Santa Monica Lookout
|LUVE Initiative Placed on Santa Monica Ballot||
| By Jonathan Friedman|
July 13, 2016 -- The first step in what likely will be an intense Santa Monica election campaign began rather subdued Tuesday when the City Council voted to place the slow-growth LUVE initiative on the November ballot with limited discussion.
Choices were limited for the council because the grassroot group behind the initiative, Residocracy, collected the required number of signatures so that LUVE either had to be adopted as City law without any adjustments or presented to the voters for a decision.
Since no council member supports LUVE, the first option was never going to happen. Fully aware of this, Residocracy did not have any major player from its organization address the council at the meeting during public comment.
Mayor Tony Vazquez did weigh in.
“I think it just goes against what most of us up here feel is progress,” Vazquez said.
The report, which did not include a recommendation on how the council should vote, said LUVE would lead to various potential negative scenarios, including fewer affordable housing units, more traffic and delays in rebuilding homes after an earthquake.
It also said the initiative could face legal challenges, citing a similar measure recently passed in Malibu that was overturned by a California Superior Court judge. That decision has been appealed ("Santa Monica's LUVE Initiative Not Unique Concept in California," June 27, 2016).
In addition to developments taller than 32 feet, LUVE would require voter approval for all projects with development agreements and any changes to City land-use policies, including amendments to the General Plan and the creation of community plans.
“The voters will approve good plans,” Himmelrich said. “I don’t think [LUVE] is the ideal metric for it. I do think having a voter approval in place at some level, and maybe it’s at the General Plan level, makes projects better.”
Residocracy says LUVE is needed because government officials, including elected leaders, have ignored residents and allowed over-development in Santa Monica.
A statement on the LUVE information section of Residocracy's website says City officials “cater to development interests.”
Significant campaigning is expected from both sides of the issue. Two campaign committees have formed to oppose the measure (“Campaigns Against Santa Monica’s LUVE Initiative Form,” May 25, 2016).
The next few months could be similar to what happened during the RIFT (Residents’ Initiative to Fight Traffic) campaign in 2008.
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