LA passes up funding for affordable housing + LA mandates earthquake retrofitting

LA will require buildings to undergo earthquake retrofitting starting in 2016.

LA will require buildings to undergo earthquake retrofitting starting in 2016.

LA Passing Up Tens of Millions For Infrastructure and Affordable Housing: Los Angeles is missing out on important revenue by not charging developer impact fees. These fees can fund a variety of things, including LAPD, libraries, parks and affordable housing construction. (LA Curbed)

Los Angeles Will Start Requiring Earthquake Retrofits For Apartment Buildings in February: Los Angeles will require buildings to undergo earthquake retrofitting starting in 2016, but the mandate leaves concrete structures a 25 year window to complete the project. (LA Curbed)

South L.A. Structures on Shaky Foundations

Thousands of South L.A. homes are at risk for collapse during a large earthquake.| Flickr

Experts say thousands of  Los Angeles homes will collapse in a large earthquake.| Cameron23, Flickr Creative Commons

Imagine the Los Angeles skyline in its entirety. Include the apartment and commercial buildings; the houses old and new. Now, imagine 50 percent of those buildings gone—collapsed either partially or completely.

That is the bleak picture that U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones painted for attendees during the 2015 Great California ShakeOut Breakfast Leadership Summit on Sept. 30.

Los Angeles has not experienced a major earthquake in 20 years. The last large temblor to slam the region was the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Since then, California faults have been in a quiet period that Jones and other experts on her team insist won’t last.

The period of smooth sailing has caused home and commercial building owners to relax their approach to protecting structures against the damage they could sustain in the violent shaking during a substantial quake.

Lack of action to strengthen structures, however, renders the millions of people who live and work in the city’s 300,000 unstable buildings susceptible to displacement from work or homes, and even disaster-related death.

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The Bare Necessities Earthquake Kit

Water is the most important item in an earthquake survival kit. | Nancy Phillips, Flickr Creative Commons

Water is the most important item in an earthquake survival kit. | Nancy Phillips, Flickr Creative Commons

As the topic of earthquake preparedness continues to get hotter each passing year without a mega quake, the items recommended for earthquake and emergency kits seem to become increasingly haute.

In September of 2005, The Los Angeles Times published a list of earthquake kit materials to keep in homes, cars and at work. The list, which was 59 items long, included items ranging from food and water to fire extinguishers and tarps—all very useful items.

This year, on Sept. 19, the Times again published an emergency kit list, this time including posh items such as a $30 24-pack of canned water with a 50-year shelf life, solar generators and more.

In the event that the Great California Shakeout scenario’s 7.8 magnitude quake actually devastated the Los Angeles area as projected, aid for many Angelenos would first come in the form of self-help.

Earthquake and emergency kits have become an essential way to help promote survival, but when dealing with tight budgets, some areas of Los Angeles are placed at higher risk due to the inability to afford all the necessary items.

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Los Angeles Prepares for Great Shakeout Earthquake Drill

Listen to an audio story by Annenberg Radio News

imageAt 10:20 a.m. on Thursday morning, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will drop down to the floor of his office. On all fours, he will feel the ground shaking as he clasps his hands over his head. He will watch in horror as the photos hanging on the wall crash to the ground. He’ll panic as the building sways back and forth, not knowing if he will be able to get out in time.

Two minutes later, the ground will finally stop shaking, and the mayor will proceed to carry out earthquake emergency procedures, checking for anyone in the office with injuries and accessing their emergency supply kit.

There’s just one thing – it’s all make-believe.

Today, the mayor urged Los Angeles to take part in the Great California ShakeOut. He asked everyone to simulate an earthquake in an effort to learn, plan, and practice preparedness.

“Rarely do we take the time to face the reality of the greatest natural disaster our region will face in a lifetime,” he said.

The mayor, along with 8 million other Californians, will participate in Thursday’s drill, making it the largest earthquake drill in world history.

It may seem like a dramatic production, but the mayor said he strongly believes that the simulation is important.

“It’s not a question of if an earthquake will happen, but rather when an earthquake will happen,” he said. “A large earthquake is one of the largest looming threats over Southern California.”

The city is asking people to create an emergency disaster plan with their families, build an emergency supply kit, and practice what they will do when an earthquake strikes.

First responders will be coordinating their own emergency response plan.

Earthquake specialist Dr. Lucy Jones believes this teamwork is an essential part of the drill’s goal.

“We’re all in this together, and the more that each one of us individually is ready for the earthquake, the better off our overall community will be,” she said. “The earthquake really is inevitable, but the disaster is not.”

Dr. Jones and the mayor encourage everyone to take part this Thursday, October 20, at 10:20 a.m.