Proposed Ban on Developer Cash Won't Fix LA City Hall's Rigged System

Members of the L.A. City Council yesterday took a tiny first step to ban campaign contributions from developers who grease City Hall's rigged system of backroom dealings, in which developers are quietly allowed by our City Council members to ignore L.A.'s land-zoning laws.

Proponents of Measure S today released a damning Report Card on the steps of City Hall showing every member of the City Council is awash in vast sums of campaign money from developers. The grades ranged from an F- for City Councilman Jose Huizar, to a C+ to the four council members, a nod to their modest proposed ban.

A range of critics stepped forward to say the proposal to ban some forms of developer cash, authored by David Ryu, Paul Koretz, Paul Krekorian and Joe Buscaino, falls woefully short.

Elena Popp, executive director of the Eviction Defense Network, said that Measure S on the March 7 ballot is the only way to end the rigged system driven by rich developers and City Hall elected leaders who take developer cash. "What the City Council is proposing is just one step," said Popp, a famed fighter for renters who are pushed out by developers to build luxury housing with typical rents of $3,500.

City Hall's "pay to play" behavior has turned into outright vote-selling. City Council members repeatedly agree, in backroom meetings, to help mega-developers erect massive building projects in communities, and on streets, where L.A.'s land-use zoning prohibits these projects. Massive traffic and skyrocketing rents have resulted.

Ryu, Koretz, Krekorian and Buscaino proposed the developer cash ban in reaction to exceptionally bad press City Hall is getting thanks to Measure S. Measure S on the March 7 ballot takes the planning of Los Angeles out of the hands of developers and gives residents a far greater voice.

Said attorney Grace Yoo, a key proponent of Measure S, "Before the Measure S campaign began [last February], there was virtually no media coverage of the vote-selling culture at City Hall."

The Los Angeles Times has published damning stories detailing vast sums flowing to City Hall from wealthy developers —  who City Council members then quietly agree to help ignore our local zoning. The Council's  bending of zoning rules can mean $10 million to $50 million in unearned, sudden profit to developers.

Attorney Richard Close, a proponent of Measure S and president of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association, called the City Hall proposal "an admission of guilt. The only way to stop this is by passing Measure S in March. Why didn't the council members include in this 'reform' the contributions made to their past elections?"

Vote Yes on S on March 7.

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