Heavy Hitters Convene in Sacramento to Talk Housing Solutions

On Wednesday, the Bay Area Council’s Housing Committee convened in Sacramento to hear from the housing champions of the legislature, as well as state, regional and local leaders on their perspectives on housing, land use and economic development. Senators Nancy Skinner, Scott Wiener and Bob Wieckowski and Assemblymembers David Chiu, Phil Ting and Buffy Wicks gave updates on their respective housing bills, providing bold solutions that range from upzoning for higher-density homes in the right places, to streamlining for accessory dwelling units. Senator Wiener emphasized his optimism for pushing SB 50 across the finish line in the next legislative calendar. Assemblymember Ting underscored that without housing, the region’s economic viability will be compromised. “If communities want to say no to housing,” Ting said, “then they just have to say no to jobs. Building more housing makes our economy stronger.” Thank you to our Housing Committee Co-Chairs Carla Boragno from Genentech and Lou Vasquez from Build Inc. for presiding over this important discussion, and member company Sand Hill Property Co. for serving as sponsor.

Following the legislature panel, the Committee heard from megaregional leaders. Our own Bay Area Council Economic Institute leader, Jeff Bellisario, outlined the Council’s interest to expand economic opportunities beyond the nine-county Bay Area, emphasizing the need for more jobs in Central Valley as well as improved transportation connections. Mike Ammann from the San Joaquin Partnership stressed the importance of tying jobs and housing together, and the opportunities to bring businesses into his region.

Describing housing and homelessness as the biggest challenge facing the state, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg lamented that California has a long way to go for implementing his landmark legislation, SB 375, which tied land use planning to reduce greenhouse gas. Jason Elliott, Governor Newsom’s Chief Deputy Cabinet Secretary on housing, pointed out the Governor’s efforts with his trailer bill that implements judicial remedies and penalties for cities not delivering their housing element, giving the state more teeth than ever. He wrapped up the day asking for help from the Council and its members. The Governor will soon release an inventory of state-owned properties, and requests business leaders to get involved with supporting those sites for housing development. He also emphasized that housing production will be a major priority for the Governor, “and we need your big and audacious ideas.” To share your ideas and to engage in the Council’s housing policy work, please contact Policy Director Xiomara Cisneros.

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