The People’s Plan: Victories for South LA

This letter to community was originally published on the UNIDAD Facebook site.

CDTech has been a proud partner in the UNIDAD Coalition for nearly 10 years. The aim in our work with the UNIDAD Coalition is to bring equitable development to South LA in order to create opportunities for residents to live economically healthy and sustainable lives in their community.

Dear Neighbors and Community Allies,
On June 23rd,¬†at The City Planning Commission the People’s Plan campaign experienced a few key moments of victory…AND we got a glimpse of the fight ahead.
First, let’s take a moment to celebrate…
Because of the constant and consistent push all of you have provided as part of The People’s Plan campaign, we saw something great happen: the City Planning Department, directed by The Mayor, incorporated significant portions of The People’s Plan proposals into the latest draft of the Community Plans of South LA and Southeast LA. They took our proposals and spent considerable time discussing them and even produced a special supplement to the plans showing where the policy language from The People’s Plan was incorporated.
Then many of the City Planning Commissioners (CPC) lifted up the exceptional work of our coalition. One commissioner called it the best presentation of community proposals they had ever seen.
Ultimately, the CPC voted unanimously to advance the draft with additions from The People’s Plan. And now it will go to the next stage of the approval process: the Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) committee of City Council.
And now for the reality check…
First, the language included from The People’s Plan – in many cases – was weaker than our proposals. While it still represents significant progress, there is much more work to be done.
Second, there were entire elements of The People’s Plan that were not at all incorporated. Namely, key elements of the Displacement-Free Investment Zones that would significantly decrease displacement. Specifically, these were the annual caps on demolitions and condo conversions – leading drivers of displacement, homelessness and the loss of rent-controlled housing.
Here, we have an uphill battle that will require our coalition to get bigger and stronger.
Third, a few public comments questioned if The People’s Plan was anti-economic development and anti-commerce. There seems to be a continued narrative that there is only one way to bring development into the community and that we must not challenge developers who are looking to build in our communities to do things differently. We know how dangerous these narratives are and how important our work is to counter them.
The People’s Plan’s is not just about housing – it also includes robust economic development recommendations, so we must do the work to highlight these recommendations and uplift the attainable vision of an economically sustainable community that both provides jobs to community, keeps families together and creates a healthy environment for everyone.
We have lots to do turn the tide on things. But we also have momentum to build on.
Thanks to all who came out, gave testimony, submitted letters and raised voices on social media. You have made all the difference.
Onward with #ThePeoplesPlan!