Councilwoman Ruth Galanter was correct, for once, when she said (Times May 23) that there "is not a lot of evidence" that building more low-income housing in the massive Playa Vista development will reduce its traffic impacts. Do low-income residents use less water, produce less trash, or flush the toilet less than middle- and high-income residents? Of course not! Assuring that 15% of the housing in Playa Vista is available to low-income residents is simply the right thing to do, something that developers in Orange and Ventura counties have been required to do for some time. (For example, the recently approved Foothill Ranch in Orange County provides 35% of its housing as "affordable," and much more parkland than Playa Vista).
But the Playa Vista developers don't deserve a $65-million discount on their traffic fees for doing it, which Galanter is pushing for, especially since the developers have applied for the city of L.A. to finance their project with publicly backed tax-exempt bonds and assessment districts. (An issue which The Times and other local newspapers have not reported on.) Maybe Galanter's huge contributions from L.A.'s developer community have changed her opinion on the project from four years ago, away from protecting the environment, to protecting developer profits.