[Note: This is a guest post by written by Eric Garcetti, Council President, Councilmember, District 13. As should be obvious, all included opinions are his. Also obvious, we invite any and all discussion about this in the comments – any comments changing the word “proposition” to “preparation” will be throughly snickered at.]
Thanks, Sean, for letting me have an election-eve guest post at Blogging.la . It’s great to be welcomed up to the front page–I feel like a recurring character with a special episode. I’ve written time and again about the
housing crisis in Los Angeles at cd13.com, but election rules require that my city website remain free of ballot advocacy. Visiting here feels like the cyberspace equivalent of making the rounds of churches with Councilmember Jan Perry last weekend.
(Image: the Metro Hollywood Apartments, perched over a metro rail station at Hollywood and Western, are an example of how smart planning and government-funded affordable apartments can revitalize a neighborhood.)
As we were driving down Central Avenue between churches, Jan spied a small encampment of four homeless men in an alley. We pulled over the car and spoke to them. Jan introduced herself as their councilmember and let them know how the city and the network of service providers could help them out: get them a bed at a shelter, a meal, even help finding work or training. Jan put a call into New Image Shelter, which came and offered them services directly.
I mention this story because blogging.la is a good place to tell the “street-level view” of what really happens in Los Angeles. This story is far from unique: this is the kind of thing that Jan, representing the largest concentration of homeless people in the region on Skid Row, has to do all too frequently?. And Prop H on Tuesday’s ballot could make it possible for us to go from stop-gap measures in the fight against the homeless crisis and the housing crunch to turning the tide.
I know the individual stories of the housing crisis too well, and I suspect many of you do too: the people who come into my office asking for help fighting an eviction, or who can’t find a place they can afford with their relocation benefits; the working people–hotel housekeepers, office custodians–who spend 40% of their income on housing and still live too far from where they work in lousy conditions, and live their lives on the bus or stuck in traffic and not with their children. Seniors or veterans for whom shelter is a constant source of anxiety, and those for whom it is an impossibility.
The details of the measure, and the unprecedented coalition that supports it, can be found here. Prop H would help build permanent supportive housing to get homeless people off the street with the services they need; it would help middle-income families buy their first homes where the market had priced them out; and it would help us build affordable apartments for seniors, veterans, and low-income workers. It would be paid back by residential and commercial property owners, for roughly the cost of a large latte a month (technically, an average of $14.60 per $100,000 of assessed property per year).
We need a two-thirds vote to pass Prop H, so please tell your friends to vote on this issue. For those who need extra convincing, just take a look at our record. In the past five years, your city government has created a nationally-recognized affordable housing trust fund. We’ve proven that we can fund and administer these kinds of programs, we just need to do it on a scale that makes a difference: right now we open up new affordable apartments to crowds of fifty times the number of apartments. We’ve done a lot of work on tightening and enforcing our rent stabilization laws and changing our planning codes to allow for more urban development. Now we need to devote resources to the kinds of projects that will help the people feeling the squeeze. We’ll all feel the difference.
[Note: This is a guest post by written by Eric Garcetti, Council President, Councilmember, District 13. As should be obvious, all included opinions are his. Also obvious, we invite any and all discussion about this in the comments.]