By Jonathan Friedman
June 2, 2017 -- Two pieces of legislation proposed by Assemblyman Richard Bloom, whose district includes Santa Monica, that are aimed at tackling what he calls California’s “housing crisis” easily passed in the State Assembly on Thursday.
AB 1521 requires owners of affordable housing properties that are being taken off the market to accept purchase offers from “a preservation entity” that intends to maintain the affordability restriction.
It passed by a vote of 50 to 6.
AB 1568 allows local governments to use new sales tax and increased property tax revenue to finance infrastructure improvement projects, which a statement from Bloom’s office says will create “a new dedicated funding source for affordable housing.”
In a statement, Bloom connected the bills to the information released this week that Los Angeles County’s homeless population has increased by 23 percent over the past year ("Santa Monica Homeless Count Mirrors Los Angeles County Increase, Officials Say," June 1, 2017).
That followed news that Santa Monica’s homeless population had gone up by a similar margin (“Santa Monica's Homeless Population Highest in a Decade,” May 10, 2017).
“I’ve participated in L.A. County’s homeless count for the past several years and have witnessed firsthand the toll this housing crisis is taking on our communities,” said Bloom, who is a former Santa Monica mayor.
He continued, “As housing costs continue to climb, more families are being pushed out of their homes and onto the streets.”
Both bills, which now head to the Senate for review, had no organized opposition, according to the California legislative information website. This is likely the reason for their easy passage.
Bloom has proposed several other housing bills that are at various stages in the legislative process.
Among them is AB 1505, which would allow local governments to require developments include affordable units. They have not been allowed to do this since a 2009 court ruling determined it was unconstitutional.
That bill passed the Assembly in May and is now being reviewed by the Senate (“Santa Monica Legislator’s Affordable Housing Bill Passes Assembly,” May 5, 2017).
Bloom’s ambitious legislation to overturn the Costa-Hawkins Act, which brought an end to extreme rent control in 1994, was pulled earlier this year after it faced significant opposition.
He told The Los Angeles Times he wanted “to step back and do additional work with various constituencies.”
The bill had many supporters, including the Santa Monica Rent Control Board (“Santa Monica Rent Board Endorses State Bills to Turn Back the Clock on Housing Lease Laws,” March 24, 2017).