LOS ANGELES – Having made a deep financial commitment to create housing for some of its 27,000 unsheltered homeless people, Los Angeles is falling short in building new apartments to take thousands of people off the streets, a new study finds.
Nearly three years after city voters approved a $1.2 billion construction program over 10 years, the city has yet to see the first building completed. Average per-apartment costs have zoomed more than $100,000 past prior predictions, the study by city Controller Ron Galperin finds.
“To create a bigger impact now and in the future, the city must make some immediate changes to its approach,” said Galperin in comments via email. “Los Angeles needs to figure out how to make the cost of development cheaper and the timeline quicker.”
At an average cost of $531,373 per unit – with many apartments costing more than $600,000 each – building costs of many of the homeless units will exceed the median sale price of a market-rate condominium. In the city of Los Angeles, the median price for a condo is $546,000, and a single-family home in Los Angeles County has a median price of $627,690, the study states.
Prices rose dramatically because of higher-than-expected costs for items other than actual construction, such as consultants and financing. Those items comprise up to 40% of the cost of a project, the study found. By contrast, land acquisition costs averaged only 11% of the total costs.
Instead of the 10,000 apartments touted by city leaders as the goal of the bond issue, the city measure known as Proposition HHH is now projected to provide a total of 7,640. The hope is that the new apartments, combined with dormitory-style shelters and other facilities, can make a dent in the city’s unsheltered homeless population.
THE MOST CALIFORNIA HEADLINE EVER: Questions of unethical dealing hit high-speed rail. But don’t stop construction in Fresno.
First, Assemblyman Jim Patterson, the Republican from Fresno, last month wrote the state agency that oversees politicians and public officials with concerns that a member of the rail project’s board had a financial conflict of interest, or at the least, an appearance of one. It was the second time this year Patterson had brought such a concern to the Fair Political Practices Commission. In the first instance, the rail project’s deputy chief operating officer had to step aside while his case came under investigation.
Second, the Los Angeles Times published a story that certain legislators in Southern California and the Bay Area are now considering using their voting clout to redirect state funds from the bullet train to rail projects in their areas. The lawmakers want to alleviate the freeway congestion that so frequently stymies their region.
Taken together, the developments are new fodder for detractors who think high-speed-rail is a colossal boondoggle that should be stopped. But, if anything, they should focus the rail board even more on getting the project done while making sure its leadership is completely ethical in all its dealings.
Another layer of administration ought to do it. Just one more…
That was the message from Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl in an email blast to share the news that the most populous county in California, with more than 5.3 million registered voters, is introducing new voting machine technology, abolishing precinct polling places, and throwing the doors open for 11 days of in-person voting, just in time for the March 2020 primary.
Instead of local polling places that are open only on Election Day, there will be 1,000 Vote Centers that will be open for 11 days. Registered voters will be able to vote at any Vote Center just by walking in and giving their name and address. They’ll be able to change their address, or their party preference, or their preference for by-mail or in-person voting. They’ll be able to request a new ballot. And they’ll be able to vote the same day that they make any of these changes.
No identification is required.
Here’s the security procedure to make sure people really are who they say they are.
Want to hear it again?
That’s right, there is no security whatsoever to protect against voter impersonation.
By coincidence, or maybe not by coincidence, these three states (that don’t require any ID to vote) have some of the highest tax rates in the country. It almost makes you wonder who’s voting for those, and who’s voting for the elected officials who are voting for those.
In California, statewide ballot measures have been used to raise taxes. Often. And in November 2020, that could happen again.
Who’s voting in Los Angeles County? The truth is, we’ll never know.