Yesterday, LACBC and 37 other advocacy organizations working on transit equity, affordable housing, and tenant rights issues, signed on to ACT-LA’s letter opposing Senate Bill 827. We acknowledge this bill has become very contentious, and would like to clarify why we chose to join partner organizations in opposing it.
What’s SB 827 and why does LACBC oppose it? SB 827 from Scott Weiner (D – San Francisco) would eliminate most local zoning restrictions within half a mile of rail and major bus stops across the state, allowing for new buildings with a minimum of four to eight stories tall. While LACBC affirms that California needs taller, denser development around transit, SB 827 will exacerbate the very issue it seeks to remedy, especially in low-income communities and communities of color. As the LA Times Editorial Board noted, “the bill, as currently written, could eliminate key affordable housing incentives and protections designed to reduce displacement in gentrifying neighborhoods.”
LA City voters overwhelmingly approved Measure JJJ last year to ensure that Angelenos benefit from the current development boom by requiring low-cost housing be included in developments getting zone changes and General Plan Amendments. JJJ will also safeguard families at risk of displacement by preserving the City’s affordable housing stock through replacement of rent stabilized units.
LACBC supports transit-dependent families SB 827 would weaken Measure JJJ and undermine the bottom-up progress that housing and transit equity advocates have made. The path to racial and economic justice through city planning starts with listening to the most impacted communities and learning from their experience as they’ve struggled against waves of disinvestment and displacement. LA needs lower rents near transit, not higher. Low income communities and communities of color are experiencing the worst effects of the housing crisis.
SB 827 puts Metro’s core transit riders – who are overwhelmingly extremely low-income – at greater risk of displacement during a time when LA is experience a housing and homelessness crisis. At a time when the Los Angeles region is investing $160 billion toward new transit infrastructure, it is imperative that Sacramento listens to our region’s communities and crafts state housing policies which build upon the significant accomplishments we’ve made here in LA.
ACT LA assessed the version of the bill that’s in the public domain, a necessary and normal part of the democratic legislative process. It’s wrong to ask community groups– who already represent the voices of those most underrepresented in the planning process – to hold off input when a bill of this magnitude is introduced.