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Jill Stewart Spoke to Beverly Wilshire Home Association about Neighborhood Integrity Initiative

Jill Stewart spoke about the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative at the Farmers Market last night.
Jill Stewart spoke about the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative at the Farmers Market Monday night.

About three dozen people gathered Monday night at the Community Room at the Farmers Market to learn more about the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative from campaign director Jill Stewart, whose group, the  Coalition to Preserve LA, is gathering 63,000 signatures to place the measure on the November 2016 ballot.  As previously reported in the Buzz, the measure seeks to control the current proliferation of new development in Los Angeles by placing a two-year moratorium on projects that cannot be built without changes to the city’s existing zoning codes.

Stewart presented an overview of the measure and how it would stop what she called a “fantastic circular nightmare” that allows developers to spot zone projects citing the city’s outdated General Plan (which Stewart said the City Council quietly voted not to update in a little noticed vote taken in 2005). The Neighborhood Integrity Initiative would require the city to update the General Plan within two years and provide periodic reviews that allow the public to participate in the process.

When people at Monday’s meeting asked how they could help with the Initiative, Stewart asked everyone to sign in with their email addresses. She said the campaign doesn’t need help gathering signatures, but does need a strong grassroots base of supporters to vote for the measure. Stewart said volunteers would be contacting people to get involved with the get-out-the-vote effort.

“They (The Los Angeles City Council) are afraid of public opinion,” said Stewart, who warned that opponents will be paying a “king’s ransom” to defeat the measure. She said she’s heard estimates ranging from $20 to $30 million, the most ever spent on a city-wide initiative.

Also, last month, Build Better LA, a coalition of labor and community groups, proposed another ballot measure to address development and housing issues in a different way.

The BBLA initiative “establishes favorable conditions for General Plan amendments that provide local jobs and affordable housing. It simply says developers who build affordable housing will move quicker…as long as they hire local people,” said Rusty Hicks, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and convener of Build Better LA. “It is through this initiative that Los Angeles will be able to close the gap on the affordable housing and good-job shortage,” BBLA said in a press release earlier this month.

Monday’s meeting was organized by the Beverly Wilshire Homes Association. The group, founded more than 50 years ago, represents residents of the Greater Fairfax area of Los Angeles.

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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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