“Measure S goes too far”: Gov. Jerry Brown

Gov. Jerry Brown
Gov. Jerry Brown

Measure S has a new adversary in California Gov. Jerry Brown.

“I join with all those who say Measure S goes too far,” he said in a statement Thursday.

Brown is the highest ranking public official to have come out against Measure S so far. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and a throng of other city officials have already voiced their opposition to the initiative, which would impose a two-year moratorium on all projects that require a general plan amendment, zoning change, or height limit change.

Measure S proponents said they expected opposition from Brown. The governor has long warned against measures that limit development. Last year, he proposed allowing any residential project that complied with local zoning and set aside as little as 5 percent of its units as affordable to be built “as of right.”

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

“We’re not surprised Gov. Brown has come out swinging against Measure S,” Jill Stewart, campaign director for the Yes on S campaign, told the Los Angeles Business Journal. “We say health and environmental safety must come first – families should not be placed in apartments built on seeping brown fields or jammed next to freeways sitting in an invisible river of toxins. It’s an outrageous position for Gov. Brown.”

If Measure S were to pass in March, Brown could potentially take legislative and legal action to nullify it, experts told The Real Deal in December.

“The legislature can say that planning and zoning powers are a critical state function and that voters cannot restrict the process,” Allan Abshez, a real estate attorney and partner at Loeb & Loeb, said. “[For Measure S] to reach into the function of a city as complicated as Los Angeles and declare an emergency moratorium without showing there is an emergency — that is [taking on] a critical government function.”

Brown could also sue through California’s single subject matter rule for ballot initiatives. Every measure must focus on a single issue so that voters are not confused. It could be argued that Measure S’s goals are too broad for it to qualify as a single subject matter, according to Cox Castle Nicholson partner David Waite. [LABJ]