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Piling It On: Los Angeles Magazine & Mayor's Record

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Whatever you thought of that Los Angeles' cover story that labels Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa a failure, here's the part of the Ed Leibowitz's essay that addresses housing. Writer Leibowitz accuses the mayor of making a number of missteps, including refusing to push for affordable housing in new developments. Addressing the Mayor, Leibowitz writes: "During the runoff against Hahn, when you were still serving on the city council, your colleagues Ed Reyes and Eric Garcetti were pushing for an inclusionary zoning ordinance, much like Chicago’s, that would have required developers to commit 10 percent of a project’s value toward funding affordable housing. Their proposal never made it to the floor after you and then-councilman Martin Ludlow made it clear that this was perhaps not the best time to be alienating the business sector. You said Hahn’s affordable housing trust fund was inadequate, and for the first half of your administration, you did cobble together enough city, state, and federal dollars to double the annual allotment to $100 million. This coming fiscal year you’ll be 20 percent shy of that figure, with the city’s proposed contribution reduced to zero.

Today’s outlook might have been less grim if the city council’s $1 billion affordable housing bond hadn’t lost last year by a couple of percentage points at the polls. [This actually was on the 2006 ballot; Los Angeles magazine tells us they're going to run a correction]. The measure hardly benefited from mayoral support so anemic that some regarded it as mild opposition. By the time you introduced your own housing plan last September, mostly paid for by billions in diverted and purely imaginary funds, the bottom had fallen out of the market." [Pictured: The Mayor announcing his $5 billion, five-year plan for housing for Los Angeles last September]
· Dear Mr. Mayor [Los Angeles Magazine]