August 20, 2020
California Federation of Republican Women
Sue Blair, President
By Candice Burroughs, CFRW Resolutions Chair
California’s New Housing Bills…Brace Yourself for the New Normal!
Once again, the Democrats are taking advantage of the current imbalance in both houses of the State Legislature. In January, Senator Scott Wiener’s huge housing bill was defeated. However, it is not dead yet, and has come back to life in the form of multiple Assembly bills:
AB 2553; AB 2960; AB 3040; AB 3182; AB 3269; and AB 3308
The Democrats find it much easier to pass bills in the Assembly, so SB 50 became twelve Assembly bills.
While most of the media has been dealing with the issues caused by the pandemic and Black Lives Matter “friendly” protests, our CA legislature has been quietly fast-tracking legislation to the Governor’s desk that will transform our neighborhoods. These bills will largely end local zoning and housing authority, and no one is aware it is coming!
Governor’s Housing Shortage Claims
The Governor identified a housing shortage of 3.5-4 million homes and mandated new home building under the new RHNA (Regional Housing Neighborhood Assessment) to be met by 2030. In January, he quietly admitted these numbers are exaggerated and flawed, but lawmakers are frustrated with the slow pace of new construction. As a result, our politicians have offered “one-size fits all” solutions to the problem.
Local City Councils have great concern that decisions affecting their communities made by bureaucrats in Sacramento will give extraordinary power to a State controlled planning authority. The Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) may become the de facto central planning authority with little to no input by local government. Our only hope is that before August 31, when the legislative session ends, enough Senators will see the problems passage of these bills will cause going forward.
High Density Negative Impacts
One bill mandates what local agencies can and cannot require, while another exempts larger developments from environmental review. Another bill allowing up-zoning targets single-family neighborhoods. Your next-door neighbor’s home could possibly be demolished and replaced by as many as 10 units.
Many far left Democrats have the desire to end single-family housing, claiming it is immoral and racist. They are driven by the concept that transit-oriented densification is the cure for all housing problems and the preferred alternative to suburban living.
Single family and small multifamily neighborhoods are prime targets for a possible wave of real estate speculation because of these new bills. Communities of color and working class neighborhoods are at risk of becoming dense, high-end developments that become no longer affordable to the current residents.
These bills collectively amount to a giveaway to developers. Many contain environmental exemptions and virtually none require affordable housing…saving builders millions in compliance costs and fees associated with local reviews.
The reduced affordability requirement leads one to wonder about the political influence of developers. Los Angeles is currently facing federal corruption charges in their role to approving over $1 billion in new developments. With millions saved in development fees, reduced environmental requirements, and large density bonuses coupled with reduced parking, the door will be open for a wild ride.
Impact of COVID-19 Unknown
COVID-19 has transformed the way we live and work. We have no idea what the “new normal” will be. What we do know is people living in smaller spaces do not fare well in a pandemic. They require more space if they are to continue to work at home. There will be less demand for public transportation because of lack of social distancing in trains, buses, etc. How does this help us reach the need to reduce cars on the road?
As RWF members, we all know the need to get the younger generation to understand the benefits of voting Republican. What better way than to show them what lies ahead in their future? Home ownership will never become a reality if we continue down this path. Eliminating all future R-1 housing does not translate to young people fulfilling the dream of owning a home with a yard for the kids to play ball. It is our responsability to make them aware of the consequences if they do not vote for Republican candidates.
Remember, the only way out is to elect more Republicans to represent us in Sacramento!