Measure JJJ

Measure JJJ Is Jammed with Developer-Friendly Loopholes, Vote NO

In Archive by Preserve LA

Measure JJJ on the ballot falsely claims to bring “affordable housing” and jobs to L.A. residents. In fact, JJJ is a twisted roadmap for unprecedented overdevelopment, opening the door to 500 to 1,000 skyscrapers and sprawling $3,500+ complexes in neighborhoods. Its 23 pages of dense gibberish contain 5 fatal loopholes that void every promise by Measure JJJ about “affordable housing” and local-hire jobs.

JJJ does not add “affordable housing.” That was never its purpose. No, it hands the wheel to international developers to create a congested, luxury high-rise-jammed L.A. Developers have spent tens of millions lobbying our City Hall politicians — creating a broken and badly rigged City Hall planning system.

JJJ takes City Hall’s corrupt backroom deals with developers — and puts those deals on steroids. JJJ encourages the City Council to break the rulesto approve prohibited mega-developments in your neighborhoods. JJJ’s false claim: if we let developers shove aside our protective land zoning, these developers will reward us — with a little bit of affordable housing.

City Hall’s theory, that L.A.’s luxury housing glut helps the middle class or poor, is a disaster. We all see City Hall’s track record — the luxury towers marching along our congested streets, DISPLACING THOUSANDS via gentrification, demolition and eviction. Our politicians are creating NEW HOMELESS, who we see tragically pushed to the sidewalks. The status quo’s false promise — a bit more affordable housing — is zeroed out by JJJ.

We are better than this. PLEASE don’t turn City Hall’s gaming of the land into law. Vote NO on Measure JJJ.

5 fatal loopholes make JJJ a community-killing, gridlock-creating, status-quo protecting sham:

1. The “We don’t think this developer is making enough profit” loophole

Under JJJ, developers can ignore your community’s zoning to build hundreds of huge, and thus more profitable, luxury towers that aren’t allowed under the rules — as long as they promise to add some affordable housing. This promise is false. The City Council can declare the developer is not making “a reasonable return on investment” and then undo the affordable housing promise. (JJJ Section 5, A, g)

2. The “Forget about building affordable housing — just pay City Hall a ‘fee’” loophole

Under JJJ, no affordable units have to be built inside these new towers at all, as long as the developer pays an “in lieu” fee after refusing to build affordable housing units. This in-lieu amount is unknown to voters, it will be announced after the election — by the developer-cozy City Council. (Section 5, A, b3.)

3. The “Forget the affordable housing, forget the fee, just pay a ‘surcharge’” loophole

Under JJJ, developers can refuse to pay even the modest in-lieu fee, and opt for a Deferral Surcharge — a price to be set later by the City! This Deferral fee amount, unknown to voters, does not have to be spent on affordable housing. The City Council can divert this cash to pay city employees for running L.A.’s rent-stabilization program — jobs the City must already pay for, by law. (Section 5, A, c2)

4. The “L.A.’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund is a piggy bank” loophole

Under JJJ, the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund does not have to be spent on affordable housing. The fund can go to whatever the politicians decide. City Hall’s ability to raid our housing construction funds is set out in JJJ as “such other housing activities as that term shall be defined.” (Section 5, B, c)

5. The “We say we’ll create local jobs, but not a single local hire is required” loophole

Under JJJ, contractors need only “make a good-faith effort” to hire residents of L.A. or people living within 5 miles of a proposed luxury skyscraper or a proposed massive luxury complex, a toothless and meaningless standard that will never be met. (Section 5, A, g).

Who, exactly, crafted these absurdly gaping loopholes? The true authors will never be known.

Measure JJJ was written by City Hall insiders behind closed doors as a counter-measure to hurt the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, which appears on the ballot next March, and which reduces developers’ grip on the City Council and gives communities a greater say in their futures.

Each JJJ loophole does the opposite of the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative:

JJJ openly encourages the City Council to hand out backroom favors to enrich developers — and those developers get to shirk “affordable housing” and local jobs, via the 5 fatal loopholes.

Each loophole encourages developers to lavish the City Council with campaign cash and gifts, the only way to grease this hyped-up system of backroom deals. Especially JJJ’s shameless escape clause: “I didn’t make enough profit on my development” to include affordable housing.

Each loophole means L.A. residents will pay a vast new bill, as unrestrained towers march across L.A., resulting in much worse street gridlock, human displacement, need for water, destruction of neighborhood character, and maxed-out infrastructure.

JJJ’s thick and jargon-jammed 23 pages fail to mention L.A.’s ancient sewers, water availability, stressed-out safety services, crumbling roads, fragile environment, or long-promised parks.

Remember, insiders cooked up Measure JJJ to stop the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, but that failed.

The Neighborhood Integrity Initiative in March ends the backroom deals cut between the world’s wealthiest developers and City Council members to toss out our neighborhoods’ protective zoning.

What has this status quo crowd gotten us so far? We need only look out our car windows or front doors, to our far worse traffic mess and our skyrocketing rents. City Hall has allowed the demolition of 22,000 rent-stabilized units since 2000 — a direct cause of our tragic spike in homelessness.

The Coalition to Preserve LA opposes Measure JJJ in the strongest terms. We stand with the LA Tenants Union, who are renters and displaced residents who should have been JJJ’s best advocates. LA Tenants Union understands that JJJ fuels even more intensive backroom dealing, land flipping and displacing of longtime residents.

True reform is next March, the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative. Enthusiastically Vote NO on Measure JJJ.

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