No Summer Recess in Work to Win Landmark Housing Reform

The Legislature may be on summer recess, but the Bay Area Council isn’t taking a break from its continuing work to win approval of Governor Jerry Brown’s proposal to speed production of affordable housing. The Council is working with a growing statewide network of partner organizations to educate the public and policy makers about the urgent need to create more workforce housing in California and how the Governor’s proposal can accomplish that. The message is starting to sink in. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee this week vetoed a misguided resolution by the Board of Supervisors opposing the Governor’s sensible reforms. And the Los Angeles Times delivered a rousing endorsement urging the Governor to hold fast against opposition. The Council’s Matt Regan was featured in a San Jose Mercury article highlighting the housing issue.

Gov. Brown’s proposal would remove a largely redundant and often time-consuming layer of local review, allowing cities to give simple administrative or “by right” approval of housing developments that meet all existing local planning, building and zoning regulations and that set aside either 20 percent of new homes for lower-income residents or 10 percent when the development is located close to transit. To engage in the Council’s housing policy work, please contact Senior Vice President Matt Regan.

Responding to the California Transportation Commission’s action earlier this year to defund $754 million of transportation improvement projects, the Bay Area Council Transportation Committee focused its meeting this morning on stabilizing and growing state funding for transportation.  The Committee hosted Senate Transportation and Housing Committee Chairman Jim Beall, who described his ongoing efforts to rally legislative support for his SBX1-1. The legislation would increase several different transportation sources and would produce billions of dollars of new money for highway maintenance and rehabilitation; in turn, this would allow funding to be restored to the defunded congestion-relief projects. In the Assembly, Transportation Committee Chairman Jim Frazier is carrying a separate bill, and time is dwindling in this session for the two bills to be reconciled, gain two-thirds support, and be signed by the Governor.  With the end-zone in sight and the clock ticking down, the Council will be applying concentrated pressure on the Legislature to complete the overdue work of adequately funding transportation.

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