In the battle over development in Santa Monica, there’s a lot of money at play. Residents, land owners, the local chamber of commerce, and developers are pooling their money to defeat a November ballot initiative called Measure LV, which is aimed at curtailing the construction of new buildings taller than two stories.
Two groups—Santa Monica Forward and Housing and Opportunity for a Modern Economy—have formed to defeat the ballot measure, better known as LUVE. So far, they've poured nearly $1 million into their opposition campaign, according to the Santa Monica Lookout.
The Lookout reports that as of September 29 the two groups together have raised just under $950,000. Forward has raised more than half of that, or $585,000, the majority of which is from, "residents who gave not much more than $100 each," says the Lookout.
But it was only able to raise so much because of substantial donations from property owners, including: Hudson Pacific Properties, which gave $49,000; Macerich, which owns the Third Street Promenade mall Santa Monica Place and gave $15,000; and Ocean Avenue LLC, which owns the Miramar Hotel and gave $49,000. (The Miramar has proposed a major expansion that includes erecting the second tallest tower in Santa Monica, but it has backed off those plans as the city of Santa Monica works to rewrite its zoning codes.)
That landowners and businesses are pooling their money to oppose LUVE is not surprising, as they’ll be significantly impacted by the measure if it’s passed by voters. LUVE calls for any development over two stories to be approved by voters in special elections. LUVE would not apply to the construction of new multi-family housing of 50 units or less that are 100 percent affordable.
The measure's opponents are by a very long shot out fundraising Residocracy, the anti-development activist group that’s backing LUVE. It’s amassed a much smaller campaign war chest of a little more than $46,000, according to the Lookout.
Financing for an anti-development measure in the city of Los Angeles is not as obvious. That measure, called the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, will be on the ballot in March, when lower voter turnout is expected.