need to make a profit. And they make it by putting maximum-saleable square footage in the most expensive neighborhoods possible. If the city truly wants affordable housing, it will need to subsidize it in the neighborhoods where people need it. At the risk of stating the obvious, the so-called “housing crisis” is not helped by luxury units or McMansions.
Second, I think high-density proponents need to rethink their support for density, and their opposition to Measure S. Again, small units in high rises in expensive neighborhoods are a developer’s dream, but not necessarily anybody else’s. There are several other ways to achieve more density in existing L.A. neighborhoods. Look at the P.U.D.s in Van Nuys, for example. These are single family houses that are next to each other but have limited yard space. And allowing more granny flats or guest houses in single family neighborhoods with ample lots increases density and helps solve needs of multi-generational families.
Let’s not even get started on traffic.
Finally, developers are running amok. See my blog post from November about my client’s wall being knocked down without their permission. By developers. The clients complained to the city inspector who issued the permit; he never called back. Let’s keep developers and city officials accountable for their actions.
Whew! That’s it. If you have read this far, thank you. And please don’t forget to vote on March 7.