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Why 37 Major Progressive Groups from Los Angeles Oppose State-Level Housing Bill SB 827

March 4, 2018

By Jacob Woocher : knock-la – excerpt

The battle lines around the pro-development (and pro-gentrification) SB 827 are becoming increasingly clear, with 37 grassroots organizations from L.A. yesterday releasing a letter detailing their opposition…

The proposed state-level bill overrides local building regulations to allow for denser and taller buildings near mass transit, the idea being that not enough homes are being built because rich and powerful homeowners (NIMBYs) want to preserve their nice and quiet lives. By allowing for denser development, the logic goes, we’ll all end up with more housing.

If only it were that simple…

Wiener is a Democrat, but SB 827 is something you’d expect to see from Republicans: deregulate the market and watch as housing trickles-down to all…

But don’t just take my word for it. The letter is really worth reading in full (it’s only two pages), and makes some very strong arguments against SB 827, which, according to the authors, “will exacerbate the very issue it seeks to remedy, especially in low-income communities and communities of color.”…

If SB 827 passes, though, “we will lose these incentives for developers to include low-income, very-low income or extremely low-income units in their new buildings near transit. Likewise, provisions in the above cited plans and policies to prevent destruction of affordable units, require replacement of affordable units and mitigate displacement of low-income families would be undermined.”…

If Scott Wiener and the YIMBYs were really looking out for poor people of color, they’d be using their power and money to support what are very clearly the priorities of grassroots organizations all across the state: repealing Costa-Hawkins and expanding rent control.

Don’t hold your breath… (more)


These maps show how SB 827 targets gentrifying communities of color, while ignoring the richest and whitest areas of Los Angeles

By Jacob Woocher : knock-la – excerpt (including graphics)

State Senator Scott Wiener and the YIMBYs have cleverly marketed SB 827 as a gutsy measure that challenges rich homeowners who use zoning to keep poor people of color out of their neighborhoods. The controversial bill overrides local restrictions on development near transit, allowing for taller and denser buildings in areas that for decades have segregated themselves by race and class — at least that’s what its supporters claim…

The maps… (made by Redfin ex-CTO Sasha Aickin) reveal SB 827 for what it really is: a lubricant for gentrification that places the burden of luxury development and its accompanying displacement squarely on communities of color filled with renters. The bill makes it easier and more profitable for investors to redevelop buildings in areas with cheap land that they believe will soon be attractive to wealthier yuppies.

Many of these neighborhoods are already dense, diverse, and near transit. The problem is that they’re filled with the wrong people: low-income Blacks, Latinxs, and Asians…

Meanwhile, the “hottest” gentrifying neighborhoods that real estate investors can’t wait to get their hands on — places like Crenshaw, Koreatown, South L.A., and East L.A. — all get up-zoned. SB 827 assures investors that pesky residents and regulations in these areas will not get in the way of their profits. (It’s worth reiterating again that many of these neighborhoods are already pretty dense!)

These maps make even clearer why 37 progressive groups from L.A., in an open letter to the bill’s author, wrote that “SB 827 will exacerbate the very issue it seeks to remedy, especially in low-income communities and communities of color.”…

A quick word about the recent amendments to the bill regarding demolition of units and right-to-return: these are undoubtedly a small step in the right direction (although it’s unclear how effective they’ll actually be in practice). But they fundamentally do not change the fact that SB 827 will facilitate massive indirect displacement as rents rise around new developments and property owners evict existing residents for richer, whiter ones. For example, a recent report published by Human Impact Partners estimated that The Reef development in South Central L.A., even though it’s being built on an empty parking lot, will put 4,445 renters within a half-mile at a high or very high risk of displacement. Gentrification isn’t just about physically destroying homes.

Rich neighborhoods go untouched…(more)

Voters across party lines, classes and ethnic groups are uniting to fight these bills.

Wiener’s SB-827 follows last year’s SB-35, in another attempt to turn local jurisdiction over to the state. Bills that tie housing development to public transportation funding are convincing communities that oppose them to avoid state edicts by limiting public transportation options.

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