Housing on the Fast Track: The Impact of Executive Directive 1

Thursday, November 16th, 2023
Helms Design Center

7:45 AM - 9:30 AM PDT

Panel from 8:30 am - 9:30 am
Doors open at 7:45 for registration, breakfast and networking.

Read our Speaker Bios Here!

RSVP Required!

During Mayor Karen Bass's inaugural week as Los Angeles' leader, she introduced Executive Directive 1 (ED 1), a groundbreaking policy aimed at expediting the construction of affordable housing and shelters in the city. The initiative, successful in reducing the approval time for such projects from over six months to a mere 37 days, has been hailed as a pivotal move in the city's fight against its housing crisis. It has resulted in a surge in project applications, with over 4,000 units proposed in the first six months alone. The greater approval certainty and flexible incentives have made many more 100% deed-restricted affordable projects feasible, and they have unlocked the private market: many ED 1 proposals are from for-profit developers that do not require public financing.

The policy has not been without controversy. When first enacted, certain single family zoned parcels were eligible for streamlining affordable multifamily projects. Although the directive was amended to rescind this eligibility, project applications that were submitted before the change are in a state of limbo, hotly contested between developers, housing advocates, neighborhood groups, and the City.

Nevertheless, the City is now seeking to enshrine key tenets of ED 1 into law to ensure its longevity and continued positive effect on the housing landscape of Los Angeles. Many housing advocates would like to ensure that the permanent Affordable Housing Streamlining Ordinance continues to unlock the full potential of affordable housing development, while others have flagged the need to avoid unintended consequences such as the displacement of existing tenants.

Join the Westside Urban Forum as we delve deep into the aspirations and implications of ED 1, as well as its proposed codification into the Affordable Housing Streamlining Ordinance. With homelessness and housing affordability reaching critical levels, ED 1 aims to streamline the development process, but what challenges lie ahead? Join us to understand, debate, and envision the future of Los Angeles housing.



Scott Epstein, Policy and Research Director, Abundant Housing LA

Kevin J. Keller, AICP, Senior Advisor, Office of Mayor Karen Bass

Ben Lee, Broker, Marcus & Millichap


Nancy Barba, Planning Commissioner, City of Culver City


Registration Fees
$50 Members
$65 Non-Members
$10 Student Members & Retired Members
$15 Student Non-Members & Retired Non-Members

Pre-registration closes on Wednesday, November 15th.  After Wednesday, November 15th, onsite registration will be available at the cost of an additional $10.  No refunds or credits will be provided after this day. 

Event Time
7:45 am - 9:30 am
7:45 am - Registration & Light Breakfast
8:15 am - Panel Discussion

The Helms Design Center is located at the Helms Bakery campus at 8745 Washington Boulevard in Culver City. 

Avoid the stress of rush hour and skip traffic!  The Helms Design Center at 8745 Washington Blvd in Culver City is conveniently located a short, pleasant walk from a number of transit lines, including:

  • Metro Rail “E” (Expo) Line Culver City Station (1 block west at Washington and National Blvds), and
  • Culver City Bus “1” and “1C1” lines (at the adjacent Washington Blvd/Helms Avenue street corner). 

Protected bike lanes along Washington Blvd. connecting to Culver City’s larger bike lane network also provide a convenient, safe way to get to the Design Center. 

For those who choose to drive, parking is available in the adjacent interior parking garage at 8711 Washington Blvd (look for the red banners), or there is parking available throughout the Helms Bakery complex.
Parking Map

Sponsor Provided Tickets
Thanks to the generosity of our annual Sponsors, WUF has a small number of free tickets available to members of the community.  If you are not able to join as a member or purchase a ticket for this month's panel presentation, but would like to join us, please write us at info@westsideurbanforum to inquire if we have any remaining sponsor provided tickets. 

As a non-profit organization we are dependent upon donations in order to continue our monthly programming.  Please keep this in mind when registering for this event; we appreciate contributions of any amount.

The 2023 California Legislative Roundup: Insights into Sacramento

Thursday, October 19th, 2023
Helms Design Center

Read our Speaker Bios Here!

In recent years, the California legislature has become increasingly bold about wielding the power of state law to address the housing crisis and other land use matters. This year, the legislature yet again considered dozens of bills with major impacts on planning and development statewide and, especially, in urban areas like Los Angeles. It is sending the vast majority of them to the governor's desk, for signature or veto by October 14. This year's session was marked by bills addressing critical issues such as housing, CEQA reform, single-stairway buildings, independent redistricting for the Los Angeles City Council, orphaned oil and gas wells, limits on water usage, and a speeding cameras pilot program. 


Join us for an engaging and informative panel discussion to review the significant legislation passed--and not passed--in the 2023 session. This event aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the latest legislative changes and their impact on our communities and cities. Whether you are a government official, urban planner, developer, or community advocate, this discussion is essential for understanding how recent legislation will impact your work and our communities.


Justin Adams, Senior Economist, LAEDC Institute for Applied Economics
Matthew Glesne, Senior City Planner, Los Angeles City Planning
Konstantin Hatcher, Senior Director of Community Impact, CA YIMBY
Alex DeGood, Land Use Attorney, Cox Castle Nicholson

Elisa Paster, Managing Partner, Rand Paster Nelson

A Conversation with Katy Young Yaroslavsky: A New Generation Takes Over in Council District 5

Thursday, September 28th, 2023
Helms Design Center

Read our Speaker Bios Here!

7:45 am - 9:15 am PDT

Panel from 8:15 am - 9:15 am*NOTE the earlier start to accommodate the council member’s schedule*
Doors open at 7:45 for registration, breakfast and networking.

Last year, voters in Los Angeles’s 5th City Council District considered a slate of city council candidates who all marked a changing of the guard. The most recent in a long line of (all male) councilmembers from the Baby Boom era, Paul Koretz had represented the district for over 13 years before being termed out. In his place, Katy Young Yaroslavsky emerged victorious. 

Though Yaroslavsky’s last name has been familiar to Angelenos since the 1970s, Katy--the daughter-in-law of Zev--is a relative newcomer to city politics and brings a vision very different from that of her successor. CD 5 has historically been cautious about new development, while Councilmember Yaroslavsky acknowledged the city’s housing crisis on the campaign trail and has expressed a willingness to welcome new homes to her district. And, being in the heart of the Westside, touching three of the Westside’s smaller cities, she represents a district that is a fulcrum for much of the city’s activity -- including higher education (UCLA), business (Century City), and transportation (subway extension). 

The Westside Urban Forum is pleased to welcome Councilmember Yaroslavsky for a candid discussion with longtime journalist and civic observer Warren Olney, formerly of KCRW.

California's Duplex Revolution: Unpacking SB9, the California HOME Act

California's Duplex Revolution:
Unpacking SB 9, The California HOME Act

Thursday, July 20th, 2023
Helms Design Center

7:45 am - 9:30 am PST

Panel from 8:30 am - 9:30 am
Doors open at 7:45 for registration, breakfast and networking.

Read our Speaker Bios Here!

In 2021, the state legislature passed Senate Bill 9, which, according to the bill's strongest advocates and detractors alike, outlawed single-family zoning throughout California. The reality is a bit more subtle and complex. SB 9 permits homeowners--in most, but not all communities--to subdivide or redevelop their homes into duplexes, and it allows them to split their lots, potentially generating four units. While housing advocates cheer the potential to add density to communities and reduce the primacy of single-family homes, SB 9 has, thus far, been seldom used. It presents major challenges to homeowners (especially compared to ADUs), and many cities have been slow to draft and adopt guidelines. 

With over a half-million single-family lots, Los Angeles could add hundreds of thousands of units through SB 9. But, how many will it actually add? And at what cost and by what processes? Can "mom and pop" successfully become mini-developers, or will SB 9 conversions be left to speculators and developers? Please join WUF this month to discuss the promise and challenges of California's (potential) duplex revolution. 

Ross Fehrman, Senior Planner, City of Santa Monica
Daniel Gehman, Principal, Danielian Associates Architects + Planners
Seth Philips, Founder, ADU Gold 
Sean Phillips, Co-Founder, Homestead 

Thea Trindle, Principle Planner, Los Angeles Dept. of City Planning 

Getting Transit Back on Track



7:45 AM - 9:30 AM PST

Panel from 8:30 am - 9:30 am
Doors open at 7:45 for registration, breakfast and networking.

Read our Speaker Bios Here!

Los Angeles County transit agencies are investing billions in new bus and rail infrastructure and services. Two new rail lines have opened on the Westside in the past ten years, with more to come. However, transit ridership is trending in the opposite direction. Ridership on the Los Angeles Metro system is down by approximately one third from pre-pandemic levels. Reasons include everything from work-from-home to increased crime and vagrancy, reduced service hours, and increased vehicle headways. And things could get even worse, as decreased farebox recovery and expiring pandemic emergency funds apply even more pressure to reduce levels of service. If Angelenos avoid the train and bus, opting for personal vehicles and Zoom, what does that mean for Los Angeles? Regionwide goals for reducing pollution and increasing transit-oriented development, walkability, and housing production are all at stake.

At WUF this month, LA Metro officials and transit advocates will survey the challenges facing Metro and other transit service providers. Join us for a panel discussion on ways to maintain transit service, attract riders, and make the most of the crucial infrastructure and civic amenity that the Los Angeles region needs. 

Al Fresco Dining in the Public Right of Way: Whose Space is it?

Read our Speakers' Bios Here!


How are different cities responding to the shifting landscape of outdoor dining?

Al Fresco Dining in the Public Right-of-Way: Whose Space Is It?

Thursday, May 18th, 2023
Helms Design Center

On March 4, 2020, Governor Newsom declared a state of emergency to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Many jurisdictions followed with local emergency orders which called on residents to limit all activities outside of their homes. These restrictions included prohibiting restaurants and retail food facilities from providing indoor dining in coordination with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. The financial impact of the public health emergency was particularly difficult for small restaurants. 

Soon after came the temporary outdoor dining programs that have helped to alleviate the financial stress of the indoor dining prohibition. These new programs often suspended certain regulations in order to provide restaurants and other food establishments with an alternative to full indoor dining - temporarily. 

Now that we moved from the pandemic to an endemic and full-service indoor dining is allowed, how do cities transition and take the best of what outdoor dining offered during the height of the pandemic into the future? Can cities reclaim the public right-of-way from the very businesses that provided the public a safe respite and gathering place? Will businesses be able to adjust as regulations are enforced and the cost of outdoor dining increases for operators? 

How has the urban landscape shifted, literally and figuratively, and who do our streets and sidewalks belong to after all? Join us to discuss these questions and more.

Andrew Thomas, CEO, Downtown Santa Monica, Inc.
John Keho, Director of Planning and Development Services, City of West Hollywood 
Madeline Brozen, Deputy Director, UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies

Annette M. Kim, Ph.D, Associate Professor, USC Sol Price School of Public Policy

Digging into Mayor Bass's State of the City Address - Goals, Challenges and Accomplishments

Thursday, April 27th, 2023
Helms Design Center

Read Our Speaker Bios Here!

The City of Los Angeles is emerging from a global pandemic into a ‘recovery’ period, and many Angelenos have high hopes following the election of Mayor Karen Bass, whose tenure has also been accompanied by the dramatic recomposition of the City Council. But cautious optimism is tempered by an unstable economic environment, a crisis in housing and services for housing insecure Angelenos, aging transportation and utility infrastructure, and widespread staff vacancies. How can the region’s largest city meet these challenges and ensure an equitable economic recovery?

The State of the City mayoral address will occur in mid-April, closely followed by the proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Please join us to hear from invited experts on the issues facing the City of Los Angeles in 2023, and what initiatives could - or should - be in play to build an inclusive, sustainable, and economically sound future for all Angelenos.

Alan Greenlee, Executive Director, Southern California Association of Nonprofit Housing 
Michelle Banks-Ordone, Senior Manager, Transit-Oriented Communities, LA Metro
Adam J. Fowler
, Founding Partner, CVL Economics
Mary Leslie, President, LABC & LABC Institute

Cecilia V. Estolano, CEO and Founder, Estolano Advisors

The Beehive by SoLA Impact Tour

Members Only Tour: The Beehive by SoLA Impact

Friday, March 31st, 2023
10:00 AM -12:00 PM PST

The Beehive is SoLa Impact's Opportunity Zone (OZ) business campus and is the nation's first of its kind. The campus is comprised of 92,000 square feet of commercial space located only ten minutes south of downtown Los Angeles. With six unique and architecturally beautiful red-brick warehouses. This project will transform the local neighborhood and economy in the true spirit of the OZ legislation as the nation’s first OZ business campus.

Among current Beehive tenants are the first Black-owned craft brewery in California, a Black-owned and designed art gallery for South LA emerging creatives, and a state-of-the-art Technology and Entrepreneurship Center to develop the future tech leaders of South LA. The Beehive is also home to the creative office space of SoLa Impact.

Join us on March 31 for an in-depth tour with SoLa Impact's Director of Construction George Ashdown and Director of Community Engagement April Sandifer.

Read more

Intended Taxes & Unintended Consequences: Measure ULA's Real Estate Transfer Tax

Intended Taxes & Unintended Consequences: Measure ULA’s Real Estate Transfer Tax

Thursday, March 23rd, 2023
Helms Design Center

7:45 am - 9:30 am PST

Read our Speaker Bios Here!

In the November 2022 election, Los Angeles voters approved ballot Measure ULA to enact a new real estate transfer tax to fund affordable housing and tenant assistance programs. Marketed controversially as the “Mansion Tax,” Measure ULA taxes all real property transactions valued over $5 million, both commercial and residential, with very few exceptions. The measure is anticipated to generate hundreds of millions or even one billion dollars annually that will be deposited in a special trust fund, known as the “House LA Fund,” intended to be used to subsidize housing, preserve affordable housing, prevent homelessness, and guarantee counsel to tenants in eviction court.

Despite the urgency and wide consensus of LA’s housing crisis, some pro-housing advocates and experts question if a transfer tax or the ultimate form of Measure ULA was the right vehicle to support affordable housing and homelessness initiatives. Some industry experts worry that with limited exemptions Measure ULA will result in a halt of the residential and commercial purchase and sale market and actually hinder housing production in the City of Los Angeles. Some Measure ULA opponents are fighting the passage with a lawsuit to strike ULA down, arguing it violates California’s Prop 13, and through a proposed state ballot initiative to invalidate the law. 

On the other hand, implementation of ULA is not fully formed and there is an important opportunity for stakeholders to shape the process. Was ULA drafted as housing advocates expected, or will there be unintended consequences including for new developments? And what’s the outlook for the pending lawsuit, prospective ballot initiative, and ULA implementation? Join us to discuss these questions and more.

Mott Smith, CEO and cofounder, Amped Kitchens; Vice-Chair of the City of Los Angeles Small Business Commission
Jason Ward, RAND, Associate Director, RAND Center on Housing and Homelessness in Los Angeles; Associate Economist; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Tara Barauskas, Executive Director, Community Corp. of Santa Monica
Corey Hébert, Associate, Ethos

Victor De la Cruz, Partner, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP

Registration Fees
$50 Members
$65 Non-Members
$10 Student Members & Retired Members
$15 Student Non-Members & Retired Non-Members

Pre-registration closes on Wednesday, March 22nd, at 4:00 PM.  After Wednesday, March 22nd, onsite registration will be available at the cost of an additional $10.  No refunds or credits will be provided after this day.

2023 Westside Mayors Forum

2023 Annual Westside Mayors Forum

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Read our Speaker Bios Here!

Check out Jeff Hall's writeup of the event in the Brentwood Beat: Westside Urban Forum: Small Can Be Good


WUF is pleased to present the annual Mayors Forum, bringing together mayors of the Westside cities for a discussion of priorities for 2023 from a land use perspective and the ways cities are responding to pressing and long-term issues. 


In 2023, our mayors will face a myriad of issues, including the central conflict of land use and social & racial equity.  We’re sure to discuss a variety of topics and touch on each cities’ efforts to:

  • Balance economic development with the need for workforce and affordable housing;
  • Implement lessons learned from pandemic-related changes to retail businesses and land use, including strategies to address excess office space, work-from-home trends, vacant commercial spaces, and conversion of under-utilized commercial spaces for new commercial models;
  • Implement recent state laws to allow increases in density and reductions in parking, while trying to maintain local land use control;
  • Meet state-required Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) housing numbers and win state certification of housing elements;
  • Focus on local sustainability, including reducing emissions, addressing water insecurity and stormwater management, and ensuring recycling efforts result in material reuse;
  • Improve transit and ridership, as well as the outlook and commitment to public transit in light of decreased ridership;
  • Address historic inequity and supporting communities displaced by freeways and urban renewal; and
  • Collaborate with the City of Los Angeles and the new Bass administration.


Join us to hear directly from our mayors on these and other 2023 Westside land use topics.


Mayor Gleam Davis, City of Santa Monica

Mayor Sepi Shyne, City of West Hollywood

Mayor James T. Butts, Jr., City of Inglewood

Mayor Albert Vera, City of Culver City


Jeff Hall, Founder of Westside Today and Brentwood News