L.A. Voters Reject Anti-Development Ballot Measure, Give Mayor Second Term

Coral von Zumwalt
Eric Garcetti

Sixty-nine percent of voters opposed Measure S, which would have imposed a two-year moratorium on all major commercial and multifamily residential projects that require a zoning amendment.

Heeding the warnings of an unlikely coalition of labor, business and civic leaders, Los Angeles voters rejected a ballot measure Tuesday that would have slammed the breaks on real estate development projects in L.A. for the next two years.

With 69 percent of voters in opposition, Measure S was voted down in an election marred by extremely low voter turnout. The rejection of Measure S is a huge victory for Mayor Eric Garcetti, who was re-elected to a second term that will see him back in control of City Hall until 2022, unless he opts for a congressional run or a gubernatorial run before his second term is up.  

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. Those changes are required in most large development projects and proponents had hoped to stamp out what are known as “spot zoning” deals. The measure also would have required the city to more frequently update the 35 community plans that make up the general plan.

Garcetti — who was re-elected in a landslide Tuesday along with California Gov. Jerry Brown — the L.A. Chamber of Commerce and the L.A. County Federation of Labor among others all joined forces with real estate developers to fight against the measure.

“This campaign will go down in the record books as one of the most successful campaigns that did not actually win the vote,” Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation and the architect behind Measure S, said in a statement. Weinstein spent millions of his Foundation’s money to build a grassroots coalition.

Weinstein added: “Everyone is now in agreement that developers should not write their own environmental impact reports and not have private communications with city planning commissioners; that we should have updated plans for the city; and that exemptions from zoning rules should be the exception, not the rule.”

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