Public Comment

Secrecy-Shrouded Housing Mega-Bill Unreported by California Media Could Hurt Not Help

Livable California Board of Directors
Sunday May 17, 2020 - 11:20:00 PM

In a few days, the BIG ONE is coming to California, not a quake but a secrecy-shrouded housing mega-bill, unreported by the media and written in secrecy by Sacramento legislators who relied on guesswork and non-transparency.

We do know this, about the as-yet unnamed mega-bill: When COVID-19 shuttered the state Capitol on March 17, a closed-door state Senate task force had been working on the mega-bill for four-and-a-half months.

The task force is acting despite its ignorance of changing facts on the ground that will profoundly alter some things in California:

  • What the new $54 billion state deficit will do to the July 1 budget: unknown.
  • How many Californians will join the seldom-reported, decade-long population outflow from cities to suburbs and exurbs: unknown.
  • How housing demand will change due to the pandemic/post-pandemic: unknown.
  • How many of California’s 80,000+ now-vacant Airbnbs, largely commercially owned, will go up for sale or rent, a potentially vast bump in housing supply: unknown.
  • How many of California’s millions of new “remote workers” will telecommute permanently from suburban and ex-urban homes: unknown.
  • How many new employees won’t move to California, instead telecommuting from present homes: unknown.
The Senate housing task force is living in the past. We hear their bill has “something for everyone” — a bad omen. Good things like housing funds for the homeless will be married to ugly plans to override city powers and overrun communities with luxury apartments.

Below are the 11 Worst Bills we fear may make an appearance in the BIG ONE. 

  1. Worse than SB 50, SB 902 by divisive state Sen. Scott Wiener, again seeks to kill single-family homes. Wiener would replace them with 8-unit projects in big cities, six-plexes in medium cities and four-plexes in small cities. The L.A. Times misreported Wiener’s SB 902 as replacing single-family zoning with four-plexes. No, it’s far more extreme than that.
  1. California YIMBY Dream, AB 725 by Wiener’s ally Buffy Wicks. Her Wiener-like plan, written by California YIMBY, would jam apartment buildings into single-family neighborhoods and encourage developers to overrun fully settled areas made up of small apartments, duplexes or single-family homes.
  1. Luxury Walk-in Closets, AB 3173 by Richard Bloom, a close Wiener ally, would enact unheard-of density. Units of just 80-square-feet, renting for about $1,700 would be specifically forced upon L.A., San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Fresno, Long Beach, Sacramento and Oakland.
  1. Apartments Overtake Single-Family Streets, AB 3040 by David Chiu, a twin to Scott Wiener’s SB 50 and SB 902, would force cities to rezone single-family areas for 8-unit luxury apartment developments. Projects would require no city approval.
  1. Punish the Middle Class, AB 1279 by Richard Bloom, would identify and then punish middle-class neighborhoods by forcing up to 120 housing units per acre in fully settled single-family and low-density communities statewide.
  1. Luxury Dorms Forced on Cities, AB 2470 by Sydney Kamlager, a bizarre plan to allow developers to divide existing apartment buildings into micro-units with no limit on how small they go, aimed at luxury dwellers. Like AB 3173 by Richard Bloom, this isn’t housing, it’s corporate stay-over space.
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  1. Kill Public Hearings, AB 1934 by Randy Voepel, for projects near a transit corridor that offer some units to moderate-income people, this bill kills public input, waives the California Environmental Quality Act and approves the project in 30 days if a city doesn’t challenge it.
  1. Litigation Gift to Developers, SB 592 by Scott Wiener, encourages developers to sue cities, by arguing that developers’ profits will be hurt if a city rejects a luxury apartment as too big for the building site. SB 592 requires NO affordable units.
  1. Strip City Rules for Small Lot Subdivisions, AB 3155 by Robert Rivas, eliminates city rules for setbacks, parking and other standards for small lot subdivisions, and waives public hearings for subdivision projects of 10 units or less.
  1. Cities Must Approve Granny Flats, SB 773 by Nancy Skinner, a close Wiener ally, automatically approves any granny flat (ADU) and any junior granny flat, that’s added to any single-family home or apartment building, if the city fails to challenge the project within 60 days.
  1. Cities Will Be Reported to the Attorney General, AB 953 by Phil Ting and Richard Bloom, is a nasty hit on cities who fail to act on a proposed granny flat (known as an ADU) within 60 days. Cities must follow invasive state “development standards,” and if a city’s ADU law fails to comply with AB 953, the city will be reported to the Attorney General for potential legal action.

Interested in challenging bad bills in Sacramento? Go to, click Act Now. 


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