State lead­ers vow to pass hous­ing bill

Antelope Valley Press - - NEWS - By ADAM BEAM

SACRA­MENTO — Des­per­ate for more hous­ing in the na­tion’s most pop­u­lous state, the leader of the Cal­i­for­nia Senate com­mit­ted Thurs­day to pass­ing a law this year to add more hous­ing in a state fac­ing a short­age of 3.5 mil­lion homes.

Senate Pres­i­dent Pro Tem Toni Atkins’ com­ments came mo­ments af­ter the Senate failed to pass the most am­bi­tious hous­ing bill in mem­ory: One that would have forced lo­cal gov­ern­ments to let de­vel­op­ers build small apart­ment build­ings in some neigh­bor­hoods re­served for sin­gle fam­ily homes.

The bill took on what has be­come the big­gest is­sue in Cal­i­for­nia: A hous­ing short­age that is send­ing rents and home prices soar­ing while con­tribut­ing to the state’s grow­ing home­less pop­u­la­tion, the largest in the coun­try.

Senate Bill 50, au­thored by San Fran­cisco Demo­crat Scott Wiener, failed to pass Wed­nes­day af­ter a lengthy de­bate. Wiener brought the bill back up for a vote Thurs­day, but it still fell three votes shy of pas­sage de­spite more than an hour of ne­go­ti­a­tions on the floor while sen­a­tors sat idle at their desks.

Af­ter the vote, Atkins took the rare step of ad­dress­ing her col­leagues about the bill, say­ing: “This is not the end of this story.”

“I want to per­son­ally com­mit to each and ev­ery one of you, to the peo­ple of Cal­i­for­nia, that a hous­ing pro­duc­tion bill to help al­le­vi­ate our hous­ing cri­sis will hap­pen this year,” Atkins said. “It is time now for all sides to step up.”

Atkins did not say what a new bill would look like. The last day law­mak­ers can in­tro­duce new leg­is­la­tion this year is Feb. 21.

Be­cause the bill was held over from last year, it has to pass the Senate by Fri­day to have a chance at be­com­ing law this year. But the Senate fin­ished work on Thurs­day and will not meet Fri­day.

“The de­feat of SB 50 is just an­other re­minder that

Cal­i­for­nia has failed on hous­ing,” Wiener told re­porters af­ter the vote.

The bill needed 21 votes to pass, but only got 18. Fif­teen sen­a­tors voted against it, in­clud­ing seven law­mak­ers from Los Angeles.

Wiener said af­ter the vote the pol­i­tics around hous­ing and land use in Los Angeles County — the most pop­u­lous county in the coun­try — are chal­leng­ing.

“The ag­gres­sive, bold ac­tion that we need is go­ing to be con­tro­ver­sial, no mat­ter what it is,” he said.

The mea­sure would have al­lowed de­vel­op­ers to build five-story apart­ment build­ings within a half-mile of rail sta­tions and ferry ter­mi­nals. Smaller apart­ment build­ings could have been built within a quar­ter-mile of bus stops on a fre­quent bus line or a cen­sus tract that of­fi­cials say has lots of avail­able jobs.


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