Wed, Jun

Los Angeles Slips Further into Decline


THE VIEW FROM HERE - No matter how large a disaster looms; most people are oblivious to what’s happening.  Perhaps, the most famous example from the ancient world was when the Trojans foolishly brought the Horse inside the city walls, got drunk thinking that they had defeated the Greeks, and then were slaughtered, and the city burned to the ground.  On the good side, it brought us who took Latin IV, the opening lines of the Aeneid. “Arma virumque canō, Trōiae quī prīmus ab ōrīs. Ītaliam, fātō profugus. “ (After 62 years, I’ve got to reap some benefit from four years of Latin. After Troy’s fall, Aeneas went to Italy; hence Rome.)  We also learned about Cassandra, daughter of Troy’s King Priam, and subsequent soothsayers who uttered true prophesies only not to be believed, e.g. Winston Churchill.  The Cassandra phenomenon, however, is an indictment of the populace who fails to heed the warnings. 

Interestingly, hordes will blindly follow a cult leader like Trump who continually spouts obvious lies. The Dems do the same thing.  While a few people in a society can see the handwriting on the wall, the general public is illiterate in “wall reading.”  People believe what satisfies their emotions without regard to facts.  Wokeism, which is basically Nazism, is all the rage on college campuses. To complicate matters, most people lack the background to understand the significance of facts until the evil has overtaken their society. 

The Latest Population Fraud on Angelenos 

The State Department of Finance has issued its April 30, 2024 report, State’s Population Increases While Housing Grows per New State Demographic Report.  When people come to California, they are generally motivated by bad conditions in their countries of origin and not necessarily because California is their final US destination. Other factors, such as a lower death rate after Covid, do not mean California has become desirable. When one looks at death rates, the birth rates, as well as the migration into and out of California, one needs to look more closely at the data. 

The Generational Movements 

Demographers divide Americans into different generations based on the assumption that people born during certain eras have similar characteristics. Not all demographers agree on the dividing lines, but the following is the most generally accepted. 

2000 to 2024: Generation Z, age range 0 to 24

1980 to 2000: Millennials Y, age range 24 to 44

1965 to 1979:  Generation X, age range 45 to 59

1946 to 1964: Baby Boomers, age range 60 to 78

1925 to 1945: Silent Generation, age range 78 to 99

1900 to 1924: G.I. Generation, age range 100-124 

Because the generational divides are too broad and do not necessarily correspond to events, we need to be more analytical.  For our purposes, we should recognize that great divide in most generations: Dorm Room and Family Age phases.  

For example, Millennials stayed in the Dorm Room Phase longer than the Baby Boomers since the Crash of 2008 reduced their financial stability, while Baby Boomers could afford to get married out after high school or college.  Not only due to the Crash of 2008, but due to high college loan debt, Millennials could not start a family as soon as Baby Boomers.  Their delayed move to family life, which requires more living space – usually a detached home with a yard, low crime rate, decent schools – was falsely heralded as a rejection of the American Dream.  The prevaricators of the Manhattanization mania claimed that Millennials would henceforth shun a single-family home for a small apartment with no chance to build equity.  Based on this idiotic interpretation, Los Angeles “intentionally used fatal flawed data and wishful thinking to the extent that it subverted the law” to authorized densification, i.e. Manhattanization. (see Jan 2104 Judge Goodman opinion rejecting Garcetti’s Hollywood Community Plan)

The result was the exodus of the Millennials when they finally reached their delayed Family Age.  Because densification and other housing frauds perpetrated by the city council, homes cost way too much.  Employers had already realized that high housing costs form a significant portion of their costs of business since their employees had only one source of income to pay such exorbitant prices.  Meanwhile, employers’ competitors in other states with rational prices for detached homes were paying their employees a lot less, which meant that staying in Los Angeles put the employers at a competition disadvantage. 

Their inability to create home equity also drove out Family Millennials.  Rather than buy a home, most Millennials had to rent, which meant they could gain zero equity.  In addition, as Millennials started families, they would incur all the extra costs of family life.  Since two incomes were necessary, there had to be day care and two cars.  For those families who aimed for their children to climb the socio-economic ladder, private school was necessary.  Average annual cost for Jewish high school is $24,924, while the average annual cost of LA’s 72 private high schools of $23,342. Average price of the 175 elementary schools is $17,072.  Private School Review 

LA is spending over $1.3 Billion on homelessness and the city’s projected budget debt is only $288.6 Million.  The projected debt is only 22% of the cost of homelessness.  Trees will be rimmed once every 17 years and forget about sidewalk repair, but there will be plenty of money for Road Diets, e.g., reducing Hollywood Boulevard into one lane each way so that bicycles can have their own lanes. 

The State’s Claim That the Exodus Has Abated Is Nonsense 

Family Millennials are approaching the end of their reign.  If they have not moved by their 40's, they are not likely to move. Gen Zer’s, however, are still in the Dorm Room phase.  The eldest are only 24 and they will not get serious about family life for another few years.  As the Gen Zer’s age, they too will leave Los Angeles.  The quality of life is far worse than ten years ago, when Judge Goodman warned about the city’s use of fatally flawed data.  (As H.E.L.P. told Judge Goodman, “Garbage in, garbage out.”)

The Housing Shortage Fraud is Matched by the Mass Transit Fraud 

Mass transit always increases traffic congestion.  Mass Transit costs so much to construct and to run that each subway is followed by demands for more housing densification in order to create ridership to pay the fares.  People who can afford the new apartments do use mass transit; they drive cars because mass transit is slow, expensive, hard on the riders, dirty, and crime ridden. Even County Supervisor Kathryn Barger will not take mass transit alone.  

The claim that mass transit helps poor people reach employment is false.  “The reality, according to the 2017 American Community Survey is that 56.8% of major metropolitan area commuters reach their jobs in 30 minutes by auto, compared to only 0.9% by transit.”    Subways and fixed rail mass transit only go where the rails are laid.  In order for mass transit to compete with autos to reach jobs ......   Oops, there is no end to that sentence since it is impossible for mass transit to compete with cars.  To begin with, your car is in your driveway, and the subway is ½ mile away. 

Except for buses, the sole purpose of LA’ mass transit construction is to make money for the contractors and Wall Street.  Like Charlie Brown and the football, Angelenos always fall for the same falsehoods: it will reduce traffic congestion and help poor people reach their jobs.  Gen Zer’s better wake up and realize they pay not only for the County’s follies and the City’s corruption but also for the hundreds of billions of dollars that Metro requires to construct needless mass transit and then operate the systems.  A ballpark estimate based on NYC’s experience is that Metro’s deficit will be the same as the LA City budget.  Get ready Gen Zers – you will be paying the bills.  (Bonds are not free; they are deferred taxes.) 

The Deficits Will Not Be Covered 

The reality is that the city’s, the county’s, Metro’s and the State’s deficits will not be paid. As Gen Zer’s follow Family Millennials to greener pastures, the tax base will shrink, we will destroy more RSO units, will allow housing frauds to aggrandized housing prices, we will lack funds to hire more cops, more businesses will leave, etc.  The lull between the Millennial exodus and the Gen Zer exodus will soon end.

(Richard Lee Abrams has been an attorney, a Realtor and community relations consultant as well as a CityWatch contributor.  You may email him at [email protected].)


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