August 9, 2018
PHOTO: Photo: Will Wright

From the desk of Will Wright, Honorary AIA|LA
Director of Government & Public Affairs


LAPD Chief Michel R. Moore

On Thursday, August 9th, I had the privilege to meet the new LAPD Chief Michel Moore at a roundtable discussion hosted by the the Los Angeles County Business Federation.  The question I asked centered around how AIA|LA and other organizations can partner with LAPD to promote the development of more workforce housing, especially tailored to the affordability needs of the 13,000 men and women who serve the Police Department.  How can we develop a program that will enable more police officers (10,000) and LAPD civilians (3,000) the opportunity to call the City of Los Angeles home?  Chief Moore replied with interest and underscore the need for greater housing affordability throughout the region.  Only 38% of LAPD applicants live in the City of Los Angeles and even less of them are able to afford living in LA once employed by the department. I imagine this conundrum expands to other city departments, as well.  One goal that we could all works towards is to ensure that more of the City family can find a way to afford to live within the city they serve.  To reach that goal, a first step would be an analysis of where each LAPD officer lives, how much that housing costs and how far each is commuting to work each day.
Other issues and opportunities that I observed from listening to the roundtable with Chief Moore included:
  • Police officers are in a good position to serve as vocal advocates (YIMBYs) to the community for housing projects.
  • Neighborhood character matters, especially with regards to attracting and retaining a middle-class workforce like teachers, police officers, etc who may be interested in raising families in a safe and healthy community.
  • Much like the need for the architecture profession to ensure it continues to attract an inclusive workforce, LAPD is implementing programs that will enable it to strengthen its diversity in recruitment programs that appeal to inner-city youth, etc.
  • To ensure a safer and more beautiful city (much like we fought the graffiti problem from before), we need greater support from sanitation (BIDs and Dept of Sanitation alike) to keep our public realm clean and trash-free.  Too much trash and litter is triggering public morale issues, which often devolves into crime and disparagement.
  • With regards to ensuring safer schools in an era of increasing gun violence, we need to place more emphasis on counseling programs rather than spot-checks, random searches and metal detectors.
  • There is an urgent need to improve the fundamental technological infrastructure of LAPD to optimize its effectiveness and to modernize its operations.
  • There’s an opportunity vis-a-vis emerging consumer technology like Ring and Nest, and other CCTV capture that enhances neighborhood vigilance, to better integrate with LAPD.
  • However, we need to carefully balance public video surveillance and the concerns of community groups like LA CAN that may often oppose such privacy infringements. (For a note of caution, here’s an NY Times article about what is happening more and more often in China with facial recognition software and widespread public surveillance.). Or, if you really want a deep scare, read here about the wide net of Palantir and/or how Vigilant Solutions might keep tabs on your daily pattern of errands.


AB 2162 (Chiu)

Also at the July 9th BizFed Advocacy Committee, I had the opportunity to share support for two important state legislative proposals, which will both help our state address our housing crisis.
Although the City of Los Angeles Permanent Supportive Housing Ordinance has been stalled by a CEQA lawsuit initiated by a couple of Venice Beach neighborhood groups, there is a chance at the state level that we can pass legislation to streamline the development of permanent supportive housing as by-right housing, which can be approved ministerially, and hence, avoid the vulnerability of abusive CEQA litigation.
AB 2162 (Chiu) – Planning and zoning: housing development: supportive housing, if it passes, will authorize supportive housing as a use by-right if the housing is proposed in planning zones where multi-family and mixed-ues are permitted, including commercial zones where multifamily is permitted.  By expanding the findings to address a statewide concern, it would expand the CEQA exemption currently available to the ministerial approval of projects.
AB 2162 would also remove parking minimums for sites located within a 1/2 mile of public transit and will not preclude a developer from seeking a density-bonus from the local government.
For more on AB 2162, please click here.


AIA opposes EPA proposal on asbestos

URGENT = By August 10th, you are encouraged to share your comments with the EPA about their recent proposal on asbestos, which may open the door to expand it’s use in construction material, etc.


WASHINGTON – Aug. 9, 2018 – The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is submitting formal comments today to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in opposition to its proposed Significant New Use Rule, which would allow for new asbestos products to be considered for future manufacturing, processing and importing.


In addition to the formal comments, AIA 2018 President Carl Elefante, FAIA, issued the following statement in response to the EPA’s proposal:


“The AIA strongly opposes the EPA’s proposed rule. Asbestos can cause significant and irreversible risks—including cancer, mesothelioma and other diseases—to those who come into direct contact with friable and airborne asbestos fibers. This is especially concerning for contractors, builders, architects and homeowners who could be exposed to dislodged asbestos fibers during the demolition and building process if they are unaware of its presence. The EPA has offered no compelling reason for considering new products using asbestos, especially when the consequences are well known and have tragically affected the lives of so many people. The EPA should be doing everything possible to curtail asbestos in the United States and beyond—not providing new pathways that expose the public to its dangers.”

Read the AIA’s submitted comments to the EPA.

Visit the AIA’s website for more information on building materials.


Will Wright, Hon. AIA|LA
Director, Government & Public Affairs
American Institute of Architects- Los Angeles Chapter

3780 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 701
Los Angeles, CA 90010

(o) (213) 639-0764