A Divisive Housing Bill Is Defeated in Sacramento

A housing proposal that is dividing neighborhoods and political leaders — state legislation that would override local zoning laws to build dense housing projects near transit lines — has become a top issue in the race for governor. The bill, sponsored by Senator Scott Wiener, was defeated Tuesday by a Senate committee, but Mr. Wiener vows he will bring it back. Two Democratic candidates for governor, Antonio Villaraigosa and Gavin Newsom, have said they won’t sign it. Mr. Wiener talked to us about his bill before the vote; the interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Q: Are you surprised your bill has become such a contentious issue in this race?
A: I absolutely did not see that coming, in terms of every candidate for governor having to take a position on it, having it come up every debate. We knew it was going to be a controversial bill. There is so much pent-up frustration around housing in the state that, in retrospect, it’s not surprising that this touched a nerve.

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