Garcetti-Ville

Los Angeles Mayor Gil Garcetti

Although Los Angeles Mayor Gil Garcetti is a Democrat, I see him as something of a failure. I take issue with him on two counts:

  • He is one of those weepy progressives who are unable to deal with the burgeoning population of the homeless because he doesn’t know how to talk about it. “Let’s build housing for the poor homeless” is no answer when most of the homeless are unable or unwilling to follow rules because it violates their independence.
  • He is a tool of the real estate interests as he embarks on a spree of building high-rise housing along the light rail lines. You can be sure that very few of those units will be reserved for the homeless.

Artist’s Rendering of High Rise Housing Project

In the end, the streets of L.A. will continue to be littered with homeless encampments and the streets will be clogged with increased automobile traffic that no one seems to be planning for. And no, most of the people who will live in these high-rise Garcetti-Villes will probably not be interested in taking public transportation to work or entertainment.

Politicians like to make common cause with real estate developers because of the myth that tax revenue will thereby increase. Far from it: The city will be stuck with older apartment structures that will be vacated to move into these new high-rent districts, turning them into largely vacant slums, while the streets will be choked with cars.

Of course, I like the new light rail lines and the subways. But then, I am not a typical Angeleno.

Construction Fever

The Proposed Ivy Station Complex in Culver City

In the context of Los Angeles history, real estate is the unforgivable “sin against the Holy Ghost.” For decades, local politicians have regaled us with promises. When elected, they changed their tune and essentially gave in to the wild schemes of real estate developers. As I traveled along the Expo Line this afternoon, I passed dozens of large high-rise construction projects.

Theoretically, these projects are based on the principle of increasing the tax base. Unfortunately, the move-ins into the new buildings will leave in their wake an untenable number of vacancies. It’s not as if the new tenants will be new businesses and people who have just moved into the Los Angeles area. In the end, all that will happen will be a combination of untenably high rents and older buildings that are now vacant. And what about the effect on vehicular traffic?

One reason for the huge population of homeless in Southern California is the high price of rental real estate. If it weren’t for rent control, I would be hard put to remain in the Golden State.