December 30, 1992 - From the December, 1992 issue

The L.A. Mayoral Election: What Should Be the Planning Agenda?

The Planning Report has been seeking to lift the level of debate on planning issues and the future of the city by presenting in detail the planning visions of the major candidates for Mayor of Los Angeles. In previous issues, we have presented the viewpoints of candidates Michael Woo, Richard Katz, and Nick Patsaouras. 

For this month’s issue, we asked some of our subscribers what planning and land use-related issue they felt should be highest on the agenda of the 1993 mayoral candidates.  

The challenge for the City of Los Angeles for the balance of this decade is to protect and enhance the local job base, to integrate transportation systems into the needs of residential and business communities, and to protect the integrity of our neighborhoods. Only with the cooperation of our elected officials, community activists, and business community can these goals be met. 

Peter D. Kelly, III Kelly, Ryan and McAuliffe

The mayoral candidates should address issues from the grassroots, discussing the nitty-gritty agenda of reshaping and redesigning our communities. In particular, the areas where we work need a greater emphasis on specific plans in neighborhoods, which have been utilized in many other Council districts. We need to change the whole way the city does planning: let the planning effort come from the residents.

Lori Speese Gay Neighborhood Housing Services 

I think the issue of affordable housing and how it fits into the city’s growth policies must be discussed. It affects all aspects of growth and development in the city, and we’re just beginning to sort out these issues. People will look at the candidates’ responses to this issue because it will affect the environment, traffic, public safety, and where people will live in this city into the 21st century. 

Hope Boonshaft-Lewis Boonshaft-Lewis and Savitch, Public Relations and Government Affairs

Reform the city charter to increase representation and local autonomy; act responsibly in the matters of schooling, health, and welfare, housing and homelessness, and transit-related land-use planning (and bully other tiers of government to support these actions); and develop an industrial policy for the city. Success in any of these areas would guarantee the Mayor immortality! 

Michael Dear USC professor, and principal, Wolch/Dear (consultants to the Downtown Strategic Plan) 

A top priority for the new Mayor of Los Angeles has to be quality of life — not just for a few citizens, but for all citizens. The bureaucracy within the City Planning Department must be streamlined to make the process more accessible to all citizens. Key planning issues such as urban sprawl, infrastructure and transportation need to be quickly addressed. Our planning process needs to be all-encompassing and participatory, not exclusionary. 

John E. Vallance City Centre Development 


Two issues should be a priority for the next Mayor. The first was raised by Bill Christopher in his recent “open letter" to Con Howe in The Planning Report when he observed that Los Angeles treats transportation and planning issues separately. That’s a dysfunctional system. The interrelationship was not so necessary when the City Charter was written, but in the 1990s transportation planning is an integral part of land use planning. 

Secondly, we need long-range planning in order to reinforce community development. The City is proposing to cut the budget of the Planning Department, saying that planners have nothing to do, at a time when the community plans are 20 years old. Long-range community planning provides the foundation for community-based economic development. 

Debra Bowen Assemblywoman, 53rd District (D-Marina del Rey) 

I think there’s a need to provide real incentives for mixed-use development, ease up on regulatory requirements that allow the conversion of office space and lofts to residential use, and develop new housing ownership options. There are so many issues that need to be addressed for downtown revitalization that this would be a good place to start. 

Michael Langs Loeb and Loeb 

Any candidate for Mayor will have business retention and attraction high on his or her agenda. What should also be recognized is that any economic development strategy must address the related issue of where and how growth should occur. We need to create an environment that encourages and allows the right things to happen, rather than simply stopping the worst. 

Sharon Kaplan Psomas and Associates 

Jobs and quality of life will be the key issues for the next Mayor. We are living in a global economy. Consequently, greater attention than ever needs to be paid to assuring that land use policy is accomplishing two objectives: 1) encouraging, not discouraging, the creation of high paying jobs; 2) creating a community with a solid quality of life — a community with safe parks, safe streets, and a safe working environment. The challenge will be to create a consensus on how to achieve and harmonize these two objectives. 

Dennis R. Luna  Pregerson, Richman and Luna; L.A. Community Redevelopment Agency Board Member 


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