UPDATE: The L.A. Times reported Monday afternoon that the L.A. Country District Attorney’s Office will review campaign contributions involved in the Sea Breeze Scandal.
The Coalition to Preserve LA on Monday called for an outside and independent investigation into whether L.A. politicians are selling their votes to developers, in the wake of a Los Angeles Times probe into how a controversial harbor-area housing development known as “Sea Breeze” sailed past key city land-use laws, riding on a sea of $600,000 in campaign contributions to elected leaders.
“The disturbing revelations in the L.A. Times on Sunday require that District Attorney Jackie Lacey and California Attorney General Kamala Harris investigate L.A.’s backroom system of ‘spot zoning’ deals, which are cut during ex parte meetings between developers and L.A. politicians months before a paper trail is created,” said Coalition to Preserve LA campaign director Jill Stewart.
The Coalition, sponsor of the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative on the March 2017 ballot, aims to reform City Hall by winning reasonable controls back for L.A.’s neighborhoods. Today, developers are being allowed to shove aside protective zoning laws to build luxury towers and luxury mega-projects that create severe gridlock, displace families and destroy neighborhood character.
Respected community leaders joined the Coalition today in calling for an outside investigation of the rigged system detailed in the L.A. Times probe of the Sea Breeze Scandal — a $72 million apartment complex now under construction on land zoned for heavy manufacturing in Harbor Gateway.
Cindy Chvatal, president of the Hancock Park Homeowners Association, said, “An outside investigation of spot zoning and campaign donation practices at City Hall is desperately needed. The city cannot investigate itself, we need a complete, independent investigation. It is the only possible remedy for the elected City officials to win back the communities’ trust, following the Times revelations.”
Richard Close, president of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association, said, “Residents of the San Fernando Valley have long suspected that votes were for sale at City Hall. The Los Angeles Times article proves that developers can purchase votes with campaign contributions. The Los Angeles County District Attorney and the Los Angeles City Attorney need to bring criminal charges based upon the admissions in the newspaper article. The residents of Los Angeles need to enact the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative to stop this illegal activity and to protect our communities.”
Damien Goodmon, executive director of the nonprofit Crenshaw Subway Coalition, said, “The story on the front page of the L.A. Times reveals a City Hall that smells like a pig farm in August. No wonder our communities, which are under the constant threat of displacement from greedy mega-developers, can’t get a fair hearing downtown on these out-of-scale gentrification projects that ain’t for us. It is shameful. Bring in the independent special prosecutor.”
Debra Hockemeyer, business owner and vice president of the Brentwood Hills Homeowners Association, said, “The L.A. City planning process is broken. It’s like the LAPD in the 1980’s — on a good day it doesn’t work, and on a bad day it looks corrupt.”
Jack Humphreville, president of the DWP Advocacy Committee and the Ratepayer Advocate for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, said, “Corruption is a two-way street. Developers ask for exemptions from the rules in return for campaign contributions. The pols ask for cash to fund ballot measures and campaigns.”
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