ALPERN AT LARGE-No matter how indisputably hated, no matter how universally despised, and no matter how ubiquitously decried and defeated, Senate Bill 50 (SB 50) is again being pushed by our own "woke" anti-environmental actor, State Senator Scott Wiener, (photo above) after multiple outcries from cities, counties, and grassroots activists.
For those of you who aren't aware of all the ways Sacramento is attacking single-family homeowners and condo/apartment residents who still respect the law and the environment, SB 50 pretty much eliminates local city/county efforts to restrict unlimited zoning and preserve both neighborhoods and sustainable environmental efforts.
Yes, there is an affordable housing problem, but are we seeing the creation of more affordable housing?
Yes, transit-oriented development is desired, but are we seeing the creation of that sort of development?
Yes, sustainable, eco-friendly development is sorely lacking, but are we seeing the creation of more environmentally friendly housing?
Of course, the answer is "no" to these three questions.
And as with the pro-transit/mobility efforts of those pursuing mass transit and alternative modes of transportation, much of this terrible bill (if not most of it) claims to create more affordable, environmentally friendly housing, but leads to an inevitable trampling of the environment that Californians keep voting and paying for with their taxes and fees.
Inasmuch as this state's majority decries the developer-turned-politician in the White House, we overdevelop (and not with middle-class housing) in ways that should make everyone who cares about the environment either run to the ballot box or run to the border to change or flee California, respectively.
Are Chinese buyers (and we're not talking about law-abiding, respected Chinese American citizens) gobbling up our real estate, leaving unaffordable homes and apartments for locals to rent, and/or remain vacant?
Is big money, rather than consumer/taxpayer grassroots support, behind SB 50?
Does SB 50 fly in the face of the City of Los Angeles trying to preserve its quality of life but also interested in creating sustainable, eco-friendly, and affordable housing?
The narrative that more/affordable/sustainable housing is creepily opposed by noncaring, unfeeling NIMBY's is just plain false -- virtually all who oppose SB 50 lean left/liberal. Arguably, many who want unfettered development are right-wing, capitalism-over-everything types.
So are Scott Wiener, Gavin Newsom, and Eric Garcetti, who each probably supports SB 50 in one form or another, a bunch of poseurs pretending to be progressive and environmentally friendly?
Maybe. It sure seems that way.
Perhaps those screaming and fighting this terrible concept might win yet again, and perhaps it's the lawyers who must bring this crazy, environmental nightmare of SB 50 to an appropriate halt.
But we do need more affordable, realistic, and available housing.
And the obvious conclusion that we need that increased housing begs the question: If it is so obvious that SB 50 will undermine everything it claims to support and turn California into a bigger environmental nightmare than it has already become. . .
. . .then why the hell does SB 50 keep coming back again and again and again?
(CityWatch Columnist, Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D, is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties, and is a proud husband and father to two cherished children and a wonderful wife. He was (termed out) also a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Outreach Committee, and currently is Co-Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee and Vice-Chair of its Planning Committee. He was co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chaired the nonprofit Transit Coalition and can be reached at Ken.Alpern@MarVista.org. He also co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.