In response to your series on slow growth, Part I, July 31, Aug. 1-3:
I am a resident of the West Adams area in Los Angeles (referred to in the Aug. 1 article as one of the poorer neighborhoods) and we are fighting for the survival of what other parts of town take for granted: a street that actually runs its length without vacant lots (houses torn down by developers who run out of money or wait for a better price), large featureless apartment buildings that would pass for concrete bunkers with inadequate parking and garbage problems, 35-foot concrete walls behind the back garden, housing 1) a carpet warehouse, 2) an illegal toxic waste dump from a gas station, or 3) a shopping mall.
The Manhattan Place Property Owners Assn., a multiethnic group made up of both property owners and tenants, takes great exception to Dori Pye's (president of the Los Angeles West Chamber of Commerce and a Housing Authority commissioner) generalized contention that the interim controls are "evil " because they smack of elitism. The four blocks that fall under our jurisdiction are, in some cases, more than 50% apartment buildings, many of them HUD housing. We are now fending off developers who want to tear down the few historic, livable and affordable turn-of-the-century houses that are left, for more cost-efficient (read "cheap") dwellings that are constructed solely to cram as many people as possible into their confines. Novel concepts like consistent lot set-backs and architectural continuity do not leap into the building plans unless neighbors have some leverage.