AB 686: CAN WE CREATE FAIR HOUSING BY SUING CITIES INTO SUBMISSION?

un4la – excerpt
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Art by un4la

On the last day of May the State Assembly passed AB 686.  The bill was authored by Assemblymember Miguel Santiago and the principal co-author was Senator Scott Wiener.  According to them, the bill addresses housing discrimination, and will “affirmatively further fair housing”.  Is this true?  Well, yes and no.  There’s no doubt that under the current administration, the Federal Government is trying to undermine the Obama-era Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule (AFFH Rule).  And clearly in California there are millions of people who need affordable housing.  So you’d think any effort to promote fair housing would be welcome.

But the problem is how AB 686 proposes to accomplish this.  Let’s look at the Assembly Floor Analysis of the bill…

Provides that if a public agency fails to meet its obligation to affirmatively further fair housing, then that failure would constitute housing discrimination under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).

Hmmm.  Okay.  So what are the consequences of that failure?…

Provides that the director of the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) may exercise his or her discretion to investigate, or to bring a civil action, based on a verified complaint that alleges a violation of the duty to affirmatively further fair housing.  [Bold added.]

The bill lists many things listed as potential “barriers that restrict access to opportunity”.

[Z]oning restrictions, development limitations, and other actions, inactions, policies, regulations, programs, practices, decisions or investments that restrict access to high-quality education, transportation, jobs, health care, recreation, features of a healthy environment including clean water and air, safe neighborhoods, social services, cultural institutions, and other opportunities based on protected characteristics.  [Bold added.]

In other words, almost anything a city does or doesn’t do as part of the planning or approval or legislative processes could be construed as a barrier.  And all it would take is a “verified complaint” to give the DFEH grounds to sue.

Is this far-fetched?  Is there anyone out there who would use AB 686 to sue cities based  on “zoning restrictions, development limitations, and other actions, inactions, policies, regulations, programs, practices, decisions or investments”?

Yeah, there is.  There’s CaRLA... (more)

CaRLA is the legal arm of YIMBY, who is writing the legislation being pushed through Sacramento by the champions of up-zoning. One of the biggest scams that is coming out of the housing wars is the claim that dense housing is good for the environment. It is certainly not good for the health of the citizens living with the results of streets full of homeless people displaced by the Fair Housing Rules. The only beneficiaries of the YIMBY legislation are the YIMBYs and their corporate masters who are taking over the what was a liberal state.

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