Page 78 - AAGLA 2020-11
P. 78

 Sacramento Update
By Steve Carlson and Jonathan Arambel AAGLA’s Sacramento Lobbyists
At the time we are writing this article, we do not yet know the results of the 2020 elections.
 t this moment, a few weeks out from Election Day, it looks like the so-called “blue wave” from a couple years ago has the potential to become a tsunami for the California State Legislature. The polling suggests the Democratic
super-majority will gain even more control in the State’s Legislature, which will make it even more lopsided than it already is today.
With the Legislature adjourned for the year, the activity in Sacramento is centered around Governor Newsom. Following the signing of Assembly Bill 3088, the “COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act,” our Governor announced the launch of the “Housing is Key” campaign aimed at connecting renters and landlords experiencing economic hardship due to COVID-19. The campaign has a new website and will have social media ads targeting vulnerable communities. In the budget, the Governor and the Legislature also made available $331 Million from the National Mortgage Settlement for housing counseling, mortgage assistance and renter legal aid services.
The Governor recently announced the first rounds of awards for Project Home-Key, California’s $600 Million program to purchase and rehabilitate housing – including hotels, motels, vacant apartment buildings and other properties – and convert them into permanent, long-term housing for people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness. Nearly $600 Million has been granted by the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) so far. Most recently, the City of Los Angeles was awarded six projects totaling 243 units and the County of Los Angeles was awarded
two projects totaling 145 units. These purchases, and future Home-Key projects, must all be completed by December 30th of this year. This first group of projects have estimated per-room acquisition costs that are below original state estimates.
Unfortunately for the Governor, it seems these programs are not doing enough to build confidence in the State’s ability to fix the housing crisis that has hindered us for decades. According to a new statewide poll, conducted in mid-September by the Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS) at the University of California at Berkeley, almost two-thirds of California voters (64%) approve of the job Gavin Newsom is doing. However, it found that on the issue of housing costs, only 12% of voters say he is doing an excellent job. The numbers are even more dismal regarding his handling of homelessness, with just 11% of voters giving him the top mark.
While it’s not entirely fair to criticize the lack of housing production-related bills this year, given the impact COVID-19 had on this year’s legislative session, it’s worth noting that over the last few years, there has been passed new statewide rent control, eviction control and several other “first in the nation” or “strongest in the nation” laws that have negatively impacted housing providers. You don’t need polling to understand the need for the Legislature and Governor to refocus more on providing new housing units and less on passing onerous laws and regulations onto housing providers that are making the housing crisis even worse.
Steve Carlson is the President of Steve Carlson and Associates, a boutique legislative advocacy and government relations firm based in Sacramento, California. Steve has been the chief lobbyist for the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles since 1987. Jonathan Arambel is the Founder and Principal of Third House, LLC a Sacramento, California based lobbying firm. Jonathan is the former Chief of Staff for the California State Assembly and has been a lobbyist for the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles for approximately 5-years.

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