Thursday, April 26, 2018

CA Senate Housing and Transportation Committee advances SB 828 in Sacramento

CA Senate Housing and Transportation Committee advances SB 828 in Sacramento
Posted by: Bob Silvestri - April 25, 2018 - 9:24am

Weak-kneed legislators bowed to political pressure and special interest groups, yesterday, and voted to advance Senate Bill 828 to the Appropriations Committee. As amended, the latest version of Senator Scott Wiener’s bill, which was heavily supported by development interests, would increase every city’s Regional Housing Needs Assessment quota for low income units by 25% of the existing requirement. More significantly, it also changes that quota from a planning goal to a mandatory housing production quota, with heavy penalties to cities that fail to meet it.

This completely nonsensical and arbitrary legislation, primarily driven by “politically correct” rhetoric, may have dire economic, environmental and social consequences for all San Francisco Bay Area cities, except for San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland.

As reported by,

SB 828 would change… current RHNA numbers from state mandated "goals" for cities to incorporate into their local land use planning documents into de facto required outcomes, with any "deficiencies" in actually produced "needed" housing units rolled over to increase the number of housing units that a city must produce in subsequent planning periods.

That outcome could make it more difficult for some cities (already assigned high "needed" numbers) to meet the requirements of SB 35 (a bill authored by Sen. Wiener and enacted in 2017) that now requires cities to give "streamlined" approval to housing developers for multi-unit housing projects if a city hasn't met meet "needed" housing units.

Historically, the vast majority of Bay Area cities have been unable to meet the out sized, top-down quotas demanded of them. The reason is simple. Cities don’t build housing – private developers build housing.And, since the vast majority of Bay Area cities have no financial incentives to offer developers and very limited available land, it is assured that small cities will never be able to meet these new, compounding quotas, and will suffer significant financial consequences.

In addition to being required to provide developers with streamlining of the approval process (removal of review of impacts on traffic, parking, infrastructure, the environment, etc.), under SB 35 (passed in September 2017), “any reasonable person” (meaning, any outside advocacy group) can now sue cities for not meeting their RHNA mandates.

SB 35 also shifted the burden of legal proof on to cities, to show they made critical findings to not approve projects, and if they fail to do that, a judge can now assess unspecified financial penalties on non-compliant cities.

The negative financial consequences for small cities and their residents are incalculable.

Here are just some of the reasons that SB 828 is an insufferable bad piece of legislation:

The premise of SB 828 is flawed: Cities don’t build housing, private developers do.

SB 828 is based on the same fallacy as SB 827. It assumes that cities build housing in order to comply with their RHNA quota that is reflected in their Housing Element. This is untrue. Cities can only provide certain limited incentives but the market decides what type of development proposals are submitted. Because of this, it is unlikely that most of the municipalities in the San Francisco Bay Area would ever get out from under their endlessly accumulating, unbuilt RHNA quota.

The 125% RHNA figure in SB 828 is arbitrary and violates all existing RHNA calculation procedures and fact based “findings,” as required by state law.

Since its inception, the methodology for calculating the Regional Housing Needs Assessment figures is based on detailed and fact-based analysis of population growth and jobs growth. These studies are thorough and vetted and updated to reflect actual projections. The total RHNA allocation for a Regional Metropolitan Planning Organization (MTC/ABAG) is, therefore, a constantly changing number based on actual conditions.

As is, the RHNA adapts to statistically provable need. It is a dynamic methodology that already accomplishes what SB 828 attempts to do. Imposing afixed 125% quota is not needed and is completely nonsensical

The 125% RHNA figure in SB 828 is arbitrary and unsupported by any reasonable economic, environmental or social impacts analysis.

The existing RHNA determination process by its very nature is reflective of credible economic, environmental and social impacts data, which is reflected in the population and jobs growth data it is based upon. To arbitrarily change the RHNA outcomes of that analysis, essentially negates the entire rationale for determining an accurate RHNA and turns the RHNA quota into a purely political tool driven by personal agendas and personal prejudices.

SB 828 is yet another naked attack on California's dwindling middle class and our livable suburban communities.

The 125% RHNA figure found in SB 828 is prejudicial against all but the largest cities in the state.

In the SF Bay Area, only three cities of the 103 municipalities will ever be able to meet the arbitrary 125% RHNA quota: San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose.The other municipalities and particularly smaller cities simply do not have the available land to do so. And, simply saying that single family zoned land can be transformed into multifamily zoned land in a way that makes housing development feasible is incorrect.[1]

The requirement in SB 828 that the entire, original 100% of RHNA (still on the table) now be allocated to multi-family housing, negatively impact the economic tax base of all but the largest cities in the state and increase commuting times an environmental impacts.

Traditionally, the RHNA is divided into various percentages of each type of housing found in a city (based on federal statistical guidelines): from 30% of median income to market rate housing.SB 828 appears to require all the original RHNA (100%) to be allocated to multifamily housing, but without any income requirements.

One would assume that the other 100% will be allocated the same as it is now, among all the housing / income types, but the bill is not clear on this.

However, small cities simply do not have any economically viable[2] land to designate for multifamily development except their commercial land (office, retail, industry). If that land is rezoned for housing, cities will lose their major tax base from commerce. This will turn more cities into bedroom communities of major jobs centers and increase commuting times.

In the context of SB 35, penalizing cities for failing to build housing may violate the unfunded mandate provisions of California Housing Law.

Legislation passed in September of 2017, particularly SB 35 but including other bills, have now created an unprecedented legal nexus of penalties between RHNA quotas and potential financial penalties and consequences for municipalities. As it now stands, if “any reasonable person” decides that a municipality has failed to do what it has to do to promote housing affordability and to fulfill its RHNA obligations, those persons can sue for damages and a court can assess financial penalties against a city.

It is our opinion that such an occurrence will constitute a violation of the California State Constitution and the unfunded mandate provisions, based on the state’s interpretation of Dillon’s Rule.

This has not yet been tested in the courts and suggests that legislators should exercise extreme caution before introducing additional housing laws, until the impacts of the 17 laws passed in 2017 are fully known.

SB 828 requires municipalities to now engage in compiling racial profiling data, in violation of federal Fair Housing laws.

Since 1937, California housing law has mirrored federal housing law and used income levels as the basis for assessing the need for “affordable housing” and determining the RHNA quotas.

SB 828 introduces the concept of and incorrectly mixes “racial” profiling into the Housing Element and RHNA process, which promotes racial profiling, discrimination and reverse discrimination and other abuses that are illegal under federal housing law. In addition, there are no legal standards, federal or state, to look to in order to interpret the findings being required by SB 828.

SB 828 requires municipalities to now engage in compiling “wealth” profiling data, in violation of federal Fair Housing laws, in that it proposes to penalize individual “wealth” as a special class.

Since 1937, California housing law has mirrored federal housing law and used income levels as the basis for assessing the need for “affordable housing” and determining the RHNA quotas. It is not based upon nor is it prejudicial against the personal wealth of individuals residing in a municipality.

SB 828 introduces the concept of “wealth” profiling into the Housing Element and RHNA process, which promotes reverse discrimination and other abuses that are illegal under federal housing law. In addition, there are no legal standards, federal or state, to look to in order to interpret the findings being required by SB 828.

SB 828 appears to give powers to unelected agencies over locally elected government, in violation of state law.

SB 828 indicates that unelected state and regional agencies (e.g., the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, etc.) that are involved in the RHNA creation and allocation process, will have decision making powers over elected governments that are not subject to appeal.

As far as we know, this is unprecedented in California housing law. reports

SB 828 now heads to the state Senate's Appropriations Committee, a "non-policy" committee that's supposed to consider only fiscal impacts of proposed bills but as a practical matter operates as a majority-party controlled "gatekeeper" preventing bills from reaching the Senate floor if not supported by majority party (Dem) leadership. The Appropriations Committee is chaired by state Senator Ricardo Lara (D, LB-Huntington Park).

[1] Converting single family zoning to multifamily would likely increase "land" costs, because the land/house values of residential lots is much higher than fallow commercial acreage. For example, if a typical Marin County house is worth $1 million on a 50 x 100 lot (approx. 1/8th acre), so that's $8 million per acre in land cost to develop multifamily. At the same time, economically obsolete commercial parcels in town sell for about $4,000,000 per acre. If no one can “pencil” affordable housing now at $4 million per acre, how will they do it at $8 million per acre?

[2] See Footnote 1.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Senator McGuire supports SB828 that will ATTACK local Planning

Senator Mike McGuire (Healdsburg) Northbay supports Senators Wieners SB828 that advocates an increase in RHNA allocation for affordable housing AND IT PUNISHES communities if they are not built by triggering "by right" development for ALL HOUSING. It is an outrageous intrusion into local planning decisions and is an unfunded mandate.

Senator Nancy Skinner bills on ADU and Student Housing Density Bonus

Marinwood CSD "Secret" Special Budget Meeting 4/24/2018

Monday, April 23, 2018

Leah Green claims her "brain isn't working and she will not listen to the public"

Leah Green, Marinwood CSD interrupts, bullies the public AGAIN.  Leah Green claims her "brain isn't working and she will not listen to the public" towards the end of the meeting.  It is disgraceful that the Marinwood CSD allows this to happen.

Linda Barnello makes a simple request for a communication policy from Marinwood CSD manager, Eric Dreikosen and he laughs. Marinwood CSD President Leah Green refuses to answer also and interupts the speaker and claims' I don't have a brain" None of the other Marinwood CSD managers even look up from their desk and express outrage at this insulting, arrogant display of the President and CSD manager. Linda ihas been a major benefactor of the Community and the Marinwood Fire Department. There is no excuse for this behavior from our staff and elected officials.

Marinwood Budget Approval meeting (scheduled at 6:00 PM Tuesday April 24th so you CAN'T OBJECT to it

Marinwood CSD has the highest annual budget in its history yet,  the finances are far from rosy.

That's why they don't really want the public to attend their special budget meeting on Tuesday, April 24th at  6:00 PM at the Marinwood Community Center.   You'll find out how our secretive board members allocate our limited tax dollars.  

Marinwood CSD needs more transparency but more importantly, it needs responsible leadership.  The board would rather you not pay attention.

See the budget agenda HERE

What is the most useless country in the world in terms of resources, economy, etc.?

In the middle of the Pacific ocean lies Nauru.
This tiny island country has a population of merely 12,000 people and has only one source of income; they operate a controversial detention center for Australia, referred to as “Australia’s Guantanamo Bay”.
Nauru was once a source of great wealth, but bad choices caused it to crash.
Phosphate, used as a fertilizer and a key component in explosives, had been discovered on Nauru in the early 1900s.
After World War I, it was under British, Australian, and New Zealand control. The three countries created the British Phosphate Commission to oversee the phosphate mining. After World War II, it went under Australian control, and became independent in 1968.
Thanks to all the phosphate mining, Nauruans were quite wealthy, but it couldn’t last forever. They began to throw it around in unwise investments, including a skyscraper in Melbourne, foreign hotels, and short-lived phosphate factories in the Phillipines and India.
The biggest drain of all was an airline, Air Nauru. Their planes often flew half-empty, causing enormous loss.
When the phosphate ran out and the environmental effects set in, there was nothing left to provide a source of income.
By 2000, Nauru crashed. There was no more phosphate, and bad investments caught up. The country was practically bankrupt.
Nauruans suffer from an obesity rate of 71%, and 94.5% of the populations is at least overweight. The mining has destroyed three-quarters of the country into an inhospitable wasteland.
The country’s indigenous culture has also been just about destroyed by years of Western lifestyle.
Furthermore, Nauru’s government actually relies on Australians and New Zealanders to keep it running, especially in the law. Yep, that’s how much the country has declined —they need foreigners to help with governmental functions.
Today, Nauru is threatened by rising sea levels, and only one-fourth of them could possibly afford a ticket to escape.
For this island, they can only go up or down —down below the sea.

Action Alert! Call these Senators today

We need everyone to take action.  SB  828 has been largely ignored, but some/many think it is worse than SB 827.   

Please call members of the Senate Transportation & Housing Committee and forward this email to others.  

Below you'll find:
  • Contact Info: Names and phone numbers. It can take as little as 1-2 minutes per call.  The primary purpose of your call is to be on record in OPPOSITION to SB 828.
  • A few talking points, if you're asked why you oppose the bill.
  • Invitation to join others in Sacramento on Tuesday

CONTACT INFO: Senators on the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee: 
The Yes, No or ABS shows how they voted on SB 827.
  • Senator Jim Beal (Chair), D-San Jose (No): 916-651-4015 
    Senator Anthony Cannella (Vice Chair), R-Stanislaus County (No) : 916-651-4012
  • Senator Ben Allen, Santa Monica, (No), 916/651-4026
  • Senator Bill Dodd, D-Napa (No): 916-651-4003
    Senator Ted Gaines, R-El Dorado Hills (Yes): 916-651-4001
    Senator Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton (No): 916- 651-4005
    Senator Mike McGuire, D-Marin & Sonoma Counties (No): 916-651-4002
    Senator Mike Morrell, R-San Bernadino County (Yes): 916-651-4023
    Senator Richard Roth, D-Riverside (ABS): 916-651-4031
    Senator Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley (Yes): 916-651-4009
    Senator Andy Vidak, R-Hanford (ABS): 916-651-4014
    Senator Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont (ABS): 916-651-4010
    Senator Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco (Yes): 916-651-4011
TALKING POINTS: Why SB 828 should not be approved 
  1. SB 828, like SB 827, undermines local planning decisions with a one-size-fits all approach that is detrimental to all jurisdictions, regardless if they have a housing shortage or not.
  2. The failure to meet target housing levels triggers SB 35 (passed in 2017), allowing by-right development with perhaps only 10% affordable housing, which disrupts city planning and overburdens infrastructures, such as schools, water, roads etc.
  3. Cities are not developers and do not have control over how many projects are proposed or how many permits pulled by real estate developers. It makes no sense to punish cities possibly for what the cities have no control over.
  4. Community leaders know better than legislators what is needed for equity, quality of life, long-term infrastructure and sustainability.  Work with, not against, local efforts to meet housing needs.
  5. Legislators passed 15 housing bills in 2017, but haven't allowed time or provided funding to see the impact of these bills. Focus on implementing what's in place before adding more laws.

11:00  Begin making office visits in teams of 2-3.

1:30  Senate Hearing

3:00 or after SB 828 is decided

Interested in joining a carpool?   send email to
Driving from your area?  Send an email to let others know.

SB 827 is up for reconsideration on April 24 after the bill lost this week.

SB 827 is up for reconsideration on April 24 after the bill lost this week.

Clearing up the details of the SB 827 vote
A number of misinformed statements regarding the vote on SB 827 have been circulating. This is the official statement signed by the Chair of the Transportation and Housing Committee, Senator Beall. The vote was 6 no, 4 aye, and 3 not voting. If Scott can talk some into changing their votes, he can still pass this out of committee, however, he faces a much more difficult time getting it passed in the next committee in time to get it through the to the full Senate by the deadline. Still, some people will show up to oppose this one, since they will be opposing SB 828 as well.
Thanks to these bills, and a few others our Northern representatives are forcing on the state residents, many Southern California citizens are rising up to flex their rather large and powerful political powers. This year could see some changes coming to our state legislature that may shift the power away from the Bay Area. Too much too fast and too disruptive is creating a bad environment for the easy-going California lifestyle we have come to love and appreciate and there is a movement to resurrect it.
Here is a link to the Senate Transportation and housing committee schedule:
Here is a link to the official voting results on SB 827 and a copy of the page below:
The following is a link to the Senate Transportation and housing committee schedule:
The next link is how they voted on SB 827:

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Make mine freedom



AT a great celebration in honor of King Lion, the Monkey was asked to dance for the company. His dancing was very clever indeed, and the animals were all highly pleased with his grace and lightness.

The praise that was showered on the Monkey made the Camel envious. He was very sure that he could dance quite as well as the Monkey, if not better, so he pushed his way into the crowd that was gathered around the Monkey, and rising on his hind legs, began to dance. But the big hulking Camel made himself very ridiculous as he kicked out his knotty legs and twisted his long clumsy neck. Besides, the animals found i t hard to keep their toes from under his heavy hoofs.

At last, when one of his huge feet came within an inch of King Lion's nose, the animals were so disgusted that they set upon the Camel in a rage and drove him out into the desert.
Shortly afterward, refreshments, consisting mostly of Camel's hump and ribs, were served to the company.

Do not try to ape your betters.