It has been clear on this page where we stand on Measure S, the so-called Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, but with the election this week we feel the need to reiterate, in unequivocal terms, what a bad idea it is.
Measure S represents a regressive, anti-development strain running through narrow portions of the city. That it cannot stand on its merits or bear the scrutiny that comes with reasoned debate is made clear by the frankly reprehensible campaign its proponents have run.
Led by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which appears to have put the self-interest of its office staff ahead of its true mission of helping people in need, the campaign has used scare tactics and misrepresentation to make its case to a largely unsuspecting public. It was bad enough that it falsely purported to have the support of Mayor Eric Garcetti, an ardent foe of the measure. But it then doubled down with a mailer designed to leave the impression it was coming from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, one meant to dupe residents into thinking they were being evicted – and that only support of Measure S would bail them out of that dire predicament.
Measure S will not save people from eviction. Quite the contrary. It will drive the cost of housing up in Los Angeles at a time when we are badly in need of more affordable options and lead to a halt in construction projects that provide good middle-class jobs. Measure S should be voted down emphatically.
If there is an area in which we are willing to shell out a little more, it is in supportive services for the homeless.
Measure H will do that through a quarter-cent sales take in the county that might generate more than $300 million a year for the next decade.
Homelessness is this region’s great stain. Measure HHH, approved by voters in the city of Los Angeles in November, provided for the money needed to address the housing side of that problem.
Housing is a step in the right direction – necessary and humane. But housing alone cannot address the underlying causes of homelessness, from addiction to mental illness to an inability to recover from financial calamity. We owe the homeless more than shelter – we owe them an opportunity to be able to address the problems that put them on the street so they can get on their feet.
Measure H is the next step in the equation.
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