YIMBY Trauss trashes local Democratic process

Sonja Trauss supports CASA – regional solution more important than local process:

Sonja Trauss, a relatively newcomer to the San Francisco Bay Area advocates the elimination of local democratic input in shaping communities. In the process she makes the illogical leap that homeowners are responsible for the current market pain that Millennials are facing. A local community organizer points out that democracy is essential to get the feedback from the affected communities so that productive change can happen. Sonja Trauss lost a recent bid for San Francisco supervisor despite the heavy backing of real estate interests. – Savemarinwood

Not everyone agrees with Trauss. Trauss does not understand the plight of homeowners. They are not any more secure than renters when a big fire or economic downturn sweeps in.

Sen. Glazer Fights for Local Control in Debate Over Who Can Authorize Housing Projects

Senator Glazer – excerpt (includes video) August 24

Senator Glazer on AB 2923

On Aug. 23, I made remarks on the Senate floor opposing AB 2923, which would shift authority for the approval process of housing projects from local government to the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART).

“We are so much better here in the Legislature, as a state, as a nation, when we find ways to build partnerships, provide compromise, accommodation, collaboration. That’s what brings out the best in our lawmaking. But the bill before us does none of these things… It’s a sledgehammer. It tramples the rights of towns and cities with no good reasons. It’s unprecedented in scope. It stifles community engagement, increases distrust and animosity… (more)

 

Op-ed: Jesse Arreguín is right to oppose Jerry Brown’s anti-democratic give-away to the real-estate industry

By Zelda Bronstein : berkeleyside – excerpt

Zelda Bronstein is a former chair of the Berkeley Planning Commission.

In his July 19 op-ed published on Berkeleyside, Garret Christensen slammed Berkeley City Councilmember and mayoral candidate Jesse Arreguín for opposing Governor Jerry Brown’s Trailer Bill 707. Christensen called the legislation “an important state affordable housing bill” that “Berkeley and its councilmembers, especially those with aspirations of becoming mayor should welcome…with open arms.” “[I]t is truly baffling to me,” he declared, “why anyone who calls themselves a progressive is opposed to the governor’s proposal.”

In fact, Trailer Bill 707 is opposed by many people besides Arreguín who call themselves progressives— for example, the representatives of  the 60-plus organizations, including Public Advocates, the Council of Community Housing Organizations, Jobs with Justice San Francisco, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, and SEIU 1021, who signed a July 8 letter urging the state legislature to reject the bill.

Brown’s proposal, they wrote, “gives developers the power to force approval of projects “’by right’ without public or environmental review.”

For Christensen, the lack of public or environmental review is a boon that would eliminate “Berkeley’s extra layers of approval requirements.” What he deems “extra” is anything beyond the “objective zoning standards” specified in the bill.

The problem: zoning is an essential but limited land use planning tool. A development could meet a city’s zoning and still displace existing tenants, small businesses, and jobs. By removing the right to negotiate with developers over such issues, Brown’s bill puts communities, especially disadvantaged ones, at the mercy of the real estate industry. Meanwhile, as the letter cited above notes, “privileged communities…can merely maintain or redesign zoning restrictions to keep out affordable housing.”

In any case, the amount of affordable housing created by Trailer Bill 707 is piddling, as Christensen himself intimated: “If a multi-family housing project includes a certain percentage of affordable units (the exact percentage depends on the level of affordability, but ranges from  5% to 20%) and meets the city’s zoning laws, the city must grant the permit.” In other words, as much as 95% of the new housing authorized by Brown’s proposal could be unaffordable.

Moreover, a proposed development could meet a city’s zoning and still damage the environment. That’s why Trailer Bill 707 is also opposed by the Sierra Club.

Christensen acknowledges that “[t]here is some environmental opposition to the bill…, since infill developments including the requisite amount of affordable housing would be exempt from CEQA [California Environmental Quality Act] review.” But in his view, “these concerns are misplaced, since any honest accounting shows much lower carbon and water impact from allowing people to live in a denser, transit-rich city like Berkeley instead of making them commute from a far-flung car-dependent suburb.”… (more)

Comments are appreciated on the source as well as on social media sites. This is the most important campaign in the state. The more to remove local control over deciding how to build our cities by removing the options we have now to oppose projects we don’t like. This includes good ones as well as bad ones, but if this goes the state has taken away our options to control our environment. The only way to overturn this is to put new politicians in office who want to decentralize power and protect our rights to choose how we live.

Best comment I have seen on the subject: “If Jerry Brown really wants to help the housing crisis, he would repeal costa hawkins” – good point. How about it Jerry? Let’s repeal Costa Hawkins.

SB 628-Infrastructure Financing District

SFBayCAPR – excerpt

Redevelopment on steriods sounds like SB1 under another name. SB-628 Could Help Fund PDAs Tell Gov Brown to VETO this bill.

Senate Bill 628 by Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, surfaced just four days before adjournment.

It would re-establish local government redevelopment agencies as “enhanced infrastructure financing districts” with virtually all their former powers.

But it eliminates many of redevelopment’s safeguards, such as a requirement to establish “blight,” and also lowers the vote for bonds to 55 percent. Thus, it would re-establish – and even enhance – cities’ ability to engage in crony capitalism with subsidies for favored developers. Read the full article here

Lawmakers Approve Legislation Giving Cities More Robust Tools for Building InfrastructureBy Justin Ewers.

After years of seeking more authority to make much-needed investments in local infrastructure and economic development projects, California’s local governments were handed a robust new financing tool by the Legislature last week when lawmakers approved Senator Jim Beall’s SB 628, a bill that expands the authority of an existing investment mechanism known as Infrastructure Financing Districts…(more)

State Senator Jim Beall, author of SB 628
SACRAMENTO — Furnishing local governments with a new way to pay for improving and expanding their infrastructure, the Legislature today approved Senator Jim Beall’s SB 628. The bill now goes to the Governor for his consideration.

“This bill will help local jurisdictions finance transportation projects and transit-oriented development,” Beall said. “The cost of maintaining or building much-needed transportation projects is estimated to be over $500 billion over the next decade for the entire state”… (more)

The bill is sitting of Gov Brown’s desk. If you want him to veto it:
California Governor Jerry Brown
State Capitol, 1st Fl., Sacramento, CA 95814
Fax:(916)558-3160
Tel:(916)445-2841
email: governor@governor.ca.gov

%d bloggers like this: