By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
L.A. City Measures:
PROPOSITION H: The campaign for Proposition H is about housing — as in, $1 billion worth of affordable-housing initiatives planned for the next 10 years. The home-building industry signed onto the housing bond last year as a way to keep the City Council from approving a plan for “inclusionary zoning” — a proposal that would have required at least 10 percent of every new housing development to serve low- or moderate-income tenants.
The deal immediately allowed city officials to shift the burden from home builders, a group that scored big in the last real estate boom, to home owners, who are being asked to pay at least $50 per year in higher property taxes to fund subsidized housing programs.
Having escaped the prospect of inclusionary zoning, developers have been giving big time to Prop. H, whose proceeds will likely go into the affordable-housing trust fund, which allocates $100 million annually for housing programs. Councilman Eric Garcetti said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa relied heavily on one-time sources of funds to build up the fund this year. “If this doesn’t pass, nobody has any clue where we would get that money right now,” Garcetti said.
Larry Gross, one of the city’s foremost affordable-housing advocates, has given his support to the measure, saying the city needs to do everything possible for low-income families who are being forced from their apartments. But Gross fears that Proposition H will be used to take the council off the hook for other initiatives, such as a temporary ban on conversion of apartments into condominiums.
“We’ve lost 12,000 or so [housing] units in the last five years. This will build 10,000 over 10 years. So at the end of 10 years, if the trends continue, we’ll only be out 10,000 units,” Gross said. “Without a [housing] preservation piece, we’re doomed to failure. We’re not going to build our way out of this crisis.” (David Zahniser)
PROPOSITION J: This one is a no-brainer: Voters six years ago passed Proposition F, which promised to build new fire stations, each of them on two-acre sites. Trouble is, it’s hard to amass that much land in places like Hollywood, where developers are rapidly acquiring land for condominiums, offices and luxury hotels. Prop. J allows the city to build its Prop. F–funded fire station in Hollywood on a site that measures less than two acres, saving money and avoiding especially unpleasant eminent-domain actions. (DZ)
PROPOSITION R: Six members of the Los Angeles City Council will be forced out by term limits in 2009, plus another five in 2011. That could all change with the passage of Proposition R, which would give council members — the ones brought in by term limits in the first place — a shot at a third term. The campaign behind Prop. R dramatically plays down that angle and, in fact, uses veteran pols like former Mayor Richard Riordan, the man who brought term limits to City Hall in the first place, to imply the measure will impose, instead of weaken, term limits. The campaign also packages Prop. R as a clean-government initiative, one that cracks down on lobbyists. What it doesn’t mention is that the council could have approved such measures — not exactly barnburners in the clean-government arena — any time it wanted. (For more, see The Z Files, page 30.) (DZ)
PROPOSITION 1A: TRANSPORTATION FUNDING PROTECTION
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has a package of five measures, and this is the only one that does not ask the voters for more money. Instead, Proposition 1A was crafted to keep the state legislature, and future governors, from taking the $2 billion in sales tax derived from gasoline sales each year and using it to balance the state budget.
The measure alarms critics like departing Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg, who argued that voters are being given yet another opportunity to tie the hands of the people who try to balance the state budget in Sacramento. If the legislature cannot tap gasoline taxes in hard times, lawmakers could be forced to cut the budget for public schools instead, she said.
Because nothing is ever airtight in Sacramento, Proposition 1A does, in fact, allow lawmakers to raid gasoline-sales taxes — funds provided by a 2002 ballot measure, Proposition 42 — twice in each decade. But lawmakers can only take the money a second time if they have already paid back the gas-tax funds that they borrowed on the first go ’round. Go figure. (DZ)
PROPOSITION 1B: HIGHWAY SAFETY, TRAFFIC REDUCTION, AIR QUALITY AND PORT SECURITY BOND ACT OF 2006
The big kahuna of bond measures, Proposition 1B asks voters to approve $19.9 billion to pay for transportation projects — roads, rail, port infrastructure and other public works that are at the heart of the Schwarzenegger investment strategy. Roughly one-fourth of the money would flow to L.A. County’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which would divvy it up according to its own priorities. In other words, get ready for some hissy-ass catfights over Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s subway to the sea, Supervisor Yvonne Burke’s Expo Line extension, and U.S. Rep. David Dreier’s eastern extension of the Metro Gold Line into the San Gabriel Valley. And so on.