This was originally published March 13, 2023, in the Daily Post.
BY DAVE PRICE
Daily Post Editor
I’ve received a couple of emails asking me to write an editorial against SB9, the state law that allows up to four homes to be built where a single-family home now sits.
The emailers were very upset. They had just read an email blast from a special interest group and felt their single-family-home neighborhoods would be overrun with housing developments and traffic.
Both pleaded with me: Can’t the Post do something?
I had to explain to them that the train had already left the station. That is, Gov. Gavin Newsom had signed SB9 into law on Sept. 16, 2021. He signed it after it was approved by the Legislature. SB9 got “yes” votes from Assemblymen Marc Berman, D-Menlo Park, and Kevin Mullin, D-San Mateo. In the Senate, it got a “yes” vote from Josh Becker, D-Menlo Park.
The emailers were astonished that SB9 was already the law.
I asked if they had picked up the paper in 2021 when the Post and other papers ran dozens of stories about SB9.
Neither said they regularly read newspapers. One said he got his news from Facebook. The other said she kept up-to-date by watching the news on TV.
I relate these conversation not to embarrass anybody, but to communicate my astonishment that some people aren’t paying attention to issues that will affect their lives.
This isn’t limited to the great masses. I know of a council member in one city who doesn’t read the papers, and last summer had to be told by her mother that there were a couple of letters in the Post that were critical of her. For politicians, the danger of not reading is that they don’t know the history of an issue and will repeat mistakes in the past.
For typical citizens, failure to pay attention means the scammers in big business and government will find ways to take away everything you own. If you spend your life saving for a house, your job isn’t over when you’ve closed the deal. SB9 is an example of a law that could, potentially, destroy the neighborhoods where people had hoped to spend their lives, living in peace.
But SB9 hasn’t spread across the state as widely as critics predicted because it includes a clause requiring the developer of the property to actually live on the property. That’s chased away speculators and reduced the SB9 applications cities have received to a trickle.
An attempt to repeal SB9 failed. Opponents of SB9 needed to get 997,139 valid signatures to put a repeal on the May 2022 ballot, but came up short.
Four Southern California cities – Redondo Beach, Carson, Torrance and Whittier – are suing the state over SB9, saying it’s unconstitutional. A hearing in the case is set for April 27.
We’ll cover the hearing, but I’m guessing that neither of these people will read the story.
Editor Dave Price’s column appears on Mondays. His email address is [email protected].