SAME LA, DIFFERENT VISIONS—On Monday, a coalition of labor and affordable housing advocates delivered petitions signed by nearly 100,000 City of Los Angeles residents who support the Build Better LA initiative going on the November 2016 ballot. A chain of workers in uniform delivered one box at a time directly to the City Clerk's office. The measure would have needed approximately 62,000 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot, but volunteers collected nearly 100,000 signatures total. Volunteers reached thousands of voters through door-to-door outreach, at storefronts, and around transit hubs.
The Build Better LA initiative, which was launched in February 2016, would incentivize developers to create more housing residents can afford near transit, and it will ensure that a percentage of residential units are set aside for low-income residents in Los Angeles on projects that receive discretionary zone changes or General Plan amendments. The initiative also includes a local hire provision that ensures a living wage with good job standards.
"On behalf of the Build Better LA Coalition, we are grateful to the nearly 100,000 Angelenos who signed and have faith that our City can do better. The voters in Los Angeles will soon not only get the opportunity to vote on the future of our country, but they will vote on an initiative that brings housing people can actually afford and good, local jobs they could rely on," said Rusty Hicks, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and convener of Build Better LA.
"Build Better LA is crucial to move LA in the right direction. Too many residents are getting priced out of their homes, and too many are struggling to find a good job. This is an issue that impacts all Angelenos from every corner of our City," said Laura Raymond, Campaign Director for Alliance for Community Transit-Los Angeles and member of the Build Better LA Coalition.
"LA keeps growing, but there is not enough housing that's affordable to keep people in their communities. Build Better LA ensures that more people have access to high-wage jobs and housing that's affordable. It also ensures that the residents who have created such a strong and vibrant Los Angeles can remain in the communities they call home," said José Eduardo Sánchez, Director of Organizing with Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance.
"Growing up in LA, I always assumed that I would continue to live and raise my family here, but with the way rents have skyrocketed, I had no choice but to move away from the City that I called my home. Build Better LA will give me and other hard working people the opportunity to find affordable homes close to work," said Lyn Landers, Sheet Metal Worker with SMART Sheet Metal Local Union 105.
"We believe that every resident in the City of LA should have equal opportunity to not only survive, but to live with dignity and thrive in our communities," said Reverend Oliver Buie, pastor at Holman United Methodist Church and member with ACT-LA.
Through November, the Build Better LA Coalition will continue to speak to every voter in the City of LA to bring a shared vision of healthy, accessible housing and good, local jobs.
(Gabriella Landeros is a spokesperson for Build Better LA.)