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Santa Monica Traffic Initiative is Now Prop T

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Photo by shadowhound via Flickr

At their request (or so they say in an e-mail), the Santa Monica Coalition and its Residents Initiative to Fight Traffic got their ballot proposition to be "T." Now they can have catchy slogans relating Prop T to Traffic.

Prop T, which will be voted on in November by Santa Monicans, would amend the land use element of Santa Monica's general plan "to establish an annual limit on commercial development" within the city until 2023. The working theory is that traffic can't increase much if new jobs aren't made available in new developments. These days, the city's traffic is pretty gridlocked and it's hard to imagine it getting worse. Opponents say that growth is inevitable, future planning must be smart and that if passed, it will damage the city for years to come.

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Below is the proponent's full e-mail blast. Take it for what it's worth:

Sent out Monday, August 18, 2008

Dear supporter, It's official. "RIFT" is now Proposition "T". "T" as in "traffic." We asked to be assigned that letter because we know that Prop T will reduce the amount of new traffic on our already congested streets by limiting new commercial development (office, hotel, and retail).

Our city's own traffic consultant says we can't fit any more cars on our gridlocked streets.

Yet our city has refused to set any annual limits on commercial development. None -- even while admitting that commercial development causes most of our traffic!

And more development is coming. Lots more. Our City Council just voted to INCREASE new building heights on all our major boulevards from Wilshire to Pico to as high as six stories tall!

We need Prop T to put modest limits on development. Developers want NO LIMITS on development and so will be spending huge amounts of money to defeat us.

Developers (some from San Francisco and Beverly Hills) and people who work for developers have contributed 99% of the money to the opposition group against Prop T.

They're going to hire experienced political operatives to craft the misleading and deceptive messages we're about to be bombarded with until Election Day. Their campaign, not grounded in any facts, is that somehow cutting traffic growth will hurt our most vulnerable residents - children, renters and the elderly.

It's utter nonsense; the old-school politics of fear. And they will lose.

The truth is that Prop T will effectively pace and control development without significantly impacting the city's robust $500 million budget.

The city's own study on Prop T says as much. The measure will have a $9.2 million effect on city revenue - and not until 2023. Since our city's projected budget will be over a $1 billion by then, this means RIFT will affect revenue by less than one percent. Not bad, considering the same city study showed development would be cut by 40%.

A 40% cut in commercial development while affecting revenue by less than 1%.

But don't take our word for it. The city attorney's impartial ballot analysis on Prop T makes NO FINDING of a financial impact on city revenues. None. The purposes of such an analysis is to warn voters of an initiative's financial consequences. This impartial analysis finds none.

Santa Monica is a relatively rich city, with many revenue streams. We don't need to give developers the keys to our city in order to have first class schools, parks, police and firefighters.

Join us and save this beach community we love from over-development and the traffic it brings.

If you haven't already, please volunteer to help our effort by calling 310*452*RIFT (7438). And please make a donation. We're going to need funds to fight the misinformation that's going to be thrown at us.

For more information or to donate online visit: http://www.YesPropT.com.

Thank you,

Victor Fresco, Susan Giesberg, Diana Gordon, Sherrill Kushner, Jeff Segal
Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City