The L.A. Times deserves kudos for focusing public attention on Los Angeles' affordable-housing crisis. Unfortunately, reporter Jill Stewart took the Community Redevelopment Agency's housing record out of context and failed to provide perspective. She also misrepresented Mayor Tom Bradley's plan for generating more than $2 billion for housing and homeless services by raising CRA's downtown spending cap.
The City of Los Angeles Blue Ribbon Committee for Affordable Housing, made up of 35 top housing experts, community and elected officials, strongly supports lifting CRA's cap. Moreover, the panel's report cites the agency's strong housing production performance.
Indeed, CRA's record in producing housing for poor people in Los Angeles is second to none. More than 15,500 very low, low and moderate income housing units have been built or rehabilitated with CRA assistance, most within the past decade.
Since its creation in 1948, CRA has removed about 11,000 housing units. Eighty-five percent were cleared before Mayor Bradley took office. However, Stewart failed to point out that two-thirds of the total units removed by CRA were former Bunker Hill dwellings cleared almost 30 years ago when the bulldozer was the prime tool of urban renewal. CRA voluntarily replaced every unit with decent, uncrowded housing and is a third of the way through replacing a second layer.