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Solimar Research

Chronicling the Life and Death of SB 50

Josh Stephens on
May 17, 2019
Last year, San Francisco Sen. Scott Wiener’s Senate Bill 827 rose to stardom as arguably the most talked-about urban planning bill in state history. This year, like Stephan Curry beating his own three-point record, SB 50 took its place atop the planning headlines. The stage is now set for a publicity three-peat. 

The question is whether Wiener and his fans will ever win

CP&DR has followed Wiener’s campaign to marry housing and transit from the start. It caught the imagination of stakeholders and planners alike for its logic — put housing near transit and jobs residents can drive less — and for its audacity — covering the entire state, forcing cities to stop resisting housing in the name of local control or neighborhood character. Wiener has always maintained that the housing crisis is larger than the interests of any single jurisdiction. 

Both bills attracted countless supporters and detractors. They covered every imaginable interest group, and there were differences of opinions even within interest groups. Arguably the biggest winner was the YIMBY movement, which arose from an odd grassroots movement to statewide prominence as a sponsor of the bills. 

Wiener revised his bills several times in efforts to gain supporters. He attempted to soften affronts to local control (to please cities and homeowners) and strengthened protections against displacement and provisions for affordable housing (to please social justice advocates). It wasn’t enough, though, as Sen. Anthony Portantino refused to bring SB 50 to a vote yesterday, freezing it until 2020. 

As we await next season, here is CP&DR’s coverage of the life, death, and impending resurrection of SB 827 and 50. Note: Many of these articles require logging in to view. 

Jan 15, 2018 

Jan 22, 2018 

Feb 12, 2018 

Mar 6, 2018

Mar 25, 2018

Apr 11, 2018

Apr 20, 2018

May 10, 2018

Jan 21, 2019

Apr 9, 2019

Apr 26, 2019

May 16, 2019