The staggering rise in the numbers of homeless people living in the streets coupled with massive inflation in rents, some say driven up by artificially inflated Real Estate values, have lead to two ballot measures this election cycle Measure H and Measure S.
Measure H, if approved, would increase the sales tax one-fourth of a cent and the proceeds would be used to fund a variety of programs for economically challenged city residents, including mental health services, substance abuse treatment, health care, education, job training, and affordable housing. It would raise about $355 million a year.
Measure S, the more controversial initiative, would change the way zoning rules are used to allow construction projects to move forward, which some say would contradict or obstruct aspects of Measure H, possibly promoting a “Not In My Back Yard” attitude.
Mayor Eric Garcetti, is an opponent of Measure S, and says the initiative would undermine efforts to house the homeless, such as measure HHH ($1.2 billion bond initiative) voters passed in November. “We won’t be able to spend the money that voters authorized,” for homeless housing, Garcetti said. “We won’t be able to find the sites.” The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has also voted to oppose Measure S.
Another component to the clash: building also means jobs. Opponents claim Measure S would push construction workers into unemployment although they do cite the need for an up-to-date community plan.
On the YES side of the equation advocates say that Measure S will force the City of Los Angeles to finally update its legally required but largely outdated General Plan.
Once the City Council adopts new General Plan, future General Plan amendments can only apply to significant geographical areas, no longer to single parcels, and these General Plan amendments must be based on a convincing case of public benefits, no longer just private gain.
Lastly Measure S promotes transparency at City Hall, by stopping the City Council from adopting parcel level zoning and planning ordinances to feather the nest of their major campaign contributors. The L.A. Times calls this soft corruption because real estate interests engage in pay-to-play to obtain special treatment from elected officials for their properties. This could be why these City Hall players have lead the charge against Measure S. Four large real estate firms funding the no on S campaign: Westfield Shopping Centers, Palladium, Crescent Heights, and Eli Broad.
You decide Yes or No on H and on S. Either way it will have a huge impact on LA housing and the homeless situation –