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California legislators should take a breath on housing ‘crisis.’ Looking at you, Scott Wiener

January 24, 2020

By Susan Kirsch, Special to CalMatters : calmatters – excerpt

Sen. Scott Wiener’s controversial Senate Bill 50 is huffing and puffing its way back to the 2020 California legislative session. It aims to blow down formerly protected constitutional authority for cities to tackle their own planning and zoning.

Wiener’s march to Sacramento is with a choir of politicians who sing an off-key song of crisis. The tune goes like this:

“We have an affordable housing crisis. Cities are to blame. We have to do something. We’ll replace local control with top-down rezoning in the form of unfunded mandates dictated by developers and real estate investors.”

Let’s unpack these lyrics to discover why it should be stopped.

In the first verse, Wiener and some colleagues have accepted unproven assumptions about the crisis…

In the second verse of this irritating song, Wiener and friends claim cities are to blame for housing woes. They ignore corporate complicity…

Instead, they peddle the idea that housing and affordability will improve if they abolish long-held practices of community engagement with guidelines from elected officials, general plans, housing elements, and hard-fought provisions to protect the environment.

How did we get to this place so lacking in harmony?…(more)

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