The Marin Post

The Voice of the Community

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City Council members explain the SB-9 Lawsuit

Confronted with recent housing laws that take away local control, some California city councils are rejecting the lament “our hands are tied.” They are taking action aligned with the values of the constituents in the communities they have been elected to represent.

In Southern California, the Torrance City Council, along with Carson, Redondo Beach, and Whittier have filed a lawsuit (#22STCP01143) with the premise that land use and single-family zoning are a municipal affair. The lawsuit is filed against SB-9 which allows a single-family residence to be subdivided “by right” into two lots with two units per lot, in effect increasing density fourfold or more, without safeguards for safety, parking, or infrastructure. A hearing date is set for April 27, 2023.

Two other cities—Lakewood and Rancho Palos Verdes—have also filed a suit against SB-9, but no hearing date has been set. Both cases are managed by Pam Lee, Aleshire & Wynder, who was the speaker at the first Town Hall. Her Powerpoint presentation is available here.

Mike Griffiths, a member of the Torrance City Council and founder of California Cities for Local Control, and John Cruikshank, a member of the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council, will explain what motivated them to take action and the process of joining the lawsuit.

Besides talking about the SB-9 lawsuit, we will also be talking about the pending lawsuit against the state Housing and Community Development Department (HCD) based on the state auditor’s report. The Auditor exposed that the RHNA methodology is flawed and the housing quotas are unreliable.

The fourth Catalysts Town Hall Zoom meeting is on Wednesday, September 21 from 5:00-6:30 pm. The Catalysts Town Hall is free and open to the public. You must register to get the Zoom link.

Recordings of the preceding Town Hall presentations are available at CatalystsCA website. Previous speakers have included attorney Pam Lee, Aleshire & Wynder, describing how city councils can join lawsuits to protect against state overreach. The second Town Hall featured Michael Barnes, former eight-year Albany City Council member talking about how the California housing assessment system is manipulated to set cities up for failure. Bob Silvestri, founder/editor of The Marin Post and founder/president of Community Venture Partners talked about housing solutions as described in a recent article called “10 Things We Can Do Now to Promote Affordable Housing.”

To register, go to

Catalysts for Local Control is proud to acknowledge these statewide and local agencies that have endorsed the Town Hall series on Housing and Litigation. The series theme is Stop State Takeover: Preserve Local Control.

Endorsers with state impact

CA Alliance of Local Electeds (CALE), CA Cities for Local Control, Livable CA, Our Neighborhood Voices, and United Neighbors.

Endorsers with local and growing impact

Alameda County Taxpayers' Association, Better Cupertino, Citizen Marin, Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods, Hills 2000, Friends of the Hills, Hillside Neighborhood Association, Los Altos Residents, Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning (PASZ), Riviera Homeowners Association, Sustainable Tam/Almonte, Valley Village Residents Association, and West Torrance Homeowners Association.

Add your group's name to the list of Endorsers. It's easy. It's free. It demonstrates the growing need and power of the community to stand up for itself, including with the use of legal means.

As Anonymous once said, "You are not protected with your silence nor compliance."


SB-9, HCD Audit, Litigation, Torrance, Carson, Redondo Beach, Whittier, Lakewood, Rancho Palos Verdes, Mike Griffiths, John Cruikshank, Pam Lee, Aleshire & Wynder