Wed, Apr

Build Better LA Scores Big: Exceeds Required Ballot Measure Signatures by Thousands


VOICE OF THE PEOPLE--The Los Angeles City Clerk's office has verified that a ballot initiative sponsored by Build Better LA has qualified, with a whopping 94,238 signatures that have been obtained -- far more than the 61,487 valid signatures required. Voters can expect to see the Affordable Housing and Labor Standards Ballot Measure on the ballot at the November 8 election, unless the City Council adopts the proposed ordinance, without alteration, within the next three weeks, as allowed by Charter Section 452. However, Build Better LA references the November election in their press release announcing the validation of the signatures. (Photo above: Training for BBLA signature gatherers.) 

The decision to be made now is either to go to the public for an up or down vote on November 8, or to let a majority of the LA City Council members vote the proposal into a law that can be signed by the Mayor. Will it be a few voices at City Hall, or thousands of voices at the ballot box? That is the choice. The decision must be made within the next three weeks by the City Council. 

The measure would incentivize developers to create more housing that residents can afford near transit, and to 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 measure also includes a local hire provision that ensures a living wage with good job standards. It’s sponsored by Build Better LA, a coalition of business, labor, affordable housing and community leaders. 

"City of LA residents agree that the City is getting more and more expensive to live in each day. By having our proposal on the November ballot, Angelenos will have the best possible chance to vote on a measure that brings housing people can actually afford and good, local jobs they could rely on. Build Better LA puts our City on a path to a brighter future," said Rusty Hicks, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and convener of Build Better LA. 

Another ballot measure, the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, being driven by Campaign Director Jill Stewart and underwritten by Michael Weinstein and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, is being circulated by the Coalition to Preserve LA, which hopes to have it before voters at the March 2017 elections. 

It’s a simple three-point ballot measure attacking the current system with these key objectives: (1) it stops developers from hiring consultants to do their own EIR (Environmental Impact Report). The city would hire the consultants, but developers would continue to pay for them; (2) it prevents developers from making huge slashes in the parking requirements for their projects; (3) it calls for a two-year “time out” on all developments that do not conform to the city’s zoning. 

Both measures relate to the affordable housing crisis and zoning, two important issues that need as much public discourse as possible. This is why having them on the November and March ballots so important.


(Tim Deegan is a long-time resident and community leader in the Miracle Mile, who has served as board chair at the Mid City West Community Council and on the board of the Miracle Mile Civic Coalition. Tim can be reached at [email protected].) Photo: LA Times. Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.

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