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Saturday, April 28, 2007

We need affordable housing---but not the Mayor's kind

Responding to Zuma and his phalanx of professors, politicos, developers, contractors...

Of course, we need more affordable housing in LA. But we don't need the Mayor's kind---which taxes the people who already own homes for the sake of getting a small handful of service workers into homes, but really hands most of the taxpayer money over to developers and contractors.

Professor Vasishth---get your hands out of my wallet.

Zuma, it's not about living in a too-free free market society, as the professor might suggest, and it's not about recognizing an enlightened need to violate the way the market works. The reason the market doesn't work is that it's been so gamed into not working that most developers don't even deal with it at all---they simply ply their trade elsewhere. And they lie to us when they say "growth is inevitable"---because they only seem to permit the kind of developments that court growth.

The reason we don't have more affordable housing in Los Angeles is because since 1999 City Council has only incentivized developers to provide limited supplies of it for city renters, while providing more of it for people who don't even live here. They have brought us various stripes of conversion moratoria that keeps starter condos off the market. They have permitted ever costlier and costlier new homes as developers decide they can't build in the City without making the margins higher and higher. They have made sure LA ever remains a renter's town, with the renters getting ever more disgruntled, and the starter homes further and further out of reach, and all the new homeowners ironically coming from outside the City.

Worse, this set of pols have insisted that "growth is a fact of the City" while only permitting the kind of projects that perpetuate growth. You think anyone who doesn't already own a home is buying a million-plus condo? You think anyone who currently owns a home in LA wants to swap it for a downtown condo? No---the City is courting growth.

Any who's buying those places that people flip, anyway? It's people from out of town, people who come from places with strong currencies...like Seoul...or Irvine...

Before it does anything else---the City should disincentivize, even punish, flipping. Because flipping brings in people from elsewhere, always. It contributes to growth.

Zuma, Affordable Housing as the Mayor's team is putting it out turns affordable housing into a lottery. It perpetuates all the growth from out of town while only letting a lucky few sneak in---while the displaced others are obliged to tiptoe out of town. There is no way that the government can incentivize enough developers to bring us enough new affordable housing that's going to make a meaningful dent. Our current set of politicians have surrendered completely to the few remaining developers who are willing to work with them.

We have tons of market based solutions already ready to go in the housing market. We have the best prefab designers in the country right here. We have microhousing all ready to go. We have developers servicing the workforce sector all ready to work with City-granted 99-year land leases, to take the high price of land off the table. But the government has to figure out how to get developers interested to build these things, not just to build the kind of housing they want to build.

Don't blame the free market, Zuma. We don't have one in housing, and we never will. Housing in an urban environment is always the most politicized economic activity.

The City government's role is like a bridle, and the City's housing market is like a horse. The bridle can make the horse go fast, or make it stand still, or even hurt the horse that is the City's development. Since the last good thing the bridle did---the Adaptive Reuse Ordinance---it's been all harmful to the horse, ever since. It's been all bad news for the people who actually live here, ever since.

It's not about a free market. It's about creating the kind of policy that turns housing into a realizable dream for the many, not a fake lottery for the few.


Blogger Walter Moore said:

The career politicians who want to increase your taxes in the name of "affordable housing" always omit to mention half of the "affordable" equation: income.

The term "affordable housing" is defined, arbitrarily, as housing that is less than 30% of a given income level. That means there are two ways to create more "affordable housing:" decreased prices OR increased wages.

Something the Mayor didn't bother to mention in his State of the City address is that City Hall's policies are DESTROYING jobs, not creating them. While population continued to grow last year, the number of jobs in our city DECLINED by 10,000. Does that sound like a good thing to you? The average income here, moreover, is lower than the average income for California and the U.S.

Industries are fleeing this city because of the City's business income tax, its ever-increasing property taxes ("fees"), its meddling in management (e.g., LAX hotel wages) and its general hostility to the creation of real jobs (e.g., denying the permit to the company that wanted to manufacture train cars).

If I'm elected, I'm going to do everything I can to eliminate the excessive taxes and regulations that have so successfully scared away businesses. This county had over 800,000 manufacturing jobs in 1990, and is down to aboout 411,000 today. We have to stop importing poverty from Mexico, and start getting real industries to open factories here.

April 28, 2007 8:52 AM  

Blogger Zuma Dogg said:

you think it was bad for ashwani to say that you can't have a downtown with only the rich, while everyone else has to drive in a 90 minute one way commute for a $10/hour job? It's like an aquarium...you gotta work to create the proper eco-balance, or the tank dies. So you need some scavengers and bottom feeders in there, too so the big fish can swim around. I love all the stuff you said, Joeseph (if I understand it).

I'm not talking about the mayor's BS "social program" housing...i'm talking about when the City allows a developer the privilidge to do business in City limits, they have to "serve the community" with 33% affordable housing in certain situations. THEY IGNORE THAT. WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE GETTING THAT IN THE DEAL...So the developer gets the break (by the city ignoring it), and the City is forced to try and do something out of their own pocket.

April 28, 2007 9:28 AM  

Blogger Zuma Dogg said:

Joeseph, I am not making the "free market" argument...that was Sam...If you say, "we have never lived in a free market, when it comes to housing", that supports my point. i think you are talking about what sam said. maybe I'm all confused. perhaps a re-read of my thread, then let me know if your comments remain, or if I gotta re-read yours a few more times. Huh..huh...huh...how come everyone talks so complexly, y'all???

April 28, 2007 9:33 AM  

Blogger Zuma Dogg said:

and by the way...ZD don't give a F*CK about the dream...that's when I side with mayor sam...if you want the dream, figure out a different gameplan.

I am coming from the pragmatic angle that in any population (or any ranker) you are always going to have a top, middle and bottom.

In a free market society/left to our own devices, we will always choose luxury/exensive, over cheaper/affordable (like a kid will eat pizza and ice cream for six straight years, left to their own devices.)

So we have to "fudge" the system...otherwise Eli and Riorend won't have anyone to squeeze their oranges for them, or deliver it to them on their yacht. And there won't be anyone to service that yacht. Or protect that yacht from pirates.

So yes, the mayor has a good point when he says, "We clean your toilets." And unfortuantely, the have to live somewhere, too. And 90 miles away ain't close enough, y'all.

April 28, 2007 9:44 AM  

Blogger joseph mailander said:

Zuma, you're not confused. Just learn to spell "Joseph."

April 28, 2007 10:03 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Good post by Mailander, and follow up by Moore. Now if we can only get these two, or at least Walter, elected to local office.

BTW, looking forward to the less traffic on Tuesday. I plan on doing all my shopping and errands then.

April 28, 2007 10:05 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:


April 28, 2007 12:06 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Keep the bottom feeders in LA!!

Donate to ZD!!!

April 28, 2007 12:19 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Somebody, grab ZD's keyboard for a while; he's got diarrhea of the blog...

April 28, 2007 12:56 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:


April 28, 2007 1:35 PM  

Blogger dgarzila said:

We all now ZUma is happy!!! so whay do we have to be constantly remonded of this... Of course he is gay... He has his own show, is well respected in council chambers at City Hall.. will eventually be coming into tons of money because of all of his lawsuits etc....

so yes ZUma dogg has every reason to be gay.

April 28, 2007 4:28 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

1:35p.m.=s ATTENTION WHORE!!!!

April 28, 2007 5:26 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

affordable housing is right under your nose but the reason you can't see it is because the gonvernment doesnt want to see it. you see, all of the over crowded half million dollar homes in the lower income communities where hard working folks are doing body work in the driveway while illegally converting the garage to rent out as well as renting beds to make some money to pay the sub prime american dream. until some innocent person dies in one of these death traps the polititions could care less. other problems by allowing this to continue only have to do with quality of life which only sounds good to sound bite. basically, if the government would enfore laws already on the books the 1/2 million dollar homes in the hood will continue to be out of reach as well as all the slummy apartments that are overcrowded. the economy depends on this illegal equity to bottom up the real estate market. try renting your garage or beds in the palisades and paint a few cars in the driveway, maybe you can even sell raspados if necessary to make ends meet. our housing crisis was created by not following the rules already on the books.

April 28, 2007 10:35 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

4:28 & 5:26PM




April 28, 2007 11:30 PM  

Blogger dgarzila said:

10:35 pm

The statistic on this i heard was over 60,000 people living in illegally converted garages , tha i beleive was from around 2004 , it is now 2007.

The city has already said that they will not do anything about this for creating 60,000 plus homeless overnight.

April 28, 2007 11:36 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

when the city decides not to do anyting about the illegal conditions in neighborhoods they hurt the very people they are trying to help causing more long term damage to hard working families. even the slumlords lose in the end, poor slumlords.

April 29, 2007 6:43 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:


April 30, 2007 7:19 PM  

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