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Monthly Poll Shows Overwhelming Opposition to Homeless Housing Project


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By Jorge Casuso

May 1, 2024 -- A monthly poll of "civically engaged" Santa Monica residents found that more than 80 percent oppose the construction of a $1 million per unit apartment building for the homeless.

The Santa Monica Pulse survey of about 120 residents -- taken between April 26 and 30 -- also found overwhelming support continues for a proposed statewide ballot initiative that would increase penalties for drug and theft-related crimes.

Meanwhile, a slim majority supports a Superior Court decision outlawing multi-family buildings on single-family lots, according to the poll conducted by Eyes on 11, a hotel union watchdog.

An overwhelming percentage of respondents -- 83 percent -- opposed the construction of a 122-unit apartment building for the homeless on City land Downtown.

Twelve percent approved of the project -- which will be financed with Federal, State and County funding, loans, tax credits and tax-exempt bonds -- while 5 percent were not sure.

Unanimously approved by the City Council last month, the five-story development at the former site of Parking Structure 3 Downtown is projected to cost $123,091,277 ("Council Approves $1 Million Per Unit Homeless Housing Project," April 10, 2024).

The eye-popping cost makes it one of the most expensive affordable housing projects in the nation, the poll noted.

The poll also found that 52 percent of respondents support a decision by an LA County Superior Court judge last month that found a California law allowing multi-family buildings on single-family lots was unconstitutional.

Thirty-four percent opposed the judge's decision, while 14 percent were unsure.

The law --SB9 -- allows lots zoned for a single-family home to be split into two lots with two homes each without requiring a public process.

Signed by Governor Gavin Newsom days after surviving a recall election in September 2021, the law became a deeply divisive issue ("Judge Rules Controversial Housing Law Unconstitutional," April 24, 2024).

Affordable housing advocates and developers view it as a way of addressing California's housing crisis, while slow-growth advocates predict it will destroy single-family neighborhoods.

Meanwhile, an overwhelming number of Santa Monica residents -- 80 percent -- said they would vote for the Homelessness, Drug Addiction, and Theft Reduction Act ("Reforms to Prop 47 Likely Headed for Ballot," April 18, 2024).

Eight percent said they would oppose the measure, while 12 percent were unsure. The results reflect the response to the same question posed in the poll taken two months ago.

The measure -- which is expected to qualify for the November statewide ballot after garnering more than 900,000 signatures -- would impose harsher penalties for those engaged in the trafficking of hard drugs and for repeat offenders of drug possession.

It also allows those with two prior convictions for theft to be charged with a felony, regardless of the value of the stolen property.

The initiative would make major changes to Prop 47, a justice reform measure approved by California voters in 2014 that reclassified certain non-violent felonies as misdemeanors, including drug possession and all thefts under $950.

The proposed measure -- which is backed by County prosecutors, law enforcement and small businesses -- is receiving pushback from liberal Democrats in the California Assembly, who have proposed a package of alternative bills that leave Prop 47 intact.

The proposed ballot measure will likely prove a divisive issue in Santa Monica, where voters approved Prop 47 with nearly 79 percent of the vote but have been increasingly vocal about crime and homelessness.

As with previous polls, the latest Pulse poll was sent via text to about 1,000 Santa Monica residents who "previously opted in to receive more information on education efforts surrounding crime and safety in their city." It had a 12 percent response rate.

Those who wish to be included in the next poll should email their name and cell phone number to

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