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Slow Growth Has Harmful Results

August 19, 1990

A number of articles recently have appeared in the Real Estate section lauding the benefits of slow growth. These articles ignore the dangers "slow-growth politics" present to the Southern California area.

Many slow-growth political groups would like the public to equate them with Save the Bay, the Sierra Club and other environmentally and socially conscious groups. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The motivations of many slow-growth activists clarify their politics as exclusionary, economically damaging and environmentally unsound.

Unfortunately, many slow-growth activists have made entry level homes and multifamily housing the most direct target of their opposition. Millions of new Angelenos, most of whom are recent immigrants, will have no place to work or live if these activists have their way.

It is understandable that people want to "maintain the quality of life" that they enjoy. It is not satisfactory, however, that they seek to deny a decent quality of life to those whose sole mistake is to make a little less money or not to have moved to Southern California earlier.

On the economic front, the creation of new employment opportunities and affordable housing for those tens of thousands of Southern Californians is not a concern to those embracing the slow-growth agenda.

New development means new industries and economic expansion, which Southern California needs to stay competitive and offset additional economic harm resulting from defense industry job loss.

Not surprisingly, many slow-growth activists are wealthy homeowners who have reaped the benefit of tremendous property appreciation in recent years. What better way to perpetuate housing appreciation than to limit its supply?

Many slow-growth activists assert new development should move farther away from town. This creates greater traffic congestion, longer commutes and more pollution for us all.

Not all real estate development makes sense. No one advocates creating a huge commercial center in a residential neighborhood or building housing in areas not suited for such development.

Our local government must address quality of life and transportation issues. They must force all of us to use (and pay for the development of) mass transit, to collectively car pool and to recycle our goods.

However, just because our government has lacked the political will to improve local infrastructure to deal with our population growth, we should not embrace the flawed and exclusionary political philosophy of slow growth to remedy our past failures.

GLENN SONNENBERG

BEN VAN DE BUNT

West Los Angeles

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