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The Real Deal Los Angeles

Mayor Garcetti sounds off against Measure S

Five weeks ahead of the vote, politicians speak out

Mayor Eric Garcetti (credit: LaMayor.org)

L.A.’s elected officials have hit the campaign trail against Measure S — with the election just five weeks away.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said Tuesday during a “No on S” campaign event in Little Tokyo that the ballot proposal would undermine efforts to house the homeless, such as the measure voters passed in November.

He was referring to the $1.2 billion bond initiative, Measure HHH, which passed with 77 percent voter support. “We won’t be able to spend the money that voters authorized,” for homeless housing, Garcetti said at the event. “We won’t be able to find the sites.”

The March 7 ballot measure, previously known as the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, would halt all projects requiring any amendments to the current outdated General Plan, and other zoning rules, for two years. If the city were able to update all its city plans, the moratorium could end sooner. However, city officials say this is impossible, according to the Los Angeles Times. 

The measure would exempt fully affordable projects — but only if they do not require changes to L.A.’s General Plan. Since most of the plan is wildly outdated, most areas are not zoned for apartments, and could not utilize the exemption. Garcetti stressed that affordable housing developers, too, would be prevented from building on land not zoned for homes.

Elsewhere, the same day, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to oppose Measure S, the L.A. Times reported. And at City Hall, Councilman Jose Huizar unveiled plans for updating the city’s community plans. 

Some opponents fear Measure S would push thousands of construction workers into unemployment. Gary Toebben, president and chief executive of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce appeared with Garcetti at the campaign event, and called on city leaders to acknowledge that the lack of up-to-date community plans is a city “emergency.”

“The city, unfortunately, has a track record of saying they’re going to fix something, having a hearing, backing the reform and then it doesn’t happen,” Jill Stewart, campaign manager for Yes on S told the Times. “Because of their disastrous track record, there’s a lack of trust that any of this is going to happen.”

Stewart, whose campaign is largely bankrolled by the West Hollywood-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, also disputed the assertions by Garcetti and others that homeless housing projects are threatened by Measure S.

Opponents of Measure S, she said, “have to say something to stop the fact that we’re ahead and they’re in trouble.” [LAT] — Gabrielle Paluch