For a publication that prides itself on embracing diversity, it’s disappointing to read that the editorial board would suggest that California cities treat the housing shortage the same. Rather, the editorial board seems to embrace the idea of a blunt force broad policy enacted from afar. Perhaps the publication would appreciate having Sacramento regulators dictating it, but still have the responsibility of meeting the unique needs of Los Angeles readers?
Housing isn’t a one-size-fits-all issue. It’s diverse–more importantly–it’s local. Housing directly impacts the services cities must provide. Police, fire, water and sewer services are just a couple of examples of services that will be impacted by increased housing and density.
Whether by the legislature or statewide ballot initiatives, local governance–by the people, for the people–is eroding. It’s a slippery slope that SB9 has greased. The damage to communities that SB9 unleashes will not be easily fixed. There is no redo on the failures of this draconian policy shift.
The Our Neighborhood Voices Initiative attempts to prevent further erosion by strengthening the voices in our communities. I agree with one sentiment in the board’s opinion: The initiative is about “returning local control to cities and counties” – where it belongs!
For these reasons our organization, the California Contract Cities Association, favors the initiative. Our mission is to support and defend the rights of cities to protect their ability to contract for key services and deliver on the unique needs of their communities. Member agencies represent 75 cities and over 7.5 million residents. Surely, that level of diversity deserves to be heard, not shamed.