On November 8th, 2016, voters in Los Angeles County passed four major ballot measures that will dramatically shape the future of the region. These measures allocate nearly $130 billion dollars over the next forty years to build a robust public transportation system, a network of parks and open space, and more affordable, transit-oriented communities.
Members of the Los Angeles Funders’ Collaborative supported numerous organizations and networks working on these issues, helping ensure that equity was at the forefront in conversations related to these new public investments.
Below are descriptions of each measure, plus a summary of a recent funder briefing regarding how to ensure equitable implementation of these measures.
Measure M dwarfs all of the other measures, allocating over $120 billion to build out the transportation system in Los Angeles County. Backed by a wide variety of organizations and coalitions supported by members of the Los Angeles Funders Collaborative (including Move LA, Investing in Place, EnviroMetro, and the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition), over 75 percent of these funds will support transit-oriented projects including the build-out of multiple rail and bus lines, plus a network of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.
Measure A, based on a parks needs assessment supported by several funders at the Los Angeles Funders’ Collaborative, serves as a national model for how equity can be written into a measure, with over $5 billion going to develop and maintain parks in Los Angeles County. Several funders from the Los Angeles Funders’ Collaborative supported organizations like Trust for Public Land and the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, both of whom played leadership positions in the larger Our Parks Coalition.
In the City of Los Angeles, Proposition HHH, championed by the California Community Foundation and multiple community development organizations, will generate $1.2 billion for supportive housing for the homeless.
ACT-LA, a broad coalition of community-based organizations supported by several members of the Los Angeles Funders’ Collaborative, partnered with Labor to pass Prop JJJ, which incentivizes the development of affordable housing along transit stations.
Together, these measures represent a fundamental new path for Los Angeles, one that is transit-oriented, affordable for everyone, and green. The Los Angeles Funders’ Collaborative is keenly aware that community engagement will be essential in ensuring that these measures are implemented in a way that ensures equitable development without displacement.
Opportunities for Funders
On November 16th, the Los Angeles Funders’ Collaborative hosted a funder-only briefing that explored opportunities for engagement moving forward to create healthy, equitable, and sustainable communities. The objective was to inspire, educate, and engage funders on the infrastructure-related investments in Los Angeles County. Beatriz Solìs, the Program Director for Healthy Communities at The California Endowment, moderated the convening. She framed the discussion by asking how we can ensure that equity remains at the center of the conversation as we connect the development of our transportation, parks, and affordable housing.
Dr. Fernando J. Guerra, Founding Director, Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University, gave an overview of the election results. He conducted exit polling and was able to determine relatively early that Measure M, A, and HHH would all pass, noting their popular support from voters (74.61 percent voted in favor of Measure A, 70.84 percent for M, 76.90 percent for HHH and 64.47 percent for JJJ).
Vince Bertoni, Planning Director for the City of Los Angeles, discussed how these measures will get incorporated into planning processes that will ultimately shape the region. He said that planning tries to “balance diverse and competing needs that is not reacting to future but anticipating the future.” Mr. Bertoni noted that this takes place at the citywide level with the general plan, the neighborhood level with community plans, and through the rewriting of the zoning ordinances that influences what development looks like. He noted that gentrification and displacement are key challenges for multiple cities. Mr. Bertoni stressed the importance of connecting people to jobs and economic opportunities by expanding transportation options, particularly transit.
Funders at the briefing also engaged in breakout groups to explore how these new and existing funds can help them leverage public investments to build healthy, equitable, and sustainable communities. Funders discussed supporting community organizing, capacity building, and place-making with a prioritization of low-income communities of color.
This funder briefing is the fourth in a series of funder briefings hosted by the Los Angeles Funders’ Collaborative, in partnership with Southern California Grantmakers. Check our events page for future funder briefings and learn more about the Los Angeles Funders’ Collaborative.