Via Former L.A. City Planner Platkin Collapses Rationales For "Transit Rich" Density-Dictating SB 827

It's titled: "The More You Stir it, the More It Stinks: New Planning Legislation from Sacramento" is reader and advertiser supported. Support independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.
(Feb. 13, 2018, 5:35 a.m.) -- thanks for granting us permission to link to their recently published piece by former L.A. City Planner Dick Platkin, making a number of points regarding SB 827.

To view Mr. Platkin's perspective titled "The More You Stir it, the More It Stinks: New Planning Legislation from Sacramento," click here.

As previously reported by, SB 827 would (rough summary) give housing developers density bonuses and require cities to let such developers build multi-unit residential buildings at minimum heights ranging from 45 to 85 feet [roughly four to eight stories] within a half mile of a major transit stop or a quarter mile of high-quality transit corridors.

[Scroll down for further.]

SB 827's potential impacts in Long Beach are timely as city staff wants the City Council to approve density increases in draft Land Use Element maps on March 6. has reported on SB 827 in detail here, here, here and here.

Later today (Feb. 13), SB 827 will be the subject of a City Council agenda item brought by three of LB's nine Councilmembers (Mungo, Austin, Supernaw) who want the City of LB to convey its opposition to SB 827 (coverage here).

For the record, SB 827 is authored by the same state Senator -- Scott Wiener (D, SF) -- who authored SB 35, a preemptive and prescriptive housing-developer land use related bill that the City of Long Beach allowed to advance to passage without opposition. That happened, or more accurately was allowed to happen, despite verbiage in the City's 2017 "state legislative agenda," which the City's "State Legislation Committee" (Austin, Mungo and Gonzalez) forwarded to the Council for approval, that stated the City of Long Beach would "oppose legislation that preempts the City's existing control over local matters"..."oppose policies and legislation that preempts the current authority possessed by the City and delegates that authority to the State or other government jurisdiction"..."oppose policies and legislation that diminishes the City's local control over land use, planning, zoning and development decisions, and oppose legislation in conflict with the City's adopted General Plan or other Council adopted land use policies."

Instead, the City of Long Beach took a "neutral" or "watch" position (while "working with the author") as SB 35 advanced to passage. During this period, the Council's "State Legislation Committee" comprised of Austin, Mungo and Gonzalez conducted no oversight and failed to meet from Jan. 10, 2017 to November 21, 2017 as the legislature advanced SB 35 and other bills to enactment. Also during this period, any Long Beach Councilmember(s) could have agendized an item to oppose SB 35...and none did.



A little over five years ago, CityWatchLA writer Platkin authored a piece titled: ""Good Density or Bad Density, That is the Question" in which he wrote: "Density, in the form of larger buildings and more people, is welcome in Hollywood, Wilshire Boulevard, and elsewhere, but only when it is properly planned. In fact, when it is done right -- instead of being added on the cheap as an after thought to spark real estate speculation -- increased density can be extremely beneficial for health, social, and environmental reasons." notes that L.A. County's second largest city differs in a number of respects from the County's largest city. Over thirty years ago, LB's then-Councilmembers and civic establishment enabled speculator/developer driven "crackerbox apartment" density in some neighborhoods while City Hall failed to ensure adequate parking, city services and infrastructure to handle the increased density. This damaged those individual neighborhoods and hurt the city citywide.

Today, Long Beach city staff is asking the City Council to enable increased density citywide although the City Council has failed to rectify Long Beach's thin citywide police level, now roughly equivalent per capita to what Los Angeles would have if L.A. erased roughly 25% of L.A.'s police officers. That happened because LB Councilmembers have "balanced" City Hall budgets (that have included major pay raises for city employees and city management) by erasing over 20% of LB's citywide deployable budgeted police officers, blaming the "great recession"...although Los Angeles (and other CA cities, except those facing bankruptcy) didn't do this to their taxpayers.



LB's Mayor and Council have made no commitment to restore the roughly 200 officers LB taxpayers previously had despite collecting over $45+ million annually from a City Hall written sales tax increase approved by LB voters, leaving LB with the highest sales tax rate in CA (tied with only a few other cities.)

In addition, Long Beach's current Mayor and Council have failed to restore the second fire engine that the City provided for years at downtown Station 1 as a safety measure in view of the additional risks of downtown density. Instead, the Council voted to enable a developer-desired "downtown plan" that has allowed even more downtown density including the tallest buildings in the city's history.

As previously reported by, the "Downtown Long Beach Alliance" (which didn't audibly oppose the Council's budget actions on these matters) has indicated it may take an "advocacy position" in favor of increasing housing density in other parts of the city.


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