Like so many areas of Los Angeles, few things threaten the integrity of the South L.A. community more so than displacement. My family has lived in the community historically known as South Central Los Angeles for over 100 years. We've had much to celebrate. And we endured the difficult times by relying on each other and our institutions.
But today, rising housing prices are pushing our neighbors out, destabilizing our fragile institutions, and ripping apart our communities. While we may see the new young people walking dogs, the real threat is not the individuals who are moving here because they can’t afford to live in the parts of the region in which they were born. It is actually the uber-rich who are parking their money in the speculative luxury real estate market, which has led to the increasing housing prices everywhere.
In Los Angeles, the industry has been demolishing affordable apartments to construct a glut of luxury housing. They are being aided by their bought-and-paid-for puppets in City government, who are advancing the greatest housing affordability crisis in the country by rubber-stamping traffic-inducing Trump Towers in every community of the city.
With the 30-story Cumulus skyscraper at La Cienega/Jefferson, featuring 1,200 luxury apartments, the threat has been no more acute than now. That project, and The Reef in Historic South Central, which has over 1,300 luxury apartments, are a clear indication that the South L.A. community is in the crosshairs. We can no longer afford to be passive in this struggle.
The Crenshaw Subway Coalition and Hyde Park Organizational Partnership for Empowerment have long been advocates for using land use and zoning to bring about improved neighborhoods. We believe that we deserve better neighborhood amenities.
But as community elder Opal Young said in her ad for Measure S, “What’s the point of having new development if we can’t afford to stay in the city to enjoy it?”
We can do something about displacement by voting YES on Measure S on March 7.
Measure S is actually simple:
- It preserves housing that we can afford by taking away from City Council the ability to grant General Plan Amendments, which are often used to demolish buildings with affordable apartments to build Trump Towers.
- It forces developers to follow the zoning rules. So that they can’t build Trump Towers in places that they don't belong like the proposed 30-story skyscraper at La Cienega/Jefferson.
- It ends this ridiculous policy of allowing developers to write the environmental studies for their own buildings. So that they can’t misrepresent the actual impact of their projects on the community.
- It puts the power of determining the community’s future in the hands of the people by requiring important hearings on community plans and projects to be held on nights and weekends IN THE COMMUNITY, not downtown in the middle of the work day.
We’ll be talking a lot more about this important battle for our communities and how passing Measure S on March 7 is a critical part of the fight.
You can go to www.VoteYesOnS.org to learn more about the citizens' initiative.