Editorial: Californians say ‘yes’ to housing measures. Mostly.
Here’s the latest from my desk.
It’s official: California voters have passed four housing measures. They will go on the November ballot in a special election and if they pass, the ballot measure will be the law.
All four measures fall into the two broad categories: local and statewide initiatives, which give local governments power to build housing and collect taxes for it.
And statewide initiatives: Proposition HHH in November 2006 and Proposition 38 in November 2008 give municipalities the power to enact local laws with the power to build and collect taxes for affordable housing.
Both ballot initiatives passed with huge majorities of voters. Proposition HHH won 60.2 percent; Proposition 38 won 58.4 percent. Here’s the breakdown:
Prop. HHH: 60.2 percent
Prop. 38: 58.4 percent
For Prop. HHH I have to say this: We’ve had several very good state housing ballot initiatives over the years, and this was probably the best of them. The problem with it is a few problems.
I think it’s unfair to call it a “housing” ballot initiative, because it’s really a statewide property tax initiative.
But this is not really a debate. The measures pass out of the legislature. Now, in the world of the ballot, they are referred to as taxes, but they’re really property taxes. So it’s not a political question, it’s a legal question. And the voters in each state decide it.
When you look at who supports the housing initiative, it isn’t just the usual suspects, California Chamber of Commerce, Silicon Valley, big business. It takes up a large percentage of the vote of the business class: 82 percent. They like it, and they’re happy about it.
The measure is endorsed by the governor. It was endorsed by the city of Los Angeles. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has said that this is the first state housing ballot initiative he’s