This article was originally posted in the Southern California Record
When Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bills 9 and 10 into law last year, it was reportedly a way to streamline approvals for housing projects, create affordable housing and alleviate homelessness, but opponents of the legislation continue pushing back.
Yorba Linda City Council member Peggy Huang, a Republican, is among them.
“None of these bills have inclusionary zoning that say 20% to 30% is for affordable housing,” Huang said. “None of that language is in there. The groups that support this are your high-tech workers, high tech industry investors, and groups like Blackstone that bought up residential housing units in San Diego.”
As previously reported in the San Diego Union-Tribune, the New York City private equity firm The Blackstone Group acquired some 5,800 apartment units in San Diego for more than $1 billion.
“If you look at Blackstone’s Real Estate Investment Trust, BREIT, they made a whopping 26.7% return last year from residential units,” Huang told the Southern California Record. “So, you want to expand that? Of course, but it raises the prices of the homes because you can’t possibly compete with an investor.”
In response,, Huang is leading a ballot initiative called Californians for Community Planning that, if approved by voters, would amend the California State Constitution so that local ordinances direct what can be built in California cities, rather than state laws.
“This initiative allow you to pass a local ordinance to prevent split laws without the consent of the council so that you can write an ordinance that says you need the approval of the planning commission before you can split your lot, which, right now, is in conflict with SB 9,” she said. “This initiative would say that local ordinances trump state law. We’re currently getting the signatures to have it qualify for the November election.”
From Jan. 1, to Dec. 31, 2021, the campaign received $432,061.43, according to Secretary of State data. Contributors include the AIDS Healthcare Foundation in Los Angeles, and Roven Productions in Dallas, Texas. The director of Roven Productions is Charles V. Roven who produced Hollywood blockbuster movies such as The Dark Knight Trilogy, Suicide Squad, Man of Steel, and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
If the ballot initiative is not approved in November, Huang expects the landscape in coastal cities to change rapidly.
“We will all look like San Francisco, Oakland, New York City, Vancouver, and Portland,” she said.
“That’s why it’s so important for people to understand that this governor, this legislature, and the leaders of this legislature have publicly said they want to end single family homes. President Biden said last month that single family housing is racist and segregationist, which is funny because your middle class and working class black and Latinos are saying that owning a home is their way to have generational wealth. Do you want them to always be crammed into one-bedroom units?”