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Santa Monica Democratic Club Won't Support Slow Growth Ballot Measure HOME ad for NO on LV Initiative link

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Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

September 13, 2016
-- Joining a list of established names in Santa Monica political circles, the city’s Democratic Club voted Monday not to endorse a hotly debated measure on the November 8 ballot that gives voters the final say on most major developments.

At an endorsement session for a wide range of election matters, the organization’s members rejected supporting Measure LV, also known as LUVE, a grassroots initiative that would require voter approval of new buildings taller than 32 feet, with a few exceptions.

Jay Johnson, co-president of the group, said the approximately 100 members voting felt Measure LV was too extreme and unfairly stripped the council of its power to decide the ultimate fate of developments. Seventy percent of the group’s vote was against endorsing the initiative, he said.

“They felt it was too stringent,” Johnson said. “It also removes the authority (over building) from the City Council, who are people the public has trusted to make (those) decisions. Those were the two major reasons.”

The vote, and the reasoning behind it, mirrored the anti-LUVE arguments used by the local League of Women Voters.

Johnson said Monday’s endorsement will be included in campaign material to the 600 people on the Democratic Club’s mailing list.

LUVE was one of only four measures the organization opted not to endorse. The others are three of the 17 statewide ballot measures Californians will decide on November 8.

Rejected for endorsement were Proposition 53, which requires voter approval for revenue bonds above $2 billion; Proposition 65, which earmarks revenue from disposable bag sales to the Wildlife Conservation Fund, and Proposition 66, regarding death penalty procedures.

All Santa Monica ballot measures except LV were endorsed by the group.

They are Measure GS and GSH, which seek to split about $16 million from a proposed one-half percent transactions and use tax between schools and affordable housing; Measure SM, which tries to toughen the anti-corruption law known as the Oaks Initiative, and Measure V, a proposed $345 million bond for Santa Monica College.

Countywide measures for a half-cent sales tax hike for expanding the public transit network and more funding to help the homeless also were endorsed.

In addition, the Democratic Club voted to endorse Anastasia Foster and Caroline Torosis for Rent Control Board.

But Measure LV has garnered the most attention in Santa Monica this election season.

Sponsored by Residocracy, a grassroots slow-growth group, LUVE’s backbone of support comes from neighborhood groups and community watchdog organizations.

Supporters think the City’s plans for more development will cost Santa Monica its small-town charm and worsen gridlock ("Santa Monica LUVE Initiative Qualifies for November Ballot," June 1, 2016).

Opponents of LUVE say it would halt the construction of much-needed housing, as well as public facilities ("LUVE Could “Undermine Community’s Vision for Santa Monica’s Future,” Government Staff Report Says," July 8, 2016).

The City Council generally opposes LUVE as too severe, including the four incumbents facing re-election -- Tony Vazquez, Ted Winterer, Gleam Davis and Terry O’Day. The Democratic Club voted last Thursday to endorse all but O’Day.

Developers are weighing in to defeat Measure LV with contributions to two opposition campaigns.

NMS Properties, one of Santa Monica's largest housing developers, has contributed $225,000 so far to Housing & Opportunity for a Modern Economy (HOME), which was started to help defeat the LUVE measure ("Santa Monica Housing Developer Donates $125,000 to Oppose LV," September 12, 2016).

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