Article

What Do Community Benefits Agreements Deliver? Evidence From Los Angeles

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Abstract

Problem, research strategy, and findings: Advocates of community benefits agreements (CBAs) between coalitions of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and real estate developers contend that CBAs promote public accountability and responsiveness to community concerns. This study assesses the Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment District (LASED) CBA, which scholars and practitioners have described as a model for such agreements. I assess compliance with key provisions of the agreement related to jobs, affordable housing, and parks and recreational facilities. I also assess whether compliance with these provisions has yielded benefits beyond those required under existing laws and regulations. I find that the parties to the agreement have technically complied with many, although arguably not all, of its provisions. But some of the provisions in the CBA are not legally binding, other provisions overlap with requirements that the developer would have had to satisfy even without the CBA, and some reports required by the CBA are unavailable. As a result, outcomes such as living wage jobs and funding for affordable housing units are not clearly attributable to the CBA; other outcomes, such as targeted hiring, are unknown due to a lack of relevant information. Takeaway for practice: Although CBAs may not fulfill all the claims that advocates make on their behalf, they can play important roles in community development by directing public and private spending to underserved neighborhoods. But collecting and verifying the relevant data may be challenging, even if reporting requirements are clearly spelled out in the CBA. As the complexity of a CBA increases, so do the challenges of assessing outcomes and assigning responsibility for those outcomes.

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... Why do cities choose to negotiate zoning and for what projects? Second, although planning scholars have established a substantial body of knowledge on the process of land use negotiation (Susskind & Cruikshank, 1987;Forester, 1989), evaluating the negotiated outputs has received less attention, with a few exceptions (Marantz, 2015;Sagalyn, 1997Sagalyn, , 2007. Whether local governments are better off negotiating project-specific zoning or adhering to zoning approaches based on the rule of law is a question that requires answering. ...
... Studies on Community Benefits Agreements (CBAs), in the U.S., offer valuable insights into the factors that lead to successful bargaining process and outcome (Gross, 2007;Marantz, 2015; 5 Arriving at a consensus that development agreement should be the preferred way to carry out the negotiated deals (Green, 2004;Callies & Tappendorf, 2001), although many states have come to accept certain types of conditional/contract zoning. 6 California, Washingtonplan states; Illinois, Massachusetts, New Yorknon-plan states (Curtin & Witten, 2005, p.333-335) Been, 2010;Wolf-powers, 2010), although CBAs are contracts primarily between developers and community organizations, as opposed to local governments. ...
... She points out, further, that although CBAs are contracts between community organizations and developers, the public sector becomes an implicit, yet critical, party to CBAs and often plays significant roles in its successful implementation. Marantz (2015), on the issue of the scope of the negotiated benefits, provides empirical evidence that CBAs may not deliver benefit packages above and beyond what's required by local exaction policies and regulations. ...
Thesis
The first paper surveys the current state of zoning practices; I investigate the experiences of Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle to explore if, when, and how they have negotiated zoning on a project-by-project basis. The second paper identifies the gains and losses of using a negotiation-based approach vis-a-vis zoning that closely adheres to the rule of law. I compare the experience of Boston and Seattle in more detail to explore this subject. The third and final paper delves deep into the micro-politics of negotiations for the largest private development in Boston to expose who actually influenced the negotiations and whether public participation mattered in the process. I find that all five cities employed negotiation-based zoning approach for large-scale developments, but their attitude towards negotiation varied widely city-by-city and even within a city.
... A CBA is an agreement between the developer of a new real estate project, and a community organization or a coalition of groups representing the interests of those who will be impacted by development. Neighborhood associations, faith-based groups, unions, and environmental organizations might execute such agreements with developers, as community representatives (Marantz, 2015;Tulane Law School Public Law Center, 2011;Wolf-Powers, 2010). In some cases, the municipality or other governmental units may join as an additional party in the agreement or incorporate the CBA into a development agreement between the city and the developer. ...
... Moreover, the term "community benefits agreement" is used differently by various sources. For example, the expansion at the Los Angeles Airport (LAX) is often referred to as involving a CBA even though the developer was a public agency, not a private entity, 1 and the Yankee Stadium agreement is not considered to be a true CBA by some because there was no formal community participation (Marantz, 2015). ...
... When the original Staples Center was opened in Los Angeles in 1999, the residents of the neighboring community were subjected to increased crime, congestion, and reckless automobile driving, posing additional threats to a neighborhood and children who already lacked sufficient public parks (Marcello, 2007). As a result, when developers sought a $1 billion expansion of the Center, adding a hotel, arenas, shops, and apartments, organizers associated with community groups and labor unions sought to ensure that the project would also benefit local residents and negative externalities would be limited (Marantz, 2015). The coalition that joined together included 29 organizations, two labor unions, and some 300 individuals living close by. ...
... The fascination over the phenomenon has continued to date, with updated accounts on urban renewal (Hyra 2012;Klemek 2012), public/private developments (Friedman 2016;Goldstein and Mele 2016), and waterfront redevelopment (Avni and Teschner 2019;Fisher and Benson 2004). More recently, studies on megaprojects and entertainment centers (Erie, Kogan and MacKenzie 2010;Orueta and Fainstein 2008;Rosentraub 2009) and community benefits agreements (Marantz 2015;Saito 2019;Wolf-Powers 2010) have emerged. ...
... Despite their lack of explicit theory base, I find that these case studies advance several important analytical frameworks for explaining the processes and outcomes of UDPs. For example, studies analyzing the contractual terms of UDPs (Marantz 2015) or property rights regime (Haila 2008) explain the observed outcomes through legal-institutional lens. Some analyze the broader structural conditions without subscribing to the theoretical predispositions of the critical Analyze the moments of tensions in UDP decision-making and how different stakeholders take or lose control of the public discourse in such moments ...
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... As part of the redevelopment project, a community benefits agreement (CBA) was reached between the private developer and a coalition of community-based organizations, environmental groups, and labor unions. The agreement stipulated that the redevelopment must provide local jobs, affordable housing, and funds for nearby recreational facilities (Marantz, 2015). ...
... available to ensure community input on how to spend these funds, but the Department of Parks still had to find city-owned land in a highly-developed part of Los Angeles (Marantz, 2015). Cigarette smoking was allowed, walking and sitting through and in the plaza was permitted, but as soon as the sound of a skateboard hit the ground, security was ready to shoe-away the skaters. ...
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Thesis
Today, street skateboarding has transformed from a subcultural pursuit to a mainstream urban endeavor, as more than 50 million people partake in the activity globally. Cities respond to skateboarders' spatial movements by imposing contradictory legal prescriptions and physical design barriers in public and private spaces. The point of departure for this thesis is that planning reactions provide subpar public skate spaces while imposing regulations that ban/stigmatize skateboarding outside of these sanctioned skate spots. A sizable population is denied their full right to the city, proscribed from partaking in the everyday organicism of democratic spatial experience and life. These exclusionary planning/design practices/regulations warranted further investigation. The purpose of this research was to undertake an ethno-geographic inquiry into skateboarders' performances and transgressions in two public skateparks and two privately-owned plazas in Los Angeles, CA. My research questions were: What can planners learn from a ethno-geographic analysis of a subculture in space? Are current planning practices and engagement strategies allowing skateboarders to have citizen control and dictate how spaces are designed in order to provide quality, designated skate/recreational facilities? What planning tools and policies can provide multi-use, just spaces that celebrate diverse, cultural consumption and the social production of space? I conducted mixed methods research (i.e., field observations, interviews, photography, behavior mapping) following an actor-network theory (ANT) framework, rejecting the separation of humans/nonhumans, embracing materiality, and seeing space as a heterogeneous assemblage of constituent fluid realities/forms. I analyzed my findings through Lefebvre's trialectic conceptualization of space. Skateboarders' artistic spatial performances provide spectacles, reinterpret the functionality of objects, and transgress planned regulatory/physical boundaries. Ubiquitous handrails, stairs, and ledges as well as challenges posed by exclusionary spaces motivate skaters to blur traditional binaries of appropriate/inappropriate users in public/private spaces. Motivated by Sandercock's (2004) challenge for more imaginative planning and Beauregard's (2003) call to incorporate diverse storytelling and discursive democracy to build bases for collective planning action, I encourage planners to expand their politics, be creatively audacious, and adopt therapeutic tools for planning in 21st-century cities. I recommend one strategic occupation tactic for skateboarders to performatively represent themselves and engender planning responses. Using traditional planning tools (i.e., zoning incentives, engagement workshops, programming), I recommend four policies for cities to plan, design, and celebrate equitable, vibrant spaces where diverse publics can produce social space, create spectacles for cultural consumption, and represent themselves as legitimate actors in everyday urban life.
... For example, labor unions threaten CEQA litigation in order to gain concessions regarding the hiring rules and employment practices of developers and tenants (Dillon 2016). Groups representing low-income communities waive CEQA claims in exchange for guarantees concerning jobs, housing, and funding for community organizations (Marantz 2015). Homeowners groups in affluent communities have also used the threat of CEQA litigation to obtain unrestricted payments from developers (Brasuell 2013). ...
... By waiving legal claims, such groups may be able to Marantz & Ulibarri 2019 Journal of Planning Education and Research -19 -extract concessions that have little to do with environmental quality, such as guarantees related to jobs, housing, and funding for community organizations. But it is unclear whether the resulting community benefits agreements yield concrete benefits for low-income communities (Marantz 2015). Understanding the magnitude of benefits received is important, because many scholars have asserted that environmental impact assessment requirements for infill residential development have contributed to high housing costs in states such as California and New York, by providing opportunities for opponents of multi-family housing to delay or derail such projects (Monkkonen 2016;Sterk 1992). ...
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Article
Government transparency is generally uncontroversial, intuitively appealing, and held to be a cornerstone of planning practice. This article systematically reviews planning scholars’ treatment of government transparency in the twenty-first century. We find that transparency frequently underpins key theoretical constructs and policy prescriptions, but scholars rarely define or operationalize the term and generally treat it as unproblematic. We then identify how transparency requirements can conflict with the goals of accountability, participation, and inclusion, and we conclude by discussing the implications for assessing the role of transparency in social change.
... However, the CBA is still in its early years of implementation, and it remains to be seen whether large scale efforts to include underrepresented groups will present economic opportunity. Being able to evaluate the effectiveness of the CBA, and whether the BCIB will be able to uphold enforcement accordingly, is a key challenge in this project, and other CBAs, as stated in the literature (Gross, 2008;Gross et al., 2002;Marantz, 2015;Salkin & Lavine, 2008). ...
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British Columbia’s Community Benefits Agreement that aims to provide jobs in the construction trades for underrepresented groups serves as a case to explore the successes and barriers to distributing the benefits of urban development to Indigenous groups towards the goal of economic justice. Through a content analysis of stakeholder interviews and documents about the agreement, we found that, while there is optimism that the CBA may help advance public discourse on economic justice for Indigenous Peoples, there are significant barriers that have gone unaddressed in this and other labor agreements due to a lack of community engagement. These include lack of transportation, continued marginalization of Indigenous workers into unskilled labor, and the reinforcement of dependence on non-Indigenous economies.
... Las dificultades en relación con estos acuerdos se encuentran en la etapa de implementación, por cuanto su complejidad técnica dificulta prever los distintos aspectos de esta fase(Marantz, 2015), la que además requiere de una estructura local preparada para alojar acuerdos de largo plazo (De Barbieri, 2016).4. Mecanismos alternativos de solución de conflictosLos mecanismos alternativos (o adecuados) de solución de conflictos (MASC) emergen como una alternativa a la vía jurisdiccional y engloban una diversidad de métodos que se caracterizan principalmente porque en ellos la solución -en mayor o menor medida-proviene de las partes del conflicto.12 ...
... The opportunities for improvement are that some of the CBA requirements overlap with other contracts and may not be legally enforceable, and the living wage reports should be made available to the public to ensure accountability (Marantz, 2015, p. 3). However, this CBA demonstrates how community groups can ensure that developers enforce obligations, and shows how community groups can use a CBA to direct public funding to under-served neighbourhoods (Marantz, 2015). These partnerships bypass the traditional planning land use procedure and do not involve significant public participation (Musil, 2012, p. 841). ...
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Thesis
Community Benefit Agreements (CBAs) are a relatively new land-use planning tool and there has been little evidence of incidence or success in benefiting communities who are a part of these agreements. This Major Paper examines how governmental relations, public policy, and socioeconomic status play a role in creating inequities within communities. This essay investigates how community benefits agreements can be used as a tool to redistribute wealth and back into local economies.
... There exists a vast body of literature on the efficacy, legality, and impacts of schedule-based land use exaction programs, including studies on incentive zoning, impact fees, and inclusionary zoning. However, few empirical studies have been conducted on public benefit exactions that are negotiated on a case-by-case basis, with some exceptions (Been, 2010;Marantz, 2015;Sagalyn, 1997Sagalyn, , 2007Wolf-Powers, 2010). ...
Article
Problem, research strategy, and findings: Local governments can secure valuable public benefits from private real estate development through negotiations or schedule-based exaction programs. Nevertheless, few studies have empirically examined their relative strengths and weaknesses. In this study I compare the experiences of two major U.S. cities, Boston (MA)—where exactions are heavily negotiated—and Seattle (WA)—where public benefits are secured through statutory exaction programs with pre-established schedules. I analyze the entitlement processes of large-scale projects approved in 2016 in each city and show that both approaches have their own strengths and weaknesses. Boston was able to extract substantial public benefit packages, but uncertainty was high, and projects were subject to inconsistent decision making at times. By contrast, Seattle’s schedule-based approach was found to be fair and certain while yielding moderate public benefit packages. Despite the commonly held belief that negotiating land uses on a project-by-project basis is associated with significant process delays and a lack of transparency, the case of Boston offers a different perspective. Boston’s projects were approved in a shorter time frame and were subjected to more public meetings per project than Seattle’s. Takeaway for practice: U.S. local governments are likely to rely on both negotiations and schedules to extract public benefits from real estate developments. Though schedule-based exaction programs ensure overall fairness and certainty of the entitlement process, project-by-project negotiation could potentially yield significant public benefits. However, uncertainty can be high in a negotiation-heavy system, which may disadvantage small-scale developers. Moreover, negotiations may open up room for poor and inconsistent decision making, which must be mitigated by establishing clear policies and standards to guide the negotiation process. Both negotiation and schedule-based processes can be designed to ensure a transparent process with multiple public participation opportunities.
... Progressives argue that government regulation can stave off the worst excesses of unbridled capitalism by regulating the private sector and redistributing wealth from corporations and elites to the middle or lower-income classes (Nugent 2010). Among liberal progressives, this includes adopting antitrust regulations and income taxes in the early 1900s, and more recently, linkage fees, community-benefits agreements, development bonuses, and inclusionary zoning (Marantz 2015;Stein 2018). Radical progressives adopted rent control, requirements for affirmative action for public-sector employees and city-funded private contractors, and protections for lowincome families and neighborhoods. ...
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Planners and activists are identifying ways to promote equitable adaptation that counter climate injustice. This article explores how this progressive turn in adaptation compares with past progressive movements. I argue urban progressive politics have cyclical tendencies toward liberalism and radicalism, and that the evolution of planning for climate adaptation mirrors these waves. I review 10 recent guidance documents that recommend strategies for enhancing racially just adaptation. I then assess how these recommendations advance the three pillars of progressive reforms: redistribution, expansion of democracy, and structural reform. I find that proposed strategies for racially just resilience are a welcome advance from mainstream, unjust resilience planning. However, history suggests that the focus on procedural justice for oppressed communities seen in recent discourse may limit their scope and durability. I conclude with suggestions for areas where climate activists and scholars can expand given emerging political space for ambitious thinking under a Green New Deal.
... Many public sector projects focus on development to promote commercial enterprises that have fewer innate public benefits associated with them. Examples from the literature include projects focusing on: sports arena and stadium construction, the development of tourism and entertainment districts, the expansion of hotels and convention centers, and related mixed-used development (Baxamusa, 2008;Lowe and Morton, 2008;Sze, 2009;Wolf-Powers, 2010;MacDonald, 2011;Saito and Truong, 2014;Marantz, 2015). Projects that are largely commercial in nature attract greater public scrutiny, which prompt coalitions of 233 Community benefits agreements community groups to push for negotiated CBAs and linkages that redistribute some of the benefits of private development in a more equitable manner. ...
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Article
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Technical Report
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Chapter
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The emergence of Community Economic Development (CED) as a distinct field of cause lawyering highlights the complexities of community mobilization in the post-regulatory state. Defined by a set of social policies and grassroots practices that promote neighborhood revitalization, CED is associated with a transactional model of cause lawyering focused on negotiating deals between community-based nonprofit organizations, public funders, and private investors. Whereas cause lawyers have traditionally sought to mobilize claims of legal rights to advance systemic reform, CED lawyers attempt to mobilize community participation to change local economic circumstances through the creation of innovative institutional structures. However, CED does not neatly remove barriers to mobilization; rather it presents a different set of opportunities and constraints. For instance, CED is not connected with broad-based social movements. Instead, it is parochial, seeking to preserve community boundaries and increase community control of resources. Moreover, while CED establishes legal mechanisms for ongoing community participation in local governance, it does so through the design of partnerships with government and business elites that create disincentives for political confrontation seeking reforms in state practice or increased resources from private sector institutions. For this reason, the modus operandi of CED practice is not one of protest and disruption. Nor is CED designed to challenge the existing rules of the game; rather, it seeks to build partnerships and distribute resources within the framework of the law as constituted. As a technique of institutional design that extends contractual relationships between the community, the market, and the state, CED therefore fosters a version of mobilization that tends to de-emphasize adversarial organizing in favor of collaboration with business and governmental partners. At the grassroots level, however, there are important recent examples of community mobilization within CED that depart from the collaborative model. In particular, the emergence of an "accountable development" movement in Los Angeles - where community-labor coalitions have pressured publicly subsidized developers into a series of agreements to provide benefits to low-income communities - has focused attention on more confrontational forms of collective action, flowing out of the traditions of community organizing and social movement activism. This essay uses the advent of accountable development to re-examine the relationship between cause lawyering and community mobilization. It begins by describing the emergence of CED as a nonadversarial cause lawyering model, situating it within the context of the reaction against the social movements and legal rights strategies of the 1960s and 1970s. Drawing upon insights from social movement theory, it then analyzes the constraints that collaborative CED can impose on collective action by low-income communities. A case study of accountable development in Los Angeles follows, revealing an alternative approach to CED that mobilizes adversarial organizing to extract developer concessions and governmental reforms. It concludes with an analysis of cause lawyering in the accountable development context, suggesting continuities with conventional CED practice, while highlighting the ways in which the more confrontational approach of accountable development reshapes the lawyering role.
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Modern American land use regulation is characterized by a movement away from traditional command-and-control zoning toward the pervasive use of flexible, bilaterally negotiated approaches. Advocates of this agreement-based regulatory trend have not sufficiently considered the impact of applying such potentially ad hoc approaches on comprehensive planning and public norms of democratic decision-making, community engagement, and local and regional fairness. This Installment challenges this trend's legitimacy, arguing that though agreement-based land use regulation can be effective in achieving deliberative, balanced and efficient decisions, existing approaches actually hinder such decision-making and facilitate corruption by removing key aspects of land use decisions from the public sphere.
Book
Like Carey McWilliams, Reyner Banham, and Mike Davis, Ed Soja fights against the distorted imagery so adhesively attached to Los Angeles, and he uses Los Angeles to rekindle our urban imagination about major issues affecting the world today. Here is a Los Angeles worthy to be learned from, an exemplary city region consisting of a network of at least forty cities with populations greater than one hundred thousand. This polycentric regional city, once the least dense American metropolis, is now the country’s densest urbanized area. Traditionally seen as one of the most business-centered environments, Los Angeles has become a major focus for the American labor movement and a generator of some of the most innovative urban social movements in the country. A model in the past of unrooted “placeless” urbanism, it has become a hive of neighborhood organizations practicing sophisticated forms of location-based politics. Once the most WASP metropolis in the country, Los Angeles is now among the most culturally heterogeneous cities the world has ever seen. Soja takes us through his evolving interpretations of this urban metamorphosis, combining varying doses of radical political economy, critical postmodernism, comparative urban studies, and the new regionalism. He reaches the confident conclusion that over the past thirty years, Los Angeles has been experiencing a profound deconstruction and reconstitution, a breakdown of the familiar model of metropolitan growth and the formation of a new mode of regional urbanization, which is spreading to many other megacities in the world. Soja’s highly personal and assertively spatial look at Los Angeles inspires, informs, challenges, and entertains.
Article
Fighting the distorted imagery attached to Los Angeles, Edward Soja uses LA to rekindle our urban imagination about major issues affecting the world today. Here is a Los Angeles worthy to be learned from, an exemplary city region consisting of a network of at least forty cities with populations greater than 100,000. This polycentric regional city, once the least dense American metropolis, is now the country’s densest urbanized area. Traditionally seen as one of the most business-centered environments, Los Angeles has become a major focus for the American labor movement and generator of some of the most innovative urban social movements in the country. A model in the past of unrooted “placeless” urbanism, it has become a hive of neighborhood organizations practicing sophisticated forms of location-based politics. Once the most WASP metropolis in the country, LA is now among the most culturally heterogeneous cities the world has ever seen. Soja takes us through his evolving interpretations of this urban metamorphosis, combining varying doses of radical political economy, critical postmodernism, comparative urban studies, and the new regionalism. He reaches the confident conclusion that over the past thirty years Los Angeles has been experiencing a profound deconstruction and reconstitution, a breakdown of the familiar model of metropolitan growth and the formation of a new mode of regional urbanization that is spreading to many other megacity regions in the world. Soja’s highly personal and assertively spatial look at Los Angeles inspires, informs, challenges, and entertains.
Chapter
The high cost of housing has become a permanent financial hardship for people who earn low wages. The other chapters in this book rightfully stress the importance of increasing employment opportunities and improving human capital to increase earned income. Unfortunately, the gains are often marginal, and the small economic advancements can be eroded by escalating housing cost. Unless they receive subsidies, poor and working poor are paying 30 to more than 50 percent of their income on rent. They are primarily people of color, women, single parents, and immigrants who fill the increasing need for low-wage labor in restaurants and retail stores, as garment workers, janitors and day laborers. Many earn below the national minimum wage of $5.15 nationwide and fall below the federal poverty level, which is $18,884 for a family of four. Since 1994, activists' struggle to raise the minimum wage has also led to a higher visibility of the housing crisis. A full-time minimum-wage job does not pay for housing in any state in the United States. For a few who happen to reside in the right jurisdiction and work for local government or their contractors, living wage ordinances improve the minimum to an average of about $9.00 (Fairris and Reich 2005).1 Despite this higher wage, the living wage can still be two to three times below the housing wage that "a household must earn in order to afford a rental unit of a range of sizes at the area's Fair Market Rent (fmr), based on the generally accepted affordability standard of paying no more than 30 percent of income for housing costs" (nlihc 2003).2 Fewer Section 8 housing subsidies are available to low-income families, elderly, and disabled persons. Section 8 vouchers allow recipients to rent from any property owner participating in the program at a rate consistent with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (hud) af-fordability guidelines. Tenants using Section 8 paid 30 percent of their income for housing in 2004, but in 2005 the program raised this to 40 percent. The situation becomes even grimmer when an economically disad-vantaged community faces developers with deep pockets who can acquire property, bulldoze affordable housing stock, and implement big plans. More tenants will compete for fewer units. Across the nation, grassroots "Davids" are using community benefits agreements (cbas) in order to negotiate with the developer "Goliaths" and gain a community voice at the negotiating table. In return for community support, developers are signing cbas that include a variety of provisions such as affordable housing, living wage jobs, card check neutrality permitting organizing in new developments (e.g., at hotels, airports, and sports and entertainment districts), local hiring or first-source hiring programs, on-site job training, parks, child care, youth centers, parking, environmental mitigation, neighborhood improvement funds, and revolving loan funds. The Figueroa Corridor Coalition for Economic Justice (ficcej)-which includes unions, religious groups, community-based organizations, citywide organizations, environmentalists, students, health groups, block groups, and worker centers-negotiated the 2001 "Staples Agreement" with the developers of a large sports arena in the City of Los Angeles.3 This cba is considered to be the first full-fledged comprehensive agreement (lax Coalition for Economic, Environmental, and Educational Justice n.d.) and is an excellent example of combining housing and economic development.4 Impressive as it is, the cba is only one tool in an overall ficcej strategy that combines changing policies, negotiating agreements, and developing alternative institutions. The ficcej vision includes planning inclusively, over time, and with a long-term commitment to the neighborhood. By using a variety of popular education tools, the coalition aims for full disclosure of information and to build leadership capacity among people in the commu-nity.5 The result is that people who would otherwise have become victims of an unchallenged makeover of the community are more likely to remain in the neighborhood. Second, community involvement is more likely to be ongoing when residents feel empowered and able to question other development decisions affecting them. This chapter evaluates the ficcej's use of the cba as part of a comprehensive strategy, using multiple research methods and drawing from historical information, census data, and other public documents. Background information includes material from community development corporations, government agencies, and citywide and local technical assistance organizations. A review of the secondary literature cast a wide net and drew from histories of Los Angeles, labor studies, community development, and community organizing (e.g., Alinsky 1946; Chambers and Cowan 2003; Ferguson and Dickens 1999; Keil 1998; Pastor Jr., Dreier, Grigsby, and Lopez-Garza 2000; Gittel and Vidal 1998; Shaw 2001; and Stoecker 2003). The 2004 ucla Community Scholars class produced a report that provided background information (Aparicio et al. 2004).6 The nonprofit Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (saje), the convener and home to the ficcej, provided research reports and staff offered insight from their organizing activities over the course of several years. In-depth interviews were held with saje founder and Executive Director Gilda Haas. I begin by describing the urgent reasons for linking housing to economic development in situations where poor tenants are concentrated. The second section of this chapter briefly summarizes ways in which grassroots groups have typically entered the housing and economic development field. In Los Angeles, nonprofit community development corporations (CDCS) stepped in to fill the vacuum left when the public sector reduced funding and withdrew from subsidizing housing and the private sector walked away from many poor communities. The third section reviews the history of organizing that led to the formation of the FCCEJ coalition. The fourth section defines the CBA and reviews its components. Finally, I present the Staples Agreement and analyze the reasons why it is important that the CBA be only one tool among many.
Article
A community coalition negotiated a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) with a developer in 2001 for the L.A. Live sports and entertainment district, the largest project in contemporary downtown Los Angeles. The CBA included provisions for affordable housing, local hiring, and living wage jobs. It is a major change in the history of large development projects that result in the destruction of neighborhoods and displacement of residents, with few, if any, benefits going to the residents experiencing the negative effects of these projects. The L.A. Live CBA is significant because it is recognized as the nation's first comprehensive CBA and has served as a model for CBAs across the country. This is the first study to provide an in-depth examination of the results of the CBA's major provisions regarding affordable housing and local hiring. To explain why CBAs emerged in Los Angeles at this time, we use regime theory's emphasis on shifts in the relative strength and interests of groups influencing development policies. We suggest that the fragmentation of growth interests in the 1990s, and the growing influence of unions, community organizations, and the Latino population, created a political opportunity for the establishment of the L.A. Live CBA.
Article
Julian Gross is the director of the Community Benefi ts Law Center (CBLC), which is the legal program of the Partnership for Working Families. He has represented coali-tions of community-based organizations in negotiation of numerous CBAs. The CBLC represents community-based organizations in such negotiations and provides legal support to advocates around the country on related issues. The Partnership for Work-ing Families is a national network of community-based organizations that develop and promote strategies to build community power and reshape regional economies to benefi t workers and neighborhoods.
Article
Large urban development projects highlight the vast disparities in the economic and political resources controlled by developers as compared to low‐income residents. Studies have documented the negative impact of such projects on neighborhoods, such as the displacement of residents. This case study of the largest development project in contemporary downtown Los Angeles analyzes how a community coalition that included low‐income residents successfully negotiated with the developer the first comprehensive Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) in the nation. This 2001 CBA addressed the interests of low‐income residents and now serves as a model for major CBAs across the country. This article draws upon regime theory and urban political economy in examining the resources, organizations, and coalition composition behind the CBA. It suggests that CBAs represent a significant increase in political power for low‐income residents when they ally with service sector unions concerned about permanent, living wage jobs. Low‐income residents drew upon neighborhood and immigrant networks to organize even non‐citizens. The L.A. coalition could also take advantage of the political opportunity provided by the fragmentation of growth interests and the strong real estate market in the city.
Article
Federal cutbacks in urban aid in the 1970s forced cities to finance redevelopment projects with their own resources. Freed from federal rules and regulations, cities responded with invention, devising new financial strategies that proved to be powerful alternatives to direct federal aid. The process that fostered the solutions—public-private dealmaking—transformed the nature of city development practice, raising with it troublesome issues of accountability. This article describes these financial strategies and the nature of public subsidies in the deals. Then it argues that the accountability problem poses a policy dilemma that makes it a hard target of reform.
Article
The opportunity to develop a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) typically arises when a developer announces plans to construct a major project, such as a stadium or a theater complex. Local residents and business owners may often welcome these projects, but they may also have legitimate fears, such as: Will the project displace local residents and local businesses, either physically or through gentrification? Will it cause traffic problems and generate noise, pollution, or other nuisances? Will the economic development benefits espoused by the developer actually create jobs that pay a living wage and offer decent benefits for residents in the neighborhood or in a larger geographic community? Will the developer seek and/or welcome public participation in the project design and review of environmental and community impacts? In short, will the developer and the resulting built project be good neighbors? This article offers an analysis of legal and policy issues surrounding the development, implementation and enforcement of CBAs. Part II offers a general explanation of CBAs - what they are, what types of benefits they commonly include, and how they are negotiated and finalized. Part III briefly discusses the reasons behind the popularity of CBAs, and explains how they have been tied to smart growth and other social justice issues. Part IV reviews select CBAs from various cities, offering examples of successful models as well as discussing more controversial efforts. These case studies not only assist in understanding the dynamics of the CBA negotiating process, but also they illustrate some of the practical difficulties associated with the CBA model. These problems are discussed in greater depth in Part V. Part VI presents the legal issues surrounding CBAs, including questions of enforceability and validity. Finally, Part VII offers a checklist of items to be considered by developers, communities and municipalities before and during negotiations.
Article
Although the living wage movement has been instrumental in the passage of almost 120 ordinances in its ten-year history, little attention has been paid to the implementation of the laws. This article analyzes the factors that can affect the success of living wage implementation. The results suggest that implementation is weaker when left solely to city administrators and more expansive when living wage advocates participate in the process. For example, involvement of advocates is more likely to lead to workplace monitoring, stricter procedures for employers to obtain a waiver, and evaluation of outcomes.
Article
The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor has attracted national attention as a focal point of the new American labor movement. The emergence of Los Angeles as a union city has been an impressive accomplishment, especially in light of its antiunion history. The growth of labor power in the political arena, the organizing of new workers, the advancement of progressive public policy, and the forging of labor– community alliances, especially with immigrant communities, have all contributed to Los Angeles’ new labor power. Power building in Los Angeles combines the sophisticated political work of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and the economic development activism fostered by its allies.
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