Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

SB 50 Watch: LA Times Endorsement, Background Articles, Lawn Signs, and More…

“Stop SB 50” lawns signs are now being distributed by the Windsor Square Associatin to residents of that neighborhood.

SB 50, the state-level housing bill that could overtake local zoning, densify most neighborhoods within half a mile of public transit, and which increasingly (after recent amendments) targets single-family neighborhoods, is scheduled for another California State Senate committee appearance on Thursday – listed as part of the “Suspense File” on the Appropriations Committee’s agenda.

According to Victor Ruiz-Cornejo, Communications Director for SB 50’s author, State Senator Scott Wiener, SB 50 is one of several dozen bills assigned to the Suspense File because they would have a have fiscal impact greater than $50,000 on the state’s budget.  At Thursday’s meeting, said Ruiz-Cornejo in a conversation with Buzz co-publisher Patty Lombard this morning, the Appropriations Committee Chair and Senate leadership will review all the bills in the file to determine which ones should move forward in the context of the entire state budget process. If SB 50 clears the review and is passed out of Suspense, Ruiz-Cornejo said, it will continue to move forward. And if the bill is not passed out of Suspense, it will essentially die for the year and would have to be reintroduced in the next session.

“This mostly procedural,” explained Ruiz-Cornejo. “We don’t know what will happen on Thursday. We are lobbying the chairman of the Appropriations committee to show that this is a good bill, and while there is controversy, there is a lot of support.”

Meanwhile, the debates about SB 50 continue.  Here are some of the latest things we’ve heard and read about it this week:


LA Times Conditionally Endorses SB 50

The LA Times editorial board came out in favor of the bill…but only “if it is first amended to give cities a final chance to take the lead in building the necessary housing, and if it gives a pass to those cities that are already succeeding…If within a set period of time — say, two years — a municipality is not on the road to building a sufficient amount of new housing, then SB 50’s tough new zoning rules should kick in.”  So far, though, the bill does not contain that kind of provision.


LA Times Opinion Piece on SB 50 Implications in Coastal Areas 

A longtime La Jolla resident writes that “There is a reason that 40-some years ago San Diegans voted in the coastal 30-foot height limitation…we are not Miami Beach, not Honolulu, not Chicago, not Vancouver, not Monaco; just to name a few of world coastal cities whose beachfronts have been mucked up with towering buildings.”


LA Times Story on SB 50 and Single-Family Neighborhoods

A look at the history and extent of single-family zoning in Los Angeles, including how single-family zoning was used for most of the last century to lock certain populations out of home ownership, a legacy that continues today.  The article includes comments from Mayor Eric Garcetti on how he’s considering plans such as the one recently adopted in Minneapolis, which allows up to three units on any lot, including those previously zoned for single family homes.

(Note: although it’s not part of the LA Times story, and although he has yet to take a formal position on SB 50, Garcetti is quoted on an SB 50-promotional page from Sen. Wiener, saying, “Our state is coping with a housing crisis that threatens the California dream — and I applaud Senator Wiener for his bold efforts to help us get housing built while protecting people from being priced out of communities where they have invested so much of their lives. This bill is a good first step, and I will continue working with him to make certain that these statewide solutions are the right fit for Angelenos.”)


Op-Ed from Beverly Hills Mayor

Beverly Hills Mayor John Mirisch, who has been one of the most vocal opponents of SB 50, speaks out on applying a statewide measure to cities, such as those in the Los Angeles, area that are already very diverse, have a diverse housing base, and are already working hard to address their needs for more housing for all.


Another Perspective on Supply and Demand

Article, based on the works of urbanists Andrés Rodríguez-Pose (from the London School of Economics) and Michael Storper (who teaches at both the LSE and UCLA), contending that housing is much more complicated than a simple matter of supply and demand, and that simply building more and more market-rate housing won’t automatically create more, or more affordable, housing for those who need it most.


Windsor Square Association

The WSA is just one of several of our local neighborhood associations that has formally opposed SB 50 and the effects it will likely have on single-family neighborhoods.  The association has launched a new yard-sign campaign (see photo above), and Windsor Square residents are urged to contact their block captains if they would like to pick up a sign for their yard.


Contact Your Legislators

Finally, those on both sides of the SB 50 debate are urging all who are concerned about the bill to make their opinions known to their various state and local officials, as soon as possible.  Here’s a partial list of contacts:

Representing local neighborhoods EAST of the centerline of Plymouth Boulevard:

Senator Maria Elena Durazo
District Office (213) 483-9300
E-mail contact form

Assembly Member Miguel Santiago
District Office (213) 620-4646
E-mail contact form

Representing local neighborhoods WEST of the centerline of Plymouth Boulevard:

Senator Benjamin Allen
District Office (310) 318-6994
E-mail contact form

Assembly Member Richard Bloom
District Office (310) 450-0041
E-mail contact form

Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee:

Senator Anthony Portantino (Chair)
25th District/Pasadena, Glendale, Atwater Village and more
(916) 651-4025
E-mail contact form

Senator Patricia C. Bates (Vice-Chair)
36th District – (916) 651-4036
E-mail contact form

Senator Steven Bradford
35th District – (916) 651-40365
E-mail contact form

Senator Jerry Hill
13th District – (916) 651-4013
E-mail contact form

Senator Brian W. Jones
38th District – (916) 651-4038
E-mail contact form

Bob Wieckowski – Already voted once in favor in Housing Committee
10th District – (916) 651-4010
E-mail contact form

Other government contacts:

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
(213) 978-1028
[email protected]

Angie Aramayo
Central Area representative for Garcetti’s office
(323) 793-5150
[email protected]

Governor Gavin Newsom
(916) 445-2841
E-mail contact form

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Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and has been writing for the Buzz since 2015.

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  1. Thank you for this! So much great information here! I am planning to contact all of my representatives to urge them to vote no on this.


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