At least one Los Angeles City Council member is content with Thursday’s defeat of a state bill that would have expanded the authority of local governments to increase residential density near transportation areas, but the council member said the bill did not guarantee affordable housing.
“Good riddance,” City Councilman Paul Koretz said in a statement on Senate Bill 50’s defeat. “Now that we have defeated a harmful bill to build luxury units, we can get to work on the real problem and write a bill to address the real shortage of affordable housing.”
Koretz said SB 50 was “falsely marketed as an affordable housing solution,” and this is the third year in a row the bill was voted down on the Senate floor.
He filed a resolution Wednesday asking for the support of the full city council to oppose the bill, but the resolution had not even made it to a committee hearing before SB 50 failed to advance out of the state Senate. The bill’s legislative deadline is Friday, but no session is currently scheduled.
On Twitter, the bill’s author, state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, said he was “grateful” that SB 50 made it to the Senate floor and that he was appreciative of the efforts of legislators who supported it.
“I remain fully committed to advancing a strong housing production bill this year,” Wiener wrote.
Wiener also said he filed “two housing placeholder bills” and for people to “Stay tuned!” accompanied by a winking emoji.
The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to oppose SB 50 in April before amendments were made to it, but Koretz said those changes did not go far enough.
He also said the bill didn’t address the Costa Hawkins law, which he said makes rent-controlled units become unaffordable by preventing rent caps.
“Building millions of luxury units would only increase rent in neighboring existing buildings and de-incentivize the building of affordable housing,” Koretz said Wednesday. “If the next 100,000 units built in Los Angeles were affordable, we’d make great progress toward our actual need to make housing more affordable and reduce homelessness. But SB 50 does nothing to accomplish that.”
Los Angeles already has its own program that gives incentives to developers to build affordable housing within a half-mile of transportation. The Transit-Oriented Communities program was approved by the voters as Measure JJJ in 2016.