Four noxious bills — SB50, SB1279, SB330, SB592 — are currently up for debate and vote in the California State Legislature, an august body completely dominated by Democrats. For anyone who continues to operate under the misapprehension that there’s a substantive difference between the two major mafias — sorry, political parties — this quartet of bills serves as an eloquent reminder that, in the final analysis, politicians of all persuasions tend to serve not their constituents but their corporate benefactors, the rich and powerful.
Allegedly a panacea for our state’s critical affordable housing shortage. SB50 and the like would preempt local zoning restrictions, ignore historic neighborhood protections and eradicate single-family home residential neighborhoods. This legislation benefits developers and hedge-fund land barons but greatly harms everyone else. Particularly those of us who live in 100-year-old homes that are “within a half-mile of a major public transportation stop.” The bills have been introduced by San Francisco-area politicians Scott Wiener and Nancy Skinner, Democrats we stress, whose rationale for demolishing regional environmental oversight and regulatory autonomy at the neighborhood level includes buzzy words like “homelessness” and “affordable housing,” but whose laws, in practice, would exacerbate both crises while further enriching the Wall Street-backed developers eager to build eight-story apartment towers on every corner.
For the record, most local leaders, including the mayors of Santa Monica, West Hollywood and Pasadena, oppose the Sacramento power grab. So do many members of the Los Angeles City Council, who never met a real estate deal they didn’t like — which should tell you how poisonous are SB50 and its ilk.
We recently received the following missive from a stellar community organizer:
Since these bills greatly benefit developers and large corporate landowners it shouldn’t shock anyone to learn that there is a lot of money being donated by these entities to state legislative campaigns and being spent on lobbyists to push their agenda in Sacramento. This is where our statewide alliance comes in. We want to have our interests pushed in Sacramento. The goal is to form a grassroots group which will hire our own lobbyists to push solutions to the affordable housing and homelessness crisis which work for all of us. Solutions that only reward developers and exacerbate the current problems are absurd and yet, for whatever reason, that is what our legislators have been doing to date. This has to stop and we are going to stop it!
We want truly affordable housing and shelter, not just luxury apartments that will make our housing crisis even worse. We want housing solutions that work for everyone in our communities, not a “one size fits all” solution that works for none.
Our group, A Better Way Forward To House California, is laser-focused on advancing legislation to address California’s housing crisis for those in need, not just speculators and high end developers. We seek solutions to the mind-numbing traffic on our streets today and propose ways to break our traffic gridlocks in the future. We support economic growth across the State of California, not just in ever denser pockets.
We donated, just like we donated to a fund bringing a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles
for attempting to build a branded basketball court in the middle of Runyon Canyon
. But how debased has our democracy become that citizens must hire lobbyists and file lawsuits to get their elected representatives to behave righteously? That the only way to fight money in politics is with more money suggests we’re headed to an untenable political future, a comically dystopian kleptocracy where crucial votes inspire bidding wars among the interested parties.
Wouldn’t we all be better off if we elected fewer lap dogs to the wealthy and more pit bulls for the people?