State Bills Force Density for All

photo by zrants

California state legislators are pushing bills to override local control, while the media is fixated on the pandemic. It is up to citizens to warn each other about the power grab.

I decided to explain what is going on among housing activists on both sides of the arguments over housing developments after my friend asked me why progressives hate single family housing. I realized that all the brands and rhetoric are confusing. People don’t know who to trust. I will try to paint a clear picture of the situation.

There is a land use battle raging in Sacramento over state control versus local control regarding zoning and development in the midst of a pandemic. The result will determine who decides where when and how we should live. This is a call to action. Now is the time for the public to speak out.

The Governor has given local authorities a huge boost in power by allowing them to design their own plan using state guidelines to close and re-open the economy, but, our state legislators have not given up on their plans to override local authorities where zoning and development decisions are concerned.

It is up to the voters in the state to stop some of the bills they are poised to pass that would limit public involvement by speaking out now before the public loses the right to comment and debate.

Now is not the time for state legislators to usurp local authority, rewrite the constitution or exclude the voices of the people. Now is not the time to force cities to grow against their will by authorizing housing bills that increase the cost of home-ownership and private vehicles. Now is the time to support flexible leaders who can adjust to the rapidly changing environment.

While social distancing is the safest lifestyle, we do not need dense housing bills that promote dense development, micro units and communal living with shared facilities.

Businesses and residents are exiting cities in record numbers. Many people are leaving the state. Offices are closing, work from home is cutting commute traffic, transit ridership is at an all-time low, food prices are going up and there is massive unemployment, yet Sacramento politicians act as if it is business as usual, continuing to push for more dense housing. They point to the homeless problem and claim the only solution is more housing everywhere.

We don’t need to hire consulting and PR firms to sell us “more housing.” Judging by the growing number of tents on the sidewalk, the housing programs have been an utter failure. We need new policies and priorities.

There are major disputes with these bills that appear to be out of step with today’s reality. See more about the details of each bill by following the links below:

SB 1120, SB 902, SB 1085, AB 725, and AB1279.

California is a geographically diverse state with a large number of different cultures, economies, and lifestyles that satisfy the communities that created them. These differences are not respected by the politicians in Sacramento who are pushing these bills.

Ignoring the economic downturn and lessons of COVID-19, legislators are expanding on failed theories that exacerbated the homeless problem by doubling down on more of the same and writing bills to kill:

· single family zoning
· density limits
· public hearings and input
· environmental protection
· private vehicles

If you want to be able to work with your local authorities to determine how your cities and communities will be developed, ask them to write letters opposing these bills and tell your representatives in Sacramento to vote against them. See links below for details on actions you may take.

San Francisco officials

California Legislators

The Embarcadero Center just released this analysis of bills:
2020 Housing Bills: Legislation in an Age of Uncertainty

Empowering Neighborhoods

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