The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Housing the Homeless, or Bankrolling the Developers?

Aug 1, 2016

The Los Angeles City Council put a proposal on the November ballot to hike real estate taxes in order supposedly to construct housing for the homeless.

Of course, easing the homeless crisis might sound great. But that’s not what this ballot initiative is all about. It’s about helping the big real estate developers and landlords of luxury apartments, who have been trying to push thousands of homeless people far, far away from their properties for a long time.

If the L.A. politicians really wanted to deal with homelessness, they would assure that there was a plentiful supply of affordable housing. But they are doing the exact opposite. They have bent over backwards to aid the developers and landlords who are destroying thousands of units of affordable housing–by re-zoning properties and giving them tax breaks. At the same time, Metro, the public transit agency, has provided valuable properties in sweetheart deals with developers for the construction of luxury housing and commercial centers–that pushes rents up even more.

By destroying affordable housing and driving up rents, the politicians, landlords and developers have driven thousands out of their homes and apartments, making the homeless crisis worse month by month.

So where will the city government supposedly “house” the homeless, if the ballot measure passes? Where the land is cheapest–way out in the desert, on toxic waste dumps, or next to busy polluting freeways.

And the politicians want ordinary people to pay for this with higher taxes on their homes, while renters get hit with higher rents, as landlords pass through the tax increases.

What a scam!