How Will Rocketing Water Prices and Property Taxes Affect Home Ownership in Los Angeles? … by Alice B. Clagett

Published on 30 April 2018

  • ARE CALIFORNIA HOUSING COSTS UNREALISTICALLY HIGH?
  • EFFECT OF LOS ANGELES WATER PRICES ON HOUSING AFFORDABILITY
  • SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK
  • WATER SUPPLY MAINTENANCE IN LOS ANGELES
  • ROAD MAINTENANCE IN LOS ANGELES
  • LAW ENFORCEMENT IN LOS ANGELES AND IN THE SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS NATIONAL RECREATION AREA
  • PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN LOS ANGELES
  • SUMMARY REGARDING CITY OF LOS ANGELES PUBLIC SERVICES FUNDING
  • CALIFORNIA HOUSING: A TIME OF TRANSFORMATION
    • Might Primitive Housing Techniques Be Useful?
    • On Revising the Los Angeles County Housing Code
    • On Building Additional High Density Housing in Los Angeles
    • The Los Angeles Plan for Housing the Homeless Now Underway
    • The $2 Billion Bond to Help House California’s Homeless Held Up by Lawsuit
    • The HUD Plan to Provide $2 Billion Nationwide for the Homeless
    • The Plan to House the Homeless in Guest Houses in Los Angeles County
      • Employment Opportunity for the Skilled Homeless: Building That Guest Home in Los Angeles County?
    • An Additional Idea; High Density Housing in Los Angeles County, with Busing to Jobs
      • Repurpose Unprofitable Motels and Hotels as Housing for Homeless?
    • FOOTNOTES
      • Homelessness in the San Fernando Valley
      • Early Prison Release in California
      • Fear of the New: The Movie ‘Annihilation’

Dear Ones,

ARE CALIFORNIA HOUSING COSTS UNREALISTICALLY HIGH?

Apparently, California housing costs are the highest in America:

Link: “California’s High Housing Costs: Causes and Consequences,” from the Legislative Analyst’s Office, 17 March 2015, http://www.lao.ca.gov/reports/2015/finance/housing-costs/housing-costs.aspx ..

This is odd, because people are less in need of housing in California than elsewhere in the nation, because of the mild climate here. Why are housing prices so high?

Could it be that the housing codes here unrealistic, considering the influx of homeless and migrant workers, (1) and the loosing of felons onto the community due to inadequate funds to keep them in prison? (2)

EFFECT OF LOS ANGELES WATER PRICES ON HOUSING AFFORDABILITY

Stopgap measures have been initiated to fund desperately needed Los Angeles programs, including skyrocketing water prices, and increases in property taxes for homeowners …

Link: “LA DWP, Other Utilities to Raise Water Rates Because of Drought,” by Mike Reicher, 20 October 2015, updated 28 August 2017, https://www.dailynews.com/2015/10/20/la-dwp-other-utilities-to-raise-water-rates-because-of-drought/ ..

Thus the price of owning a home … which is out of range for the many Californians … has become about twice as high in the last decade … There is the price of the mortgage, about equaled by the increased price of utilities and property taxes.

We can’t afford lawns any more. Many people are taking bucket showers rather than ‘real’ showers. And in the streets, under the river and freeway bridges, on vacant lots and in the parks, the homeless cluster, disconsolate, often drunk on rotgut liquor, posting guards in turn to prevent violence upon their small groups, beyond any hope of shelter.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK

I’d like to take a look at the longer term effect of the stop-gap measures that have been effected, so as to keep the Los Angeles city government running …

Apparently, higher housing prices will attract less jobs to California. This means that people will be less able to afford the homes they have. Those who rent will find home ownership out of reach. And those without homes will be unable to rent …

Link: “Sky-high rents and home prices are making it hard for Southern California businesses to attract workers,” by Andrew Khouri, 22 February 2018, http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-housing-costs-economy-20180222-story.html ..

WATER SUPPLY MAINTENANCE IN LOS ANGELES

Let’s look at water supply to Los Angeles …

Los Angeles is a desert town. Of itself, it is without means to provide water for its population. The water we have is imported from other places, and this may contribute to its cost.

In addition, there is the infrastructure that distributes water throughout Los Angeles. This, like the roads, is aging. Rather than providing a maintenance schedule, we’re providing repairs when water mains break. My thought is, our city must not have the revenue for a preventive maintenance schedule for our water distribution system ….

Link: “L.A.’s aging water pipes; a $1-billion dilemma,” by Ben Poston and Matt Steven, 16 February 2015, http://graphics.latimes.com/la-aging-water-infrastructure/ ..

ROAD MAINTENANCE IN LOS ANGELES

How about road maintenance in Los Angeles? Here again, revenues are insufficient for a good road maintenance schedule …

Link: “Poorly maintained roads cost Southern California drivers $2,800 a year,” by Brenda Gazzar, Daily News, 17 August 2017, updated 28 August 2017, in Los Angeles Daily News,  https://www.dailynews.com/2016/08/17/poorly-maintained-roads-cost-southern-california-drivers-2800-a-year/ ..

LAW ENFORCEMENT IN LOS ANGELES AND IN THE SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS NATIONAL RECREATION AREA

How about law enforcement? In the cities, I feel, police response is quite good. However, there is the area of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA), which is currently, essentially, a lawless zone. According to Wikipedia, the SMMNRA comprises 156,671 acres (63,403 ha) …

Map: SMMNRA, http://rimofthevalleycoalition.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Screen-Shot-2016-02-17-at-6.17.05-AM-1-800×445.jpg ..

I’ve checked, and there is one ranger assigned to this area. That is, effectively, the police patrol for the entire area.

Thus, lawlessness in the mountains is on the rise, especially in areas with natural water flow, and which are contiguous to populated areas. It reminds me a little of stories of the old days in Los Angeles, when cattle rustlers and horse thieves used to establish hidden outlaw strongholds in the mountains now termed the SMMNRA.

PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN LOS ANGELES

How about schools in Los Angeles? Our schools are becoming more and more a target for gun-wielding and drug dealing, making an education a risky business in Los Angeles …

Link: “Tens of thousands gather in downtown Los Angeles for March for Our Lives rally,” by Laura J. Nelson, Gale Holland, and Andrea Castillo, 24 March 2018, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-los-angeles-march-20180324-story.html ..

SUMMARY REGARDING CITY OF LOS ANGELES PUBLIC SERVICES FUNDING

These four areas: utilities, roads, law enforcement, and education, are all lacking revenues for maintenance. I feel these are the domain of government in our country … Where these are lacking, government is lacking. Here in Los Angeles, government is doing a slow tumble. It is unable to perform its basic functions.

I feel, though, that this is not the fault of government. Were revenues available here in Los Angeles, I feel certain government would be eager to do its job. But those revenues are unavailable. Why is this?

CALIFORNIA HOUSING: A TIME OF TRANSFORMATION

We here in Los Angeles are in a time of great import … a time of transformation to the New. This is not just the case here in Los Angeles. All of California, all American, and indeed, all the countries of Earth are in a time of transformation.

Transformation can feel like Apocalypse, or it can feel like a New Beginning. (3) We, the people of Los Angeles, will determine the outcome. Will we pull together and come up with innovative solutions to the housing crisis? Or will we go with the status quo … the slow tumble … the seemingly inevitable downward spiral?

I say, let us look, with a sense of adventure, a sense of the dawn of a new era for humankind, to innovative solutions. For instance …

Might Primitive Housing Techniques Be Useful?

How did the First Nations live, here in Southern California, in days not too long ago? They lived in reed, pole, palm frond, or bark huts, and they survived quite well this way …

Image: Diverse California Indian Dwellings, http://www.rogueturtle.com/articles/images/nashelter1.jpg ..

How do people get by in Rio de Janeiro, where about a fourth of the population live below the poverty line, and the average per capita income is about $17,700 a year? Many live in very substandard housing, termed favelas ..

Image: Rio de Janeiro favela, https://media.istockphoto.com/photos/inside-a-favela-in-rio-de-janeiro-picture-id504416164 ..

How about in Tijuana, the country of origin of many of our current unhomed population? From what sort of environment are they fleeing, in order to seek a better life for themselves and their families?

Tijuana also has its slum housing, where people use building materials salvaged from landfills to build squatter homes on land with no utility service … Water trucks come round with bottles of water to sell for household use. Sanitation depends on a family’s ingenuity; pit toilets are the norm …

Image: House of cardboard in Tijuana, https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/family-inside-their-house-made-with-carboard-at-the-edge-of-news-photo/149207211#family-inside-their-house-made-with-carboard-at-the-edge-of-a-ravine-picture-id149207211 ..

On Revising the Los Angeles County Housing Code

I feel we here in Los Angeles can do better than this for our people. But we must face facts.

The density of population in Los Angeles is too great for sustainable living. The population of Earth must be spread out more evenly, and ways must be found to live off the land, and become self sustaining, and to house ourselves, in an of ourselves, humbly but efficiently, using local materials. Those that have the skills and strength of character to move out of the cities, and live a sustainable life … why not consider taking this step?

On Building Additional High Density Housing in Los Angeles

For those that choose to remain here in Los Angeles, we must come to terms with the fact that the housing code in Los Angeles makes it impossible to attract jobs to the area. Where jobs are insufficient, the standard of living will decline. And, Catch 22, where the standard of living has declined, jobs will not be attracted.

So then, what is the solution? There is a clue near the end of this article …

Link: “California’s High Housing Costs: Causes and Consequences,” from the Legislative Analyst’s Office, http://www.lao.ca.gov/reports/2015/finance/housing-costs/housing-costs.aspx ..

They suggest building more high density housing in California’s beach towns. I agree that this would help solve the problem. But in order to effect this solution, we must change the housing codes.

The Los Angeles Plan for Housing the Homeless Now Underway

Los Angeles has a plan for housing the homeless …

Link: “A plan to house L.A.’s homeless residents could transform parking lots across the city,” by Doug Smith, 9 February 2018, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-parking-lots-housing-20180209-story.html ..

This plan is a laudable step in the right direction. Yet it is running into snags because of local fractiousness. People don’t want the homeless as their neighbors.

The $2 Billion Bond to Help House California’s Homeless Held Up by Lawsuit

I see also that a $2 billion bond to help house California’s Homeless, approved by California voters two years ago, is tied up in lawsuits regarding mental health care bills as yet unpaid:

Link: “2 billion to help house California’s homeless isn’t being spent — and no one knows when it will be,” by Liam Dillon, 1 March 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-homeless-housing-bond-stalled-20180301-story.html ..

The HUD Plan to Provide $2 Billion Nationwide for the Homeless

On the other hand, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced a plan to provide $2 billion for the homeless, so this may to some degree ameliorate the homeless situation in California:

Link: “Ben Carson Announces $2 Billion for Homeless Programs Despite Trump’s Proposed Cuts to Housing Programs,” by Grace Guarnieri, 11 January 2018, http://www.newsweek.com/ben-carson-billion-homeless-trump-housing-778976 ..

The Plan to House the Homeless in Guest Houses in Los Angeles County 

Los Angeles County is running a pilot program offering housing assistance for homeless housed in guest houses in property owners’ back yards:

Link: “L.A. County wants to help build guest houses in backyards — for homeless people,” by Gale Holland, 11 April 2018, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-homeless-tiny-house-20180411-story.html ..

If successful, this might help reduce the population density in the City of Los Angeles, and help relieve concomitant issues to do with the homeless population in the City.

Employment Opportunity for the Skilled Homeless: Building That Guest Home in Los Angeles County? I’d like to suggest, as well, the building of ‘Tiny Homes’ to benefit from this program, if it turns out to be approved. Perhaps this would boost employment in Los Angeles Country? Perhaps the homeless who have handyman skills might help with building additional guest homes there? Could it be that the State of California might offer financial incentives for such projects?

An Additional Idea; High Density Housing in Los Angeles County, with Busing to Jobs

If local resistance proves impossible to overcome, let us consider building high density housing in rural areas, in Los Angeles County, and providing buses to the nearest employment opportunities.

Repurpose Unprofitable Motels and Hotels as Housing for Homeless? For instance, old motels or hotels, that are proving economically not feasible, might be low-entry-cost ways for the Los Angeles County to house the homeless.

Well, that’s all for now.

In love, light and joy,
I Am of the Stars

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FOOTNOTES

(1) Homelessness in the San Fernando Valley

Link: “A Call to Action: Homelessness in the San Fernando Valley,” by Alice B. Clagett, 24 March 2018, https://wp.me/p2Rkym-8vN ..

Link: “A Homeless Plan for the San Fernando Valley,” by Alice B. Clagett, 4 December 2017, https://wp.me/p2Rkym-82m ..

Link: “Homelessness in the San Fernando Valley,” by Alice B. Clagett, 3 November 2017, https://wp.me/p2Rkym-7QM ..

(2) Early Prison Release in California

Link: “A Virtual ‘Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card’: A New California Law to Reduce Prison Crowding Keeps One Addict Out of Jail, But Not Out of Trouble,” in the Washington Post,  http://www.lao.ca.gov/reports/2015/finance/housing-costs/housing-costs.aspx ..

Link: “California Proposition 47 (2014),” in Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Proposition_47_(2014) ..

(3) Fear of the New: The Movie ‘Annihilation’ … For instance, there’s a new movie out, “Annihilation,” which treats the prospect of change and transformation to the New as a doomsday issue …

Link: “Annihilation,” in IMDb, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2798920/ ..

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Los Angeles budget, Los Angeles County, homelessness, felon release, transformation, Los Angeles housing, Los Angeles water works, Los Angeles water costs, Los Angeles roads, Los Angeles transportation system, Los Angeles police response, government, Los Angeles government, early prison release, Los Angeles law enforcement, Los Angeles water supply maintenance, Los Angeles road maintenance, cities of Earth, social issues, employment, alternative housing, economics, law enforcement, sustainable living, SMMNRA, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, public schools, community health,

 

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