October 30, 1990 - From the October, 1990 issue

Fabiani Describes Mayor Bradley’s Planning Visions for Los Angeles

Last month, Los Angeles Deputy Mayor Mark Fabiani delivered a luncheon address before the membership of the Central City Association. The Planning Report here reprints excerpts from Fabiani’s speech, which represents the most comprehensive statement of Mayor Bradley’s current planning priorities.

While the Middle East dominates the news, we in the Mayor’s Office find ourselves embroiled in negotiation after negotiation: for a fair downtown TRIP fee; to turn Fryman Canyon into an urban park; to finally ramrod an equitable TFAR ordinance through the City Council; to push a half-cent sales tax increase to fund mass transit—and so it goes.

Mayor Tom Bradley has set forth his vision for the future of Los Angeles. We who work for the Mayor are charged with making that vision real.

In Tom Bradley’s vision, the Los Angeles of the future will be built on five fundamental pillars:

First, Los Angeles will be a city where the profits or redevelopment and economic growth are used to address our most pressing social problems.

Los Angeles must maintain vigorous economic growth to create jobs and equal opportunity. But this growth also creates profits. In Mayor Bradley’s view, a portion of these profits should be devoted to:

  • The nation’s largest affordable housing and homeless services program;
  • The country’s largest after school education and child care program; and
  • The economic revitalization of South Central Los Angeles and other neighborhoods that may have been left behind.

The Mayor has proposed bold programs in each of these areas. Our success will depend, in part, on increasing the CRA’s downtown spending cap.

In a time of shrinking resources, our efforts must be more innovative than ever, and must be redirected to those most in need.

For instance, bountiful tax increment dollars are no longer available for market rate housing downtown. So we must explore other roads to the twenty-four hour city.

We are working with CRA Commissioners Jim Wood and Carlyle Hall on a plan to create affordable housing on the upper floors of office buildings on Spring and Broadway. We are working in Central City East on rehabilitation, and in Little Tokyo to leverage city participation with state and federal money and credits. Through TFAR payments, housing linkage fees, and a lot of fresh thinking, we can create a livable downtown.

Some have objected to the focus on low-income housing downtown. And there is no question that a mix of housing is essential. But the fundamental question is: what can we afford? In Los Angeles, low income housing helps far more people than you might think. Your receptionist, with one child and a $25,000 annual income, would qualify. So would forty-four percent of the downtown workforce. And with imagination we can develop programs that will encourage the construction of moderate-rate housing without infusions of scarce tax increment dollars.

We must also use the profits of redevelopment to maintain and enhance our infrastructure. With the help of the Central City Association, the Mayor is working for a fair, equitable downtown TRIP fee. This TRIP fee, along with other measures now being discussed by the CCA and others, will help ensure that downtown is an economic powerhouse into the twenty-first century.

Second, Los Angeles will be a city where neighborhoods are empowered to determine their own futures.

The Mayor is committed to an open, efficient and decentralized planning process. Anyone who has dealt with the Planning Department knows that we have a long way to go. In the coming months, though, you will be hearing about the Mayor’s innovative proposals to speed the EIR process and streamline the bureaucracy. There is no higher priority for the Bradley Administration.

In particular, Tom Bradley is committed to the proposition that developers can devise projects that exist harmoniously with surrounding neighborhoods. Maguire Thomas’ Playa Vista project proves that intelligent development and significant profits can go hand-in-hand.

Throughout the 1990’s and into the next century, the successful Los Angeles developer will be the one who is sensitive to the community and the environment. And these developers ought to be rewarded by fair and fast treatment from the CRA, the Planning Department and the rest of the City bureaucracy.

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The Mayor is also committed to the notion that we must channel economic growth away from areas that don’t need or want it and into neighborhoods that have been left behind. The Mayor is especially excited about the prospect of the CCA’s help with non-profit housing development.

Third, Los Angeles will be a city where the business community pays as much attention to the future as it does to the bottom line.

Los Angeles has offered tremendous opportunity for business development. Now, our businesses must return something to the community. The opportunities are numerous: the CCA’s affordable housing efforts; corporate support for LA’s BEST, the Mayor’s after school education and child care; and the list goes on and on.

Fourth, Los Angeles will be a city that cares about its environment.

With vision and foresight, environmental protection and economic growth can go hand-in-hand. Businesses that realize this will succeed in the Los Angeles of the twenty-first century. Those that don’t will find rough going.

And make no mistake about this: Protecting the environment is good business. Sensible investments now to safe­guard the environment will pay off a hundred-fold.

Fifth, Los Angeles will be a city that takes pride in its diversity.

Tom Bradley’s greatest achievement has been to bring a divided city together. Now, the greatest threat to our future is that Los Angeles will come apart at its ethnic seams. The rest of us must understand that South Central Los Angles is only a few miles away—not on the other side of the world.

The Central City Association has a key role to play in downtown’s future. Mayor Bradley and the CCA have collaborated on many important projects over the years.

But a lot of things have changed, and we all must adapt. To be effective, the CCA must speak with one voice. To be credible, the CCA must be prepared to strike bargains—and then to implement those bargains.

And to be successful, we must all work together: To ensure that downtown receives the representation it deserves, to halt the transfer of power from the CRA to the City Council—the list of our mutual concerns goes on and on.

Fortunately, the current debate over the TRIP fee offers the Mayor and the CCA an important opportunity to forge a new and stronger working relationship.

On behalf of Mayor Bradley, we welcome your input and participation. We look forward to working with you.

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© 2022 The Planning Report | David Abel, Publisher, ABL, Inc.