Los Angeles Times
Governor Newsom, if you deregulate the California housing market, Wall Street wins.
Real people would be hurt, especially people of color.
California has an affordable housing crisis.
161,000 people are homeless and millions struggle to pay rent or make mortgage payments. With unemployment extensions, eviction moratoriums and mortgage forbearance ending, it’s a precarious time.
Two housing bills, California Senate Bill 9 and Senate Bill 10, would make the situation worse. They would deregulate the single-family housing market statewide, incentivizing speculators to tear down homes especially in communities of color where the cost of land is lower, and replace them with multiple units of housing that only the affluent could afford. Lower and middle-income owners and tenants would be displaced, with many turned into permanent renters.
The bills don’t require the development of any affordable housing — none — and they don’t include production mandates that would result in volume housing to increase affordability.
Governor Newsom, deregulating the housing market is trickle-down economics repackaged to fool progressives like us. Make no mistake, these bills are capitalism at its worst — they’ll turn neighbor against neighbor as people cash out and speculators cash in. That’s why these bills are opposed by a majority of Californians and the City Council of Los Angeles. (SB 9 also is opposed by the League of California Cities, representing city leaders across the state.) Please don’t give the house keys to Wall Street, Governor.*
PS: Under your leadership California is taking many steps to address housing. It’s now easier to build, including planned developments, small-lot subdivisions and backyard units. There are multiple incentives for developers to build denser multifamily housing, especially near transit. Billions of dollars in cash and bonds have been allocated for new affordable housing construction. Right now, local governments are updating their housing plans to create opportunities for more housing where it makes the most sense.**
SB 9 would allow up to 4-6 individual housing units on a single-family lot with no local control, and SB 10 would allow 10-unit apartment buildings on single-family lots with no recourse for adjacent neighbors — driving demand for redevelopment. These bills won’t help the affordable housing crisis. They’ll make it worse, destabilizing neighborhoods and home values for everyone. * The transfer of wealth from the people to Wall Street continues at a rapid clip. Investors purchased a record 68,000 US houses in the second quarter. Asking rents for houses rose nearly 13% year to date through July (The Wall Street Journal, September 1, 2021).
** New US Census data shows that California densified rapidly from 2010 to 2020, evidence that efforts to boost housing production are working. It’s not necessary to end single-family zoning to boost production.
Paid for by Cary Brazeman email@example.com carybrazeman.com/veto-SB-9-SB-10.pdf