Carrie Ann Blackaller's letter urging the city of Los Angeles to prevent Loyola Marymount University from building new dormitories on its property (Times, Aug. 15) combined some far-fetched wishful thinking with shortsightedness of a kind that makes community politics more and more contentious and unproductive these days.
Ms. Blackaller wants City Hall to either spend a lot of taxpayer money to buy the property from LMU or to stop the dormitory project and risk a lot of taxpayer money on costly litigation the university is likely to bring against the city if it completely disallows the proposal.
LMU's new dorms might disrupt Ms. Blackaller's own view over the Westchester Bluffs, but they would also allow the university to reduce its impacts on the neighboring residents by reducing student commuter traffic and providing on-campus housing for students. It's the current situation of too much traffic and students living in quiet Westchester neighborhoods that has residents like Blackaller up in arms. But that situation is what they would preserve if they succeed in their opposition to the new dorms.
Constitutional provisions and land-use laws make clear that the city can't force open space upon a private landowner without buying the property or, at least, granting him some development rights on a portion of the site.
If Blackaller and her neighbors want "vision and boldness" in community planning, maybe they should look to the source of the problem--the Constitution, the courts and the conservative elected officials who appoint pro-development judges--and quit complaining at local officials and an educational institution who are just trying to work within these constraints to solve real problems.