Whistleblower hotline: (213) 785-6098
mayorsam@mayorsam.org

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Zuma Dogg Has Paranoid Delusions on How The City Allows Developers To Waive 30 Affordable Units for a $900,000 Contribution

HOW ABOUT A PUBLIC VETTING ON THE POSSIBILITY THAT ANY OF THIS COULD BE HAPPENING. Not saying it is, although I AM concerned it COULD be happening. (And when I say "could" I think I'm using the term mildly.)

LET'S GO THROUGH THE LA TIMES ARTICLE ON ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA'S PLANNING PAL CHRIS PAK AND THE WONDERFUL PLANS FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN THE AREA, OR AT LEAST A $900,000 DONATION TO MAKE IT ALL GO AWAY. (The affordable housing, that is.)
Previous ZD article on Pak/Kay/Villaraigosa's Asia trip and caviar planning dreams

COULD THIS BE THE SCENARIO? (Grand Ave, Jr.) I HOPE ZD IS TOTALLY WRONG, AS USUAL! But one thing I am not wrong about, because it is not me who says it, but, you cannot have a vibrant downtown economy as you are planning on if all the rich people live in one area, and the middle-income, low-income workers are commuting in from the outskirts.)

"Just down Wilshire at Western Avenue, construction has begun on a 22-story condominium tower and upscale retail center rising above the Purple Line subway station...An enthusiastic Villaraigosa was on hand for the 2006 groundbreaking of the Solair Wilshire -- Pak and developer Bruce Rothman's joint venture with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority above the Purple Line subway station. "Chris is an innovative, creative architect who has his pulse on the community and the wherewithal to make things happen," Villaraigosa said."

"Koar Wilshire Western, LLC and Metro today announced the start of construction for a major new joint development project on the Metro Red Line at Wilshire/Western, a development that signifies a new day for truly urban, transit-centered living in Los Angeles. Scheduled to open in 2008, the $160 million "Solair Wilshire" project will be a 22-story, contemporary glass-walled building that will contain a mix of uses, including 186 for-sale condominium units, 40,000 square feet of commercial/retail space, common areas for the public, subterranean parking garage and 12-space bus layover zone. At 2.6 acres, it is the first mixed-use high-rise development to be built for the Koreatown / Wilshire Center community since the Metro Red Line opened in 2000."

ZD’s Bat-Appraiser says that piece of land could be worth at least $20-$25 million. Due to it’s very excellent location right above the MTA station. (186 condo units; 40,000 square feet of commercial/retail space. Huh…huh…huh…ZUMA DOGG wants to own a piece of property right over MTA, too, y’all!)

"The joint development was made possible through an exclusive ground lease agreement with Metro in 2003. Metro should receive $350,000 annually and periodic rent escalations."

[$350,000 a year? They only have to pay $350,000 a year for all that? Please tell me they left out a comma between the three and the five!?!? On a deal of this size, that’s practically giving it away for free. Oh my goodness am I jealous of that deal.

If they are getting such a sweetheart deal, I’m sure they are required to include those required affordable housing units, on-site…right? And based on the numbers, you would think at least 30, riiiiiiight?!?!]

But, "In an effort to increase the supply of affordable housing in the project area, Koar Wilshire Western, LLC has volunteered to contribute $900,000 to the City's Real Property Trust Fund No. 692 entitled "Affordable Housing and Community Amenities in CD-10.""

OH NO…Sounds like legalese code-word talk for, Just donate $900,000 into some account and we’ll let you off the hook on providing the affordable housing. (There’s a reason affordable housing is supposed to be on-site. See http://zumadogg.blogspot.com and see “SCAG” articles.)

And ZD says $900,000 ain’t squat to get off the hook for all that affordable housing!!! So basically, if this is true, it sounds like they get off the hook for about 30 affordable untis, for $900,000 which is the cost of about one or two units. And now, of course, the developer will be able to sell those extra 30 units (that WERE supposed to be affordable, for about $1-$1.5 million. (Who says the City isn’t a shady, gentrifying, society-wrecker who plans badly on top of it?)

But they’ll say, “Oh, we get this great ‘community benefits package” or “A new tree will be planted” and we’ll look the other way on the affordable housing, and all “those people” can simply move further out and commute back in. (Of course we haven’t built the infrastructure and don’t have enough public transportation lines built, but that’ll be the next guy’s problem.)

I hope LAANE doesn’t approve of this. I mean, after all, who decided we could negotiate away the affordable housing for a “benefits package” and whatnot? Did this go through any time of public hearing or vetting process? Or did a few smart people make the decision on behalf of the entire City? And would the executive director of LAANE, also be able to sit on the CRA board? Because then, you would fall into that perceived shadiness/conflict of interest category that I keep hearing is so legal, where you have one person having more than one vote on these projects. (Does anyone know if this could be happening?)

What affordable housing advocate group would allow the Mayor and the City to waive 30 affordable units on-site for a mere $900,000, when they are already getting the property for only $350,00 a year as it is?

I think we need an affordable housing advocacy group, to watch the affordable housing advocacy group. Who is LAANE fighting for anyway? The renters or the Mayor and his developer pals that love to throw accolades back and forth to each other?

"Consistent with the mayor's vision of creating a transit-oriented, mixed-use lifestyle and meeting the community's desire for a significant development in the heart of the Wilshire Center, this project will be the proud cornerstone that will spawn growth and the continued revitalization of the area," said Developer Bruce Rothman of KOAR Wilshire Western, LLC.
[Chris Pak's partner]

And ZD is concerned that not only is $900,000 not enough to get away with this, they’ll end up getting all of it back, and more in the form of grant money/subsidies to build some of that profitable non-profit housing that ties into this.

I think these guys are taking lessons from the Grand Ave business model. And I think we need a moratorium on the use of the term "cornerstone" regarding downtown revitalization efforts.

zumadogg@gmail.com
zumatimes.com

13 Comments:

Anonymous . said:

.

August 26, 2007 3:47 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

"Affordable Housing" is just another term for Communism, redistribution of the wealth, a concept not consistant iwith capitalism and free enterprise.

Who cares about waiving the requirement that is government imposed to support more lazy bums like Zuma and Matt and others who won't take an honest job to suport themselves and want the Nanny State to provide them with nice housing, etc.

Screw affordable housing and screw the parasites like Zuma and his ilk who leech off the public and "DEMAND" their rights.

I hpe Pak gets away with a full waiver and no payment; all the more power to him.

Stick your requirements up where the sun don't shine.

August 26, 2007 4:27 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

A federal bailout is a fraud. The "homeowners" who will be bailed out don't own their homes. They put zero down. They should walk away. The bailout is a fraud to use federal agencies to buy up bad debt at inflated prices from Countrywide and big banks and investors.

An illegal alien mother of two who works as a maid told me on Friday that a loan agent and real estate agent tried to get her to sign a $750,000 zero down mortgage six months ago. They pushed so hard. She was scared because she thought she could get deported, but the agent and broker told her she was going to ruin her life and her children's lives if she didn't buy the house.

Will this "federal bailout" include making the mortgage payments on a $750,000 loan to an illegal alien who makes $26,000 a year and put zero down?

This is a big fraud. A bill to help distressed homeowners would exempt forgiven debts from foreclosures and short sales from taxable income. Or prohibit credit reporting agencies from reporting foreclosures and delinquencies on real estate for the next couple of years.

A bailout will cost more than $1 trillion in total. It's not just subprime, it's Alt-A and prime too. Probably 30% of all mortgages in the United States are at risk. They will sell it like it's going to cost $100 billion and then when we're into it, they will say, "oh, the public authorized this and NO ONE could have imagined it would be this expensive, so we have to stay the course now, I mean we can't make the effort and expense up to now for nothing, can we?"

Con artists, all of them.

Visit www.stopthebailout.org and help put a stop to a bailout that uses your tax dollars to buy bad mortgages. The borrowers would be better off walking away.

August 26, 2007 5:16 PM  

Blogger Zuma Dogg said:

4:27pm,

If you want to abolish affordable housing requirements, that’s fine. However, if it is part of the current formula it must be stuck to. There is a reason the City has a “Planning” department. Because although we DO live in a free market society, the City still has to plan things out to make sure the City maintains the proper balance of diversity it needs to function.

If you leave meal planning up to a three year old, all the vegetables and healthy stuff goes into the trash can, and it’s nothing but pizza and ice cream, seven days a week.

And in the City of Los Angeles, if you leave the planning up to Villaraigosa’s City Hall, you get nothing but luxury condos, five star hotels, fancy restaurants, upscale specialty boutique shops; and all the theaters, symphonies and museums to service the community’s needs.

I’ve always considered myself to be a “free market”, “supply and demand” guy. But you can’t leave meal planning to a three a year old, and you can’t leave City planning to Villaraigosa’s City Hall and their short list of crony decision makers.

ZD and Matt are not even in the league of the stuff we are talking about anyway. Where are the police, teachers, city and county staffers, city workers, retail clerks, your office staff, personal assistants, nannies, construction workers, office managers and everyone else who makes and keeps your upscale convention city dream come true.

It isn’t going to work if they all have to drive an extra ninety minutes to work each way from the outskirts (adding to the traffic problems you are trying to solve). ZD has a saying…”It would be nice.” Yes, “it would be nice” if we could eat a steady diet of pizza and ice cream and build a Downtown of all the most fun, upscale stuff. And ignore everything else.

So the City of Los Angeles has created some assurances to make sure a bunch of three year old, pizza and ice cream loving planners aren’t intentionally forgetting to eat their fruit and vegetables. But unfortunately, it’s another three year old pizza and ice cream lover who is in charge of enforcing the rules.

So get ready for Skid Row to expand at about the same rate these sweetheart deals are cut and the condos, hotels, and retail go up. Huh…huh…huh…how come Villaraigosa’s City Hall doesn’t understand the concept of “cause and effect”, “quantum physics”, “for every action, there is a reaction”, and all that other logical stuff?

August 26, 2007 5:19 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Arnold just cut funding for a program that houses several thousand mentally ill, so if the streets become full of more of them, especially downtown, you can complain to him. MAV and the city are trying to solve the problem.
And you can thank the Republicans who stiffed us on traffic-solving funds.

But no, it's easier to just dump it all on the Mayor than to educate yourselves and think. Even if the guy might have been pandering too much to the illegals, although he's probably seeing there's no sympathy for them now, there's a lot he is trying to do right. So there, I've said my peace, and it's the last I'm on this blog. There are only a few Mayor-haters egging each other on, to no purpose.

August 26, 2007 5:47 PM  

Anonymous Andy said:

Good points Zuma.

August 26, 2007 6:13 PM  

Blogger Zuma Dogg said:

5:47pm said..."Arnold just cut funding for a program that houses several thousand mentally ill, so if the streets become full of more of them, especially downtown, you can complain to him."

Thanks for that and I will complain about that, as well...even though I don't know if the zuma dogg show makes it to arnold's tv in sacramento.

And in all seriousness, if you have any links to the stories about sacramento cuts, please post them and i'll check em out...but that doesn't mean the city isn't doing their part to thwart any hope of success this city has in the future.

August 26, 2007 6:36 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Viagrasosa wants to be mayor? Great. Solve the homeless problem.

Then solve the housing problem.

Don't look to Arnold to do it. You're the mayor of the 2nd largest city in the U.S. Fix these problems, and traffic, or get back to your little grass shack.

August 26, 2007 7:11 PM  

Blogger Zuma Dogg said:

The mayor only has two objectives:

a) Grand Ave Project for Eli
b) LAUSD mayoral control for Riordan

So thank goodness for Robin Kramer who worked for both (plus her tutelage under Alatorre). I wish I was perfect for something!

Unfortunately, no one backing Antonio had "homeless and housing" as a mission.

August 26, 2007 7:33 PM  

Blogger Zuma Dogg said:

I should clarify, however, that a lot of non-profits, activist and social service groups DO back Antonio. And they use “homeless and housing” issues as the “wedge in” to hook up with the big developers. There is a lot of money to be made on poverty (homeless services, non-profits related services, affordable housing). If they solve the problem, a lot of people will lose their jobs and income and may become those homeless people, themselves.

IF THE CITY AND STATE WANTED TO FIX THE PROBLEM, THEY COULD START TOMORROW. (I’m typing this on Sunday).

Until then, ride the Gravy Train with your cronies and accolade droppers.

August 26, 2007 8:30 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Damn, Zuma, that was your chance for some leeching public housing for you and Matt.

Another year in the van. Phewey.

August 26, 2007 9:45 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Zuma Dogg scored housing in Santa Monica. Even he's smart enough not to live in the City of LA.

August 27, 2007 12:21 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I appreciate the free market comments, but there are two factors which mess with it being a true free market. The major factor is the zoning. The second factor is that people are still willing to drive all over creation for even the low paying jobs. Cheap gas and clear roads made this an easy solution who elites who zoned away the population who they want to serve them, but this won't work anymore. In places like Aspen, geography is the problem and now they can't get the help they want, thereby having to raise salaries and provide private,not public incentives. In Silicon Valley too, teachers, fire and police are now saying no to braving a 2-3 hour commute from places they can afford to live. The problem is that it is the city which is paying for this, not the elite. While they pay taxes these public programs certainly cost more than that and they should pay to sustain that lifestyle. What Los Angeles is doing is pushing high density "affordable" housing in the suburbs, which works because people are still willing to drive. Until which point gridlock and gas prices get so bad the people won't come, even at 10 to a 2 beadroom house, then they will start thinking of ways to integrate the working rich and working poor in a capitalistic way that works.

August 27, 2007 3:14 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

Advertisement

Advertisement