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If Your Head Is Spinning On Measure ULA — AKA 'Mansion Tax' — You're Not Alone. Here's Some Help

Graphic of a person's hand placing a ballot in a  ballot box that has the City of Los Angeles seal.
(Dan Carino
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Homelessness is one of the top issues that city officials and advocates are working to tackle through ballot initiatives this election season. One is Measure LH. Another is Measure ULA, also known as the “mansion tax”.

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Understanding Measure ULA

City officials are asking voters whether or not to add a new tax on the sale or transfer of real estate worth over $5 million to help fund affordable housing and tenant assistance programs. Property between $5 million to $10 million would be subject to a 4% tax rate, while property valued at $10 million or more would be taxed at 5.5%.

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So what would happen if voters say yes?

  • The city would impose a new tax on the sale of properties valued at $5 million or more in order to fund affordable housing and homelessness programs. 

What would happen if voters say no?

  • The city would not impose a new tax on property sales of $5 million or more in order to fund affordable housing and homelessness programs.
We’re here to help curious Angelenos connect with others, discover the new, navigate the confusing, and even drive some change along the way.

Proponents of Measure ULA include homeless service providers, affordable housing developers and labor unions who argue the extra funds from such a tax are needed to help reduce the number of people living on the streets. Those against the bill include real estate agents. Opponents argue that L.A. has already voted on other measures to help fund housing and services for the unhoused and they question whether another funding measure is needed.

Neither of the mayoral candidates, Rick Caruso or Karen Bass, have expressed support for Measure ULA. According to the L.A. Times, Caruso and Bass have each made statements saying there needs to be an element of trust in the government’s ability to spend funds on the housing crisis “effectively and efficiently."

I know. I got your head spinning about this measure on the ballot. Read the Voter Game Plan breakdown on Measure ULA to learn more about the history behind it and the potential financial impact.

More Voter Guides

How to evaluate judges

Head to LAist's Voter Game Plan for guides to the rest of your ballot including:

Key Dates to Remember: 

  • Nov. 8: Election Day and deadline to return your vote-by-mail ballot

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As always, stay happy and healthy, folks. There’s more news below — just keep reading.

More headlines

The news you need after you stop hitting snooze.

  • Brace yourself, Angelenos. We’re in the middle of a cold front and we might see some rain (and snow up in the mountains). Expect some travel delays today and Thursday. 
  • Researchers at UC Irvine found out that L.A. County is more at risk for major flooding than was previously thought. Black communities face the largest risk. Researchers pinpoint areas such as Compton, Carson and North Long Beach as being particularly vulnerable..  
  • The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved $47.6 million in payments to settle cases of sheriff’s deputies' alleged misconduct that left four men dead and one paralyzed. 
  • We’ve told you about an early surge of respiratory infections, particularly respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) among children. Now, Orange County officials have declared a health emergency because of its rapid spread. 
  • Sunday’s stampede tragedy that killed over 150 people in Seoul, South Korea hit L.A.’s sizable Korean community hard. The Korean American Federation of Los Angeles opened a memorial Tuesday. The Koreatown Youth and Community Center is considering having a local tribute along with CPR training in case of a similar  emergency in the future. 
  • California dialysis patients like Toni Sherwin fear what could happen to the medical clinics they need with Proposition 29 on the ballot. The prop calls for a  a doctor to always be on-site during treatments, which proponents say would be costly to medical facilities. 
  • With the surge of racism, antisemitism, and right-wing conspiracy theories on Twitter, it’s safe to say that it’s been quite a rollercoaster ride since Elon Musk took over Twitter. Musk’s promises to loosen the rules on accepted speech has caused alarm, especially with midterm elections underway. 
  • Thousands of Delta Air Lines pilots voted to authorize a strike. About 99% of union members who participated in voting were in favor of striking. The last time they negotiated their contracts was in 2016.

The story of Bruce's Beach

Wait! One more thing...How Bruce's Beach was stolen, and how the Black family that owned it got it back.

A person with dark-toned skin reads from a sign marked "Bruce's" at the top/
A person reads a plaque at Bruce's Beach park on April 20, 2021 in Manhattan Beach, California.
(Patrick T. Fallon
AFP via Getty Images)

As a former history teacher, I thoroughly enjoy it when I get to read a longform story on something that I knew very little about. For today’s trip back into the past, I’m taking you to the early 1900s to meet Charles and Willa Bruce, owners of Bruce’s Beach.

You might be familiar with their story by now. The Bruces were a Black couple who moved to L.A. from Albuquerque and opened up a spot on the shore to give Black Californians a place to experience leisure and paradise. Bruce’s Beach was a popular spot for folks to swim, sunbathe and have a bite to eat. It was such a great time it inspired other Black families brought nearby lots.

But, as Hadley Meares wrote in her article about the Bruce Beach’s history, they faced discriminatory policies and racism from white real estate agents and residents, KKK members, the police and Manhattan Beach officials. Eventually, Bruce’s Beach, a safe haven for many Black folks who traveled west for a better life, was taken, rather questionably, through eminent domain for a park that wasn’t built until decades later.

Racism and fear drove the Bruces from that property. But, as you may know by now, nearly 100 years later, descendants of the Bruce family have gotten the land back.

Here’s Kavon Ward, a Manhattan Beach resident who founded Justice for Bruce’s Beach and advocated for its return to the Bruce family.

I have mixed emotions when I'm there. When I'm looking straight ahead at the water and I am feeling that breeze, and I'm listening to the waves crash on the shore, I feel amazing and tranquil. But then I look and see that there's no one who looks like me there. And then I look at the homes surrounding the park. I get angry. Because this could have been the Bruces'. It could have been all these other black people's who bought in that community, and had it stripped away from them.
— Kavon Ward

This is just one story about the difficulties of obtaining generational wealth for Black families and the pain that often comes when racism shuts the door on one’s future in this country. Read more about the history of Bruce Beach’s history here.

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