Thu, Jul

Making Affordable Housing a ‘Shure Thing’, Despite the Obstructionism of Downtown and Sacramento

ALPERN AT LARGE--My experience of seeing grassroots, non-elected individuals empower the rest of us to build projects like the Expo Line has been a first-hand, first-rate experience of recognizing the beauty of our democracy and civilized society. 


No matter what they say, State Senator Scott Wiener and the Legislature (with guilty parties to be found on both sides of the political aisle), Governor Newsom, and Mayor Garcetti do NOT want affordable housing so much as they want to allow developer donors to their campaigns and political futures to thrive. 

Enter Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC) Planning/Land Use Management Chair Stacy Shure

Ms. Shure has demonstrated a very fast learning curve borne of compassion and passion, and driven by outrage and moral integrity, over how the misstated narratives of homelessness and affordable housing have driven up overdevelopment without fixing either (worsening, more likely).

Kind of like my own horror at seeing my pet projects of mass transit be used to drive up overdevelopment without fixing mobility...and arguably making mobility worse.

There are supposed to be LAWS and RULES that prevent condominium conversion and small-lot subdivision application to be blocked if affordable housing stock is lowered, should the vacancy rate be below 5% in a local Planning Area. 

In particular, the Ellis Act comes to mind.

Well, the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC) just unanimously supported Ms. Shure's Director Motion to call upon the City of the Angels to implement enforcement of the Ellis Act because the local Planning Area for Mar Vista is 2.84%.

Ms. Shure has the unanimous support of the MVCC as we see affordable housing unit after project get replaced by market-value condos and apartments, and as we now are fighting to preserve affordable housing in the Westside.

The late Councilmember Bill Rosendahl had legislation promoted in 2006 for the City to act on the Ellis Act, but the City has NOT followed through. Of course, when you see the track records of Villaraigosa, Garcetti, and Wesson, as well as the other Downtown "leaders" who know damned well about this but are NOT beholden to the middle class...

...it becomes obvious that Measure HHH, Garcetti's words about affordable housing, Sacramento's words about affordable housing, are all just ONE BIG FAT LIE.

As with transportation/mobility, we've got our own Democratic cadre of advocates for the 1% running our City and State, and they're no better than anyone from the GOP who pursues any policies to that end.

It's indeed possible that Ms. Shure will have to follow in the footsteps of Councilmember David Ryu and City Controller Ron Galperin, whose origins with the City are from neighborhood council. 

Because we certainly can't rely on the City Council, the Planning Politburo, and Mayor/Developer Extraordinaire to the Rich Garcetti (no matter how much he wants to take over Dianne Feinstein's seat when she retires).

Just ask your local Councilmember: just what is the vacancy rate in your Planning Area? 

Because if it's below 5%, the condo conversion/redevelopment/small lot subdivision that affects the stock of affordable housing must come to a screeching halt.

And whether it's a "Shure Thing" or just a sure thing borne of legality and common decency, let the affordability of the City of Angels commence anew.


(CityWatch Columnist, Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D, is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties, and is a proud husband and father to two cherished children and a wonderful wife. He is also a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Outreach Committee, and currently is Co-Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee and Vice-Chair of its Planning Committee. He was co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chaired the nonprofit Transit Coalition and can be reached at alpern@marvista.org. He also co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)