Opportunity knocks

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first_img This plan would spell out the values and rules – in as much detail as possible – how current Angelenos want the city to grow in transportation, in housing density, in open space and everything else. Until we have a plan, one hammered out through many community and commission hearings and discussions, it’s going to continue to be a haphazard city cobbled together by random acts of political favor. One non-negotiable part of the plan must be to end the fiefdoms that allow City Council members to decide virtually every project in their districts – a system that never had any purpose beyond allowing politicians to shake down developers and look after their friends. L.A.’s neighborhoods aren’t separate entities, functioning independently of one another. They are interrelated. They feed each other or fail each other. What’s bad for Sunland-Tujunga is bad for Westchester, and vice versa. Let this audit, this opportunity, be the catalyst for change in the Planning Department and, thus, in the city’s future health. This could also be Villaraigosa’s great opportunity. It might not win him an immediate political victory, but it could assure his place as the man who brought Los Angeles into the next millennium.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week But what’s more imperative than making a good personnel pick is making a good growth plan. It may not be glamorous. It may not make headlines across the country. It may not even help propel anyone into a higher office. But we won’t be able to avoid the type of dystopian Los Angeles as depicted in “Blade Runner” and “Escape from L.A.” without a master plan for the growth and development of the entire city. All of it, from tiny Harbor City to Porter Ranch and everywhere in between. There’s been plenty of attention paid to the pleasant growth and development of downtown. Glorious edifices are replacing shabby government buildings at a rapid pace. Tax dollars are being diverted by the bucket to turn the city center into a place where developers make billions and Angelenos might even consider going someday. And clearly there is a comprehensive, if secretive, plan to make a handful of people even richer once the homeless are shipped out for other neighborhoods and the streets are made safe for the urban hipsters willing to mortgage their futures for a live/work loft space. But comparatively little effort has gone into mapping out a similarly beneficial future for the rest of the city, and that’s painfully true of the San Fernando Valley’s most valuable real-estate asset: The North Hollywood subway station area. If Los Angeles is ever going to lose its reputation as a place that planners study as an example of what not to do, it’s by collectively building a blueprint for its future. City Controller Laura Chick’s official assessment of Los Angeles’ Planning Department confirms what many of the city’s roughly 4 million inhabitants already know: The department is an archaic, overly bureaucratic agency that has no coherent scheme to help Los Angeles grow into the 21st century. The criticism came as Chick released an audit of the city department that found plenty of red tape and other frustrations. But more important than the long list of things the department does badly was Chick’s comment this week that the audit comes at a time of tremendous opportunity. Hear that, Mr. Mayor? It’s opportunity knocking. One big opportunity is the selection of a new planning director; a search is currently under way. We’ve already advocated that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the City Council choose a crack urban planner who brings vision, energy and organization to the department. last_img

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