December 3, 2021 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Opinion: SB 9, 10: The Rebellion Begins

By Tom Elias, Columnist

It was inevitable from the moment Gov. Gavin Newsom in mid-September signed this year’s two most important housing bills into law: There will be a rebellion.

Not only did poll numbers make this obvious – about two-thirds of Californians opposed the extreme densifying measures SB 9 and SB 10 before Newsom signed them – but so did the fact that backers deliberately obscured key parts of these bills.

Now their opponents aim to nullify these two measures that would take almost all zoning decisions away from city councils and county boards and essentially place them in the hands of Wall Street investors and developers with big bankrolls.

They plan to do this via a ballot initiative now in the final stages of getting its ballot summary and official name, a job done by the office of state Attorney General Rob Bonta. Bonta, a Newsom appointee and a supporter of SB 9 and 10 while a legislator, has said nothing about the proposed initiative, whose advocates so far call it “Stop the Sacramento Land Grab.”

Should Bonta give the initiative a misleading name or summary, he would be subject to lawsuits, which have previously forced changes in titles and summaries. So there’s pressure on the attorney general to get it right. Once these formal tasks are done, backers led by a group called Californians for Community Planning will have 180 days to gather the 1.3 million-odd valid voter signatures needed to place it on the ballot.

The initiative represents a change in tactics for opponents of legislative proposals that have passed and been signed into law despite public outrage. Usually, those wanting to get rid of a new law they see as destructive use referenda that simply cancel the new law when they succeed.

But this measure aims to do much more. It seeks to prevent legislators from ever again passing anything like SB 9 and SB 10.

SB 9 would allow almost all single family properties to be cut in half, with both new parcels eligible for two new housing units, plus an “additional housing unit,” or “granny flat.” So where there is now one home, there could soon be six. There is no limit on how many such conversions could occur in any neighborhood.

This was sold in the Legislature as a way for homeowners to get rich quick, since the potential total revenue from their properties could be much higher now than from selling a single house. But then there’s the obscured part of SB 9: To do a subdivision, a property owner must first pay off any loans on the parcel. Anyone unable to pay off his or her mortgage can’t do this. But they can sell to massive real estate buyers like Zillow and Wall Street banks, which have lately gobbled up thousands of California properties while anticipating something like SB 9.

All over California, this could disfigure neighborhoods by making them unrecognizably dense, especially since there’s no requirement for new parking in any of these new structures. It’s much the same with SB 10, which cancels all pre-existing local land-use initiatives and laws and demands that all properties within half a mile of a rapid transit stop or major bus route be opened for buildings with up to 10 units.

Despite the claims of proponents that such measures could not be applied in wildfire areas, they are not excluded. Meanwhile, neither SB 9 nor SB 10 mandates any affordable housing.

So there is fear of gentrification in some places and a dread of overbuilding in many other neighborhoods.

Say the sponsors of Stop the Sacramento Land Grab, “Sacramento politicians (many elected with donations from developers) and special interests are incentivizing over-development of market-rate housing, without…emphasis on creating more affordable housing or mixed-income communities.”

So it’s no wonder there’s a rebellion. Few Californians ever expected this state eventually to copy New York’s density, which the current new laws aim to do.

That’s why this proposed initiative looks like it can’t miss. For the vast majority of Californians aspire to single-family housing even if they can’t afford it now. Which means the current laws would destroy much of the California Dream. That’s why they ought to be nullified, as the new initiative would do.

Email Thomas Elias at tdelias@aol.com. His book, “The Burzynski Breakthrough, The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It” is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, visit www.californiafocus.net.

Related Posts

Opinion: Recall Movement Seeks Signature Verification, but Will Bonin Strike Back With Litigation?

November 23, 2021

November 23, 2021

By Nick Antonicello It is no small feat for a band of community volunteers seeking real political change to spend...

Bonin, Kuehl Share Details on West LA Civic Center Redevelopment

November 19, 2021

November 19, 2021

West LA Commons to include over 900 units of housing alongside retail and municipal office building By Dolores Quintana A...

Culver City’s Wende Museum Looking to Expand to Include Housing for Homeless Artists

November 19, 2021

November 19, 2021

Community center, garden and more also planned By Sam Catanzaro Culver City’s Wende Museum is proposing a major expansion that...

Construction on Hong Kong Developer’s 139 Unit Motor Avenue Development Underway

November 19, 2021

November 19, 2021

U shaped structure takes shape across the street from Sony Studios By Dolores Quintana Construction has begun on a 139-unit...

280,000 Square Feet of Office Space Nears Completion in Culver City

November 19, 2021

November 19, 2021

Mixed-use development with offices and retail almost done By Dolores Quintana An 11-story, 280,000 square foot office building in Culver...

100,000 Square Foot Biotech Lab and Offices Planned for Pico Boulevard

November 15, 2021

November 15, 2021

Pico and Sepulveda development proposed By Dolors Quintana A 100,000 square foot biotech lab space with offices is planned for Pico...

12-Story Wilshire Boulevard Senior Center Survives Appeal

November 12, 2021

November 12, 2021

Belmont Village would bring over 50 units of senior housing to Wilshire Boulevard By Sam Catanzaro City officials recently rejected...

Sacto Dems Dump Prop. 13 Reforms

November 5, 2021

November 5, 2021

By Tom Elias, Columnist For more than 40 years, Democrats in Sacramento have talked fervently about reforming the 1978 Proposition...

150,000 Square-Foot Office Planned for Downtown Culver City

November 5, 2021

November 5, 2021

Watseka Avenue development slated for completion in 2024 By Dolores Quintana Another office building development is shaping up in Downtown...

Bel Air Mega-Mansion The One Focus of Legal Battle

November 5, 2021

November 5, 2021

The One pulled from Los Angeles Superior Court  foreclosure sale By Dolores Quintana An infamous mega mansion in Bel Air...

Office Campus Underway Next to Helms Bakery

October 23, 2021

October 23, 2021

Westside Real Estate Scene October 25, 2021 By Dolores Quintana According to Urbanize, a former set of industrial buildings across...

Metro Considering Joint Development of Transit Land To Build Affordable Housing

October 22, 2021

October 22, 2021

Agency looking into goal of building 10,000 units of affordable housing By Dolores Quintana LA Metro has received a report...

Los Angeles Leads the Nation in Adaptive Reuse for 2022

October 18, 2021

October 18, 2021

Quarter of conversion projects in pipeline located in former offices By Dolores Quintana Adaptive reuse of already existing buildings is...