There Are Solutions Other Than SB 827

Editor's Note:  We the People still have many ways to ensure that our voices are heard.  One way is submitting letters or opinion pieces to news outlets in response to articles or events. There is no guarantee a submission will be published, but the effort should be made.  This letter to the editor was submitted to the San Mateo Daily Journal by a Nine-County Coalition participant in response to an article on Senate Bill 827.

Legislators have found a perfect way to convince the voting public to accept just about anything:  turn any event into a crisis and nobody questions either the label of “crisis” or the solutions legislators offer to solve the crisis.  Cost of housing in the Bay Area is a case in point, as are Senator Scott Wiener’s solutions, the latest of which is Senate Bill 827. 

How did housing become so expensive all of a sudden?  Is it because residents of cities and counties wanted their communities to look as they wished them to look, or because state legislators decided to pass Senate Bill 375, Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008, thereby starting an inexorable march toward creating vast areas of no-build zones and tight corridors of population density.  This was done partly because we all want to breathe clean air and because of Federal mandates requiring regional “sustainability.”  But mostly it was done because state legislators saw an opportunity to amass power over cities and counties, get on the good side of developers and other big businesses, and establish new sources of political support. 

We residents and voters are dealing with a very harsh set of circumstances that require clear thinking of alternatives, not despair over yet another crisis.  Let’s form alliances with our neighbors and our neighborhood groups, study what is really happening, and let’s not be afraid to offer our own solutions!

Marcy Berry