Post Scandal: Rosemead's deciscion to kill mixed-use

One thing of note in the Gong and Tran scandal is that when the deals were being done, Rosemead was starting to look at getting mixed-use developments. After Tran was ousted, Rosemead changed the General Plan to kill mixed-use.

This was a small victory for the right-wing anti-mixed-use movement. It's a small movement, but has reared its ugly head here and there, and has been noted in some articles in Planet Netizen, and more recently in the progressive and green press. Basically, it's bankrolled by developers who build sprawl.

It's a general attack on both "smart growth" or mixed-use zoning, and New Urbanism. New Urbanism isn't the same thing, but it emphasizes smaller lots, walkable cities, and there's some overlap between the two. The two are both aligned with "green" buildings, at least the type promoted by the LEED standards (but not the kind where you build a hobbit house of of tree branches).

In this article by Prof. Piggington, highlights points in from city to suburbia and then backFirst Tuesday about the Generation Y trend away from single family residential, and toward apartments and condos in city centers.

I think the political calculus is simpler: apartments and condo dwellers tend to have less money than people buying SFRs, and tend to vote more Democrat. A mixed-use zoning is condos and apartments, and will either turn a SFR zone into a mixed-use zone, or turn a commercial zone into a mixed-use zone.

The voting pattern may not always be Democrat, but will always tend to support collective purchasing of basic services like public transit, parks, and cultural services like libraries and museums. Thus, this supports larger government or public services. These are opposed by the libertarian (and exurb-development wing) of the Republican Party.

The current Republican voting base is heavily exurban. Spread-out SFRs have been good to the Reps, and they don't want to lose that.

The problem is that Rosemead is full of SFRs, but is also situated in an area of increasing density. It's also in a situation where it, and other nearby cities, really need to get on the ball to attract jobs of the future. If Piggington et. al are correct, then younger workers are going to avoid suburbs, especially older ones like Rosemead, and go straight into the Downtown and nearby communities, to live closer to work and be within range of public transit (or so close that driving is easy).

My sense is that the change isn't so wholesale, but it is happening in some sectors, like media.


I think it was obvious from the discussion that surrounded Rosemead's decision to backtrack on mixed use that they were really anti-immigrant. The anti-mixed use folks weren't against the traffic, because they supported straight retail developments that brought a lot more traffic than mixed use ever would. They weren't against mansionization, because they opposed any attempt to contain that with design standards and zoning changes that would have made that harder (and would have affected Margaret Clark and Steven Ly's own plans for subdividing their own lots). They weren't even opposed to a larger government, because they've already blown half the city's reserve fund that they inherited from John Tran. What they have done is create a class divide between the homeowners (the few who can either bought single family homes back in the 1960s and 1970s or inherited them from their parents) and the renters. There's no growing middle class or upwardly mobile class to hold them accountable.