October 28, 2020 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

SB 50 Revival Sought, With Big Changes

Every time Scott Wiener amends his SB 50 plan to force much higher housing density on virtually all parts of California, it seems a little less onerous for homeowners whose hard-earned life savings are invested in the kind of single family homes and roomy lots that originally drew millions to this state.

But make no mistake: Wiener, a Democratic state senator who views urban sprawl and large lots containing only one home as abominations, still means to change the face of California and the lifestyles of many Californians.

He’s convinced this must happen in order to solve the concurrent problems of homelessness and high housing prices that now confront state residents in many cities and affect anyone who shops for a new or different home.

Wiener, a resident of the extremely dense Castro District in central San Francisco, has until Jan. 31 to get some version of his bill through the state Senate or it will die for this legislative session – unless it’s resurrected via a new bill number later this year.

Wiener doesn’t want to bother with that because of the urgency in the housing picture, where more than 140,000 Californians have no homes and must sleep in cars, doorways or mass shelters in armories and other public buildings on cold winter nights. More than half the state’s families also cannot afford to buy the median California home, whose price now tops $500,000.

Wiener sees more housing as the solution, which makes him a natural ally of Gov. Gavin Newsom, who wants about half a million new units constructed in each of the next seven years, but saw less than one-third that many built during his first year in office.

Yet, Newsom has not backed Wiener’s bill, perhaps because it offends too many present homeowners, who represent a powerful voting bloc that could unseat him in 2022 if he crosses them.

But the newest version of SB 50 is neither as onerous nor quite as dictatorial as previous ones, which mandated approvals for unlimited five-to-eight story apartment or condominium buildings within half a mile of light rail stops and four-floor structures along major bus routes, regardless of what neighbors and local officials might want.

The newest version gives cities and counties two years to develop their own plans for more housing, letting them site higher buildings in some places and lower ones in others, so long as they total enough new units to suit the state’s housing department. It also would let cities encourage new “granny” units in backyards. Meanwhile, the housing department has already forced some local officials to okay adding enormously to their housing stock by suing them or threatening them with loss of funds from the state.

Wiener’s wide coalition of supporters includes the American Assn. of Retired People, developers, construction unions, realtors, the Yes In My Backyard (YIMBY) organization of urban liberals and a host of environmental groups, plus the main Los Angeles area chamber of commerce and now even a few mayors.

“The changes (in) SB 50 give cities a broader menu of options,” said Brian Hanlon, CEO of California YIMBY.

“…it’s striking to see what an existing state mandate by itself – without SB 50 – could do to just one city during this new decade. One analysis says the existing law could force Santa Monica, a three-mile-square city of 92,000 facing the Pacific Ocean and surrounded on its other three sides by Los Angeles, to allow building of more than 9,000 new housing units…”

Tom Elias

Meanwhile, it’s striking to see what an existing state mandate by itself – without SB 50 – could do to just one city during this new decade. One analysis says the existing law could force Santa Monica, a three-mile-square city of 92,000 facing the Pacific Ocean and surrounded on its other three sides by Los Angeles, to allow building of more than 9,000 new housing units in that time, likely adding at least 15 percent to its already crowded streets and neighborhoods.

Local slow-growth advocates vigorously oppose this mandate, accepted as unavoidable so far by city officials. Slow-growthers fear the inevitable impact of SB 50’s added requirements.

So do a lot of other cities and groups of local activists interested in preserving California’s longtime lifestyles.

A collision appears inevitable, but was averted last year when one lawmaker used an obscure rule to stymie SB 50. No one is quite sure what might happen now, with pressure to solve housing problems building every day.

Email Thomas Elias at [email protected]. His book, “The Burzynski Breakthrough, The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It” is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, visit www.californiafocus.net

Related Posts

Century City-Westwood Councilmember Advocates for Single-Pay Healthcare

October 27, 2020

October 27, 2020

Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz expresses support for single-payer system The Los Angeles City Councilmember representing Century City and...

UCLA Winter Quarter Online? Century City, Westwood Beat – October, 26, 2020

October 26, 2020

October 26, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * UCLA Winter Quarter Online? * Early Voter Turnout Close To 50,000...

Edify TV: Historic Venice Church Damaged in Fire

October 26, 2020

October 26, 2020

A 100 year old church in Venice recently caught fire and some think arson was responsible. Learn more in this...

UCLA Student Falls to Death From Westwood Apartment Building

October 26, 2020

October 26, 2020

UCLA student dies falling from Midvale Avenue apartment Saturday By Sam Catanzaro A UCLA student died after falling from a...

Homeless Veterans Can Enter the VA Safe Camping Right Now

October 25, 2020

October 25, 2020

From the Brentwood Community Council The new ‘safe camping’ program at the VA is a success. The VA is moving...

Officials Warn of LA County Property Tax Scam

October 25, 2020

October 25, 2020

Scammers going to taxpayer homes to collect property tax payments, LA County warns By Chad Winthrop Los Angeles County Treasurer...

MedMen Founder Chris Ganan Sells Brentwood Home for $9.9M

October 23, 2020

October 23, 2020

Today on Westside Cribz, 5 questions to ask before you refinance, MedMen founder Chris Ganan sells Brentwood home, and local...

Westwood-Area DUI Checkpoint This Weekend

October 22, 2020

October 22, 2020

DUI and license checkpoint Friday night By Chad Winthrop A Los Angeles Police Department DUI checkpoint is coming to a...

Westwood Restaurants Offer Discount Code For UCLA Students and Faculty: Century City, Westwood Beat – October, 22, 2020

October 22, 2020

October 22, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Westwood Restaurants Offer Discount Code For UCLA Students and Faculty *...

Greek Street Food Arrives in Westwood Village: Westside Food Scene

October 22, 2020

October 22, 2020

Westside Food Scene October 22, 2020 By Kerry Slater Greek Street Food Arrives in Westwood Village Nick the Greek is...

Edify TV: National Greasy Food Day on the Westside

October 22, 2020

October 22, 2020

October 25 is National Greasy Foods Day. Here are a handful of Westside eateries offering delicious, greasy comfort food in...

Suspect Arrested in Connection to Westwood-Area Date Rape

October 21, 2020

October 21, 2020

Man arrested after raping woman from out of town By Sam Catanzaro Los Angeles police have arrested a man accused...

LA County: Younger People Are Driving New COVID-19 Cases

October 20, 2020

October 20, 2020

68 percent of new cases among people between ages of 12 and 50 By Sam Catanzaro Los Angeles County health...

Palms Middle School Free Flu Shot Clinic

October 20, 2020

October 20, 2020

Los Angeles Unified and Health Net offering free vaccinations for seasonal flu to students and families By Chad Winthrop Los...

Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles Awards $325,000 to Support Racial Equity

October 20, 2020

October 20, 2020

The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles (The Foundation) recently announced that it has awarded grants totaling $325,000 to seven local organizations...

Comments
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *