Tag Archives: housing

Homelessness – Is Housing the Problem?

homelessness

When we see so many people with no other place to call home except a piece of sidewalk or a tent, we need to ask whether our leadership is choosing the appropriate solution to challenges at hand. In the case of homelessness in numbers such as we see in purportedly rich California cities, the answer is probably “no.”

When we routinely see drug injection needles discarded in sidewalks, parking lots, and our kids’ playground, we really need to think whether the current narrative of gentrification and housing shortage as the primary cause for homelessness makes sense.

We need to ask what role the drug industry, facilitated by political leaders, may play in such a scenario. The folks in question here are not the usual small-fry drug dealers, but the legitimate barons of an industry not shy about prices.  Injection needles and other drug paraphernalia cost serious money, so does the increasingly ubiquitous naloxone.

Naloxone maker Kaleo has an injection treatment called Evzio that has a list price of $4,100. The company plans to release a generic version of Evzio with a retail price of $178 for a two pack this year. A two-pack of Narcan, a naloxone nasal spray, has a retail price of about $125. Generic naloxone costs about $40 per dose.  FDA Clears the Way to Increase Access and Lower Cost of Life-saving Opioid Overdose Treatment Drug.  CNBC. January 28, 2019.

The increase has cost the federal Medicare and Medicaid health programs more than $142 million since 2014, according the Homeland Security permanent subcommittee on investigations.  Drug Company Raised Price of Lifesaving Opioid Overdose Antidote More than 600 Percent USA Today November 19, 2018.

The Just Vote No Blog recommends the article Homelessness: Housing is not the Problem, in the California Political News and Views of August 4, 2019, for more on this unfortunate homelessness situation. 

 

The Coming of Nemesis: Kopp vs. Wiener

Hubris is interesting, because you get people who are often very clever, very powerful, have achieved great things, and then something goes wrong – they just don’t know when to stop. Margaret MacMillan

On July 31, Quentin Kopp, a fearless fixture in California politics, announced that he intends to challenge incumbent Scott Wiener for the state Senate seat in District 11 representing San Francisco, Daly City, Colma, Broadmoor, and parts of South San Francisco. The 90-year old Kopp seems mad as heck and is not going to take it any more.

The last straw for Kopp of Wiener’s schemes was Senate Bill 281, hearing of which scheduled for May 6 was canceled at Wiener’s request. SB 281 was the most recent in a long line of attempts to transfer management and/or ownership of the iconic Cow Palace from the current board to a local county joint-powers authority.

The 78-year old exhibit hall sits on 68 acres of coveted land owned by the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Division of Fairs and Expositions. Although its days of glory are over, when the Cow Palace hosted headliners like the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Elvis Presley, the hall still has audiences that enjoy shows and fairs like the San Francisco Sport & Boat Show, Golden Gate Kennel Club Dog Show, Dickens Christmas Fair, and the Horse Show & Rodeo. The Crossroads of the West Gun Show will end after 2019 by decision of the Cow Palace Board.

Thanks to revenue from these exhibits, the Cow Palace receives very little funding from the California state budget.

In an interview with San Francisco Chronicle’s Phil Matier, Quentin Kopp indicated that he felt SB 281 was a land grab to build more highrises in residential neighborhoods. Apparently, he is correct according the the text of SB 281:

This bill would authorize the authority to, among other things, enter into contracts or agreements for the development of the property for affordable and market-rate mixed-use housing and establish minimum local zoning standards, including, but not limited to, standards for height, density, parking, and floor area ratio, that apply to a project on the property that are different from those adopted by any other affected local jurisdiction.

Quentin Kopp is no lightweight in California politics. His resume is impressive:
San Francisco Supervisor 1971-1986, representing the West Portal neighborhood. State Senator 1987-1994, representing the southern part of San Francisco and the northern part of San Mateo County. San Mateo Superior Court Judge 1994 -2004. He retired after leaving his Court post.

After retirement from the Court, Kopp was appointed in 2006 to the California High Speed Rail Authority, a post he held until 2010. As Chair he was instrumental in the passage of Proposition 1A, which authorized a $9.95 billion bond to develop a high-speed rail system that would zip passengers from San Francisco to Los Angeles in less than three hours. The project received $2.5 billion from the Federal Railroad Administration. So far, construction can only be seen in California’s Central Valley, for an estimated cost to completion of $20 billion. Today Quentin Kopp rants against how the Rail Authority mishandled the bond money every chance he gets. The Federal Railroad Administration is angry too, and wants its money back.

In September 2016, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors appointed Quentin Kopp to the City’s Ethics Commission. He resigned from the post in March 2019, noting the uselessness of the Commission in denting its backlog or tackling important reforms in its job of enforcing governmental ethics laws.

Term limits might keep Quentin Kopp from serving once again in the California Senate. His argument is that since his previous service occurred before passage of legislation implementing term limits, the rule would not apply to him. And, as is Kopp’s stand-up-and-fight nature, he declared that he will sue if the Secretary of State decides he is not eligible.

Today’s Gen X and Millennial voters, accustomed to undistinguishable politicians forever uttering prescribed sound bites, might want to get acquainted with Quentin Kopp, who might soon turn out to be nemesis to Scott Wiener’s hubris.

His column in the neighborhood newspaper, the Westside Observer, appears monthly.

With AB 1487 There is No Opt Out

What is California Assembly Bill 1487?

Authored by Assembly Member David Chiu (D-San Francisco), this bill enacts the San Francisco Bay Area Regional Housing Finance Act, which authorizes the creation of a region-wide housing authority with powers to “raise, administer, and allocate funding for affordable housing in the San Francisco Bay area.”

Thus, the Bay Area Housing Finance Authority (BAHFA) would act as a permanent agency, the purpose of which would be to place on the ballot of all nine Bay Area counties concurrently identical ballot measures proposing fees, taxes and bonds to finance construction of affordable housing, preserve existing rent-controlled housing, and to provide tenant protections.  BAHFA would be one more regional agency operating under the wing, and sharing staff with, the Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

CA Housing JuntaThe passage by the California legislature of numerous housing-related bills during the past four or so years made it possible for developers to receive ministerial stream-lined approval of housing developments throughout the state – regardless of city or county zoning rules.   (Pictured are Senator Scott Wiener, Assembly Member David Chiu, and Senator Nancy Skinner, the more prolific affordable housing advocates in the California State Legislature.)

Fees, taxes and bonds approved regionally by voters under AB 1487 would help finance development projects regionally – regardless of whether voters in each individual county voted to approve such measures or not.

Examples of the success of such region-wide measures enabled by state legislation are Measure AA (enabled by AB 746) approved regionally by voters June 2016, and Regional Measure 3 (enabled by SB 595) approved regionally by voters June 2018.

AB 1487 is currently housed in the Senate Appropriations Committee. As of today, no hearing date has been indicated. Perhaps legislators are having second thoughts about the viability of AB 1487? After all, the Appropriations Committee was the one that summarily placed Senate Bill 50 (the bill some have labeled WIMBY – Wall Street in My Back Yard) in hibernation.

Highlights of AB 1487

* The findings and declarations in Section 64501, i.e. why the bill’s author thinks his bill should be enacted, follow the by-now required mantra that there is a grand housing crisis due in essence to cities and counties failure to provide “enough” housing, and therefore, legislation needs to be enacted overriding local laws and regulations.

The housing crisis in the San Francisco Bay area is regional in nature and too great to be addressed individually by the region’s 101 cities and 9 counties.

However, the current process is anything but regional; instead each city and county is each responsible for their own decisions around housing …

Regional funding is necessary to help address the housing crisis in the San Francisco Bay area by delivering resources and technical assistance at a regional scale …

* The version previous to amendments made to AB 1487 on July 10, listed in great detail the powers of the Bay Area Housing Finance Authority. The current version does not. In other words, the door is left wide open as to what the Authority would be empowered to do. Here is what is left of the list of powers, in Section 64514, including the bills applicability to any other agency that might replace the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

The board may make and enforce rules and regulations necessary for governing the authority, the preservation of order, and the transaction of business.

In exercising the powers and duties conferred on the authority by this title, the board may act by resolution.

It is the intent of the Legislature that the powers granted to the authority and the executive board under this title shall be transferred to a future regional agency if an agency is established to replace the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments and integrate regional transportation and housing funding and policy decisions within the San Francisco Bay area under one governing board, subsequent to a robust public engagement process at the regional level.

* Because California legislators have labeled the current high-cost housing in the state a crisis – not state and regional land-use policies unbeneficial to the general public – they can enact legislation that overrides any and all local laws and regulations. For example, AB 1487 specifically indicates the bill is not subject to either the orderly reorganization of city and county governments, or the relative independence of charter cities.

The formation and jurisdictional boundaries of the authority are not subject to the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000 (Division 3 (commencing with Section 56000) of Title 5).

The Legislature finds and declares that providing a regional financing mechanism for affordable housing development and preservation in the San Francisco Bay area, as described in this section and Section 64501, is a matter of statewide concern and is not a municipal affair as that term is used in Section 5 of Article XI of the California Constitution. Therefore, this title applies to all cities within the San Francisco Bay area, including charter cities.

California’s Acme Co.

Acme CoRemember Willie E. Coyote? He tried so hard to defeat the Road Runner, but he consistently used products manufactured by the Acme Co. that failed to operate at all, exploded prematurely, or otherwise caused Willie Coyote the worst of harm. Some folks just don’t learn….

If after half a dozen or so years, say from the implementation of Plan Bay Area, and after numerous state mandates purportedly intended to make housing more affordable, California still sports the most unaffordable housing in the nation, then it would appear the state is facing a Willie E. Coyote vs. The Road Runner struggle.

The main characters in the struggle: On one side homeowners who worked hard to purchase a single-family home in a nice and quiet neighborhood, and wish to keep their neighborhood nice and quiet, as well as their home values astronomical. On the other side newcomers who want to live in those neighborhoods, whether the neighborhoods remain nice and quiet or not, and whether they can afford the market cost of those neighborhoods.

The supporting characters: Legislators at all levels of state government understand that clustering job-creating businesses as well as homes within narrow areas increases the value of both, which translates into higher state GDP and higher revenue from property taxes. Couple that with residents in the quiet nice neighborhoods that do not want job-creating businesses anywhere near them.

So, everybody in California seems to be a fan of the Acme Co. Will AB 1487 reach the finish line and thus change the entire character of city and county land-use planning? Will California residents realize AB 1487 offers no opt out for cities and counties?

The Ballot Box is the Ultimate Decider

AB 1487, as all affordable housing bills, will surely come with a price tag, because somebody has to pay for somebody to benefit.  In the case of AB 1487, the price tag will be in the billions,

The San Francisco Bay area faces an annual funding shortfall of two billion five hundred million dollars ($2,500,000,000) in its efforts to address the affordable housing crisis.  Section 64501 (e)

So far, legislators have not succeeded in doing away with voters’ rights to weigh in on tax proposals. Therefore, the expectedly huge amount of taxes needed to fund AB 1487 would have to be approved at the ballot box.

Since the bill does not offer residents an opt out, the ballot box will become the only venue available to those opposed to the bill to just say no.

Update July 13, 2019

It now has surfaced that on July 9, two days before the scheduled hearing before the Senate Governance and Finance Committee, the sponsors of AB 1487 wrote a letter “To Whom it May Concern” saying they are “temporarily hitting the pause button…” on AB 1487 to allow for more time for feedback from the two main Bay Area bureaucracies deeply involved in land-use issues, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments.  The Marin Post has a good article about the letter.

Good time for voters to use the “pause” to provide their own feedback.

Now a Credit Card Crisis?

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez plan to introduce legislation that would cap credit card interest rates at 15%. Proposals such as this sound great on paper – cap interest rates, and consumers will benefit. But is that all that would happen?

Consider the Following Track Record

* College Tuition

Rise in College Tuition 2If anything, increases in financial aid in recent years have enabled colleges and universities blithely to raise their tuitions, confident that Federal loan subsidies would help cushion the increase. In 1978, subsidies became available to a greatly expanded number of students. In 1980, college tuitions began rising year after year at a rate that exceeded inflation.” William Bennett, Secretary of Education, Our Greedy Colleges, The New York Times, February 18, 1987.

* Health Care

Rise in health care costThe U.S. “health care cost crisis” didn’t start until 1965. The government increased demand with the passage of Medicare and Medicaid while restricting the supply of doctors and hospitals. Health care prices responded at twice the rate of inflation. Mike Holly, How Government Regulations Made Healthcare So Expensive, Mises Wire, May 01, 2017

 

* Housing

Rise in California RentsRent controls protect tenants when rents rise faster than incomes. Because it makes owning rental properties less profitable, rent control discourages landlords from maintaining apartments and encourages them to convert apartments to condominiums, thus reducing housing supply. California’s current housing crisis has resulted in calls to expand rent controls, despite evidence that this practice may drive up rents in uncontrolled buildings.   Jenny Schuetz, Under US Housing Policies Homeowners Mostly Win, While Renters Mostly Lose, Brookings, July 10, 2018

* And Now Credit Cards

Like any other economic good or service, interest rates are subject to the laws of supply and demand. The supply of genuine savings and the demand for those savings embody the interest rate, and this is reflected by its price. When the price of a good or service is capped, this produces a disincentive for entrepreneurs and suppliers to engage in economic activity in the affected industry. This is simultaneously coupled with an artificially low price, which in turn increases demand. The result of a decreased supply and an increased demand is a shortage.  Logan Davies, Ocasio-Cortez’s Plan to Cap Interest Rates is a Horrible Idea, Eccentric Economics, Being Libertarian, June 9, 2019.

Caveats and Externalities

Seldom there is just one reason that explains a situation; although often there is a fundamental reason. Also, it is sometimes difficult to establish whether concurrent events are causal or incidental; but if the incidence of a type of concurrent event produces similar results, one would suspect a causal relationship. Thirdly, economics is a fungible discipline that can regard John Maynard Keynes as well as Milton Friedman with equal seriousness, although the economic theories of these two folks are diametrically opposed.

And fungibility of economic theory is good at both including widely – collective-leaning hypothesis are as acceptable in the economic arena as are market-leaning ones – and excluding imprudently. A couple of lines on a diagram cannot possibly take into account the countless characteristics in human behavior; therefore, those lines simply illustrate a scenario whereby “all other things being equal,” which hardly ever happens in real life.

Subsidy diagramFor example, the diagram at left is often used to illustrate the benefits of subsidies.  The higher “S” is pre-subsidy price, and the lower “S1” is post-subsidy.

A college administration’s greed response to government subsidies as described by Secretary William Bennett would be difficult to include in this diagram. Greed, that is, the capture of any marginal benefit, negates the assumption that all things remain equal. Thus, as subsidies grew, so did the number of college administrators, the variety of student services outside of basic instruction, and employee benefits such as pensions. It was not just demand that grew.

Are We Dealing With Microwave Mentality?

People use microwaves because they want their edibles now, not later. Microwave users want theirs now!

When politicians insists on, say, free college for all, universal health care, rent control, or a cap on credit card interest rates, they are catering to voters’ microwave mentality. In order to get elected or re-elected, politicians need to showcase immediate events that benefit constituents and ignore negative externalities that harm them.

The Curious Case of Housing Legislation

California is littered with billionaires, mansions, 2 million-dollar shacks, and the highest number of souls who call the state’s grimy streets their home. Meanwhile, state legislators are on a mission to pass legislation that result in the tearing down of older more affordable buildings, destruction of traditional neighborhoods, out-migration of the middle class, and in-migration of both the well off and the destitute.

A Background Worth Reiterating

Sacramento has been generating buckets full of high-profile real estate bills (which legislators call housing bills) for the last half a dozen years or so. At first, the reason behind the earlier bills was the “climate crisis,” a “matter of state-wide concern” that required the state to implement drastic mandates whether such mandates overruled local land-use laws or not.

The seminal piece of legislation behind these bills was California Assembly Bill 32, The Global Warming Solutions Act, signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on September 27, 2006. AB 32 mandated a reduction of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

California Senate Bill 375, The Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act, signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2008, zeroed in on cars as the primary culprits in the imminent demise of Mother Earth. SB 375 mandated 1) the California Air Resources Board set regional emissions-reduction targets from passenger vehicles, and 2) the Metropolitan Planning Organization for each region develop a Sustainable Communities Strategy that integrated transportation, land-use and housing policies.

Bingo! SB 375 earned its spurs by 1) pulling in land use and housing policies into the climate change crisis, and 2) shifting responsibility for land-use policies from cities and counties to state-enabled regional agencies. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (the San Francisco Bay Area region Metropolitan Planning Organization) enshrined SB 375 in recognition of the bill’s stature:

375 Beale St

Headquarters of the Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission. From the MTC’s website:   “The building’s address — 375 Beale Street — is a nod to Senate Bill 375, the landmark state law passed to foster a more sustainable future for California’s metro areas.”

After SB 375, transit-oriented development bills, created in the name of reducing green-house gas emissions produced by commuters, encouraged housing clusters within permissible areas and discouraged sprawl.  Housing prices within narrow transit corridors skyrocketed.  Speculators poured in, developers came seeking customers for luxury housing, and construction unions clamored for their piece of the already high-cost pie.

The Enabling Legislation

Recently, three pieces of real estate legislation garnered nation-wide attention:
Senate Bill 827, introduced by Senator Scott Wiener, focused on inserting dense housing in any and all transit corridors, regardless of local zoning. The bill was so ferociously opposed by counties, cities and neighborhoods that it was mercifully killed in the legislation’s Transportation Committee in April of 2018. SB 827 was brazen, but it was also bizarre. The transit mentioned in the bill included bus routes, which could conceivably disappear overnight before SB 827 glommed on to the route.

The demise of SB 827 spawned Senate Bill 50, also introduced by Senator Wiener. SB 50 was even more brazen than SB 827, since it not only mandated density in any and all transit corridors regardless of local zoning, but mandated the same in “job-rich” areas. Job rich meant any neighborhood in any corridor leading to any business cluster that provided jobs. So, a neighborhood of single-family homes adjacent to transit that takes residents to jobs is job-rich and open by mandate to developers that want to build multi-unit housing. Opposition again mounted. SB 50 was tabled by the legislation’s Appropriations Committee on May 16, 2019.

Now Californians have been presented with Senate Bill 330, the Housing Crisis Act of 2019, introduced by Senator Nancy Skinner on February 2019. The bill is currently active and pending referral.

SB 330 consists of 24 pages of minutia that purportedly aims to “temporarily,” until 2025, enhance the ability of developers to obtain building permits regardless of local rules. In the process, SB 330 obliterates county and city land-use and zoning rules enacted since January 1, 2018 that the bill’s authors view as impediments to nearly unfettered housing development.

Like SB 827 and SB 50, SB 330 transfers by edict land-use decisions from cities, counties and neighborhoods to the state, even curbing the ability of cities’ and counties’ electorates from placing initiatives or referendums on ballots.

And, of course, SB 330 contains the obligatory clause featured in legislation that nullifies local rules, including rules enacted by charter cities. Charter cities are protected from outside meddling by the California State Constitution, unless the meddling is a matter of “statewide concern rather than a municipal affair.”

Here are some clauses of SB 330

* Prohibits retroactively from January 1, 2018 any city or county from imposing or increasing any requirement that a proposed housing development include parking in excess of specified amounts, and prohibits any city or county from charging approval fees in excess of specified amounts.

* Prohibits retroactively from January 1, 2018, any city or county from disallowing a proposed housing development project that has been given a conditional use permit if that project would have been eligible under a city’s or county’s general land-use plan and zoning ordinances in effect on January 1, 2018.

* Prohibits retroactively from January 1, 2018, any city or county, or any voter initiative or referendum, from a) changing the land use designation or zoning of a parcel of property to a less dense use or reducing the parcel’s density; b) imposing or enforcing a moratorium on housing development; c) imposing or enforcing new design standards that are not objective design standards; d) establishing or implementing certain limits on the number of permits issued.

* Requires enforcing agencies to grant to owners of substandard housing delays up to 7 years for correction of violations or nuisances if owners submit an application for such delay and if the enforcing agency determines that correction or abatement of the violation or nuisance is not necessary to protect health and safety.

Check out the California Political Review for a more passionate post on the perils of SB 330.

Rules for Radicals

One could almost think that Saul Alinsky’s Rule #10 could be found somewhere in California’s State Constitution, judging by the relentless tsunami of housing-related legislation generated by state legislators purportedly in their effort to fix a crisis they themselves help create. Rule #10 says,

The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.

Update on who California legislators work for

Dogpatch Neighborhood - CopyCalifornia Senate Bill 50, authored by Senator Scott Wiener, was tabled today by the Appropriations Committee until “at least 2020.”  In a previous post Just Vote No asked Who Are California Legislators Working For?  After all, if Senator Wiener states that “everyone hates SB50”, then why, pray tell, would he continue to hawk that bill?  Are legislators not supposed to represent their constituents?

SB 50 has been put to sleep, it has not been done away with.  So, the pressure against it needs to continue.  This is a bill universally despised by just about every city, including San Francisco and Los Angeles, simply because SB 50 shamelessly attempts to remove control of land-use planning from every singly city and county in California.

Here are a couple of articles announcing the news:

California transit density proposal SB 50 on pause until 2020, L.A. Curbed 05/16/19

High-profile California housing bill dies without a vote.  Sacramento Bee 05/16/19

Who Are California Legislators Working For?

California claims multiple bragging rights – environmental leader, 4th largest economy in the world, highest GDP in the U.S., and lots of sunshine. Astronomical living cost, highest homelessness in the nation, and jewel cities like San Francisco noted for not-so-clean streets all are challenges legislators are working on…and on. However, California has an especially worrisome condition: legislators that do what they determine is good for their constituents, regardless of what those constituents want.

Prime Example: Senate Bill 50

The desire of California legislators to remake the state in their own image is exemplified by Senator Scott Wiener’s proposed Senate Bill 50 which is relentlessly winding its way through legislative committees. The bill claims it aims to fix the state’s notoriously high housing costs by requiring that all cities in California allow developers to build multi-family housing by receiving “communities incentives” in any neighborhood adjacent to transit or adjacent to “job-rich” hubs, regardless of local zoning laws.

This bill would require a city, county, or city and county to grant upon request an equitable communities incentive when a development proponent seeks and agrees to construct a residential development, as defined, that satisfies specified criteria, including, among other things, that the residential development is either a job-rich housing project or a transit-rich housing project, as those terms are defined… Senate Bill 50

Thus if a bus line runs along main street in your single-family neighborhood, multi-family housing – luxury or non-profit, containing any number of subsidized units, and casting whatever shadow it wants onto your yard — shall be built whether you like it or not. The same will occur if your neighborhood is considered by the state to be in an area that offers jobs, such as Silicon Valley or Walnut Creek.

As an aside, SB 50 is a remake of SB 827, which went down in flames at its first committee hearing in 2018. However, this time around the bill offers some tenant protections in an effort to pacify residents that fear being priced out of their neighborhoods; and it requires “labor protections,” such as prevailing (union) wages.

Everybody Hates SB 50

CDogpatch Neighborhood - Copyalifornia is home not only to a lot of homeless and housing insecure people, but also home to rich people. Recent statistics say California is #1 in the nation in the number of resident billionaires. Also, the state boasts some lovely single-family and/or low-density neighborhoods – seaside, suburban, and urban – that few would want to give up.

Thus, there is a nearly universal aversion for SB 50.

Local governments across the state have lined up against SB50, including the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and Los Angeles City Council. There is widespread opposition along the Peninsula and in the South Bay, in Palo Alto, San Mateo, Cupertino and Sunnyvale, which like the East Bay suburbs could see their zoning rules upended because of their designation as “jobs-rich areas.  Wealthy Bay Area Suburbs Could Have a Whole New Look Under California’s Housing Bill, San Francisco Chronicle, May 10, 2019

“Everyone hates SB 50—everyone hates it,” said California state Sen. Scott Wiener at a recent forum on the state’s housing crisis. “You hear people getting upset about it, yelling about it, coming down to City Hall and yelling.” Flanked by real estate developers and housing rights advocates, Wiener, a Democrat who represents San Francisco, had come to discuss his ideas for solving the problem—which meant talking about the heated reaction to his signature piece of legislation, Senate Bill 50—the housing bill Californians seem to love to hate.  Everyone Agrees California Has a Housing Crisis. Trying to Fix It Has Become a Battle, Mother Jones, May 3, 2019.

Who Does Your Legislator Work For?

In a representative type of government, legislators supposedly represent the majority of their constituents without neglecting the minority. In California, legislators increasingly ignore their constituents’ wishes in favor of determining on their own what is best for those constituents.

Senator Scott Wiener says “everyone hates SB 50,” yet he is on a mission to get that piece of legislation passed. Who is Senator Wiener working for?