Debunking Yes on S Mailer -- Part Three

10k closeupIn making its case for “Fact”#2, the Measure S mailer also repeats one of the campaign’s weirdest lies — that the measure would only ban luxury housing and not apply to affordable or market rate apartments. We’ve already shown how LA’s plans to build affordable housing would be derailed by Measure S. Here to explain how Measure S would punish renters at every level is Mark Vallianatos, co-founder of Abundant Housing LA

Mark Vallianatos:

Freezing housing construction in Los Angeles is going to cause real human suffering by increasing rents, overcrowding and homelessness. Backers of Measure S try to hide the cruelty of their housing ban by claiming that all of the new homes they will block will probably be “$10,000 a month apartments.”

But ignoring how the housing market works won’t help renters any more than denying climate change will help the environment.  The truth is that people at all income levels and in all neighborhoods will be harmed if the Measure S passes. Rents are so high in LA because we don’t have enough housing to meet demand. Guess who loves a housing shortage? Landlords and developers, because their ability to raise rents is determined by the vacancy rate of the housing market. Today, housing vacancy rates in LA are incredibly low, around 3 percent. This gives apartment owners power to charge high rents.

Other expensive cities that have allowed more new apartments to be built, like San Jose and New York, are starting to see rents decline for the first time in years. Banning new housing in LA now would just lock in our high rents.

Measure S would also rob the city of new affordable housing units that will be required under the Build Better LA initiative passed by voters in November. All of the zone change or general plan amendment developments that would be banned by Measure S will now be required to include dwellings affordable to low-income residents for at least 55 years. For example, if a 500 unit development gets a zone change from industrial land to allow housing, it would be required to set aside up to 100 units (20%) for low-income households. (The exact number of units is determined by the level of affordability.)  

Measure S would block this new source of dedicated affordable units before it could even get going.

Measure S bans new affordable housing. It bans market rate housing. It locks in high rents for years to come. Vote No on S to stop the housing ban!


What will Measure S put in the mail next? If you have a question about a Measure S “fact”, send it to With the broadest coalition in Los Angeles history, we definitely know someone—from a neighborhood council, a homeless services provider, or a business or labor group—who can untwist what they’re saying.