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Why are key California affordable housing bills bottled up? – Press Enterprise

Encourage the construction of homes in place of large abandoned supermarkets and strip malls. Make it easier to build a dormitory near a community college. Establish authorities in Los Angeles to fund affordable homes.

All of these proposals promise to mitigate California’s ever-growing housing crisis by adding or maintaining supplies that are already in short supply.

But these bills also appear dead underwater.

They missed an important deadline on July 14th Asked by the policy committee In the state legislature before the state legislature took a month-long summer vacation until mid-August. It is still possible to revive measures before the end of the session in mid-September, but this will require abandonment of the rules and political will.

So what is a holdup if lawmakers have repeatedly stated that mitigating the affordable price crisis for state housing is their number one priority and these are some of the solutions? ??

As is often the case in Congress, it’s certainly impossible to say, and the main players remain silent. However, some observers of the housing debate pointed out important similarities between the bills: they are all graduates of an apprenticeship program run primarily by the union as part of the housing-building workforce. Request.

Its union labor requirements have already proven to break or trade in some housing bills. This provision made it a bill and allowed it to survive so far. Or it was ruled out, resulting in strong opposition and the end of the bill. Build affordable homes in church parking, And another Efforts to convert from retail to housing Similar to a bill.

This requirement represents the powerful State Construction and Trade Council, which represents more than 450,000 California construction workers and wants more work for its members, and wants to build many of the proposed projects. It’s a source of tension with affordable home developers.

“This question of good work and affordable housing is a wrong question,” he said. UCLA Labor Center.. “It’s a question I’ve lived for 15 years and I can’t afford to live.”

Negotiations between the two groups ran into a wall in January. Cal Matters was reported in June The developers wanted to help legislative leaders break the stalemate.

Instead, Democrat Anthony Rendon of Lakewood took a strict approach to the trade council by withholding the bill, according to several lawmakers and legislators who spoke anonymously due to the sensitivity of the negotiations. I’m confronting you.

Two of the limbo bills Proposed housing package Senate Leader Toni Atkins, Democrat San Diego: From Senate Bill 6 Allow housing in commercial areas And from SB330 Create a workforce and dormitory in the community college district.. Several other bills in the Senate package also include union wording, including SB 7, which Governor Gavin Newsom signed the law. Promote environmental reviews In large projects, including affordable housing.

Two other notable bills Atkins Package — SB 9 allows duplexing and lot splitting in the area Zoning for single-family homes And from SB10 Allow cities to approve more dense housing development near transportation — Only for small projects, so it is not affected by labor provisions.

Discussions are underway between Rendon, Atkins, and the Building Trade Council, known as “Trade,” according to sources.

Speaker Anthony Rendon speaks following Governor Newsom’s 2020 state speech. Photo by Anne Wernikoff of Cal Matters

Both Rendon and Atkins refused to comment on the story. Trade spokesman Erin Lehane knew nothing about the conflict with leadership over labor language and said her group had not participated in any debate.

“I really don’t know,” Lehane said. “No one told me there was a problem with these bills.”

But stagnation can be more than just policy.Trade turned sideways with Rendon, according to some sources Attack ads funded in 2018 To Cristina Garcia, a Democrat of Bell Gardens who also sparred on energy policy. Trade unions, along with their local unions, Donated over $ 90 million to state candidates and campaigns since 2015

Rendon’s senior political adviser, Bill Wong, said these tensions could be protracted. I think that is human nature. “

However, Mr. Wong warned not to read too much that he missed the deadline. He said controversial bills would normally be intact through the room in which they were introduced, but more difficult policy debates would take place in other homes before reaching the governor’s desk.

“It’s the nature of negotiation,” he said. “The session is about 4-6 weeks left. If I trade, I want to make the best possible deal. That is, I closed the deal today and the members said,” It took me 6 weeks to make a better deal. Why didn’t you do it? ” Won’t you go to the end? “”

President Robbie Hunter of the Trade Council, who has led these debates, announced his retirement shortly thereafter at the end of June. Cal Matters Story When Politico Story About Congressman’s frustration with his bargaining tactics.

However, Lehane said the hunter could continue to work until the end of the year and laughed at the question about timing. It was fun. I think it surprised a lot of people, but it’s really just that he wants to spend some time for himself. “

What is at stake?

At issue is the “skilled and trained” language of the bill, with at least one-third of the employees in each industry (plumber, brickwork, etc.) working in the field being graduates of the apprenticeship program. It states that it must be done. Since the union runs about 90% of such apprentices, it mainly benefits the members of the trade.

The council is pushing the requirements because they say non-union construction workers Barely above the poverty line Apprentice program graduates Earn higher wages in the course of their career..

Affordable home developers, meanwhile, say that a small percentage of construction workers are in the union. As a result, this requirement constrains an already tight workforce pool and increases costs. Moreover, they argue that many state laws already require paying union-level wages, unlike market-priced developers.

This is a chicken or the egg scenario. The union says it can’t recruit more members through apprenticeship if it can’t guarantee a job, but developers say they can’t build a home without enough workers.

The apprentice will screen a wire rope called a choker at Iron Workers in Benicia on June 20, 2021. Photo: Anne Wernikoff, Cal Matters

Lehane argued that a “skilled and trained” language was not an issue, pointing out the bill that Newsom signed the bill and the Act of Parliament 777. Allows state to transfer Sacramento land to the University of California, Davis Build affordable homes that have been coveted for students. In the Senate, labor requirements were last-minute added to the bill.

Sacramento Democrat and bill author Kevin McCarty said the timing of the amendment was “to evaluate due diligence and the meaning of the word as long as you try to find a contractor to work here.” Said.

“I think some of the other bills have questions about the impact,” he said. “But in my case here, I came to the undeniable conclusion that this language does not prevent what I am trying to achieve at the University of California, Davis to increase the number of dormitories on the Med Center campus.”

The mystery of the LA bill

Another bill that has union requirements, SB 679, Establishing the Right to Loan Affordable Homes in Los Angeles..

According to the latest state data, Los Angeles County has about one member for every three affordable housing units needed. This ratio is important, as research shows that it takes about one worker to build each unit of a house. And while the goal is to build up the workforce over time, most union members are eligible to start building up immediately under these bills.

LA County under state law 340,000 homes need to be planned by 2030 Affordable for low-income and very low-income households.

“It took me a while to realize that the bill was being held in a kind of purgatory,” said Tommy Newman, senior director of the non-profit United Way who sponsored the bill. “I think the reason is related to the larger debate about working requirements.”

Democratic Senator Sydney Kamlager, who represents most of downtown Los Angeles and South Los Angeles, said the bill was being checked to pass all checkboxes. The state legislature has 10 co-authors. This is a top priority for the 39-member Los Angeles delegation. There is also support from Bay Area lawmakers who are not usually in line with Los Angeles lawmakers on housing issues.

“So there’s no tension there,” said Kamlager, who heads the LA delegation.Instead, she Los Angeles Times editorial emphasizing the same conflict By trading.

If the “skilled trained” provisions really matter, it seems irrelevant because the bill is to set up institutions to fund housing projects, not to build them. She said. “I don’t know if it makes sense to include such details in this bill because there are no trained workers,” she said.

“But I think it’s time to have a more honest and cautious discussion about what our employees are doing in Los Angeles,” she added. “What experience and training do they currently have and how do they get people to do this kind of work? What are all the different levers and mechanisms we need to utilize and use? But this bill is not that bill. “

Maybe that should be the case, said UCLA’s Smallwood Quevas. Los Angeles Black Worker Center..

“We need to build on targeted local employment and apprenticeship and overlay it with highly intentional language and structure to make it accessible to the most marginalized communities.” She said.

She says that blacks make up less than 8% of the population in Los Angeles, They are 34% of the homeless population.. She believes the bill should help start building affordable homes so that homeless people at stake can pay rent and build their careers.

Mr Kamurager said he would accept whatever it takes to move the bill forward, as long as stakeholders are involved in the debate. She hasn’t been involved before, but she relies on Atkins. “I believe in her.”

Why are key California affordable housing bills bottled up? – Press Enterprise Source link Why are key California affordable housing bills bottled up? – Press Enterprise

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