In a major criticism of the California legislature’s 2020 housing plans, dozens of elected officials from across the state on Aug. 20 urged legislators to “suspend all activity on land-use bills” until the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are known.
In searing language, the California Alliance of Local Electeds (CALE) said that even as the public remains deeply focused on COVID-19 and social issues, legislators are rushing developer bills through with little debate that “lead to speculation, displacement, gentrification and further racial discrimination in housing” while creating minimal additional affordable housing.
California Alliance of Local Electeds declared that Sacramento is in a “Crisis of Governance” in which bills are being hurried through shortened hearings, with far less public input, that entirely ignore the rise of remote working, emptied office buildings and vacant luxury housing.
The statement came shortly after the Assembly Appropriations Committee sent the divisive Senate Bill 1120, by senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, to a full Assembly floor vote, set for sometime next week. If the Assembly approves the bill, it heads to the desk of Gov. Gavin Newsom.
SB 1120 would be the greatest experiment in the U.S. in ending single-family zoning — dwarfing examples recently tried in two small cities.
Among the many flaws critics have attacked in SB 1120 is its encouragement to speculators and rental giants such as Blackstone to buy relatively affordable homes on stable streets, and build four pricey luxury rental homes without yards, trees or garages, where one home stands now.
SB 1120 faces stiff opposition from Black and Latino homeowner communities, concentrated in SoCal, whose leaders say SB 1120 will decimate their hard-won communities.