L.A. County Measure H
This quarter-cent sales tax increase will generate $350 million per year to fund the case management services necessary to get homeless people into the housing that last fall’s $1.2-billion affordable housing bond is expected to create. One doesn’t work without the other. Vote Yes on Measure H.
L.A. City Measures M & N
Measure M empowers the city to tax and regulate recreational marijuana; Measure N would enact different rules written by Big Weed. Vote Yes on Measure M and No on Measure N.
L.A. City Measure S
If Los Angeles could take a page from the Trump playbook and build a wall to keep Midwestern cultural refugees from moving here, Measure S would be a great idea. But in the real world, curtailing new construction in the middle of a crisis-level housing shortage is bad policy. Rents are already so high that some natives can’t afford to stay here, and reducing supply in the face of increased demand will make rents go up. Measure S would address several bad city policies and stop bad projects that are out-of-scale with their surroundings, but it would also halt the necessary conversion of surplus light-industrial or commercial zones into high-density residential areas.
What L.A. needs most is more affordable housing, but even new luxury housing can have a positive impact. All those Westside tech workers have to live somewhere, and it’s not going to be Cleveland. While pricey apartments in Playa Vista may seem like they’re making everything more expensive, they’re actually taking market pressure off existing nearby neighborhoods. Preventing zoning changes for large projects would likely redirect developer dollars into exploiting existing zoning rules that already allow for converting single-family homes into small apartment buildings, doubling down on urban sprawl. Vote No on Measure S.
Mayor of Los Angeles
Mayor Eric Garcetti has had a pretty good run so far, and in this 11-way race he’s the only candidate with the vision and experience to do even better by the residents of a city he so clearly loves. Vote for Eric Garcetti.
Los Angeles City Council
Venice neighborhood activists Mark Ryavec and Robin Rudisill may be big-time underdogs against council incumbent Mike Bonin, but don’t dismiss the concerns of their supporters. Ryavec embodies the anger and frustration of homeowners dealing with quality of life issues created by a pattern of negligence by L.A. City Hall that predates its current occupants. Rudisill embodies righteous indignation about new development — not so much the big projects addressed by Measure S, but the widespread loss of community character one small parcel at a time.
Only Bonin, however, has demonstrated the combination of temperament, empathy and political knowhow required to balance competing interests while crafting broad-minded solutions to a wide array of issues, from combating homelessness in Venice to reversing LAX expansion into Westchester. Vote for Mike Bonin.
LAUSD Board of Education
This is the toughest call on Tuesday’s ballot, and fortunately that’s because it forces us to choose among three really solid candidates: Allison Holdorff Polhill, Nick Melvoin and current LAUSD Board President Steve Zimmer.
Zimmer is a responsive public servant who makes a compelling case for a third term. He helped navigate LAUSD out of the darkest days of state budget cuts, and he’s confronted brutal competition for limited resources among Westsiders without losing sight of what’s best for kids. We applaud his service.
But Melvoin’s candidacy is also part of LAUSD’s legacy during Zimmer’s tenure. The Harvard and Loyola Marymount University graduate was a middle school teacher in Watts when the recession hit and, like so many other bright young teachers, lost his job to seniority-based teacher layoffs. Now he works as an education consultant and adjunct faculty member at LMU.
Massive outside political spending (much of it benefitting Melvoin) has sought to recast this election as a fight between charter groups and the teacher’s union over the political balance of the LAUSD board. But Melvoin is no puppet. He promises to pursue a middle path of seeking compromise between charters and the union in order to move past the status quo of rigid ideological loyalties that have dominated board politics for the worse. “If unions don’t get on board with some reform,” Melvoin told us, “the [political] right is going to come with a battle axe after us” — which is exactly how charter advocates have been able to gain as much traction as they already have.
We wish both Zimmer and Melvoin could represent Westside voters on the LAUSD Board, and we hope both advance to a runoff in May so we’ll have more time to compare and contrast them. But there’s only one way that can happen. Vote for Nick Melvoin.