Tuesday, September 1, 2020

SB 1120 Did Not Pass - But Not for Lack of Trying

Last week I wrote about SB1120 and asked people to communicate their opposition to the bill.

Last night was the deadline for bills to pass and fortunately did not pass.  It was only a technical victory however.  This bill was originally passed in the state senate and then went on to the state assembly.  The deadline to pass the bill was last night at midnight.  Several times over the past week, the vote was delayed likely because it did not have enough support.  Just three minutes before midnight, the assembly passed the bill, but because it needed to go back to the senate due to minor amendments, there was not enough time for the senate to vote on it.  

So while this bill failed, it's not for lack of trying.  The Senate had 40 members, and the vote was 39-0 with only one abstention.  The vote in the assembly was 44-18, with 17 abstentions.  Both of our state representatives, State Senator Glazer and Assembly Member Grayson voted in favor of this bill!  Terrible.

So why was SB1120 so bad?  SB1120 would have virtually eliminated single family zoning in the entire state.  All single family zoned lots would be allowed to build two homes instead of one.  It would have eliminated the need for public hearing or review.  In addition, it would then allow these lots to be subdivided into two lots, meaning where previously only one house existed, all the sudden there could be four houses.  Again, no review or public hearing would be allowed.  In addition, SB1120 would have exempted these actions from any environmental review.   Essentially this bill would have gutted local control and changed the utilization of millions of properties and their neighborhoods.

This bill was just the latest in an attempt by State Senator Scott Wiener to have Sacramento take over local control and end single family zoning.  He is the biggest threat in Sacramento to small cities like ours.  He has advanced plans that would cram more and more houses, eliminates local control, eliminates environmental protection, with no regard to neighborhoods.

An organization that Clayton belongs to, the League of California Cities, actually took a "support if amended" position on SB1120.  Why?  This bill was fatally flawed to begin with and no amendment would have made it okay.  The amendments that the League sought were anemic at best.  This is in contrast to other advocacy groups like Livable California who strongly opposed this bill.

We as a city should be advocating against these bad housing bills that destroy local control and would be harmful to the character of our city.