In Los Angeles, runaway luxury development was displacing thousands of residents from their longtime neighborhoods and fueling citywide gentrification and homeless crises. AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s patients and employees were directly impacted. In 2016, AHF founded, in response, Coalition to Preserve L.A.
Coalition to Preserve L.A. (CPLA), an advocacy division of Health Housing Foundation by AHF, works with neighborhood leaders across Los Angeles. It aggressively pursues an agenda of more transparent government, resident-oriented land-use policy, equitable housing, and environmental stewardship of the city through advocacy and empowering the community.
CPLA’s first major project was the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, a citywide ballot measure known as Measure S. The campaign for the 2017 initiative shined a much-needed spotlight on City Hall’s backroom deals with powerful developers and their high-priced lobbyists; the soft corruption created by developers’ campaign contributions to city politicians to get their luxury mega-projects approved; politicians ignoring existing land-use rules that protected communities from over-development and gentrification; and a planning and land-use approval system that clearly favored developers and their profits over residents and their needs for an affordable and livable L.A.
While voters did not approve Measure S, the campaign reinvigorated community groups and generated an important debate about development, housing, and gentrification issues in L.A. that captured the public’s attention. It was a vital, citywide discussion that wasn’t taking place in Los Angeles until CPLA came along – and it still takes place today.
CPLA continues AHF’s tradition of vigorous, people-first advocacy. It organizes workshops to inform residents about how to fight luxury, gentrification-inducing development; sends out “Daily Outrage” newsletters to the public and media to inform people about troubling City Hall land-use policies; and has been a leader in demanding a more urgent response to L.A. homeless crisis by elected officials. CPLA also strongly advocates for more transparent government.
Recently, CPLA, along with AHF’s Housing Is A Human Right, played a key role in killing a controversial bill in the California State Legislature: SB 827. Opposed by dozens of municipalities and community groups, the proposed legislation would have ended democratic participation in local land-use decisions and mandated the construction of mostly market-rate housing near transit stops. The bill would have fueled gentrification in working-class communities and would have been a political gift to luxury-housing developers, Wall Street landlords, and global investors, who would have raked in billions in profits on the backs of working people.
CPLA provides investigative reports about troubling campaign contributions from developers to City Hall politicians; failed planning and land-use policies such as the decimation of L.A.’s tree canopy and open space; and City Hall’s failure to properly update the city’s General Plan, a kind of land-use constitution for L.A. that should protect residents from runaway development.
Bad land-use policies at City Hall invariably create a ripple effect that impacts the lives and health of working people, including people living with HIV. As part of AHF’s multi-pronged approach to battle gentrification and homelessness and to protect the public’s health, CPLA is fighting on the behalf of those people. Its work carries out AHF’s longtime mission statement: “cutting-edge medicine and advocacy regardless of ability to pay.”