This past November, despite unfortunate results at the federal level, Los Angeles voters approved a raft of ballot measures aimed at improving our urban fabric. We voted in favor of more funding for parks, an ambitious expansion of our transit system, a bold initiative to provide housing for the growing homeless population, and standards mandating affordable housing and fair construction wages for many new developments. And many of these measures involved tax increases, requiring at least a two-thirds majority to pass. But much of that progress will be threatened or even blocked outright if Measure S is approved by Los Angeles voters in the March 7 municipal election.
If you voted for Measure M in November, Vote NO on Measure S
The organization behind Measure S was opposed to the passage of Measure M in the November election, and they have signaled that they will fight any revisions to community plans that allow increased density near transit. Los Angeles voters clearly want more and better transit after approving Measure M by nearly 70%, and one of the best ways to make our expanding transit infrastructure successful will be to encourage dense development near transit stations. Measure S will greatly limit the opportunity for our city to take advantage of the benefits of expanding transit infrastructure.
If you voted for Measure HHH in November, Vote NO on Measure S
Los Angeles voters also overwhelming approved Measure HHH, which allocates funding and directs the city to acquire land and build new housing for thousands of the city’s homeless residents. However, many of the ideal sites for building this new housing would require zoning changes that would be barred under Measure S. If Measure S passes, the city could be left with billions of dollars dedicated to building housing for the homeless, but no way to actually spend it.
No matter how you voted on Measure JJJ in November, Vote NO on Measure S
There were strong arguments on both sides of Measure JJJ, the November ballot initiative that mandated affordable units and fair construction wages on any project that receives a zoning variance. Some were wary of ballot box planning, and worried that the increased cost of the requirements could stifle needed housing construction. On the other hand we supported Measure JJJ, considering it a fair tradeoff for the de facto increase in property value created by zoning variances, as well as being reasonable mechanism to provide badly needed affordable housing and living wage jobs. But Measure S will block the zoning variances that trigger those affordable housing requirements, keeping our city unaffordable. So if you want to see those affordable units voters approved in November, vote NO on Measure S. If, instead, you opposed the ballot box planning of Measure JJJ, you should oppose Measure S for the same reason.
If you voted for anyone other than Donald Trump in November, Vote NO on Measure S
The Measure S proponents’ version of “alternative facts” are enough to make even Trump blush. The Los Angeles Times felt compelled to issue a second editorial reiterating their opposition to Measure S after the campaign repeatedly misrepresented quotes from the paper, as well as a separate editorial generally denouncing the misinformation in the Measure S mailers. Mayor Eric Garcetti had to demand that the Measure S campaign stop using his image and name after they repeatedly printed out-of-context quotes in mailers, despite the Mayor’s strong opposition to the measure. And the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has said that the Measure S campaign broke the law in sending out fake eviction notice mailers. If these are the lengths they’ve gone to in misrepresenting the positions of others—misquoting the Times and the Mayor, and illegally using the name of Sheriff’s Department—imagine all the other lies they’ve told about what their proposed Measure will actually do.
If you are a renter in Los Angeles, Vote NO on Measure S
If Measure S passes, it will only exacerbate L.A.’s housing crisis. We aren’t building nearly enough housing to keep up with growth, and rental vacancy rates are already at unsustainably low levels, driving rental rates up. Further constraining the housing supply will only make it worse. Passage of Measure S may benefit homeowners who are likely to see their property values increase, but in a city where the majority of residents are renters, it will also lead to further increases in rental rates, and increases in evictions from rent-controlled units. Renters have a strong voice in Los Angeles, and should vote NO on Measure S.
Measure S will stifle so much of the progress that so many Angelenos are so clearly demanding. And if past municipal elections are any indication, it is likely that only a few thousand voters will determine the fate of our city for all four million residents. The results of the November election make very clear what kind of city the vast majority of Angelenos want to see in the future, but Measure S would prevent us from realizing that vision of Los Angeles. Vote NO on Measure S to ensure the progressive future you voted for in November.
Remember to VOTE on or before March 7 (your vote-by-mail ballot may already be in your hands). In addition to Measure S, the mayor, citywide offices, half of LA’s city council districts, and school board and community college board members are all on ballot, along with a few more measures dealing with marijuana regulation and taxation, and homeless support services. Educate yourself and exercise your voting rights!