City Council President Nury Martinez introduced three motions Wednesday that seek to address potential corruption in government review of development projects and to increase transparency in the process.
“Restoring the public’s trust in our city government is job one, and we are taking steps today to close loopholes that corrupt individuals might use to their advantage,” Martinez said. “These action items will help us increase transparency, create more uniformed and fair development standards as well as build the city’s affordable housing that we desperately need. The one thing we cannot legislate is personal accountability and moral fortitude.”
Martinez said her actions come on the heels of a federal corruption probe of suspended City Councilman Jose Huizar, who has been charged by federal authorities with using his position of power to solicit bribes and favors from developers with projects in downtown Los Angeles.
Huizar had pleaded not guilty to the charges.
One of the motions would send multimillion-dollar projects directly to the City Council, instead of its Planning and Land Use Management Committee.
Another motion asks the city’s Planning Department and staff to create specific protocols and standards for seeking entitlements above what is allowed within current zoning regulations, and ensure all contact between developers and Council offices are transparent and part of the public record.
A third motion calls for a ballot measure that would update the city’s zoning codes and dramatically limit entitlements developers routinely seek beyond what a project is allowed under current, and often outdated, zoning codes.
Martinez said the measure would also help the city build more affordable housing and reach state mandates requiring the building of new housing in the region.