Affordable housing development High Place East (Daniel Archuleta)

CITY HALL — When the redevelopment agency dissolved, affordable housing funding was one of the many casualties.
Who, if anyone, should provide the new revenue stream for affordable housing projects?
Measure H (and its offshoot, Measure HH) would, if approved, make the sale of real estate the primary source of public funding for these low-income housing structures.
Arguments, to be included in ballot literature, were filed by residents on both sides of the debate.
Measure H seeks to add an additional $6 tax per $1,000 of the sale price of properties over $1 million. If Measure H passes, approval of Measure HH would set those funds aside for affordable housing.
Those writing in favor of the measure include City Councilmember Tony Vazquez, former Mayor Denny Zane, Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights co-Chair Patricia Hoffman, former Housing Commission Chair Richard Gerwitz, and Commission for the Senior Community member Simone Gordon.
“We need Measure H so Santa Monica can count on funds Sacramento cannot touch to maintain and protect important local programs and services that preserve and enhance diversity,” they said. “Equally important, Measure H will allow Santa Monica to continue to fund crucial housing and other programs for seniors, disabled persons, and low-income working households. By having a source of local funds, we can increase efforts to reduce commuter car traffic when people who work in Santa Monica also can afford to live here.”
Opponents — including former Pico Neighborhood Association Chair Peter Tigler, former school district Bond Committee member Don Gray, Local 44 member Scott Kelso, and renters Michael Wekselblatt and Robin Waner — couch the measure as a development issue.
“Do you want MORE development in Santa Monica?” they ask in their argument. “Do you want to GIVE DEVELOPERS YOUR MONEY to build it? This is a tax to fuel and accelerate even more high density, multi-floor development. This tax does not expire and thus insures development given extra height and density will continue forever, burdening infrastructure (think water and traffic), eroding quality of life and overcrowding schools.”
The tax, they say, is exorbitant and unprecedented.
The same group that wrote in support of Measure H, wrote the arguments for Measure HH, but the opponents feature a different set of residents, including a former chair of Northeast Neighbors and a North of Montana homeowner.
The arguments are very similar, with proponents saying that Measure HH will fill a necessary funding loss for affordable housing and opponents claiming it will lead to large development.
dave@www.smdp.com

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