BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer
Assemblyman Marc Berman, D-Palo Alto, has not taken a position on some of the most hotly debated housing bills in the Legislature.
The Post asked Berman where he stood on a handful of bills, including AB11, SB50 and SB330. Berman’s spokeswoman Kaitlin Curry said that he has not taken a position on any state Senate bills yet.
But SB50, written by state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, has taken Berman’s district by storm, leading Menlo Park, East Palo Alto and Palo Alto councils to hold an unprecedented joint council meeting to discuss the bill. It would pre-empt local zoning and allow taller, denser housing near transit and elsewhere in employment centers such as the mid-Peninsula.
The bill stalled last month when it failed to get out of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
SB50 was changed to a two-year bill, meaning the Legislature wouldn’t consider it again until January 2020. Speeding up permitting process SB330, proposed by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, would declare a statewide housing emergency until Jan. 1, 2025, and during that time, suspend certain restrictions on new housing development while forcing local governments in areas with severe housing shortages — such as the Bay Area — to speed up their permitting processes for new housing.
SB330 is now in the Assembly after it was approved by the Senate with an aye vote from Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, who represents the mid-Peninsula including Palo Alto.
Curry did not say what her boss’s position is on AB11, proposed by Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco. The bill would allow cities and counties to create agencies focused on building affordable housing.
What he has done?
Berman has worked on a handful of bills related to housing, Curry said, such as AB1804, which he authored lasted year. The bill, which has since become law, allows environmental exemptions until Jan. 1, 2025 for infill housing in unincorporated county areas. That would include areas such as North Fair Oaks and Emerald Lake Hills.
This year, Berman authored AB302, which would require community colleges to provide overnight access to campus parking so homeless students can sleep in their cars.
Curry also noted that Berman worked with his colleagues in the Legislature to pass a large packet of housing bills in 2017 as a member of the informal housing caucus. Among those bills was Weiner’s SB35, which is an attempt to streamline the approval for developments in cities that have failed to meet housing requirements, however Berman is not listed as an author or co-author on that bill.