Measure S, the measure that would have restricted major developments in the city of Los Angeles, was overwhelmingly defeated at the polls on Tuesday, prompting a sigh of relief from business groups, developers and affordable housing advocates.
Meanwhile, Measure H, a countywide quarter-cent increase in the sales tax strongly backed by business groups, appeared to be eking out a narrow victory, with support barely exceeding the two-thirds majority needed to pass.
According to election results from the County Registrar-Recorder’s office early Wednesday morning, nearly 69 percent of L.A. city voters rejected Measure S.
The measure’s overwhelming defeat was greeted with relief from business group that campaigned vigorously against the measure.
“Tonight, Los Angeles can breathe a great sigh of relief,” Gary Toebben, chief executive of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement Tuesday evening. “And tomorrow, the coalition that formed to defeat this dangerous initiative will continue advocating to make Los Angeles better - pushing for updated community plans, transparency in government, and the creation of the housing at all levels that Los Angeles needs to truly thrive.”
Measure S would have imposed a two-year moratorium on all major commercial and multifamily residential projects that require a zone or height limit change or an amendment to the city’s general planning document. After that two-year period ends, the measure would have limited the ability to change city zoning and planning rules for development projects. The measure also would have required the city to more frequently update the 35 community plans that make up the general plan. The city had recently taken some steps in that direction.
Supporters said the measure would rein in what they see as a corrupt city planning system in which developers make campaign contributions and get City Council approval for their projects in return. They said this produces developments out-of-scale with neighborhoods and contributes to ever-worsening traffic.
After the measure’s trouncing at the polls, supporters said their campaign changed the debate over development in Los Angeles.
“The Coalition to Preserve LA made history in this campaign,” Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the measure’s key funder, said in a statement Tuesday night. “We not only exposed corruption but we began a process of reform; we built a citywide movement and we planted the seeds of change. Los Angeles will be a better place to live as a result of the Yes on S campaign.”