SB 50 is dead – voted down by State Senators representing affluent suburbs, including the Peninsula

From Ethan Elkind, January 30, here.

“The opposed senators largely cluster along the affluent coastal and suburban areas. This dynamic is particularly apparent in the San Francisco Bay Area, where representatives of the urban core supported the bill (including bill author Sen. Scott Wiener and Sen. Nancy Skinner). But the senators representing the suburban, high-income Silicon Valley communities (Sen. Jerry Hill), affluent East Bay suburbs (Sen. Steve Glazer), and the Napa area (Sen. Bill Dodd) were all opposed.” (See below for statement from Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo.)

Elkind closed with, “Given the long-term problem and entrenched opposition to change, the fact that such a landmark bill only fell three votes short is quite an accomplishment. Since the problem will only get worse, the political pressure to act will increase. That means that something like SB 50 will ultimately pass in California. It will be too late for those priced out in the near term, and possibly too late to address our 2030 climate goals, which will require reduced driving miles from housing closer to jobs and transit absent major technological innovation. But it will happen, because reforming our land use governance is the only way to solve this problem.”

Earlier Thursday, from Gennady Sheyner, Palo Alto Weekly.

He reported on the negative votes from LA and San Mateo, and quoted from Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, below.

“Bob Hertzberg, D-Los Angeles, criticized the bill for the provision that created a two-year implementation delay and argued that getting the bill ‘right’ is just as urgent as passing it.

“ ‘If I’m a developer contemplating a project, this bill gives me a huge incentive not to build now but to sit on my hands for three years,’ Hertzberg said. ‘Why build two stories when you can build five stories later? And in LA, you cannot pick a worse time to inadvertently put sand in the gears.’

“Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, voted against the bill. He did not speak during the Wednesday debate but said in a statement after the vote that he does not believe SB 50 addresses California’s crucial need for affordable housing.

“He also said he hopes the bill can ‘undergo a full legislative process this year and be positioned to obtain broader support from our colleagues and our community.’

“ ‘We need clearer parameters on the housing creation required for local governments and our communities, and on the flexibility allowed to local governments to locate housing where it works best for our communities,’ Hill said in a statement. ‘We also need a realistic view of the parking needs created by new housing. To require none ignores reality and worsens existing parking shortfalls in the very transit corridors where the legislation seeks to foster new housing. I could not in good conscience vote in favor of this bill as presented today,’ he added.

“Immediately after the Thursday vote, Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, a supporter of SB 50, assured her colleagues and state residents that the debate over increasing California’s housing supply isn’t over and that the Senate will pass a bill to alleviate the state’s housing shortage this year.

“ ‘To those of you who have concerns about SB 50, you have effectively shared how it will impact local communities and I thank you for that, but now it is time for all sides to step up,’ Atkins said. ‘SB 50 might not be coming forward right now, but the status quo cannot stand.’ ”

Read more from the Palo Alto Weekly here.