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Hearing Voice of Reason

May 08, 1988

I have been following the debate about "no growth" or "slow growth" in Los Angeles. I am alarmed that opponents to growth (any type of growth) have a disproportionate impact on city council members, and the voice of reason is seldom heard. Here are certain rational observations:

1--Contrary to popular belief, new residential construction is not aimed at "newcomers" to Southern California; rather, it addresses the housing needs of local residents who have improved their financial status and seek better living quarters.

2--Advocates of "low density" fail to realize that "quality" is not easily quantifiable. There are good high-density environments and awful low-density environments, and the only solution is to establish design review boards staffed by design and urban planning professionals.

3--Most of the vociferous activist homeowners have total disregard for the city as an entity, being concerned only with their neighborhood and their property. How many of these "concerned" citizens are car-pooling, and how many have ridden a bus to work even once?

4--There are various measures for effective water conservation that can be implemented before we shut down all construction. Would the concerned homeowners obey a city ordinance to replace the water-devouring lawn of their back yard with desert-type plants? How about making obligatory the installation of "water-saver" toilets?

5--The public has to realize that the "greedy" developers are not the only ones that make their living in construction. There are thousands of architects, engineers, surveyors, contractors, masons, carpenters, painters, plumbers and electricians, and all those who work in factories that supply the construction industry with materials. Their motives and work ethic are usually less suspicious than those of overzealous activists and politicians.



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