Monday’s crowded Measure H campaign kick-off press conference was a smash—even attracting coverage in the New York Times--and featured an all-star speaker line-up with compelling pitches from (among others) LA County Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas, Janice Hahn and Hilda Solis, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Rabbi Noah Farkas from Valley Beth Shalom.
The highlight was probably Danny, a focus of La Opinion's story, a particularly heartfelt and inspirational speaker who told his story of graduating from one of the top liberal arts colleges in the nation, getting his MBA at Stanford, and working at Lehman Brothers and Bank of America before he lost his job in the crash of 2008. That fact combined with an HIV diagnosis sent him into a tailspin with the result that he ended up on the street.
But Danny also had good news to tell: After receiving exactly the kind of services that would be funded by Measure H at a homeless services agency called PATH (People Assisting the Homeless, also the site of the press conference), he’s becoming a CPA and starting his own financial services business.
LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who initiated the Measure H campaign with full support of members of the current Board of Supervisors, noted that there’s no formalized opposition to Measure H because “the need to do something about homelessness in LA County is so profound that every poll finds that people just want this problem to be addressed!"
“People are taxing themselves to pay for something that they consider a problem, but that may not immediately advance their own interests. People just feel it’s the right thing to do. It’s astonishing,” Raphael Sonenshein, Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at CalState LA told the New York Times.
The Daily News noted how Measure H complements the $1.2 billion bond measure to build 10,000 affordable apartments for homeless approved by voters in the City of LA last November. Measure H would fund countywide services designed to help people off the street and stabilize their lives. Speakers pointed out that because the county has limited funding for these services we are instead relying on trauma centers, emergency rooms and the police and sheriff’s departments to help the homeless—“costing taxpayers in ways that are more painful and less productive,” noted LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn.
Mayor Garcetti pointed out the importance of voting yes on Measure H and voting no on Measure S, which would put a two-year moratorium on most major developments and prevent the city from deviating from current zoning rules. If S passes, he said, 9 out of 10 affordable housing projects for the homeless that the City of LA is planning to build with proceeds from Measure HHH “cannot and will not be built.”