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July 2020
Andrew Thomas
Westwood Village Improvement Association

1st Vice President
Steve Snider
Downtown Oakland and Lake Merritt-Uptown District Associations
2nd Vice President
Emilie Cameron 
Downtown Sacramento Partnership

Kathy Hemmenway
Walnut Creek Downtown
Austin Metoyer
Downtown Long Beach Alliance
At-Large Directors
Marshall Anderson
Downtown San Diego Partnership

John Caner
Downtown Berkeley

Karin Flood
Union Square Business Improvement District

Suzanne Holley
Downtown Center Business Improvement District (LA)

Rena Leddy
LA Fashion District
Steve Mulheim
Old Pasadena Management District

Chloe Shipp
San Jose Downtown Association
Immediate Past President
Steven Welliver
Downtown Santa Monica, Inc.
Arlington Business Partnership
Arts District Los Angeles BID
Improvement Association
BLVD Association
Carmichael Improvement District, Inc.
City of Beverly Hills
City of Monterey Park
City of Morgan Hill
City of Ontario
Downtown Alameda Business Association
Downtown Berkeley Association
Downtown Business Association-Bakersfield
Downtown Center BID
Downtown Long Beach Alliance
Downtown Modesto Partnership
Downtown Oakland Association/ Lake Merritt Uptown District Association
Downtown Pomona Owners Association
Downtown Roseville Partnership
Downtown Sacramento Partnership
Downtown Santa Barbara, Inc.
Downtown Santa Monica, Inc.
Downtown SLO
Downtown Vacaville BID
Downtown Ventura Partners
Downtown Visalians, Inc.
Figueroa Corridor Partnership
Gateway to LA Airport Business District
Gilroy Economic Development
Greater Broadway District
Hollywood Property Owners Alliance
Kono CBD
LA Downtown Industrial District BID
LA Fashion District BID
Old Monterey Business Association
Old Pasadena Management District 
ParkSmart, Inc.
Paso Robles Main Street Association
Placerville Downtown Association
Playhouse District Association
Progressive Urban Management Associates, Inc.
R Street Sacramento Partnership
Riverside Downtown Partnership
San Jose Downtown Association
South Park BID
Sunnyvale Downtown
Telegraph BID
Temescal Telegraph BID
The River District
The Unity Council
Tracy City Center Association
Tulare Downtown Association
Union Square BID
Walnut Creek Downtown Business Association
Westwood Village Improvement Association 

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Andrew Thomas VP
Last month, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) released the numbers from the 2020 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count. The data is staggering, yet not surprising to those of us living and working in this city.

Do these words sound familiar? I wrote nearly the exact same paragraph in our CDA District Digest one year ago. Last year, I also reported double-digit percentage increases in homeless populations across most of California while acknowledging that more homeless people than ever had been housed. This is again true in 2020.

I would say this is all like the movie Groundhog Day, but in that film the same events just repeat over and over. In our story, the reality gets worse every day.

The LAHSA report cites economic hardship, a lack of affordable housing, and weakened social networks as the main reasons why people become homeless. These findings are not unique to 2020. They are persistent and require our governor and legislature to meaningfully address this emergency with all of the urgency required in a crisis. The California Downtown Association will support legislative solutions that benefit our downtown districts, including improving how our state addresses mental health.

In last year’s District Digest, I said the fight to end homelessness in our state seemed unwinnable without radical change. Our elected leaders’ response in 2019 was to form a task force to implement service programs and then doubling state spending on homelessness. With more people entering homelessness in 2020 than leaving it, the evidence shows these measures have not worked, at least not yet. Will we will see meaningful solutions presented in 2020? Perhaps, but to quote myself from 2019 when posed with this question, “We can hope, but all evidence points to this crisis getting worse before it gets better.”

Andrew Thomas, CDA President
Executive Director
Westwood Village Improvement Association
CDA Priority Legislation to See Action During the Final Month of Legislative Session

With the Legislature reconvened after an extended recess due to concerns about virus spread inside the State Capitol after a number of lawmakers and staff tested positive for COVID-19, CDA’s government affairs program is pushing ahead on this year’s major legislative priorities for the Association. The final month of session takes on a sprint-to-the-finish-line feel as bill author’s, staff and advocacy organizations make their final push to advance – or defeat – major legislative proposals. 

One of the most critical deadlines of the year comes at this final month of session as the Legislature’s fiscal committees consider legislation that will have a fiscal impact to the state’s general fund. The Assembly and Senate’s “Appropriations Suspense File” hearing is an up-or-down vote on most of the remaining proposals. Faced with the reality that the state’s general fund cannot support all of the proposals moving through the process currently, these fiscal committees will prioritize the remaining fiscal bills. 
Below is an overview of the key priority bills for the California Downtown Association this year:

SB 902 (Wiener, D-San Francisco) – SUPPORT
This bill would help relieve the existing housing shortage and affordability crisis and encouraging people to live closer to job centers which are often found in our downtowns. This legislation would create a baseline zoning for the state which, over time, will substantially increase housing supplies. Specifically, the bill would allow construction of duplex, triplex and fourplex residential units without additional local government approval in single-family neighborhoods using the “by-right” provisions within current state law. The number of units that could be build would depend on the size of the city.  The legislation would provide incentives for higher-density rezoning by providing an exemption under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). 

SB 1135 (Caballero, D-Salinas) “The Neighborhood Homes Act” – SUPPORT
This bill would authorize residential development on existing lots currently zoned for commercial office and retail spaces such as strip malls or large “big box” retail spaces. The bill requires the development of residential units be at a minimum density to accommodate affordable housing, abide by existing local planning and development ordinances and establishes financing for public infrastructure. 

The bill will “upzone” commercial and retail properties to allow residential uses at densities that are deemed affordable by design under existing law. These underutilized or vacant commercial spaces are often prime land, close to public transportation and have the acreage that could be used for new housing and mixed-use projects. The bill provides valuable incentives to encourage new development that fits the needs of the community. 

AB 1976 (Eggman, D-Stockton) “Laura’s Law” – SUPPORT
The bill further implements “Laura’s Law” on a statewide basis and it retains key provisions to protect local control.  The bill would allow a county or group of counties to implement an Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) program under Laura’s Law and would allow counties to opt-out, if desired. 

To date, Assisted Outpatient Treatment has been implemented by 24 counties and is designed to assist individuals who as a result of a severe mental illness, unable to access community mental health services voluntarily. Under current law, the AOT program is an “opt-in” program which requires an unnecessary step that has reduced participation. Easing and expanding AOT implementation will ensure that those at the highest risk for hospitalization can obtain the necessary treatment services to keep that person supported. 

Laura’s Law is designed to provide participating counties with tools for early intervention. It allows for family members, relatives, cohabitants, treatment providers, or peace officers to initiate the AOT process with a petition to the county behavioral health director or designee. The health director must then determine how to proceed. If the individual is found to meet the AOT eligibility requirements, an individual preliminary care plan is developed to meet that person’s needs.

AB 828 (Ting, D-San Francisco) – OPPOSE
Recognizing that we are in unprecedented times, CDA understands that tenants who have been truly affected by the COVID-19 virus need protections. In fact, they have already been granted extensive protections under existing state proclamations, judicial court rules, and local laws, including federal, state, and local financial assistance. AB 828, however, would unconstitutionally force a 25 percent reduction in rents and prohibit a court or sheriff from accepting for filing or taking any action in an unlawful detainer case while a state or local state of emergency related to the COVID-19 virus is in effect, except as narrowly provided in the bill. The bill is a one-sided, unreasonable proposal that will harm both good tenants and responsible property owners. AB 828 is not a fair and balanced approach in these unprecedented times.

AB 1436 (Chiu, D-San Francisco) – OPPOSE
The bill would prohibit a rental property owner from collecting unpaid rent for an indefinite and likely multi-year period. The bill is a one-sided, unreasonable, and unconstitutional proposal that will devastate the rental housing industry. It is not a fair and balanced approach for rental property owners and tenants in these unprecedented times. The bill does not provide for - nor is it tied to - any funding to help tenants and landlords with the unpaid rent.   Many rental property owners will not be able to keep their buildings from foreclosure if AB 1436 were to become law.

Jason Bryant 
Bryant Government Affairs
July 2020 Legislative Update 
The Hidden Toll of California’s Black Exodus
Cal Matters
In a quiet corner of Elk Grove, where the maze of subdivisions and shopping centers gives way to open fields, Sharie...

How Berkeley Could Remove the Police From Traffic Stops 
New York Times
The city’s proposal appears to be the first of its kind in the country

Community Planning Groups Skew Richer, Whiter and Older
Voices of San Diego
In its first survey of who makes up the city’s community planning groups, the San Diego planning department found current...

Bay Area of 2050 Will Be More Crowded — Planners Want to Make It More Equitable, Too
San Francisco Chronicle
For the first time, the Bay Area’s largest planning agencies have mapped what the region might look like in 2050 — and it's ...

Berkeley Breaks Ground on Unprecedented Project: Affordable Apartments with a Homeless Shelter
The Mercury News
Berkeley officials and nonprofit leaders broke ground Tuesday on housing for more than 200 homeless and low-income...

The Table Is Set for Outdoor Dining on Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena
Lanes on stretches of Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena will close starting Friday to allow restaurants to offer on-street...

Coronavirus and Financial Hurdles Are Delaying Projects to Build Homeless Housing
Los Angeles Times
During an ebullient January ceremony for the first project completed with funding from the city’s Proposition....
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