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L.A. Passes Measure JJJ, The Affordable Housing Mandate

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Sunset over downtown Los Angeles. (Photo by Shadbro Photo via the LAist Feature Photos pool on Flickr)
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Three of the biggest problems facing Los Angeles were on Tuesday's ballot, and the results indicate that Angelenos want to get things fixed. Proposition HHH, which would raise $1.2 billion to build housing for the homeless, and Measure M, which implements a new sales tax hike to fund an enormous expansion of the county's public transportation, both passed with overwhelming majorities. You can also add Measure JJJ to this list, which mandates the creation of affordable housing in L.A.With all precincts reporting, Measure JJJ, also known as Build Better LA, passed with 64% of the vote. JJJ makes it a requirement that developments that require changes to zoning codes (i.e. "typically bigger than what codes allow," according to Curbed) set aside a certain percentage of units available for low-income residents. It also requires these projects to hire workers from the City of Los Angeles, and includes incentives for the developments to be built near public transportation.

"It's really important that we not only have access to housing that's affordable, but also that people are earning good wages and able to live in the housing that they've built," Mariana Huerta Jones of the Alliance for Community Transit told LAist back in May, when JJJ received enough signatures to appear on the ballot. "That's why we want to make sure it's not just about producing and preserving affordable housing, but also making sure that there is access to good jobs."

While it received support from groups like the L.A. County Democratic Party, the ACLU of Southern California and the National Resources Defense Council, backing was mixed from housing advocates. In an editorial, the L.A. Times opposed JJJ, saying it would only increase the cost of construction, and thus limit the amount of affordable housing that will actually be built.

JJJ was a direct response to That Terrible NIMBY Ballot Measure (also known as the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative), which aims to freeze new development in Los Angeles. The NII was originally going to go against JJJ on the November ballot, but it is now on the March ballot. A similar anti-growth measure in Santa Monica, known as Measure LV, was defeated last night.