Today, the California State Senate Housing Committee approved State Sen. Scott Wiener’s fundamentally flawed, trickle-down housing bill, SB 50. We’re disappointed, but not surprised. Housing Is A Human Right will continue to fight on the behalf of middle- and working-class Californians who are getting slammed by a housing affordability crisis. SB 50 does nothing to help them in a substantive, long-term way.
To urgently, and seriously, fix California’s housing affordability crisis, Gov. Gavin Newsom and state legislators must pass legislation that incorporates the “3 Ps”: protect tenants through such policies as rent control and just cause eviction protections; preserve existing affordable housing, such as rent-controlled units, from demolition; and produce truly affordable housing. SB 50 fails to meaningfully do these things.
Instead, Wiener and other state legislators are coming up with policies that continue to enrich the real estate industry, which has shown no concern about skyrocketing rents, gentrification, and displacement. Too many middle- and working-class Californians, especially people of color, are now rent burdened, are forced out of their longtime neighborhoods, and face the life-altering prospect of homelessness. We need housing solutions that put people over profit.
Wiener and other state legislators haul in vast amounts of campaign cash from the real estate industry. In 2016, according to state records, Wiener raked in $574,276 from Big Real Estate. So far, for his 2020 re-election campaign, he’s received $153,816 from developers, landlords, brokers, real estate attorneys, and other real estate players.
With SB 50, Wiener, a corporate Democrat, is giving his political patrons what they want: a real estate deregulation bill that allows them to build lucrative, luxury housing wherever they want, regardless of the consequences to middle- and working-class residents.
(Read Housing Is A Human Right’s special report: “Selling Out California: Scott Wiener’s Money Ties to Big Real Estate.”)
SB 50 is a trickle-down, luxury-housing, pro-gentrification, pro-Big Real Estate bill. It is not the answer to California’s devastating housing affordability crisis. As SB 50 works its way through the state legislature, we urge Gov. Newsom and state legislators to stop and oppose the bill.