APA Los Angeles Statement of Support for Los Angeles County Measure J, State Proposition 15, and State Proposition 16
In the wake of dual public health emergencies – the COVID-19 pandemic and the vast racial injustices borne by black people and people of color – Los Angeles-area voters have a pivotal opportunity this November to vote to enact policies that offer promise at advancing community equity and resiliency. APA Los Angeles is proud to support the following state and local policy initiatives on the November 2020 ballot:
- Measure J: Community Investment And Alternatives To Incarceration Minimum County Budget Allocation
- Proposition 15: Increases Funding Sources For Public Schools, Community Colleges, And Local Government Services By Changing Tax Assessment Of Commercial And Industrial Property. Initiative Constitutional Amendment
- Proposition 16: Allows Diversity As A Factor In Public Employment, Education, And Contracting Decisions. Legislative Constitutional Amendment
In summary, APA Los Angeles believes that these initiatives provide much-needed services for underserved communities and individuals in Los Angeles County, align with our goals of reducing race-based inequities, and provide local governments with resources to support racial justice and community-based alternatives to incarceration.
APA Los Angeles is committed to championing equitable planning policy and advocating on behalf of planners in Los Angeles County to ensure their voices are heard and values are reflected on public policy issues related to planning. Using our adopted state and local policy agendas as a guide, we affirm that the focused community and racial justice opportunities proposed in Measure J and Propositions 15 and 16 will help achieve this vision for a more just Los Angeles County and are deserving of our support.
Below, we provide an analysis of the alignment between these ballot measures, APA Los Angeles’s 2020-21 policy priorities, and APA California’s 2019-20 Legislative Agenda – ‘Plan California.’ Please note that APA California has not weighed in on these ballot measures, however our positions are based on the measures’ consistency with their stated policy priorities. We conclude each section with a discussion of each initiative and the primary reasons we stand in support.
Los Angeles County Measure J
Also known as ‘Reimagine LA’, Measure J proposes reallocating at least 10 percent of Los Angeles County’s general fund revenues to address racial injustice through community investment and alternatives to incarceration. Furthermore, it prohibits use of those funds for carceral systems and law enforcement agencies.
APA Los Angeles Priority
|Equity||Inclusion & Social Justice:||Measure J aligns with APA’s adopted policy platforms and allows the County to fund critical community and health programs in support of racial justice and a more just future for underserved Los Angeles County residents|
APA Los Angeles supports Measure J and recommends a YES vote. APA Los Angeles believes that planners have a responsibility to actively reverse past policies and practices that have led to racial injustice. Measure J provides a vital first step towards accomplishing this, and will complement the existing work of Los Angeles-area planners to provide housing, mobility, and environmental justice.
Measure J is projected to reallocate $360 million to $496 million of the County’s general fund budget to community programs – including public health services, job training for low-income residents, and investments for BIPOC-owned businesses – and away from the County Sheriff’s Department where data shows people of color are disproportionately likely to be stopped and searched. Following the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others, we believe Measure J is a step of many needed toward advancing racial equity in the communities we serve.
Proposition 15 proposes to reassess commercial and industrial land/buildings at market rates every three years. Also known as the “split roll” initiative, Proposition 15 would partially reverse California’s Proposition 13, which in 1978 dictated that property taxes (including commercial and industrial) are calculated based on a property’s assessed value when purchased, with a 2 percent maximum annual increase. This assessment method has since contributed to large declines in revenues for local governments and school districts. Proposition 15 would exclude smaller commercial and industrial property owners with less than $3 million in property holdings.
APA Los Angeles Priority
|Equity||Infrastructure, Services, and Fees:||Proposition 15 aligns with APA’s adopted policy platforms and provides up to $12.5 billion in annual revenue for schools, community colleges, and equitable local government community services.|
APA Los Angeles supports Proposition 15 and recommends a YES vote. Proposition 15 offers an opportunity to undo the detrimental effects on education quality, equity, and local government services rooted in 1978’s Proposition 13. We believe it is inequitable that large commercial land owners currently receive generous property tax breaks under Proposition 13 while local governments have had to bear reduced funding for health services, libraries, parks, and schools. Proposition 13 has contributed to statewide inequities in education and a large overall drop in the State’s per-pupil spending. Proposition 15 would instead allow the state to justly collect taxes from large landowners and reverse a legacy of corporate tax breaks and fiscal austerity.
APA Los Angeles believes that it is imperative to vote YES on Proposition 15 in order to correct a fundamentally inequitable state tax system and provide billions of dollars in funding for community services and high-quality education for all.
If passed, Proposition 16 would repeal California’s Proposition 209, which in 1996 ended affirmative action programs for public employment, education, and contracting at the state and local level. In effect, Proposition 16 permits government agencies to consider race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, education, and/or contracting.
APA Los Angeles Priority
|Equity||Inclusion & Social Justice:||Proposition 16 aligns with APA’s adopted policy platforms and will allow state and local agencies to improve education, employment, and financial outcomes for black people and people of color.|
APA Los Angeles supports Proposition 16 and recommends a YES vote. Proposition 16 addresses systemic racism head-on and will restore a proven tool to address historic discrimination. Proposition 209, which restricted affirmative action in California, has led to disproportionately harmful outcomes for black people and people of color. An August 2020 UC Berkeley study showed that the ban on affirmative action for accepting students led to a decrease in the number of Black and Latinx students in the UC system, and reduced their likelihood of earning a degree, going to graduate school, and earning a high salary.
APA Los Angeles is committed to promoting equitable outcomes not only in the communities we serve, but in the planning profession. Black people and people of color are under-represented among planning professionals, and APA Los Angeles actively partners with local schools to advocate that planners must look like the communities we serve and be champions for racial justice. Proposition 16 is a tangible way of correcting historic inequities, both answering nationwide cries for racial justice following the murder of George Floyd and providing a policy tool to level the playing field so women and people of color may thrive.