The L.A. Times ran a story today about how developers routinely avoid regulations intended to inform the public and protect the environment. They somehow manage to convince -- or, if you prefer, "buy" -- the people who make public policy to give their specific development project a pass on the rules. The story talks about this issue in the context of the annual state budget, noting, "What Brown and lawmakers are doing "is a removal of citizen input into really important projects that have the potential to change the nature of neighborhoods, and air and water quality," (quoting an NRDC spokesperson). And that quote sure has a familiar ring to it. The Times' article could have alternatively addressed such suspect dealings at the day-to-day local level. For example, it could have reported how smoothly a developer got a 148-unit apartment building approved by Sacramento County without any environmental analysis and despite public input. Not every developer enjoys these benefits, though. Getting things to fall in your favor requires the root of all evil.
"I just think the answer is to chip away, chip away, chip away, chip away."Darryl Steinberg, who until recently represented Arden Arcade in the Legislature and who led the successful effort to streamline environmental review for the new Kings Arena (see la.streetsblog.org/2013/09/13/the-kings-arena-bill-does-include-a-partial-end-to-los)