Richard Riordan Endorses L.A. Citywide Neighborhood Integrity Initiative Heading for November Ballot

LOS ANGELES--()--The Coalition to Preserve L.A. (CPLA) announces that Richard Riordan, former mayor of Los Angeles and one of the city's top philanthropists, today endorsed the ‘Neighborhood Integrity Initiative’ heading for the November ballot, which will place a two-year moratorium, citywide on projects that attempt to get around the existing land zoning in Los Angeles.

“You cannot put in expensive condos and rental units and hope to attract people who will use public transportation. You will have two cars for each family.”

“If a person moved to the city now and heard Mayor Eric Garcetti talk, they'd assume he's a member of the Tea Party,” Riordan said. “He isn't doing anything for the poor, but helping the rich get richer — through these zoning deals on land development.”

Sponsored by the Coalition to Preserve L.A., the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative will prevent “spot zoning” by individual city council members in concert with developers, who get around existing zoning rules to create taller and denser buildings across Los Angeles — on land zoned for less-dense communities.

Each year in L.A., street traffic and the destruction of neighborhood character and livability are growing as developers cut cozy deals to build bigger than the city's infrastructure can handle.

Riordan spoke directly to the issue of bidding-up of Los Angeles land, caused when a city council member agrees to toss out the existing zoning on land often occupied by an older building.

“The control of zoning by these single city council members should be illegal,” Riordan said. “That person is being lobbied by the developers and getting campaign money or campaign promises, and this just has to end.”

The former mayor noted that traffic and congestion around “elegant density” developments near L.A. bus, rail and subway lines has worsened severely, a strong indicator that claims by L.A. city leaders that dense new developments help reduce congestion have badly backfired.

“You're going to have more and more traffic around these over-developments,” Riordan said. “You cannot put in expensive condos and rental units and hope to attract people who will use public transportation. You will have two cars for each family.”

Riordan predicted a “dystopia” in which the Los Angeles working class and poor continue to be driven out: “Los Angeles is not a fast-growing city and it won't grow all that much in the future, but it is going to switch to wealthier people under the current policies. It's like San Francisco — a lot of wealthier people and a lot fewer minorities. But where are the liberals in all this?”

Comparing himself to Garcetti and the City Council, he said, “I sound much more liberal than they are. If I were mayor, I would not be for all of this super-gentrification. When I was mayor, we prevented people from taking industrial land and turning it into high-rises because we still need factories and manufacturing — for the good jobs it provides to the working class in L.A.”

Riordan said that without the November moratorium to put a halt to the land flipping and spot-rezoning, it will be impossible to stop the net loss of existing, older affordable housing units underway in Los Angeles.

“I challenge Garcetti to define what he means by affordable housing,” Riordan concluded. “It has zero to do with housing the homeless. It has to do with creating solidly middle and upper-middle class condos that are $4,000 a month, and Garcetti's affordable housing will probably go for close to $3,000. So I want him to define it. Because the working poor in L.A., without question, can't afford City Hall's 'affordable housing.’”

Contacts

Coalition to Preserve L.A.
Ged Kenslea, 323-791-5526
gedk@aidshealth.org

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Richard Riordan Endorses L.A. Citywide Neighborhood Integrity Initiative Heading for November Ballot