The Real Deal Los Angeles

LA Times supports ban on political donations from developers

Ban would "defuse" the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, or Measure S
January 16, 2017 10:30AM

Los Angeles Times publisher and editor-in-chief Davan Maharaj and the Times building 202 West 1st Street (Credit: Getty, UCR Today)

Los Angeles should ban political contributions from developers, at least in part to curb the appearance of impropriety, the Los Angeles Times argued in an editorial Monday.

“There is a deeply embedded culture in Los Angeles City Hall in which real estate interests give heavily to local officials, presumably because they believe political contributions will buy them the zoning exemptions and other land-use decisions they want,” the paper’s editorial board wrote. “Elected officials, in turn, rely on developer money for their reelection campaigns and to pay for office expenses and trips.”

The editorial came in response to a recent proposal from five council members urging the Ethics Commission to draft an ordinance that would ban political donations from developers whose projects are under review by the city.

The understandable distrust of elected officials was a catalyst of the controversial ballot measure — now called Measure S — that would ban all developments requiring amendments to current zoning and land-use designations, it said. The Times said the initiative would slow the construction of new housing amid a housing crisis.

The board said that banning developers from contributing to politicians might help “defuse” Measure S.

“By banning direct developer contributions, officials can begin, slowly, to remove the pay-to-play perception that has tainted City Hall for so many years,” the editorial reads. [LAT]Cathaleen Chen