Nov 2018 Election Results


Race Result AHLA Endorsement Read More
Governor Gavin Newsom 60% No Position Newsom wants to build 3.5 million homes by 2025
Prop 1: housing bond Yes 54% Support CA voted to issue $4B in housing assistance bonds
Prop 2: mental-illness housing funding Yes 61% Support Prop 2 will fund housing for mentally ill homeless residents
Prop 5: property tax discount for seniors No 58% Oppose No expansion of Prop 13 for seniors who move
Prop 6: gas tax repeal No 55% Oppose The gas tax will remain in effect
Prop 10: end rent control limits No 62% No Position Expansion of rent control loses by wide margin
City of LA Charter Amendment B: public bank No 58% Support Charter amendment to establish a public bank was defeated


Abundant Mapping LA

by Anthony Dedousis

Abundant Housing LA supports more housing (duh) and smart urban growth across Los Angeles. Our organization exists because Los Angeles has not built enough housing over the past decades to meet demand, and we want to be part of the solution. The first step towards solving a problem is recognizing that it’s there, and we can use data to prove that the problem exists, and to visualize the scale of the problem.

Fortunately, the city of Los Angeles maintains a detailed database of all new building permits (effectively, new housing construction) and certificates of occupancy (new housing completions) issued since 2013. I pulled these datasets into R, a data analysis software package, to tabulate this information at the ZIP code level and plot it on a sweet Google Map. This allows us to easily visualize how many homes (technically “residential dwelling units”, or RDUs) have been added in different parts of Los Angeles over the past 5 years. Read on for answers to your most burning questions about housing in LA, like:

Which neighborhoods are adding the most new housing?
In which neighborhoods does NIMBY-ism have the strongest impact?
Where does dense development occur?
How have these trends evolved in 2018?
Where can we expect new housing to open in the next few years?

Let’s go to the videotape…

Figure 1a: New Building Openings by Number of Homes, 2013-18

Since the beginning of 2013, the city of Los Angeles has added 52,000 homes.  The white ZIP codes have added the least housing (0-100 homes), while the reddest ZIP codes have added the most housing (1,000-5,000 homes), with yellow (100-500 homes) and light orange (500-1,000 homes) falling in between.

A friendly reminder: most of the Valley and parts of the South Bay are part of the city of Los Angeles (which is why their ZIP codes are represented on the map), and Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Burbank, and many other cities are separate from Los Angeles (which is why their ZIP codes are not on the map).

A couple of findings that will surprise no one:

1.  Downtown LA is leading the way – it has added over 10,000 units since 2013, nearly a fifth of the citywide total.  Of the 11 ZIP codes across LA that added 1,000+ units over the past five years, four are Downtown.
2.  The Valley is not – outside of a few dense patches near Burbank, there has been very little new housing added in the Valley in recent years.
3.  Neither is the Westside or South LA – we also observe relatively little construction along the 110 in the South Bay and throughout the Westside.

Let’s zoom in for a more granular look at central Los Angeles:

Figure 1b: New Building Openings by Number of Homes, 2013-18, Central LA

This gives us a better look at some neighborhood-by-neighborhood differences:

1.  Not all Downtown LA neighborhoods are alike – within Downtown, thousands of units have been added in ZIP code 90012 (Chinatown/Bunker Hill), 90015 (South Park), 90017 (Downtown/Westlake), and 90014 (central Downtown). But the Historic Core/Arts District (90013), Fashion District (90021), Boyle Heights (90033), and Lincoln Heights (90031) have seen very little new housing come online, despite rapid population growth.
2.  On the Westside, there’s Playa Vista and there’s everyone else – despite its small geographic size, Playa Vista (ZIP code 90094) has added 2,500 units of housing since 2013 (which is third-most in LA). The Silicon Beach neighborhood has added thousands of tech jobs over the past few years, including a Google regional headquarters, and most of the 2,500 units recently added are part of a single luxury apartment complex, the Villas at Playa Vista.  The only other Westside ZIP codes that have added more than 500 housing units are Marina Del Rey (90292), and Westchester (90045).
3.  NIMBYism is fierce – many popular neighborhoods, like Venice, Palms, Westwood, Los Feliz, and Highland Park, have built fewer than 500 units in the past five years.  Not surprisingly, many of these neighborhoods are hotbeds of NIMBYism, and have experienced sharp increases in the cost of buying and renting homes.

Of the 52,000 homes added over the past five years, about 55% are in buildings with 50 or more units. These taller buildings are critically needed, in order to allow more people to live near job centers and reduce sprawl and traffic. So where in LA is dense development occurring?

Figure 2: New Building Openings by Number of Homes, 2013-18, 50+ Unit Buildings Only

As you can see, outside of Downtown and a few other neighborhoods, dense development is hardly abundant.

1.  Dense neighborhoods are fast-growing neighborhoods – the neighborhoods that are adding the most housing overall (e.g. Downtown, Hollywood, Playa Vista) are also the ones that are opening the most housing in buildings with 50+ units. It’s hard to add a significant amount of housing without building taller buildings.
2.  Zoning matters – Downtown, Hollywood, Koreatown, Marina del Rey, and Playa Vista already have tall buildings, and are able to add more, because they are zoned for denser development. If major arteries like Venice Boulevard on the Westside and Sunset Boulevard on the Eastside were upzoned, you’d likely see construction of taller buildings along those streets.
3.  Wilshire Boulevard west of Koreatown isn’t keeping up – despite the historical presence of tall buildings along Wilshire, neighborhoods like Westwood, Brentwood, and Miracle Mile are adding few large residential buildings. This highlights how important it is for AHLA to support a Purple Line Transit Neighborhood Plan that encourages dense new housing construction and transit-oriented development.

Now, let’s look at 2018 only. So far this year, Los Angeles has added roughly 10,000 new units of housing. Where has that growth occurred?

Figure 3: New Building Openings by Number of Homes, 2018

The patterns we’ve seen over the past five years have continued into 2018. Downtown (90017, 90012, 90014), Hollywood (90028), and Koreatown (90005, 90006) are responsible for 40% of the new units added this year.  No other neighborhood has added more than 250 new units.

Finally, let’s check out the number of new housing units permitted by neighborhood. The city has permitted over 13,000 new homes in 2018, and we can expect them to open in the next 1-3 years. But where?

Figure 4: New Building Permits by Number of Homes, 2018, Central LA

Interestingly, new permitted development is spread a little more evenly than recent completed development. A couple of trends to call out:

1.  Downtown is #1 no longer – the Jefferson/La Cienega neighborhood near the 10 (ZIP code 90016) permitted 1,300 units so far this year. Hollywood (90028) is in second place with almost 1,000 units permitted, and Woodland Hills (91367), Toluca Terrace (91601), and the Historic Core/Arts District (90013) round out the top five.  Only 90013 is a Downtown ZIP code; the other ZIP codes in Downtown barely permitted any new units.
2. Uneven growth within these neighborhoods – the new construction in these neighborhoods reflects the impact of a few large-scale luxury projects, rather than broad-based development. As the Dodgers could tell you, hitting a few big home runs isn’t enough to win. A couple of examples worth calling out:

Jefferson/La Cienegathe Cumulus development accounts for 1,200 of the 1,300 units permitted.
Hollywood – four buildings (the Rise, the Hollywood Cherokee, the Essex Hollywood, and 5750 Hollywood) account for 954/1,000 units permitted.
Historic Core / Arts Districtthe Perla condominiums account for all 450 units permitted.

Three things that you can take away from this joyride through Google Maps and R:

1.  Outside of Downtown and a few other ZIP codes, most neighborhoods aren’t opening or permitting a meaningful amount of new residential housing, even ones that are located close to major job centers or along Metro lines. Abundant Housing LA and other voices for smart growth won’t be going out of business anytime soon.
2.  Los Angeles needs dense development in order to add significant housing capacity. The neighborhoods that added the most housing units over the past five years did so by opening and permitting buildings with 50+ units.
3.  Restrictive zoning makes it difficult to build densely, which chokes off housing growth in most LA neighborhoods.  LA can’t grow without taller buildings, and LA can’t add taller buildings without changing outdated zoning laws. More upzoning along major road and rail corridors is needed, and Abundant Housing LA should carry that message forward as the city rolls out neighborhood transit plans for the Expo Line and Purple Line.

Remember, if you live in a neighborhood that’s not encouraging enough housing construction (i.e. almost everyone), make sure to tell your neighborhood council and your city councillor how you feel about it.  Show them these maps, and ask them why your neighborhood or city council district isn’t doing its part to make housing affordable and abundant.

AHLA Endorsements – Nov 2018 Election









*Note about Prop 10 – Prop 10 is a very broad proposition that could lead to problematic local rules. It could also help renters. We are therefore not taking a position on Prop 10. In August 2018, members attending our general meeting voted in a straw-poll on the measure, and a ‘no-position’ approach received the most support. We respect this input. Abundant Housing LA believes that Prop 10 is not a well-crafted way to address state limits on local rent control. We also know that many of our members and tens of millions of renters across the state are paying too much to rent their homes, and many view the potential for expanded rent control as a lifeline.

Welcome, Luke!

We’re excited to announce that Luke Klipp has joined the Abundant Housing LA Steering Committee as our Education Director! Luke has been a leader in LA for years, creating and championing great ideas in housing, transit, and other local issues, so we couldn’t be more thrilled to have Luke join the team.

Luke’s work is a key part of achieving our mission because we strongly believe that many housing issues in LA can be solved with education. In the 60s and 70s, progressive policy was to freeze a city in time in an attempt to maintain its diversity, creativity, and the things that made the city special. But the thing that makes a city great isn’t buildings. It’s people that matter, and people need homes.

Those attempts to freeze a city in time have happened here in LA, but the idea has far deeper roots in San Francisco. As a result, very little housing was built in the Bay Area for decades. But people don’t appear and disappear when buildings are built. New people came anyway, as babies were born and immigrants moved to the city in search of a better life. Without any housing for those new arrivals, every new San Franciscan displaced someone else who already lived in the city. People of color, the poor, much of the creative class – many of the very people who had made San Francisco a thriving cultural center were displaced from the city.

As Education Director, Luke develops and facilitates educational content to make sure that doesn’t happen here in Los Angeles County. He will help ensure that Abundant Housing members and allies are equipped with the information they need to keep LA a diverse, vibrant city for generations to come.

As the past President of the Los Feliz Neighborhood Council, Luke also provides guidance on working with neighborhood councils and encouraging community stakeholders to get more involved locally.

By day (and some evenings), Luke is a Metro Board Deputy to Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, where he ensures that the Mayor’s objectives for Metro-related items are met. He works closely with Metro staff around the Metro Blue Line, active transportation projects, and budget questions. Luke has worked over a decade in local, state, and federal politics on a range of topics, from transportation and land use, to health care, to student loans. He’s a former candidate for Democratic County Central Committee, and former Chair of the New Leaders Council San Francisco chapter. Luke is grateful to be a graduate of two awesome public schools: the University of Michigan, where he got his B.A. in Music, and the University of California-Berkeley, where he got his Masters in Public Policy.

Expo Line Plan moving forward: the good, the bad and the hopeful

It is possible to legalize more homes on Los Angeles’ Westside.

Sorry, you may not have been paying attention:

It is possible to legalize more homes on Los Angeles’ Westside!

Technically the Expo Corridor Transit Neighborhood Plan (TNP) still needs to be passed by Los Angeles city council, but since amendments from the two city councilmembers that represent these neighborhoods have already passed, city council approval is expected. And it’s notable that, despite the reputation of local elected officials as reflexively deferential to the anti-growth movement, local councilmembers Mike Bonin and Paul Koretz, who represent two of the most affluent districts in the country, have both tacitly approved the TNP. Progress is possible.

More on Councilmember Koretz’s amendments to reduce housing capacity below, but it’s important to note how progressive the amendments offered by Councilmember Bonin were. His amendments increased capacity for homes in new mixed-use zones, increased affordability incentives within his council district to Transit-Oriented Communities Affordable Housing Incentives Tier 4, and allowed hundreds of single-family parcels to be re-zoned to allow for multi-family housing development (and we’re getting word that, no, the sky is not falling).

There aren’t many policy decisions that give everyone a win, but this sure feels like one:

  • For pro-housing advocates, Los Angeles has new zoned capacity for thousands of more homes.
  • For environmental advocates, the TNP re-orients development away from sprawl and towards infill
  • Affordable-housing advocates can point to capacity for hundreds of more affordable homes thanks to the legalization of more Measure JJJ-eligible base density, and
  • Pro-transit advocates can rest easy knowing that thousands more Angelenos will benefit from LA’s public transit investment

Unfortunately, one other group that got a win is a handful of homeowners in West LA. Despite the City Planning Commission’s decision to increase zoned capacity for housing along the corridor between the Sepulveda and Ranch Park Expo Line stations (as we recommended), Councilmember Koretz vetoed those upzones at the request of local homeowners. What was the source of this opposition? While the Westside Neighborhood Council’s (WNC) letter cites concerns about traffic congestion and the health of local businesses, the only tangible concerns the WNC articulated about these upzones were a desire to preserve the “garden home” style of several houses in the plan area, and concern about the impact of shadows on single-family houses adjacent to the planned upzone of Exposition Boulevard

It’s hard to take these concerns seriously. The proposed upzone from R2 to R3 on Exposition would not have changed the legal height maximum of 45 feet, so it wouldn’t have changed the… shadow profile?… of the neighborhood anyways.

As housing advocates, we must continue to shine a light on the need for more homes, especially in the birthplace of LA’s anti-growth movement: the westside.To that end, let’s quantify what was lost to appease a relatively small number of homeowners. The following is based on a pro bono analysis performed by pactriglo, a real estate analysis firm in Los Angeles:

Pico Boulevard between Bentley Ave. and Overland Ave:

  • Capacity in plan passed by Planning Commission: 1310 units, including 130 units for extremely low income Angelenos
  • Capacity in plan amended by PLUM Committee: 771 units
  • Units Lost: 539, including 130 affordable units

Exposition Boulevard between Sepulveda Blvd. and Midvale Ave:

  • Capacity in plan passed by Planning Commission:: 557 units, including 58 for extremely low income Angelenos
  • Capacity in plan amended by PLUM Committee: 109 units (i.e., status quo)
  • Units Lost: 448, including 59 affordable units

Total Units Lost: 987, including 189 units for extremely low income Angelenos

What did Angelenos get in exchange for sacrificing new apartments in this neighborhood? Nothing.
This is the cost of appeasing the anti-growth movement. We cannot afford to defer to the aesthetic concerns of the privileged few over the need for homes for all Angelenos. It’s what created the housing crisis in the first place.

Fortunately, the conversation feels it’s starting to change. In the past, most local stakeholders might have opposed new homes. But support from the Palms Neighborhood Council shows evolving attitudes towards development and housing, even in West LA. Rather than opposing rezoning for more apartments in their neighborhood, Palms embraced it, citing their neighborhood’s tradition of diversity and inclusion:

“The Palms NC supports the Expo Line TNP as it helps meet our neighborhood’s goals of new and affordable housing, street level neighborhood facing retail, and appropriate development near new mass transit investments. Additionally, more housing and walkable neighborhoods near transit stations is an environmental necessity. Without plans like the Expo Line TNP, we will aggravate traffic congestion, increase greenhouse gas emissions, and accelerate displacement in LA.”

If LA’s leaders commit to the values articulated by the Palms Neighborhood Council, then perhaps one day Los Angeles can finally become the truly inclusive city it was always meant to be. That’s a vision worth fighting for.


(this post written by Nick Burns, Abundant Housing LA’s West LA local leader)


LA City Council: don’t oppose SB 827

This week we activated our members to write the Los Angeles City council against a motion that would put the City in opposition to SB 827. Today we sent a longer letter explaining why SB 827 is a good bill for the state and for LA. AHLA letter on city of LA 827 motion

We argue that the trade-off of a small amount of local control over a few aspects of zoning is worth it for a bill that would help add homes near transit and strengthen tenant protections.

We gave 8 reasons why we support Sb 827, and why the City of Los Angeles should too. They are elaborated on in the link above.

  1. It’s the first and only proposal that would address our housing shortage on the necessary scale.
  2. It would strengthen tenant rights and benefits.
  3. It would reduce housing shortages, rent increases, displacement, homelessness and Angelenos being forced to leave the region.
  4. It would reverse decades of exclusion from affluent, low-density neighborhoods.
  5. It’s aligned with policy goals which focus new housing near transit.
  6. It would create many more resources for affordable housing.
  7. It would force free-loading cities to allow their fair share of housing.
  8. It would dramatically reduce our contribution to global carbon emissions.

speaking up for housing for the homeless, tenant rights, and density

Abundant Housing LA supports more homes of all types. We are proud to help advance multi-faceted housing solutions to expand the number of homes while also helping those who lack a place to live and those who have a home, but feel a lack of security due to high rents or precarious tenure.

This week we weighed in on a number of critical housing policies. Our director, Brent Gaisford published an op-ed in the LA Times suggesting that a right-to-remain for tenants, combined with upzoning near transit as proposed by SB 827, would be a powerful combination to protect tenant rights and to increase housing supply.

An article in the Times quoted the Abundant Housing LA letter in support of the City’s permanent Supportive Housing Ordinance that policy committee members Ezra Hammer and Mark Vallianatos had drafted.

Mark also spoke in favor of the PSH ordinance and the city’s Motel Conversion Ordinance on AirTalk on KPCC.

We look forward to supporting pro-housing policies and being part of the conversation on how Los Angeles and California can have enough homes.


Talking points for new plans

purple line plan area

purple line plan area


The City of Los Angeles is currently updating many of its land use plans. So are other area cities, such as Long Beach.   (More on Long Beach soon….) We have a rare opportunity to influence community plans, transit plans, general plans, and zoning codes. We need residents to support more housing in every community to ensure that Los Angeles has room for current residents to stay in LA and for newcomers to move here.

We have the chance this week to attend meeting on the Orange Line Plan Wednesday night and Purple Line Plan thursday night.

If you are able to attend one of these meetings, or if you have a chance later to send comments on the plan, what should you ask for that would help address LA’s housing crisis? We have a few suggestions/ talking points:

1. Tell planners to set the new housing capacity significantly above anticipated population, and to study this level of upzone in the Environmental Impact report.

This point sounds a little technical, so we’ll try to explain it. Planners are required to conduct an environmental review a proposed land use plan. As part of this process, they will estimate how many new homes and jobs would be allowed in the plan area due to changes to zoning, and study the potential environmental impacts of these new homes and businesses.

LA plans tend to change zoning just enough to accommodate expected growth in population. For example, say that a plan area currently has 40,000 households and 41,000 homes (sadly, this reflects the reality in most neighborhoods where vacancy rates are low and there is not enough room to grow). Estimates show that another 4000 households are expected to arrive in the next few decades, so the plan calls for changing zoning to allow 4250 new homes. This means that there will be 44,000 households and 45,250 homes. Notice any problems? First, we are planning for low vacancy rates, which practically guarantees high rents! Second, what happens if there is higher than anticipated population growth? Third, the number of new homes ignores the fact that LA has hundreds of thousands of low-income households living in overcrowded housing and hundreds of thousands of younger residents forced to stay with their parents.

The solution is to zone for significantly more new homes than the future anticipated population. This will create “breathing room” to relieve the current shortage and tightness in the housing market. If we need more homes, there will be the possibility to build them. If the extra zoned capacity isn’t used, there is no harm, it’s just potential space for future expansion.

Abundant Housing LA recommends that all plan updates or new plans zone for housing capacity at least 50% above the anticipated future number of households.

It is also crucial that the Environmental Impact Reviews for plans study this higher level of zoning. If the EIR doesn’t study this potential higher zoning, it won’t make it into the plan.

2. Suggest specific areas where new homes could go

If you know the plan area well because you live or work there or visit it, you should suggest some places (sub-areas, streets, etc) where you’d like to see upzones, bigger buildings and more homes. These sites might be low-rise areas close to transit, places with lots of surface parking and underutilized lots, etc. Your local knowledge will help make the case for zoning changes and a better city.

3. Allow small apartments in ‘single family’ areas near transit

In editorializing last week about the need for more housing in the Expo Line Transit Plan, the LA Times made an important point about the irony of single unit zoning close to train stations: “Yes, single-family neighborhoods are part of the character and fabric of L.A., but it’s hard to see how the city can house its current occupants, let alone the growing population to come, without at least pondering looser restrictions that allow more triplexes, fourplexes and townhomes.”

We agree! We support diverse low rise housing. Our policy agenda calls for allowing a minimum of 4 units on a standard 5000 sf lot if the property is within a 1/2 mile of quality transit.

4. Eliminate parking requirements near transit.
It’s dumb to mandate on site parking for homes close to transit. Requiring more parking than developers and residents want makes housing more expensive; leads to bad design because parking spaces often shape the architecture more than human needs and amenities; and pollutes the air and warms the climate by encouraging driving. We believe that there should be no vehicle parking requirements within 1/2 mile of transit.

If you have other ideas for these plans, let us know!

Get involved in LA Plan updates!

Screen Shot 2017-11-08 at 10.03.26 AM

This week Abundant Housing is focusing on improving the Expo Line Transit Plan.

The city of Los Angeles is also in the process of creating or revising a number of community plans, transit corridor plans, the general plan, and zoning code. We can’t emphasize enough how important it is for pro-housing Angelenos to get involved in these plans. One of our key policy goals is for Los Angeles to increase its zoned capacity to create more “room for homes” and relieve the tightness that contributes to low vacancy rates and rising rents.

We hope that you can provide feedback and/or attend meetings for a plan where you live or work so that planners know that Angelenos want more homes of all types. It is also great to get involved with plans throughout the city. The housing market is regional, and more homes anywhere in LA can help address the crisis.

The following list of plans that are being updated shows how many opportunities there are to help make a difference by pushing for plans that allow and encourage more homes of all types. We will try to update this list as more meetings are announced and as we develop analysis and recommendations for different plans. You can also sign up via the links below to get updates and announcements directly from the planners.

And if you are motivated to advocate on one or more of these plans, please get in touch and let us know! We are looking for our members and allies to provide local leadership on LA’s new plans.
Exposition Corridor Transit Neighborhood Plan
The Expo line brought rail transit back to the westside for the first time in 60 years. The plan is going to the LA Planning Commission on November 9, 2017 at 11 am. We have an online action alert that you can use to send a letter encouraging more homes in the new plan.
You can also sign up for updates.

Orange Line Transit Neighborhood Plan
The Orange Line plan, focused near five stations (North Hollywood, Van Nuys, Sepulveda, Reseda and Sherman Way) is in an earlier stage than the Expo plan. There is a lot of low density zoning along this corridor that should be up-zoned. There is a meeting November 15 6-830 pm at Van Nuys City Hall, Council Chambers, 2nd Floor, 14410 Sylvan St, Van Nuys CA 91401 to get public feedback on their initial concept.
You can also sign up for updates.

Purple Line Transit Neighborhood Plan
There is a meeting November 16, 6pm to 8pm at Pan Pacific Senior Activity Center, 141 S Gardner St., LA 90036 focused on potential land use changes near three future purple line stations at Wilshire/ La Brea, Wilshire/ Fairfax and Wilshire/ La Cienega. These are great locations for more housing.
You can also sign up for updates.

Downtown LA Community Plans
DTLA2040 is the City’s process to update the two community plan covering downtown Los Angeles. Downtown has obviously been one of the places where the most new homes have been built in recent years, and there is a potential to encourage even more if mixed use development is allowed in some underused industrial areas.
You can sign up for updates and send comments.

Hollywood Community Plan
An update to the Hollywood Community Plan was passed a few years ago but was overturned through a lawsuit by anti-development groups. The city is trying again and we should encourage them to allow even more homes than the first version.
You can sign up for updates and send comments.

Boyle Heights Community Plan
Boyle Heights is already relatively built up area for a residential community but there should be space for more homes on boulevards and in industrial areas.
You can sign up for updates and submit comments.

Southwest Valley Community Plans
The first set of plans to start updates under the city’s recent commitment to accelerate new community plans are three plan areas in the Southwest San Fernando Valley:
Canoga Park-Winnetka- Woodland Hills-West Hills, Encino-Tarzana, and Reseda-West Van Nuys.
You can sign up for updates and fill in a short survey.

South Los Angeles and Southeast Los Angeles Community Plans
The South Los Angeles and Southeast Los Angeles Community plans were recently passed by the city planning commission and will likely be heard by the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Committee in November 2017.  The opportunity for major changes in these plans may be past, but comments could be sent to the PLUM committee and full council.

General Plan
Ourla2040 is the City’s process to update its general plan. They are currently seeking input on open space and culture but will also establish a framework that is supposed to guide land use rules in community plans.
You can sign up for updates.

Zoning Code
Re:codeLA is the process to fully update LA’s zoning code for the first time in 70 years.
You can provide comments and check for updates and events.