Sen. Anthony Portantino’s SB 1299 would help cities create housing by reusing idled big box stores and other stores harmed by e-commerce, and hit a second time by COVID. The bill would reward cities who gave up cherished commercial lands for housing.

SB 1299 is rare in Sacramento, where many legislators instead attack California’s 350 cities, override them, severely punish them — over housing. We’re seeing a FAIL by state government: the Sacramento legislature defunded affordable housing in 2011, and it didn’t put the money back when state revenue soared.

Yet many legislators blame the cities, insisting the “market” can create affordable housing. Nowhere on Earth. Their wrong-headed bills are fueling a glut of empty luxury housing units in California. We appreciate Sen. Portantino’s wisdom. Stores are the second-largest building use in the U.S. (see chart). Do the math.