News update: Heavy-hitter Black leaders in California came out swinging Saturday, Aug. 15 at the Town Hall against SB 1120, including Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager-Dove; Emeritus Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson; and former Los Angeles City Councilmember Jan Perry. Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz, who led the city’s fight against SB 50, joined them in condemning SB 1120 as a bill that places communities in harm’s way and is tone-deaf to the diversity of homeowners in California.
The Town Hall was a huge success, with more than 350 opponents of SB 1120, SB 902 and other bad bills joining this South L.A. Town Hall, hailing from every part of California.
Black residents of South L.A. told the crowd on Zoom of their struggles to buy homes 30 years ago in the face of redlining, and eventually investing their life savings in their homes — only to be insulted and endangered by the senate authors of SB 1120 and SB 902.
They all called on residents across the state to unite and fight SB 1120 and SB 902 as the bills hurtle toward final votes in the state Assembly this month.
Key to halting SB 1120 and SB 902 is for you and your community to contact your Assemblymember and urge a NO vote.
Even though you may have missed the town hall, here’s the background story to today’s incredible South LA Town Hall Against SB 1120 and Other Bad Bills:
SB 1120 would allow any home to be destroyed and replaced by four expensive homes without yards or garages, including four McMansions — if the lot is big enough. Setbacks of just four feet. Density on thousands of streets and the end of single-family zoning.
This bill is not about modest “duplexes” for grandma, as the bill’s author consistently and falsely implies.
SB 1120 has an awful twin, SB 902, which would allow city councils to “upzone” single-family and low-density streets to allow 10-unit luxury buildings, with no review under the California Environmental Quality Act. SB 902 allows any city council to jam 10-unit luxury projects — almost anywhere.
Yet these two purported “COVID-19” housing bills, placed on a rush-job calendar without challenge from most of our own legislators, never got around to helping the poor or addressing the pandemic.
Instead, the two bills hand unprecedented incentives to market-rate developers and investment groups, to overrun and destroy single-family streets.
Both of these radical experiments cater directly to high-end developers and both ideas are longtime obsessions of state Sen. Wiener’s. Both concepts enjoyed starring roles in his widely hated SB 827 and SB 50. Those bills were killed due to public outcry in 2018 and 2019 (and SB 50 was killed again in January).
The good news is that all of your efforts did pay off in recent days, in one huge win against Wiener:
Wiener was forced to strip from SB 902 his sly wording that allowed any city council to override citizen-initiated, voter-approved laws protecting open space, shorelines, urban boundaries and treasured lands. (Turns out developers are drooling to pave them over.)
Wiener quietly tried to take an ugly bite out of California’s 108-year-old right to the initiative. But Livable California and its volunteer lawyers untangled Wiener’s sly SB 902 wording.
We tried to get news media coverage of Wiener’s anti-environmental, anti-constitutional silent play, but the media are stretched thin and Sacramento is, increasingly, un-watched.
So on July 25, we held a big SB 902 teleconference to alert the public. That brought attention, finally, to what Wiener intended.
Here’s the infamous Wiener wording in SB 902 that he was finally forced to remove a few days ago:
“A local government may pass an ordinance, notwithstanding any local restrictions on adopting zoning ordinances enacted by the jurisdiction, including restrictions enacted by a local voter initiative, that limit the legislative body’s ability to adopt zoning ordinances, to zone any parcel for up to 10 units of residential density per parcel.”
Saving the open spaces from Scott Wiener is very good.
But his two bills will still badly harm 7.4 to 8 million California homeowners, whether poor, middle-income or rich.
Like SB 902, SB 1120 is filled with misdirection. It’s NOT about inexpensive little “duplexes” folks, it’s about four full-sized homes without a garage or a yard — where one home stands today.
SB 1120 will destabilize California home-ownership — and that’s the very last thing we need in this pandemic year of lost jobs, instability and fear.
Developers, investors, airbnb groups and speculators will target not just suburban California homes that Wiener detests, but working-class and middle-class Latino- and Black-owned homes too close to downtowns, rail stops, parks or interesting business districts. All will become SB 1120 targets.