Measure H is the county-based companion to Los Angeles City Measure HHH, which passed last fall. Measure H would provide the funding for the programs and services for homeless people called for by Measure HHH.
If approved, Measure H would provide substance abuse treatment, health care, education, job training, rental subsidies, emergency and affordable housing, transportation, outreach, prevention and supportive services for homeless children, families, foster youth, veterans, battered women, seniors, disabled individuals, and other homeless adults by levying a 1/4 cent sales tax for ten years.
The tax would be generated from retail sales and the sale of personal property in the incorporated and unincorporated territory of the county. The Measure also creates a Citizens’ Oversight Activity Advisory Board composed of five members appointed by the Board of Supervisors to review semi-annually all expenditures from the tax and publish a complete accounting all funds. The measure would expire in 10 years.
In a recent editorial, the LA Times, which endorses Measure H, described it as the “software” and Measure HHH as the “hardware” needed to provide a comprehensive solution to address homelessness in Los Angeles:
“Measure H (L.A. County sales tax for homeless services): Yes. This quarter-cent sales tax will raise $355 million annually for 10 years for mental health, drug counseling and other services to help homeless people get off and stay off the streets.”
Because of the overwhelming support for Measure HHH last fall (it passed with 77% of voters in favor), Measure H is also expected to win approval in the March election (even though it requires a 2/3 supermajority). There is also an organized group of supporters – Yes on Measure H – stumping for it, which should help.
Opponents to Measure H seem to be fewer and less organized, but at least some do exist, based mostly on opposition to the idea of yet another sales tax for Angelenos.
Windsor Square resident Jack Humphreville is one of those arguing against the measure. In a recent edition of his LA Watchdog column for CityWatchLA, Humphreville cites a long list of recent local tax increases and recommends that the county find other sources of funding for Measure HHH programs:
“The [L.A. County] Supervisors, Mayor Garcetti, and the City Council have told us that homelessness is their number one priority. If so, then the Supervisors need to find $350 million in the County’s $30 billion budget rather than hitting us up with yet another increase in our regressive sales tax.
By voting NO on H, we can send a message to Eric, the City Council, and the Board of Supervisors that they need to use our tax dollars more efficiently and that we are not their ATM.”
One of the few straightforward measures on the ballot, Measure P amends the City Charter to increase the maximum term for leases, franchises, concessions, permits and licenses that may be entered into by the Harbor Department. Limits would rise from the current 50 years to a new maximum of 66 years, to be consistent with recent changes to state law.
This increase in lease terms will be especially attractive to developers who are currently interested in bringing new retail and commercial spaces to replace the aging Ports O’Call Village.
According to the LA Times, which endorsed the measure, Hancock Park-based developer Wayne Ratkovich’s plan to redevelop the area, which was recently approved by the City, would convert Ports O’ Call Village into the San Pedro Public Market, similar to San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf.
“The project will be bigger, more modern and more open — with more glass-and-steel construction and fewer faux-Spanish and faux-New England structures. It will still include shops, restaurants and fresh markets, but will also include offices, a Ferris wheel, a carousel and a discovery sea park.”
Concluded the Times: “Measure P (longer port leases): Yes. This would allow the Port of Los Angeles to lease property for 66 years instead of 50, making it easier to attract investors to redevelop the waterfront.”