A Tussle between Supporters and Opponents of Senate Bill 50

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Senate Bill 50 by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), which was stalled in Appropriations Committee, is drawing attention nationwide, as it has been considered to presenting a way of tackling the affordability crisis of California’s housing. Its target is to escalate homebuilding, four and five-story apartments, near public transit and in single-family neighborhoods across California.

Last week, the Appropriation Committee killed this bill. Fishman, executive director of the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California, worries that the death of the bill could obstruct struggles to proceed other housing legislation.

Its supporters include Non-Profit Housing Association California, California YIMBY, AARP California, the California Apartment Association, and Habitat for Humanity California among others. They believe SB 50 as a source for downing California housing crisis. They sent a unanimous letter to Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, appealing her to politically support the bill.

Whereas Atkins gave a written statement— “I will not circumvent the decision made by the Appropriations Committee Chair on SB 50.” Moreover, she said, “Regardless of my own personal feelings about this critical issue, part of my job as the leader of the Senate is to uphold the authority and decisions of committee chairs and take into consideration the views of committee members.”

The opponents of SB 50 rejoiced its death. They take it as a tool for displacing low-income families and accelerating gentrification. They thought it would lower the quality of life in California’s many single-family home neighborhoods. Sen. Anthony Portantino, who is a Democrat from La Canada Flintridge and the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, stated he opposed SB 50 because it would have thwart zoning rules that are under the control of cities and counties.

Sen. Scott Wiener, the author of the bill, tweeted that he must keep fighting for the bill. Now, it is left to see whether SB 50 supporters’ outcry will have any practical impact. Let’s see which way the wind blows.

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