LOS Angeles' politicians want to Manhattanize downtown by relaxing rules on tall buildings and allowing super-small living spaces. They're ready to commit billions of dollars to a subway to the sea that won't be operational for decades. And they are gearing up to lift size-restriction limits on new residential buildings citywide, provided that the buildings include some affordable housing.
Hold on a moment.
All this speeding toward densifying L.A. with little preparation and mitigation should have the city's residents worried sick...
And why doesn't it?
I think in large part it's been because of what an abomination the Bush presidency has been. People in Hollywood, downtown, even on the westside can understand that abomination. They'll go to a protest rally every three months, see the right film, and feel like they're politically engaged.
But these same people will walk down their own block and see houses they can't afford, a homeless guy with a shopping cart, a couple of stray dogs and feral cats, and a forty-unit condo going up, and not even wonder about how the hell all that has happened to their own block.
The truth is: at this point, what goes on in your local City Council affects you more directly than the abstract, distant happenings in Washington DC. We need to support the troops and we need to solve the problem of the ill-advised war. But if you think signing on for Barack or Hillary or Rudy here in 2007 is going to make a difference in 2017---well, it won't make one bit of difference over what happens on your own damn block over the next decade, at least compared to what Antonio, Eric, Tom, Wendy, Janice, and their crew do today.
The readers here don't need this message; they already know it. But they do need to spread the word: all politics is not local anymore, and that's the problem. Our City's political focus should be far more local than it is.
Our City is being sold out to big out-of-town developers daily. Because of decisions being made today, in a decade Los Angeles will be just another overcrowded, dystopic Pacific rim city, like Shanghai or Seoul. And the irony is, it's not going to be the fault of immigration, which is even becoming a bit of a red herring at this point. It's going to be the fault of out-of-city developers, the developers who act as mere agents for larger development companies, which build units upon units for people who don't even live here; and it's going to be the fault of the pols who let them run the table on the City of Los Angeles in the late zeroes.
*ed. courtesy Mr. Hoff.
Labels: a guy in la