Vote Yes on S: Affordable living issues and battles
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LA Tenants Union Supports YES ON S
Feb. 16 -- The LA Tenants Union, a citywide tenants rights group, has strongly endorsed Measure S, noting its members "recognize that the majority of Angelenos are renters yet the city is openly hostile to them."
In a press statement, the organization stated that "L.A.’s housing crisis is not a crisis of number of units, but of affordability, displacement, and a rigged system."
It further noted, "Tenants who support Measure S represent the diversity of those most affected: low-income, seniors on fixed incomes, homeless, working families, LGBT tenants, single-mothers, young professionals, artists, and disabled tenants. Many of these tenants depend on rent-stabilized housing to be able to remain in neighborhoods like Hollywood, Downtown, Leimert Park, Boyle Heights, North Hollywood, or Echo Park.
"The market-rate units that often replace theirs are inaccessible and unprotected.
"Los Angeles has proven that it is not yet able to practice development without displacement. Imagined housing construction of the future relies on today’s practices of mass eviction and harassment.
"Nevertheless, those opposed to Measure S continue to bombard tenants with hypothetical scenarios and false claims meant to scare Angelenos from standing up for their right to safe and affordable housing."
Read the LA Tenants Union full statement -- in English and Spanish.
YES ON MEASURE S PROTESTS ILLEGAL DEMOLITION OF APARTMENT BUILDING
Feb. 25 -- Yes on Measure S joined Hollywood residents to protest the illegal demolition of a historic apartment building that provided affordable housing. Developer Wiseman Residential bulldozed the structure to make way for a new project, even though city officials twice tried to stop the teardown.
It was another example of an alarming trend spreading across Los Angeles, in which affordable housing is demolished or taken off the market to make way for luxury housing.
According to the Los Angeles Times, "more than 20,000 rent-controlled units have been taken off the market since 2001" across LA.
The paper noted, "Looking to cash in on a booming real estate market, Los Angeles property owners are demolishing an increasing number of rent-controlled buildings to build pricey McMansions, condos and new rentals, leading to hundreds of evictions across the city."
Now the smashed Hollywood apartment building at 1344 N. Formosa joins that list.
Wiseman Residential had evicted tenants from their affordable homes in 2016 under the increasingly controversial Ellis Act, which many tenant advocates say developers are abusing across LA and California.
Wiseman Residential has a history of throwing its tenants out of their apartments, according to the LA Times.
In April 2016, the paper found that "over the last decade, Wiseman has evicted at least 237 tenants from rent-controlled properties in Los Angeles."
On Tuesday, Formosa Avenue residents protested Wiseman Residential's illegal move and shabby treatment of its tenants. Yes on Measure S fully supports these Angelenos and other like them who get a raw deal from greedy developers.
We also call for LA City Hall to hold Wiseman Residential accountable for any laws that may have been broken.
Measure S can help Angelenos fend off outlaw developers -- by reining greed-driven overdevelopment, reforming LA's rigged and broken planning system and returning power back to residents.
Metro Transit-Oriented Projects Cause Displacement and Gentrification, UCLA Study Says
Aug. 31, 2016 -- UCLA researchers released eye-popping findings this week that community activists have known for years -- Metro-promoted development near transit stations in Los Angeles causes displacement of lower-income residents and brings about gentrification.
UCLA noted that the "upscaling" of L.A. neighborhoods through development near transit stations can lead to lower-income, disadvantaged residents being pushed out of communities. The majority of new development in L.A. features luxury housing for affluent professionals.
Paul Ong, director of UCLA Luskin’s Center for Neighborhood Knowledge and a professor of Urban Planning, said in a statement:
Sometimes, landlords aggressively — and perhaps illegally — force them out. Higher rents make it difficult for low-income households to move into the neighborhood, so we see a net decline in their numbers. They are replaced by those who can afford the higher housing cost — people referred to as ‘gentrifiers.’
Community activists who have been fighting luxury mega-projects across Los Angeles know that all too well. But City Hall politicians and bureaucrats have done little, if anything, to address displacement and gentrification.
Instead, the City Council and mayor have consistently ignored lower-income residents' concerns, ignored existing zoning rules that protect neighborhoods from luxury overdevelopment and granted developers special "spot-zoning" favors such as a General Plan amendment or zone change so they can build 30-story skyscrapers with luxury housing and make millions in profits.
L.A.'s planning system has become so broken and rigged that even the City Council and Mayor Eric Garcetti rolled out a so-called "reform" plan in April. The politicians, however, have yet to follow through with any substantive action.
In the meantime, city politicians and bureaucrats continue to support such transit-oriented, luxury mega-projects as Cumulus with a 30-story residential skyscraper on La Cienega and Jefferson boulevards in South Los Angeles and the upscale SoLA Village, known as The Reef, in Historic South Central. Both projects need the City Council and mayor to sign off on special spot-zoning favors.
UCLA provides an interactive map for residents to see which neighborhoods have been hit by gentrification caused by Metro-promoted development -- and released these key findings:
- Areas around transit stations are changing and many of the changes are in the direction of neighborhood upscaling and gentrification.
- Examining changes relative to areas not near light-rail or subway projects from 2000 to 2013, neighborhoods near those forms of transit are more associated with increases in white, college-educated, higher-income households and greater increases in the cost of rents. Conversely, neighborhoods near rail development are associated with greater losses in disadvantaged populations, including individuals with less than a high school diploma and lower-income households
- The impacts vary across locations, but the biggest impacts seem to be around the downtown areas where transit-oriented developments interact with other interventions aiming to physically revitalize those neighborhoods.
The Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, however, proposes real reforms for L.A.'s broken and rigged planning system -- and it's received citywide backing from Angelenos.
Unsurprisingly, wealthy developers and L.A. politicians, who have received $6 million in campaign contributions from the real estate industry, are opposed to the citizen-driven reform initiative -- developers and their well-heeled allies recently spent $722,335 to defeat the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative.
Valley Village Residents Under Siege By Greedy Developers
Aug. 15, 2016 -- In the San Fernando Valley, in a middle-class enclave known as Valley Village, residents are under siege by developers who destroy affordable housing units in order to build small-lot subdivision condominiums and other luxury housing — a troubling pattern that’s happening across Los Angeles in both working- and middle-class neighborhoods.
When one visits Valley Village, which sits east of Sherman Oaks, the vacant lots of torn down residential buildings look eerily similar to Venice, where developers are also sending in demolition crews to make way for luxury projects at an extraordinary rate.
Whether it’s Valley Village or Venice, the same result takes place — working- and middle-class residents are shoved out of their affordable units and often find themselves forced away from their longtime neighborhoods. At the same time, developers make millions in profits.
The most recent example is a Valley Village block at Hermitage Avenue and Weddington Street, which is represented by L.A. City Councilman Paul Krekorian of District 2. The intersection became a major news story when a developer demolished the former home of Marilyn Monroe days before the city of L.A. was set to decide upon its historical status.