Hit & Run

In Soviet Los Angeles, Housing Affordables You!

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When I used to write editorials for the L.A. Times about the city's buttinskyite approach to property rights in the name of preserving "affordable housing," I went to extraordinary lengths to ask each and every relevant local official and activist I met the same question: How many affordable housing units -- however you care to define the term -- exist right now?

The answer was as you'd expect: They really, truly, have no idea; not even when you break it down into categories like rental units. No one keeps track of the numbers. Still! Must do something!

This week, by unanimous votes, we get the L.A. City Council's solution to the affordable housing crisis: Prevent owners of fleabag residency hotels from upgrading their properties into higher-priced condos and lofts; and prohibit home-owners from increasing the size of their houses to any more than one-half the size of their property. After all, if owners are free to buy, sell, and expand on their properties as they see fit, then how in the heck will we get more housing stock built in Los Angeles?