Once again the L.A. Weekly — target of endless whining from journalistic and ideological hacks — has penetrated the obfuscations and lip service of City Hall and shattered another myth.
This time it’s the myth that city officials care so much about ordinary people that they are building affordable housing to preserve the working class and middle class.
In fact, most of the housing built in the city is for upper middle and above people with some pandering projects thrown in for the homeless and the very poor.
Affordable housing is routinely being replaced by projects that increase density and have tiny percentages of units that could be called affordable. Apartment building owners who have affordable units are being harassed. the Housing Department itself is inept and the Housing Authority (HACLA) is a scandal-plagued agency who’s head is paid nearly $500,000 a year while the poor and elderly get screwed.
But that’s just the anecdotal knowledge and insights I have. Joseph Mailander at his blog street hassle offers his own solid take on the subject.
Max Taves in the Weekly does the hard work of researching the affordable housing claims of city officials and quotes City Controller Laura Chick, the only one with any independence of thought or action, as saying “90 percent of the units built during the construction frenzy were for those earning at least $135,000.”
“If the city’s numbers are accurate, Los Angeles has been losing a
massive supply of affordable housing, while city leaders repeatedly
take credit for approving 10,000 to 14,000 new units during each boom
year — one of the busiest construction periods since the end of World
War II, Taves reports.
“In the face of widespread neighborhood resistance to this most
recent boom, city planners approved often-sprawling luxury complexes in
Hollywood, along Wilshire, on the Westside, in the Valley and downtown
– while the city was hemorrhaging its existing cheap rental stock.
While the media are talking about the foreclosure crisis and sharply falling home prices, Taves digs into the city’s own numbers and finds L.A. “is spawning its own, hidden housing
Here’s his numbers:
Minus 78 percent (yes, -78%): That’s the latest
massive drop in the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund, slashed from
$45 million in last year’s city budget to just $10 million this year.
That’s L.A.’s bottom-of-the-barrel “housing affordability” rank out of
50 big American cities, with San Francisco ranked last, according to a
2008 survey by San Francisco nonprofit SustainLane.com.
$962: Last year’s average cost of renting in Los Angeles, 43 percent higher than in 2000.
10,000 to 14,000: The dwellings built in each year of L.A.’s just-ended boom, mostly in dense, multistory, “luxury” complexes.
330: The number of “affordable units” constructed each year, on average, during the same period, from 2003 to 2006.
The number of affordable units lost during the same period, mostly
through conversions to luxury units but also demolitions related to new
13,713: The net number of
rent-controlled apartments and houses lost between 2001 and 2007 to
demolition sparked by new construction and, even more often, to condo
conversions sparked by the housing bubble’s rush to home ownership.