COUNTERPOINT--This November, Los Angeles is going to hold a vote on the type of city it wants to be.
The vote will be over the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative (NII), which seeks to limit housing development in the city. Backers of the initiative claim that City Council is too beholden to developers, and that the pace of new housing and commercial development in the city is out of control. They also express concern that "mega projects" are making Los Angeles less affordable, since few new homes are being targeted at low and moderate income households.
Opponents, like myself, argue that passage of the NII will be a catastrophe for the future of the city: New housing is the only thing keeping rents from growing even faster, and anti-development advocates are making a grievous error when they view new luxury housing as a cause of rising prices, rather than a symptom of them. It will throw the baby out with the bathwater, leaving us with fewer low-income units and more expensive housing for every other resident of LA. Opponents also view the NII as a fundamentally pessimistic initiative—one which essentially asserts that Los Angeles' best days are long-since past. (Read the rest.)