*UPDATE: Since the drafting of this column, we have received word that the initiative effort led by Michael Weinstein has stopped collecting signatures, but may try to instead qualify for the March 2017 City Ballot.

Los Angeles is an exciting city in which to live and work right now. Cranes are a common part of the skyline, new rail lines are opening, Olympic momentum is building, and a new movie, City of Gold, celebrates this city’s incredible food scene fostered by the diversity in our communities.

We do have serious challenges that need to be addressed, in particular a homelessness crisis and housing shortage. That’s why the Chamber has been a long-time partner with the United Way of Greater Los Angeles on the Home for Good plan, and is working with our City and County leadership on ideas for a dedicated revenue stream for affordable housing. Unfortunately, a danger to solving these issues and halting our economic revival has emerged. Two potential measures for the November ballot threaten to suspend L.A. in time and make our housing situation even worse.

The first, proposed by Michael Weinstein of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation*, would place a two-year moratorium on all construction that required a General Plan Amendment – that includes housing, hospitals, schools, rail stations, parks, etc. L.A.’s planning process needs updating, but this initiative goes too far and results would be devastating. It would stop the building of middle class and affordable housing, block programs to alleviate homelessness, further exacerbate rental prices, force construction and density into residential communities, eliminate thousands of jobs and take millions from schools, parks and public safety. Unintended consequences are so severe that the broadest coalition in the history of L.A. is opposing this initiative.

The second proposal, introduced by labor and some affordable housing groups, seeks to create more affordable housing, but does so in such a poorly written way that it will only serve to worsen the housing crisis with new workforce and inclusionary zoning mandates. The language demands that residential projects use 60 percent of labor from a labor apprenticeship training program and requires inclusionary zoning, while not allowing developers of affordable units to use state or federal subsidies. These requirements would place such an unaffordable burden on business that construction would simply stop.

These initiatives will not fix what ails L.A. Metro is working to relieve traffic gridlock, but these initiatives will worsen gridlock by encouraging sprawl and preventing density where appropriate. The City and County are engaged in unprecedented collaboration to tackle homelessness, but these initiatives would make building that housing nearly impossible. Our city is slowly emerging from the recession, but these initiatives would cost thousands upon thousands of jobs as construction ceases.

We urge you to join our efforts to oppose these proposals. L.A. is a city with a vision and now is not the time to freeze the revitalization of our communities and doom us to living in the past. Our economy and future depend upon the defeat of these initiatives.