Capitol Alert

Jerry Brown comes out against L.A. real estate development measure

Gov. Jerry Brown discusses his proposed state budget plan in January.
Gov. Jerry Brown discusses his proposed state budget plan in January. AP

Wading into the contentious debate over real estate development in Los Angeles, Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday lent his formal opposition to Measure S, suggesting the city ballot initiative dubbed by opponents as a “housing ban” is too restrictive.

“I join with all those who say Measure S goes too far,” Brown said in a concise statement released by the “no” campaign, which pointed to the Democratic governor’s proposed state budget summary warning about impediments to creating more housing.

Measure S, sponsored by Michael Weinstein of the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, would temporarily halt development projects seeking General Plan amendments or other changes resulting in an increase in height or density. They argue it would patch a broken planning and land-use system.

The proponents in a meandering, sharply-worded statement said Brown “should be ashamed” about opposing the measure, calling his position “outrageous.”

They also accused Brown, who proposed relaxing some environmental rules as part of his wide-ranging plan to curb regulations on affordable housing, of siding with “wealthy developers who blast away these protective state rules that make sure corporate interests don’t harm the environment or our health.”

A financial analysis by the the Los Angeles City Administrative Officer estimates the March 7 measure would lead to millions in lost city revenue from building permits, licenses, and other fees tied to development.

Critics including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles County’s Democratic and Republican parties and groups representing labor and business cast the measure as poorly written and overly restrictive. They contend it will stifle economic activity and drive the economy into recession.

Finding a solution to the state’s affordable housing shortage has continued to vex Brown and the Democratic-controlled Legislature.

Brown, who has made fighting climate change the centerpiece of his agenda, wrote as part of his budget summary this year that half of all households are spending more than a third of their income on housing costs, and nearly a third of all households are spending more than half of their incomes on housing.

The state’s housing need “directly impacts to the number of individuals experiencing homelessness,” the summary states.

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago