‘Gimme Shelter’: Why the bid to allow duplexes in California’s single-family home neighborhoods failed

Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland) holds her daughter and speaks on the Assembly floor on Aug. 31
Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland) holds her daughter and speaks on the Assembly floor on Aug. 31 after she was denied the ability to vote remotely.
(California Legislature video feed)

Last week, California lawmakers turned away legislation to allow for duplexes in neighborhoods now reserved only for single-family homes, the latest failure following multiple unsuccessful efforts in recent years.

The decision, however, came with lots of drama as legislators in the Assembly passed Senate Bill 1120 after a long debate. But that vote came so late in the evening Aug. 31 that there wasn’t enough time for the measure to return to the Senate for a final vote before the Legislature’s midnight deadline to adjourn for the year.

On this episode of “Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis Podcast,” we break down why the bill failed and also discuss a late-breaking deal that allows renters financially affected by the coronavirus to stave off eviction. Our guest is Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland), who was forced to come to the Capitol despite recently giving birth because Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) denied her request to vote remotely. (Rendon later apologized.) Wicks gave an impassioned speech in favor of SB 1120 on the Assembly floor while holding her daughter.

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.


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