It sounds far-fetched, but SB 902 is “greased” for approval in California state Senate committees. Yet it contains a major anti-democracy clause that went unnoticed due to its original convoluted wording: It empowers cities and counties to UNDO voter-enacted citizen initiatives that restrict land use — to make way for 10-unit luxury apartments.
This bill must be stopped, by the public, in the next two weeks when it hits the state Senate floor. With almost zero media coverage of Sacramento due to the pandemic, you the public must step forward and call your state senator, ask for a meeting on Zoom or time with their staff on the phone, and tell them why you fully and robustly oppose this ugly bill.
SB 902 by the Bay Area’s divisive state Sen. Scott Wiener may slide through committees, unwatched by the media, but your intervention NOW can halt the bill in the state Senate. Call. Your. Senator. Talk to staff. Ask for a Zoom meeting with your neighborhood and them. You will probably hear “OK, let’s choose a time.”
Here are some excellent talking points to review and absorb:
Bullet Point Analysis — Reasons to Oppose SB 902 (Wiener), the “Attack on Democratic Voting Rights” Bill
- We’ll say it again: SB 902 allows California municipalities to override voter-approved ballot initiatives, for the sole purpose of approving 10-unit luxury apartments of any height, on “any parcel,” on streets statewide.
- An online search of protected open space, shorelines and sensitive areas finds that SB 902 would allow the nullification, by city and county elected officials, of more than 20 major citizen initiatives approved in the past decade, and far more citizen initiatives approved by voters in previous decades.
- Imagine the lawsuits, if attorneys must defend California voters in Albany, Berkeley, Fremont, Martinez, Emeryville, Alameda, Merced, Gilroy, Dana Point, Los Angeles, Moorpark, Napa, Pacific Grove, Redondo Beach, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, and other cities and counties if municipal leaders chose to utilize the poisonous SB 902.
- The second part of this bizarre bill would overrun most residential areas, including single-family streets, with luxury 10-unit apartments by letting cities pass ordinances to upzone any parcel if the land is within a newly redefined, expanded “Transit-Rich” or “Jobs-Rich” areas, or is deemed “urban infill.”
- “Urban infill” covers most unbuilt land in most communities. This bill puts 10-unit luxury housing on that parcel, when what we NEED is affordable housing.
- If your street doesn’t have an “urban infill” empty lot, Sen. Wiener will still jam 10-unit luxury housing onto your block, by turning once-meaningful concepts into nonsense: “Jobs-Rich,” a definition in state law, would be recast to include any area in which constructing a 10-unit luxury building could, theoretically, “enable shorter commute times” — an absurd and impossible attempt to measure complex human data and behavior.
- “Transit Rich,” another once-meaningful definition in state law, would also become almost meaningless, downgraded to mean any bus route that offers service every 15 minutes during rush hours. Wiener’s bill would create mile-wide “corridors” in the vicinity of bus stops, in which single-family zoning would be upended for 10-unit luxury apartments whose occupants will never use buses. Make sense? No, it doesn’t.
- SB 902 is another over-the-top experiment, similar to Wiener’s badly failed SB 50 and SB 827. But in going after voter rights, Scott Wiener has gone well beyond the pale.