DEVELOPMENT/DOWNTOWN L.A.: Condo shortage, surging demand, higher prices: "Downtown condo shortage shuts out buyers" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Downtown condo shortage shuts out buyers" - From the LAT:

Cranes dot the skyline in downtown Los Angeles as upscale hotels, hip restaurants and apartments signal a new wave of revitalization. But if new arrivals want to become homeowners, tough luck. Surging demand, combined with a lull in condo construction, has created a shortage that is shutting out many buyers.

Just 10 newly constructed condos are on sale now. The 114 previously owned condos that were on the market in May is 5% fewer than a year ago, but less than half of what buyers had to choose from in 2010, according to real estate firm Redfin.



The shortage is driving prices higher and turning home shopping into a maddening experience ...................................


LOCAL GOVERNMENT (County of Los Angeles): Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, agreement, creation of "Los Angeles County Office of Child Protection," editorial: "The supervisors create an Office of Child Protection. What does that mean?" ....

* Los Angeles Times (editorial):  "The supervisors create an Office of Child Protection. What does that mean?" - From the LAT:

Call it the art of letting go. In agreeing Tuesday to create a new Los Angeles County Office of Child Protection, the Board of Supervisors in effect acknowledged that its five members can't meet their responsibility to protect children at risk of abuse or neglect — not without the help of a more independent and more focused oversight agency.

The pathway to creating this one new office remains long and difficult, and care must be taken to ensure that it eliminates rather than enhances needless bureaucracy. -  

Ideally, the new office will coordinate the work of more than a dozen county departments. . . . . . . .

The supervisors have argued for years that it is they who are charged with that kind of coordination and jurisdictional silo-busting, and they have been dead set against surrendering or sharing any of that authority. But Los Angeles County and its challenges are too vast and the supervisors' responsibilities too disparate for them to provide a constant focus on an integrated child welfare network. The result has been repeated tragedies, frustrations and emotion-based decision-making.



The process that led to this week's extraordinary and welcome action began with the death more than a year ago of a young boy in Palmdale after county workers apparently missed signs of abuse....................


SACRAMENTO: State budget negotiations, 2014-2015: "Budget deal gives 25 percent of cap-and-trade money to high-speed rail" ....

* Sacramento Bee:  "Budget deal gives 25 percent of cap-and-trade money to high-speed rail" - From the Bee:

Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders have agreed to a proposal to use 25 percent of future cap-and-trade revenue - money polluters pay to offset carbon emissions - to provide ongoing funding for construction of California's high-speed rail project, according to part of a budget deal legislators will consider Thursday, sources said.

The amount falls short of the 33 percent Brown originally sought but is more than the Senate Democrats proposed.

The use of cap-and-trade money is one of the most controversial elements remaining in a spending plan Brown and lawmakers are finalizing this week. . . . . . . .


In addition to high-speed rail, the deal calls for 15 percent of cap-and-trade revenue to go to other transportation projects and 20 percent to go to affordable housing projects and other programs that help reduce greenhouse gases. The remaining 40 percent of cap-and-trade revenue would go to various transportation, natural resources, energy and other projects.



POLITICS (State, Local): Regulation, ride-share services, California Public Utilities Commission, regulation: "Ride-shares warned by regulators: no airport runs"; also, Los Angeles, "3 L.A. City Council members back new rules for ride-share services" ....

***Ride-share services, regulation....

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Ride-shares warned by regulators: no airport runs"

* Los Angeles Times:  "3 L.A. City Council members back new rules for ride-share services"


L.A. CITY HALL: Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin, concerns, SB 1818 being "misused" by developers: "Bonin calls for housing audit" ....  

****Following up on earlier item noted here (Westchester, Los Angeles City Council approval, controversial five-story residential and retail complex)....

* The Argonaut:  "Bonin calls for housing audit" - "Westside councilman suspects law that allows developers to increase density in exchange for affordable units is being misused" - From The Argonaut:

Months after city approval of an unpopular five-story building in Westchester prompted public outcry over a state law that allows developers to increase housing density in exchange for building affordable units, L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin is calling for an audit of the law’s local impacts.

California Senate Bill 1818, which supersedes city height and density restrictions, came into play with the council’s January approval of the 140-unit residential/retail complex on South La Tijera Boulevard. Bonin had opposed the project but voted for approval to prevent the developer from seeking an even larger building under SB 1818, he said at the time.

The Westside councilman is now seeking council support for two motions that would put SB 1818 — and the developers who utilize the law — under a microscope.


The first motion calls on the city’s Housing Dept. to produce an audit detailing all existing affordable housing units that have been built in Los Angeles since SB 1818 took effect in April 2008 compared to the number of rent-controlled units that have been demolished by new developments invoking SB 1818. The idea is to determine whether the city has seen a net gain of low-income housing under the law. The audit process would also examine income levels of those who moved into the new affordable units and explore any regulations governing who qualifies, or doesn’t qualify, for the newly created housing.

Bonin’s second motion calls on the city Planning Dept. to require that developers who invoke SB 1818 submit financial documentation demonstrating that incentives granted under the law would be necessary to make a project’s affordable housing components economically feasible. It would also have the city enlist a third-party audit of developers’ documentation to justify exemptions from local development requirements.

The council is expected to vote on both motions later this summer.


Benjamin Reznik, a land use attorney at the Century City law firm Jeffer, Mangles, Butler & Mitchell, said he believes most of the recommendations in Bonin’s motions have merit.


There is one aspect of Bonin’s motions that concerns Reznik...............