Graphic courtesy of Designed by Colleen
Measure S seeks to impose a two-year moratorium on most major new housing construction in Los Angeles. The measure, which is roundly opposed by nearly every L.A. civic organization, is built upon the view that Los Angeles ‘is full,’ and more people mean more traffic — a lazy argument at best. Measure S reinforces the notion that the car should be L.A.’s priority over housing. It essentially says that anyone who cannot afford to live here should look further afield, which only creates more sprawl, social inequity and – surprise – more traffic. If Measure S passes, it will have far-reaching negative repercussions for our collective vision of a diverse, livable, affordable, walkable, bikeable city.
Measure S was written and nearly exclusively funded by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF). The head of AHF, Michael Weinstein, is diverting money from supporting
people living with HIV/AIDS
to fighting development because he doesn’t want a nearby condo project to block the view from his 21st floor office. Bike The Vote L.A. thinks personal ego trips make for poor public policy, and joins community organizations across Los Angeles in opposing this fundamentally regressive and pessimistic initiative.
In addition to traffic, the backers of Measure S have pitched the housing moratorium as an antidote to housing displacement, rising housing costs, political corruption, and even homelessness. The problem is that Measure S doesn’t offer any real solutions to these issues, and in fact would have a drastic negative counter-effect if enacted and leading advocates for ending homelessness agree. Angelenos also already approved an alternative to Measure S in November, Measure JJJ, which requires that affected housing developments include affordable housing and be built with union labor. If approved, Measure S would simply ban such housing development altogether, costing the city thousands of affordable units and well-paying jobs.
By sidelining most major development, Measure S would exacerbate L.A.’s housing shortage while doing nothing to address the lack of financial resources to provide subsidized affordable units. By increasing parking requirements for new buildings, it would add to the cost of a new home and force environmentally problematic sprawl. Measure S would also handcuff our ability to house L.A.’s homeless by precluding residential development on nearly all of the sites where the City of L.A. is proposing to spend $1.2 billion under November’s successful Measure HHH to build permanent supportive housing for those in need.
The proven solutions to urban congestion all have to do with making efficient and sustainable travel modes more attractive than solo driving, ideally through a combination of improved transit/walking/biking and smart pricing of roads and parking spaces. By focusing on prioritizing solo driving, Measure S doesn’t address any of these points and thus is guaranteed to fail as an anti-congestion measure. More to the point, Measure S would freeze us into an outdated and unsustainable development pattern that forces more workers and students to live further away from jobs and school, while giving fewer people opportunities to live in walkable, bikeable communities near quality public transit.
As a group that cares about the overall livability, accessibility, and equity of our city, we see smart and sustainable development as something to be welcomed and harnessed to ensure that it benefits and protects existing residents and sustainably accommodates newcomers. Like another recent anti-growth ballot measure in Santa Monica that we opposed, we believe Measure S – with its draconian restrictions – will only make housing prices, traffic congestion, and social inequity worse. Bike The Vote L.A. urges a “NO” vote on Measure S.