It was no secret where Urbanize LA stood on Measure S, the anti-development ballot initiative which L.A. voters rejected yesterday by more than a two-to-one margin.
Proponents of the ballot measure, originally branded as the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, had pushed their initiative as a panacea for City Hall corruption, the housing crisis, Ellis Act evictions, and a variety of other ailments that afflict Los Angeles. It solved none of the above.
Measure S was a referendum on high-density development, and only that. Its early backers masqueraded as crusaders against wealthy developers circumventing the law, while simultaneously mounting legal challenges to the planning process they claimed to support.
Some have cast this election as a referendum on what type of city Los Angeles really wants to be. In big picture terms, that may be true, but resorting to such grandiose language belies the tenuous alliance of strange bedfellows that comprised the No on S coalition.
Market rate developers, affordable housing developers, business advocacy groups, anti-poverty organizations, organized labor and every major political party came together in opposition to Measure S. While it wouldn’t be accurate to assume that all of these groups are unified in their vision for the future of Los Angeles, what is clear is that they understand that doubling down on the path that brought us here is not the best way forward.
Defeating this draconian ballot measure should not be considered a final victory, but merely a jumping off point. We've flirted with disaster, and now it's time for us to forge a brighter future for all Angelenos.
This means finishing the overhaul of L.A.’s zoning code and following through on the promise to update its community plans.
This means creating a planning process that better reflects the needs of underprivileged communities, as persistently documented by Sahra Sulaiman and driven home this past week by Brian Addison.
This means that Los Angeles needs to finally get serious about addressing its housing crisis. Decades of slow growth policies have given us the ignominious title of the nation's least affordable housing market, with a supply shortage so vast that any form of relief seems perpetually out of reach.
This means that we continue to put our best efforts towards tackling homelessness, and using the funds gleaned through Measure HHH - and potentially Measure H - to house and care for our most vulnerable neighbors.
This means that we truly capitalize on the windfall of Measure M by investing in housing and employment opportunities along these new transit corridors to create a future in which Angelenos are not tethered to their cars.
While it's impossible to say exactly what the future holds for Los Angeles, we are confident that it will strike a stark contrast to the idealized but unustainable model of the mid-20th century. Let's start building.