Los Angeles

The Bleak California Housing Picture By Numbers

Key recent studies and data can inform the legislative debate

As the debate over SB 50 and other state legislative efforts to boost California’s housing supply heats up, it’s worth reviewing some of the data about how dire the housing situation is in the state. Here are some tidbits: High Home Prices and Rents: According to the California Legislative Analysts Office, the average California home …

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Light Over Darkness

New L.A. street lighting design competition spotlights barrier to walking, cycling, and public transit use

A design competition to improve street lighting launched by Mayor Eric Garcetti last week could help Los Angeles meet its climate targets by improving the experience of pedestrians, cyclists, and public transit users on city streets. The competition invites students and design professionals to submit ideas for a new standard L.A. streetlight design, with a …

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An Oil and Gas Setback in Los Angeles Would Not Create Billions in Liability

A recent report from the Petroleum Administrator relied on incorrect and incomplete legal assumptions about the City’s potential liability to oil and gas operators. Here’s why it matters.

This week, Sean Hecht and I (in our capacity as attorneys in the Frank G. Wells Environmental Law Clinic at UCLA School of Law) sent a letter on behalf of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust to Mayor Eric Garcetti, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office, and the Los Angeles City Council. (Our letter built …

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Bless the Rains Down in Los Angeles

As a wet winter approaches, Los Angeles County focuses on initiatives to capture rainwater and reduce ocean runoff

(Note: I previously wrote a law review article published in 2016 in the Villanova Environmental Law Journal, accessible here, about related policy suggestions for improving rainwater capture in reference to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.) If you live in California, or have been in the state over the last couple weeks, you’ll know that we …

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Learning Lessons from Los Angeles’s TOC Program

Challenges and opportunities as TOC continues to drive affordable housing production

I’ve written before about Los Angeles’ Transit Oriented Communities (TOC) Program, an inclusionary housing program designed to allow for increased density in residential and mixed-use projects near major transit stops in exchange for a developer commitment to include a set percentage of affordable housing units in those projects.  Since implementation began in late 2017, the …

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Climate Strike in Los Angeles This Friday, November 1

Youth-led event on November 1 at Los Angeles City Hall will feature Greta Thunberg

This Friday, November 1, climate activist Greta Thunberg will join local youth organizers for a Climate Strike at Los Angeles City Hall from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Event details are available on Action Network and Facebook. Climate change is a “wildfire multiplier” in California, with warming temperatures drying out vegetation and increasing risk of …

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LA Metro’s Transit to Parks Strategic Plan

A beneficial but incomplete solution to address lack of access to open spaces for disadvantaged communities

I previously wrote about the potential to generate greater support for environmental initiatives, by improving community engagement with the natural environment. One mechanism to improve community engagement in this manner is quite simple: make it easier for people to access parks and open spaces by public transit. Access is a widespread issue in Los Angeles, …

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The Pro-Environmental Lochner Court

How a conservative Court defended environmental protection a century ago.

Like today’s Court, the Supreme Court a century ago was dominated by conservatives. The Lochner era, from around 1900 to 1935, was named after the most notorious case of that period. The Lochner case, which struck down a maximum hours law for workers, epitomized the conservative Supreme Court of that era.  Yet that conservative Court …

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TOC Under Fire

Fix the City’s new lawsuit challenges a key transit-oriented housing program

Last week, a Los Angeles slow-growth group, Fix the City, filed a lawsuit challenging a West Los Angeles development project on Santa Monica Boulevard.  The project, a seven-story, 120-unit apartment building less than half a mile from the Century City mall, was approved using density bonus, height, and setback incentives through the City of Los …

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The LA County Sustainability Plan

An innovative approach to ambitious goals

Last week, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the LA Countywide Sustainability Plan. Along with my colleagues Sean Hecht and Nat Logar and other faculty across UCLA, I assisted in the drafting process and witnessed the shaping of the Plan from the ground up. The final Plan provides a best practices model …

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