Mayor Eric Garcetti has strongly disagreed with the legislature's dumping SB 50, an extremely controversial bill encouraging developers to build big apartments and condos near train and bus lines in areas zoned for single family homes.
The chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, Anthony Portantino, a Democrat representing suburban La Canada Flintridge, put the measure in what amounts to a legislative deep freeze. It appears he will not let the bill out of his committee this year.
“We need bold, statewide solutions to our housing crisis, " Garcetti said Friday in a statement issued through deputy press secretary Ana Bahr. "SB 50 wasn't perfect, but we can’t wait another year to work out our differences. It's past time for the state to break down barriers to creating the affordable housing production that Angelenos and all Californians need and deserve.”
I asked for comment from another key Los Angeles County player in the fight over the measure, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. Rendon had expressed skepticism over the far-reaching provisions of SB 50. "Because the action was taken by a Senate committee, he's not going to have a comment," said Rendon spokesman Kevin Liao.
The appropriations committee action takes Rendon off the hook for the year. If it had passed the Senate, SB 50 would have ended up in the Assembly where the influential speaker would have a big say in deciding the bill's fate.
Portantino's dumping of the bill shows the strong opposition it has provoked in districts like his, an area of single-family homes. Rendon's south Los Angeles County district, while more working class than Portantino's affluent area, also has many owner occupied single- family homes that would be affected by SB 50.
Garcetti, on the other hand, is responsible for Los Angeles, where there are 31,516 homeless, the largest number in Los Angeles County. There are 53,195 in the entire county. More multiple dwelling housing construction is a major part of his strategy to reduce homelessness.