AHF seeks to apply and enforce the federal Fair Housing Act and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act to stop the discriminatory effects of four Hollywood developments: Sunset Gordon Tower, Palladium Residences, Crossroads Hollywood and one planned at the Amoeba Music site
LOS ANGELES (July 30, 2020) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) filed a ‘petition for review’ with the Supreme Court of California in litigation it first filed in the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles in August 2019 against the City of Los Angeles, the L.A. City Council and several luxury property developers. The petition was filed Monday, July 27th (Case No. S263550).
AHF has asserted violations of both federal and state housing laws intended to eliminate housing discrimination, barriers to minority housing and integrated communities in the permitting, planning and construction of four luxury mixed-use residential, commercial and/or entertainment development projects within the Hollywood area.
AHF’s petition to the Supreme Court now seeks to overturn the Appellate Court ruling in order to allow for enforcement of the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) inasmuch as AHF believes and asserts it should apply to the four Hollywood development projects: Sunset Gordon Tower, Palladium Residences, Crossroads Hollywood and one planned at the Amoeba Music site.
The four upscale developments are within a one-mile radius in Hollywood, putting economic pressure on lower income residents in the area. Three of the four stretch along Sunset Boulevard. AHF’s lawsuit asserts these four buildings will predictably displace people of color from their homes and neighborhoods and were approved without providing adequate measures to prevent such displacement. The fair housing laws protect minorities who are disproportionately impacted by a city policy or practice that is facially neutral.
In its filing, AHF outlines the crux of its reasoning for submitting a petition for review:
“The primary issue presented in this petition is whether state and federal fair housing statutes will continue to address the practical reality of disparate-impact discrimination and reach this latter form of discrimination, or, as the Court of Appeal held in its published decision, these fair housing statutes are to be narrowly construed to bar such claims based on a newly announced standard for pleading a prima facie case of disparate-impact discrimination.”
“Not a single one of these luxury property developments in Hollywood has nearly enough housing units set aside as affordable for very-low or extremely-low-income families and they collectively continue the gentrification and wholesale displacement of low-income, largely minority communities from Hollywood,” said Michael Weinstein, president of AHF. “We believe the courts were incorrect in their interpretation of the laws and respectfully are seeking reconsideration before the Supreme Court of California.”
AHF’s petition notes and poses another question:
“As recent events confirm, centuries of discrimination have created ongoing and significant disparities for communities of color seeking their rightful place in the American dream. This petition raises a fundamentally important question of whether historically discriminated against minorities have any remedy under fair housing law for policies that effectively drive them out of certain communities.”
It also states that:
“Affordable housing and racial justice are issues of obvious statewide importance. This case involves both, because the Court of Appeal’s published opinion imposes new barriers for communities of color and other victims of discrimination to challenge housing policies that force minorities to leave ‘desirable’ neighborhoods for good.”
Studies show that large scale, high end market-rate housing development without sufficient affordable units is linked to the mass displacement of neighboring low-income residents. These low-income residents are disproportionately people of color. AHF offers a prime example of such low-income and minority displacement in its initial lawsuit and the current petition—the Crossroads Hollywood development, which will demolish over 80 existing rent stabilized apartments, displacing a decades-old, tight-knit community of largely low-income, predominantly Latino residents.
The Hollywood Center neighborhood is approximately 50% white, 32% Hispanic/Latino, 12% Asian, and 6% Black or African American. However, Hispanic/Latino residents are disproportionately lower income, with both median household and per capita income far below the County medians.
The four Hollywood projects in development targeted in AHF’s lawsuit and petition include:
- Sunset Gordon Toweron Sunset Boulevard, a 22-story, almost entirely market rate apartment complex by development company CIM.
- Hollywood Palladium Residences, by developer Crescent Heights, twin 28-story towers that will house 730 residential units.
- Crossroads Hollywood,by Harridge Development Group, a project set to include 950 apartments in 3 high-rise buildings, over 100 of which apartments will be set aside for very low-income families. However, Harridge will demolish over 80 units of existing rent stabilized apartment housing, so the net gain of new affordable housing units is just 20 or so housing units.
- And, the as yet unnamed26-story, 200-unit luxury residential and commercial development that provides almost no below market housing by GPI Companies for the site of Amoeba Music on Sunset Boulevard.