A bill that could provide roughly $250 million a year in new funding for low-income housing development passed the state Senate on Thursday, a key hurdle that keeps on track a potential larger housing package pending in the Legislature.
Senate Bill 2 from Sen. Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) would add a $75 fee to real estate transactions, such as mortgage refinances, to fund the state housing subsidies. Home and commercial property sales would be exempted from the fee.
Because the bill adds a new fee, it needs a two-thirds supermajority vote of the Legislature to pass. The measure received exactly that number in the Senate with all 27 Democratic senators voting in support. The bill now heads to the Assembly.
The measure, which passed the state Senate Thursday morning, was included in Senate Bill 106 at the request of Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-San Rafael). It lets Marin's largest cities and incorporated areas maintain extra restrictions on how many homes developers can build.
Housing advocates criticized it as counter to the Legislature's push for more housing. Since the bill is tied to the state budget, it didn't have to go through the regular committee process.
California Gov. Jerry Brown appeared on video to address the crowd of the Global Citizen Festival in Hamburg, Germany, inviting people who care about climate change to join him in San Francisco next year for a Climate Action Summit.
He was introduced as "a fantastic stubborn optimist" on the issues of curbing carbon emissions and protecting the environment.
Here's a transcript of his video, which included German subtitles.
Business executive and Marine Corps veteran Andrew Grant is challenging Rep. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove) for a Northern California congressional seat coveted by both parties.
Grant, a Republican, is a newcomer to politics but has had a career steeped in defense, national security and foreign policy, including serving in the U.S. State Department after he left the military.
Grant said he plans to keep the campaign for the 7th District focused on the issues most critical to the county and his district, including healthcare, the economy and threats to national security. He said he wants to avoid getting caught up in the political “noise” in Washington.
Continuing his bid to act as an envoy for the U.S. on climate change, Gov. Jerry Brown plans to issue a call Thursday for a global summit on "climate action" to be held in San Francisco in the fall of 2018.
The announcement is slated to come Thursday night in a video message for attendees of the Global Citizen Festival in Hamburg, Germany.
“It’s up to you and it’s up to me and tens of millions of other people to get it together to roll back the forces of carbonization and join together to combat the existential threat of climate change. That is why we’re having the Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, September 2018,” Brown will say in the recorded address, according to prepared remarks released by his office. The announcement was first reported by the New York Times.
The drought may be over in the minds of urban Californians, quite literally washed away by huge accumulations of rain last year that filled reservoirs and left the state’s mountains covered with snow even now.
But the farmers and others in the Central Valley, veterans of multiple drought-and-flood cycles, know the reprieve is only temporary. On Wednesday they pressed new U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris to work to ensure a more reliable source of water for the nation’s most bountiful farming region.
“This area is drying on the vine,” Ryan Jacobsen, executive director of the Fresno County Farm Bureau, told Harris during a roundtable with Central Valley officials.
Democratic engineer TJ Cox will challenge Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) in the 10th Congressional District, making him the seventh Democrat to sign up to oppose Denham.
Cox, 53, has already run for Congress in the area. In 2006, he lost to Rep. George Radanovich with 39.4% of the vote in what was then the 19th Congressional District. Denham succeeded Radanovich in 2011, and the district boundaries have since been redrawn.
Cox said the same "excesses and outrages" that motivated him to run in 2006 are spurring him to run again, and with more voters registering as Democrats or with no party preference, he thinks the odds are better that a Democrat could win the district.
Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Asif Mahmood has launched a social media campaign in Arabic and Urdu hoping to tap into what he sees as a potentially influential pool of voters in California’s Muslim and South Asian communities.
Mahmood, a Muslim immigrant from Pakistan and a Los Angeles physician, uses President Trump as a political foil in this Facebook ad campaign. Trump called for a “Muslim ban” when he was running for president and a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June allowed a limited version of Trump's 90-day ban on travel from six mostly Muslim countries to go into effect.
“As a Muslim immigrant from California, he's a triple threat to Donald Trump. And he's going to fight against Trump and stand up for our families,” the ads say in both Arabic and Urdu.
Times readers had great questions in response to our deep dive into California's housing supply law.
They wanted to know why costs are still rising if some cities are meeting their housing goals, the causes of the housing shortage, whether new home building only benefits affluent people and why the state is involved in local development decisions at all.