At the BurgQuarters we constantly preach a simple fact: local news is directly correlated to local civic engagement. If we can make it easier for people to stay informed about what is happening in their communities, they will be more likely to get involved. Curbed.LA has been one of the prime examples of this theory in action, and their latest piece on the "linkage fee" clearly supports our claim.
On Tuesday, Mayor Eric Garcetti’s "linkage fee" proposal to charge developers a small tax to aid in building affordable housing was unanimously endorsed by the City Council's Planning and Land Use Management Committee. The basic idea here is that this "linkage fee" would generate an estimated $75 million to $92 million per year, which would then help the city pay for the construction of 1,500 new units for low-income residents.
If you haven't been following this story, the context here is important. Los Angeles is experiencing a massive shortage in affordable housing and so is, in general, the state of California. This has undoubtedly contributed to the rise of homeless, including a huge 23% spike this year in LA.
Curbed LA has been following these issues, highlighting the creative ways in which citizens and representatives are working together sensible policies. Hundreds of people showed up at the City Council's Planning and Land Use Management Committee to discuss the "linkage fee". Arguments against the "linkage fee" have also been articulated by developers and UCLA profs, who including Michael Manville and Paavo Monkonnen from the Department of Urban Planning.
This is what democracy in action looks like. It works when people are involved and offering different perspectives on the best solution-- it fails when people are unaware and special interests dominate the discussion.
In order to contribute to this discussion, residents need to be informed about the issues at stake. We're happy to announce news outlets like Curbed LA and the LA Times will be streamlined to local voters on The Burg. Few people purchase local newspapers anymore, but shortly citizens of Los Angeles will finally have access to relevant local news via The Burg. The Burg is the community's app and accessible local news is a staple of connected communities.