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Opponents Call Santa Monica Tax Measure "Growth Stimulating Hormone," Supporters Disagree
Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark
Roque & Mark Real Estate
2802 Santa Monica Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90404
(310)828-7525 -

Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica


By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

August 24, 2016 -- The leaders of the campaign against a half-cent Santa Monica sales tax measure are focusing on the development angle to persuade people to join them in rejecting the proposal.

Supporters of the measure and a related one that recommends the tax revenue support the local school district and the City's affordable housing program say the opponents don’t have the facts on their side.

In arguments submitted this week that will appear on the ballot alongside the tax measure, opponents called the proposal a “Growth Stimulating Hormone plan to increase development.”

The interesting three-word term was created based on the proposal’s recently acquired official name--Measure GSH. The non-binding proposal designating the tax revenue to schools and affordable housing is Measure GS.

Opponents wrote that funding affordable housing projects will lead to high-density development.

“These high-density giants can be built next door to you … or on the corner … or down the block,” wrote the opponents with the ellipses included. “You will live in shadow-filled streets with no available parking.”

Opponents also claimed that projects funded through the tax measure will be subject to relaxed development standards and not have to undergo public review, although they do not elaborate on this and it is unclear what this statement is based on.

Similar claims were made in the first round of arguments that were submitted earlier this month. Supporters addressed that in their rebuttal arguments submitted this week.

“Opponents of Measures GS [and] GSH are the same people who oppose every school funding and affordable housing initiative, and they have their facts wrong--wildly wrong,” supporters wrote.

They continued, “Measures GS [and] GSH have nothing to do with relaxing development standards or making parking worse.”

Supporters wrote that residents should vote for both measures “to protect Santa Monica schools, families and senior citizens and support the diversity and quality of life that make our city a great place to live.”

Their argument that the opponents are “the same people” who oppose all similar measures has some truth to it. The signatures attached to the opposition arguments are names often involved in local anti-tax campaigns.

Among the signers are former Rent Control Board member Robert Kronovet and former Pico Neighborhood Association chair Donald Gray.

Also signing was Scott Kelso, with the designation next to his name being “union member.” Kelso also signed a 2010 Santa Monica tax measure.

Aside from submitting the ballot measure arguments, the opposition campaign has not been organized. No known money has been raised and no campaign committee is registered on the City’s website.

Supporters have formed a committee named Campaign for Public Education & Affordable Housing.

The lack of an organized opposition committee is not unusual. Tax measure opponents usually campaign with significantly less funding than supporters, if they have any funding at all.

An exception to the norm was in 2014 when the California Realtors Association spent $172,000 to defeat a measure that would have raised the real estate tax on high-priced homes to fund the City's affordable housing program.

Supporters of that measure spent $110,000.

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