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Election 2016: Measure M Passing, Local and CA Silver Linings

No, Angelenos, voting yesterday was not entirely in vain
No, Angelenos, voting yesterday was not entirely in vain

While Californians are waking up to the unexpected reality of President Elect Donald Trump, there are quite a few notable silver linings among city, county, and state election results. A few of these remain too close to call.

Measure M, the L.A. County sales tax that would double Metro's rail network, appears poised to pass with just more than the two-thirds majority needed. Though there is no final definitive result as of 11:30 a.m., according to the L.A. Times, Measure M has received 69.8 percent approval with 1,451,784 votes in favor vs. 627,510 against. These L.A. sales tax measures pass and fail on slim margins. In 2008 Measure R passed with 67.9 percent. In 2012 Measure J failed with 64.7 percent. What may make things difficult for much of Measure M's ambitious construction program is that, at least initially under a Trump presidency and a Republican legislature, it could be more difficult to secure federal funds for transit.

L.A. County also passed Measure A to raise bond funds for new and existing parks. Measure A is currently winning with 73.5 percent.

Voters in the city of Santa Monica soundly rejected the anti-growth Measure LV. According to the city website, Santa Monicans voted 56.19 percent against LV: 16,237 voted no, 12,658 voted yes. Santa Monica's Measure LV election is seen as a possible dress rehearsal for L.A.'s Neighborhood Integrity Initiative (NII) next March.

L.A. City voters appear to have passed the $1.2 billion homeless housing and facilities bond Measure HHH, currently at 76.1 percent in favor.

L.A. City also appears to have passed Measure JJJ with 64 percent approval. JJJ, the Build Better L.A. Initiative, split livability advocates. JJJ builds affordable housing, and, for construction, requires local hire and living wages. Critics fear JJJ could dampen overall production of new housing. A Measure JJJ victory should go a long way toward assuring a strong labor presence in efforts to defeat NII next March.

According to Bike the Vote L.A., bicycle-friendly candidates fared well in races for the state legislature, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, and the Santa Monica City Council. Notable bike champions' victories include:

    • Glendale's bicycle-commuting Mayor Laura Friedman won election to the State Assembly.
    • Environment, transit and bike champion Richard Bloom was re-elected to the State Assembly, representing Santa Monica and the Westside.
    • Steven Bradford, author of California's three-foot passing law, was re-elected to the State Assembly, representing the South Bay.
    • Outgoing climate fighter State Senator Fran Pavley will be succeeded by her senior policy adviser bicyclist Henry Stern.

The Metro board will have two new county supervisors. Former L.A. City Councilmember and Congresswoman Janice Hahn will replace termed-out Don Knabe. Michael Antonovich will be replaced by his chief of staff Kathryn Barger. The outgoing Knabe and Antonovich have been among the most conservative voices on the Metro board. Time will tell if the incoming supervisors represent a dramatic departure from the current status quo. Both Barger and Hahn endorsed Measure M, which is likely to steer much of Metro spending priorities for the foreseeable future.

Statewide, livability advocates may take some comfort from the defeats of Proposition 53, which would have made it more difficult for California to proceed with bonding for big projects, including high-speed rail. Hollywood anti-growth leader Michael Weinstein, one of the leaders behind the No on Measure M campaign and next March's Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, lost his push to pass Proposition 60 and Proposition 61.

There will be more state coverage coming soon at Streetsblog CA, but some of the more car-centric local transportation measures - San Diego's Measure A and Sacramento's Measure B - failed while San Francisco Bay Area BART modernization bonds Measure RR passed. See additional election coverage at Streetsblog USA.

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