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Letter to Editor: Portantino Right to Drop SB50

The decision by State Senator Anthony Portantino to pull a bill that would have dismantled city planning authority over residential development in California was wise and necessary. SB50 was a blunt instrument that would have forced cities to allow 5 and 6 story apartment buildings regardless of considerations such as added demand for water, power, schools or other infrastructure. Historic neighborhoods would be destroyed. Quiet residential streets would find themselves construction sites for thousand-unit rental complexes.

Few of California’s 538 cities have existing buildings this large. It would dramatically change the character of these communities. Even the major cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles that do host similar buildings found SB50 unacceptable. Their city councils joined the opposition to this measure.

There is no doubt that California’s housing market is broken. Each year, the city of Houston issues as many housing permits than our entire state. But the blunderbuss that is SB50 is not the solution. Senator Portantino was right to pull the bill.

Robert Helbing
Monrovia Chamber of Commerce

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