Saturday, March 1, 2008
Running on Blade Runner: LA Weekly unloads its magnum opus on Mayor Villaraigosa's underdebated plan to make Los Angeles a couple of stories taller and a whole lot denser. a) The plans seem to call for 2.5 million more people. But when it comes to population growth, according to the Weekly
the two key causes are illegal immigration and the high birth rate among the poor and working poor.
If somehow various immigration-control measures actually slow illegal immigration--i.e., if the Gran Salida continues--will all those multi-story apartments actually be needed? Put another way, does Villaraigosa's growth plan depend on continued illegal immigration?b) There's a case for greater density. What's most alarming is that Villaraigosa seems to be planning greater density without first building the subway system that might move all those people around. The Weekly provides a helpful sidebar comparison with Mexico City. c) The most powerful anti-growth voice cited by the Weekly is County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. But the city's already-dense West Side would have had a subway years ago if Yaroslavsky and his Democratic ally Henry Waxman hadn't foolishly stopped it in the 1980s and 1990s ... "He blocked the subway his city needed" is one of the things that will be on Waxman's tombstone, along with "He expanded Medicaid." ... "He busted Roger Clemens" is unlikely to make the cut. ...
Update: Emailer S.G. notes that the political system seems structured to produce the worse of both worlds: Powerful private developers are able to push through dense, multi-story housing. The only thing anti-growth forces are able to stop is the subway, because it (unlike apartment buildings) requires public, federal funding. The result: paralysis. Even in Blade Runner, there was a monorail, no? ... 5.55 P.M. link
Friday, February 29, 2008