City of Los Angeles residents have the opportunity to vote for or against three citywide ballot measures Tuesday, November 7th.
PROPOSITION H — Affordable Housing General Obligation Bonds.
The question before voters is whether the City of Los Angeles shall issue $1 billion in bonds to “provide safe, clean affordable housing for the homeless and those in danger of becoming homeless, such as battered women and their children, veterans, seniors and the disabled; assist first time homebuyers; provide low income working families safe and affordable rental housing.”
The issuing of bonds would be accompanied by independent citizen oversight, mandatory annual financial audits and prosecution for criminal misuse of funds.
Those in favor of Proposition H, such as Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the Los Angeles City Council, say that affordable housing is scarce in Los Angeles.
Other supporters include Erin Rank, president and chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles; Pat McOsker, president of United Firefighters of Los Angeles City; Robert Erlenbusch, executive director of the Coalition to End Hunger & Homelessness;
Mary Leslie, president of the Los Angeles Business Council; David Fleming, of the San Fernando Valley Economic Alliance; retired minister Reverend Cecil L. Murray; Maria Elena Durazo, of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor;
Maynard W. Brown, 2006 Junior Achievement Teacher of the Year; Marlene Savage; Jay H. Goldberg; LAPD police chief William J. Bratton; and Vivian G. Ramirez, executive director of L.A. Family Housing.
Local statistics indicate that more than 88 percent of city residents cannot afford to buy a median-priced home. A family would need to earn more than $100,000 to buy such a home in the city.
Rental housing is unaffordable by federal standards if a family spends more than 30 percent of its income on rent and almost half of city renters spend more than 41 percent of their income on rent.
The $1 billion in bond funds would be placed in the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to be used as follows:
– $250 million to help working families buy their first home;
– $350 million to build rental housing affordable to low-income working families;
– $250 million to build housing for homeless people; and
– $150 million to be allocated for rental or homeless housing based on future needs.
A citizen committee and an administrative oversight committee would monitor how funds are spent and would receive an annual independent audit.
Proposition H is a bond measure, and such measures would need to be approved by a two-thirds vote.
Opponents of the measure include Jon Copula, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association; Richard Close, president of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association; Joel Fox, president of the Small Business Action Committee; Ernest Dynode, president of United Organizations of Taxpayers Incorporated; and real estate broker Walter Moore.
“To build more affordable housing, city politicians will make it more expensive to own a home in Los Angeles,” the opponents said. “If Measure H passes, homeowners’ tax bills will go up to subsidize those who, in some cases, have not yet arrived in Los Angeles.”
Los Angeles homeowners currently pay for four Los Angeles Unified School District bonds, two Los Angeles Community College District bonds, bonds for police facilities and the Los Angeles Zoo, several assessments for parks and a county parcel tax to maintain trauma centers in addition to the local property tax.
PROPOSITION J — Technical Changes for Proposition F Regional Fire Stations.
The issue before voters is whether Proposition F (approved in November 2000) shall be changed to allow regional fire stations to be built on one or more sites totaling less than two acres, instead of requiring a single two-plus acre site if the Los Angeles City Fire Department decides that the station can be built to fully meet operational needs.
Proposition F provided funds for new standard fire stations and regional fire stations. A regional station has both a standard fire station and a training facility, traditionally located on a single two-acre site.
The measure would allow the fire department and city engineer to build the training facility of a regional station on a separate site if necessary.
The total site could be less than two acres if the fire department confirms that the needs of the fire department and public safety are fully met.
A two-thirds vote is needed for the measure to pass. No argument against this measure was submitted to the Office of the City Clerk.
Proposition J supporters include Los Angeles City Councilmen Eric Garcetti and Tom LaBonge, Los Angeles City Fire Chief William R. Bamattre, Chief Officers Association president John P. Miller and Pat McOsker, president of United Firefighters of Los Angeles City.
CHARTER AMENDMENT AND ORDINANCE PROPOSITION R — Councilmember Term Limits of Three Terms; City Lobbying, Campaign Finance and Ethics Laws.
The question before voters is whether the City Charter shall be amended and a new ordinance be adopted to change councilmember term limits to three terms; restrict lobbyists from making campaign contributions or gifts and becoming commissioners; revise lobbyist registration thresholds; require contractors to certify compliance with lobbying laws; extend elected officials’ post-employment restrictions; require ethics training; and revise requirements for independent expenditures and campaign communications.
This measure would become effective with a majority vote.
“Our city government needs reform,” say the measure’s supporters. “Proposition R has tough new ethics reforms and term limits that will make city government more honest, effective and accountable to voters. It will reduce the power and influence of special interests and their paid lobbyists.
“That’s why the League of Women Voters of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce initiated this reform.”
Those in favor of Proposition R include Liza White, president of the League of Women Voters of Los Angeles; Richard Riordan, former mayor of Los Angeles; Noah Modisett, co-founder of Citywide Alliance of Neighborhood Councils of Los Angeles; Elise Buik, president and chief executive officer of the United Way of Greater Los Angeles;
David Nichols, chairman of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce; Raphael Sonenshein, political science professor; Pat McOsker, president of United Firefighters of Los Angeles City; and John W. Mack.
Other supporters include Cecilia Nunez; Joe Turner; Gary Toebben, president of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce; Ed Avila, of the Alliance for a Better Community; Pat McOsker, president of the United Firefighters of Los Angeles City; and Willis Edwards, an NAACP national board member.
“The people of Los Angeles have been cheated,” said city attorney Rocky Delgadillo, of Measure R.
He said the measure weakens current ethics laws, places the city in legal peril and is misleading to voters.
“If you believe in open, transparent government, if you believe in strong ethics rules that limit powerful lobbyists and if you believe politicians must be honest with voters, reject Measure R,” say the proposition’s opponents.
They say the measure was written by lobbyists, will hide lobbyists from public view until after they win favors for a client and throws transparency out the window.
“Measure R doesn’t say what it really does: lengthen city council term limits,” opponents say. “Politicians think voters will only approve an extension if it’s hidden in ethics reforms. Why not just be honest and ask voters for another term?”
Opponents said the Los Angeles City Council “rushed to approve Measure R for the ballot only hours after receiving it, just to keep their jobs for four more years.”
They claim the City Council rejected the city attorney’s legal advice, refused to allow the Ethics Commission to review the proposal, denied the public the same chance to be heard at the Chamber of Commerce, and inadequately notified Neighborhood Councils as the City Charter requires.
Opponents of Proposition R include Jeff Jacobberger, a Neighborhood Council Review Commission member; Pat Herrera Duran, former vice president of the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners; Humberto Camacho, a Pico Union Neighborhood Council member; Richard Close, president of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association; Julian Rogers, chair of the Empowerment Congress of the Southeast Area Neighborhood
Jason Lyon, former co-chair of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council; A.J. Mora, a pastor and board member of the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council; Anthony Butka, a member of the League of Women Voters of Los Angeles; Soledad GarcÌa, a Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council board member; and Jill Banks Barad, chair of the Valley Alliance of Neighborhood Councils.
Other opponents include Greg Nelson, retired general manager of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment; Cindy Cleghorn, chair of the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council; Edwin Ramirez, president of the Pacoima Neighborhood Council; Robert Lamishaw, past president of the Mid Valley Chamber of Commerce;
William J. Murray, president of Los Angeles Community Policing; Bennet S. Kayser, chair of the Committee on a More Responsive City Government with an Involved Citizenry, Elected Charter Reform Commission; Frank Wada, Lincoln Heights Neighborhood Council board member; and Heinrich V. Keifer, former president of the Highland Park Chamber of Commerce.