Developers and Politicos Should be Taxed for Making Us Miserable

CORRUPTION WATCH-METRO, whose Board is dominated by Eric Garcetti and the other density mavens in the LA City Council, wants individual Angelenos who get caught in our horrid traffic to be fined for the privilege of being abused each morning and evening. Really?

Did the secretary who drives to Bunker Hill from Simi Valley decide to construct a 30-story building next to DTLA? Why should he or she pay? 

Remember, Bunker Hill pays no incremental property taxes which means the secretaries who work in those high rises are paying extra property taxes wherever they live in LA County. If they own a home, their taxes are higher, and if they rent, their rents are higher because whoever owns the apartment building has to pay extra property taxes to compensate for the billions of dollars the CRA projects do not pay. (After the CRA’s demise, the city gives tax rebates to the developers.) 

Did You Create these Zones of Maximum Density? 

We know who wants to Manhattanize Los Angeles and we know, or we should know, who is paying the cost. Here’s a hint. Eric Garcetti, the developers, the construction companies and big businesses are not paying a cent. In fact, the city is giving them billions of our tax dollars. The Average Jose Angeleno picks up the tab. 

According to METRO, the people who construct excessive density are blameless. The fancy schmancy big shot schmucks who have to have the corner offices on the 15th floor are to blame for the fact that so many people are crowded into the same small areas of land at the same time. 

They have used the fake meme that over-crowding is “the highest and best use of land.” No, it is not. This “highest and best use” lie artificially raises the price of land which raises the costs of everything built on that land. Sure, a parcel with a 30-story building is worth more than a lot with 3 stories, but that extra dollar value does not mean that excessive density and the extra burdens on infrastructure and the time it wastes for people who try to get to it is the “best” use of the land. Rather, a ZMD is close to the worst use of the land. 

Our Quality of Life Matters Naught to Garcetti and his Developers 

The one thing we know as Garcetti’s developers are destroying the rent-controlled homes of thousands of poor people is that he cares nothing about the quality of life for Angelenos. Anyone who gave a tinker’s damn for other people would not follow his policy of destroying poor people homes and throwing women, children and the elderly onto the streets. 

LA’s Two Types of ‘Traffic Congestion’ 

We have traffic congestion of homeless people, their tents and their shopping carts crowding the sidewalks and we have the traffic congestion caused by too many people trying to get into the ZMDs. The two types of “traffic congestion” are related. Both derive from Garcetti’s corrupt Manhattanization Mania. 

We Taxpayers Have Paid Billions of Dollars to Reach this Point 

As far back as 1915, Angelenos were warned that Zones of Maximum Density, aka Transit Oriented Districts, would make a very few landowners wealthy while making everyone else poorer. When you must drive an extra 30 to 60 minutes each day because your job is needlessly located in DTLA and you live in the North Valley, you are paying for the policy to make land owners in the Basin wealthier.  You get to see less of your family and you get the frustration and expense of stop and go traffic. Do the bosses who decided to locate far away from where people live pay you extra for all that lost time? No! You pay all those financial and emotional costs. 

Those who depend on mass transit, which can take twice as long as driving their own car, do not get extra compensation for their troubles. Since the bus riders did not create ZMDs and TODs, riding METRO should be FREE. These riders are already suffering enough. “Oh, the weather outside was frightful” this last week. Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain. What does Garcetti care? He drives to City Hall, parks underground and takes the elevator to his office without a drop of water touching him. What does he care if you are drenched to the bone and get pneumonia? 

Density Tax  

Los Angeles needs a density tax. For example, each building in DTLA or on Bunker Hill should pay a $5,000 per employee per year density tax. After all, the malinches ricos are the ones who decided to locate in ZMDs and TODs. So, let them pay.  

Tax Councilmembers 

This will be called the “PC 86 Tax” and each Councilmember will have to pay. Penal Code 86 makes it illegal for councilmembers to trade votes. Under the corrupt enterprise which runs LA City, all city councilmembers must trade votes, supporting whatever atrocious project another councilmember places on the city council agenda.  

Each councilmember should be taxed $100 for each vote he or she casts on the City Council when the resolution passes unanimously – which is basically all the votes. Three thousand unanimous votes per year would be $300,000 for each councilmember, and if we went back only five years, that would be $1.5 million per councilmember. The total for the entire city council would be about $22,500,000. While that is not much money, the PC86 Tax would stop the vote trading at City Council. 

Decent People Need a Break 

There are ways for us honest hard-working people to make these modern robber barons and their political henchmen pay for the extra costs and hardship they impose on regular people. We need to tax excessive density and the corrupt voting. 

(Richard Lee Abrams is a Los Angeles attorney and a CityWatch contributor. He can be reached at: Rickleeabrams@Gmail.com. Abrams’ views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.