Posts Tagged ‘City’

Curbed – Neighbor Beefs: Angry Neighbor Serves LA City Council Candidate a Tree-Pruning Lawsuit Mid-Debate

Thursday, February 19th, 2015


Election season has certainly churned out some really interesting legal tiffs—it’s not every day that a celeb spray tanner sues a West Hollywood City Council candidate—and we can add another one to the pile now: the race for the Los Angeles City Council seat to be vacated by the always-interesting Tom LaBonge instantly heated up last night when a candidate was served with a lawsuit about tree pruning in the middle of a debate hosted by the Laurel Canyon Association, NBC 4 reports.

Hollywood Hills resident and Council District 4 candidate Sheila Irani was handed the paper in which her neighbor charges that “last summer either Irani or someone working on her behalf cut down 10 conifer trees on his property and that a dozen other trees were severely pruned.” When the neighbor confronted Irani about the illegal chopping originally, she allegedly told him, “I am not going to let your trees mess up the view of my $ 3.4 million home.” (That’s an oddly specific number considering the house hasn’t sold since at least 1993, although the deed has changed hands.)

It’s not clear how much the neighbor is suing for, though the lawsuit does say that it cost $ 46,700 to replace the chopped-down trees and the ones that were “severely pruned” lost “at least $ 50,000″ in tree value. The lawsuit also noted creepy repercussions (or possibly just a nasty attempt at defamation?), noting that now Irani’s “assorted male guests … can and do look directly into plaintiff’s daughter’s room.”
· Los Angeles Council Candidate Served With Lawsuit During Debate [NBC4]
· “Spray-Tanner to the Stars” and Asthmatic Cat at Center of Very Weird Landlord Battle [Curbed LA]
· Walmart Heiress Wants $ 90k For Damage to “Cherished” Eucalyptus Tree in Bel Air [Curbed LA]

Curbed LA

Curbed – Los Angeles Things: Los Angeles is the Least Sprawling Big City in the US

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

[Image via Atwater Village Newbie / Curbed LA flickr pool]

It sounds like a joke, but it’s not: a new study proclaims Los Angeles to be the least sprawly large metro in the US. The study, conducted by a sociology doctoral student at NYU, uses aerial images of Census tracts in the 150 largest US metros (according to 2010 data) to estimate the portion of the metro population living below three “thresholds”: 3,500, 8,500, and 20,000 people per square mile. Then, explains CityLab, those thresholds are averaged to get a metro’s index number—the higher the index number, the more sprawl in that metro. Of the 150 largest metros, Los Angeles has the lowest index number, meaning that despite its spread-out rep, it’s actually not so bad at all.

Los Angeles’s “sheer lack of very low-density development” helped the region get its highly non-sprawly status, which is great because the analyst goes on to quantify all the negative effects of sprawl: “For every 10 percent increase in sprawl, there is an approximately 5.7 percent increase in per capita carbon emissions, a 9.6 percent increase in per capita hazardous pollution, and a 4.1 percent and 2.9 percent reduction in the owner and renter housing affordability index, respectively.” Ooof, bit of a double-edged sword there, sprawl. It makes sense that less polluted, less sprawly places are more expensive to live in—who wouldn’t want to live in them? And that certainly does ring true in LA, which is both one of the most unaffordable places to live and, by this study’s count, the least sprawling large metro in the nation. (You can also see how its many suburbs cancel out some of the benefits of its urban density.)

If this sounds bogus, keep in mind that this is not the first time LA’s been found surprisingly non-sprawls; an analysis last year by Smart Growth America called LA the “biggest success story” in the scaling-back of sprawl and Census data from 2012 showed it was the most densely populated urban area in the US.

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· A New Index to Measure Sprawl Gives High Marks to Los Angeles [CityLab]
· Los Angeles is the Biggest Anti-Sprawl Success Story in the US [Curbed LA]

Curbed LA

Curbed – Politics: City Council Candidate Says Downtown LA Should Be Less Urban

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015


Last week, Gloria Molina, Nadine Momoyo Diaz, and José Huizar—three of the five candidates vying to represent the Los Angeles City Council’s newly reconfigured Council District 14, which now includes virtually all of Downtown, in addition to Boyle Heights, El Sereno, Highland Park, and Eagle Rock—met for a debate at the Los Angeles Theater, on Broadway. Names were posted on the marquee outside, the lobby’s many chandeliers were lit very bright, and a man costumed as Chaplin’s Tramp posed for pictures with attendees.

Huizar, the incumbent, made it about thirty seconds before bringing up Bringing Back Broadway, his signature project to revive the historic street; it’s been terrifically successful, at least in terms of lining the street with affluent youth and the restaurants they frequent. He also mentioned that York Boulevard in Highland Park can serve as a model for redevelopment around the country, a truly frightening prospect. All agreed that the community was the most important part. The community simply had to be heard.

While, for the most part, the candidates kept away from specifics, Huizar did offer a few novel ideas: rooftop gardens as a way to create more greenspace, multiple extensions for the Gold Line in East Los Angeles (beyond the ones already in the works or under evaluation), an expansion of the DASH shuttle bus circulators. The Downtown Streetcar, another one of his signature projects, was mentioned in passing. The hundred-million-dollar discrepancy between projected cost and projected revenue was not.

Things got chippy as the debate wore on. While Diaz faded into the background with meandering non-answers (sample quote: “In regards to the bike lanes, I’ve heard both that they’re positive and they’re negative”), Molina and Huizar became progressively more confrontational. He argued for a tall, varied skyline; she said there’s “too much density already in Downtown,” that we need “smart growth.” He said he was “stunned and surprised … our Supervisor would have a fundamental misunderstanding of what’s going on Downtown”; she said “the biggest problem with [Huizar] is that he hasn’t been in touch with residents,” and that he had received “a lot of special interest money from developers.” He said Molina “really needs to get a better handle on what’s going on in Downtown LA”; she said she will “bring back integrity and responsibility… [which] has not happened with the incumbent.”

The Tramp watched from the front row, twirling his hat on his cane. A man stood aside the stage munching on popcorn. Cheers and hisses came from the crowd following each candidate’s answer. Outside the marquee was still lit, “Diaz” and “Huizar” and “Molina” up in big block letters. It was fitting. —Ian Grant
· Councilmember Wants to Halt Low-Rise Building in South Park [Curbed LA]

Curbed LA

Curbed – City of Angles: Devo Founder Selling Richard Neutra’s Landmark Kun House

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015


The landmark Joseph Kun Residence in Nichols Canyon—designed by the great Modernist architect Richard Neutra for Los Angeles Examiner printer Joseph Kun and finished in 1936—has come up for sale for the first time since wrapping up a thorough restoration. The seller is Devo singer and bassist Gerald Casale, who bought the house in 2007 and devoted the next seven years to meticulously fixing it up with the help of preservationist James Rega—the first three years were spent just researching all the details of the original design, the rest were filled with stripping and restaining the wood and removing all the post-1930s details and replacing them with period elements. Those materials that couldn’t be found were made new to period-correct specification, according to a release from the broker representing Casale in the sale.

From the original cabinets down to the screws on the outdoor deck, this place—which Neutra said was his favorite of the period—should look almost exactly as it did back in 1936. The three-bedroom, two-bathroom house measures a not-extravagant 1,732 square feet, but spans three and a half stories, descending down from an entrance on the top floor, with a rooftop patio and several wraparound balconies; it was Neutra’s first house to use all-electric fixtures. The house was designated a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 2011 and is also notable for launching the career of then-26-year-old photographer Julius Shulman, who ended up being one of the most important figures in the popularization of Modern architecture. Casale paid $ 2 million for the house back in 2007. It’s now listed for $ 3.5 million.

· Richard Neutra Kun House [Official Site]
· Aaron Kirman, President Of Aaroe Estates, Lists Modernist Masterpiece Richard Neutra-Designed Home In Hollywood [PR Newswire]

Curbed LA

Curbed – Trash Talk: Internal City Report: Los Angeles is Full of Trash

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

[Image via Davin Sanchez]

The LA Times got its hands on an internal city report this week that says Los Angeles is traaaaashy. Some of the findings in the report, compiled after a thorough investigation by senior livability advisor Mark A. Thomas, are pretty bad:

· Only about a third (35 percent) of streets are cleaned “on a regular basis,” and there’s no priority for more highly-used streets.
· The city thought there were “several thousand” trash bins out around LA, but the sanitation department mapped it recently and found just 700 (the city is about 470 square miles).
· The Fashion District Business Improvement District collects six tons of garbage every day.
· “Cleanups in South L.A. have pulled as much as 100 tons of garbage from a single alley.”
· The city spends $ 12 million a year to remove large trash items like furniture and electronics, “but it can’t keep up” with the amount of dumping.

The report recommends “a task force,” naturally, to come up with some kind of plan or another to keep the streets, alleys, and sidewalks clean, and it suggests taking inspiration from New York City’s Project Scorecard, “a data-driven approach.” In New York, this kind of intensive clean-up effort is often a gentrification exercise, a way to crack down on poor people and make neighborhoods more palatable for the rich. In Los Angeles, where neighborhoods are more segregated, the idea doesn’t have quite the Giuliani-style implications; if the city wants to put more money and energy into poor neighborhoods, that’s probably a good thing.

Mayor Eric Garcetti has already given sanitation drivers smartphone apps to help them get through their routes faster and City Attorney Mike Feuer has launched “a strike force” to catch illegal dumping “in the city’s most notorious sites.”
· Blunt report finds L.A. isn’t keeping up with removing dumped trash [LAT]

Curbed LA

Curbed – Mounds & Piles: Los Angeles City Council Votes to Cover Mound With Tarp

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

[The mound, from space]

Big mound news: today the Los Angeles City Council voted to cover a large mound of second-hand asphalt at Van Nuys Airport with a tarp. The asphalt, which is used for street repairs and ranges in size from “fine dust” to “human fist,” according to the LA Daily News, has allegedly been blowing into nearby houses and yards, making neighbors in Lake Balboa “increasingly frustrated,” according to the City Council motion approved today. The city has already “reduced the pile’s size from 30 feet to 17 feet” and today voted to cover the mound, stop adding to the mound, and come up with a longer-term strategy for dealing with the mound. “For me, the ultimate goal is to have [the mound] removed,” says City Councilmember Nury Martinez.
· 14-1536 [LA City Clerk]
· Lake Balboa asphalt mound up for Los Angeles City Council vote [LADN]

Curbed LA

Curbed – Expo Line Phase II: The Two Expo Line Sections Are Now Linked Up in Culver City

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

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[The bumperless, unobstructed view west from the Culver City station via The Source]

The race toward completion Expo Line light rail springs forward with the beginning of work to join the electrical and communications systems for Expo Phases I (Downtown to Culver City) and II (CC to Santa Monica) near the Culver City station. (The tracks were joined together about five months ago.) As seen in photos from The Source, while the tie-in itself might not be visually dramatic, one instantly noticeable change is the disappearance of the bulky bumper and pole that used to block the tracks at the end of the line.

Though there’s a clean line of sight between both phases of track near the Culver City Station, the trains won’t follow the tracks to Santa Monica until late 2015, when testing begins; Metro hopes to open the line to the public in the first half of 2016. The tie-in began last weekend and is expected to be totally finished by this weekend, with traffic unaffected by the work, says Metro.

· Construction photos: joining together of Expo Line phase one and phase two! [The Source]
· Watch Expo Line Phase I Officially Joined to Expo Line Phase II [Curbed LA]

Curbed LA