OAKLAND (CBS SF) — A controversial bill aimed at increasing the housing supply across California was reintroduced Tuesday morning.
State Senator Scott Weiner wrote SB 50, but the bill stalled in the state legislature last May. The legislation has gone through several changes in an attempt to win over more supporters as it moves toward a vote in Sacramento.
The bill was introduced to the legislature last year in a push to build more housing near transit hubs. The bill also allowed for the construction of multi-family housing in areas zoned for single-family homes.
Negotiations with officials focused on concerns over the state infringing on local rules.
With the latest changes, cities would still be required to plan for more housing and reduce car trips, but they’d get an additional two years to create their own development blueprint that would be allowable as long as it still meets the state’s goals.
The bill would also forbid local governments from concentrating new housing in low-income areas.
Weiner visited Oakland City Hall Tuesday morning to promote the new version of the bill, saying that the new version gives cities a chance to meet certain housing and transportation goals before losing authority over their own zoning standards.
But Wiener and other speakers at the news conference were drowned out by protesters, including people from the homeless activist group Moms 4 Housing, who said Senate Bill 50 wouldn’t provide enough affordable housing.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, and other elected officials joined Wiener at the news conference to speak in support of his bill.
But their remarks were mostly drowned out by a large group of housing activists who loudly shouted slogans such as, “Affordability — the rent’s too high!” and “Housing for people, not for profit!”
Other slogans that the protesters chanted were, “Give the moms a home today!” and, “Where’s the Affordable Housing?”
When a representative from the California Association of Realtors tried to speak, the protesters booed her and shouted, “No more speculators!”
Wiener told reporters after the noisy news conference ended that he’s “cautiously optimistic we will pass this to the Senate floor.”
While Mayor London Breed has been a vocal supporter of the bill, San Francisco supervisors passed a resolution almost two weeks ago saying they would oppose the bill until it is amended to address affordable housing and local community planning issues.
San Francisco officials also voiced concerns over more meaningful protections for tenants and vulnerable communities and accounting for transit impacts.
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