As a member of the Board of Directors of Livable California, I sent the attached letter, written on behalf of our Board, to Governor Gavin Newsom, which was delivered last week. While it remains to be seen whether it will have an impact on the Governor’s decision to veto AB 1487, we will not rest until we can turn around the false narrative that is fueling so many misguided housing bills this year.
Dear Governor Newsom,
On behalf of Livable California, a non-profit organization that is committed to the wise planning and appropriate growth of California's communities, we urge you veto AB 1487 for the following reasons:
- It sets a dangerous precedent. Vesting a regional entity with such expanded powers over cities and counties within the region will dramatically expand a bureaucracy that is ill-equipped to handle these new responsibilities.
- MTC is the wrong organization to have these sweeping powers over taxation and housing. MTC has become known for its wasteful spending habits and its failures to achieve its existing responsibilities, let alone these huge new ones. MTC is governed by a Commission that utterly lacks the confidence of the people and the cities and counties it is supposed to serve. Until its governance structure is remedied, expanding its powers would be a huge mistake.
- It’s an untested and untried experiment that could spread to other regional entities throughout the state. A primary reason for the widespread opposition in the Legislature, especially among Members of the Assembly, is the very real fear that AB 1487 will create a massive experiment with little certainty as to the consequences. The bill starts the state on a slippery slope towards other regional bodies (SCAG, SACOG, and SANDAG) to similarly expand their powers within their regions too, creating ever more powerful regional governments that will increase the complexity of state and local governance. Thus, this bill further distances the government from the people on one of the most crucial issue facing our state: affordable housing.
- The bill was written at the last minute. The bill was gutted in early August and was finally published on August 28, leaving hardly any time for the public or the legislators to review and absorb its provisions, let alone provide public comments to it.
- The bill doesn't produce a single unit of affordable housing. Even more troubling is that like so many "affordable" housing bills introduced this session, AB 1487 pays insufficient attention and provides inadequate priority to the creation of housing at the lowest income levels. Nothing in the bill ensures that a county's expenditure plan will provide for the greatest needs.
- This bill is one of many that are targeting single family neighborhoods for over-development. Such neighborhoods which are populated with voters who vote in large numbers will react poorly to this legislation. Moreover, AB 1487 threatens thousands of blocks of "starter homes" across California that are the most powerful and proven path for the working class to enter the middle class.
- The bill will likely generate many costly lawsuits. You could save the taxpayers with a simple veto of the faulty legislation.
In conclusion, we appreciate your efforts to expand the state's supply of truly affordable housing, but AB 1487 isn't the way to do it. It would be best to pursue your efforts the right way rather than a fast way that is unaware of its consequences.
Please veto AB 1487.
T. Keith Gurnee - Livable California Board of Directors