September 22, 2016
It’s Called a ‘Bonin’ and It’s Destroying Los Angeles as We Know It by Tony Butka, CITYWATCHLA
EASTSIDER-Every so often I forget that there is City Hall villainy over and beyond the Northeast’s very own trio of Jose Huizar, Gilbert Cedillo, and Mitch O’Farrell. Although led by Jose Huizar, as the Chair of the PLUM Committee, I do believe that this gang has approved enough mega-development to make the land subside by at least ten feet, and maybe even cause a shift in the tectonic plates. Heck, Eric Garcetti was a piker compared to these guys — at least until he became Mayor and had more land to sell off.
On the other hand, a CityWatch reader contacted me with yet a different dastardly bend over, kiss the developer and sell out the community mega-development act perpetrated by another one of our model-of-integrity City Council members — this time, Mike Bonin (CD 11). Take a look at the picture of the Martin Expo Town Center (photo above.) It reminds me of some planetary headquarters of the evil empire in a Star Wars movie.
Located on Bundy and Olympic Blvd., this monster ought to permanently block the ability of anyone to get from downtown LA to the Westside and vice versa. Not to mention that the folks who live there won’t be able to get anywhere at all. Proponents note that it’s being built near the Expo Line extension, I suppose implying, yet again, that mass transit will eliminate the need for cars in Los Angeles. But I seem to remember that the Expo Line is already overburdened with riders, so maybe this project can create a first in LA: Metro gridlock on one of their routes.
So back to Mr. Bonin, the replacement for Councilmember Bill Rosendahl. Bonin really makes some of us rue the untimely demise of his former boss: he isn’t a Bill Rosendahl. For those of you who remember the Airbnb wars, Mr. Bonin was the author of that fatuous statement that he supported “good short-term rentals” and opposed “bad short-term rentals.” What a guy.
You might also remember Mr. Bonin for being the second to Herb Wesson’s original Airbnb motion, even while his constituents in Venice were being illegally evicted from their rent-controlled units that were replaced with Airbnb hotels. In fact, Councilmember Bonin is so beloved in Venice that some there are attempting get out of Los Angeles completely and form their own city, a move referred to as Vexit.
Bonin’s Deal Hits a Bump
So what’s new with Bonin’s dialing for dollars on the Martin Expo Town Center?
Here are the details: In order to build the monster Martin Expo Town Center, the Council has to fiddle with the City’s General Plan to change the designation of the area from Light Manufacturing to General Commercial. This is not trivial, especially since the General Plan has not been changed for something like 20 years and going from a Cadillac dealership to a huge mixed-used mega-development is a huge change. We won’t even get into Community Plans. But there is a process that should be followed.
On the same PLUM Committee agenda that lists the Martin Expo item is another item, 14-1719, regarding possible zone changes for a project in the Valley. In this case, it looks like they got it right by making the Planning Department, in conjunction with the City Attorney, prepare a report regarding possible zone change options.
So why didn’t they do the same for the Martin Expo project? How about because Mr. Bonin has already partaken of the developer’s kool-aid?
Tuesday, September 20, was the last day for Council action on the General Plan Amendment/Zone Change for the Martin Expo Town Center. If the Council didn’t act by then, it would be goodbye to whatever goodies Bonin stands to get. But it turns out that there was a big “boo boo” in the PLUM Agenda: Planning filed a new Addendum to the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the day of the PLUM meeting. This meant that the items were out of compliance with the Brown Act so the PLUM Committee wouldn’t be able to discuss or vote on the items. And the last day to act was coming up, which meant they wouldn’t be able to fix it by having the PLUM Committee re-agendize the item and get Council to act before September 20.
For those who think I’m imagining things, the project was already set for the City Council meeting of Friday, September 16 — obviously, assuming that the same PLUM Committee would have approved the project.
But this is the City of Los Angeles, so there’s always a way to fix the error and still ram through the project. The “powers that be” had the PLUM Committee “waive consideration of item” and quickly put the project directly on the City Council agenda for September 20, the last day for action. And guess what the vote was?
For a more detailed look at manipulation of the General Plan and planning in general in the City of Angels, take a look at Dick Platkin’s recent CityWatch articles. I particularly enjoyed, “Who’s In Charge at LA’s City Planning, the Queen of Hearts?”
And why, pray tell, would a City Councilmember resort to such obviously disingenuous behavior, evading the very spirit of open government and the Brown Act? How about pushback from the affected communities that are refusing to roll over for this repurposing of a Cadillac dealership that will cause the wholesale destruction of their deeply affected neighborhoods? Irony intended.
All you have to do is take a look at the coalition that organized to see why Mr. Bonin is trying to sneak this project by. It’s a pretty potent, activist set of folks — the West of Westwood Homeowners Assn, West LA/Sawtelle Neighborhood Council, the Brentwood Homeowners Association and the Westwood South of Santa Monica Homeowners Association, to name a few.
September 12, 2014
From Stephen Gries:
I urge you to look into this very alarming situation that is taking place in my community of Venice Beach CA.
Actually it has been, and is also still taking place up and down the entire California Coast for quite some time. I observed this personally at the March 2014 California Coastal Commission meeting in Long Beach CA.
For the purpose of this correspondence, I shall make Venice CA my main interest, as I live here.
Venice is the number one tourist destination in Southern California. We consistently bring in the most tourist revenue to the state.
With over 40,000 homeowners on lots currently valued at $ 1.8 million, we as a community are worth approximately $60+ Billion Dollars, richer than Beverly Hills.
Add in the billions already paid in as taxes as a mixed income, mixed race community over the years, probably another 4 to 5 Billion Dollars, and yet we are being treated as if we don’t even exist.
Currently approximately 20% of all new current and pending development in Los Angeles is taking place here in an area of 3 square mile with around 40,000+ residents, which is less than 1% of Los Angeles.
In addition 5 times the amount of Beer/Alcohol applications then the rest of Los Angeles, are currently pending here.
Residents who have gone to commission and council meetings protesting this carpet bagger speculator boomtown mentality have been met with complete and total indifference.
I feel that they are laboring under a false sense of entitlement, immunity, and impunity. The same attitude and mindset also exists with The Planning Commission, and Building and Safety. Where is the political oversight??? Where is our equal protection under the law?
I understand the the city/state has offered tax incentives to these developers/builders. (which is our taxpayer monies)
I can only imagine that they think that any future property tax income from ”new” housing and future 200-300% increase in homeowner taxes will offset any future lost tourist income revenue lost as a result of changing the look and feel of existing beach communities. Even if that was to be the case down the road, it still does not explain or address how and why residents, communities and neighborhoods have been put off or cast aside.
In fact, we are all being denied our pre-existing rights under the law. We have not been contacted in advance on projects and therefore have not given our informed consent. We have not been offered financial recompense from builders to those on all sides of construction, which is also required by law.
It seems to me that the city/state, in their fervor to create an express check out line for developers and builders, with Over The Counter Waivers (OTC aka VSO’s), Plan Check and Open Permits have failed to take into account all other homeowners/ residents of streets and areas permanently affected rights. I have not seen one person from any agencies (except assigned inspector) personally come down to Venice, take a tour and inspections and see for themselves. This is seemingly all done by forms and computer over the internet.
It is almost as if the powers that be have gone and granted a kind of private eminent domain to builders. Instead the Planning Commission and the California Coastal Commission are there to run 100% interference for the developers and against existing taxpayers.
Many of my 1000’s of neighbors want to file against this practice in The Supreme Court, if this is not immediately stopped.
The California coast is precious and irreplaceable, they don’t make coast line anymore. Beach communities have a quaint and historical look to them by design. It is a lifestyle and an image that is known and recognized worldwide. It has been celebrated in film and music for many decades.
Now it seems that developers want to remake the California Coast in their own image with the city and state’s tax incentive blessing.
There are already many developments within a mile of Venice that have 10’s of thousands of condos. We do not need nor desire areas that have a rich and illustrious history such as Venice being turned into condo land, hiding under the guise of a new “single family home”.
Venice is predominately one story homes with backyards as is stated in “The Venice Specific Plan”. Many are 100 years old and many well known figures have inhabited them. Generations of the same families have been born and raised here, this is an historic and iconic area that , to paraphrase another resident’s opinion of what is transpiring here: “The gang rape of Venice”. These new homes being built are 2-3 stories with elevators, and take up the entire lot.
In fact at an April meeting I found out developers in Marina Del Rey adjacent which was originally called “Venice Peninsula”, (before the city claimed it): They want to knock down an old structure there to put up condos. This structure was the location where Charlie Chaplin first filmed his iconic “Little Tramp” character. What’s next??? This is wrong on so many levels.
Something is most assuredly questionable with this entire ongoing process as it is presently being utilized. It is completely beyond the scope and intended meaning of the law, imho.
Always for the developer, never in favor of current residents concerns or objections. Not only here, in Venice, but up and down the entire California Coast. The Coastal Commission has been granting Venice Sign Off’s aka VSO aka diminimus waiver to developers at an alarming rate which sidesteps the communities ability to object, or even be notified in advance. Under the diminimus waivers granted by the California Coastal Commission (CCC)
Even when we get a chance to speak, they overrule us, or send it back to the Planning Commission where they overrule us. This is democracy? Seems more like a kangaroo court. A Dog and Pony Show, Three Car Monte.
A diminimus waiver is actually legally, a trifle, a frivolity, of no real consequence or importance. Somehow, it has become non appealable.
It is being used to destroy historic homes and completely side step existing resident’s rights to be heard, even though they are, and will be irrevocably and permanently harmed by this current process. We are left with no voice, no redress.
Please have someone on your staff review the videos of the recent CCC hearings in March and onward in Long Beach, Historic coastal properties are being destroyed because builders went in and performed a partial or preliminary demolition, even before the demolition permits had been granted final approval.
Those opposed to these demolitions have brought in experts in Historic Preservation that have world renowned credentials.
So, the council basically says: “Well it’s too badly damaged to repair now, so, historic preservation denied, we find for the developer”. This harkens of larceny, greed, graft, and misuse and abuse of public office.
I believe a builder on my street at 518 Santa Clara Ave is in violation for non compliance by non notification in writing, improper permitting, in advance to properties on all six sides, as is mandatory by law, even with these waivers. In addition, when the old structure was torn down, no barriers were put in place to protect the public safety. Santa Clara is windward to the Pacific and one of the windiest streets in Venice. (even though ZIMAS states it is moderate wind?)
Dust and debris went flying east in large plumes. (The old structure was built in the 50’s and probably contained lead paint and asbestos).
My immediate neighbor east of the “project” is 80 years old. She has lived here for 45 years. I am one lot further east adjacent to her home. I am on disability, (recovering from Pneumonia/Encephalitis). I am 61 years old, and I have long term Chronic Sinusitis and Blepharitis (acne of the inner eyelids). I have 7 years of medical records to prove this. I begged the builder to put up containment barriers. He refused. Then as they graded the lot, dirt went flying into my backyard for weeks. I have multiple witnesses , photos, and video of this.
Under their current definition these waivers aka Venice Sign Off’s aka VSO’s they can only build 20% bigger than the pre existing structure, well they are building 500% bigger, with no notification to residents on all sides, in writing, in advance, as is required by law.
He was also granted a height variance waiver so this new structure will tower over existing homes, and will be 5200 sq. ft.and 3 stories with an elevator, when they pre-existing structure was 950 sq. ft.
Where are the steel girders demanded under California Earthquake law to support the frame? They are not there.
This is wrong, in violation, probably illegal, and should not be allowed to stand. I requested an Environmental Safety report, a Earthquake Safety Report, and a Density Impact Report from Building and Safety . Their reply was “well we should have them on file, but we don’t.” ??????
In the meantime, we are all constantly being solicited to sell our homes. Mailers, brokers, knocks on our doors. My neighbor was approached in person by the developer in question on Santa Clara Ave. months ago. He stood over her in her home pressuring her to sell. At the same moment, his tractor guy on his lot was banging into her house, shaking it and knocking family photos off the wall of her children and grand children. When I head about this, I filed a police report as I consider this to be intimidation. Never heard anything back from authorities.
These lots are known as Small Lot Sub Divisions and are meant to have “single family homes” with back yards, not to have the entire lot built on from front to back at sizes and heights way over the community standard, and still call it a “single family home”. The majority of these are most definitely not in keeping with the look and feel and are “out of character” with the neighborhood.
They are blocking views and eliminating other long term home owners and renters privacy. Loss of air space, light, ocean breeze, etc, on my street residents views have been blocked on six sides and 100% loss of privacy on others. They are out of character with the look and feel of Venice, this is wrong and must stop.
At the very least, this needs to be impartially scrutinized by an independent oversight committee, asap.
i am on the city’s list serve which was to notify me of pending development on my street. I was directed to use it from my own councilman’s office.
Turns out I would never be informed even though i was told i would be, neighbors would be, and we all would receive official city notifications, in writing, in advance. Instead nothing!!!
The coastal commission has been granting these diminimus waivers aka VSO’s circumventing this process. Residents and homeowners are left with no appeal process, no interaction, no redress. In addition, they are granting height variances which are not only is destroying the look and feel of this community, it could be potentially a danger, as Venice is 0 to 8 feet above sea level adjacent to Santa Monica Fault/Long Beach Fault and in a Tsunami Hazard Zone.
In 1927 extensive oil drilling was done here and toxic substances still remain underground to this day. At the time that the oil fields were abandoned, small houses with air space under the houses were built after heavily laden clay from Topanga Canyon was laid down.
Recently a neighbor showed me oil crawling up a phone pole. Another neighbor walked by and stated that the grey/white substances observed on the pole was Dioxin, a banned toxic cancerous chemical.
Now these speculators want to build underground parking and tall structures that are effectively built on sand. The water table is very thin here.
The builders are breaking the terms and agreement of their own city blessed fast tracked “Sweet Heart” Deals, and still the commissions green lights them and tell us residents that we have no valid complaint/ dissent/claim. ??? Additionally, much of this “Gentrification” monies are coming in from out of state.
Is this clean money? Perhaps an issue for The FBI to look into.
As far as the various individuals comprising these boards and commissions who are always finding in favor of the builders and never for existing homeowners and tax payers, perhaps one needs to look to see if their “Contributions” or “Assets” exceed their stated income. If so, that is perhaps an issue for The IRS to investigate.
9/8/14 P.S. I have already lodged multiple complaints with Building and Safety: latest one is confirmation on this report 8/22/14 is ref# 334890 they told me to call enforcement officer:
I called code enforcement Robert garth 1 310 4178640 , not helpful. He took exception that i specifically requested an inspector other than Bob Dunn (assigned local inspector) he asked why, I stated I don’t trust him, and want a 2nd opinion. Mr Garth got angry, told me Bob was his friend. He basically acted as if I had put his girlfriend down at a bar or something, this shocked me, very unprofessional. He refused to give me direct supervisor’s name of Ankit Patell? (sic), officer of record on CCC filing @ 518 Santa Clara Ave 9/3/14 @ approx. 4-4:15 pm pst.
I sent an email of to L.A. DA’s office which has since been forwarded to “Office of Public Integrity”.
I have already complained and spoke at (LUPC) Land Use Planning Committee meeting 4/14 re: 518 Santa Clara Ave Venice CA 90291
I have already filed my grievances re: 518 Santa Clara Ave with The California Coastal Commission in March 2014 at The Long Beach Meeting
I have spoken at The Venice Neighborhood Council 8/14 multiple times.
The response I have received to date from any city or government entity is: Zero
I am on the ENSLA city mailing list (The one that I was misdirected to join by my City Councilman’s office), on that list it states that to speak before planning commission one must fill out a form to speak 10 days prior to next scheduled meeting. The irony here is that most of these email alerts are sent with only 9 or less days remaining, so how is one to sign up to air concerns?
Additionally the mailer states that in order to speak, that you agree to abide by the commission’s decision before you appear and that is stated in bold italics and underlined in their email. How is this equitable? This is not equal protection or representation under the law. In addition we have contacted the local police, the fire department and The EPA.
The 40,000 residents of Venice are now actively discussing potentially filing the largest class action against California in it’s history and seek unprecedented damages unless we see this graft/ corrupt “business as usual” methodology halted asap. They too have seen the CNN report that named California the 2nd most corrupt state in the nation. They do not believe that our representatives are working for us.
On the contrary, they feel that our representatives are actively working against us. It appears to us long time owners, taxpayers and residents that the city/state wants to see us “low balled” bought out, priced out, and eventually taxed out, while our own tax payer revenue is being used against us to aid and abet the gentrification process.
Others are saying that if our Democratic Governor will not intercede at this time, then to send all our concerns to The GOP, with 8 weeks to go before the mid term elections
I don’t want that. I’m a life long democrat. But I fear that if nothing is done very very soon, this entire issue will go national. Thousands have been affected here, and probably 100’s of thousands up and down the California Coast.
I’m no accountant but I would venture to say that this is affecting all Beach Communities up and down the California Coast to the tune of a Trillion Dollars, while our own tax dollars are being used against us to “help” the developers.
There is much more but I only wanted to get your initial impression and interest on this.
What I am asking to be granted at this time is, for a temporary moratorium on all current and pending developments and building for permits that were issued via these so called waivers and to launch an investigation into this surreptitious practice. Us residents would like a 100% transparent investigation with any and all news media invited to attend.
Please do not let Venice be turned into Condo Beach, all the people who make this place such a unique worldwide attraction will leave, the baby will be thrown out with the bath water and the goose that lays the golden eggs will vanish forever.
I thank You for reading this.
December 12, 2011
LA Human Right to Housing Collective Reclaims Abandoned Police Department for Human Rights Day
Over the weekend the LA Human Right to Housing Collective, which POWER is a member of, took over the vacant police building on Temple and Rampart in observance of Human Rights Day (December 10). We called attention to the lack of community participation on what to do with the site — participation that would change the debate from building another police department or warehouse to one about real community needs, based on what people who live in the neighborhood want.
People wanted many things: A senior center, a community clinic, new affordable housing, or a park with childcare. Anything would be better than the vacant lot that currently collects trash and does nothing to help people in Los Angeles achieve their basic human rights to housing, education, work and health care.
The Spanish language media covered the action. English translation is provided below:
Translation provided by:
May 5, 2011
Concluding a long investigation, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich announced today he has sued Deutsche Bank for allowing hundreds of foreclosed properties to fall into serious disrepair even as it worked to illegally evict of hundreds of low-income tenants.
The bank’s liability could run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.
The complaint alleges Deutsche Bank is “one of the largest slumlords in the City of Los Angeles,” citing 166 properties as examples of Deutsche Bank’s illegal conduct under local, state and federal laws.
“The lawsuit seeks immediate injunctive relief, including a complete inventory, registration and inspection of foreclosed properties; compliance with all applicable state and municipal code requirements; and a stop to all illegal evictions,” the City Attorney’s office said. More
May 3, 2011
Bring It On: L.A. Council Members Endorse Plan To Sell Advertising In City Parks
Ocean Front Walk in Venice is locally known as The Boardwalk, although it’s all concrete—the only boards in sight belong to distant surfers waiting to catch a wave. That view to the west is free of the intense commercialism of the inland side of the the Boardwalk, with its crowded T-shirt and souvenir shops, but strollers gazing beachward may soon be greeted by a new sight—advertising signs on light poles, benches, trash cans, and restroom walls and doors.
At yesterday’s meeting of the City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee, Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who represents the Venice area, endorsed the kind of plan put forward last year by the non-profit L.A. Parks Foundation to raise money for city parks maintenance and operations by selling space to what was termed “corporate sponsors.” The Venice Beach part of the plan called for 200 signs on an 8-block stretch of the Boardwalk, a total sign area of almost 10,000 square feet, or the equivalent of 15 full-size billboards. More
April 13, 2011
We will be meeting at 7 pm on Thurday, April 21st at the Vera Davis Center, please attend and invite as many friends and family as possible. We need support to keep the Vera Davis Center for those who need it the most.
Why Was VNC Left Out of the Vera Davis “Oligarchial Coup”? No Different Than Why VNC & Penmar Community Was Not Informed That Penmar Golf Course Will Become “Home at Night” To “Vehicles Without Homes”.
To: Bill Rosendahl, Councilperson CD 11 4-12-11
cc: Olga Garay; Executive Director LA Cultural Affairs
From: Rick Selan, Member MVCC-VNC Education Committees
Vera Davis Contract To Venice Arts For Apparent 5 Year Contract Plus Extension ?
Dear Council Person Rosendahl,
This afternoon this advocate had the pleasure to speak to Olga Garay, Executive Director of LA Cultural Affairs regarding the Vera Davis Center being turned over to LA Cultural Affairs.
She shared with this advocate that she was approached about two months ago by Council Member Bill Rosendahl while she was on other business before the City Council in regards to the Vera Davis Center being included as number 15 in an RFP process which the Cultural Affairs Department was working on with the COA for 14 art and theatre centers in the City of Los Angeles.
Ms. Garay felt she was doing a favor for a councilperson, nothing more; nothing less, receiving no self interests nor perks. No hidden agendas.
A meeting was then held with Olga Garay and her Assistant General Manager and CD 11 Deputy Arturo Pina.
According to Ms. Garay, at this meeting, Deputy Pina stated ,”The goal was to permit Venice Arts to take over the management of the Vera Davis Center”. Why was there no discussion nor advertisements for other organizations currently operating at the center to apply to operate this center ?
Was (Is) Venice Arts the only organization who has applied for the management of the Vera Davis Center, and if so, why was this opportunity to apply not shared with the Venice community when the motion was passed? Might you share the date of passage of the Vera Davis McClendon Center by the City Council when transfer of poer takes place on June 30, 2011?
What will be the yearly budget be of Venice Site 15 of Cultural Affairs (formerly Vera Davis in the eyes of the City Council) and who will control that budget? Ms. Garay did not have the answers.
If Venice Arts receives (ed) the RFP will this conflict with $6,300 it is to receive in the next year from Cultural Affairs?
Why was no one from the Venice Neighborhood Council ever informed about this “political oligarchial coup” ?
Might you explain why Vera Davis was singled out as the 15th site as CDD is “getting out of the business of managing community centers” ?
Is Vera Davis the only Community Center in CD11 or are there more; and if so, who will be funding these other community centers beginning July 1, 2011?
What is the mission of Community Development Department vs. the role of the Department of Cultural Affairs?
Why is the Vera Davis Center being pulled out of the RFP process with other Community Centers that are not part of the original 14 selected?
Might it be because the others will continue to serve the poor while the Vera Davis Center will have a different mission ?
Ms. Garay knew nothing of the keys being handed to Venice Arts on the 30th of June, nor for sure if Venice Arts was to be awarded the RFP contract and receive a 5 year contract plus a possible 5 year extension.
No different than ” PATH”, flying under the radar, to find the Penmar Golf Course as the site for homeless vehicles, it appears Venice Arts is receiving the same advantages as PATH; that being the only applicant to know about or apply for an RFP, to operate Venice Site 15.
PATH is a resource of VCHC. Is Venice Arts also a resource of VCHC?
Why does PATH and CD11 choose a park site for homeless parking as it quite close to an elementary school and neighborhood park ? Why at the VNC did no one bring up the safety of the children and seniors?
Why was there no Penmar community meeting before Penmar Park was chosen by PATH/ CD11; even excluding knowledge to VNC?
Finally, Vera Davis McClendon is a “Historical Site”? What will be done to preserve the history of Vera Davis McClendon and her contributions to make Venice the special place it is?
Mr. Rosendahl, you are not providing the people of Venice accountability, transparency, nor fair play. You seem to have no position except your own personal agenda. Please begin to work with the “little people” and try to understand the feelings, the past history of Venice, and the harassment and gentrification many Venicians live with on a daily basis.
It might be time to do some self reflection. With communications and compromise, both sides can win. Please stop playing one side against the other. That process has failed to accomplish a thing except more bitterness.
March 29, 2011
Housing Rights vs. City of Los Angeles Proposed Rezoning Ordinance
As you may know Los Angeles City has proposed an ordinance that would restrict shared housing. The details are included here: Housing Rights. It is suggested that you contact your City Council members if you want to protest passage of the ordinance.
Write or call the PLUM committee: The Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) committee is where the ordinance goes March 29, 2011. It consists of three councilmembers (Huizar, Reyes, and Krekorian) and they determine if this ordinance is heard by the City Council. Please send a letter or an e-mail opposing this ordinance including one or more of the talking points listed below. If you think you can do a better job by calling them, please do! The important thing is to notify these three Councilmembers immediately:
1.Legislative Assistant Michael Espinosa – email@example.com (to get e-mail officially posted)
2.District 1 – Councilmember Ed Reyes 213 473 7001, firstname.lastname@example.org
3.District 2 – Councilmember Paul Krekorian 213 473-7002, email@example.com
4.District 14 – Councilmember Jose Huizar 213-473-7013, firstname.lastname@example.org
WHY THIS PROPOSED ORDINANCE SHOULD BE DEFEATED
 This proposed ordinance sweeps with too broad a brush and with no justification. What supportive reasoning and evidence does the City have that homes with more than one lease are a greater threat to community health and safety than those homes that don’t have such rental agreements? This also assumes that those homes in which financial burdens of housing are not shared under separate agreements pose no threat to communities, which is an equally unsound premise.
 The City of Los Angeles has nuisance abatement laws it has not used against homes it claims are nuisances to neighbors. Why not start there first?
 By redefining family, this ordinance ignores the City of Santa Barbara v. Adamson case in which the California Supreme Court ruled, based on privacy laws, that local governments cannot define family differently for non-related persons than related persons. Not only does this ordinance ignore Adamson but the City is apparently declaring war on residents of the City who choose to live together and are not related to each other. Many will, in fact, be largely banned from living in low density residential neighborhoods.
 Furthermore, the City seeks to redefine family not on the functionality of how people relate to each other in the privacy of their homes, but solely on how people pay for their housing. This puts an undue burden on those who cannot afford to live alone, particularly in these harsh economic times in which people are being forced to share housing who never have before.
 The ordinance is discriminatory against housing for persons with disabilities. The more than two and a half year history of this developing ordinance clearly demonstrates its discriminatory intent to restrict group homes for persons with disabilities, eventually narrowing its focus specifically to sober living. (For an explanation of legal protections for housing for persons with disabilities (see Fair Housing FAQ and 3 Legal Protections.) In the trail of public documentation it is clear that the basis for wanting this restriction is based on neighbors’ complaints about sober living. However, the City has offered no justification based on objective evidence that sober living homes overall are more of a threat to community health and safety than any other type of home.
In fact, in a January 28, 2010, City Planning Staff Report, explanations were given why the City could not legally restrict sober living homes. ( see Jan. 28 2010 staff report, p. 10 (link)) Following is an excerpt from that report:
“Staff considered alternative amendments to this definition as a way to regulate sober living homes as unlicensed group residential uses, and found that every alternative definition was fatally flawed. Every Housing Rights Issues alternative considered was illegal, unenforceable, or discriminatory. In particular, some were too broad in their impact, such that several individuals living as roommates would be prohibited. Other definitions, such as ones that require investigation of who uses what rooms or facilities in the household, are unenforceable.”