California Housing Crisis Podcast: Why did Senate Bill 50 fail for the third time?

The failure of Senate Bill 50 was a blow to the bill's author, Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco).
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

For the third time last week, California lawmakers turned down high-profile legislation that would have allowed for the construction of mid-rise apartment complexes near transit stops and job centers.

The failure of Senate Bill 50 is a blow to Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), the bill’s author, as well as to Gov. Gavin Newsom and Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego). Each had argued that California needed to support massive amounts of new construction to meet its housing needs and climate goals. But despite years of debate, the bill failed to garner enough backing in the Senate amid opposition from suburban homeowners and anti-gentrification activists.

On this episode of Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis Podcast, we explain what happened and why Los Angeles lawmakers in particular were opposed. We also discuss promises from Newsom and Atkins to pass alternative legislation this year to increase the supply of housing.


Gimme Shelter,” a biweekly podcast that looks at why it’s so expensive to live in California and what the state can do about it, features Liam Dillon, who covers housing affordability issues for the Los Angeles Times, and Matt Levin, data and housing reporter for CALmatters.

You can subscribe to “Gimme Shelter” on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Soundcloud, Google Play and Overcast.