Critical Email to Sen Bradford - Please Stop SB 50 in CommitteeRead or Edit the Petition
Dear Sen. Bradford:
We know you have been largely quiet on SB 50 and we urge you now to oppose SB 50 for the sake of your constituents and all working-class and middle-class communities. Recent amendments have not improved the bill.
The League of Cities is opposed to Sen. Scott Wiener’s SB 50, as are social justice groups and civic leaders across California, and hundreds of working-class and middle-class communities such as mine. There’s been little media coverage, and the Los Angeles Times has badly lagged in explaining the gentrification and displacement at the heart of SB 50. So, we have compiled the latest developments regarding SB 50. Please read on:
Opposition is growing as fast as people learn what it says. We urge you to review and then share this online map showing how SB 50 lets developers overrun 1000s of thriving communities, pushing out residents and demolishing housing to build apartment towers up to 8-stories high.
SB 50 is an unprecedented attack on single-family housing and our stock of older apartment buildings. It rewards developers who erect four-plexes and buildings with up to 10 units with NO affordable units. Many have missed this core heart of the complex bill -- it fundamentally opens more than 400 cities to land flippers and global capital looking for ways to develop single-units with no room for families. We will see a boom not in housing but in airbnbs and traveler units, none of which is affordable to any of us - and few of us can live in singles.
Last year, Sen. Wiener got in trouble with several legislators after falsely claiming he had the votes to get SB 50 out of Appropriations. He got caught. Now he is saying the same thing now, telling media, officials and constituents that it's a done deal.
It is not. We will not sit quietly if the bill is allowed out of Appropriations at its Jan. 20 meeting. We know you have been largely quiet on the bill and we urge you to oppose SB 50.
SB 50 would ban cities from rejecting big luxury developments containing a small percent of affordable units if; A) they are within a ¼-mile radius of a busy bus stop, or B) within a 1/2-mile radius of any rail or train stop. But SB 50 goes far beyond transit zones, overturning single-family zoning in areas “jobs-rich, with good public schools” that don’t even have bus lines.
Please tell your colleagues on Appropriations that wiping out single-family zoning is bad for our economy, and especially for the working class striving to become owners to build family wealth — particularly in working-class and middle-class neighborhoods you represent in South L.A. including Watts, Athens and Willowbrook and in the heavily family-based surrounding older suburbs of Carson, San Pedro, Compton, West Compton, Gardena, Harbor City, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lennox, Torrance, West Carson and Wilmington. These voters will be driven out of your district.
Even worse, SB 50 directly threatens "sensitive communities." If they don't comply with SB 50, adopting the dramatic up-zoning at the heart of this bill, Wiener forces it on them. He throws them a very weak lifeline in the new version, that changes nothing about the end result: SB 50 forces black, Latino, diverse, working-class areas to rezone themselves out of existence.
While the bill claims to protect renters, it relies on an unenforceable and non-existent "vacant building" database. Since only three or four cities have costly vacancy lists that track individual buildings, developers will abuse this loophole, saying buildings are long-vacant. Developers become the fox guarding the rental henhouse.
Luxury housing will never address our affordable housing crisis. In 2017, 83% of apartments built in California’s 3 largest cities were luxury units. Rents and homelessness soared there. SB 50 digs a deeper hole. San Francisco’s Affordable Housing Nexus Study proved that 40% of new units must be affordable to stop digging the hole caused by gentrification and displacement.
California's Legislative Analyst agrees it takes 25 years for luxury housing to "trickle down” to the middle-class: “Housing that likely was considered ‘luxury’ when first built declined to the middle of the housing market within 25 years.”
Of most concern to many, SB 50 puts developers in charge of their own planning and zoning. It lets them choose their own incentives from a menu of rewards and waivers, tossing out local development standards & planning tools that make cities livable. SB 50 lets developers choose to waive up to 3 rules, including height limits. But the San Francisco Planning Department analysis says that on close reading, SB 50 actually lets developers ignore up to 6 rules.
Here's just a sample of the rules developers can abandon or dramatically hinder under SB 50. Cities, counties and communities would have no say and no recourse.
1. No parking required in apartment towers
2. Override density maximums (number of apartment units per parcel)
3. Slash or eliminate yards, and building setbacks for trees
4. Allow demolition of historic buildings not protected by the state
5. Eliminate on-site open space (balconies, courtyards)
6. Remove demolition controls
7. Ignore design standards
8. Evade impact Fees
SB 50 is strongly anti-family, springing from the city of San Francisco, which has one of the lowest child-to-adult ratios in the North America. Senator, your district is nothing like that. It is jammed with families. Yet SB 50 incentivizes 1-bedroom units over multi-bedrooms, but our affordability crisis is heavily centered on family housing. It is terrible for the environment, encouraging developers to pave over spaces where children play and trees grow.
Please oppose SB 50 in Committee. And please share with your constituents this searchable, zoomable map that several mayors have told us is truly “an eye-opener”: https://stop-sb50.github.io/it-wipes-out-neighborhoods.
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