August 16, 2018

Gearing up for 2019 Legislation: A Policy Roundtable Discussion


It was a packed house on Friday, August 10th at the SV@Home Policy Roundtable. Guest speakers Ann Fryman, Legislative Aide for Senator Scott Weiner, and Ken Kirkey, Director of Planning for MTC, talked legislation, summarizing lessons learned over the last year and introducing some new ideas as we gear up for 2019.

Coming off a year where we have seen good progress– with several new promising housing bills and $6 billion in housing funding on the November Ballot– we recognize that there were also some different opinions in the housing advocacy community about some bills, particularly SB 827.  Senate Bill 827, a measure proposed by Senator Wiener that would have established an incentive for building housing near high-quality transit by exempting these developments from certain zoning standards, was opposed by some groups who were concerned about displacement and gentrification.

As we move forward to plan for 2019, it is important that we learn from our experience.  Ideas and priorities coming out of the Roundtable included:

  1. What is the top piece of housing legislation on your 2019 wish list?
    1. Initiatives that increase available affordable housing capital for various groups. Examples: Proposition 1, Proposition 2, and the San Jose Affordable Housing Bond.
  2. SB827 was criticized as being divisive within the housing community, what kind of 2019 housing legislation could unify housing advocates of different backgrounds?
    1. Legislation that is more mindful of the differences between communities throughout the state. Possible solutions include different density tiers for different areas. Others ideas included starting with a pilot program before initiating a Statewide policy and ensuring that we work diligently to limit the spread of misinformation through targeted communication campaigns.
  3. Of the four different buckets of tools identified in the CASA Compact, which action from each group would you choose to prioritize?
    1. Preservation: Flexible housing preservation funding.
    2. Protection: Protection incentives for landlords and jurisdictions.
    3. Production (market and affordable): Entitlement reform to reduce delays and improve compliance with state law.
    4. Production (affordable): Tailored policy and implementation toolkit for local jurisdictions.

SV@Home is compiling these comments and will come back with some specific legislative proposals to share with Senator Scott Wiener, other members of the Bay Area Legislative Caucus, and with the Co-Chairs of CASA– the Committee to House the Bay Area.  We appreciate the many participants at the Roundtable for attending and engaging in a lively and constructive discussion.

The next Policy Roundtable is scheduled on October 12th, with the topic of Protection and Preservation Policies.