Endorsement: Reelect Bob Blumenfield to L.A. City Council District 3
Los Angeles City Councilman Bob Blumenfield is running for a third and final term to represent the southwest San Fernando Valley. It may be one of the more comfortable corners of Los Angeles, but the neighborhoods of Woodland Hills, Winnetka, Tarzana, Canoga Park and Reseda are still struggling with many of the city’s central challenges: housing the homeless, creating more affordable homes, getting consistent city services and helping communities prepare for climate change.
Over his two terms, Blumenfield has been a steady and conscientious member of the City Council and a good advocate for his district. He should be reelected to a third and final term.
Blumenfield was an early advocate for emergency measures, including safe parking and tiny homes, that are designed to transition homeless individuals into stable housing. He persisted in building “cabin communities” in his district even when outraged residents protested outside his house. And after the tiny homes opened, his office continued to hold meetings with neighbors to assuage their concerns.
He’s now backing the conversion of two hotels in Woodland Hills into housing for homeless families and seniors, amid furious backlash from neighbors and parents from a nearby high school. To his credit, he says he remains committed to the projects. The district is short on permanent supportive housing, which is the best way to house the most vulnerable.
Despite an apartment-building boom in the Warner Center area over the last decade, Council District 3 had added a measly 437 affordable units, according to the Planning Department. The district has produced the second-lowest number of affordable units in the city.
In 2020, Blumenfield supported plans to redevelop an aging mall into a new transit-adjacent mini-city with offices, retail, hotels, a sports center and some 1,400 residential units. Yet just 5% of the new units would be affordable to very-low-income tenants and another 5% would be “workforce housing.” That’s a paltry amount, considering the tremendous need for affordable housing for low-wage retail and service workers, and it’s less than smaller developments provide. The city’s transit-oriented communities program typically requires projects include 11% to 15% units for very-low-income tenants. Blumenfield should have pressed for more.
Blumenfield acknowledges the need for more affordable housing in his rapidly developing district but he needs to be far more aggressive in pushing policies that require affordable units — and not waste golden opportunities to get more mixed-income housing.
Blumenfield gets credit for keeping alive redevelopment projects in Canoga Park and Reseda, where the city and the Los Angeles Kings have partnered to turn languishing lots into an ice and roller skating rink complex.
Blumenfield was unopposed when he ran for reelection in 2017. This time he has one challenger — commercial real estate broker and longtime neighborhood council leader Scott Silverstein, who is running because he’s frustrated by city bureaucracy hindering housing development and important community projects. That’s a legitimate and perennial complaint about L.A. government. Silverstein criticizes Blumenfield and the city for moving too slowly on homeless housing yet he opposes important homeless housing projects, like the Woodland Hills hotel conversions.
To solve its problems, Los Angeles needs leaders who don’t shy away from controversy and difficult decisions and are willing to work with communities to get to “yes.” Blumenfield has shown he can do the work and he should be reelected.
Read more endorsements at: latimes.com/endorsements.
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