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Gov Jerry Brown Delivers a Blow to Affordable Housing Efforts That Will Leave Low Income Renters Out in the Cold

October 24, 2013

Gov-Brown-Signing-BillOn October 13, 2013, California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed AB 1229 (Atkins) stunning tenants’ rights and affordable housing advocates across the state.

With the power of his pen the Governor essentially undermined the hard work of activists to get this key affordable housing bill passed by the state legislature and, thus, jeopardized the ability of local governments to provided affordable housing through inclusionary housing laws.

Inclusionary zoning is a land use practice through which local governments promote affordable housing. These policies have been in use for over 40 years, but were challenged in the case of Palmer/Sixth Street Properties L.P. v. City of Los Angeles.

Affordable Housing Web BannerIn Palmer, the court held that the provision of the state Costa-Hawkins Act, which gives developers, and not government, the right to establish initial rental rates applies to privately financed rental housing projects and voids many inclusionary housing policies.

The California Association of Realtors and landlord groups sponsored the Costa-Hawkins law in 1995. It prohibits new construction of rental units from being subject to local rent control ordinances and really doesn’t have anything to do with inclusionary housing laws.

vetoSince the 1970s, nearly 170 jurisdictions in California have chosen to use inclusionary or mixed-income ordinances to produce 80,000 affordable units at no cost to taxpayers.

By introducing AB 1229, which would have allowed locally elected officials to decide whether to require, as a condition of approval, new market-rate rental housing developments in their communities to include a small percentage of units with rents affordable to low- and moderate-income tenants or pay an in lieu fee, Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) hoped the bill would have superseded the 2009 California Appellant court Palmer ruling that cities requiring developers to include housing priced below market rates were in violation of the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act.

A broad coalition of tenant groups, affordable housing advocates and non-profit community housing developers, supported the bill, as did most major newspapers around the state. As could be expected, big developers, mega-landlords and realtors went all out to fight the bill and leaned heavily on Governor Brown to veto it.

Send a Message to Governor Jerry Brown

deliver_messageThe Governor has dashed the hopes of many low-income California to obtain safe and affordable housing for their families. People should be outraged.

People can express their outrage by letting Governor Brown know how disappointed you are by his veto of this extremely important housing bill.

The statewide renters organization, Tenants’ Together, has provided an easy way to let the Governor know how you feel about his action. Just click here to send him a message.

The Coalition for Economic Survival is member of Tenants’ Together and CES Executive Director Larry Gross sits on its Board of Directors.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 24, 2013 4:14 pm

    I am appalled at the decision you made to sign a bill to end affordable housing for lower income people. I regret that rich people have no regard’s for the less fortunate. I voted for you I truly believed at that time that you had respect for all people no matter what their financial status was. Now I realize that you are not concerned about lower income families
    What a shameful decision!!!

    • October 24, 2013 4:34 pm

      Margo, just to clarify, Gov Brown didn’t sign a bill to end affordable housing, he veto a bill that would have provide a tool for local government to be able to provide affordable housing for low income people.

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