The Real Deal Los Angeles

Watch out Neighborhood Integrity Initiative: Build Better L.A. measure will appear on earlier ballot

Advocates say they have collected enough signatures to bring it to voters

May 16, 2016 04:08PM

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(credit: California Apartment Association)

Looks like the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative will get a run for its money.

An alliance of labor and housing rights organizations said Monday that they’ve gathered enough signatures to bring a different development-related measure to the ballot in the November election.

Spearheaded by the L.A. County Federation of Labor, the initiative called Build Better L.A. proposes requiring developers seeking zoning changes and general plan amendments to include affordable units in their large projects. It also would require that a certain number of construction jobs go to local residents.

Only 62,000 signatures are needed to qualify for the ballot, but activists said Monday that they’ve collected almost 100,000, the L.A. Times reported.

Supporters of the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, a ballot measure that aims to curtail “mega-developments,” call Build Better L.A. a “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” claiming it would contribute to traffic.

The Neighborhood Integrity Initiative was originally scheduled to face-off with Build Better L.A. on the upcoming ballot. But Integrity’s backers decided earlier this year to aim for the following March, when the ballot will be less busy.

Meanwhile, the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce is opposing both proposals, despite teaming up with Build Better to oppose the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative.

“We are on opposite sides on this one,” the Chamber’s president and CEO Gary Toebben said. “”It will significantly increase the cost of housing.”

The National Association of Home Builders named the combined Los Angeles, Long Beach and Glendale areas the second most unaffordable housing market in the country.

And as rents climb up, the number of affordable units have gone down. Last year, over 1,000 rent-controlled apartments left the Los Angeles housing market, many to be replaced by high-end complexes. Since 2001, more than 20,000 rent-controlled units have disappeared. [LAT]Cathaleen Chen