EASTSIDER-I don’t mean to keep harping on Airbnb, but this company’s sophistication in maximizing profits to pay off its owners and venture capital partners (as opposed to LA City’s pathetic attempts to regulate almost anything) makes it imperative that we get the new short-term rental ordinance right.
Pico Plaza Tenants Put a Stop to Landlord's Illegal Rent Payment Scheme
ECONOMIC JUSTICE-Coalition for Economic Survival tenants at Pico Plaza Apartments, a 43-unit rent controlled property in Pico Union, successfully challenged their landlord's attempt to illegally make them pay rent only via electronic or online payment.
NCBA Poll: Infrastructure and Homelessness On LA’s Mind
MY TURN-It seems that my last article about "NIMBYISM vs Progress" really hit a nerve – garnering the most negative comments of any piece I’ve done over almost three years! This proves my theory that "we the people" don't act, we react. Perhaps this is because, like the rest of the country, we are so divided that's almost impossible to move ahead.
Just How Much has Los Angeles Transit Ridership REALLY Fallen?
TRANSIT NUMBERS … INTERPRETER PLEASE--Los Angeles transit ridership has fallen even more than a recent Los Angeles Times front page story indicated, according to Thomas A. Rubin, who served as Chief Financial Officer (auditor/controller) of the Southern California Rapid Transit District (SCRTD) from 1989 until 1993. SCRTD merged with the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission (LACTC) after the first new rail line was opened in the early 1990s. (I served as a city of Los Angeles appointee to the board of LACTC.)
It’s Been a Year Since the ExxonMobil Blast, Is South Bay Any Safer?
MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS--In the year since an explosion rocked the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance, more questions than answers remain.
‘I Take Public Transit … But I Hate It’
GETTING THERE FROM HERE--“I take public transit, but I hate it,” says a student intern who works in my downtown Sacramento office.
Helluva Directive, DONE!
ROOS RUMBLES--On 2/1/16 the Los Angeles Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) sent to all certified Neighborhood Councils (NCs) the following “Funding Update“:
Desolation Way: Not the Way to Go
The photo above shows the heart of downtown Los Angeles just after the morning rush hour. Between Union Station and La Placita on the one hand, and City Hall, along with various administration and court buildings and the financial center on the other, lies this concrete trench (crammed with cars), spanned by bland concrete bridges (crammed with cars), leading to streets crammed with cars.
Coalition to Preserve LA Slams Backroom Bonanza for LA Developers and Good Friends at City Hall
DUELLING VISIONS--The Build Better LA Initiative is a remarkably bad idea that hands more power to the Los Angeles City Council to approve overdevelopment, even as it boosts the council's desire for more campaign cash from real estate developers.
An Industry Unto Itself - Why Homeless Services Don’t End Homelessness
HELP AND HYPOCRISY - Homelessness is often described as a problem we must solve -- and Los Angeles city and county now have expensive plans to do so. Homelessness is also an industry. And as George Mason professor Craig Willse shows in his book, The Value of Homelessness: Managing Surplus Life in the United States, that industry is designed to manage costs rather than challenge the mechanisms that create and maintain homelessness.
Councilman Koretz: Animal People Got it Wrong … ‘I Love Animals’
BACKTALK--On Tuesday, CityWatch posted an article that loosely - very loosely and deceptively - tried to paint a picture of why I support the No Kill philosophy for the City's animal shelters and why I do what I do in the realm of animal welfare. The article got it wrong. I do what I do because I love animals and want to see as many of them live good lives for as long as possible. (Photo above: Councilman Koretz on right with LA Controller Ron Galperin and a friend.)
Perfect Storm: The NII Ballot Measure Battle Lines are Drawn
VOX POP--Thunderstorms are an infrequent occurrence in Los Angeles. Last November all sides in the ongoing and often litigious development wars in Los Angeles – those who see density as a cure for all that ails us and the NIMBYs who want to embalm LA as it was 20 years ago – were caught off guard by the sound of thunder. A group named the Coalition to Preserve LA proposed a ballot measure that would establish a moratorium of up to two years for any development project that does not adhere to existing planning regulations or that requires a City Council vote to change the zoning of a particular site.
Find Your Neighborhood Council, Find Your Voice at City Hall
Find Your Neighborhood Council, Find Your Voice Here.
GET INVOLVED--This is a message to all residents of the City of Los Angeles, urging you to participate in your local neighborhood council. It is a chance for you to have an influence on the choices that your city government makes, such as the way that spending is divided among things like road repairs, parks, or public safety. (Photo above: Sunland Tujunga Neighborhood Council raising its voice.)
It's Time to Give the DWP a Reboot
EDITOR’S PICK--Every time you turn on a light or charge your cellphone, you pay a tax. Surprised? Many Angelenos don't realize that hidden in their monthly bill from the Department of Water and Power is a big surcharge in the form of a 10% City of Los Angeles Utility Tax, as well as a “transfer” of 8% of all electric-related revenue to City Hall. In short, you're paying almost 20% more for electricity than you should be.
LAPD Insiders Say Terror Preparedness is 'Smoke and Mirrors'
MEDIA WATCH: NBC4--LAPD insiders say terror preparedness is "smoke and mirrors." Jenna Susko reports for NBC4 News on Feb. 12, 2016. (Published Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016)
The ‘Common Sense’ of Transit Ridership: If It Makes ‘Sense’, It Will Become More ‘Common’
GETTING THERE FROM HERE--Aren't you getting sick of hearing why we're "supposed to" ride transit, and why transit ridership isn't always where it should be? Certainly, "doing the right thing" is what most of us will do based on our innate striving for our better human nature, but human nature hasn't changed and we're leaving the Bush/Obama politically-correct era and entering a Sanders/Trump era of telling it like it is ... and that includes transit!
Students Should Run for Westwood Neighborhood Council
GET IN INVOLVED--The original version of this article incorrectly implied that only two students sit on the board for the Westwood Neighborhood Council. In fact, three students, two being undergraduates and one being a law student, sit on the board.
Secret Vote: Do Developers and Billionaires Now Own Your California Coastline?
HERE’S WHAT I KNOW-Last Wednesday, the Coastal Commission fired executive director Charles Lester, voting seven to five in a closed-door session, despite the supportive testimony of over 200 people who opposed his dismissal and hardly any in favor of firing him.
Schools Declared a ‘Safe Zone’: LAUSD says No to ICE Enforcers
LATINO PERSPECTIVE-Public schools in Los Angeles, where about 50 percent of the student body is Latino, will not allow immigration officials onto school premises as the U.S. continues its crackdown on undocumented Central American immigrants. The Los Angeles Unified School District board decided Tuesday to name schools, from kindergarten to high school, as "safe zones" and resource centers for students and families threatened by the enforcement of new immigration laws. The resolution cited a "heightened sense of fear and anxiety" among students and families in the district, as well as the need for school grounds to welcome families who have questions about immigration.
No Bike Lanes for South Central Any Time Soon
STREETSBLOG LA-At its meeting last week, the Los Angeles City Planning Commission unanimously reaffirmed keeping bikeway designations for Central Avenue and Westwood Boulevard.
Los Angeles: Three-Card Monte and Bike Lanes
GUEST WORDS--Three-card Monte is a confidence game in which the victim (the “mark”) bets that they can find the “money card” – typically the queen of hearts – among three face-down playing cards. It’s a shell game without the shells. Dealers employ sleight of hand and misdirection to prevent the mark from finding the queen. The bottom line is that the mark always loser.