Discrimination Dressed Up As Discriminating Taste

In this post from <em>Reason</em>, Tim Cavanaugh joins the debate over preservation holding back the city, and argues that land use regulations have a wholesale negative impact on the city.
June 20, 2011, 5am PDT | Nate Berg
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Citing a recent article in The New York Times arguing for more regulations on land use, Cavanaugh argues that land use regulations simply allow the prejudices of those who write and enforce them to rule the land.

"This is the part of the conversation where defenders of zoning ridicule the idea that we are still bound by the bigotries of our forebears. Sure, planning intervention still produces separate communities, but good taste knows no color (except maybe Burnt Sienna). We're well past that kind of narrow-mindedness, right?

What planning department allowed this to be built? I'm not so sure. The proud planning history of Los Angeles includes anti-Semitic zoning, Nat King Cole's one-man desegregation of Hancock Park, and racially restrictive "covenants" on property titles. Today, the favored term of zoning disparagement is the epithet "Persian Palace" to describe gaudy mansions built by Iranian-Americans. When you look at the type of people who end up on the receiving end of land-use enforcements – from rooster restrictions to harassment of Antelope Valley hillbillies by "nuisance abatement teams" to censorship of outsider artists via permitting requirements – they sure don't seem to be folks at the top of the food chain in terms of political influence."

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Published on Monday, June 13, 2011 in Reason
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