Santa Monica Lookout Opinion
Latest Effort to Thwart Measure GS Will Fail

April 3, 2024

Dear Editor,

The proposed ballot initiative to amend Measure GS is just the latest desperate effort by developers, landlords and their allies to undo Measure GS, which was approved by Santa Monica voters in 2022 ("Proposed Ballot Initiative Exempts Multi-Family Housing from Transfer Tax," April 1, 2024).

GS was endorsed by Santa Monicans for Renters Rights, the Santa Monica Democratic Club, the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, Santa Monica Forward and numerous others.

Opponents of GS spent more than $500,000 to defeat the measure, but they lost at the polls. They then sued to invalidate GS, but they lost in court. This latest effort, too, will fail.

Santa Monica voters will not be fooled into signing these petitions which seek to take money from our schools, and from rental assistance and affordable housing programs, in order to further enrich greedy developers and landlords.

At a time when the State has upzoned our City without requiring any additional affordable housing, developers certainly can afford to and should pay the GS tax if and when they sell their projects for $8 million or more.

And landlords likewise can and should pay the GS tax when they sell their buildings for $8 million or more, at which point they are no longer the landlord and cannot raise the rents.

The recycled scare tactics being pedaled by disgraced former Mayor Pam O’Connor -- who unlawfully pressured the then City Manager to fire Santa Monica resident Elizabeth Riel because of her political views, in violation of the First Amendment -- will not fool Santa Monica’s voters.

Sue Himmelrich
Santa Monica

(Editor's note: Sue Himmelrich served on the City Council from 2014 to 2022 and as Mayor during her last two years)

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