News / Analysis / Perspective

Councilwoman Mungo Tells Constituents SB 35 Doesn't "Govern" or "Usurp" Local Land Use Element, But We Question That Because... is reader and advertiser supported. Support independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.
Editor's note: Some readers who don't live in ELB's 5th Council district may wonder why some 5th district residents are disturbed by the responses of Council incumbent Stacy Mungo on the major ELB and citywide impacting issue below. Our story below, one of three we publish today, may help explain this. (The other stories are here and here.)
(Dec. 10, 2017, 4:40 p.m.) -- With "Say NO to the LUE" lawn signs visible throughout her City Council district, just days before a special Planning Commission meeting where many of her constituents may say exactly that, and faced with candidates (Corliss Lee and Rich Dines) seeking to replace her in upcoming elections just months away, 5th district Council incumbent Stacy Mungo has sent a Dec, 7 mass emailing ("Neighborly News, Special Edition: Land Use Element Action Items") telling recipients that "SB 35 does not govern or usurp what is passed by the local Land Use Element." analyzes Councilwoman Mungo's claim and includes our perspective below.

SB 35's text -- which has reported since late August -- is visible as enacted into law here in HTML and here in PDF. It text speaks for itself although to date, the City Attorney office hasn't opined on its specific impacts as applied to the proposed LUE..



SB 35 explicitly erased the public's long-standing state law rights (under CEQA) to receive Environmental (neighborhood) Impact Reports that detail significant impacts of proposed large multi-unit housing projects. It erased and/or weakened local parking requirements for new housing projects in various circumstances (detailed in our report on Mungo's "Fact Sheet" at this link.) It lets developers avoid city hearings, public appeals and City Council decisions on developer-desired projects by creating a "streamlined" process that developers can use that allows, and in some cases requires, city-clerk type approval of developer-sought projects that meet certain prerequisites. On November 27, the City Attorney's office issued a memo summarizing SB 35's terms for Councilmembers and the Mayor ( coverage here.)


The League of CA Cities and multiple cities opposed SB 35 on grounds it damaged local control and cities' project approval discretion. ( coverage here..

SB 35's author, state Sen. Scott Wiener (D, San Francisco) has portrayed his bill as still allowing "local control" on grounds it lets cities choose areas where they allow housing -- either residential or "mixed uses" (residential above or next to commercial uses) -- but in these areas no longer lets cities deny approval on previously allowed grounds to developer-sought multi-unit projects. If one accepts Sen. Wiener's reasoning, or parses words as Councilwoman Mungo appears to have done, one might argue that SB 35 doesn't strictly "govern" or "usurp" the LUE. We question this, and note that it's undeniable that SB 35 would apply to the density-increasing provisions of the proposed new LUE, if the Council were to enact it.



The City of Long Beach didn't oppose Sacramento enactment of SB 35. LB City Council's "State Legislation Committee" (Al Austin, Stacy Mungo, Lena Gonzalez) met on Jan. 10 and voted to recommend, and on April 4 the Council voted to approve, a 2017 "state legislative agenda" with policies that included "Oppose legislation that preempts the City's existing control over local matters"..."oppose policies and legislation that preempts the current authority possessed by the City and delegates that authority to the State or other government jurisdiction"..."oppose policies and legislation that diminishes the City's local control over land use, planning, zoning and development decisions, and oppose legislation in conflict with the City's adopted General Plan or other Council adopted land use policies."

But then it did nothing from Jan. 10, 2017 through November 21, 2017...and let SB 35 advance to September passage without City opposition. Instead of opposing SB 35, the City of Long Beach let the bill advance without opposition (while working with the author's office for what amounted to minimal local control verbiage that acknowledges certain local planning documents.)

Councilwoman Mungo could have agendized a Council item explicitly opposing SB 35. She didn't. SB 35 passed with the support of Sacramento's Democrat leadership (LB-area Assemblyman Patrick O'Donnell voted against it) and received "yes" votes from state Senator Ricardo Lara (D, LB-Huntington Park) as well as a few Republicans including state Senator Janet Nguyen (R, SE LB-west OC). Sen. Nguyen and Councilwoman Mungo, both seeking re-election in 2018, recently appeared at a joint fund raising/meet-and-greet events held by LB-area Republicans. Former Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske, a Democrat, is running against Sen. Nguyen and has publicly criticized Nguyen's votes to enact SB 35 citing its impacts on Long Beach and especially ELB.


As has also reported, Sacramento also enacted a number of other bills beyond SB 35 that could affect and amplify the neighborhood impacts of the proposed Land Use Element (LUE). ( coverage here.)

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