Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin. Photo via lacontroller.org
Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin. Photo via lacontroller.org

Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin joined the list of city leaders voicing opposition to Measure S Friday while criticizing the AIDS Healthcare Foundation for bankrolling the campaign.

“The Yes on S campaign has not been transparent with the people of Los Angeles,” Galperin said at a news conference at the LGBT Center in Hollywood. “It has misled the voters by concealing its harm to affordable housing. It has misled Angelenos by saying it requires officials to `do their jobs’ while removing the funds necessary to deliver basic city services, let alone address the housing crisis.

“It has misled its own endorsers, resulting in withdrawals of endorsements, falsely claimed endorsements, and misleading uses of officials’ names. And it has misled the LGBT community, by placing an HIV/AIDS care organization’s name and funds in the service of a cause that is at best irrelevant and at worst directly harmful to the people it serves.”

The 30-year-old nonprofit AIDS Healthcare Foundation treats hundreds of thousands of patients a year and does other philanthropic work around the globe. As of last week, the group had spent more than $4.6 million, which amounted nearly 99 percent of the campaign’s contributions, to support Measure S.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation CEO Michael Weinstein defended the foundation’s political spending to City News Service in January, saying development in L.A. is driving up housing costs and making some of the foundation’s patients homeless.

“We take an expansive view of health. We believe that the social determinants of health are equally important to the medial conditions patients suffer from,” Weinstein said.

Measure S on the March 7 ballot would halt all General Plan amendments — or special permission to developers known as “spot zoning” — for two years while the city updates its General Plan and community plans that guide neighborhood development.

Supporters of Measure S argue the city’s procedure of frequently granting spot zoning requests while its elected leaders routinely take campaign donations from developers creates a cozy relationship and leaves the impression that City Hall can be bought.

Opponents of Measure S — which includes Gov. Jerry Brown, Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Councilman Jose Huizar — say it would limit the city’s ability to build affordable housing and hurt the local economy.

“The backers of Measure S want to shut down development no matter what, and they’re willing to cut jobs and raise rents to do it,” Huizar said at a news conference with some Latino leaders in Boyle Heights on Thursday.

Some LGBT leaders joined Galperin Friday in criticizing Measure S.

“The LBGT Center is building hundreds of units of affordable housing for homeless youth and poor seniors,” said Lorri Jean, CEO of the Los Angeles LGBT Center. “If Measure S existed in the past, it would have stopped us in our tracks and left countless numbers of homeless kids on the streets. It’s not the right solution for Los Angeles.”

About a half-dozen Measure S supporters meanwhile showed up at the Los Angeles City Council meeting Friday and spoke during the general comments period.

“Our billion-dollar non-profit representing us is the good guy. Your billionaire developers and organizations are the bad guys, just so we can clear that up,” according to Jill Stewart, campaign manager for the Yes on S campaign.

— City News Service

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.