CSAC Bulletin Article

Housing, Land Use and Transportation 05/04/2012

Housing

SB 1220 (DeSaulnier) – Request for Comment
As Amended on April 16, 2012

SB 1220, by Senator Mark DeSaulnier, would impose a fee of $75 on the recording of each real-estate related document, except for those documents recorded in connection with a transfer subject to documentary transfer tax, and directs the money to the Housing Opportunity and Market Stabilization (HOMeS) Trust Fund. The HOMeS fund would be used for the development, acquisition, rehabilitation, and preservation of homes affordable to low- and moderate-income households, including emergency shelters, transitional and permanent rental housing, foreclosure mitigation, and homeownership opportunities. 

SB 1220 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee on May 8.

Planning

AB 1897 (Campos) – Oppose Unless Amended
As Amended on May 2, 2012 

AB 1897, by Assembly Member Nora Campos, would authorize the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research to prepare and amend the General Plan Guidelines to contain advice, developed in consultation with the Department of Food and Agriculture, for improving the health of Californians by increasing access to healthy affordable food.

As introduced, the measure was much more prescriptive and would have required counties and cities to undertake new mandates in the general plan process. As amended on May 2, the mandate was removed, however the measure still makes a number of legislative findings and declarations related to the need to expedite local development processes, ensure that local governments zone sufficient land, and ensure that local governments make regulatory concessions in order to improve healthy foods for Californians.

CSAC now has an oppose unless amended position requesting that the author remove the legislative findings and declarations which we understand the she intends to do. We will remove opposition as soon as the bill is amended to reflect these changes. 

AB 1897 is set for hearing before the Assembly Local Government Committee on May 9.

Public Works Administration

SB 1516 (Leno) – Request for Comment
As Amended on April 9, 2012

SB 1516, by Senator Mark Leno, would prohibit bid specifications from requiring a bidder to provide submission of data substantiating a request for a substitution of “an equal” item prior to the bid or proposal submission deadline. 

SB 1516 is set for hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee on May 14.

Transportation

AB 1915 (Alejo) – Request for Comment
As Amended on March 26, 2012

AB 1915, by Assembly Member Luis Alejo, would permit up to 10% of the State’s Safe Routes to School program funds to be used to assist eligible recipients in making infrastructure improvements, other than school bus shelters, which create safe routes to bus stops that are located outside the vicinity of schools.

AB 1915 is set for hearing before the Assembly Appropriations Committee on May 9.

AB 2231 (Fuentes) – Oppose
As Amended on April 23, 2012

AB 2231, by Assembly Member Felipe Fuentes, would amend long-standing statues related to sidewalk repairs, drastically changing current law and disrupting the many successful and orderly sidewalk repair programs in place in cities and counties throughout the state. 

Current law provides that property owners are responsible for repairs on sidewalks adjacent to their property. However, AB 2231 would effect a major change in California law by making cities and counties responsible for the repair of any sidewalks they “own” or that have been damaged by any plant or tree. 

As introduced the bill would also have made cities and counties liable for any injury resulting from the failure to repair and prohibits cities and counties from imposing an assessment on the adjacent property owner for the repair of the sidewalk. However, the April 23 amendments appear to remove the liability issue CSAC was concerned about. We still have concerns with the new mandate associated with making counties and cities responsible for sidewalk repairs damaged by plants or trees and as such remain opposed to the measure. 

AB 2231 is set for hearing before the Assembly Appropriations Committee on May 9.


SB 1149 (DeSaulnier) – Request for Comment
As Amended on May 1, 2012

SB 1149, by Senator Mark DeSaulnier, would reform the regional governance process in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. The bill would create the Bay Area Regional Commission (BARC or Commission) to coordinate regional planning and policy decisions dealing with transportation, housing, air quality, sustainable community strategies, economic development, and other regional issues.

According to the author, SB 1149 would require the Commission to prepare a 20-year regional economic development strategy. The strategy would be updated every four-years and its goals must be reflected in other regional plans. Currently, neither state nor federal law incorporates economic development into the regional planning process.

The goal of the economic development strategy is to ensure that the regional economy is capable of adapting to changes in technology, market demand, and direction of the national and international economy. The strategy would include recognition of unique environmental, social and cultural amenities that are found in and, in part, define the region.

BARC would be required to adopt goals for integrating the regional planning policies of the four bay area regional agencies with the economic development aspirations contained in the economic development strategy. The economic development plan would identify sectors of the economy characterized by under investment and limited employment opportunities, and recommend public and private investments that would enhance the probability of increasing employment opportunities. 

In addition, BARC would be required to ensure that all the regional plans are consistent with the Sustainable Communities Strategy and the regional economic development strategy. 

SB 1149 is set for hearing before the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee on May 8 and the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on May 9.


SB 1396 (Dutton) – Oppose
As Amended on April 11, 2012

SB 1396, by Senator Robert Dutton, would cap the state excise tax on gasoline at 35.7-cents and limit the sales tax to the first $4.00 per gallon of gasoline. Diesel taxes would also be capped at their current rate. 

CSAC sent a letter of opposition on the measure highlighting the fact that California’s transportation network is currently facing significant funding shortfalls just to maintain the existing system and that legislation to reduce funding for transportation would be counterproductive. 

SB 1396 was set for hearing a before the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee on May 8 however we were informed by the Senator that he is not going to be pursuing the bill at this time. 

Indian Gaming

AB 517 (Hall) – Support
As Amended on April 26, 2012

AB 517, by Assembly Member Isadore Hall, would ratify the Tribal-State Gaming Compact executed on March 27, 2012 between the State of California and the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria.

CSAC has been involved in Tribal gaming issues since 1999 when then Governor Gray Davis entered into Tribal-State Gaming Compacts with approximately 65 Tribes for the operation of casinos in California. While Tribal gaming policy is largely directed at the federal and state levels, the most significant impacts from casinos are borne by local communities and governments. Since the first compacts were entered into, and after working with Tribes across the state, counties have collectively developed a wealth of experience and knowledge, specifically with respect to implementation of compacts. 

It is based on this experience that CSAC has developed the following policy and overall compact objectives in which to analyze current and future new and renegotiated compacts: 1) promote local government-tribal judicially enforceable agreements; 2) improve the integrity of tribal environmental review analysis; 3) ensure that off-reservation impacts of tribal casinos are fully mitigated; and 4) provide adequate time for both comment on environmental documents and meaningful negotiations. 

Equally important is CSAC’s policy that recognizes and respects the tribal right of self-governance to provide for the welfare of its tribal members and to preserve traditional tribal culture and heritage. In similar fashion, CSAC recognizes and respects the counties’ legal responsibility to provide for the health, safety, environment, infrastructure, and general welfare of all members of their communities.

The Graton Tribal-State Gaming Compact as proposed for ratification in AB 517 is an important and significant step in appropriately balancing the needs of Tribes and local government. We appreciate the Governor and Tribe’s willingness to work together to address these issues in a manner which CSAC hopes will become a template for future agreements.

AB 517 was not specifically scheduled for a policy committee hearing although the Senate and Assembly did hold informational hearings on the Graton Compact this week to hear from the Tribe, cities and county, and the public at large. Currently, the measure is awaiting action on the Senate Floor.

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