San Diego politicians and land-use officials have become polarized over an unusual controversy pitting one of the city's largest private employers against an apartment developer in the city's downtown area. At issue is whether the proposed Fat City development in the Little Italy neighborhood threatens the operations of nearby Solar Turbines.
Thanks to the recession and various iterations of the dot-com boom and bust, Silicon Valley has a large, stagnant pool of empty office and light industrial space. The same region is woefully underbuilt with housing. Unsurprisingly, homebuilders are making inroads into the underused office parks and industrial sites in Santa Clara County.
Dammit, it's not fair! Residents of affordable housing get all the lucky breaks. Just look at all the money they're getting from all directions: local government, the local power company, the feds, the green-building lobby. Case in point: the Casa Dominguez development in East Dominguez Hills, an unincorporated area of south Los Angeles County, even has a child care center and a medical clinic, on site.
The Town of Apple Valley wants to build a minor league baseball stadium. That’s not unusual in California, where stadium building seems only a slice less popular than tailgate parties with free-flowing beer. What is unusual, however, is the way that the town plans to pay– or rather, not pay – for this $20 million to $25 million project. >>read more
Remember the cliché about "the deal you can't refuse?" The park-for-a-billboard caper in the city of Los Angeles is just such a deal. I'll tell you about it. (Just as soon, that is, as you put that bottle back in the bag where it belongs. I have no desire to add another item to my institutional resume.)
Granted, the billboard story is hard to explain, because at bottom this deal makes so little sense.
When individuals barter, they generally have a firm sense of underlying value, i.e. "What's this thing really worth to me?" A 10-year-old car might be worth $1,000, to judge from the Recycler or Craig's List. At $20,000, a used car is a bargain only if it is a 1949 Ferrari Spider with the original piping on the seats.
Cities, on the other hand, often appear not to have a sense of "beyond this price we will not go." True, they bargain for big things on which it is hard to pin values, such as stadiums for NFL football and professional soccer. Still, the fact that cities are willing to entertain highly aggressive offers suggests to me that some city officials have a hard time drawing a line between a good deal and a bad one.
Why did nobody tell me that market-rate housing had become a NIMBY issue? Did I sleep this momentous event, just as I sawed a log through the Northridge earthquake? Here I am, bumbling through life as if nothing special is happening, while unbeknownst to me The Walt Disney Company is having one of its most creative moments since it released Dumbo.
The scene is a minor-league baseball stadium somewhere in the Inland Empire. The broadcasters are Ralph and Jim, a pair of middle-aged sportscasters, who are calling a Class-A game for local radio listeners.