GUEST WORDS--Multiple donors with ties to one developer contributed more than $600,000 to the election campaigns of the mayor and members of the Los Angeles City Council. Most of those same politicians later approved that developer’s controversial $72-million Harbor Gateway project in spite of recommendations against it by both the Department of City Planning and the Planning Commission. And the public wasn’t the wiser until the Los Angeles Times reported the details about the Sea Breeze apartment development.
Sea Breeze, according to The Times, is a “case study in the myriad ways money can flow to City Hall when developers seek changes to local planning rules.” The politicians who received donations and spoke to The Times claimed the campaign money played no role in the project’s approval. Now the LA County district attorney’s office is reviewing the situation. Whatever the DA discovers, the Sea Breeze story is an overdue call to change the way Los Angeles makes planning and development decisions. Whether or not charges are filed, the process is morally corrupt; it’s wrong.