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What Will Los Angeles Will Do Next On Housing & Water? Look To Their Neighbors

The cities of Santa Monica, Culver CIty, West Hollywood, and Malibu are championing stormwater infrastructure, new public transit, affordable housing, and action on homelessness prevention.
May 9, 2017, 10am PDT | rzelen | @rzelen
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Omar Bárcena

The small cities that make up Los Angeles County’s Westside are well positioned to implement innovative solutions to chronic regional problem, like housing affordability and homelessness, transit access, and congestion—especially if they work together. Recently, the mayors of Santa Monica, Culver CIty, West Hollywood, and Malibu convened at a Westside Urban Forum event to discuss the priorities ahead for a changing demographics and changing economy, and the potential impacts of the Trump Administration.

In The Planning Report, the mayors respond to the recent Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles) Forecast LA surveys that project widespread optimism about the future of the region. While being quite worried about the future and stability of the country and globe, Angelenos very positive about the direction of the region and their local government. 

Most notably, as the County of Los Angeles debates a potential stormwater funding measure, Culver City recently passed a parcel tax that will result in about $2 million a year in funding. As Culver City Mayor Jim Clarke stated, the city "hopes to be able to leverage with grants and public-private projects to mitigate runoff issues and meet our MS4 permit requirements. While Culver City comprises only 4 percent of the Ballona Watershed, the mitigation measures we will have to undertake to eliminate trash, bacteria, toxics and heavy metals could cost as much as $120 million—more than our annual General Fund budget."

The mayors of coastal cities, Santa Monica and Malibu, both addressed the increasing threat of sea-level rise. As one commenter put it, the cities "need to be planning for 2050, not 1950," in terms of investing in climate-resilient infrastructure. 

Additionally, as the city of Los Angeles deals with housing affordability and increasing housing supply, cities like West Hollywood have taken on the challenge of protecting the existing rental housing supply and assisting middle-income residents stay in their units. Look for Los Angeles leaders to continue to use their neighboring cities as a bellwether for potential next pilot projects, policy decisions and long-range priorities.

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Published on Wednesday, May 3, 2017 in The Planning Report
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