Editorial: Los Angeles must take politics out of development decisions, or at least, give city planners a clear mandate for them.
A city with the most powerful political will in the country cannot give rise to a new form of wealth and inequality
Los Angeles was founded as a haven for the forgotten and the oppressed. However, this founding myth could not stand for long when the new generation of Los Angeles residents are confronted daily with the fact that they are neither the “forgotten” nor the oppressed. This fact becomes even more apparent as they are growing up in a society, which values their well-being and the social value of their education and employment. At the same time, they are asked to make a contribution to their economy through the city’s economic development processes, which result in a considerable level of social inequality.
In the last 70 years, the city has not witnessed the emergence of a new class of city dwellers, which would not be subject to the same problems of inequality in their daily lives as residents of, for example, New York City. A city without a middle class does not have a healthy economy, not a city where people can grow up with confidence that they will have a shot at success. Los Angeles has reached a point where it is now impossible to maintain the fiction that the city is a place where only the elite can live.
Instead, the middle class is growing. The city has a growing middle class and in this middle class there are people who no longer feel they have become a part of the upper “one percent”. I am talking about the generation which grew up with the promise of a great education, a good job, not necessarily the best, and who have been given hope for a better future. This is the generation that has grown up in a city which has never had a class struggle and a city where the gap between rich and poor, the city’s middle class and the underclass is growing every day.
This generation is growing up in a city where the financial crisis and the recession only made matters worse – now we cannot continue to deny that the city is facing challenges which it is not prepared or capable of handling. I am talking about the city where the middle class is