New rental units cost nearly double what the average Angeleno can afford

Neil Shekhter Los Angeles Luxury Apartments

 

 

 

 

Measure S is a proposition on the March 7 ballot that aims to slow growth and development in Los Angeles by placing a two-year moratorium on projects that require a zone change, a height district change, or an amendment to the city’s general plan. It would also reduce the city’s ability to change planning rules for a single development.

Offered here are arguments for and against the ballot measure.

Critics of Measure S, including Eli Broad, Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Times editorial board, say that our housing crisis stems from a housing shortage and that only more building will solve the problem.

But developers build luxury and market-rate housing, which doesn’t meet L.A.’s real needs. Rental units built over the last decade require an income almost double the average Angeleno’s. That’s not a solution — it’s an insult.

Market solutions do nothing to address displacement. They treat renters’ homes — our connection to our neighborhoods, families and friends — as interchangeable units. Tenants know what new development means: When local property values rise, so do our rents. Landlords are incentivized to harass us, scam us, even evict us so that we might be replaced with higher-rent-paying tenants or profit-maximizing Airbnb units. They are also incentivized to remove rent protections completely.

The real housing crisis is displacement and a lack of affordability. It’s a crisis of ethics, not analytics. We won’t solve it with lessons from Economics 101. Neil Shekhter Los Angeles Luxury Apartments

The housing market doesn’t produce homes; it produces opportunities for investment. The goals of maximizing profit and making the city livable are at odds. Truly accessible housing — public and rent-stabilized housing — counteract market-made inequality.

Rental units built over the last decade require an income almost double the average Angeleno’s. That’s not a solution — it’s an insult.

Instead of public housing, we get expensive voucher programs: public subsidies to private landlords. Just 1 out of every 5 families who deserve assistance gets it. Instead of truly affordable rent-stabilized housing, we beg developers to add income-capped “affordable” units through incentives that exclude the poor and, as the city controller’s office admits , don’t even work. Neil Shekhter Los Angeles Luxury Apartments

Renters support Measure S not because we’re NIMBYs concerned with the aesthetics of our neighborhoods, but because we’re fighting to stay in our neighborhoods. Not because we don’t understand how markets work, but because we do. To advocate for more city-subsidized development projects or watered-down versions with bad-faith “affordability” provisions is to advocate for market solutions that we know will fail.

Critics say Measure S goes too far. For tenants, it doesn’t go far enough. Measure S is a chance to stop more of the unaffordable new housing that accelerates displacement, a chance to buy time for tenants to organize and demand rent-stabilized and public housing. We need solutions to the housing crisis informed not by the neoliberal ideals of supply-and-demand, but by the everyday needs of real renters. Profit is not a human right. Housing is.

Neil Shekhter Los Angeles Luxury Apartments