SB 50 Strongly Opposed by San Francisco, Wiener’s Hometown

In News by Jill Stewart

In a dramatic 9-2 vote against SB 50, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on April 9 delivered a blow to state Sen. Scott Wiener’s unprecedented law that would reward developers who buy up and demolish as many as 3,000 California neighborhoods. (To search the map of SB 50 devastation in Los Angeles and statewide, shown above, click here.)

The super-majority vote by the board officially overturns San Francisco Mayor London Breed’s much-criticized support for SB 50. 

SB 50 is seen as a “demolition derby” that targets thousands of low-income and middle-class areas across California, to make way for Wiener’s developer-backed vision of blocks of 6- to 8-story luxury apartment towers that include only a few affordable units. 

Rick Hall, of San Francisco’s Cultural Action Network, said, “Many San Francisco social justice organizations are celebrating the city’s opposition to SB 50. United to Save the Mission, a coalition of 16 Mission area anti-gentrification groups, also officially opposes SB 50.”

Larry Gross, executive director of the Coalition for Economic Survival in Los Angeles, praised the vote as “pulling the curtain back to reveal a bill that is really a gift to developer greed and not an affordable housing bill. SB 50 is nothing more than a trickle-down economic bill and we all know that trickle-down doesn’t work. It’s stunning that an elected Democrat would embrace Reaganomics to address our serious affordable housing crisis. SB 50 will undermine affordable housing, increase gentrification and displacements, and will destroy the quality of life for low-income and working families.”

The 9-2 vote points up Wiener’s growing credibility problem. Last December, Wiener convinced The New York TimesL.A. Times and other key media that he’d “learned his lesson” after his earlier plan, Senate Bill 827 — a less radical version of SB 50 — went down in flames over the same issues. 

But after winning those media accolades, Wiener failed to protect working-class homeowners and renters from SB 50’s wrecking-ball concepts. Two new searchable SB 50 maps — one created by Coalition to Preserve LA and its allies and one by a pro-developer think-tank at UC Berkeley — both show a statewide terrain of neighborhood destruction under SB 50.