Please Tell The County We Need A Safe Parking Program

Photo courtesy of The LA Times. Click the photo for the source article.

Comments to the County are due by Monday. I’ve made it super simple to comment by sharing the link and a proposed comment for you below.

As you might know, the City was sued a few years ago by a group of homeless people who had been prosecuted under the City’s “no vehicle dwelling law.” The 9th Circuit (one step below the Supreme Court) said that our law was vague and unconstitutional and the City paid out $1.1 million to the attorneys as a result of losing that lawsuit.

The Court basically told the City how to fix the law, but the City was gun-shy and did nothing for several years. The ultimate response by the City was LAMC 85.02 with the map that we’ve all heard about. 85.02 became effective in January 2017 and enforcement was supposed to start in February.

Fast forward a few months and 85.02 is still not being enforced! The RV problem is getting worse everyday in 90045/PdR. If you look at the map, Manchester from Sepulveda to the beach is either red or yellow. Red is no parking ever, and yellow is no overnight parking. People are counting RVs parked on Manchester in the double digits and those rigs aren’t moving (violations of both 85.02 and parking laws against parking longer than 72 hours in one place).

One of the issues raised in the civil rights lawsuit was that the City shouldn’t be prosecuting people for being homeless. This is still a conundrum under the new law and possibly why the new law isn’t being enforced (along with, apparently, the problem of having to enforce in person with RV dwellers simply not answering the door).

One of the suggestions that I learned about when I attended a homelessness forum last year was to offer Safe Parking to the RVs in exchange for a promise to get on a City-sponsored path to housing. If a vehicle dweller (lots of people are living in cars, as well as RVs) doesn’t agree to the offer, they can be legally removed from our streets. That is, they are not being prosecuted for being homeless because homeless people will agree to the City’s offer of housing help (not 100% true, but we’ll leave that part of the discussion for another day).

Thus, having a safe parking alternative for the homeless RVers gives law enforcement the ability to run everybody else out. Presumably, this solves the issue of the rolling crime scenes posed by other RVs, as well as the lifestylers who want to live in our beach community without paying taxes or for services.

It’s a fair and legally enforceable solution.

So today I saw on NextDoor that Los Angeles County officials are seeking public comment on the preliminary spending proposal for the estimated $355 million to come annually from the Measure H sales tax increase approved by voters in March to reduce homelessness. Possibly it isn’t on their radar because the Safe Parking proposal is a City idea, but I’m bothered that the County isn’t allocating any of the money that I’m paying and that I voted to support to a solution that gets rid of the RV’s.

The Safe Parking Program is the solution we need.

I’m asking everybody to take one minute to register a comment with the County right now. Here is the link to submit comments.

Feel free to cut and paste the comment that I left at the bottom in the General Comments section:

Where is the money for a Safe Parking Program? We need to immediately start separating the RV’ers on our streets who need housing assistance from the rolling criminal enterprises. This is critical and glaringly absent from what I see above. Please, please allocate some of the Measure H money to this important initiative.

The “above” reference is my comment refers to all the categories of $ allocations that you’ll see on the form before you get to the General Comments section. Here is the link again to submit comments.

Please take two seconds right now to click that link and leave that or another comment asking for an allocation for Safe Parking so that we can start cleaning up the criminals and lifestylers. And then, take another minute and share this post with 10 friends. Even easier, post a link to this article on your Facebook page. Comments are due Monday by 5 pm. 

❤ Westchester Weekly – April 9, 2017 ❤

 The Westchester Weekly – your weekly round-up
of news for Westchester CA Families

Here’s your weekly recap of what’s new and notable in Westchester 90045, including fun things to check out this weekend!

Living90045.com - Westchester CA up close & personal

Happy Sunday!

This Thursday is the town hall I mentioned a few weeks ago, intended to provide more details about the LAX Northside Project. As you’ll recall, this is the project that once and for all puts a stop to LAX moving north into our neighborhood and provides some buffer for us from the noise and pollution of LAX. Some very cool stuff is planned, including shopping, community space, creative office and recreation/open space. I think the project looks super exciting for our community and I plan on attending the town hall to see if reality matches my expectations. 😉 Wouldn’t it be nice to have a cluster of new retail and recreation? Rumor has it that we’ll all be riding bikes to the beach via those facilities. Find out more and RSVP here.

I’m so flipping sad to report that Westchester lost two schools this week. First came the announcement that pilot school Incubator is folding, and then came word that Westchester Secondary Charter School was denied charter renewal due to declining enrollment. Gee, do you think the District sending WSCS to co-locate at Horace Mann Middle School in South LA had anything to do with declining enrollment? That school is half an hour from Westchester without traffic. And the Incubator decision seems a little suspicious as LAUSD gets ready to welcome the new Playa Vista middle school to the same campus (Westchester HS).

If you’re as mad as I am about the antics and failures of our School Board, please make plans to join me at the polls for the May 16th run-off election for our Board member seat. This election is extra important because the winning candidate will sit for an extra long 5-1/2 year term, as LA realigns its election cycles. If you can’t get excited about another trip to the polls, consider voting by mail. The paperwork can be found here. Vote for change and #picknick, Nick Melvoin, that is!

Here are links to a couple of news items that caught our eye this week:

Excavation of 2nd tunnel for LAX/Crenshaw rail line is complete
Westchester 4th of July Parade entry packages available
The LA Times thinks PdR is a “sleeping giant”
LMU’s baseball team is having a historic season
300+ more cars headed to Sepulveda at Howard Hughes
Musical terminals starting soon at LAX
Find a local Easter egg hunt

Have a great week!
Tracy & The Living90045 Team

P.S. Do you know somebody who wants to move to Westchester? Share our newsletter and share our #90045 Real Estate page. You’re going to look very smart and very plugged in!

WESTCHESTER KIDS & FAMILY:
Fun things to do with your family

Show a little love to our sponsors by checking out their websites:

Get this newsletter delivered to your inbox
Share
Tweet
Forward

Copyright © Living90045.com, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Living90045.com
c/o Keller Williams • Silicon Beach
13274 Fiji Way, Suite 100
Marina del Rey, CA 90292

 

Westchester Weekly – November 27, 2016

The Westchester Weekly – your weekly round-up
of news for Westchester Families

Here’s your weekly recap of what’s new and notable in Westchester 90045, delivered to your inbox!
Living90045.com - Westchester CA up close & personal

Happy Sunday!
And a belated happy Thanksgiving as well! We are so grateful for our readers and take our job bringing you the 90045 news very seriously.

News came last week that the old Westchester fire station has been recommended for sale, not development by the City for affordable housing. It remains to be seen what somebody will want to build on that site, but that is a discussion we can save for another day. Given the dismal sales at the project on the old Frio’s site, maybe we can dodge a developer that wants to stuff the lot with AB1818 housing.

LAUSD is taking another run at offering a second Middle School program in Westchester. While I understand that there local families who support the existing MS, I also understand that many families in 90045 have turned away from the local program. Playa Vista Elementary School has a highly successful STEM program they developed with LMU. That group of families has been instrumental in driving the new MS program. There is a meeting at Westchester High School in the auditorium on Tuesday at 6 pm to discuss the proposed program, which is intended to be an option for PV, PdR and 90045 families.

Speaking of schools, I was honored to sit on a panel recently for the CA Charter School Association to interview school board candidates for March’s race. One candidate was particularly colorful. Stay tuned. We’ll be hearing a lot more about the race in January.

As you plan holiday activities for your family and out of town guests this season, be sure to look at the 90045 calendar of events. We’re working overtime over here to get all the most interesting local and local-adjacent activities on the calendar. Did you know that Playa Provisions hosts an annual Snow Day in PdR? Don’t miss that gem coming up in two weeks.

Here are links to a couple of news items that caught our eye this week:

LMU is offering the public an app to get campus emergency alerts
LAUSD Eyes New Middle School In Westchester
Finding Peace In Chaotic Times
Schedule For LAPD Pacific Santa Sleigh Stops
The Sand Berms Are Up In Playa del Rey

Have a great week!
Tracy & The Living90045 Team

P.S. Can you help us out by forwarding this Westchester Weekly to a 90045 friend? We want to share our 90045 goodness with as many families as we can. 🙂

P.P.S. After the big feast, do you want to get a jump start on a little healthy eating before the next feast? Click the “eat” link below to learn where we like to eat healthy in 90045.

WESTCHESTER KIDS & FAMILY:
Fun things to do this weekend

Show a little love to our Westchester Weekly sponsors by checking out their websites:

Get this newsletter delivered to your inbox
Share
Tweet
Forward
Copyright © Living90045.com, All rights reserved.

Westchester Weekly mailing address:
Living90045.com
c/o Keller Williams Silicon Beach
13274 Fiji Way, Suite 100
Marina del Rey, CA 90292

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences

Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp

Westchester Weekly – November 12, 2016

 

Westchester Weekly – Week Ending November 12, 2016

Westchester Weekly – a weekly round-up of news for Westchester Families

Here’s your weekly recap of what’s new and notable in Westchester 90045, including fun things to check out this weekend!


Westchester Weekly - News for Westchester families

Happy Sunday!

Well it’s been a week, hasn’t it? My family was super happy to see Measure M pass and look forward to having a world class transportation system in LA. OK, someday having a world class system. 🙂 Next up? City and school board elections in March. Do you think people will turn out to vote or is everybody burned out?

Turning our attention back to local issues, the Planning Commission voted this week to give Kentwood the more liberal R1Vnew designation when our zoning ICO expires in March. I was at the hearing and will write more about this in the near future. In the meantime, if you don’t live in Kentwood, you really should read this article about impending changes in the other parts of the City, including non-Kentwood Westchester neighborhoods.

Other local issues of note are (1) the WNA meeting on Monday; and (2) the brewing fire station controversy. The WNA or Westchester Neighbors Association is a group that has been around as long as I’ve been paying attention to Westchester politics (+/- 2008). They haven’t been very active, but I’m checking them out tomorrow night to see if they might provide a good forum for addressing our local issues. As a bonus, Mike Bonin is appearing at the meeting to report on what’s “hot” in Westchester and presumably to take questions.

Speaking of what’s “hot,” there has been a super heated conversation on NextDoor about the future of the old Westchester fire station at 85th/Dunbarton. Mike Bonin has offered up that property as part of his “potential affordable housing opportunities in LA” initiative. The property might be used as affordable housing or it might be sold to finance other affordable housing opportunities. Look for the Kentwood Home Guardians to get involved with this issue as the fire station falls squarely within the association’s borders. If you aren’t a KHG member, you can give input on the Councilman’s website here.

And on the topic of our wallets (how much more local can we get?), my real estate trend graphs have been updated to reflect the October numbers. Prices continued their steady upward climb, but the pace of sales slowed. Is the pace related to the election as people took a “wait and see what happens” approach? Or maybe the slowdown is simply seasonal. We’ll see. A republican administration presumably bodes well for business and, hence, real estate.

Have a great week!
Tracy & The Living90045 Team

P.S. Can you help us out by forwarding this newsletter to a 90045 friend? We want to share our 90045 goodness with as many families as we can. 🙂

P.P.S. Click the links below for a review of Cafe Solar and the updated real estate trend graphs and information.



Westchester Weekly - News for Westchester families


Westchester Weekly - News for Westchester families - Write for us!
 

Westchester Weekly - News for Westchester families

WESTCHESTER KIDS & FAMILY:
Fun things to do this weekend

Westchester Weekly - Real estate news for Westchester families


Show a little love to our sponsors by checking out their websites:

Westchester Weekly - News for Westchester families sponsored by Silicon Beach Properties

Get this newsletter delivered to your inbox

Copyright ©2007-2016 Living90045.com, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Living90045.com
c/o Keller Williams Silicon Beach
13274 Fiji Way, Suite 100
Marina del Rey, CA 90292

 

Zoning Changes Coming To A Neighborhood Near You – As In Yours

Westchester Zoning Changes Are Headed To A City Council Vote

Westchester zoning changes
photo credit: re:code LA

Just this week, the Planning Commission’s final proposed amendments to the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance (BMO) were referred to the City Council’s Planning & Land Use Management Committee for review. The next step is a full Council vote to adopt the recommended restrictions.

In a nutshell, the BMO amendments, which will apply to all of LA, except a few defined communities, will eliminate green building and design incentives and will limit the square footage of your new or remodeled single family home to 45% of your lot size, among other restrictions. The Planning Commission’s final recommendation can be found here.

If you live in Kentwood, you’ve already been living with similar restrictions since mid-2015.

Does Westchester Need Tighter Restrictions?

There is no question that our antiquated Zoning Code needs a facelift. First adopted in 1946, the current Zoning Code has grown from a simple 84-page document to an unwieldy 600+ page book.

But do we need Westchester zoning changes that restrict the size of our homes to less than half the lot size? Is that even a smart idea?

During public hearings on the BMO amendments, four quality of life concerns were identified by the public:

  1. Out-of-scale development
  2. Uncertainty
  3. Increasing traffic
  4. Environmental quality
Slide from 9/13/16 Public Hearing
Slide from 9/13/16 Public ICO Hearing

As I see it, we get a bigger bang for our buck in addressing those concerns with larger, not smaller houses. For instance, larger houses allow us to work from home, thereby minimizing two of the four stated concerns – traffic and the environment.

Additionally, we are facing a housing affordability crisis here in LA. Families are welcoming multiple generations into their homes and need more bedrooms, not less.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a fan of “mansionization,” but is 3600 feet of house on a 6000 square foot lot really a mansion?? No, it’s a 5 bedroom home with a backyard that provides three family bedrooms, a home office and a guest room. Does that sound like a mansion to you?

Have you ever driven through east Playa del Rey or Manhattan Beach? Those homes occupy most of their lots and those neighborhoods are very attractive.

From what I’ve observed, the people most vocally opposed to larger homes object because they “hulk” over smaller houses from another era, but eventually all houses will be updated and enlarged, particularly if people care about maximizing resale value (and I posit that most of us care about the value of our home).

Certainly smaller, older homes with historic significance can, should be and are currently protected by historic overlay zones, but who is going to argue that the little boxes on decent-sized lots that populate Westchester rise to the level of historic significance?

What To Do If You Think Impending Changes Are Overly Restrictive

So what do you do if you believe that we should be able to remodel our little boxes into modern family homes? Immediately start contacting our Councilman. This has to happen now, before the BMO amendments come up for a full Council vote. Let him know that small boxy houses don’t fit your vision for the future of Westchester. Councilman Bonin can decide to vote “no” on the amendments or he can carve out Westchester. He’s already carved out Pacific Palisades.

Write and call:

  • Councilman Bonin at councilmember.bonin@lacity.org • 213 473-7011 • fax:213 473-6926
  • Councilman Bonin’s Chief of Staff Chad Molnar at chad.molnar@lacity.org • 213 473-7011 • fax:213 473-6926
  • Councilman Bonin’s Deputy Chief of Staff Laura McLennan at laura.mclennan@lacity.org • 213 473-7011 • fax:213 473-6926
  • Councilman Bonin’s Westchester Deputy Anna Kozma at anna.kozma@lacity.org • 310 568-8772 • fax:310 410-3946
  • Councilman Bonin’s Director of Land Use & Planning Tricia Keane at tricia.keane@lacity.org • 213 473-7011 • fax:213 473-6926
  • Councilman Bonin’s Senior Planner Ezra Gale at ezra.gale@lacity.org • 213 473-7011 • fax:213 473-6926
  • Contact Councilman Bonin’s office through his website

Kentwood Residents Need To Call & Write TODAY

Do you live in Kentwood? You have your own set of time-sensitive issues that are different from the BMO amendments. Read more about those here.

Your Voice Matters

Please don’t think that your voice doesn’t matter, especially when it comes to Westchester zoning changes. I’ve seen time and time again that our Councilman listens to what his constituents say and the fact that he is up for re-election in one year’s time is bound to make him even more sensitive to constituent concerns. I’ve also seen that Pacific Palisades has made enough noise about the BMO amendments that they are getting special treatment. We can, too.

 

Want The RV’s Off Your Street? Here’s Your 90045 RV Fix

90045 RV fix, restricted parking for RVs in Westchester90045 RV Fix

As I mentioned in my last post, the City is not legally able at this time to outright ban people from living in vehicles, so don’t wait on the City for your 90045 RV fix.

But if you’ve got some RV bad apples parked in your neighborhood, you are not without recourse. Your options differ, depending on whether or not homes front the street where you want the restricted parking.

For example, I worked with a group of neighbors (calling ourselves the “RV Working Group”) to get restricted parking signage on Manchester between Sepulveda and Emerson. That stretch of Manchester does not have homes fronting it, but there are homes backing up to that street that suffered mightily with a batch of bad RV actors. In our case, we went with the no frontage, no overnight parking alternative.

No Homes Fronting The Street – No Overnight Parking

If you don’t have houses or businesses fronting the affected street, your 90045 RV fix is signage for “no overnight parking.” You don’t need signatures from property owners, as you do with the other sign restrictions, but you do need to gather documentation of health, safety and/or criminal violations. Once gathered, you send your documentation, with an explanation of your problem, to your LAPD Senior Lead Officer (“SLO”). After reviewing your documentation and finding that public safety and/or welfare is at risk, LAPD will request the signs from DOT. Make sure that your description references “vehicles” and not “RV’s,” to minimize the controversy around the RV’s.

If you live west of Sepulveda, your SLO is Ruben Garcia. His email address is 33236@lapd.lacity.org and his cell phone is 310.622.3978. If you live east of Sepulveda, your SLO is Sophia Castaneda. Her email address is 35080@lapd.lacity.org and her cell phone is 310.622.3976.

(update February 2017: Sophia Castaneda is now the SLO for west of Sepulveda and she’s taken over Ruben’s phone number of 310.622.3978. Her email remains 35080@lapd.lacity.org. For east of Sepulveda, Karwon Villery is the acting SLO. His phone number is 310.622.3976 and his email address is 38717@lapd.lacity.org.)

When you send your documentation and description to your SLO, cc both Anna Kozma, Mike Bonin’s Westchester Deputy, at anna.kozma@lacity.org, and the RV Working Group at RVworkinggroup@gmail.com. Both Anna and the Working Group will do what they can to support your application with LAPD.

Once the LAPD acknowledges the health, safety and/or criminal violations associated with your request, a letter is sent by LAPD to LADOT asking that department to install the signs. This is where Mike Bonin’s office has been particularly helpful. I’ve heard of neighbors waiting a year for signs. The RV Working Group got the first installment of the Manchester signs pretty quickly with support from Anna.

Homes Front The Street – No Oversize Vehicle Parking

If you have homes (including apartment buildings) or businesses fronting the street where you want your restricted parking, your 90045 RV fix is to petition for the posting of signs that say “No Parking, 2 am to 6 am for Vehicles Over 7 Feet High or Over 22 Feet Long Except By Permit.”

The petition requires that 67% of the affected properties/businesses sign the petition. Why a petition? Because you want to restrict your neighbors’ (i.e., other property owners’) parking of oversize vehicles, as well as the outsiders.

Call Mike Bonin’s Westchester Deputy, Anna Kozma, at 310.568.8772 to get the petition and details on what happens once you have the signatures.

Sewage Dumping

If you spot an RV dumping sewage, call Watershed Protection and ask for Environmental Compliance. They take sewage dumping very seriously as an environmental hazard and they will send somebody out immediately. Call 323.342.6006 between 6:30 am and 4 pm, and 213.485.7575 between 3:30 pm and 1 am. Go here for information on the correct RV dumping protocol, in case you’d like to share it with the RV dweller. 😉

Other Possible RV Restrictions

If you think more stop signs or red curbs might be your answer, submit Department of Transportation requests through DOT’s website. Look for the orange “I want to” button on the upper left. You can also submit requests through the 311 system, through either the website or the app (apple or android).

To follow up on your stop sign, red curb or related request, contact our local DOT Western District Office:

1828 Sawtelle Blvd., Room 108
LA, CA 90025
310.575.8138
ladot.westerndistrict@lacity.org

If you don’t get help from DOT by following the guidelines above, call Anna at 310.568.8772. Anna told me that she prefers phone calls over email. If she’s not available, you can also ask for Nancy, Westchester’s Constituent Advocate at that same phone number. Anna absolutely wants to know if you’re having problems getting a response to your City requests. She will share your concerns with Mike and he can use the information at budget time to get more resources allocated to our community.

Abandoned RV’s

If you think an RV has been abandoned, use this link to report online or call 800.ABANDON (800.222.6366).

Commercial Vehicles

Commercial vehicles are not permitted to park on residential streets. If you come across a commercial vehicle that is parked in an unsafe or obnoxious manner, call parking enforcement at 213.485.4184 or 818.374.4823. Vehicles blocking driveways can be impounded if the blocked property owner meets the enforcement officer at the driveway and states that s/he cannot get out of the driveway due to the offending vehicle.

So, there you have it! Everything you need to know to get rid of RV’s that are making a nuisance of themselves. Got questions? Do you think the 90045 RV fix information provided here is helpful? Let’s chat in the comments below.

Houston, We Have A 90045 RV Problem

90045 RV Problem
photo courtesy of neontommy.com

The 90045 RV Problem

What is up with all those RV’s? You know the ones. You’ve seen them everywhere. Recently, they were parked all along Manchester until shiny new restricted parking signage recently put a stop to parking between Sepulveda and Emerson.

RV’s parking on our City streets is not unique to Westchester. People are complaining in other communities, too. Recently El Segundo announced a tightening up on restrictions. The complaints in Venice are legendary.

And the problem is not new and it’s not pretty. Some people live in RV’s because they’ve lost their homes. Others make it a lifestyle choice. I once attended a Neighborhood Council meeting where a woman stood up and said that RV’s are the new thing and “Westchester better get used to it.” I had to pick my jaw up off the floor.

Houston, we have a 90045 RV problem.

Leave It Alone?

I think a lot of us would be willing to look the other way if it was just a handful of respectful people who need inexpensive housing. But it’s the self-entitled lifestylers that make me crazy. But I might even be able to ignore a few of those, if they didn’t stand up at NC meetings and flaunt their righteous choice.

But when the RV dwellers start dumping their waste, running criminal enterprises in their rigs and generally prevent kids and others from using the bike lanes and sidewalks, it’s time to take action.

Shouldn’t The City Take Care Of Our 90045 RV Problem?

If I had a nickle for every comment on NextDoor complaining that Mike Bonin is a bum for not getting rid of the RV’s, I’d be penning this post from Maui.

The truth is, the City is prevented from citing people simply because they are living in their vehicles. This comes courtesy of civil rights litigation sparked by Venice residents’ complaints about their RV problem a few years back, which prompted LAPD to dust off an old law from the 80’s to cite people for living in their vehicles. Four homeless people banded together and brought suit, with the result being that the 9th Circuit struck down the law as unconstitutionally vague in 2014.

Fast-forward to 2016 and it’s still not illegal to live in your vehicle. Why? Because the City of LA doesn’t have any alternative to offer, although there is movement toward rectifying this.

Although they can’t seem to get their housing/parking alternative act together, the City is not unsympathetic to our plight with RV dwellers who dump waste and run criminal enterprises on our streets with impunity. Even our Councilman, who is the biggest homeless advocate I’ve ever met, is willing to help restrict street parking when there is a demonstrable problem with health, safety and/or criminal violations.

So, while the City is not currently in a position to outright ban RV’s from our community, restricted parking by blocks is still an option. Click here for the instructions.

Sad State Of Affairs

It’s a sad state of affairs that we have to piecemeal a solution this way, and some neighbors call the process “whack a mole,” as the RV’s move from one street to another, but until there is a way for the City to legally address the bigger picture, this is what we’re left with.

What about you? Are you experiencing the 90045 RV problem on your street? What steps have you tried? Let’s talk in the comments below.

 

 

Anti-Mansionization Proponents Score Big Win But Are We Losing Sight Of The “Bigger” Picture?

photo credit: dwell.com
photo credit: dwell.com

Many of the proposed changes were welcomed by local residents worried about mansionization: The new rules would no longer allow a 20% bonus in square footage for using ecologically friendly building methods. They would also reduce the square footage that would generally be allowed for homes in residential areas, changing it from 50% to 45% of the lot size. And porches and patios that are covered would count toward the legal limit on building size, rather than being exempt.

Watching the anti-mansionization tsunami has hands down been more of my more frustrating experiences as a homeowner in Los Angeles.

In fact, I was moved to write a rare post on my personal blog about this topic in April 2015 and again in December 2015. Lots of people running around screaming that the sky is falling because houses are getting bigger kind of leaves me scratching my head.

Do these people not understand the deal they are making with the devil? Porches and patios counting toward the already restricted square footage? You can bet the bank that new houses are not going to have porches and patios. Talk about ugly, boxy houses!

And let’s talk about square footage restrictions. Every time I turn around the City wants to steal a bedroom from my family in our next remodel.

Currently we own a 1500 square foot house on a standard 6000 square foot lot. The old rules would have allowed us to build 3000 square feet plus 600 additional feet if we built green and/or took advantage of the other two incentives. A 3600 square foot home would allow for the 5 bedrooms that families our size want when one or both of the adults work at home. That is a large, comfortable home, but by no means a mansion.

The first big mansionization “reform” proposed by the City offered 50% of the lot size with no incentives.

3000 square feet for us? I guess we’re losing a bedroom in the big remodel. I suppose 4 bedrooms could work, but our resale value just took a hit.

But now comes news that the City is on the verge of finalizing a 45% rule. There goes another bedroom!

By my loose realtor calculation, the City is getting ready to take a good $500-$800K out of my family’s pocket by shaving off two bedrooms from what we could have built a year ago.

And why? Because a small, organized constituency of people don’t want LA to change.

Has anybody else noticed that our mayor is busy rolling out the red carpet to the tech industry? Maybe he didn’t get the memo, but those people like to work from home.

In a city with a housing crisis, why is LA cutting back bedrooms? And what about the traffic impacts when the people like me who work at home have to commute to an office because we can’t build an adequate home office?

Is anybody actually reading and digesting the proposed changes? What the anti-mansionizers are calling “loopholes” and “bonuses” were actually very effective incentives to build better looking and greener houses.

Don’t even get me started about the trend toward multi-generational families under one roof. Are they going to live in 3-bedroom houses? Hardly.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not inclined to leave a cool half mil on the table because Dora down the street likes our little Mayberry just the way it is.

Are you mad, too? Join me at 10 am on Sunday when I plan on hitting Mike Bonin’s pop up office hours at the Westchester Farmers Market to ask him why he is so intent on hurting my family’s retirement plan.

UPDATE: For whatever reason, the LA Times reporter fails to mention that the action on Thursday is limited to the extension of the Interim Control Ordinance (“ICO”) only. For 90045, that means Kentwood only (including, sadly, my family). Should you be any less mad? Definitely not. Your neighborhood is undoubtedly next. 😦

8 Reasons to Eat Local Foods – Holistic Squid

The average produce grown in North America spends anywhere from 5 days to several weeks in transit after harvest. According to Michael Pollan, author of the best selling book, Food Rules: An Eaters Manual, the average food item travels approximately 1500 miles and comes from 5 countries to get to your table. Buying local means you eliminate all of the fuel needed for transport.

I’m a huge fan of the Holistic Squid and was a patient of the Squid herself for a time about a year and a half ago. She turned me on to the amazing Mar Vista Farmers Market and introduced me to some of the Paleo concepts that I incorporate into my family’s lifestyle still today.

Courtesy of the Squid, I now hit the Mar Vista market every Sunday without fail, and increasingly, the Manhattan Beach market on Tuesdays. I’ve become so spoiled, I can barely stand for what passes as healthy produce at a conventional grocery store.

This week, the Squid is out with a guest post on her blog titled “8 Reasons To Eat Local.” The article is a great reminder about all the reasons it makes sense to shop our local farmers markets.

The Squid’s list:

  1. Local food is safer because it doesn’t travel through our overly complicated food distribution system and get exposed to food problems in that system.
  2. The consumer has more power and control over food choices when s/he can question the farmer directly, as is the case with a farmers market.
  3. The quality of local food is better because it comes to market faster.
  4. Eating from local sources allows you to eat with the seasons, preventing burn out from eating the same thing for months on end.
  5. Local food is fresh and tastes better for it.
  6. Buying local food helps the local economy and develops food community. Personally, I’m on a first name basis with my favorite meat and produce purveyors at the Mar Vista market. That doesn’t happen at Ralphs.
  7. Helping out a farmer by supporting his efforts to sell local means his transportation and distribution costs are less, allowing him to “plow” profits back in to his business.
  8. Local food means a smaller environmental footprint by avoiding the national food distribution system.

Are you sold? See you on Sunday? Drop a note in the comments and I’ll spill on all my favorite vendors. 😀

Read the full article on the Squid’s blog at  8 Reasons to Eat Local Foods – Holistic Squid

Toasting The Holiday? Read This First….

celebrationI caught this on the neighborhood yahoo group this morning. I think it’s a “fable,” but just in case, I’ll skip attribution to the author just this once. 😉

With the Christmas holidays upon us, I would like to share a personal experience with my friends about drinking and driving. Some of you may have friends who have had brushes with the authorities on the way home after a “social time” out with friends.

Well, two days ago I was out for dinner with some friends and had a couple cocktails … followed by some rather nice red wine. Feeling jolly, but still having the sense to know I might be “slightly” over the limit, I did something I’ve never done before — I took a cab home (Yep! Took a cab home).

Sure enough, on the way home there was a police roadblock, but since it was a cab, they waved it past. I arrived home safely without incident.

The real surprise is that I’d never driven a cab before. I don’t know where I got it and now it’s in my garage. I’m not sure what to do with it and would appreciate your comments/suggestions.

Be safe out there this holiday season, my neighbors! A good friend of my husband’s was crossing a street this week and was hit by a car. Don’t be that driver!