Urban Fold

Could L.A. Mayoral Candidate's Smart Growth Advocacy Cost Him the Election?

As L.A.'s mayor race enters its final week, polls suggest the two candidates are essentially tied. While there isn't much space between them philosophically, Eric Garcetti has supported density around transit, a position many find objectionable.

"Over 12 years as Hollywood's councilman, Garcetti has emerged as a leading champion of 'smart growth,'" and has, "helped muscle through tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies for construction projects and has backed exemptions permitting developers to build bigger than zoning laws allow," reports Kate Linthicum. 

"Hollywood is 'a template for a new Los Angeles,' Garcetti says, 'a blueprint for a city where you can live near where you work, near where you play … where the hours you don't have to spend in your car, you can spend with your family.'"

"But the high-density growth also has brought worries about rising rents and traffic-choked streets," she adds. "The building boom has generated dozens of lawsuits from community activists who accuse Garcetti and the city of giving away too much to developers."

In one highly controversial project located in Garcetti's district, Laurie Becklund, a senior fellow at the USC Annenberg Center, sees a conspiracy between the City and the project's developers to ignore and understate the impacts of "one of the largest, and riskiest, transit-oriented development initiatives ever undertaken on by a big U.S. city."

"Garcetti's opponent, Wendy Greuel, has warned L.A. could become 'a new Manhattan' under a Garcetti administration," notes Linthicum.

"That theme could resonate with voters beyond Hollywood. A USC Price/Los Angeles Times poll last month found 38.4% of likely voters viewed Garcetti as caring more about big business and developers than the city as a whole, compared with 30.6% who viewed Greuel that way."

Full Story: Garcetti sees Hollywood as 'a template for a new Los Angeles'


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