3/18/07 Who's thumb is on the scale?

Taking a break from the procedural and legal mumbo jumbo for a few minutes lets take a closer look at what all the fuss is about, what we had, what we have now, what we'd like to have in 50 years and what 'they' want, now and forever.
Starting with what once was, open space, as far as the eye could see, Los Angeles was nothing but rolling grass covered foothills, sparsely populated, there was no such thing as a 'cliffhanger'
house built on stilts hanging precariously to the side of a steep hill, or 'Land Use Committees' to protect us from ourselves or density ordinances to keep us from cramming homes so close to each other that we might end up like New York City. Wait...too late Los Angeles already has less open space than New York City , we live in the most 'park poor' city in the entire nation, this is fact, and to think that we have the opportunity right now to add the largest remaining parcel of undeveloped land to our measly 5% of open space and our city government is bending over backwards to prevent us from doing it, betraying us at every turn is indefensable.
Councilman Jose Huizar could be our knight in shining armor, in fact he has demonstrated that he truly is on the side of preservation not proliferation, One main reason he holds the office that he does today is his stance on this issue, He should be encouraged by everyone to stand firm on this issue and do not pull a South Pasadena on us. I for one have the utmost faith in him and support his administration and their policies.
{NOTE: We should have taken a lesson from NY NY by simply looking at an aerial photograph of that city, what do you see ? Concrete, buildings, streets, parking lots, freeways, subways and millions of people living on top of each other, but wheres the green? The only surviving green in The Big Apple is Central Park, and it stands out like a sore thumb only because it is green, look at the concrete mass and the contrast to the one little blotch of green, then ask anyone from NY what they would trade for Central Park.
You can ask 'em all but you wont find one who would trade that park for ANYTHING in the world, New Yorkers cherish their beloved Central Park and for good reason, everything else has been developed, re-developed and over developed to the point of open space extinction
and they are still in better shape than we are in Los Angeles
Open space is a long forgotten commodity in our rival city, it has been 'built out' all except for that one green rectangle anyway, soon it will be impossible for LA to increase our percentage of open space to equal New York, that's a pathetic commentary on our city planners.
The invention of the aforementioned committees, ordinances and technologies and their intent was to prevent the New York effect and keep Los Angeles safe from unscrupulous developers who would build us into open space extinction they haven't worked. Somewhere it went astray, the dollars caused a loss of sense and the process was bastardized to the point of being near worthless as a means of controlling and planning the growth of our city, instead our system acts as a vehicle for corruption by bribery and graft where the cash fat developers get their way be it the right way or the wrong way. This is the system, such as it is today.
Now we're trying to repair the damage done to the system by passing zoning regulations and hillside ordinances, inclusionary zoning, and a host of other regulations and city ordinances, most of them are positive things. a little to little and a little too late in this case and as always, we have more than our share of 'pork bellies' mixed in.
You can always tell if a particular ordinance or motion will have an adverse impact on the community by who is trying to get it passed, you can bet, if a developer wants it, somebody is going to get screwed. Our City Departments don't have the tools to protect us the way I expect to be protected, through countless changes in the law and exploitation of loopholes the developers are calling the shots and all our planners can do is cave in, and they've become experts at it. Spineless or corrupt you decide, I've seen them in action and the jury is still out, but one thing for certain, somebody has got to either grow a pair or quit their lowdown ways.
A little bit of courage will go a long way towards reform if our planning dept would just step up.
Instead they're in the process of re-zoning and Planning our way out of every inch of open space left in our city. The departments we trusted to watch our backs are sleeping with the enemy, and it seems like they're proud of the fact ! We have a unique opportunity at this very moment in time to really make a PLAN for the future of this tiny dot on the map. We can sit by and watch profit driven land butchers destroy every last square inch of natural terrain they can find or we can get proactive and creative just like the developers and figure out a way to save what's important to us.
Our city engineers, planners and dept. of building and safety have failed us miserably on this one so far, so it's up to us to put our heads together and find the solution.
The solution is out there, be it proposition or grant or bond measure money to purchase the land or our friends at the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy to help us protect it or the Natural Resource Defense Council to prove that this is an unhealthy plan or a wealthy philanthropist who likes to fly kites and breathe fresh air or something we haven't thought of yet, the answer is out there, we just need to ask the right person the right question at the right time. The time is now. If we don't ask...we'll never know.
The cost of our complacency will be huge, just take a look at the spectacular 360 degree view
from the top of elephant hills, just one of the things that we cannot put a price tag on that when it's gone, it's gone forever, where we can see from Catalina island to deep into the San Fernando Valley to Mt. Wilson to the San Gabriel Valley and all points in-between. This truly amazing view [see 360 view below]is unfortunately from atop a hill scheduled to be flattened by this twenty three year old plan.
That just about sums it up What we had: Lots of open space, What we want: a tiny bit of that open space left open, What they want: wall to wall property taxable, over developed CITY.
What do you want?

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