PEOPLE POWER--The Coalition to Preserve LA strongly opposes Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to gut CEQA and Coastal Act environmental protections for virtually any urban project where developers agree to add an insignificant number of affordable housing units. We urge our supporters, and those who believe developers are the last ones who should decide their communities' fates, to tweet and call Gov. Brown immediately regarding Trailer Bill 707. Brown's twitter is @JerryBrownGov, and his phone is (916) 445-2841.
Brown's wrongheaded plan tosses aside the California Environmental Quality Act and Coastal Act, handing the wheel to developers who have shown that without environmental oversight they won't hesitate to place thousands of children in harm's way, create gridlock and destroy neighborhood character.
The Coalition is sponsoring the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative on the March 2017 Los Angeles ballot to end developer control over what L.A. becomes. Contact us or donate at 2PreserveLA.org.
The Coalition this year criticized L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and the City Council for encouraging developers to erect family housing near freeways. These developments have been dubbed Black Lung Lofts. Brown's attempt to detour around CEQA will hasten these dangerous housing projects. [[http://www.laweekly.com/news/black-lung-lofts-2164048 ]]
In USC's watershed Children's Health Study of 3,600 children, scientists proved that children living near freeways suffer chronic lung damage, particularly within a block of freeways. UCLA researchers found a higher risk for premature babies. Experts say this tainted housing cannot be “mitigated” with air filters, trees or tighter windows — microscopic metal and rubber particles still lodge in the lungs and brain.
In 2007, USC researchers took the unusual step of urging Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Eric Garcetti and the City Council to act. They were ignored. The city has pushed for dozens of freeway-adjacent apartment buildings and condos. In 2010, then-Councilman Tom LaBonge told LA Weekly, “It would be great if we could call a time-out and try to plan better, but it's not practical." Like the rest of the City Council, LaBonge pushed for more freeway-adjacent housing, insisting, "We need to save jobs."
The Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, gathering signatures for the March ballot, gives L.A. residents the power to “call a time-out” and shape what L.A. becomes. We believe environmental review is crucial to preserving public safety, fighting gridlock and ending the destruction of neighborhood character.
Gov. Jerry Brown should heed the researchers' warnings about the poisonous airborne rivers in California. Instead, Brown is engaging in a sweeping attack on CEQA that goes in precisely the opposite direction.
Under the guise of saving the environment, Brown has argued that cramming family housing into already congested areas reduces global warming. Now Brown claims that halting environmental review in congested areas is the best way to create affordable housing. While the City Council recently approved ineffective changes to address Black Lung Lofts in L.A., Brown must do better: end his war on CEQA and the Coastal Act and find another way to increase badly needed affordable housing units in California.
(Jill Stewart is Campaign Director for the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative. She can be reached at [email protected].)