Monied Interests Triumph in L.A.

<p>In two separate examples, a <em>Los Angeles Times</em> columnist shows how stakeholders with money tend to win the support of local politicians more often than the less fortunate.</p>
May 8, 2008, 11am PDT | Nate Berg
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"Anyone who recently has tried to get across Los Angeles knows that the Westside and growing stretches of Mid-City are about two Priuses and a Lexus short of utter gridlock. As The Times' Steve Hymon wrote Tuesday, 'In the war against L.A. traffic, the Westside has become the frontline as more jobs have migrated to that part of town, bringing commuters and their cars with them. But the combination of affluence and political influence has historically made improving roads there a difficult proposition since every plan has its opponents.'"

Facing a proposal that would remove street parking in front of their businesses, local business people "pulled in some money from other well-heeled neighborhood groups and filed lawsuits demanding a full environmental review before the city could proceed. Monday, a Superior Court judge agreed that the proposal's cumulative effect was great enough to require a full study of its environmental impact, a process that will delay the project by at least a year."

"By then, City Hall will be in full election mode, which means that unless the city appeals right now, the project is as good as dead. No mayoral or council candidate with a functioning instinct for self-preservation is going to take on Westside neighborhoods, where voter turnout is high and activists understand the power of targeted campaign contributions."

"It's an axiom of L.A. politics: Those who have are heard."

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Published on Wednesday, May 7, 2008 in The Los Angeles Times
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