Santa Monica Lookout
|Santa Monica Housing Developer Donates $125,000 to Oppose LV||
By Jonathan Friedman
September 12, 2016 -- NMS Properties, one of Santa Monica's largest housing developers, has donated $125,000 to one of the two organizations conducting campaigns against a slow-growth initiative on the November ballot.
That donation to Housing & Opportunity for a Modern Economy (HOME) reported Wednesday brought NMS’s total contribution to the group's campaign against Measure LV -- which would require voter approval of most new developents taller than 32 feet -- to $225,000.
“NMS is a homebuilder of both affordable and market rate housing in Santa Monica,” HOME spokesman Jay Trisler told The Lookout. “They create housing and work with all willing partners to follow the community process and Land Use and Circulation Element created by Santa Monicans.”
He continued, “To date NMS projects are creating needed housing in the areas the City has chosen to be appropriate -- out of the neighborhoods.”
Armen Melkonians, City Council candidate and head of the organization behind Measure LV, also known as the LUVE Initiative, sent a mass email last week titled “How Does a Developer Steal a City.”
“With this war chest, HOME is showering every voter in Santa Monica with mailers full of lies, attempting to confuse them,” Melkonians wrote. “Their goal is to trick residents into voting against their own interests by opposing LUVE.”
Melkonians wrote that NMS has had several projects approved by the City Council and has more in the City's planning pipeline.
He also noted that NMS was was a major contributor to a committee in 2012 that supported the council candidacies of Gleam Davis, Terry O’Day and Ted Winterer, who are all running for re-election this year (“Developer PAC Drops Money Bomb on Santa Monica Council Race,” October 26, 2012).
He drew a connection between the support in 2012 (which was done through independent expenditures that are not connected to the candidates’ individual campaigns) and their opposition to LUVE.
The three candidates were on the record as LUVE opponents before the formation of HOME.
In response to the accusations, Trisler said that HOME is supported by more than developers.
How much the group's support comes from those who are not developers is unknown. But financially, it has only been the developers who have spoken, according to the most recent disclosure statements.
In addition to NMS, Century West Partners has given $50,000 to HOME.
The first round of full campaign disclosures are due later this month. This will give more insight into who is financially supporting the various campaigns.
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