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Urban Development Trashes Common Sense

April 27, 2002

Re "4,000 Homes, No Schools in Sight," April 22: How distressing to see that developers in Orange County have constructed 4,000 homes without the required needs to serve those homes--like schools. This reminds us of the Newhall Ranch developers trying to build a mega-city without sufficient water to serve that development.

It is also distressing to wonder what kind of school crisis will occur in the neighborhoods surrounding the problematic proposed Playa Vista development at the Ballona Wetlands, where already more than 3,000 residential units have been approved by the city with no school site available. The only school site planned for the entire 13,000-unit residential development has now been nixed by the LAUSD because of methane contamination far exceeding that of the Belmont site.

Just as in Orange County, Mello-Roos bonds have been approved by the city of Los Angeles, yet infrastructure that is supposed to be financed by those bonds goes wanting. Perhaps the state controller should investigate the actual payouts of those bonds to see if they didn't all go to pay high-priced lawyers, consultants and lobbyists who work to convince officials that building in a high-risk liquefaction zone oozing with explosive gases is safe.

Wouldn't it be smarter for local officials to stop approving these speculative developments unless and until all of the required infrastructure (including schools, water, power, transportation) is properly and soundly accounted for? The addiction that cities and counties have to more and more development obviously keeps them from thinking straight.

Marcia Hanscom

Exec. Dir., Wetlands

Action Network, Malibu

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