Dear Editor – R1 and Discriminatory Housing Practices

Dear Editor,

I fully support restricting R1 zoning, as I believe this policy is outdated and racist. I first became aware of discriminatory housing practices, particularly redlining, during my time working in Congresswoman Karen Bass’ office. More recently, I invited an acquaintance who is a UCLA Professor of Urban Planning to speak to my CSUN graduate in social work students. During their presentation, I learned how certain zoning codes were adopted by cities to lower property value of surrounding minority communities. I also learned how zoning codes can be used to create barriers for people of color so they are unable to settle in a particular city. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), exclusionary zoning laws have served as channels in which governments were able to reduce the value of minority owned homes relative to the properties owned by white native-born individuals. The NBER also concluded that exclusionary zoning has had a lasting negative economic impact on minority families. As we know Culver City is currently deciding whether or not to restrict R1 zoning, which I have no doubt was initially created to create a barrier to black and brown people from moving into Culver City. A “hidden in plain sight” fact that many may or may not know, is that Culver City was once a sundown town. These two policies go hand in hand.

As a descendent to folks who endured racism, bigotry, violence, and discrimination, I fight hard everyday to ensure that I’m not a participant of oppression and discrimination. I’ve come to strongly believe that restricting R1 is the best thing for Culver City. We should be welcoming to more individuals, particularly as it pertains to ethnicity and socioeconomic status. I see very few reasons as to why we should restrict opportunities for folks who work in Culver City in the service industry from living in our city because we want to uphold R1 zoning to preserve the wealth of those who benefit most from said policy. While I would love to own a home in Culver City (after living here for close to 20 years), I cannot allow myself to live in cognitive dissonance whereby I’m aiming to restrict those with less than me in hopes to achieve greater personal gain. Those who remain apathetic, skeptical, and opposed to removing said practice are inadvertently propping up systemic racism that people of color continue to experience.

Best regard,

Jared Morgan, MSW

The Actors' Gang

1 Comment

  1. What a powerful piece. Thank you for pointing out those hidden in plain sight facts and tactics. I often think people don’t slow down enough to really think through and perspective take how these restrictions impact all people not just self. I will continue to challenge my own cognitive dissonance so I can live in and act from an inclusionary stance. Hope to hear more from you!

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