SkyscraperCity Forum banner

Only in L. A.

54943 Views 413 Replies 49 Participants Last post by  redspork02
Articles on topics for discussion of our City
1 - 20 of 414 Posts
More city planning isn't the answer
By Peter Gordon

Land-use planning in L.A. has become highly politicized. We know that the city's expensive process for approving new construction has crimped housing supply and pushed up home prices. The "housing affordability crisis" has been the result. Recent research by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development shows that the average cost of excessive regulation on one new dwelling was $11,910, or 4.8% of the average cost of a new home in the U.S. in 2004.

And there has been little to show for it. Policymakers have not succeeded in "getting people out of their cars," nor have they had much effect on how we live. People have a better sense than politicians of the trade-offs that work for them. More than 90% of post-2000 population growth in the U.S. has been in the suburbs. For the most part, it is a story of jobs moving to where people want to live rather than the other way around. That is the way the market keeps traffic from getting worse than it already is. It is the safety net in a world where pricing of highway access is still seen as exotic, sinister or both.

"Sprawl" is a vague and pejorative label, and most commuting is in fact suburb-to-suburb, which is a lot better than suburb-to-central city -- an outdated idea to which some still cling. Equally unfounded are other "visions" paraded by planners and politicians. Do any of them really know what the "best" densities ought to be at the myriad locations throughout Los Angeles? How can they know this? Where is the science?

People think there are some principles of land-use planning that should be followed. But neither you, me nor any number of commentators know the details. Only the market can manage such countless details; there is no known alternative.

Lifestyle choices and the demographic composition of our population are ever-changing. It is the job of builders to figure out how to respond, and those who get it right make sales and money. Those who get it wrong suffer losses and end up in another line of work. The only thing that stands in the way is politics. When politicians get involved, as they increasingly want to do, the process favors large and well-connected developers. Politicians get campaign contributions and developers get approvals. Competition, consumer choice and economic efficiency are reduced. Local communities often turn to NIMBYism because they do not trust the deals that are made in City Hall.

On an almost daily basis, we hear an unbelievably naive discussion that presumes politicization of development is benign and that such politicization has something positive to contribute. Central planning always fails because neither is true.

Innovation occurs when and where it is allowed to occur. The idea that fine-tuning by politicians can be helpful is far-fetched. Once our leaders fix the potholes, we can realistically discuss whether they are ready and able to move up to grander tasks.

Peter Gordon is a professor of real estate economics and public policy at USC.
See less See more
Living in L.A.: 'creative,' 'stressful,' 'diverse'​​

By Rick Orlov, Staff Writer
Article Last Updated: 05/05/2008 06:51:52 AM PDT

Most Los Angeles residents love the city but are troubled by the high cost of living, the lack of government accountability and a widespread sense that no area is getting its fair share of services - the same sentiment that fueled the San Fernando Valley secession drive, according to a survey released today.
Living in Los Angeles is "enjoyably frustrating," said one of the 65 people who participated in a daylong conference in September put together by the Accenture Institute for Public Service Value as part of the international consulting firm's study of the views of people living in eight major cities worldwide.

Descriptions offered by other participants included "creative," "stressful," "diverse," "eccentric," "crowded," "disorganized" and "a city where anything is possible."

Greg Parston, director of the Accenture Institute, said what surprised him were the common views on what people across the world expect from their government.

"What we found that was surprising was that in every city there is an appreciation for the need for public service but also a sense that they want government to be fair in how it provides service," he said.

"There is this sense that government services are more available to people with knowledge of the system and that they want government to be available to the disadvantaged."

Accenture held seminars in each of the cities - L.A., Madrid, Paris, Sydney, Berlin, New York and Singapore - looking

to get a cross-section of residents to discuss their views of their government and what they want and expect.
One L.A. respondent spoke for many saying there was a sense that no part of the city believed it was getting its share of services - except in the most affluent areas.

"I'm giving you my tax money, so keep the roads in good condition," the participant wrote. "Keep the parks beautiful, keep the programs going. If I'm paying for it, I want it to be there to use. If I call the police for whatever reason, I want them there right now, not in 20 minutes."

Another aspect found that people want to have greater say in how government operates, something Los Angeles is developing with its system of neighborhood councils. It also found that most people don't expect government to be the final answer for most issues, saying it is up to citizen involvement, working with business.

L A Daily News
See less See more
Bratton to help London clean up crime​
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images​
Oh JOLLY GOOD! Let's help London!​
Daily News
See less See more
It's almost jacaranda season -- let the purple reign​
May 8, 2008​
Don Bartlietti/LAT​
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 1
More city planning isn't the answer
By Peter Gordon

Peter Gordon is also completely retarded. :bash: The problem isn't too much planning, it's not enough, and when there is planning, it is ignored. Density is allowed if affordable housing is allowed, and there is no cap on parking. How much sense does that make?
Bikes On The Freeway, Again!​
By Sean Bonner May 10th, 2008 @ 1:42 PM Biking in LA, West Side​
Last month a group of cyclists calling themselves The Crimanimalz took to the freeways in a daring demonstration showing exactly how inefficient driving a car in Los Angeles can be sometimes. They rode their bikes on the freeway. I said then that this move was equal parts stupid and awesome, and stick by that. Yesterday, they did it again…​
Please tap into this! You won't see anything funnier!​
The east bound 10 to the north bound 405! A little more daring than your average Manhattan delivery :)
LA Curbed​
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 1
:lol: That's crazy...
And look at this guy on tall bike...:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
Peter Gordon is also completely retarded. :bash: The problem isn't too much planning, it's not enough, and when there is planning, it is ignored. Density is allowed if affordable housing is allowed, and there is no cap on parking. How much sense does that make?

Agreed Peter Gordon is a closet Libertarian who believes in very little gov't regulation and the belief that the market should dictate the ends. These people are hypocrites ''/''

SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) - A California bill proposing a 25 percent tax on revenues from adult entertainment would do little to ease the state's budget shortfall and would cost the state money by encouraging its pornography industry to move, opponents said on Monday as lawmakers reviewed the bill.

The legislation would especially hurt the economy of the San Fernando Valley, the Hollywood of pornographic filmmaking, said opponents, who included several dancers and other adult entertainment performers and employees at a hearing on the bill in the state capital, Sacramento.

"This will decimate the San Fernando Valley," Larry Kaplan, executive director of the California branch of the Association of Club Executives, a group representing adult entertainment clubs, told Reuters.

"We estimate it would take $3.5 billion out of California," Kaplan added, referring to the economic activity the state could lose if it were to tax strip-club performances, porn-shop sales and adult Web site revenues at a 25 percent rate.

Matt Gray, a lobbyist for the state's adult entertainment industry, echoed the familiar refrain of mainstream small and big businesses directed at lawmakers who propose raising business taxes: "It's an unfriendly business climate here."
If porn-film production costs are pushed up, California's adult movie-makers will have even more reason to shoot movies elsewhere, Gray said, adding that Budapest is giving the San Fernando Valley, north of Los Angeles, a run for porn-film production money.

"It's actually cheaper to fly everyone to Budapest to do their shoots there and to fly them back," Gray said.


Assemblyman Charles Calderon had proposed his bill to help raise revenues for the cash-strapped state. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has forecast a $20 billion budget shortfall.

But additional tax revenues from the adult entertainment activity would also help defray social costs associated with it, including crime, drug abuse and sexually transmitted diseases, according to Calderon, the Democratic chairman of the chamber's committee on revenues and taxation.

"This tax would cover the gamut of adult entertainment," he told fellow lawmakers. His bill would tax production, distribution, retail sales, Internet downloads and performances of adult entertainment.

"Every second, $3,000 is being spent on adult entertainment,"
Calderon said. "Every 39 minutes, a new adult video is being made in the United States."

Former porn actress Shelley Lubben spoke in favor of Calderon's bill, detailing to lawmakers her history of prostitution, drug abuse and sexually transmitted disease while in the industry.

"I really don't think the state understands the problem," Lubben said. "It literally took me eight years to recover."
Call it what you want, but an industry is an industry and $$$$ is $$$$... do you really think taxing the porn industry is going to help solve the state's problems? The only thing that's going to do is mess our local economy up and cause us to lose more of our business to other cities, and dig California into a bigger debt hell. We can't tax them if they all leave...

*in Canadian prime minister South Park voice* "The porn industry has a lot of money! Give us some of that money!"
So, when everyone's coming in here and treating us like a dead carcass to feed off of, offering their tax incentives, we're taking our economy apart piece by piece to try and make up a budget shortfall?? The porn industry has now been forsaken? Only in L. A.
..and where porn goes, the legitimate (so-called) film industry will follow.
Bikes On The Freeway, Again!​
By Sean Bonner May 10th, 2008 @ 1:42 PM Biking in LA, West Side​
Last month a group of cyclists calling themselves The Crimanimalz took to the freeways in a daring demonstration showing exactly how inefficient driving a car in Los Angeles can be sometimes. They rode their bikes on the freeway. I said then that this move was equal parts stupid and awesome, and stick by that. Yesterday, they did it again…​
Please tap into this! You won't see anything funnier!​
The east bound 10 to the north bound 405! A little more daring than your average Manhattan delivery :)
LA Curbed​
Highways, if ridden correctly are actually safer than what a NY messenger does. In a city you have to worry about door zones, and frequent intersections, not so on a highway, where traffic is predictable.
Anyone here consider driving on the 'FREEWAYS' predictable? What's funny about your predictable take on this is that if you're hit by a car in Manhattan, you may die. On an L. A. freeway at speed, you will be ground into hamburger. Happens with pedestrians from time to time. Bikers in Manhattan are a piece of the puzzle.. riding your bicycle on the freeway? You may as well be on the moon. That's why I posted the link. Me think it funny :)
L.A. needs clear policy for touchy subject​
Article Last Updated: 05/14/2008 09:42:34 PM PDT

THERE'S a reason why Los Angeles City Council members have been grappling for years with the controversial issue of waiving fees for special events without coming to a conclusion: They just can't win on it.

What council members have found is that though on the surface it makes sense to recoup the cost of providing police, traffic and other city services to special events, it doesn't actually make sense in many instances.

For example, if the city charged every event for all the fees it now waives, how many neighborhoods could afford the regular block parties, farmers markets, fairs, parades, rallies and other events that help build community in this sprawling city?

Very few, if any, would be able to pay the mysteriously calculated costs, printed in each City Council agenda, that are "waived" each meeting by council decree.

Yet time and again, the call for fee-waiver reform arises, often when the city falls upon tough financial times.

The call has come up again this month, as city officials try to figure out how to fill a $406million gap between expected revenue and what they'd like to spend in the next fiscal year. After raising all the taxes and fees they could think of, they had a brainstorm: Stop waiving all these fees for events, and suddenly the money will start rolling in, right?

Well, maybe.

Although city officials say they lose as much as $11million a year from providing these services to the community
that pays taxes in order to be served in such a way, that figure is pure conjecture. For one thing, it doesn't calculate how many groups would simply close up shop or move their fair, parade or show somewhere else if forced to pay the fees.
And, by extension, that figure doesn't account for the incidental benefits of such events to city coffers. Money spent in L.A. means tax revenue for the city.

Some have suggested that while community groups couldn't afford the cost of the city fees, commercial ventures can. Therefore, they argue, the city should charge fees for money-making events.

That way, the argument goes, the sponsors of for-profit ventures like the Oscars or Dodgers games would pay whatever L.A. bureaucrats deem is their fair share for the cost of city services. But, then, so would less-deep-pocketed ventures such as farmers markets and neighborhood fairs.

See the problem?

It would be tricky, mind-bending work to come up with a fair policy to guide the granting of special-event fee waivers. But it must be done - if for no other reason than to put to rest the regular grousing from gadflies and officials about all the money the city is "losing" for these events.

A clear policy is also essential to ensuring fairness in the process. Waivers currently go through individual council offices. The result is unequal treatment.

Why, for example, should traffic control for USC's graduation be waived, but not for UCLA's? That kind of arbitrary application could set the city up for lawsuits claiming favoritism and bias.

L.A. officials must also carefully consider the value of some money-making events to the city in terms of indirect economic benefits or direct social and cultural ones. That value, though difficult to quantify, must be balanced against the true costs.

To be sure, the Academy Awards' annual event in Hollywood uses a tremendous amount of taxpayer resources in the form of traffic control and police, and the academy could afford to fork over some money. But if it won't, does Los Angeles really want to drive away a quintessential Hollywood event, or alienate the industry that's the backbone of the local economy?

The public and the council ought not cast aside these events so brusquely just for the sake of a few more dollars.

Ending special-event fee waivers is not the magic solution to the city's budget ills. But having a policy in place will help the city do a better job of capturing fees without driving away the events that make Los Angeles Los Angeles.

Daily News
See less See more
L.A. prepares massive water-conservation plan​
The initiative would punish water wasters and limit such activities as watering lawns and washing vehicles. And it would revive a controversial effort to recycle sewage water.​
By Rich Connell, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
May 15, 2008

With vital and often-distant water sources shrinking, Los Angeles officials today will revive a controversial proposal to recycle wastewater as part of a plan to curb usage and move the city toward greater water independence.

The aggressive, multiyear proposal could do much to catch the city up to other Southern California communities that have launched advanced recycling programs.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's effort could cost up to $2 billion and affect a wide range of daily activities. For example, residents would be urged to change their clothes' washers, and new restrictions would be placed on how and when they could water lawns and clean cars.

Financial incentives and building code changes would be used to incorporate high-tech conservation equipment in homes and businesses. Builders would be pushed to install waterless urinals, weather-sensitive sprinkler systems and porous parking lot paving that allows rain to percolate into groundwater supplies.

Just to meet a 15% increase in demand by 2030, officials say 32 billion gallons a year will have to be saved or recaptured -- enough to cover the San Fernando Valley with a foot of water.

Prohibitions during the 1990s drought -- banning residents from washing driveways and sidewalks, letting sprinklers flood into gutters and watering grass in midday -- would be enforced again, with additional restrictions. One part of the proposal would limit lawn watering to certain days of the week.

"This is a radical departure for the city of Los Angeles," said Department of Water and Power General Manager David Nahai. "I think overall this plan is going to be a beacon for other cities."

In fact, cities facing the same challenges, including Long Beach, have already moved to curtail residential and commercial water usage and punish waste. Orange County and other Southern California agencies are also recycling treated sewage water back into the drinking supply.

Los Angeles' plan -- a copy of which was made available to The Times -- would invest in projects to capture and store rainfall and clean up a sprawling, contaminated water supply beneath the San Fernando Valley. About $1 billion would be allocated for reclamation, including a politically sensitive plan to use treated wastewater to recharge underground drinking supplies serving the Valley, Los Feliz and the Eastside.

A similar system was approved and built in the 1990s, then abandoned after critics labeled it a "toilet-to-tap" scheme.

The city learned from its earlier "aborted attempt" at water recycling, Nahai said.

"This is a new day," he said. "We have new technology. We're going to reach out very aggressively to the public and engage them as to the facts."

One critic said voters should decide whether the water supply will be blended with treated wastewater. "It's grossly unfair for the mayor, the City Council or the DWP to decide consumers are going to be using this recycled water," said Gerald A. Silver, president of Homeowners of Encino.

But Millie Hamilton, an Encino Neighborhood Council member and docent at the city's Tillman Water Reclamation Plant, said recycling is safe, needed and nothing new. "There is no new water on this planet," said Hamilton, who was referred to The Times by the mayor's office. "We are drinking the same water the dinosaurs drank. All our water has been and is being recycled."

The ambitious water plan carries political risks for the mayor, but also could burnish his record as an environmental leader in a bid for higher office. A number of key details remain to be worked out and vetted by the City Council, including the cost of various elements and how they would be financed.

On the heels of a recent DWP water rate hike, Nahai said no additional increases are anticipated. Most parts of the program can be funded from state water grants, the DWP's existing budget and going after polluters who have fouled city groundwater. But future fee increases may be needed, he acknowledged.

David Coffin, a Westchester Neighborhood Council member who tracks water issues, said the plan misses a larger point: controlling growth.

"I don't think they're going to make any headway. They're adding 14,000 to 16,000 housing units a year in the face of water shortages. How are they going to supply all those people?"

Administration officials say the point is to act now so the city can meet increased demand through a combination of conservation and recycling. They note that Los Angeles is an arid metropolis that has grown by dipping long straws in far-flung water supplies.

But recent court rulings, environmental agreements and competition from other urban centers are cutting flows or sharply increasing costs of water from the Owens Valley, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and the Colorado River.

[email protected]
See less See more
Cinespia Announces First Cemetery Screenings of 2008​​
by The 8 Track Kid May 18th, 2008 @ 11:27 PM​
Looking for something to do on a Saturday night that involves music, an old cemetery and some of the best movies ever made? Well thanks to the folks at Cinespia you needn’t look any further because they’ve announced their first two screenings of the year at The Hollywood Forever Cemetery. For several years now Cinespia has, on spring and summer Saturday nights, turned the Hollywood Forever Cemetery into a film lovers spooky paradise by screening classic films and cult favorites under the stars.

To kick off this year Cinespia has chosen to show the appropriately dark Ace In The Hole on Saturday May 24th. Long considered Billy Wilder’s lost classic, Ace in the Hole stars Kirk Douglas as an ambitious but down on his luck reporter who stumbles upon the story of a lifetime; a story so big it will take him back to the top, as long as he can keep it going…and he keeps it going no matter the consequences. While it was panned after it’s 1951 release as being too dark that may be due to the fact that it says more about some of the ugly aspects of human nature than we care to admit to. Ace in the Hole is Billy Wilder at his darkly satirical best and I highly recommend heading out to this screening because it’s an experience (and a film) you wont soon forget.

If you can’t make to Ace in the Hole, Cinespia will be back a week later on May 31st with The Party, a Blake Edwards comedy starring Peter Sellers from 1968. It’s the only non Pink Panther collaboration between Sellers and Edwards and it also features a pre Love Boat Gavin MacLeod, a baby elephant and many cultural artifacts that scream; “Hey, this was made in 1968″.

Here’s all you’ll need to know about Cinespia Cemetery Screenings 2008:

* The Hollywood Forever Cemetery is at 600 Santa Monica Blvd (at Gower).
* It’s a $10 donation to get in.
* Parking on the cemetery grounds is free but it fills up fast, parking elsewhere will cost you a few bucks. Some street parking is available in the area but as always look at the signs (do I have to tell you this?).
* Music before and after the movie.
* Bring a picnic and blankets but no barbecues and no tall chairs.
* You can bring booze but not your pets.
* Check out to learn more. Hope to see you at the cemetery sometime soon.
LA Metblogs​
See less See more
sounds necessary... if we were in kansas.

two directions of our city face the ocean. why not suck that through a straw and purify it?

no joke, please tell me, there's got to be a good reason why we aren't doing that. from the geographic perspective of it, we don't even need straws: the ocean is colliding with us.
1 - 20 of 414 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.