February 16, 2017
By Danny J. Bakewell, Jr
“Measure S is bad for our community,” said Council President Herb Wesson and councilmembers Marquece Harris-Dawson and Curren Price.
For years, residents of South Los Angeles have been promised a reinvestment into their community. Now that the Expo Line is complete, the Crenshaw Line is fully underway and major projects which must have local and minority participation are about to begin at LAX, anti-growth and anti-development proponents are pushing a No Construction initiative called Measure S.
This ballot measure would completely stop any construction within the city of Los Angeles for the next 2 years. Many within the community think that it is ironic that no one complained when the revitalization of Downtown Los Angeles was under way. No one argued that there was too much growth when the city invested millions of dollars to completely renovate Hollywood and Highland and all of Hollywood, but now that the majority of plans in process are along Crenshaw and other major corridors in South LA people are saying “There is too much growth and we need to STOP”.
Both the city and county of Los Angeles have a major homeless problem. Measure S would completely put a stop to the building of any type of low or affordable housing for veterans, seniors, the homeless or those just wanting to improve the quality of the housing stock in the community for at least the next 3 years.
Members of the Build Better LA Coalition spoke out against the upcoming Measure S ballot initiative last week and said it would hurt affordable housing and jobs in the city.
“Last year, L.A. voted on good, local jobs. Measure S would cut off those opportunities for apprentices, who need the on-the-job training as part of their education. It will also be detrimental to residents looking for work,” said Rusty Hicks, executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO.
Majority minority communities like South Los Angeles, The Crenshaw Corridor, Inglewood, Compton and Watts are all undergoing major revitalization. “Some people want to call investment in our community gentrification, but the truth is a lot of families still own their properties and eliminating any opportunity to build, remodel or renovate these properties would only reduce the value of the property not enhance it” stated Jamie Potter a local African American Contractor who’s worked on a number of projects in South LA including the Crenshaw Line.
Measure S supporters argue that spot zoning encourages cozy relationships between developers and City Hall, and that those developers often get their spot zoning requests granted after making hefty political donations. But those advocating against Measure S simply state, “our communities need jobs, we need construction, we need housing and retail services which have long been denied to many of the communities of color. We already are the last community to get any type of reinvestment and now that the city has committed resources to our community those people who don’t own property in the community, or have not been here in this community want to bring everything to a screeching halt.”
There are billions of dollars being invested into impoverished areas. Some of the people pushing for Measure S want to say that there are no promises for the hiring of African Americans or other local residents and that this measure would help insure that we get our fair share. But this is simply throwing the baby out with the bath water. We need to demand we get our equal share of the jobs, the development opportunities and the opportunity to own and operate the businesses that come from these construction projects, but to just say stop and do nothing will not empower anyone and only create more slum and blight, create no jobs, and reduce the value of real estate within our community even more.
Mayor Eric Garcetti has come out against Measure S and said it would hurt the city’s ability to construct housing for the homeless because the units sometimes require general plan amendments.
The Los Angeles Sentinel encourages everyone to Vote NO on Measure S. “It’s easy to say STOP but the question is, what do we say GO to?