Save Calabasas – NO on N – No to Avalon Bay

Mega developer Avalon Bay’s daily onslaught of misinformation mail and phone calls to Calabasas residents is just too much and increasingly deceitful. Facts matter!

As you will see below they’ve spent in excess now of $500,000 dollars on trying to convince Calabasas residents to buy into their manufactured affordable housing crisis — that they created — so they could defy the city’s residents, circumvent the planning process, and build 161 new market-rate units, amounting to mega millions in revenue for themselves. They’ve had a lot of help from Councilmember and attorney Fred Gaines who is well known for representing developer clients and who openly supports them and appears to be a leading campaign strategist. 

And lest we forget, if it was up to Councilmembers Fred Gaines and David Shapiro, Calabasas residents would not even be getting the opportunity to vote on Measure N because they agreed with the developer and voted to just approve — bypassing the residents, their input, and the Planning Commission.

The opportunity for developers like Avalon Bay to make money by weaponizing the affordable housing label has unfortunately become the new norm. Just look at SB 50 which thankfully was recently defeated (see for details).

The Federation expressed our sincere disbelief and disappointment on Sunday to our Rep Ted Lieu re: his apparent support of Measure N and his lack of communicating with his constituents on this issue. His office responded within moments. There appears to be a great deal of confusion out there that has undoubtedly been intentionally strategized by Avalon Bay’s team. Our Rep Ted Lieu does not have a track record of supporting multi-billion dollar development corporations like Avalon Bay or attempts to bypass jurisdictional land-use regulations and citizenry input like this. Furthermore, the developer’s tag line, that voting yes on N will, “protect the beautiful hillsides from development”, aside from being completely false and ridiculous, is incorporated in Lieu’s statement. Who wrote this for him? The answer is — not his local representatives — they were unaware and had nothing to do with it. 

To re-cap NO on Measure N — Avalon Bay’s wealthy developers are not trying to preserve low-income housing. They are trying to bypass the city’s planning process and build more high income units.  Avalon Bay paid off their housing bonds 10 years early, for their own benefit, in actuality ending their affordable housing program in Calabasas. Measure N would allow Avalon Bay to precedent set circumvent existing land use regulations to construct an additional 161 apartments, when they are entitled to none. Voting no is the only way to maintain local control of development. Voting yes and putting decision making in the hands of a developer — and furthermore, removing the public input process — is certainly not in the public’s best interest.

Our Supervisor did not advocate for the bypassing of the city’s planning process or for this method or approach by the developer either.

Below, we’ve cut and pasted an excerpt from Calabasas Mayor Pro Tem James Bozajian’s recent comments in the Acorn against Measure N, a factual summary by one of the Federation delegates against Measure N, and a link to a few other local letters. 
Save Calabasas. NO on Measure N and spread the word throughout your communities and to your friends and contacts in Calabasas. 

James Bozajian — Mayor Pro Tem Calabasas:
To hide its true intentions, Avalon Bay claims that Measure N is just about keeping 80 families in their homes. A few facts will reveal what really motivates Avalon Bay here.
From Sept. 9, 2019 to Feb. 11, 2020, Avalon spent precisely $485,194.36 to fund the Yes on N campaign (source for this and subsequent numbers: California Secretary of State).
This whopping figure represents the largest war chest ever amassed by any municipal candidate or measure in Calabasas history.

Moreover, it does not include costs incurred prior to Sept. 9, 2019 in preparation to run the initiative, or any expenditures made after Feb. 11. Hence, it is likely that AvalonBay will ultimately pour more money into Yes on N than has been spent during all other Calabasas municipal election cycles combined.

Robert Lia — Resident of Calabasas: 
In its recent compendium of misinformation, Avalon Bay Communities allege that if Measure N does not pass, 80 families will not be able to remain in their affordable homes, thereby implying that only we the people can help them.  This is clearly false and a gross misrepresentation of what other alternatives are available to Avalon. Remember Avalon’s own actions in paying off its bond obligations ended the affordable housing program 10 years early — something which was totally within Avalon’s control.

What Avalon, an NYSE listed company, did not disclose is that in it’s Form 10-K, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, for the year ended December 31, 2018, Avalon reported Total Revenue of over $2,284 billion and Net income attributable to common stockholders of $974 million.  Net income represented an approximate 11.1% increase over the year ended December 31, 2017. In it’s Form 10-Q for the nine months ended September 30, 2019, Avalon reported Total Revenue of $1,731 billion and Net income attributable to common stockholders of $618 million. The track record of a robust and highly profitable company.

To quote Avalon, “AvalonBay Communities, Inc. has a long-term track record of developing, redeveloping, acquiring and managing distinctive apartment homes in some of the best U.S. markets, and delivering outsized, risk-adjusted returns to shareholders”.
Clearly Avalon can easily and comfortably afford the cost of covering the difference between the market rate and affordable rate of 80 homes. Don’t allow their corporate parsimoniousness destroy our way of life.  Lastly, they never came to the City for any type of assistance, instead pursuing this stealth initiative to bypass the process.