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Opinion

Readers React: California is in a housing crisis. SB 827 is the blunt instrument needed to fix the problem

LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - MARCH 18: A man walks near a residential project going up at the corner of Ces
A man walks near a residential project going up at the corner of Cesar Chavez and Broadway near Chinatown in Los Angeles.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Ms. Schweitzer of USC summarizes it well: “[L]ocal governments are not going to upzone voluntarily… .” That leaves us with Senate Bill 827. (“Plan to dramatically increase development would transform some L.A. neighborhoods” March 25)

The concerns of low-income housing organizations are a smokescreen. Low-income housing development is a niche industry; it benefits from specialized knowledge of government housing programs, financing, and tax incentives. Far from being “gentrification on steroids,” SB 827 will render low-income housing organizations obsolete due to its massive increase of new housing units.

There are additional benefits to SB 827: The new housing will satisfy state energy efficiency standards, as well as modern fire safety, seismic design, and accessibility requirements. Also, the ongoing construction activity will bolster the regional economy.

SB827 is a blunt instrument, and unintended consequences are guaranteed. But it is a case of getting the government we deserve.

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Ed Salisbury, Santa Monica

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To the editor: What we have seen for the past 25 years in most big cities in America is the rise of developers tearing down affordable housing of the working class. They are being replaced by expensive housing for the upper classes. Thus far our politicians have not addressed this in their plans for density near major rail and bus stops.

When I was in Madrid, Spain, I visited a family living in a 15-unit high-rise complex in the middle of the city. It had many 3- and 4-bedroom units, and they were for working-class families. Some were rentals and some were being purchased with long-term, low-cost mortgages. It had green space. It had recreational facilities. I hear nothing about this type of high-density construction for our city.

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Without these considerations, we must object. The “NIMBY issue” should be secondary. We need to provide for all of our residents. Do not talk about high density if you are not building many of them for families and working-class people. See how it is done in Madrid and other parts of Europe.

Lillian Laskin, Los Angeles

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To the editor: SB 827 is a bill that will do more harm than good and should be defeated by the Legislature. I am sure Sen. Wiener (D-San Francisco) has good intentions in wanting to provide more housing to help the homeless.

The fact is that SB 827 will undoubtedly accomplish the goal of providing more housing, but as a retired developer, I can assure you that the new housing will be even more expensive and less affordable, and would likely have the effect of creating more homeless people, but will certainly be a boon to the bank accounts of real estate developers.

Another case where well-intentioned legislation has the opposite effect of its intended purpose. It has been historically evident that central planning of development from a distant capital city never works. Planning and development are best left to local communities and local residents who can determine the type of development they prefer to have in their neighborhoods.

Gary Aminoff, Playa Del Rey

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