Measure T is a tough decision.
Good Santa Monicans are on both sides.
Good arguments are made on both sides.
I am going to vote for it.
New development—especially commercial development—will generate more traffic. Conversely, if Measure T causes 1,000,000 square feet NOT to be built over the next 15 years, the traffic related to it is not happening. This is common sense.
- My canvassing tells me that traffic is killing Santa Monica residents’ way of life and they want to slow development down; they do not want more tall, dense buildings. City Hall is ignoring their pleas to preserve what’s left of the low-scale, open feeling that keeps Santa Monica connected to the ocean, mountains, and sky.
There is nothing wrong with putting a brake on for a little while. Once the City “gets it” and aligns its development policies with what residents keep asking for, we can vote to modify or even repeal T.
- This is pretty obvious, but once a building is built, you cannot get rid of it. The most important results of T will be what we will never see: huge buildings and more gridlocked traffic.
- I don’t believe the predictions made by Measure T’s opponents:
- City revenues are not at any near-term risk. Because of the long-term nature of development approvals, we will know well in advance if T is keeping too many developers from proposing new projects. If it looks as if serious revenue loss will occur, we can change the law in plenty of time.
The City derives revenue from many sources other than development—that’s why our bond rating is AAA.
Over the past thirty years various development policy proposals have caused opponents to predict that new development would stop. Those predictions have never come true.
- Police, fire, and schools are not at any risk. If the City loses revenue for whatever reason, funding for public safety and helping our schools are two of the last items in the city budget that would be cut. The notions that passing Measure T will harm school children or cause crime to increase are cheap scare tactics.
- Nonprofits and medical centers are not at risk. Do we sincerely believe that the people of Santa Monica, their city council, and planning department will not make sure our great nonprofits and hospitals can continue their service to the community? If that requires an amendment to Measure T, the council can put it on the ballot, and the public would no doubt pass it
- If, over the next 15 years, some very large development is proposed that most residents agree would be good for the city, Measure T provides that a vote of the people can approve the extra square footage.
The effects of our current system
- Certain: More gridlocked traffic and big buildings
- Harmful to the city
- Irreversible: Once huge buildings are built, we are stuck with them.
- No Voter approval of very large projects
The effects predicted by Measure T’s opponents
- Not certain: Ranging from educated guesses to scare tactics
- Not harmful to the city, since they are probably not going to happen
- Reversible: We can change the law if an unintended result does begin to occur
The effects of passing Measure T
- Less traffic growth
- Fewer large buildings
- Voter approval of very large projects