DISTRICT 4 Newsletters
Restoring trust in local government | 7/26/22
As I continue to engage in discussions around housing policy in LA, I’ve been thinking a lot about the story of LA’s first zoning plan from a century ago. To me, understanding our local history about land use has a lot to tell us about how we got to our dire housing situation – and maybe what we need to do better going forward.
In 1921, the City Council approved a new plan to govern growth in Los Angeles. This was the first real zoned plan in the city’s 90-year history. It was a product of real need – the city had doubled in population over the last decade and was about to double again. But the day the zoning plan was approved, LA’s wealthiest got to work.
They’d scooped up land along major corridors, and began to lobby City Councilmembers (legally and illegally) to increase capacity and permit commercial use – tripling the value of their properties. The lobbying – helped along by the LA Times, itself owned by a major real estate speculator – was successful.
Property values skyrocketed. The total value of land in LA quickly rose, and soon outpaced that of much larger and longer-established cities. Worried homeowners who distrusted the city’s leadership began to form new organizations to push back against the zoning changes.
Those organizations evolved into political powerhouses opposing new development, and in the ensuing decades, some of these groups also fought to keep neighborhoods white. Eventually, District Attorney Buron Fitts got involved. He called the Council’s changing of zoning categories a “racket” that “eclipses any other form of asserted corruption yet brought to our attention.” Ironically, Fitts was later himself indicted for bribery – from a real estate promoter.
The development of the first zoning plan in LA set an unfortunate tone – one we’ve found difficult to shake off. It threw us into a hundred-year cycle of housing scarcity, development, corruption, backlash, downzoning, and housing scarcity again.
In order to achieve affordability, bring an end to homelessness, and move LA away from being one of the most segregated places in the country, changing the way LA builds housing – and finding ways to build more of it – is an existential question for this city to answer.
To do that, electeds need the trust of residents. Sadly, that trust has been badly damaged. Because LA electeds have long relied on the private real estate sector for political support and sometimes for personal profit, residents simply do not trust us to manage land use fairly, a pattern that has been in place for more than a century.
That’s why our discussions around housing policy must include efforts to increase trust in the city’s ability to navigate these conversations.
One important piece of the effort is campaign finance reform. The matching funds program has already been a game-changer for Los Angeles, but even today, real estate interests represent the largest campaign contributors to many City Council candidates. If we’re serious about increasing trust in City Hall, we need to build a system locally where those who stand to profit most from the city’s actions are not the ones who are contributing most to local campaigns. I’ve been reading more about democracy vouchers, a new way of funding campaigns that has already had promising results in Seattle.
But another important way to increase trust in the city is to ensure that new development doesn’t come at the expense of existing residents. That means adopting stronger renter protections, so that new development doesn’t result in staggering increases in rents across communities or in the displacement of existing residents.
Stay Housed LA has a summary of current renter protections, particularly those relating to the pandemic, but the city is currently working on a report of how those protections will change when the emergency order related to COVID lifts. If you have a perspective you’d like to share on this issue, you can provide feedback on that council file HERE.
P.S. A lot of the history I cite above for the development of the first zoning plan comes from this piece, which I recommend!
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CELEBRATING STATE BUDGET WINS FOR UNDOCUMENTED CALIFORNIANS
At a moment when inflation is through the roof, every dollar invested for the residents of Los Angeles is crucial. I was honored to my colleague and friend Miguel Santiago in announcing fulfillment of some of these funds through important state budget investments to expand California Food Assistance Program benefits, CalEITC outreach, and free tax preparation assistance to undocumented Californians.
I’m grateful to Assemblymember Santiago for his tenacious leadership in securing historic funding for programs providing services to uplift undocumented Californians – this couldn’t have come at a more opportune moment.
RECOGNIZING THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF OUR CD4 BEAUTIFICATION TEAM LEADERS
The LA Conservation Corps is a wonderful program that provides young Angelenos the opportunity to make a difference and gain valuable working experience. Our office is fortunate to have two LACC teams dedicated to keeping Council District 4 beautiful — and this week, we said goodbye to one of our teams’ amazing leaders, Irvin! Irvin has helped to guide our Corps teams both in their work in CD4 and in their development into successful leaders. Thank you Irvin for all your work on behalf of our office and the residents of CD4!
SUMMER FRIDAY NIGHTS AT THE LA ZOO | JULY 29
Stop by “Zoo Friday Nights”, where guests have the opportunity to experience the Zoo during twilight hours! Event activities include musical performances, a family dance party, games, interactive education stations, and more! For more information and to plan your visit, check out the Zoo’s website HERE.
BACK TO SCHOOL DRIVE FOR STUDENTS IN CD4! | JULY 30 @ 10 AM to 1 PM
Help our students return to school with the supplies they need for a successful year! Our office and the Hollywood United Methodist Church will be collecting donations on July 30th from 10 AM to 1 PM at Hollywood United Methodist Church at 6817 Franklin Ave (Highland entrance). Supplies needed include pencils, single subject spiral notebooks, colored markers, colored pencils, and new backpacks. For any questions, contact Alex Naseef at email@example.com .
More CD4 Dates
LACER Starfest Art Show | Now to August 31st | More Info
APPLY TO WORK FOR OUR OFFICE AS A FIELD DEPUTY
CD4 is hiring! We’re seeking thoughtful applicants for the position of Field Deputy to engage with the community, fulfill direct constituent services, fulfill neighborhood priorities, and more. For more information and to apply, click HERE.
PROVIDE HEALTH SERVICES TO UNHOUSED RESIDENTS WITH TARZANA TREATMENT CENTER
Apply to join Tarzana Treatment Center as a Patient Navigator or Peer Support Specialist! Both positions help provide critical services for Angelenos experiencing homelessness in their paths to permanent housing. Click HERE for more about Tarzana Treatment Center’s work across LA.
MONKEYPOX VACCINE NOW AVAILABLE TO ELIGIBLE GROUPS IN LA
With monkeypox declared a national health emergency and cases on the rise, LA County is working to provide the monkeypox vaccine to as many eligible Angelenos as possible with the current limited national vaccine supply. As soon as federal vaccine supply expands, Public Health will make second doses available to those who received their initial dose. For more information on how to get tested for monkeypox, who is eligible to receive the monkeypox vaccine, and how to preregister for a vaccine appointment, click HERE.
STAY PREPARED FOR HOT-WEATHER WILDFIRES
A critical step Angelenos can take to prepare is to make sure they are ‘Ready, Set, Go!’ according to LAFD guidelines. This includes making sure your property is in line with the City of LA brush clearance requirements, creating a wildfire action plan, preparing an emergency kit in case of evacuation, and signing up for alerts through NotifyLA.
CALL ‘988’ FOR MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS SUPPORT
If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. The newly-launched number for mental health support — 988 — offers 24/7 access to trained crisis counselors who can help people experiencing mental health-related distress, including thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org for yourself or a loved one who may need crisis support.
GET CONNECTED TO FREE PET SERVICES IN LA
LA Animal Services has announced the exciting launch of a free, first-of-its-kind website where people in Los Angeles can find and access free and low-cost pet services. With pets.findhelp.com, support is just a click away!
Simply enter your zip code, then search pets.findhelp.com for whatever pet services you’re interested in, from pet food pantries and training, to veterinary care and more of LA Animal Services’ partners. You can also browse the free and low-cost pet support services in Los Angeles.
Free Grab & Go Lunches For City of LA Residents | More Information
Know The Signs Of Heat Stroke To Stay Healthy | More Information
LOS FELIZ & GRIFFITH PARK
Griffith Park Drive Closure
Bus Boarding Island Construction
Services + Resources