Santa Monica Lookout
|Opposition to Santa Monica LUVE Measure Raises Nearly $1 Million||
By Jonathan Friedman
September 30, 2016 -- It won’t be known until November who wins the battle for LUVE, the proposal appearing on the ballot as Measure LV that calls for voters to have the final say on a significant number of construction projects and planning documents. But the opposition has already clinched the fundraising victory.
The two LUVE opposition groups, which are conducting separate campaigns, have raised a combined total of just under $947,000 through September 29, according to disclosure statements submitted to the City this week.
Residocracy, the activist group that wrote LUVE, has raised a little more than $46,000.
Opposition groups Santa Monica Forward and Housing and Opportunity for a Modern Economy (HOME) are doing their fundraising in different ways.
While Forward has received money from nearly 170 contributors, HOME has eight sources -- three of them giving the vast majority of the cash.
The majority of the contributors who combined to give Forward more than $585,000 were residents who gave not much more than $100 each.
But Forward's dollar figure reached as high as it did thanks to much larger contributions from a small number of groups -- mostly property owners, but not necessarily those who have development proposals in the queue.
Among the top contributors are property owners Hudson Pacific Properties with $49,000 and Belle Vue Plaza with $49,000, Miramar Hotel owner Ocean Avenue LLC with $49,000, the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce with $25,000 and Santa Monica Place owner Macerich with $15,000.
All but a small sum of HOME’s fundraising total of a little over $363,000 comes from three developers with property interests in Santa Monica -- NMS Properties with $225,000, Century West Partners with $75,000 and the owner of the proposed mixed-use project at 525 Colorado Avenue.
There is a wide discrepancy with how much the two opposition campaigns have spent. HOME has used more than $206,000 of its money while Forward is holding onto most of its cash--only spending a little under $57,000 so far.
Residocracy has numerous contributors to its pro-LUVE campaign. Like Forward, most of its donors gave money in lower amounts.
Among the top contributors are Los Angeles real estate investor Ishak Bibawi with $5,000, Venice businessman Mark Sokol with $5,000 and retiree Thomas Epley with $3,135.
Residocracy has spent about $34,000.
The current state of affairs on the fundraising and spending likely reminds political observers of the RIFT imitative in 2008, another proposal that went before Santa Monica voters in an attempt to curb development.
Development interests greatly outspent supporters that year, and RIFT was defeated.
Although RIFT had a similar goal to LUVE, its supporters are not necessarily the same. Some of the names have changed because of the passage of time, with people leaving the political scene and others entering it in the past several years.
But some former RIFT supporters are not attracted to LUVE for various reasons. Among them is City Councilmember Ted Winterer, who was a major force in the pro-RIFT campaign, but opposes LUVE.
Another campaign that has attracted money, although not nearly the same amount as the one for LUVE, is the campaign for Measures GS and GSH.
GS calls for a local half-cent sales tax and GSH is a non-binding proposal designating the tax revenue to schools and affordable housing.
There are two campaigns supporting the related measures. One has raised $52,655. Another funded by Councilmember Sue Himmelrich has spent $3,485 and has received over $12,000 in services that it is expected to pay soon.
No organized group has raised money to oppose the measures, although people did sign their name to opposition arguments that will appear on the ballot (“Opponents Call Santa Monica Tax Measure ‘Growth Stimulating Hormone,’ Supporters Disagree,” August 24, 2016).
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