Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Soliciting Ideas for "Laws That Shaped LA"

My dear Angelenos,

A colleague of mine is working on a series of news articles for KCET about "Laws That Shaped LA" and he asked me to forward this request onwards.  If you have anything to contribute, please feel free to contact Jeremy directly.  You can mention that I shared his request with you.

-Will Wright


I write a weekly column called the "Laws That Shaped LA."

The columns, which post to KCET online, are archived here:

Each week, I ask an expert to nominate a law that has made a significant impact on contemporary Los Angeles. I then ask the expert to then explain its significance.

These laws could be international, federal, state, county or city laws. They could be ordinances or codes. They could have been, in the expert's view, malevolent or wonderfully positive. They could be civil or criminal. They could be about any subject -- the built environment, labor, civil rights, economics, transportation, ecology, public safety, public health, etc.

The only common denominator? That each law included in the column series can reasonably be said to have made a significant difference here in Los Angeles.

I'm seeking to interview folks -- either by phone, in-person or via email. Obviously, with each law there will be various specific questions, but generally speaking the basic questions I have are:

1. What specific law or laws do you nominate as making such a difference?

2. How and why does that specific law or laws matter?

3. What might L.A. be like without that law?

I look forward to hearing from folks interested in participating. My various contact information follows my signature.

Thank you, and best,

Jeremy Rosenberg
 (Freelance columnist, "Laws That Shaped LA")

323 620 9202 

Will Wright, Hon. AIA|LA
Director of Government & Public Affairs
AIA | Los Angeles 

A Chapter of
The American Institute of Architects

3780 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 800
Los Angeles, CA 90010
213.639.0764  phone
213.639.0767  fax

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Take Action: Support CEQA Modernization

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Dear Will,

Join the L.A. Area Chamber in voicing support for the modernization of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), which will allow our state to move forward with environmental protection policies that foster job creation, economic growth and community renewal while achieving the dual goals of responsible growth and economic prosperity.


Today Senator Marco Rubio amended SB 317 with language that strikes the necessary balance to continue CEQA's strong role of environmental protection and community involvement, while reducing the abuses that hinder job creation, community renewal and environmentally responsible projects. We ask you to support SB 317 today.


For more information, contact Jessica Duboff, 213.580.7558 or

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Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce | 350 | Los Angeles | CA | 90017

SB 214 (Wolk) - Support

August 21, 2012

Assemblymember Cameron Smyth

Chair, California Assembly Local Government Committee

State Capitol Building, Room 4098
Sacramento, CA 95814

Re:       SB 214 - SUPPORT


Dear Assemblymember Smyth:

We, the undersigned, a network of steward leaders representing all sectors (e.g., nonprofit, private, public, education, etc.) from California’s diverse economic regions who are dedicated to promoting a shared action agenda to catalyze California’s economic recovery through regional strategies, submit this letter in support of Senate Bill (SB) 214 (Wolk), as amended—a measure that would make it easier to establish Infrastructure Financing Districts throughout the State of California, enabling the development of critical infrastructure and offering communities a much-needed tool, especially with the demise of Redevelopment Agencies (RDA), to create jobs, reduce blight, and invigorate neighborhoods.

As you know, Infrastructure Financing Districts (IFDs) provide an opportunity for local governments to fund public infrastructure (such as highways, transit facilities, and libraries) by using bond proceeds that are repaid through property tax increment.  While IFDs have been authorized in statute since 1990, overly complex and onerous barriers (such as the requirement of two-thirds voter approval for both the creation of the IFD and bonds associated with it) have prevented its utilization.  Though several efforts have been made to apply IFDs to specific local areas—such as San Francisco with AB 1199 (Ammiano) in 2010 and San Diego with SB 207 (Peace) in 1999—only one, single project has been delivered using this broader statutory authority in over 20 years: the City of Carlsbad, which formed an IFD in 1999 to fund the public works associated with a hotel adjacent to Legoland.

SB 214 (as amended) removes some of the most onerous barriers associated with the creation of and issuance of bonds tied to IFDs, including:

§  Removing the two-thirds vote requirement associated with forming an IFD;

§  Removing the two-thirds vote requirement for issuing IFD-associated bonds;

§  Extending the life of an IFD from 30 years to 40 years, which increases an IFD’s bonding capacity; and

§  Removing the prohibition against an IFD including any portion of a redevelopment project area.

With the elimination of RDA, local governments are in critical need of additional tools—like IFDs—to help finance and deliver much-needed infrastructure throughout the State of California.  As such, we want to thank you for your continued leadership on this bill, and we want to offer our formal support for SB 214, as amended—a bill we see as critical to strengthening our economy and providing local governments with needed tools to support California communities after redevelopment’s demise.





Jim Wunderman

President  & CEO

Bay Area Council



Bill Allen

President & CEO

Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation


Randy Gordon

President & CEO

Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce


Lucy Dunn

President & CEO

Orange County Business Council


Cynthia Murray

President & CEO

North Bay Leadership Council


Cynthia Kurtz

President & CEO

San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership

Al Smith

President & CEO

Greater Fresno Area Chamber of Commerce


Ron Addington

President & CEO

Business Council, Inc.


Sixth Street Viaduct Design Competition Presentations (Sept. 2012)

6th Street Bridge Replacement Project
Will --

Welcome to the Sixth Street Viaduct Replacement Project's E-News.

In periodic emails we will keep you informed of upcoming community meetings, important news and other updates related to this important City project.

As a result of its declining condition, the Sixth Street Viaduct is in need of replacement.  The City of Los Angeles, Bureau of Engineering is working in partnership with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to design a new viaduct.

The City of Los Angeles has undertaken a Design Competition to select a design team for the new viaduct.

The three design firms that have been selected as finalists will present their designs to the public over the course of four public meetings in September 2012.  Come see the designs and models and provide your feedback.

The three design firms are:



Parsons Brinckerhoff

Please see the flyer below for more information and feel free to forward the email and flyer to other interested individuals and groups.  You are also welcome to RSVP below (not required).


Following the design competition, scale models of the proposed designs will be on display in the lobby of the Public Works Building at 1149 S. Broadway from 9/20/12 to 10/5/12.

To stay connected, please follow us on Twitter @6thStViaduct and "Like" our Facebook page "6th Street Viaduct Replacement Project." 

We hope to see you at any of the following meeting dates:

Public Presentation by Design Teams - Wed. Sept. 12th

Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at 06:30 PM · 
Puente Learning Center (Mulitpurpose Room)

501 S. Boyle Avenue,

Los Angeles, CA 90033

Public Presentation by Design Teams - Thurs. Sept. 13th

Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Para Los Ninos  (Cafetorium)

1617 East 7th Street

Los Angeles, CA 90021

(near the corner of Alameda)  

*Limited Parking, carpool and public transportation is suggested.

Public Presentation by Design Teams - Mon. Sept. 17th

Monday, September 17, 2012 at 06:30 PM

350 S. Merrick Street

Los Angeles, CA 90013

Please be aware that there are various campuses of SCI-Arc very close to each other. 

Keck Hall is located at the free parking lot area at the 350 Merrick entrance (just North of the Fourth Street Bridge at the corner of 4th and Merrick.

Public Presentation by Design Teams - Tues. Sept. 18th

Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 06:30 PM 

1600 E. Fourth Street

Los Angeles, CA 90033


*Limited parking.  Parking also available along surrounding streets.  

Thank you,

The Sixth Street Viaduct Replacement Project

6th Street Bridge Replacement Project · United States
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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

City of San Francisco :: Better Streets Plan

Recommendations for Improved Streetscape Project Planning, Design, Review and Approval

SF Controller_Better Streets Plan Recommendations for Improved Streetscape Project Pl.pdf Download this file

Monday, August 20, 2012

Support York Street Porch/Huntington Street Plaza at City Council This Week

Support York Street Porch/Huntington Street Plaza at City Council This Week

Site Plan - Huntington Street Plaza

The York Street Porch and Huntington Street Plaza are very close to receiving final approvals, and we would appreciate it if you could attend one of the three scheduled City meetings this week. The projects are part of the Council District 14 Parklet pilot program, which also includes DLANC's Spring Street Parklet. If successful, the pilot program could lead to a Citywide program for similar projects that reclaim street space.

The Arts, Parks, Health & Aging Committee will consider the pilot program on Tuesday, August 21st at 8:30 am, and on Wednesday, August 22nd at 2:00 pm the Transportation Committee will consider all the details of creating public space in street right-of-way. At the Committee hearings you will have an opportunity to make public comments in support of the project, and the CD 14 Parklet pilot project teams will there to provide information and coordinate our efforts.

We especially urge you to attend the full City Council meeting at 10:00am, Friday, August 24 to show each of the Councilmembers your support. Click on the links for more information on the Street Porch and the Street Plaza.

Arts, Parks, Health & Aging Committee
Location: City Hall Room 1060
Date: Tuesday, August 21
Time: 8:30 am-10:30 am

Transportation Committee
Location: City Hall Room 1010
Date: Wednesday, August 22
Time: 2:00 pm-4:00 pm

Full City Council Meeting
Location: City Council Chambers, Room 340, City Hall
Date: Friday, August 24
Time: 10am-12 noon

Site Plan - York Street Porch

Friday, August 17, 2012

AIA|LA Encourages Los Angeles City Council to Support the Modified Parking District Ordinance

AIA|LA Encourages Los Angeles City Council to Support the Modified Parking District Ordinance

Los Angeles, CA (August 16, 2012) - The American Institute of Architecture, Los Angeles (AIA|LA) encourages the Los Angeles City Council to unanimously support the Modified Parking Requirements District Ordinance (MPRD), which will enable the City of Los Angeles to implement much needed parking policy reforms.

The proposed ordinance will provide flexibility with regards to parking requirements throughout Los Angeles by enabling specific districts to customize the parking regulations best suited for the immediate neighborhood. With a city as vast and as diverse as Los Angeles, parking policy cannot be regulated with a one-size fits all approach because excessive parking requirements impair our ability to have a vibrant, sustainable and healthy city.

The MPRD ordinance will enable greater flexibility so that specific areas of the city can benefit with a more custom-tailored approach to parking regulations.

Overall, well-balanced parking requirements:

  • facilitate sustainable urban in-fill
  • lower the cost of housing and development in general
  • enhance the accessibility of neighborhood-serving public amenities
  • dis-incentivize excessive driving by encouraging pedestrian uses
  • conserve the environment
  • help lower the heat-island effect
  • reduce automobile-generated pollution

The proposed MPRD ordinance will serve as an effective planning tool and a positive step forward. As an enabling ordinance, it helps to strengthen the Planning Department's ability to craft planning policy that will ensure an environmentally and economically sustainable city.

As the MPRD ordinance is implemented, AIA|LA looks forward to serving as a resource to help analyze and maximize community benefits. We look forward to being a part of the ongoing effort to make Los Angeles a healthier and more livable city.

About AIA|LA -
AIA|LA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to furthering the efforts of its parent organization, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), by specifically serving the interests of our local architecture and design community. AIA|LA's membership includes architects and design professionals actively engaged in the industry. Members work at diverse companies representing a broad range of professional practices. Through advocacy, education, networking and outreach, AIA|LA serves as a resource to help make the Los Angeles region more delightful, healthy, sustainable and economically competitive.

For more information, please contact:

Will Wright, Hon. AIA|LA
Director, Government & Public Affairs
AIA Los Angeles
Tel: 213.639.0764
Email: will[@]

Press Release Modified Parking Requirements SUPPORT rev.pdf Download this file

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Los Angeles River Public Access Bill

SB 1201 Los Angeles River Access Bill
Heads to the Governor's Desk!

Guided Kayak Tour in Sepulveda Basin
(Photo courtesy Paddle the LA River Program)

Great news! On Monday, SB 1201, FoLAR's Los Angeles River Expanded Public Access Bill, passed the State Assembly.  Soon, it is expected to arrive at Governor Brown's desk for his signature. The bill, which was written by FoLAR with the help of UCLA's Environmental Law Clinic, will widen public access to the river and broaden the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works' 100-year-old mission of flood and stormwater management to include, for the first time, education and recreation.

The success of SB 1201 is the direct result of the steadfast commitment to the river of State Senator Kevin de León, who beat back attempts to water down the bill and convinced the City of Long Beach to drop its opposition. San Fernando Valley Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield "jockeyed" the bill across the Assembly floor.  The amendments, de León noted, "only codified the status quo.  And the status quo is not good enough."

October 2011 Los Angeles River Joint Hearing in Studio City with State Senator Kevin de León, State Senator Fran Pavley, Assemblymember Felipe Fuentes and Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield 
(Photo courtesy of Senator Pavley's Office)

For 25 years, Friends of the Los Angeles River has been fighting the status quo, working to create a swimmable, fishable, boatable Los Angeles River, a Los Angeles River greenway from the mountains to the sea.  SB 1201 has taken hundreds of man and woman hours to accomplish, and we could not have done it without your ongoing support.  Write a letter to Governor Brown urging him to sign the L.A. River Expanded Public Access Bill.  Then send a very generous donation to FoLAR.  FoLAR has always been the voice of the river.  Today, our voices have been heard.

Thank you for your support,

Lewis MacAdams                           

Fishing at the Los Angeles River in Glendale Narrows
(Photo by William Preston Bowling)

Contact Governor Jerry Brown to express your support for SB 1201:

Governor Jerry Brown
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814

916-445-2841 office phone
916-558-3160 office fax

Emails may be sent via ONLINE TOOL


Friends of the Los Angeles River
570 West Avenue 26, Suite 250
Los Angeles, CA 90065
Tel:  (323) 223-0585

Address postal inquiries to:
Friends of the Los Angeles River
570 W. Ave 26, Ste. 250
Los Angeles, CA 90065-1047
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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Make Your Vote Count with AIA DesignVote12

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Dear William,

As the 2012 election approaches, the AIA wants to ensure that all architects take part in the political process. The AIA's DesignVote12 program gives you the tools you need when you go to the polls this fall.

The online voter guide and up-to-the-minute resources on the DesignVote12 Web site will provide you with pertinent information about the election:

  • Key AIA issues: The key bills that the AIA has advanced since the last election that affect your practice and community AIA.
  • District profiles: Information about all the key candidates for Congress in your district and state, including official and campaign Web sites of the incumbents, Web sites for the major party challengers, and where the incumbent stands on the key AIA issues.
  • Election resources: A directory of tools that will help you and your AIA chapter participate in the electoral process, including how to find your polling location, voter registration information, and toolkits to connect your AIA chapter with candidates and the media.
We hope that you will use the DesignVote12 Web site in the coming months to learn more about the candidates for Congress and how you can make your voice heard in this pivotal election. In addition, you can use the links to the right to get more detailed information on registration and absentee voting in California.

As a reminder, the deadline to register to vote in California is Monday, October 22. Don't miss out on your chance to make your voice heard on the issues important to you—check your voter registration today.

After you check your voter registration, help your AIA even more by taking the Legislator Relationship Survey. Strong member participation will give AIA components the influence they need to advance policies that help architects make a difference in their communities.

AIA member participation in the political and lawmaking processes is critical to preserving and advancing laws that are crucial to the profession of architecture. Exercise your constitutional right and make sure you are registered to vote today!

How you vote is a personal decision—but it is vital that all architects vote. Whether you are a Democrat, Republican, or Independent, DesignVote12 will help you and your colleagues participate in this key election.


Robert Ivy, FAIA
EVP/Chief Executive Officer

If you have any questions about DesignVote12, please contact

Robert Ivy, FAIA encourages you to do your part in the electoral process.
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August 2012
Register to Vote!
Registration Deadline:
Monday, October 22.
State Election Information
Voter Registration Information
Register Here!
Absentee Ballot Information
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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Draft San Pedro Community Plan and Environmental Impact Report (DEIR)

The new San Pedro Community Plan and Draft environmental analysis are
now available for your review!

A Draft of the proposed San Pedro Community Plan is now available for
your review, along with the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR)
that was prepared to analyze environmental impacts. The Community Plan
is the long range land use plan for San Pedro and includes changes in
land use designations, zoning, and street standards that are intended
to accommodate growth anticipated in the next 10 to 20 years. The San
Pedro Community Plan will shape the future of your community, guiding
future growth, protecting neighborhood character, creating new
economic opportunity, and enhancing the quality of life for those who
live, work, visit and invest in the area.

The proposed plan and related materials, including a map of the
recommendations by sub-area, and the DEIR can be found at We hope you
explore this web site to learn more about what this Community Plan
will contain and how to stay involved in the planning process. A hard
copy of the DEIR is also available for review at each of the library
locations listed in the attached Notice of Completion/Availability

We welcome your comments on the new Plan and the DEIR. You may e-mail,
send by regular mail, or fax them to me, using my contact information
below. Comments sent via email should include the project title in the
email subject line. All comments on the DEIR must be received by
Monday, September 24, 2012. However, there will be other opportunities
to comment on the plan and proposed land use recommendations. Please
check the website to see updated information on an open house and
public hearing, which will occur in the fall. Once this event is
scheduled, the date and time will be posted on the website, and those
on the interest list will also receive a notice as well. We look
forward to receiving your input on the new San Pedro Community Plan
and DEIR.

Thank you,
Debbie Lawrence, San Pedro Community Planner

1 San Pedro CP DEIR NOC-NOA 2012-08-09.pdf Download this file

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Let's Wave Goodbye to the Gross Receipts Tax and Hello to New Jobs

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Tuesday | Aug. 7, 2012


Let's Wave Goodbye to the Gross Receipts Tax and Hello to New Jobs

The No. 1 tax complaint of businesses in Los Angeles is the gross receipts tax. Statements like "overly burdensome" and "complicated and confusing" are part of every conversation. While the City has enviable assets that represent the foundation for the return to a booming economy, businesses cite the gross receipts tax structure as one of the top reasons for locating or expanding elsewhere.

The City of Los Angeles has the highest gross receipts tax rate in L.A. County and one of the highest in the nation. The tax structure was put in place decades ago when employers were less mobile. In today's 21st Century economy, companies that pay the tax at the highest rate are the most mobile and the easiest to locate outside the city limits or in another state.

A group of taxpayers and concerned citizens (BTAC – Business Tax Advisory Committee) was appointed by the City Council to study the gross receipts tax two years ago. Their research indicates that the burden of a high gross receipts tax, coupled with a complicated classification structure, is hindering job growth and economic expansion. The advisory committee recommended a 15-year phase out of the tax in three five-year phases. The first phase would consolidate the City's nine tax classes into three and reduce the top rate from .507 percent to .255 percent over five years.

While the City is likely to see a short-term loss of revenue from this reform, a more business-friendly Los Angeles can look forward to future increases in the property tax and sales tax base, and additional revenues from permits, licenses and fees. The new jobs for L.A. residents and the new money that these businesses will invest back into the community will make this strategic decision a very smart move for the community.

The business community understands that this change to the City’s revenue structure must be implemented in a balanced, responsible way. Thus we support the report's recommendation for a 15-year phase out of the tax coupled with an annual review of direct and indirect revenue gains and trigger mechanisms.

The BTAC recommendations, which were approved by the City Council’s Jobs & Business Development Committee, will soon be headed to the full Council. We urge you to contact your Councilmember and make it clear that this decisive act by the City Council is the economic stimulus that our businesses, unemployed workers and city coffers are looking for.

Phasing out the gross receipts tax in the City of Los Angeles would be a huge step forward and a strong statement that Los Angeles is strongly committed to attracting and retaining jobs, businesses and a growing tax base in the future.     

And that's The Business Perspective.

The Business Perspective is a weekly column by Gary Toebben, President & CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, produced with the input of Public Policy staff.



The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business in L.A. County. Founded in 1888, the Chamber promotes a prosperous economy and quality of life in the Los Angeles region. For more information, visit



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