BELL VIEW-Living in Los Angeles for the past twenty years has driven home to me the power of the vote. The first time I supported a Quixotic campaign against an incumbent City Councilmen (and all of mine have been men since I’ve been here), our side got absolutely clobbered – when you looked at the results based on percentages. The incumbent got more than 80% of the vote. But when you looked at the numbers themselves – in the second-largest city in America – the margin of victory looked incredibly thin. Less than 8,000 votes separated victory from defeat.  

EASTSIDER-After a recent presentation by DWP about the status of remediation of underground water in the San Fernando Valley, I realized two things; first, they are doing a great job at building facilities to remove the underground toxins in these areas from the useful water for us Angelinos, and second, none of these measures are going to directly increase the water supply to Southern California. Which leaves us with a big question -- how do we ensure our water supply in this desert we inhabit? 

PLATKIN ON PLANNING-Last week I heard from a number of readers about my recent CityWatch column critical of California Senate Bill 827. They told me that Scott Wiener’s proposed legislation would inflict far more damage on Los Angeles than imposing taller height limits, eliminating parking requirements, and gutting zoning overlay districts, such as Historic Preservation Overlay Zones (HPOZs). They told me it would also allow the construction of by-right apartment buildings on parcels that the City Council previously zoned for single-family residences. And, it will put the on-going, City Hall-supported gentrification of Los Angeles on steroids. 

CONNECTING CALIFORNIA-Here’s the good news in Sacramento: “Lady Bird,” a coming-of-age film set in Sacramento -- and written and directed by the California capital’s own Greta Gerwig -- has been nominated for five Academy Awards, including best picture. 

MORE THAN THE MIDDLE IS MISSING!--At Scott Wiener’s February 3 town hall in San Francisco’s Outer Sunset neighborhood, I was startled to hear the city’s state senator say that his controversial new bill, SB 827, co-sponsored by Senator Nancy Skinner and drafted by California YIMBY Executive Director Brian Hanlon, was all about fostering the construction of the “missing middle”—“small to mid-sized apartment” buildings that are three to five stories tall with “maybe 8 to 20 units.”

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