The signs of growth and development across much of Los Angeles — soaring cranes, new businesses, street improvements — have been slow to arrive to South Los Angeles.
Remnants of the 1992 civil unrest are still visible here, and the lack of government and private investment is part of a long-term pattern of neglect. As development slowly starts to make its way south of the 10 Freeway, residents are concerned that it won’t deliver the affordable housing and high-paying jobs that the community urgently needs and deserves.
Planning and development haven’t been kind to South L.A., and it’s easy to understand the anger and mistrust that resulted in Measure S. The proposition has raised important questions about who are the winners and losers in the city’s planning process.
City Hall is handing out runaway “spot-zoning” exemptions to luxury developers to build whatever they desire, wherever they desire to build it. The result: standstill traffic, environmental damage, pay-to-play tactics and skyrocketing rents.
Measure S gives the decision-making process back to the people. It makes City Hall work for us, not for the developers, special interests and lobbyists.
As a two-term mayor of Los Angeles, I speak from a place of both experience and deep concern for our city. I know how the city works. The current political environment is rife with corruption and backroom deals servicing land speculators and luxury housing developers over the needs of citizens. If passed, Measure S will hold our elected officials accountable again.
Supporters of Measure S say it will stop mega-developments that worsen traffic. But in fact, the measure will do little to improve traffic. Congestion has many causes and possible cures, none of which are addressed or advanced by Measure S.
Traffic is growing in L.A. because the population and economy are growing. Though it is true that bigger buildings produce more traffic on nearby streets than the vacant lots and smaller buildings they replace, denser development near stores and offices lessens traffic overall.
In neighborhoods of higher density, more people walk and bike. More people also ride mass transit because service is best where density is higher. This is why California’s greenhouse gas reduction law requires each region to plan denser housing along transit-rich corridors. When people in dense communities drive, they make shorter trips, because more destinations are close by.
Proponents of Measure S are asking to reduce traffic where they live while creating more traffic everywhere else.