|We delivered on housing -- CA State Senator Scott Wiener
This week, the California Legislature took a big step forward to address California's housing shortage and affordability crisis. We did so by passing a package of housing bills, including my housing streamlining bill, Senate Bill 35, which expedites housing approvals in communities that are falling short of their housing goals. SB 35 and the other bills now await action by Governor Brown, who's signaled his support.
When I ran for the Senate last year, I promised you that housing would be a top priority for me in Sacramento. In the 20 years I've lived in San Francisco, and in the years I spent as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, I've seen too many people evicted, too many families pushed out of the city and into long commutes, too many young people unable to afford to live in the communities in which they were raised. Our high housing costs are threatening our community's fabric: undermining our diversity, our economy, our environment, and our quality of life.
No more excuses. The time for action is now, which is why, on the day I was sworn in last December, I introduced SB 35 as my very first bill.
Introducing my first bill, SB 35.
What I didn’t fully appreciate on that day was the deep, broad, and profound impact the housing crisis was having not just in the Bay Area, but across our entire state, including areas that were long considered affordable. Our housing shortage is no longer a San Francisco, Berkeley, and Santa Monica problem. It's a statewide problem that requires a statewide solution.
My colleagues in the Senate and Assembly understand the significance of this problem, and today we took a dramatic step forward on housing by passing a set of bills, including SB 35. We're past the point where communities can choose whether to create housing or whether to opt out. *All* communities need to participate in creating the housing we so desperately need. SB 35 holds local communities accountable by streamlining housing approvals in cities that aren’t meeting their state-mandated housing goals. SB 35 will go a long way to reduce the obstruction housing faces all too often in communities that don't want change. We worked hard to make this legislation a reality.
Also included in this housing package were two affordable housing funding bills I proudly co-authored: Senate Bill 2 by Senator Toni Atkins and Senate Bill 3 by Senator Jim Beall. To address our housing shortage we need to streamline housing approvals as well as fund affordable housing. The two go hand in hand. I want to thank Governor Brown, Senate President Kevin De Leon, and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon for working with us to put this package together and for getting it over the finish line. I also want to give a shout out to my colleague and friend, Assemblymember David Chiu, who as chair of the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee played a key role shaping and moving forward the housing package.
With fellow housing champions Senator Nancy Skinner, Senator Jim Beall, and Senator Toni Atkins on the Assembly floor right after our housing bills passed.
To be clear, today's action on housing doesn't globally solve our housing problems. We can’t just pat ourselves on the back and move on to the next challenge. It took us fifty years to get into this mess, due to bad and short-sighted housing policies, and it’s going take years of sustained focus and work to get us back on track. Yet, despite the need for more work, today's action by the Legislature is a very healthy down payment that should make us proud.
2017 has been an exciting first year for me in the Senate, and I’m thrilled that we took bold action on housing. In April, we passed the largest transportation package in California history to fix our roads and public transportation systems, and in July, we extended and bolstered California’s landmark Cap and Trade program to fight climate change.
This is all just the beginning. We have so much work to do for our community, and I'm excited to keep at it. It's a deep honor to represent San Francisco and northern San Mateo County in the Senate, and I am grateful every day for the faith and trust you've placed in me.