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Highlights: TRD‘s Measure S coverage over the past year

The truth behind the well funded campaign
By Katherine Clarke | March 07, 2017 10:45AM

An October news conference against Measure S(Credit: Jon Endow)

For the past year, Measure S has been the little ballot that could. As voters head to the polls Tuesday, sources say the initiative, once seen as a long shot, has a very real chance of passing.

The measure, once known as the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, would freeze new development that requires General Plan amendments. Projects requesting other zoning variances such as a height district change would only be approved if 100 percent of the units are affordable. In other words, it would have a massive impact on what developers could build all over Los Angeles.

TRD has been following the measure’s progress for more than a year, exploring what it could mean for L.A.’s development pipeline, affordable housing and the city’s outdated planning codes. Here are the highlights.

1. Can Michael Weinstein stop development without compromising his AIDS charity?
Michael Weinstein, the author of the measure and the controversial CEO of the AIDS Healthcare Organization, which is funding the ballot measure, has been a central figure in the Measure S discussion.

2. How did LA’s planning process become such a mess?
We explained the underlying problems with L.A.’s planning process — the issues that gave NII fertile ground to build a movement.

3. In run up to NII vote, developers rush in herds to get entitlements
There’s been a surge in new projects submitted to the city as developers fear their time is running out.

4. If City Council candidates are any indication, Measure S will be a close call
A survey of the positions of City Council candidates showed a nearly equal division between pro- and anti-Measure S candidates.

5. Love it or hate it, Measure S has been one pricey battle
Campaign spending for and against Measure S has been substantial. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation funneled nearly $3 million into the Yes campaign as of March 1, while the No campaign spent a whopping $4.5 million.

6. Real estate industry rallies against Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, now known as Measure S
Real estate interests are almost universally opposed to the measure, from the commercial and nonprofit developers to the construction trades and architectural firms.

7. Measure S watch: Just how much clout do community groups have?
L.A.’s neighborhood councils, which have become a powerful force in local elections, mobilizing voters in their districts to support a measure or shoot it down, are divided over the initiative.

8. Biggest Measure S spenders, AHF and Crescent Heights, happen to be locked in legal battle
The two biggest spenders in the fight – the AIDS Healthcare Foundation  and developer Crescent Heights – are also embroiled in a legal battle over Crescent’s planned Palladium Residences project next to AHF’s Sunset Boulevard headquarters.

9. “Measure S goes too far”: Gov. Jerry Brown
California Gov.Jerry Brown is the highest ranking public official to come out against Measure S.

10. Mayor Garcetti sounds off against Measure S
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said the measure would undermine efforts to house the homeless.