Why It’s Urgent You Vote No On Measure S Tuesday

This afternoon's "five alarm fire" rally against Measure S. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
This afternoon's "five alarm fire" rally against Measure S. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

This afternoon on my way to the No on Measure S campaign rally, I checked my mailbox to find another misleading pro-S mailer that oddly seems to suggest that Albert Einstein would vote for S. I put it in the pile with the fliers misleadingly implying Garcetti, L.A. Times, and County Sheriffs endorsements. These are on top of the “preserve L.A.” mailer that depicts Beverly Hills and Torrance.

I bicycled past a welcome new affordable housing development under construction at the corner of Beverly Boulevard and Commonwealth Avenue. As I passed it, I wondered if that would have been possible under Measure S.

At the rally I listened to various leaders representing construction trades, firefighting, formerly homeless people, veterans, and immigrants. Speakers passionately implored voters to get out and vote no on Measure S’s “five alarm fire.”

If Measure S passes, it will dramatically slow down construction of housing in the city of Los Angeles. What development it doesn’t outright ban, it will make vulnerable to legal challenges. The measure’s housing moratorium will be bad for jobs, affordable housing, homelessness, immigrants, not to mention transit-oriented development, the environment, and the next generation of Angelenos.

What is there to say about voting no on Measure S that has not already been said by now?

If you are reading this and you happen to be that rare voter out there who might still be undecided, I suggest reading excellent, insightful coverage by Sahra Sulaiman, Brian Addison (twice), Christopher Hawthorne, Shane Phillips and the Bicycle Coalition’s Carol Feucht. Streetsblog has taken an official position endorsing a no vote on Measure S.

Lisa Scweitzer and Shane Phillips are, hopefully not prematurely, already moving on to discuss what reforms concerned folks should be working on after Measure S is defeated.

I will close with one concern that hasn’t already been written about over and over (though Phillips has written about it too), and that might spur readers to do their part to defeat Measure S. Tuesday’s election is a non-presidential one, with few contested races. Voter turnout is likely to be low, and to skew towards whiter, wealthier homeowners. In this circumstance, it is critically important that you get out and cast your vote. You can and should amplify yours by urging your friends to vote. If you have time, volunteer for the campaign.

It would be unfortunate if we have to live with the consequences of this pernicious measure for decades to come, just because people didn’t show up to vote.

  • “While City officials have used spot General Plan amendments to permit increasingly
    dense development, they have also granted various reductions and waivers of municipal code parking requirements without adequate demonstration that project occupants and users will not park in adjoining residential and business districts to the detriment of the quality of life of the City’s diverse residential neighborhoods.” – Measure S, Section 2.K

    ” Under no circumstances may the required on-site parking be reduced by more
    than one-third (including by remote off-site parking) from the number of spaces otherwise
    required to be provided by any other applicable provisions of the Los Angeles Municipal
    Code.” – Measure S, Section 8.(y)

    It’s important to focus on this part of Measure S, because for all of their rhetoric in favor of affordable housing, the measure’s proponents are proposing to make it harder to lower the cost of housing construction by reducing the requirement to provide off-street parking. Why are they doing this? Because they worry that allowing housing with little to no off-street parking will increase street parking in their neighborhoods. Strictly speaking, they’re probably correct that the result would be increased street parking. However, the point is there is a value judgment involved. Really what they’re saying is “I would prefer that housing be more expensive so that fewer people will park on the public street in front of my house.” In this value system, the convenience of parking a car on public property is a higher priority than the need for affordable housing. That tells you everything you need to know about how concerned S proponents really are with housing affordability. This is where Shoup’s ideas come in: eliminate off-street parking requirements, charge market prices for on-street parking and send the parking revenue back to the neighborhoods that generate it. That’s a value system that places the affordability of housing over the sense of entitlement to free parking.

    Measure S quotes from LA City Voter Information Pamphlet: http://clerk.cityofla.acsitefactory.com/sites/g/files/wph606/f/2017%20Primary%20VIP.pdf

  • 1976boy

    If measure S passes its proponents might have to live with one unintended consequence. Strong political support for immediate upzoning in affected areas. The law states that there would be a moratorium on projects that require variances. If zoning is changed so that no variances are needed, we can build taller and denser, and avoid it’s limits. We’ll see…


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