Many of you have asked how I plan on voting in the upcoming citywide election on March 7th and while I am happy to share this information with you, I didn’t want to do so without explaining how I arrived at my decisions.
Please note, that my choices may be different than yours, they may be imperfect, but please understand that I have based my conclusions on asking myself one simple question, what would love do? In other words – what decisions will create the greatest well-being for the most people in Los Angeles?
What follows is a detailed explanation of the pro’s and con’s of each Measure and some of the articles which have helped to shape my opinion on each of them.
It is my sincerest hope that my decisions will land on the right side of history, but at the very least I know that I am voting from my heart and I hope that you will do the same.
Measure H – Yes
Measure H imposes a 1/4 cent sales tax increase in LA County to fund wrap around social services for the homeless. This county measure is a crucial component to the City of L.A.’s Prop HHH, passed by voters in November’s election, that will raise a $1.2 billion bond to build 7 – 10,000 units of housing for the homeless over the next 10 years.
I believe that HHH and H are both deeply flawed. They don’t go far enough or act quickly enough to resolve the problem. I am also concerned about the regressive nature of sales taxes which place a higher burden on the lower class. Despite the measures failings I recognize that our homeless crisis has reached epic proportions and I support these measures as necessary steps in the right direction.
If elected I would work diligently to ratify both measures and ensure that the money in question is actually being spent to create homes for everyone who wants to be off the streets and provide the essential social services needed to help ensure that they are able to remain in those homes. As Mayor I would also put the organizations that are truly making an impact on this issue into leadership positions in our mission to eradicate homelessness.
Measure – M Yes. Measure N – No
Considering the backers of Measure N abandoned their measure (at too late a date to remove it from the ballot) and now support Measure M, this one is an easy decision. Here’s the gist of these two measures…
In November Californians voted to make recreational marijuana legal under state law, but we didn’t iron out all the details surrounding who can grow, make and sell marijuana products.
Measure M, gives the City Council (who initially created the Measure) and The Mayor permission to regulate the marijuana industry in LA. Since it’s a new and unpredictable industry Measure M also gives the city the ability to revise the regulation without having to put it to a vote in front of the city. It would also impose taxes and civil penalties for businesses that violate the new regulations.
Measure N, was written by members of the marijuana industry and “would give a monopoly over the local marijuana trade to the 135 dispensaries allowed under Proposition D.”
Even the organizers of N determined that it was better to work with the city and local communities and businesses to develop cohesive city-wide regulations, which is what lead them to abandon their own Measure.
Measure P – Yes
I can’t understand why this ballot is on the ballot to begin with. Essentially Measure P corrects a discrepancy in the City Charter that was not updated in 2015 after Californians voted to increase the length of permits & franchises granted to “water-related businesses” from 50 years to 66 years. The City Charter still says 50 years for some reason. I figure since Californians already voted to do this statewide, we should honor that decision locally.
Measure S – No
My decision to vote “No on S” was a long and painful choice which took a great deal of research and discussion with many different factions on the issue. I am in full support of the spirit of this measure and am in agreement with most of what S stands for; namely updating our horribly out of date General Plan and the community plans, limiting developers ability to steer the conversation around land use and the environmental and infrastructure impact on new building, spot zoning, etc.
Supporters of S are seriously and justifiably concerned with the corrupt building practices that plague our city, the haphazard planning of new structures in areas that can’t support the infrastructure or traffic that these new projects will bring to the neighborhoods and the rampant gentrification of L.A. I wholeheartedly share these concerns and they are what originally lead me to support the measure. We need transparency and thoughtfulness in how we continue to build in LA and it should not be determined by developers.
But the determining factor in my decision to vote no is the Measure’s 2 year moratorium on buildings that require zoning changes or General Plan amendments. At a time when we desperately need more low income housing and housing for the homeless, S would make it even harder than it already is to get these projects approved. And although there is a clause that allows for 100% affordable projects, the truth is that most new housing projects are a mixture of affordable housing and market rate units.
Addressing our housing shortage is the only way we can curb the skyrocketing increases in rents and mortgages that prevent many Angelino’s from finding affordable housing and threaten to add even more homeless to our streets. Limiting building efforts in this way will make it nearly impossible to convert parking lots, public buildings and strip malls into housing because all those would require a General Plan amendment, zone change or height increase.
Nearly all organizations working to end homelessness in LA and housing advocacy groups oppose this measure (http://www.abundanthousingla.org/2017/01/23/who-should-you-trust-on-measure-s-look-to-the-endorsements/) namely because they (like me) feel that we need new innovative solutions to creating more housing now and less restrictions, not more. http://www.goestoofar.com/open-letter
While I have to oppose the measure, if elected I would enact many of Measure S’ salient points from updating the General Plan and the community plans to rooting out the corruption being practiced between developers and City Hall.