Scott Wiener, the California state senator representing most of San Francisco, has a pretty good idea for how to save the world. In fact, sitting in a coffee shop in his city’s Financial District, Wiener seems downright perplexed that anyone would be against it. Here’s the idea: Build more housing. So, with his fellow senator Nancy Skinner, he authored a bill, SB 827, that overwrites some metropolitan zoning—putting policies that had been in the hands of cities under the authority of state government—to allow medium-sized multistory and multiunit buildings near transit stops. Lots of urbanists and housing activists believe the bill will shift California cities into a denser, transit-oriented, multi-use future. But an unlikely coalition has emerged in opposition: homeowners who don’t want their neighborhoods to change and advocates for the lower-income people of color who almost always get hurt by gentrification. This isn’t some dry policy fight. The mayor of Berkeley called the bill “a declaration of war against our neighborhoods.” A Los Angeles City Council member said it will make the residential areas he represents in LA’s tony Westside “look like Dubai.” A community organizer in LA wrote that Wiener is a “real estate industry puppet” who supports… Read full this story
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