February 15, 2009,0,6394007.story

“Voters could assemble a fairly good city attorney using parts from the five candidates who are running to succeed Rocky Delgadillo in the March 3 election.”

“From Noel Weiss they could glean a much-needed passion and ability to advocate for average Angelenos against the machinations of City Hall.”

Issues To Ponder

Pondering Who To Vote For In L.A.

January 16, 2009
By M Richards

“I don’t get to vote in elections dealing with Los Angeles City government. But that doesn’t mean I can’t have opinions on who I would like to see win in the March 3 election.

I have two ‘slam dunks’ for different reasons.

For City Attorney, Mr. Noel Weiss:

Mr. Weiss is a clear choice for San Pedro, its residents and the OUR community on the whole.

Mr. Weiss continues to work with members of OUR community and is intelligent, interesting, innovative, and involved. “


L.A.’s Prop B Facing Opposition

By Eric Howard
January 20, 2009

Noel Weiss, a candidate for city attorney, has also declared his opposition to the ballot measure, calling it “thoughtless and bad public policy.”


Judge upholds key passages of Measure B’s ballot argument

By David Zahniser
January 9, 2009,0,7894112.story

“… Mitchell Schwartz, a political strategist who staged Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s 2005 inaugural gala, had asked the judge to take out wording in the voter pamphlet warning that the solar plan would give a monopoly to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the union that represents employees at the city’s Department of Water and Power…”

“Those who signed the argument against Measure B accused allies of the mayor of using expensive lawyers to squelch the opposition’s political views. After Schwartz went to court, signers of the ballot argument hired a lawyer – city attorney candidate Noel Weiss – and dubbed themselves “the Solar 8″ …”

In his tentative ruling, [Judge] Yaffe also refused to remove language that warned that “no competitive bidding” would be used by the solar program. And he declined to take out wording that warned that the DWP would use “outdated technology” for the initiative. “The judge did the right thing” Weiss said…

The judge’s mind was made up in advance of the hearing and City Attorney candidate Noel Weiss – who came to the rescue of the Solar 8…” [emphasis mine].

A community activist’s view: Watts Gang Task Force is succeeding

By Noel Weiss on May 20, 2008

“Levels of trust begin to grow when people from the community can have ‘heart to heart’ discussions with the police; with the City Attorney; with the educators; with the politicians; with each other. The Watts Gang Task Force is a clearinghouse of not just ideas, but of emotions (both negative and positive).”



Published on April 23, 2008 at 5:46pm

“When the legislature passed Senate Bill 1818 in 2005, they hoped it would entice developers to include affordable housing in their projects. In exchange, developers would be allowed to reduce the number of parking spaces, exceed height limits – and pack in more units to reap higher profits.

But Los Angeles critics see the city’s interpretation as a “Trojan Horse” which all but prevents community debate over much bigger projects than are allowed by the zoning, letting developers erect ­inappropriately dense and tall luxury apartments and condos.

If the developer devotes just 11 percent of the building to “very-low-income units,” the building can blow past zoning rules – it can even be constructed right out to the sidewalk’s edge. Buildings can be 35 percent bigger than is now allowed but with far less parking. Under the new ordinance, such projects are deemed “ministerial” – a technical designation that allows them to ignore California Environmental Quality laws.

In early April, attorney Noel Weiss made similar claims on behalf of homeowner Sandy Hubbard of Valley Village. Weiss calls the ordinance “one of the grossest examples of political malpractice and ineptitude I have witnessed. … The City Council is being led around by the nose by [bureaucrats in the] planning department and the city attorney.” [emphasis mine]


Density bonus is targeted by lawsuit

By Kerry Cavanaugh, Staff writer
April 8, 2008

“Taking the advice of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s top planning appointee, a Valley Village woman has sued the city over a new rule that allows developers to build taller, bulkier buildings if they include affordable units.

Last month, city Planning Commission President Jane Ellison Usher sent an e-mail to community groups, criticizing the recently adopted density bonus ordinance and laying out a legal strategy to challenge it.

On Thursday, homeowner Sandy Hubbard filed the first lawsuit using Usher’s suggestions. A group of home and business owners is also considering a lawsuit.

Usher and community groups have complained that the density bonus ordinance allows large, bulky developments with fewer parking spaces on residential streets that have no transit or jobs nearby.

Hubbard’s attorney, Noel Weiss, called the density bonus rule “political malpractice” and said he hopes to force the Planning Department to rewrite the law.

“They need to redo the ordinance in a way that is lawful and meets the needs of the community and middle class in an honest and realistic way,” Weiss said.

City leaders argue that a state law enacted in 2005 requires the city to grant density bonuses. The legislation was deigned to make it easier for developers to build affordable housing.

Councilman Ed Reyes, who heads the council’s planning committee, spent several years developing the density bonus ordinance and said it’s a way to promote the creation of much-needed affordable housing in all neighborhoods.

Faced with a legal fight now, Reyes said he would like to see density bonus opponents propose other ways to build more housing for the poor and middle class.

“If they can come up with alternatives to generate more affordable housing throughout the city…that would be a multiple benefit.”


Political Malpractice

Editorial by the Daily News regarding the Density Bonus Lawsuit filed by Noel Weiss.
April 9, 2008

“One of the important checks to weed out incompetent doctors, and keep them from injuring or killing their patients, is the prospect of a legitimate malpractice lawsuit.

For that reason, it’s telling that the lawyer [Noel Weiss] who filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Valley Village woman against the city of Los Angeles referred to the city’s density bonus as “political malpractice.”

And Why Not?

If malpractice lawsuits can help protect the public from harmful medical incompetence, why not a lawsuit that can protect the public from harmful political incompetence?

Sadly, suing City Hall often seems the only way that Angelenos can get their leader’s attention.

This suit, by Angeleno Sandy Hubbard, sprang from a recommendation by none other than L.A. Planning Commission President Jane Ellison Usher, who recommended that someone challenge the policy in court.

It was, to be sure, unusual for a top city official to publicly acknowledge the futility of trying to appeal to elected officials’ sense of civic duty. But to her credit, Usher frankly advised residents to sue before this new building rule wrecks neighborhoods.

This so-called “density bonus” that the Los Angeles City Council adopted earlier this year – and which Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has endorsed in spirit – allows developers to run roughshod over the few city planning restrictions that could protect the public from bad development.

If developers include “affordable housing” in their project – a questionable prospect considering the volatility of the real-estate market at the moment – they are allowed to break rules, such as rules on providing parking, and to construct towering buildings that don’t fit into a neighborhood.

This is not about the “smart growth” that the council, the mayor and developers like to talk about. It’s about serving the needs of the special interests – developers who line campaign coffers – while seeming to serve the needs of unfortunate Angelenos, thus appeasing community and housing advocates.

City officials can encourage affordable housing in Los Angeles without selling out already-stressed neighborhoods and making current residents pay the costs. So far, officials have just chosen not to.

Resorting to the courts is never ideal. But in this case, it seems that it’s the only way the city’s leaders will do the right thing for their constituents.”


Condo Project Ousting Renters: Longtime Tenants Facing Eviction

By Kerry Cavanaugh
April 30, 2006

Property owners are protected by a state law called the Ellis Act that gives landlords the right to evict residents if they plan to get out of the rental business. Landlords have increasingly used the Ellis Act to evict residents before developing units into condos.

The city cannot stop landlords from getting out of the rental business, but it can add rules to ensure landlords aren’t evicting rent-control tenants to replace them with higher-paying renters.

Other cities, such as San Francisco and San Diego, have set limits on the number of apartments that can be removed from the rental market for condominiums or proposed requiring developers to include affordable housing in their new condo projects.

The City Attorney’s Office has written an ordinance that would allow tenants and the city to sue landlords who remove a rent-controlled unit from the market and re-rent it within two years.

And if an owner demolishes a rent-controlled building and builds a new apartment building, the new building will also be subject to rent-control law.

The City Council is now considering those changes.

But activists believe the city can do more.

Attorney Noel Weiss is advising residents in Valley Village and at Lincoln Place in Venice, where 795 rent-controlled units are being emptied by eviction to make way for market-rate housing. He believes developers will think twice about demolishing rent-controlled buildings if the City Council makes it harder and more expensive.

Weiss wants Greuel to introduce a temporary city order that refuses demolition and construction permits to developers unless they offer a 10 percent discount and financing to help tenants buy into the new condo building and pay tenants $13,500 each for relocation.

“These people who have been protected by rent control need to be helped to transition to the real-world market now,” Weiss said. “Developers are profiting mightily. We want you to share the profits with the people who are impacted by your business.”

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