Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority Withdraws Support for Measure S

Measure S support continues its collapse, leaving a coalition of the paid and confused

The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority has withdrawn its support for Measure S. In a letter dated February 16, 2017, Chief Staff Counsel Jeffrey K. Maloney writes,

On February 15, 2017, the Governing Board of the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) voted to withdraw its support of the City of Los Angeles ballot initiative, Measure S.

Please immediately remove any reference to the MRCA and its Governing Board from the list of Measure S supporters on the “Yes on S” website and in any campaign literature.

View the letter at

Support for Measure S tends to fall into one of three categories:

Completely imaginary: as when Yes on S pretended that noted environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio supported them, only to find that his signature was transposed from a petition to save a historic building. Or when Yes on S put Mayor Garcetti’s picture in an email, earning a swift rebuke from the staunchly No on S, pro-affordable-housing Mayor.

Crumbling upon contact with the truth: as when Father Greg Boyle, executive director and founder of Homeboy Industries, withdrew his endorsement of the NII, recognizing that it would not help with housing for “the homeless or the working poor.”

Paid: as in the case of Measure S’s environmentalist supporter Marcia Hanscom, who is listed as a paid campaign consultant in campaign filings (but tends not to announce that when speaking to community groups about Measure S).

Our guess would be that this falls under “crumbling upon contact with the truth.” Environmentalist groups such as Climate Resolve, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Trust for Public Land and the L.A. League of Conservation Voters were swift to oppose Measure S, noting in the words of Climate Resolve’s Bryn Lindblad that, “If Measure S were to pass, it would put all the more pressure on urban fringe areas to develop, having the consequence of replacing precious open space areas with yet more suburban sprawl developments. Measure S is backward looking and a far cry from a sustainable path forward for Los Angeles.”

Measure S’s building moratorium is built on a mixture of half-truths, bad math, and outright deceptive statements. Here are a few:

  • They say “Our measure allows 95% of all development in LA to continue.” Except they never define development -- they appear to be counting permits, not places people can live. Practically speaking, the NII is a housing ban. Let’s show the work: in 2015, Los Angeles permitted 15,645 new units of housing. The same year, 9,099 proposed units required the kinds of zoning updates that the NII would ban.

  • They say “All 100% affordable housing projects are exempted from this time-out.” Sure they are… unless you want to build them. The so-called “affordable housing exemption” doesn’t include sites that require a General Plan Amendment. And as reported in the Los Angeles Times, 9 out of 10 city opportunity sites for affordable housing require General Plan Amendments. According to calculations by Abundant Housing LA, the so-called “affordable housing exemption” would apply to only 5% of affordable units in buildings requiring a zoning change or a GPA.  

  • They say it’s “just a two-year time out” — but their permanent ban on General Plan Amendments of less than 15 acres would mean that those same affordable housing opportunity sites would be scorched earth—banned from any kind of housing construction—for years into the future.

Yes on S has tried to connect their cause to the evictions of seniors at Westwood Horizons—even though passage would accelerate such evictions. They’ve staged protests at buildings like 8150 Sunset that wouldn’t be affected by Measure S in the slightest.

Beacon Economics found that Measure S would cost Los Angeles $3.8 billion in lost economic activity, eliminate 24,000 jobs, and take $140 million in public budget in its first two years alone. No wonder they have a hard time holding onto support.