Measure S | Los Angeles Elections | March 7, 2017

Measure S

Increases permit length for water-based businesses


This post contains the personal research of a local LA resident (bio at the bottom). She summed up her own research and is sharing it in the hope that her summary and reasoning helps others make their own decisions about how to vote (rather than just randomly filling in Yes or No).
This post is not sponsored in any way, but it is liberally biased. 

The following measure will appear on the ballot of anyone in the CITY of Los Angeles.

Measure S

My Summary:

If passed, would impose a 2-year ban on new construction that increases development density, such as building high-rises or turning open space into housing. Low-income housing development projects would be excluded from the ban.

Also includes some other new rules for new development, such as requiring better environmental impact reports, retaining parking lot size requirements, prevent changes to area zoning laws, and requiring the city’s general plan be reviewed every 5 years.


My Vote:


More details/Reasoning:

On the surface, the concept behind Measure S is a nice one. Who doesn’t want to retain their neighborhood exactly as it is now?

Having lived in Venice for the last 8 years (and in Santa Monica since I was born), I have personally found the housing changes to the previously grungy/artsy/diverse/quaint beach home area rather unpleasant. Not to mention the increased traffic involved.

However, we cannot deny that the population of LA is growing. It is estimated (by the Southern California Association of Governments) that the population will increase by half a million people over the next two years. And we are going to need somewhere to put them.

There are two paths we can take:

  1. We can vote No on S and continue to build new development (potentially high-rises) to house people in. This will likely alter the character of some areas, and increase traffic. However, the increased availability of rental units will keep rent prices lower and more stable.
  2. Or we can vote Yes on S and restrict all new density-causing development. Despite this, new people continue to pour into the city. Rent prices for the existing homes become more competitive and more expensive. The wealthier new residents can afford to replace old renters that are paying below market price (potentially low-income families, senior citizens, or just long-term locals who have been a vital piece of shaping the area’s character). At this point we must figure out—where will those old renters go? Aaaaand we’re back to the ever-increasing homelessness problem.

So, while I do think it’s important to take steps to retain the character of Los Angeles, protect open spaces for public enjoyment, as well as find better solutions to traffic problems, I don’t think that restricting high-density development cold turkey is the way to do it.

Other little bits and pieces:

The supporters of Measure S will say that another purpose is to prevent billionaire developers from being able to bribe city officials into letting them build whatever, wherever. Opponents of S say that nothing in the Measure actually addresses this problem at all.

Additionally, if Measure S were to pass, the city would lose millions of dollars in revenue (from fees involved in impacted projects), and would have to make severe staffing cuts.

The main piece of this Measure that I do fully like is the requirement to have outside sources perform environmental impact reports of new development. Does seem a bit sketch that they are allowed to hire someone to perform them on their own. But that can be addressed in a different measure in the future.

Measure S is additionally opposed by BOTH the LA Democratic and Republican parties. Which is pretty unusual.

How The Parties Are Voting




Fact Checking

If you have new facts to present, or think I got something wrong, email me at Hint: Nice emails get replies.


Lucy Fairweather

About the author:
Just want to give a little background so you can get a feel for who I am and whether you might be interested in voting similarly to me. I’m a first generation American (English parents), I went to public school in Santa Monica, and later attended UC Berkeley. I’m in my early 30s, currently am a renter in Venice Beach, and own a small business in Los Angeles.

I’ve never been very political, but the election results of 2016 have really compelled me to get informed and involved. In the past I have voted quite liberally, both financially and socially. However, I voted for Hillary in the primaries (rather than Bernie), so I wouldn’t say I’m super far left.

I’m always open to hearing new facts and opinions, as long as they are presented in a respectful manner. So feel free to comment.

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