Wednesday, April 4, 2018

An Election Flyer Making the Rounds in Sierra Madre Plus: Dick Platkin calls LA Politicians Shills for Real Estate Speculators


Mod: So you know that Arcadia Association of Realtors in-kind contribution has yet to be reported by the Bencosme campaign. I guess Andy would prefer that you vote first.
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Mod: One of my favorite writers on all things development related is Dick Platkin. Here is something he recently wrote for the news site LA City Watch. What I am posting here is edited. The entire article is available at the link.

LA’s Politicians and Academics: Shills for Real Estate Speculators (City Watch link): The urban growth machine, including its enablers in public office and academia, dish out endless cover stories to camouflage their hidden agenda of priming the pumps of real estate speculation. When one of their self-serving theories bites the dust, they quickly advance another one, knowing they can depend on the corporate media and “business-friendly” policy experts to quickly pickup the beat.

Greenwashing: The best know version of this ploy is greenwashing, such as Exxon’s and Chevron’s public service announcements trumpeting their restoration of ponds, shorelines, and meadows. Meanwhile, these and similar energy companies continue to extract fossil fuels, often with immediate pollution, followed by the huge generation of the Green House Gases responsible for climate change.

Now, the density hawks, whether hob-knobbing with San Francisco’s Scott Wiener in Sacramento, or hunkering down at LA’s City Hall, maintain that increased residential density achieved through the accelerated construction of new, market rate apartment buildings reduces the generation of these same Green Houses Gases.

While their claim that higher densities can reduce individual and cumulative carbon footprints is true for highly selective urban environments, especially New York City, their real estate proposals are the antithesis of the New York City model. They simply want to layer dense, energy-intensive apartment buildings on top of a generally low-density city, Los Angeles, whose infrastructure and public services are already severely taxed and predicted to fail.

Population boom-washing: Since their greenwashing claims failed to gain serious traction, the density hawks turned to population-washing, repeatedly claiming that Los Angeles was on the verge of an imminent population boom. To, therefore, plan for the future, the city needed to build new, high density apartment buildings so these new Angelenos would have a decent place to live.

More specifically, the density hawks called for a deregulated housing market based on weak zoning laws, with a wink and a nod to weak code enforcement, to greet the population boom with move-in specials. Well, poor code enforcement and zoning deregulation were right on cue, but the much-ballyhooed population boom failed to materialize.

As previously reported, the 1996 General Plan Framework’s population forecast for 2010 was 4,300,000 people.  This figure, though, turned out to be 500,000 people higher than the actual 2010 US Census. Since then, according to demographer Wendel Cox, the boosters have four times claimed that Los Angeles finally exceeded the 4,000,000 mark. But, each time they had to walked back these claims because Los Angeles still has not broken surpassed the 4 million barrier.

Transit-washing: Since more people are leaving than coming to LA and SF, the real estate industry and their lieutenants have already contrived another whopper to justify zoning deregulation: it will increase the number of people living near mass transit stations ridership, and therefore reverse a long-term trend of declining transit ridership. This is because they believe – despite contradictory evidence -- that anyone who lives near transit will use it.

The fallacy of this “build more market housing near transit” argument was revealed by recent research from UCLA.  In the Los Angeles metropolitan an increasing number of low income tenants own and drive cars, and no longer use transit.

This is why the gentrification of neighborhoods close to transit services would not increase transit ridership. It replaces existing low income transit users, whose numbers are already declining, with affluent newcomers who drive cars and seldom or never use transit, even when they live close to it.

Housing-washing: The final justification for the build-more-market-housing business model is that it will increase the supply of desperately needed affordable housing. How so? The claim is that the more market housing constructed in Los Angeles, the more affordable housing will eventually appear through filtering, also known as long-term trickle down. Since there is zero evidence of expensive housing trickling down to become affordable housing in Los Angeles, the density hawks then invoke another out-of-context economic theory: supply-and-demand.

They imagine that a glut of expensive housing forces the price of housing down to the point that it becomes affordable and apartments that rent for $2000-3,000 per month will be discounted to $600 a month because of high vacancy rates. Again, there is zero evidence of this happening in Los Angeles for two very good reasons. First, investors don’t like to go bankrupt, which happens when they charge affordable rents. Second, landlords can easily fill empty houses and apartments throughhighly lucrative Airbnb short-term rentals when they are faced with money-losing high vacancy rates.

If the filtering and the supply-and-demand arguments do not pass the smell test, you are right.And, in the Los Angeles Times, Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal explained why. Gentrification reduces transit ridership. In order to assemble building sites for new, market-oriented apartments; builders must evict current residents, most of whom are low income and the most likely demographic category to use transit.

In contrast, the new residents of new market housing are much better off. Almost all of them own cars, which they use for most trips. According to Rosenthal, the more LA gentrifies, which is the program of the density hawks, the more transit ridership will decline, a finding confirmed by the previously mentioned UCLA transit ridership study.

Mod: There is a lot more to this article, and should you wish go to City Watch and read the rest. It pretty much nails the many specious arguments you will hear from those who want to build, no matter what the real costs to the community or its residents.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

72 comments:

  1. Developers and real estate speculators hope to gain a toe hold on the city council by getting their candidate Andy Benscosme elected. In the next ejection they can get their majority and then there goes Sierra Madre. It will turn into Arcadia before you know it with demolitions and McMansions everywhere. Is that really what we want for this town? The useful idiots voting for Andy don't know what they are in for.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Can the city pass an ordinance barring anyone from the real-estate industry from being on the council as a conflict of interest?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That should certainly happen, 6:21, but it would be a huge state-wide fight to get it into place. The contributions from the development industry would be vast.

      Delete
  3. Thank you Sacramento and the unbalanced bias political machine that keeps on giving!
    You get what and who "you" vote for.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. “We” didn’t vote for trump but we got him and his whole nepotistic family.

      Real estate developers don’t belong in government

      Delete
    2. America's first developer president.

      Delete
  4. If enough realtors are elected we could start calling city council meetings open houses.

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  5. I really hope the voters in Sierra Madre now know that the reason all these out of town builders and realtor are giving money to Bebcosme is NOT to keep Sierra Madre the wonderful place it is to live in.

    They only want to profit by building Mcmansions. They don't care about our city.

    If you care about Sierra Madre please vote for the 3 incumbents. Arizmendi, Delmar, and Goss. They support growth, growth that is reasonable, and adds to our towns charm, not the kind of growth that destroys our village .

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  6. This is the first election in memory where the Pasadena Star News has not covered the local elections in Sierra Madre and Arcadia, or offered endorsements for election.

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  7. I heard that the voter turnout is expected to be very low. This would help Bebcosme because his supporters will definitely go vote.

    Tell all your friends and neighbors to be sure to vote on Tuesday April 10th for the 3 incumbents .

    ReplyDelete
  8. So can candidates accept contributions up to the election day? That means we find out the real facts after it's over...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. A few weeks after the election is when we will see the big stuff. So much for transparency.

      Delete
  9. Outside contributions to Jose Benscome's run for Sierra Madre CC are flowing in. The reason his money is coming from outside Sierra Madre is because he is a new-comer to Sierra Madre and could care less about our town's character or charm. He is from New York/Florida via Monrovia and only cares about making lots of money from his little real estate office and developer friends at the expense of Sierra Madre.

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    Replies
    1. It is not a campaign donation to Andy, it is an investment given in lieu of future favorable treatment.

      Delete
  10. Outside contributions to Jose Benscome's run for Sierra Madre CC are flowing in. The reason his money is coming from outside Sierra Madre is because he is a new-comer to Sierra Madre and could care less about our town's character or charm. He is from New York/Florida via Monrovia and only cares about making lots of money from his little real estate office and developer friends at the expense of Sierra Madre.

    ReplyDelete
  11. 6:51a. Lol, there would finally be an audience in the chamber.

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  12. 7:10am. "We" all voted for President Trump, not that housewife clinging to her husband's coat tails.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nope, again dear troll, your messiah lost the popular vote.

      Despite your repeated lies and sexism, this will always be true.

      Delete
  13. Please stop the lies. We just want council people that actually show up to meetings. Delmar attendance is less then stellarand she never shows up to her assigned commission meetings etc. No one wants an empty seat. Mr. Bencosme hasn’t actually received and funds from the ARC and is anti development. Maybe you should actually talk to him.
    He’s not in commercial real estate and only sold homes to first time home buyers. Check your facts, stop rumors and be honest about all the incumbents. Do your research! I did and learned how wrong you are!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Everybody says they're anti-development. Especially those who are for it. There is no more pro-development organization in the area than the Arcadia Association of Realtors, and Andy was its president twice. Remember the Downtown Specific Plan? Arcadia Assoc of Realtors led the way. You are the one who is getting your Pinocchio on here.

      Delete
    2. Andy held his out of town campaign kickoff at the offices of the Arcadia Association of Realtors, 8:10. You might want to rethink your rant.

      Delete
    3. 8:10, what lies?
      Are you saying that Bencosme filed a false disclosure of campaign contributions, and that he did not receive money from all of those out of town real estate businesses?

      Delete
    4. Sierra Madre's very own Manchurian Candidate.

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    5. Actually another lie, His first campaign kick off was at a residence on Adams in Sierra Madre. Yes he has raised money outside of town. That happens when you help fundraise for all the community events in Sierra Madre like the No on measure D campaign, the 4th of July parade and events, Friends of Library events, the Mt. Wilson Trail events (these events all happen through fundraising only) the list goes on. Raising money in town is not easy! Also many of the incumbents are also getting money from outside sources, check into it. Only one candidate’s donations are listed here. I’m all for free press but both sides need to be shown and unfortunately this is very one sided. I just want to be sure that people are educated on all the incumbents and mostly their attendance history because that sad that you would run for a seat and never sit in it. Mod maybe you could consider listing all candidates campaign donations and attendance for city Council meetings.

      Delete
    6. The Arcadia fund raiser was advertised as Andy's kickoff event. That wasn't true?

      Delete
    7. View kickoff Andy ad here:
      https://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com/2018/02/sierra-madre-city-council-hopeful-andy.html

      Delete
    8. I'm glad to have the opportunity to ask a Bencosme supporter the following:
      How do you explain the complete reversal on the library? It was well known that your candidate was for selling the land and moving the library, and then he switched his position. Why?

      Delete
    9. Delmar has been falsely accused of missing meetings - when she always made a point of teleconferencing if she had to be out of town. And no one does their homework as diligently as she does.

      It's been a perfectly acceptable practice for the men on the council, so why not her?
      Her company has now relocated to Southern California, so she won't have to be on business trips so much.

      Delete
    10. Bencosme's first campaign kick off that was advertised was at the AAR offices.
      Where was the information about a gathering on Adams?

      Delete
    11. 8:34 - By calling fib on things that are plainly true you have only added to the Bencosme campaign's reputation for slipperiness.

      Delete
    12. To my knowledge it has only been the past year the Denise had to be out of town for her job. As for it being hard to get donations in town, I suppose that could be true, especially since political donations are not tax donations. There was no info given for the soirée on Adams, so I guess only the elite got to attend. I see no proof was given about the others getting donations from out of town. Are you talking about family members who have no interest other than helping their relative? And, yes Andy flip flopped on the library. And Andy has not given any info on how he plans to do anything for Sierra Madre. There was a poll recently that stated that most people would give up voting for more money in their wages. The voter turn out has always been low here. Most people just don’t care about the truth, right and wrong or anything else but me me me! What a sad future!

      Delete
  14. A few months back Andy's missus was telling people that he no longer considered himself to be a Realtor, but was now a developer. I have heard this from a number of people.

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    Replies
    1. She is the power behind the throne in a big way. If Andy gets elected, you’ll have her to contend with. I have observed her on several occasions0very interesting watching.

      Delete
  15. If Andy wants to win he has to go negative. Right on cue, 8:10 and 8:34 show up spewing lies. Delmar didn't skip meetings, she attended via conference call. This shows her dedication -- even when traveling for business she figured out a way to participate. She also spearheaded the city staff reorganization that saved hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Andy is running to unseat an incumbent. There has to be a reason for change to do so, yet he has not said what he wants to change. If he likes the job the incumbents have done, why is he running? If he doesn't, why hasn't he said so?

      There is a reason to run an issueless campaign -- it's that you need to hide your true message because it is so unpopular.

      Delete
    2. Wrong 8:58. Andy is not running an issueless campaign. He was firmly in favor of selling off the library before he did a 180 and now claims to be against it. So there you are, two policy positions, albeit on the same policy.

      Delete
    3. So Andy supporter, what does he find offensive about how the current council has conducted business? What is his plan for the next four years? His campaign literature says nothing?

      Delete
    4. Andy is a father and he loves Sierra Madre. Isn't that enough?

      Delete
    5. Gag me with a spoon.

      Delete
    6. Like. Totally.

      Delete
  16. 8:10 claims Bencosme is antidevelopment. Yeah right. There is nothing on his website or campaign mailers about development. He couldn't even bother to make the standard claim that he favors "reasonable" development. When pressed at a candidate forum, he said that of course he was in favor of property rights. His silence belies his true feelings, which can be inferred from his track record: realtor, wanna be developer, new to town, and worst of all, twice president of the Arcadia Association of Realtors.

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  17. There is very little authentic about the Bencosme campaign.

    ReplyDelete
  18. 8:34am. Lol, again.
    The chamber is empty, does NOT matter if the Council members are seated or teleconferencing.

    ReplyDelete
  19. 8:50am. Very true if Ms. Delmar. Spearheaded the reorganization, addressed the CalPERS and ongoing need to renegotiate, spearheaded the General Plan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Denise is the smartest council person and because of that many people don't like her. She saw past all the lip service of the past city manager and her supporters.

      Delete
  20. All the concerns about outside contributions, affiliations with the developer community, and an issueless campaign doesn't mean Andy won't win. 7:34 is right that turnout will likely be very low.

    I bet he is really trying to build name recognition to set himself up for a more successful run next time. But if he wins now all the better. Don't let it happen. Make sure and vote next Tuesday.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Why is everyone so against Realtors? Who do you go to and trust when you sell your home? A REALTOR. You guys are so quick to generalize all Realtors as pro development, McMansion lovers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Arcadia Association of Realtors raised $180,000 to defeat Measure V and still lost. Some great people are Realtors. But not that bunch.

      Delete
    2. 10:29, right you are. There are always exceptions to the rule, and I have heard of good realtors. However, I don't want anyone in that line of work to make policy for a town that is a target for over-development.

      Delete
    3. Sierra Madre is targeted by a lot of developers because of the money to. E made. But at what cost to the residents? We need a city council that looks out for the people who live here, and not those who just want to come here and cash the place out.

      Delete
    4. I'm not against realtors or developers. I'm in favor of reasonable development. The problem is Andy is running an issueless campaign and has said next to nothing about his views on development. Why is he running? Who knows. If he had a track record of opposing poor development and spoke plausibly about why he is better than the incumbents, then I'd consider voting for him. Instead he says nothing.

      We are left to guess at his policy views. He was president of AAR two times. He is new to town. His campaign contributions come from out-of-town development interests. He flip-flopped on the library. 10:29, what do you take from these facts?

      Delete
    5. Bencosme is for the love policy.

      Delete
  22. There is an FPPC contributions report due Friday. That is where you will see the last minute money. But if it is filed at 5 pm you won't see it till April 9...the day before the election.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Watch the next City Council try to repeal Measure V.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Andy's got a new mailer out - surprise, he's running out of love for Sierra Madre.

    He makes a point to say he does not commute - so Harabedian, Delmar, Goss and Arizmendi are bad because they do.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Yes. People with jobs that take them out of town are an attendance threat.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hey, what happened to his keep-the-library-where-it-is spiel?
    It's been demoted to 'important resource' and nothing more.
    Huh. Do you think somebody clued him in that he shouldn't expose his complete ignorance of the city council's commitment to listen to the residents through the survey and ongoing hearings before a final decision?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe some of the people he had persuaded into supporting the sale of the library got in touch and asked too many questions.

      Delete
  27. Andy Bencosme is the Love candidate.

    ReplyDelete
  28. It's not easy to work in the word "love" three times on a half page mailer.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Bencosme makes the mistake of going negative too early. Dirty tricks thursday isn't until tomorrow. He has given the other candidates time to punch him back.

    ReplyDelete
  30. 8:10 says Bencosme "only sold homes to first time home buyers."

    So, 8:10, you're saying he turned away business from those who wanted to purchase a home for the second or third time? Refused to represent them? Do you have evidence to back up that assertion?

    How about library buyers? First time buyers only?

    ReplyDelete
  31. I want to know more about the library hustle this guy is doing - so first he's on the Community Service Commission, and members report that he's 100% in favor of selling the land and moving the library, and he's the primary cheerleader - then he sends out a mailer saying he's opposed to moving the library, wants to keep it right where it is. That is dirty politics. He reversed himself completely with no explanation. The other candidates are sitting council members and are obligated to listen to the residents' survey cards, and the public input that they will receive before they make a decision.
    Dirty politics from Andy Bencosme.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Doesn't bode well that he's lying already.

      Delete
  32. What does the realtor mean on his card when he writes "No Distractions"
    Doesn't he have a family and a job?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it means he gets to mix his private business affairs with his official city hall duties. I can't see how that would be considered good news.

      Delete
  33. The Pasadena Tea Party dropped a fake newspaper called "The Taxpayer Gazette" with an article written by creepy Michael Alexander in front of multiple closed business locations. I have alerted the city and asked them to issue at least a dozen littering citations to the Pasadena Tea Party and to criminally prosecute them dropping literature on our sidewalks.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Pasadena Tea Party has left a fake newspaper on the sidewalk in front of businesses downtown without obtaining a permit.

    5.40.020 - Permit required.
    No person shall circulate or distribute, or cause to be circulated or distributed, any commercial handbill, newspaper, flyer, advertisement or other similar material in or upon any residential property or to any business establishment within this city without first obtaining a permit therefor in the manner prescribed in this chapter. Nor shall any person distribute or circulate or cause to be circulated or distributed any commercial handbill, newspaper, flyer, advertisement, or other similar material in or upon residential property or to any business establishment within this city, except in compliance with the provisions of this chapter.

    (Ord. 1084 § 1 (part), 1992; Ord. 1080 § 2, 1991: prior code § 3301)

    ReplyDelete
  35. https://ibb.co/d5ufwc

    link to pic of tea party newspaper dropped in front of sierra madre businesses without a permit

    ReplyDelete
  36. I saw the paper downtown. The comparison chart with La Canada? Effective.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a lie. La Canada doesn't have a police or fire department and the Pasadena Tea Party dishonestly left the amounts La Canada pays the county for those services out of their "comparison". So the Pasadena Tea Party is stupid and dishonest.

      Delete

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