Being an informed voter means being up-to-date on the facts about Measure J and what it seeks to achieve for Black, Brown, and low-income communities. Here you’ll find the latest Frequently Asked Questions and facts about Measure J.
Measure J is a ballot measure that would amend the L.A. County Charter to require at least 10% of locally controlled revenue (about a billion dollars) to be invested into local communities and alternatives to incarceration.
Measure J is the answer to what has been shown to be a long-term systemic problem in our county’s budgeting process: not funding our priorities. For example, Alternatives To Incarceration (ATI) and the “Care First, Jails Last” program have been a focus of the county for the last 5 years – but yet they couldn’t get the funding to move forward in a meaningful and impactful way.
Measure J is long overdue – especially for those who live every day with the impact and outcomes of underfunded priorities in L.A. County.
We need bold and responsible action that addresses the inequities that have afflicted our Black and Brown communities for generations. By ensuring that funding can no longer be diverted from the priorities, programs and services these communities need, we are able to address and resolve issues at their root cause. It’s time for structural change – it’s time for Measure J.
Measure J is an opportunity for L.A. County, as one of the largest and most diverse counties in the country, to lead the way to fix systemic discrimination, exclusion, and inequity.
Re-Imagine L.A. County is a coalition of advocates, community organizations, and neighbors supporting Measure J to divest from incarceration and policing and invest in health, housing, and jobs for marginalized people.
You can find a list of Measure J endorsements here.
Measure J prioritizes 10% of locally controlled revenue (about a billion dollars) to be invested into local communities and alternatives to incarceration. Unlike the current budget process, Measure J requires an inclusive and transparent process for determining how these dollars are being allocated.The Measure will be clear that use of any of these earmarked funds for carceral systems and any law enforcement agencies is strictly forbidden.
Not a thing. Measure J will not raise taxes and instead ensures existing local revenue goes where voters—not politicians—want it to go: community safety, housing stability, and alternatives to incarceration. The measure promotes transparency by requiring citizen oversight and annual published audits of all spending.
No, the measure will create jobs in health and housing that support the priorities of the county and the public. Measure J actually invests in essential workers and critical public services through job creation and ensuring access to health and mental wellness, and youth programs to name a few.
The measure is supported by thousands of essential workers and their unions, like the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, the National Union of Healthcare Workers, Unite Here! Local 11, and the Frontline Wellness Network.
Measure J will increase community safety by shifting funding from punishment to prevention. Instead of spending $500,000,000 a year incarcerating people with mental illness, for example, Measure J would increase spending on mental health care.
No, it does not. The measure promotes transparency by requiring an annual budgeting process that is flexible, but with a clear framework of eligible and non-eligible uses. The funding set aside could also be paused by the Board of Supervisors in a fiscal emergency.
In order for us to achieve real structural change, we need to codify commitments into law. We can’t rely on the pledges of officials who may or may not be around in a few years. We need long lasting systemic change codified into law now.
Measure J states that the funding would come from unrestricted funds in the general budget – it does not call for the funds to come from any specified department. It does, however, state that in order to ensure that funds set aside due to Measure J are being used to meet its intent they may not be used by legal or law enforcement departments.
As part of the inclusive and transparent process stipulated in Measure J, the county with input from community leaders would determine how the funding would be allocated.
All of the measures voters have supported, like H, are essential to addressing issues and building a better, strong L.A. County. Measure J compliments the other measures in that it’s comprehensive in its approach – it doesn’t just address a single symptom but treats the entire cold. When it comes to homelessness, for example, we need the investments of Measure H, but we also know that there are issues that lead to homelessness – mental health, joblessness, affordability, etc – that are all interconnected. Measure J allows the County to fund programs with a comprehensive plan. Measure J breaks down silos to bridge solutions.
Measure J funds would go to fund programs and services that fall within one of two categories: Direct Community Investment (ie: youth development programs, job training and jobs for low-income people, investment in small minority-owned businesses, rent assistance and housing vouchers, and affordable housing, etc.) and Alternatives to Incarceration (ie: restorative justice programs, pre-trial non-custody services, community-based health services, wellness and prevention programs, treatment services, reentry programs, etc.).
The budget process for Measure J funds will be determined annually along with the regular budget process and will require an inclusive and transparent process with community members.
Measure J contains a safety mechanism in the adopting ordinance which allows a fourth-fifths vote of the Board to suspend the funding set aside in the case of a county fiscal emergency.
Measure J would set aside (not generate) a minimum of $500 million, and as much as $800 million a year when fully implemented in 4 years.
Measure J invests in care and people first using proven strategies that strengthen our communities at the core and reduce the need for the police involvement.
Conservatively, the programs that Measure J would prioritize are currently being funded at just $395 million. This breaks down to $322 million for Direct Community Investment and just $73 million for Alternatives to Incarceration. All of which falls short of the 10% commitment we believe is necessary to address and fulfill County priorities.
From its flexible and unrestricted funding, L.A. County spends $1.75 BILLION a year on punishment and just $230 million on the health, wellness and other priorities our communities of color need.
Measure J is on the ballot for this General Election, which is on Tuesday, November 3.
Registered voters in Los Angeles County are able to vote for Measure J.
In order to be adopted, Measure J requires 50% + 1 of the vote (or a simple majority).
Voting centers in L.A. County will be open for early voting beginning on Saturday, October 24 until Election Day.
Visit the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk at https://lavote.net/ to find out if you are registered to vote.
The language is below:
“Shall the measure, annually allocating in the county’s budget no less than ten percent (10%) of the county’s locally generated unrestricted revenues in the general fund to address the disproportionate impact of racial injustice through community investment and alternatives to incarceration and prohibiting using those funds for carceral systems and law enforcement agencies as detailed in the ordinance adopting the proposed charter amendment, be adopted?”