Shakedown … or Developers’ Cost of Doing Business in LA?

RANTZ & RAVEZ-It has been a practice in some parts of the country and here in Los Angeles to “shakedown” developers when residents or homeowner groups oppose specific residential or commercial projects adjacent to their neighborhoods. This happened in the San Fernando Valley when a commercial project was proposed and a lawsuit filed demanding modifications to the project. 

In this case, the developer made a number of modifications to the development and paid “fees” to move forward with the project that is in full operation at this time. A development project on the Westside that became a recent news story culminated with a large amount of money given to an adjacent condo building as well as modifications to the proposed project. 

The cost of doing business as a developer in Los Angeles is getting more and more complex and expensive due to associated city fees and related expenses. In addition to the community groups and homeowner associations voicing their concerns, there is the threat of litigation. All this does is drive up the expense of building residential construction resulting in higher rents, forcing more and more families to turn to the streets to live. Truly a sad situation in the City of the Angels. 

Los Angeles River as the Flood Control protection. 

With all the talk about turning the Los Angeles Flood Control System into the Los Angeles River Development we must consider the heavy rains that happen in our city. While the rains are infrequent, I can remember years ago when it rained for numerous days and the Flood Control System did the job of protecting Los Angeles from flooding. Being a new member of the LAPD at that time, I remember the damage caused by the heavy rains. There were landslides in various areas of the city and caskets that were unearthed in the foothill community. With this in mind, we need to remember what the Los Angeles River was initially designed for. Before we spend millions or billions of dollars building developments along the river, we need to remember the intended purpose of the Flood Control System that has been effective in protecting Los Angeles and surrounding communities for many years. 

LA…one of two cities still in the running for the Olympics. 

As the days pass, Los Angeles remains in the running along with Paris for the 2024 Olympics. If LA is selected to host the games, there will be plenty of activities for residents to enjoy. The estimated $5.3 billion dollar budget will push prime ticket event prices to $1,700 while the less popular activities are expected to run in the range of $30 to $50. If you are interested in being an observer, there will be plenty of security and other positions available. The LA 2024 Summer Olympics organizers are currently accepting applications from those interested in volunteering for the games. 

LAPD to the rescue. 

The Metro Board of Directors has approved a transfer of police powers from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to the LAPD for transit security within the City of Los Angeles. The Sheriff’s Department had the responsibility for all Metro Transit operations throughout the county prior to the transfer. The Long Beach Police Department will assume responsibility for Metro operations in the city of Long Beach. The Sheriff’s Department will patrol all other Metro lines in the region.    

You may wonder where the LAPD Officers will be coming from. Since the LAPD still cannot reach its authorized strength of 10,000 officers to patrol our communities and fight crime, the answer is very simple. Deploy the officers on overtime. Yes, overtime. With most LAPD Officers working either 12- or 10-hour shifts, in addition to appearing in court and the drive to work, when will they rest? I know that many officers will enjoy the extra money that will come along with these overtime details. With their salary and living expenses, overtime money comes in handy for them and their families. I am just concerned that they don’t burn out with all the hours they will be working. When you see an LAPD officer on the Metro Lines, stop and thank them for the protection they are providing you, Metro operators and your families.         

Measure S. 

The March 7 local primary election will be lucky to draw 20% of the voters. People are burned out from the recent Presidential election. The Democrats are not happy with the victory of President Donald Trump as evidenced by the demonstrations that have been taking place. With this in mind, the low Republican registration in Los Angeles does not drive many to the election booth. I encourage you to take the time and vote on the other matters on the ballot. There are measures with will cost you more money and you should be concerned with that.

I am supporting Measure S and opposing Measure H. 

If you are happy with the traffic gridlock in Los Angeles and streets that are not being paved and the water pipes that are bursting causing sinkholes, then vote against S. On the other hand, if you are like me, you are sick of the 7-day a week gridlock throughout this region and tired of having streets that are falling apart, vote Yes on S. With little if any senior or affordable housing being built, it is time for us to voice our concern for the neglect that has been taking place in Los Angeles. Don’t believe that all construction will come to a stop if measure S is passed. There are hundreds of projects that have already been approved for construction in Los Angeles and will be built in the next two years. 

While the homeless situation has not improved with the $1.2 billion bond measure, Measure H will only add more taxes to your purchases in Los Angeles County. The homeless situation will not be improved by passing more and more tax measures. It is not always about taking money out of your pocket to fix the problems that have been neglected for years.


(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 [email protected]. Mr. Zine’s views are his own and do not reflect the views of CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.