Connecting the Rantz: Homelessness, Traffic, Measure S, and More

RANTZ & RAVEZ-How much does it cost a well-intentioned community-concerned developer to buy off an unscrupulous attorney and a homeowner who filed a court action protesting a much needed eldercare residential facility adjacent to Walnut Acres in Woodland Hills? 

A number of years ago when I represented Council District 3, I was approached by a developer who wanted to build an eldercare residential facility on Fallbrook Ave just south of Victory Blvd in a mixed neighborhood. The development was within walking distance of a major shopping center consisting of a Ralph’s supermarket, a Target, a Wal*Mart, movie theaters, restaurants and a host of other retail establishments. 

The neighborhood immediately to the south of the proposed development is close to a fire station, retail stores, a medical marijuana store, a gas station, houses of worship, other markets, a restaurant and multiple single-family residences -- all located on a multi-lane roadway with a 45 mph speed limit and traffic lights at strategic intersections. In other words, the area is a mixture of business, commercial and residential. 

The prospective development site was a former private school that generated noise from the students; I received complaints from neighbors about that noise and associated factors connected with the students who played in the schoolyard at recess and other times. In negotiations with the community, the developer reduced the size of the structure and made other concessions to gain support from those who filed court actions against the project. When it was finally agreed upon by those who filed the legal action, the facility was ready to begin construction. 

To add more support for the development, the City of LA’s Zoning Administrator was in favor of it. Before the first shovel of dirt was turned, a new group of residents from Walnut Acres began to protest the facility and to pressure the current councilman, Bob Blumenfield, to deny it. I bet that this new group of “concerned residents” now wants its piece of the action just like the unscrupulous attorney and resident obtained. And what is their price to remove their objections? In a recent conversation with Councilman Blumenfield about the development, I expressed my continual support for it and urged him to move forward in spite of the opposition from this new group that wants its piece of the Money Pie.

I will continue to report on this matter as progress is made. I may even name the people that have little to no concern for the seniors in our community. 

I was involved in the Second Annual Greater Los Angeles Homeless count on January 24 

I teamed up with Valley resident Diane Jack Delaney and we headed out to our sector in the western portion of the West San Fernando Valley. We patrolled the area west of Valley Circle and north of Roscoe Blvd. While we did not locate any homeless people residing in the quiet residential neighborhoods, we did observe a quiet community reflective of tranquil mountain living.

On our way back to the Homeless Count command post at the Canoga Park Community Center, we drove down streets in the Canoga Park area and found a number of homeless people living in motor homes and on the street. In one area, the sidewalk was so congested with tents and shopping carts, you could not walk down the sidewalk. While the good people of the city are counting and providing information on the homeless population to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, the number of homeless is increasing and we see little reduction in the number of people living on the streets, sidewalks and parking lots in Los Angeles. 

Those of you who voted for the $1.2 billion Los Angeles Bond measure to address homelessness in Los Angeles may want to think twice before you vote for the pending Los Angeles County Tax measure to provide supportive services for the homeless. Money alone is not appearing to help reduce the homeless population in and around Los Angeles. 

While we are on the subject of LA’s homeless, let me share with you the latest city plan for the homeless living in vehicles on our city streets: LAMC 85.02

As of January 5, 2017, there is now a map for “vehicle dwelling” on the streets of Los Angeles.                 

There are three areas listed: 

1) No vehicle dwelling at any time. These are Red Zones. 

2) No vehicle dwelling overnight between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. They must comply with all posted parking restrictions. These are Yellow Zones. 

3) Vehicles are permitted but they must comply with all posted parking restrictions. These are Green Zones. 

The areas approved for vehicle dwelling are along major roadways. 

For additional information go to: 

Upcoming City Elections 

The Mayor, City Attorney, Controller and the odd numbered council district offices are up for election. This will be a very sleepy election cycle. After the recent Presidential election and the turmoil associated with it, few care about Los Angeles’ local elections. I will be reporting on the races in the near future. 

Building Developments and Los Angeles Politics 

Developer Rick Caruso is a former LA Police Commissioner and someone who can influence local politics. While his campaign contributions are significant, he is well connected with local elected officials. In a recent project Caruso is pursuing on the Westside, the community expressed concern about the size of the development. Being a man who likes to win, Caruso modified his project and gained the support of the local councilman and city council to approve the project. Councilman Paul Koretz supported it, then pulled his support, but then supported it once again. Talk about a councilman that can blow with the wind…Paul Koretz wins the title! He is facing a strong opponent in his re-election bid from Jesse Creed. I have met with Jesse and he is determined to beat Paul in this race. Is it time for Paul Koretz to move on? Time will tell.        

Los Angeles Traffic and Housing and Measure S 

I recently took my son and granddaughter to Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park on a Saturday. Traffic from the San Fernando Valley to Buena Park was congested both going to and returning from the park. Orange County, Los Angeles County and this entire region is smothered by excessive traffic congestion seven days a week, day and night. While the public transit system is not the answer for most of us, we continue to get more and more frustrated with the lack of traffic relief. Our elected officials can only give us false promises with no real relief or improvements in sight. 

Remember the billions of dollars spent on the 405 expansion and improvements? Not much has changed from before the construction until after it was completed. That brings me to Measure S and what it will do to force our elected officials and planning departments to deal with the traffic and shrinking quality of life we are all experiencing in this region. I say YES on Measure S. A Yes Vote on Measure S will offer an opportunity for city leaders to finally deal with development and traffic in the city. 

More election news will be coming in future editions of RantZ & RaveZ.


(Dennis P. Zine is a 33-year member of the Los Angeles Police Department and former Vice-Chairman of the Elected Los Angeles City Charter Reform Commission, a 12-year member of the Los Angeles City Council and a current LAPD Reserve Officer who serves as a member of the Fugitive Warrant Detail assigned out of Gang and Narcotics Division. Zine was a candidate for City Controller last city election. He writes RantZ & RaveZ for CityWatch. You can contact him at Mr. Zine’s views are his own and do not reflect the views of CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.