Housing Fee Compromise

Thanks to The Times for providing space to Bill Boyarsky to comment on the inner workings of Los Angeles city government. He's a terrific writer and I usually enjoy his column.

Unfortunately, a recent column was inaccurate. In "How a Law Gets Written by Lobbyists" (Metro, Nov. 22), Boyarsky wrote, "Two smart attorneys" (a developer's attorney and myself) were responsible for drafting the proposed Los Angeles ordinance requiring commercial developers to pay a $5 a square foot affordable housing linkage fee.

It doesn't take two attorneys of any particular intelligence to compromise between $2.50 and $7.50 at $5. The only reason developers agreed to the $5 compromise was due to pressure of tenants, community organizers and nonprofit housing providers requiring payment of a housing linkage fee.

The idea for the linkage fee originated in December, 1988, in "Housing Los Angeles: Affordable Housing for the Future," the report of the city's Blue Ribbon Committee for Affordable Housing.

Over the past 9 months, more than 30 persons from both the public and private sector, including aides from City Council offices, various city departments and the city attorney's office, have served on a city task force to study linkage fees in Los Angeles. Several hotly contested hearings were held on the issue.

Nonprofit housing providers, community activists, and others consistently pressed the City Council to require commercial developers to pay their fair share for the loss of affordable housing consequent to development. It is these dedicated persons who participated in hearings, and/or served on the committee and task force who are responsible for this long overdue legislation.

MICHAEL BODAKEN

Senior Attorney

Legal Aid Foundation

of Los Angeles

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