Letters to the Editor: Landlords sparked L.A.’s overcrowding crisis. They got an assist from leaders of the community.
How crowded is L.A.? That’s what everyone keeps asking as residents and business owners watch their neighborhoods shrink and grow — and then they wonder if they’ll make rent and buy a house.
L.A.’s real problem isn’t with landlords, who can’t find empty storefronts to lease. It’s with their tenants, who complain that landlords are causing an annual increase of 3.3 percent in rent and a 9.1 percent increase in rents on average per property in L.A. in the past five years.
And so the real question is this: Would it be worse if landlords simply didn’t exist? The answer is almost certainly yes. And yet, even as the city’s business community keeps trying to solve the problems caused by landlords, they have failed for decades to do so.
In the 1970s, when the city put up the first freeway bypass in Los Angeles and when the state of California moved everyone out of the suburbs and into the downtown, the people of Los Angeles believed they were living in a city.
Today, Los Angeles County is the fastest developing county in America, with almost 700,000 people living in cities.
What’s so great about living in a city? When you drive through the city center you know where you are. Your neighborhood is clearly delineated. It’s always there. And you can tell exactly where the city limits begin and end.
We live in a city where we can pick up something and go to a store and get it. That’s because people like us have invested in the infrastructure. We have public transportation. We have parks. We have grocery stores, shopping centers, restaurants, banks — you name it. We have it all.
Now, the city is growing, so we build more. But we must build. We can’t build out and then stop.
The city is not only built better, it is better managed. We don’t have congestion, and we don’t have traffic congestion. In fact, I can turn on the radio and not hear a car on my street.
In addition, we have a system, what’s known as an open, competitive market, that doesn’t necessarily favor one particular type of business.