A New Player in Planning Los Angeles: Marqueece Harris-Dawson
Los Angeles City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson was recently named chair of the council's Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee. In an interview with The Planning Report, he highlights his priorities for development in the city, opines on local control, and provides an update on housing and transit projects in his district.
Harris-Dawson succeeds past chair José Huizar, who lost the title after being named in an FBI investigation into corrupt development deals. A former organizer with the Community Coalition, Harris-Dawson emphasizes transparency, efficiency, and timeliness throughout the interview.
Housing is also a key focus for the new PLUM Chair. On homelessness, he says, "We live in a city and county where 50,000 people sleep on the streets at night. There is no greater priority than making sure we have adequate housing for the people that share this city with us." And on whether the state should override cities to spur housing development, he opines: "I like that Sacramento is looking at the questions and taking on the tough issues, but they've got to lean on local leadership to come up with actionable solutions."
In the councilmember's own South L.A. district—where, he says, "economic divestiture or apartheid has certainly been practiced"—Harris-Dawson credits new Metro rail lines, density incentives, and the construction boom in neighboring Inglewood with creating opportunities for new investment. At the same time, he cautions that gentrification is threatening rent-stabilized units and leaving tenants vulnerable to exploitation.