Choosing Sides on Building Plans

The rhubarb over a proposed project at Santa Monica airport makes painfully clear why homeowner groups have been so energetic (and accused of being "fanatic" and "overzealous") in their opposition to such intrusive projects and so distrustful of the actions of government.

The scene is repeated almost laughably often: 1) The developer proposes a project of enormous size; 2) the developer emphasizes that the project will have "no impact on the community!"; 3) The City Council (in this case, Santa Monica, but Los Angeles is no less guilty of this behavior) sidles up to the homeowners with professions of support, yells and screams at the size of the project, and proceeds to approve a "reduced" project, accepting the developer's contention that the project will have "no impact."

You don't have to be a genius to imagine that the developer proposed a much bigger project than he really needed, and that even the "reduced" project will have lots of "impact."

Those of us active in homeowners' causes know that the system is based upon much more than rationality, and that our leaders usually appear willing to risk future community integrity for present promises of tax base and campaign support. The people who live here seem to have a much better sense of what will work and what won't in the near and far future. Until government and developers show that they truly have community integrity at heart, rather than just their own pocketbooks, homeowner associations will continue their "fanatic, overzealous" hue and cry.


Los Angeles

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