Tag: 2020-10-nn-roundup

New law aims for fairness in foreclosure market

By Marisa Kendall, The Mercury News, September 29, 2020

“Gov. Gavin Newsom signed SB 1079 into law this week — one of several housing protection or production-focused bills to make it off his desk. SB 1079, which was inspired by the Oakland activist group Moms 4 Housing, prevents corporations from snapping up bundles of homes during foreclosure auctions. Instead, it gives tenants and families an opportunity to buy them individually.

“After the initial bids at a foreclosure auction are received, tenants, families, local governments, affordable housing nonprofits, and community land trusts have 45 days to top the highest bid and buy the property.

“With the new law targeting corporate investors, the goal is to prevent a repeat of what happened in the aftermath of the Great Recession of 2007-2008 — when millions of families lost their homes to foreclosure, and Wall Street investment firms swooped in and bought groups of homes for rock-bottom prices.

“Eliminating bundling is a huge step in the right direction, said Leah Simon-Weisberg, legal director for tenants rights organization Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE).

“ ‘One of the pieces that’s missing, obviously, is how are we going to fund keeping these properties in the community?’ she said. ‘Because having to match the highest bidder is difficult without funding.’ ”

Read the full article here. (~3 min.)

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New CEQA law exempts sustainable transit projects

By Carly Graf, San Francisco Examiner, September 28, 2020

“A bill (SB 288) designed to prevent sustainable transportation projects from getting bogged down in laborious, time-intensive environmental review was signed into state law Monday by Governor Gavin Newsom.

“Supporters of SB 288 believe it will make projects such as pedestrian safety tools, protected bike lanes, light rail, and bus lanes easier and cheaper to implement as well as help the state fight climate change and promote economic recovery in the wake of the coronavirus.

“Guardrails exist within the bill to make sure only truly sustainable projects are exempted from CEQA. They include requirements that they be publicly owned, within an existing public right of way and urbanized area, and can’t result in the demolition of affordable housing.

“Gwen Litvak, senior vice president of the Bay Area Council, an economic development association that co-sponsored the bill, said examples of San Francisco projects that her organization hopes to see expedited with the signing of SB 288 include the Fulton Street Safety & Transit Project, the Embarcadero Enhancement Project, the Excelsior Neighborhood Traffic Calming Project, and the Leavenworth Quick-Build Project, among others.”

Read the full article here. (~2 min.)

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MTC recommends telecommuting requirement

By Laura Bliss, Bloomberg CityLab, September 25, 2020

“During its September 23 meeting, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), a regional authority that finances and coordinates local mobility plans in California’s Bay Area, set a requirement that large office-based employers should have at least 60 percent of their employees work remotely on any given workday by 2050. The remote-work order is one of 35 strategies in Plan Bay Area 2050, the group’s 30-year roadmap to guide regional transportation funding, as required by state and federal law. The work-from-home directive aims to bring the region’s climate-changing carbon emissions down.

“The telecommuting strategy, [MTC regional planning director Matt Maloney] said later, was ‘one of the most necessary pieces.’

“Gina Papan, a commissioner and council member in the South Bay city of Millbrae, called the mandate ‘problematic.’

“ ‘Telecommuting is a viable strategy, but it’s a stopgap,’ said Ethan Elkind, the director of law at the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Law, Energy, and the Environment. It can also be used to dodge more aggressive and challenging climate pursuits, he said.

“Bob Allen, the policy director at Bay Area Urban Habitat, an environmental justice nonprofit, registered another worry: that public transit may be similarly ignored as the region faces the future.

“While the blueprint calls for transit funding, its approval came hours after another MTC meeting that featured public callers excoriating commissioners for failing to act aggressively to redirect existing transportation funds towards those operators, which serve thousands of low-income residents and essential workers. Allen called for more investment in transit, and less for road construction.”

Read the full article here. (~6 min.)

RELATED: Dan Marks, AICP, opines in this issue on what past PBAs have accomplished and what still needs to be done.

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