Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Top 10 Reasons to Oppose RIFT

Okay I do not mean to trivialize this with a "Late Show" type listing, yet I do think it's a good way to start the conversation. In this post I will identify the top 10 reasons why I think that Proposition T is a bad idea. This is just an outline. In follow-up posts, I will go through each of these reasons in detail, one per post.

So here they are:

1. Reducing commercial development to 75,000 square feet per year will not reduce traffic and may even increase it.

2. There are more effective ways to fight traffic congestion. This method is like using a chain saw to do heart surgery (or as my teacher used to say, if the only tool in your box is a hammer, than every problem looks like a nail).

3. This measure will not increase pedestrian safety.

4. This measure will require cuts in services, increase in taxes, or some of both to maintain a balanced budget.

5. This measure will affect the ability to redevelop abandoned industrial sites in the city particularly along Olympic Avenue

6. This measure will seriously affect the ability to humanize Lincoln  and Pico Boulevards

7. This measure will impact the likelihood of the Purple Line, aka, "the Subway to the Sea" aka, the Wilshire Blvd. subway from ever getting beyond Westwood. (Note, I'm not talking about the Expo light rail line here, but the actual underground subway).

8. This measure will hurt our city's efforts to halt global warming and create a more sustainable environment.

9. It is biased against lower income folks.

10. It will not stop development, just commercial development. The increased housing will generate even more traffic.

There are other reasons, but these are mine.


Robert Moskowitz said...

These reasons are unfair and in some cases wrong.

Proposition T is so simple, anyone can understand it. It limits development, with several exceptions (including healthcare institions).

Proposition T will not reduce revenues, merely limit the growth of revenues in the future by limiting development in the future.

Proposition T is not aimed at improving pedestrian safety. It will not end the war in Iraq, either, but that is a senseless reason to oppose it.

Proposition T creates a limit on development, but allows for lots of exemptions by popular vote in the future. So if we find it is too limiting and we actually need more development than Prop T allows, we can always override it.

Neal Payton said...

Well Robert, the fact the measure is simple and that anyone can understand it, doesn't make it good, it just makes it simplistic. There are ambiguities galore. Who will decide on which 75,000 sf get built. Will there be a contest or beauty pagent? Will it be based on geography? or use? What about the exemption for retail under affordable housing? How much affordable housing needs to be built in order to build the retail? Can I put two units above a 100K sf Target? How about the credit for existing retail? If I close the business on my property and redevelop it into housing, can I sell my commercial rights to someone else, say next door or across town? All this has to be figured out, and each one will be a policy nightmare, which to me, suggests a lack of depth to this measure.

And while there is an exemption for hospitals, the exemption is not for health care institutions, per se, and certainly not for medical office space. As I'm led to believe by the UCLA and St. Johns, the John Wayne Cancer Center, would not be exempt from this, for example, becasuse it is a medical office building.

And yes Robert, I know that the measure was not aimed improving pedestrian safety, but the Pro T web sites, have included that as a reason to support the measure, sort of an added benefit as it were. I think it is important to debunk that fantasy.

Finally, can you imagine a ballot measure every time someone wants an exemption? What you're saying in this paragraph is, well let's pass it, and if it doesn't work, we'll vote every so often to weaken it. You consider this good policy?

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