Nothing starts a day better than attending a conference full of stuffy tightwads, as we did today. We've barely recovered from a full day of activities at UCLA where the 2006 Mayoral Housing Summit took place. As the title suggests, the Mayor was there. He was introduced with a bunch of superlatives including, in an obvious dig at the Governor, as "HOT".
Lots of discussion was had along with many cups of coffee that tasted of soapy water and cigarettes. Here's a few of the days highlights:
* The Westside is a mess. Three jobs for every household forces a lot of traffic onto the freeways and side streets.
* The Mayor made an impassioned call for building the Subway to the Sea, despite the naysayers in the media.
* VICA President, Brendan Huffman, noted that the Valley can be an unfriendly place to housing and density.
* The Mayor noted "green is going mainstream" and announced the formation of a Green Building Team. He also stated that the City should make "green urbanism" the guiding principal of the City of Los Angeles. Green urbanism is defined as building walkable communities that rely on multi-modes of transportation and are generally enviro-friendly.
* We were left bloody after being beaten over the head repeatedly with the call to pass Proposition H and the infrastructure bonds on the ballot this November.
* Planning Director S. Gail Goldberg noted that the City is creating only about 10,000 new housing units a year. So far 7,000 units have been created using the mixed-use RAS Zones.
* The crowd roared its approval when Goldberg stated that the City must stop planning the City project by project. Better plans must be created to allow developers and communities to see what can be built and where.
* Carol Schatz, president of the Central City Association, nodded her approval with a grin like a cheshire cat as Andy Wilch of Portland, OR described how his city has successfully transformed industrial land into housing and retail, replacing all the jobs lost in the process despite worries that jobs would be lost. Guess we know where she stands on the attempts to preserve the industrial land around Downtown.
* A common theme of the Summit, besides voting yes on Prop H, was the need for comprehensive planning and the desire to create our own reality and our own vision of Los Angeles, rather than attempt to copy Chicago or New York. Cuz they suck.