It’s a New Year here in the Valley and with it comes a whole new set of bad ideas to fight. The worst one so far is Measure S, a two-year ban on all development in the City of Los Angeles. The business community and elected officials don’t always agree. However, there is a priority that we all agree on – we need more housing.
As business leaders, we recognize the importance of housing and seek to bring more jobs and housing to the Valley. This is truly needed to effectively reduce the homeless population in Los Angeles.
Measure S will be on the March 7 ballot for the City of Los Angeles, and it will immediately threaten our ability to provide both jobs and housing while simultaneously damaging our local economy and increasing the homeless population in the city.
Measure S will bring about a two-year building moratorium. This will essentially ban any new housing in the city where homelessness has become a critical issue affecting all Angelenos. If passed, Measure S will cost the city more than 12,000 jobs and nearly $2 billion in economic output in a single year.
We need jobs and housing in this city. Shutting down development for two years will drive construction jobs out of Los Angeles and leave thousands of Angelenos homeless.
Also, Measure S threatens the implementation of Measure HHH’s priority to fund construction of additional homes and facilities to both shelter and assist those in the city who are either experiencing homelessness or at risk of being homeless. Many Angelenos can barely afford their rent today and with the city’s vacancy rate at less than 3 percent, freezing the construction of new housing will drive rents up and force families out of their homes.
To make market-rate housing accessible, we need to build more. This is the basic law of supply and demand. Angelenos are demanding new housing and the city’s already low supply faces a stagnant two years if Measure S is passed, while the population of Los Angeles recently hit 4 million and growing.
The recent growth in Los Angeles’ population is largely due to a new incoming generation, the millennials. The Valley is quickly becoming the place this new generation calls home. The Valley is an appealing destination for younger residents due to its affordability and new development adding character, entertainment and most importantly, jobs to the area. Measure S threatens the new generation of Angelinos from finding homes and work in the Valley by putting an end to new development.
In 2017, the priority for many of us is to reduce homelessness in the city by providing jobs and housing. This goal is achievable when the people of Los Angeles are able to get to work building more homes and consequently creating more jobs. Do not let Measure S hold us back from our priorities this year. I urge business leaders in the San Fernando Valley to vote “no” on Measure S on March 7. Together we must stop the housing ban in Los Angeles.
Stuart Waldman is president of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, a business advocacy organization based in Van Nuys that represents employers in the San Fernando Valley at the local, state and federal levels of government.