Backers of an initiative mandating that more affordable housing and local jobs be included in new large-scale developments in Los Angeles began a signature-collection drive Saturday aimed at qualifying for the November ballot.
Organizers of the Build Better LA Coalition launched their campaign in downtown Los Angeles, speaking to hundreds of potential voters. They need 64,000 signatures to qualify for the November 8 ballot. The Build Better LA initiative would place new requirements on any development project that requires a change in zoning rules. It would require developers to include a percentage of affordable housing units in such projects. It also seeks to ensure that a certain percentage of construction jobs go to local residents, or those who have graduated from a “joint labor management apprenticeship training program.”
“Low wages put many Angelenos in a competitive disadvantage to be able to afford rent, and because of the lack of affordable housing, it is making it extremely difficult to afford a home,” said Rusty Hicks, executive secretary- treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and convener of Build Better LA. “…Build Better LA addresses the needs of present-day L.A. by creating a pathway that creates good, local jobs so residents can actually afford a home within city limits.”
Opponents today said the initiative would worsen the city’s traffic and development glut, and warned of fine print that would allow developers to escape the affordable-housing requirements.
“BBLA will give developers a virtual license to drive families out of rent-stabilized apartments and devastate neighborhoods with their giant, soulless concrete luxury projects,” said Jill Stewart, campaign director of the competing Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, which would bar the city from granting zoning changes for large-scale developments.
“Under BBLA, the developers will get rich, the City Council will get campaign contributions and Los Angeles will get stuck with gridlocked surface streets, more concrete, wrecked neighborhoods, less open space and more pollution,” Stewart said.
—City News Service
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