Letters to the Editor: Building more suburban sprawl won’t recreate the California dream

Granada Hills, a suburban neighborhood in the city of Los Angeles' northernmost reaches.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I was with Joel Kotkin and Marshall Toplansky when they identified California’s biggest problems as income inequality and unaffordable, limited housing.

They lost me on their solutions: eliminating environmental regulations and replacing high-density growth with “job development and housing creation in less-costly regions,” also known as suburban sprawl.

Sure, if you can work remotely, that’s great, and if the pandemic lasts long enough, we’ll likely see much more of it. All well and good. But not every job can be done at home. And more suburbs on last century’s pattern are certainly not the answer. Nowhere do the authors mention infrastructure or water.

Yes, California’s problems are real and serious, but the answer isn’t suburban sprawl. Instead, we need a livable minimum wage, new housing along transit lines, improved schools (because better-educated people can get better jobs) and stronger environmental protections.


Looking back for answers will only take you backward.

Barbara Carlton, El Cajon


To the editor: Politicians here love to boast about environmental sustainability. Mother Nature never intended California to have a population of 40 million, causing natural resources to be stretched beyond their limits.

This fact has become obvious to people here who live with traffic gridlock, water cutbacks and endless development that neglected the need for affordable housing. The people with poor vision who created this mess now want to high-rise us out of the problem.

Mary Kay Gordon, Santa Monica


To the editor: I worry that the California dream is turning into a California nightmare right before our eyes.


Access to water has become a major issue and is only likely to worsen. We are building more homes in fire-prone areas. The erosion of the coastline will continue unabated for the foreseeable future.

Our children deserve the best that we can give them. They deserve the California dream. But a degraded, unsustainable or uninhabitable environment is not the stuff that dreams are made of.

Leah Corry, Santa Monica

OpinionLetters to the Editor