Senate Heavy Weight Scott Wiener Exudes Power



By Richard Colman

As the present session of the Legislature winds down, an intense battle between Progressive members and their moderate advisories is brewing on housing policy. The Leftist elements are trying to impose some nine new bills that would negatively impact how future generations in the “Golden State”, are to live.

Taken as a whole these new laws would severely restrict the construction of single family homes to a miniscule amount. In addition authority of local communities in making urban planning decisions will end up with the State. Thanks to a valiant fight against these bills by such organizations as Livable California and Susan Kirsch’s Nix-the-Nine Blog Spot, four of the bills have been killed with the other five in limbo.

Most of these pieces of legislation are the handiwork of Scott Wiener. He is the sponsor of SB-1120. It is a close version of his SB-50 which was narrowly defeated last year.  This bill would drastically change neighborhoods by allowing up to 10 units of housing to be built on one lot depending on proximity to mass transit.  Even worse, in most cases property owners and city government would be powerless to prevent this unregulated urban sprawl.

The supporters of 1120 say this is the only way new affordable housing can be built in the State. Others disagree.

 If this bill comes to fruition, neighborhoods could be radically altered; especially considering that these new developments would have fewer parking spaces because of density discounts given to build low income units. Also to be considered are the effects on schools, traffic, recreation, and law enforcement, that a large increase of new residents would bring.

These considerations would be dramatically reduced with less local control by those living in the community rather than politicians in Sacramento calling the shots. Progressives counter this argument saying new policies would bring more diversity despite possible negative effects in neighborhoods and many long time residents deciding to move elsewhere.

Ironically the most powerful individual involved with the housing legislation, is openly gay Scott Wiener, who lives a San Francisco’s, Castro District where families are not always the first priority. Despite this, Weiner seems to want to impose a crowded one size fits all housing solution on the entire State.

Such thinking is especially egregious since the Covid-19 epidemic occurred. It is point of information that sardine living conditions are not compatible with the Corona world we live in today.

In the legislature as Chairman of the Housing Committee, Wiener has been so successful and powerful implementing his plans that Weiner is considered to be on the same level in local progressive political circles as such notable figures as Willie BrownNancy PelosiGavin Newsom, and Kamala Harris.  Being highly educated with degrees from Duke and Harvard Law School, Wiener is a brilliant tactician and one the top liberal activists in Sacramento. 

Given the workaholic Weiner’s close relationship with Senate Pro Tem leader Toni Adkins, he has literally carte blanche in passing progressive legislation.  A partial list of accomplishments of the Senator from San Francisco’s have covered areas such as net neutrality, prison reform, LGBQT rights, creating safe injection sites for junkies and prohibiting public employees from cooperating with ICE.

Despite a long list of Wiener’s involvement with promoting Progressive social issues, he is best known for formulating housing policies. In effect he wants to encourage the construction of affordable housing in the State by usurping planning authority from local agencies.

Among the most prominent are:

SB 35 (SB 828), and SB 765   All of these bills authored by Weiner are intended to Streamline expediting housing approvals. These laws were primarily intended to make suburban communities meet increased housing construction mandated by the State.  The bottom line is if the locals won’t do what the State asks, Sacramento can step in and impose their will regardless of what residents might think.

SB 281 – Building Permits

Extends building permits entitlement to build times by 24 months because of delays caused by Covid-19.

SB 899 – Affordable Housing on Faith Institution & Nonprofit Property

Permits affordable housing for lower-income families on land owned by religious organizations and non-profit hospitals regardless of local zoning restrictions. This legislation completely ignores what effects these developments might have on the surrounding communities with regard to schools, law enforcement, recreation, traffic, etc.

One of Wiener’s most important bills that have failed to pass was SB-50. It would have  legalizing high density apartments to be built  near public transportation. (Including bus stop transit hubs)  Under SB-50 Local Planning commissions would have their power to regulate such construction limited by State laws.

One of the reasons it previously failed was  the pressure placed  by citizens on a group of moderate Democratic legislators from Southern California were who scared off by the changes SB-50 would bring.

Undeterred Weiner has supported several other bills during this session including SB-1120, AB-725, AB-725, AB-1279, AB-3040, SB-8902, SB-8995.SB-1085, and SB-1385. All of these would curtail the power of local planning commissions and allow Big Brother in Sacramento to conduct central planning for everyone.

The outcome of this battle may well determine whether California will become a socialist entity that threatens the State’s past greatness,

Republicans in Sacramento have played a minimal role in this conflict. The few GOP members still remaining in the legislature have been by and large silent on housing issues. Because of this, conservative opposition of late to Adkins and Weiner has come from Democratic moderates and non partisan citizens groups.

Conservatives end up being frustrated because they believe were the average voter to know how these so called Progressives are destroying our current way of life, they would vote these leftist lunatics out of office.

In the meantime Scott Weiner and his Socialist buddies are quietly going about their business with limited opposition from a public which is largely ignorant of their activities.


Richard Eber studied journalism at the University of Oregon. He writes about politics, culture, education restaurants, and was former city and sports editor of UCSB Daily. Richard is president of Amerasa Rapid Transit, a specialized freight forwarder.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal.

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