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The Fight Over Measure S Ramps Up Two Weeks Before Vote

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L.A. is a week and a half away from voting on a ballot measure that may prove definitive for the growth (or stunting) of the city in coming years. We're talking, of course, about Measure S (a.k.a. That Terrible NIMBY Ballot Measure).

For those of you just joining us, Measure S has become something of a flashpoint in the very (VERY) complex issue that is housing and development in L.A. In its basic form, Measure S calls for a two-year moratorium "on construction that increases development density" in the city, notes Ballotpedia. Namely, it would stop most developments that would require an amendment to the general plan. Proponents argue that such a block would halt developers from displacing residents from their homes, would stop the "Manhattanization" of Los Angeles, and fight ballooning rents throughout the city. Meanwhile, opponents argue that the measure, in the long term, would do the exact opposite: keep rents high by blocking a new housing supply from being built. It's a heated argument, and we haven't even touched the topics of gentrification or Michael Weinstein. For a more in-depth look at the ballot measure, check out our breakdown of its effects.

With campaign efforts on both sides ramping up ahead of the March 7 election, we thought it would be helpful to give you, our fair reader, a rundown of some of those recent developments:

Governor Jerry Brown Comes Out Against Measure S
“I join with all those who say Measure S goes too far,” Gov. Brown wrote in a statement released on Thursday. At a Boyle Heights event that same day, city councilmember Jose Huizar noted the rarity of a sitting governor taking a stance on a local ballot measure. “He certainly sees the devastation … that will happen should it pass,” Huizar said.

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L.A. City Councilmember Jose Huizar Cites The Devestation Measure S Will Wreak On The City's Latino Community
“The backers of Measure S want to shut down development no matter what, and they’re willing to cut jobs and raise rents to do it,” the councilman said in a statement emailed to LAist. “In just the past few months, Los Angeles has demonstrated that we can build the housing we need and create sensible, transparent planning reform—first by winning the support of 76% of Angeleno voters for Prop HHH, then by funding the city council’s commitment to overhauling its community plans on a timely basis. Now it’s time to say no to a destructive proposal that would stop our housing with no benefit to our plans.”

“For a generation, Los Angeles has failed to build enough housing at every level,” Margarita Amador, a board member of the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council, added. “Today we have too few vacant apartments, giving landlords the freedom to charge sky-high rents and giving us the least affordable housing in the United States. With no new homes available, wealthy buyers move into neighborhoods like Highland Park, Echo Park and Boyle Heights that were once home to working-class and immigrant communities. Measure S will drive more evictions and more displacement. Vote no, and let’s continue to build the affordable housing we need.”

The Los Angeles Times Comes Out Strongly Against Measure S
In two articles published Friday, the Times not only restated their "No On S" stance in lieu of some very misleading "Yes On S" mailers, but also took an uncompromising look at Michael Weinstein (re: the father and sugar daddy of Measure S).

The report revealed the extent to which Weinstein's nonprofit, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, is bankrolling Measure S, as well as the organization's legal challenges to developments around town. When the Times asked Weinstein to comment, he responded “Whatever we’re doing is between us and our lawyers".

Leading Eviction Defense Attorney Elena Popp Wrote An Op-Ed Supporting Measure S
The piece appeared on The Eastsider on Thursday.

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"Measure S will help save our neighborhoods by forcing City Hall to update the General Plan and our Community plans, and creating more transparency in the process of approving developments," Popp wrote. "This includes requiring all environmental impact reports be done by independent reviewers, not by the developers themselves. ...Measure S will rein in unbridled greed, start the process of fixing our broken and rigged planning system, and hold our elected officials at City Hall accountable."

Whatever your stance on Measure S is, be sure to get to the polls on March 7 and vote.