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Another Terrace Morning

"We call the City Attorney's office 'the black hole of Calcutta,'" CD 4 planning majordomo Renee Weitzer told the Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council last night in a planning briefing on several local projects. Weitzer apparently wants no skids on development whatsoever. This is quite a reversal from her early days as a civic activist opposed to Jack Kent Cooke bringing his Forum to Encino back in LA's smog age.

We were later shocked to hear the NC arguing about the degree to which it might boost a developer's chances with a supportive letter for a project on Riverside Drive. This is what the people of Council District 4 have chosen to represent them for four years: a Councilman who wants to fast-track more rentals while his Neighborhood Councils step over themselves to do his bidding.

Like Gail Goldberg, Weitzer entered planning in midlife looking for something to do. The lifelong community activist, a one-time NIMBY who was involved with the fight to keep the Forum out of the Valley, originally became John Ferraro's planning deputy in yet another era.

The key planning issue of the Villaraigosa mayoralty has been and remains the city's absymal owner-occupied to renter ratio, presently standing at 60-38 with two percent unoccupied. The ratio is a recipe for civic erosion--it creates an artificial "missing rung" on the City's housing ladder, in which renters paying premium rents can't enter starter homes, because there aren't any. If you wonder why the City is becoming a town of absentee landlords, projects like the 49-unit cliff-dwelling pueblo coming to Riverside Drive, which the "neighbors" who formerly had NIMBYist inclinations are now sitting up straight and expressing their loving fealty in support of such projects, are expressive of why.

Speaking of absentee landlords: LA Live took out a big St. Patrick's Day ad on Tom LaBonge's website. In case you were wondering about who owns who.

Today the City's august Mayor appears at another absentee landlord site: he'll be at Richard Meruelo's Taylor Yards, cutting a ribbon on yet another school. While he's away from City Hall, Kevin James will be mounting the south steps of City Hall to roll out his vision for what LA should be in 2013 and beyond.

One thing James's candidacy will do is make the ultra-rich right come to more meetings like last night's Neighborhood Council fiasco on Hillhurst, something Austin Beutner doesn't like doing and is nearly unimaginable for Rick Caruso's gauntlet-entourage.

The LAUSD School Board yesterday, largely sponsored by the Mayor at this point, awarded more charter schools than Ramon Cortines had recommended.