July 30, 1995 - From the July, 1995 issue

Inside Planning: Los Angeles APA, Office Rents, and More!

Ferraro Wins 5th Term; Wachs Becomes Pro Tem

John Ferraro unanimously won election to a fifth term as Los Angeles City Council president, although the council needed three ballots before it finally awarded Councilman Joel Wachs, a surprise candidate, the President Pro Tem position. Wachs beat out Councilman Mike Hernandez by a vote of nine to six after Councilwoman Ruth Galanter and Councilman Nate Holden bowed out of the running after the first two ballots were cast. 

TPR Recognized by Los Angeles APA 

The Planning Report won the 1995 Los Angeles Section, American Planning Association Award for the Best Planning Publication with a circulation under 35,000. Jay Stark, the previous editor, and publisher David Abel were recognized for their efforts to provide in-depth coverage of urban planning in the Southern California region and elevate the level of debate about planning and land-use issues. 

Other winners included the LACMTA's Glendale Boulevard Corridor Preliminary Planning Study, Phase II; the City of Santa Monica's Civic Center Specific Plan; the Southern California Gas Company's Energy Resource Center; USC's School of Urban and Regional Planning Student Newsletter; students at the UCLA Department of Urban Planning for an advocacy and development study in the neighborhoods of Vernon Central; and the City of Los Angeles' Public Summary Newspaper and Video of the General Plan Framework. The LA APA also recognized Kathryn Nack, Major of the City of Pasadena and George Batty, Councilman for the City of Burbank for their distinguished leadership as elected officials. 

Development Reform Committee Recommendations 

Nearly all of the Mayor's 19 recommendations requiring council action have been acted on by the Ad-hoc committee and sent to City Council, with mostly positive results. Two of the recommendations, making specific plans more objective and exempting certain manufacturing in depressed areas from art fees have met with resistance in Council. The recommendation was noted and filed at the Ad-hoc committee; the art fee recommendation was voted down in the Arts Committee, and sent back to the Ad-hoc committee. Two others, self-certification for minor improvements and computer networking have not yet emerged from the Ad-hoc committee. The recommended Fee Study Group has been constituted and is scheduled to meet in mid-July.

Keeping the pressure up on all sides, Councilman Hal Bernson has requested a report from the Mayor's Office on the status of implementing the Mayor's Executive Orders. 

Office Rents Going Up? 

Here's a sign that the office-market slump in turning around. Although still below 1990 levels, office rents are rising again in most major cities, including Downtown Los Angeles, which ranked second for the greatest increase in effective rents in 1994. The change in effective office rents, (rent plus operating expenses), was 22.15% for Chicago followed by 16.45% for Downtown LA. 

New Plumbing 

Although the City Council passed an anti-pipeline resolution in 1993, debate is heating up around a proposed 132-mile Pacific Pipeline, which would carry oil from Kern County to Carson, with a control center on the outskirts of Chinatown, and involving several miles of pipeline through Downtown Los Angeles. 

Offshore Drilling: Coming or Going? 

A ban on new offshore drilling along the coast of California was upheld in late June by the House Appropriations Committee. The ban was earlier rejected in subcommittee, and would have allowed gas and oil exploration along the coast for the first time in 14 years. The moratorium must still pass the full House and Senate before it becomes law. 

Point Mugu and Corona Keep Bases, Long Beach to Close

The Point Mugu naval base in Ventura County, and Corona Naval Division, which together represented almost 6,000 civilian jobs, were removed from the Defense Base Realignment and Closing (BRAC) Commission list of military bases to be closed. The Long Beach Naval Shipyard with 3,800 civilian jobs and McClelland Air Force Base in Sacramento with 10,600 civilian jobs are included on the list which President Clinton can respond to until July 15. Some conjecture that the President will reject this first list to gain political points in Sacramento, but accept the same list when it's presented later this year. 

Flat Tax: Homeowners Would Get Hit

Switching to a flat tax and eliminating the mortgage-interest and property-tax deductions would have "dire consequences" for housing and the economy, according to a DRI­McGraw Hill study conducted for the National Association of Realtors. A flat tax would cost the 64 million U.S. homeowners nearly $1.7 trillion. 

Green Line Opening 

The Metro Green Line is expected to open to the public on Saturday, August 12, with discounted introductory fares of 25 cents until August 31. The Green Line, the third rail transit line to open in Los Angeles County, raises the mileage of the Metro Rail system from 26 to 46. The Green Line connects to the Metro Blue Line at the Imperial/Wilmington Station in South Central Los Angeles, and will have 14 stations. "Opening of the Metro Green Line will attract future development along the east-west corridor from Norwalk to Redondo Beach," said MTA Board Member and LA County Supervisor Yvonne Burke

LA Wins $71 MM in Homeless Funds

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Andrew Cuomo, Assistant Secretary at HUD awarded Los Angeles communities a total of $71 million in homeless assistance, the largest homeless grant ever awarded in the area. Included in this amount is $48 million for programs in the City of Los Angeles, $14 million in Los Angeles County, and $12 million to the greater Los Angeles area, including the cities of Glendale, Long Beach, Pasadena, and Pomona. The funds are part of a $900 million national HUD homeless competition for three homeless programs.

Technology Update

Cal/EPA unveiled its new Internet homepage, intended to provide the public with another way to access information from the Office of the Secretary and Cal/EPA's Boards and Departments. Cal/EPA' s homepage is located at: www.cahwnet.gov/epa. 

Taking interactive civic education to a new level, a new online National Federal Budget Simulator lets anyone on the World Wide Web try their hand at balancing the federal budget. The simulation allows Internet "Senators" to get into the nitty-gritty of controlling mass transit spending, weapons procurement and social welfare spending, and see results of cuts in all areas of the $1.5 trillion budget. The simulation is located at: garnet.berkeley.edu:3333/budget/ budget.html. 

Not to be outdone, the California State Department of Finance has released a new computer program designed to give citizens a flavor of what it's like to make decisions involved in state budget deliberations. The program can be downloaded from the Internet at: www.oracle.com.

This technology update section will be a continuing feature of The Planning Report. The Internet is a now an all-commercial network, and will increasingly become a forum for debate and information about planning and land use issues. 

Sacramento Update 

Governor Pete Wilson's attempt to rewrite the California Endangered Species Act (SB 131-Costa) was stopped in the Senate Natural Resources Committee chaired by Senator Tom Hayden (D-Los Angeles). However, two bills that would severely limit the CESA, have passed the Assembly, but must still get through Hayden's Committee in the Senate. 

Legislation that would defund Cal/EPA headquarters for fiscal year 1995-1996 and would call for the phaseout of the agency was introduced and passed the Assembly on June 30 as an amendment to the Assembly's budget bill. It is possible that final budget negotiations between the Governor and legislation may still restore it.

As the Air Resources Board begins a long-planned review of its low-emission and zero-emission vehicle (LEV / ZEV) program, there is increased concern among electric car supporters that the ZEV mandate will become a victim of Governor Wilson's presidential ambitions. 

The California Fish and Game Committee has once again decided against adding the California Gnatcatcher to its list of candidate species for protection under the CESA, although it remains protected under the federal act 

Housing Element Reform, SB 1073 (Costa), which comprehensively strengthens and streamlines state housing element law, including giving cities and counties "credit" for rehabilitation, and not just new units, overwhelmingly passed the Senate, but did not make it out of Assembly Committee. 

People...

Mayor Richard Riordan named Robin Kramer as chief of staff, and Deputy Mayor Michael F. Keeley as chief operating officer. The Kramer­Keeley team assumed their new positions on July 3. Both have served Mayor Riordan as Deputy Mayors—Keeley overseeing budget and city operations, and Kramer managing communications and community and City Council relations. 

Dr. William G. Ouchi left his position as Mayor Riordan's chief of staff to return to his teaching responsibilities at the Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA, although he will continue to serve in a voluntary capacity as senior advisor to the mayor. 

Mayor Riordan reappointed Dina A. Gonzalez as a tenant member of the Housing Authority Commission, and nominated Ann Jackson to the Los Angeles Convention and Exhibition Center Authority. Kathy Garmezy to the Commission on the Status of Women, and Peter W. Dauterive to the Los Angeles County Health Facilities Authority. 

Rick Hernandez and Rabbi Gary Greenbaum resigned in late June from the Police Commission, questioning the validity of the commission following the City Council's rejection of the Commission's report on Police Chief Williams

As TPR goes to press, the LA Community Redevelopment Agency is close to getting a new Chief Administrator. The CRA Board is holding closed-door sessions to consider four candidates for the position. 

The four candidates for the job include John Malloy, executive director of the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency; James Hankla, city manager for the City of Long Beach; George Williams, county administrator for Richmond, Virginia and former director of the Oakland Economic Development Office; and Susan Schick, director of community development for the City of Long Beach and former deputy director of the Glendale Redevelopment Agency. The Board's candidate must still be confirmed by the LA City Council. 

Mary Ann Chamberlain, former zoning administrator for the City of Orange, will take over as planning director for the City of Bellflower. 

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