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Anti-development coalition quietly funding campaign to defeat Metro's ballot measure

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It donated $10,000 to defeat a measure to fund public transit improvements

A quarterly finance report from the Coalition to Preserve LA reveals that the organization, which is behind the controversial Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, is also backing the opposition campaign to Metro’s Measure M.

As the financial statement shows, the coalition made a $10,000 contribution to the No on Measure M 2016 campaign, which opposes Metro’s proposed half-cent sales tax increase to pay for a wide range of future public transit projects and transportation improvements.

The group’s opposition to Measure M isn’t terribly surprising. In an August interview with The Planning Report, coalition director Jill Stewart spoke derisively about Metro’s plan, noting that the transit agency "has become a development arm."

The coalition’s Neighborhood Integrity Initiative ballot measure seeks to slow the pace of development around the city, placing a two-year moratorium on most major projects and forcing the city council to strictly adhere to community zoning rules. The group submitted signatures in August to place the measure on March ballots. Now it appears the coalition is trying to make an impact during the November election as well.

According to its website, the No on Measure M 2016 campaign is led by "a powerful collaboration of transit advocates, civil rights activists and elected officials." Supporters include former Los Angeles City Council members Dennis Zine and Robert Farrell, as well as the mayors of Beverly Hills, Norwalk, Torrance, and El Segundo. So far, though, the Coalition to Preserve LA is not listed on the campaign’s endorsement list.

The finance document submitted by the coalition also showed that the organization took in a little less than half the amount raised in the previous quarter. The number of overall donors rose dramatically, however, with dozens of small contributions pouring in from private individuals.

Three contributions from the Aids Healthcare Foundation, the coalition’s primary backer, accounted for $350,000 of the $370,997.68 in total contributions that the organization took in during the quarter.