Voters will face only a handful of local ballots March 8, and the slate is mercifully light--and concentrated in Southern California. After a November election (see CP&DR Vol. 25, No. 21 Nov. 2010) packed with some of the most contentious local and statewide questions in recent memory, next month's smattering of project approvals and parking spats likely comes as welcome relief. The biggest local question surrounds the would-be city of Jurupa Valley, which will vote to become yet the newest city in the Inland Empire, a region that is maturing in fits and starts. Meanwhile, the City of Beverly Hills has reached its boiling point over one of the most contentious issues in land use: free parking.
Beverly Hills Measure 2P and Measure 3P
Two Hours of Free Parking Initiative, Measure 2P
Three Hours of Free Parking for Residents of Beverly Hills, Measure 3P
Voters in Beverly Hills are facing dueling parking fee measures that would make Don Shoup's head spin. The measures focus on the city's "golden triangle" of ultra-high-end retail between Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards. Measure 2P would institute two-hour free parking in five of 18 city-owned parking structures. Those structures already offer one-hour free parking, while six of the other city-own structures already offer two-hour free parking. The measure is backed largely by an owner of medical buildings in the area but has broad support from merchants. Members of the Beverly Hills City Council consider the measure an inappropriate subsidy for a few buildings, and the city sued in November to remove the measure from the ballot. While a final ruling may yet come, the California Court of Appeal issued a stay in January that keeps the measure on the ballot.
In fact, the city council placed Measure 3P on the ballot in response to Measure 2P. Measure 3P would institute three-hour daytime free parking at 12 city-owned lots -- but only for Beverly Hills residents. In the evening, parking rates for everyone would drop by 50 percent from current levels. The City Council estimates that the city would still lose $400,000 annually versus the status quo, as opposed to a $1.3 million loss if Measure 2P prevails. A city spokesperson said that the city has yet to determine a method by which the garages would distinguish residents from non-residents.
Jurupa Valley (Riverside Co.) Measure A
Jurupa Valley Incorporation Election
The voters of Jurupa Valley, which encompasses 43 square miles and over 88,000 residents in Riverside county, will decide whether to unite a half-dozen communities into the county's newest city. Incorporation would unite the communities of Mira Loma, Rubidoux, and Glen Avon, among others, into the sixth-largest city in the county. Supporters of Measure A contend that, in addition to benefits of self-rule, incorporation will stave off inevitable attempts by neighboring cities to annex various communities. Supporters say that the Riverside County LAFCO has given the would-be city a clean bill of financial health. Opponents worry that the city will not have the funds to function without help from the county and/or imposing new taxes. The vote follows a highly contentious vote last year to incorporate the City of Eastvale; that vote was successful.
San Clemente Measure A
Vote on the Playa Del Norte Development at North Beach
Approval of Measure A will uphold a 3-2 City Council vote approving a 42,000-square-foot commercial, retail, and restaurant development in San Clemente. Supporters claim that it fits with the city's character and will generate sales tax revenue. Opponents claim that it will eat up convenient beach parking and will require the city to pay for millions in infrastructure upgrades.
West Hollywood Measure WH-A
Tax Billboard Act
The Marlboro Man may be long gone from the Sunset Strip, but he has a lot of would-be friends. The Sunset Strip is prime territory for so-called supergraphic outdoor advertisements, and Measure A would amend the city's zoning code to allow them on both the Strip and nearby Beverly Boulevard. The measure includes provisions for a 7% tax on revenue from the lease of any such billboards, which would be permitted without discretionary review by the city. The intniatives supporters claim that it will generate up to $4.2 million annually for the city. Those supporters happen to include Mike McNeilly, who is known as the "king" of supergraphics in the Los Angeles area. Opponents of the measure claim that it would invite rampant erection of ads throughout the designated areas, thus adding to visual blight. The City Council sued to keep the measure off the ballot, but a December court ruling found in favor of Measure A's supporters.