The Real Deal Los Angeles

Build Better LA says “no grazie” to Fauxtalian
developer Geoff Palmer

Coalition protested in front of Medici, promoting its ballot initiative, Proposition JJJ
By Cathaleen Chen | September 13, 2016 02:49PM

The protest in front of the Medici at 725 South Bixel Street (Credit: Mike Dennis)

The protest in front of the Medici at 725 South Bixel Street (Credit: Mike Dennis)

Like its fallen sister the Da Vinci, the Medici is getting no love.

Nearly 100 people gathered in front of the 632-unit “Fauxtalian” apartment complex Tuesday morning, protesting what they claim to be developer Geoff Palmer’s dismissal of Los Angeles’ affordable housing crisis. They were simultaneously promoting newly dubbed Proposition JJJ, a ballot initiative that would require big residential projects to guarantee low-income units.

Organized by Build Better L.A. Coalition, the rally lasted about 90 minutes. Protesters — among them, construction workers donning bright orange vests — held up signs that read, “Yes on JJJ!!! G. H. Palmer doesn’t own L.A.” and “Good Jobs for Los Angeles.”

The coalition was formed by the L.A. County Federation of Labor, and accordingly a vital part of Proposition JJJ calls for major construction projects to hire at least 30 percent of local residents, as well as the veterans and the unemployed.

The measure also offers additional incentives to developers who build near transit hubs.

“We went to the Medici because it’s really a symbol of the kind of development we don’t want in L.A.,” organizer Laura Raymond told The Real Deal. “[Palmer] has been an infamous developer.”

Raymond is campaign director for the Alliance for Community Transit-Los Angeles, a coalition within the Build Better L.A. umbrella.

Palmer isn’t undeserving of the title of infamy among housing advocates. In the past 15 years, he has railed against the city’s affordable housing policies in multiple lawsuits, the most successful of which set a statewide legal precedence that no city can mandate developers to include affordable housing in new projects.

Palmer’s company, G. H. Palmer Associates, declined to comment.

Proposition JJJ will appear on the November ballot.