Not In My Neighborhood

California leads a grass-roots movement to slow development

John Morris will never forget the day four years ago when two bulldozers arrived in his tranquil West Los Angeles neighborhood. The 38-year-old accountant was already harboring doubts about life in the city. It takes him an hour to drive a mere 15 miles to work on the packed freeways, and he no longer wears contact lenses because the smog stings his eyes. Fear of toxic chemicals keeps him from setting foot in nearby Santa Monica Bay.

But when the corner gas station was leveled and replaced by an ugly mini- mall, Morris revolted. "My life has become an endurance test,"...

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