Mayor Eric Garcetti claimed a second term in a walkaway election, but his real victory came in beating back restrictions on denser, high-rise development that he sees as part of the antidote to L.A.’s notorious traffic and smog.
The horizon of a new Los Angeles can be seen in towering construction cranes looming over Hollywood and downtown. The city is the cradle of the car culture but as more buildings reach skyward some neighborhoods fear Los Angeles is in danger of becoming a sunnier, West Coast version of Manhattan.
In downtown, the Wilshire Grand Center, scheduled to be completed this year, will be 73 stories or about 1,100 feet tall, making it the tallest building on the West Coast.
In Tuesday’s election, the slow-growth proposal known as Measure S challenged Garcetti’s vision for building thousands of new apartments clustered around a growing network of subway and rail stations. He’s also sought to make the city’s car-choked thoroughfares more alluring to walkers.
It’s supporters argued that City Hall too often bends to politically connected developers whose large projects with high rents drive out lower-income residents, contributing to homelessness and increasing congestion. However, the attempt to yoke large-scale development was soundly defeated, 69 percent to 31 percent, according to unofficial returns.
The vote shows Angelenos want to “take full advantage of our 21st century transit system,” Ron Miller of the Los Angeles-Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council said in a statement.
The fight over development went to a core issue as Los Angeles continues to grow — what the city should look like in years to come. For now, it was an endorsement of the mayor and his policies that are trying to encourage people to leave their cars behind.
Garcetti, 46, claimed over 80 percent of the vote against 10 little-known rivals, after building a wide fundraising