Wiener’s SB 50 is Dead Until 2020

In Housing, legislature, News, SB 50 by Jill Stewart

Today, the Appropriations Committee killed Scott Wiener’s SB 50 until next year, halting the worst law proposed this century, a land grab that would have banned single-family zoning, demolished affordable housing, threatened historic neighborhoods and directly attacked homeownership.

This week, we will publish a list of the scores of wonderful organizations, leaders and neighborhoods statewide who fought Wiener’s fatally flawed bill.

It’s Wiener’s second towering failure in two years, after the misguided and obsessed Wiener attempted to force SB 827 on California.

Contact us today at [email protected] if you worked with us against SB 50 and would like to be mentioned in our public WAY TO GO LIST.

Sen. Anthony Portantino, (La Canada Flintridge) chair of the Appropriations Committee, used his power to deep-freeze this bill this morning. SB 50 will be up for debate again next year.

Must we all be subjected to Wiener’s fatally flawed beliefs in the coming months? Must we waste another year of toying with Wiener’s non-solutions to our affordable housing crisis?

Most Californians didn’t know that just a few sections of the California Coastal Zone, and our severe fire hazard areas, would escape the residential upheaval and reduction in family-sized housing at the heart of SB 50.

If you didn’t know this, it’s because of the near-blackout in the California media, which never actually explained what SB 50 would do. We created this map — it shows you what California would be like under SB 50.

An unprecedented and sweeping experiment, SB 50 would have targeted and destroyed homes and apartments alike, with the state forcing cities to dramatically shift housing production to smaller rental units.

SB 50 is an economic and environmental gamble with serious implications. The bill is based on the false “trickle-down” notion that California is short of 3.5 million housing units.

But the 3.5 million is a false figure, conjured by trickle-down theorists at McKinsey & Co, which works for global investor entities looking for new profit centers, like land that’s just been zoned for housing towers.

SB 50 got scant, muted attention from the California media as it raced through approvals in Sacramento, where 1/4 of legislators are also landlords.

There was no serious study by the legislature of its broader effects, as Sen. Bob Hertzberg pointed out.

There was virtually no media transparency about all of this, aside from a few op- eds. In good solid op-eds like this one by Juan Garza, the mayor pro tem of Bellflower, we learned that under SB 50, the state would shift most housing planning, zoning decisions and development standards out of the hands of cities and communities — and directly into the hands of investors/developers.

Why we need to make sure SB 50 is not revived in 2020:

— Developers would be rewarded for eliminating or severely reducing yards, setbacks and parking, indicating that families, open space and trees are not in vogue in Sacramento.

— The bill aggressively seeks to concentrate land ownership into fewer and fewer hands, encouraging demolition of California’s affordable starter-home stock, which is a crucial path for moving from working-class to middle-class.

— Wiener and co-author Mike-McGuire would have severely curtailed and gutted public hearings, environmental review, Community Plans and community input.

— The bill openly encouraged investors/developers to sue cities who attempted to reject a bad development.

– In San Francisco, 95% of approvals for residential development projects would have been shifted from city agencies to private investor/developers, devastating the city’s residential planning system.

– Statewide, developers and investors would have been be rewarded for buying out and gutting vibrant residential areas, remaking streets from San Diego to Santa Monica, Long Beach to Los Angeles, Riverside to Irvine, Santa Rosa to Hayward.

The unintended consequences are vast, unstudied and unknown.

We had to learn these things for ourselves, as groups all over California tried to decipher the Russian Nesting Egg that is SB 50.

How do we sideline Scott Wiener, a divisive and debunked legislator from San Francisco who barely won office?

Even the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted against AGAINST SB 50, and internal polls showed more than 80% of voters opposed it.

Wiener has sucked all of the air out of the room in Sacramento, repeatedly shoving the real affordable housing solutions off of the agenda:

California must build actual affordable housing, not trickle-down luxury units overrunning every corner of the state.

What’s the next step, since Wiener will never stop? His huge failures, SB 827 and SB 50, should be a clarion call to other California state legislators that he is not a leader on the issue of affordable housing. Wiener is a major obstacle.

Click on this map to see the disaster we averted.