Pro-smart-growth, “green” Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is upset with Governor Jerry Brown’s remarkably sensible decision to shut down the state’s 425 redevelopment agencies, including L.A.’s Community Redevelopment Agency. “Los Angeles is prepared to shoulder its fair share of the responsibility, but any scenario that would completely eliminate the Redevelopment Zones and State Enterprise Zones is a non-starter,” said Villaraigosa. Here’s to hoping that he’s wrong, and that Brown’s attack on these destructive money pits is sustained!
In terms of promoting harmful and authoritarian land-use regimes, Villaraigosa is one of the worst among American mayors. He hired Gail Goldberg in 2006, a notorious San Diego smart-growther, to head up the city’s planning department. Before Goldberg resigned last year, she had spent much of her time fretting about L.A.’s supposed lack of density and pushing the mayor’s economically dangerous multifamily rental housing agenda. Her it-takes-a-City-of-Villages approach proved to be as politically unpopular as it was nonsensical. Goldberg, like many urban planners, instinctually equates real estate development — or worse, urban form — with economic development.
As land-use and transportation policy scholar (and former long-time L.A.-resident and transportation commissioner) Wendell Cox has noted time and time again, Los Angeles does not have a density problem — assuming low-density development is a problem to begin with. It does, however, have an ineffectual, burdensome government bureaucracy problem. Instead of focusing on “Redevelopment Zones,” “State Enterprise Zones,” and TIF districts, Villaraigosa should look at cutting the city’s miles of red tape if he wishes to promote economic prosperity and job growth. Sadly, Villaraigosa is likely too beholden to his apparently ineffable ideological biases to grasp reality and take seriously the problems actually facing Los Angeles.
Image credit: mateo22’s flickr photostream.