Amid Mum Council, Councilwowman Price Takes Positions on AB 339 and SB 9.
|(July 7, 2021, 6:40 p.m.) -- Long Beach City Councilwoman Suzie Price has taken Sacramento policy stances, signing onto a May 2021 letter (along with elected officials from other cities/agencies) that supports AB 339, which would require jurisdictions over 250,000 residents to continue allowing telephonic public testimony on agenda items begun during the pandemic and belatedly sending a letter voicing "concerns" but stopping short of opposing SB 9, a bill co-authored by former LB Councilmember Lena Gonzalez, that would require cities to approve four dwelling units on single family lots.
No other Council incumbent to date has taken a public position on either AB 339 or SB 9. To date, Councilwoman Price is the only LB Council incumbent to take positions on both bills (detailed below.)
Councilwoman Price joined in signing a May 2021 letter supporting (with strengthening amendments) AB 339, a bill that would require cities to continue allowing public telephonic testimony (begun during the pandemic.) The jointly signed letter states
We, the undersigned elected officials, write in strong support of Assembly Bill 339 by Assemblymember Alex Lee and the public’s right to participate in the local governmental decision-making process through expanded opportunities to join public meetings and make public comment via telephonic and internet-based service options.
In a separate but related item (reported by LBREPORT.com here), Councilwoman Price (joined by Councilmembers Supernaw and Uranga, have agendized a July 13 City Council item seeking a city management feasibility report on continuing the Council's telephonic testimony (ended July 6 by the City Clerk without Council input.)
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On SB 9, Price Belatedly Sends Letter Voicing "Concerns" -- Stopping Short of Opposing -- SB 9 That Would Require Cities To Allow Four Dwelling Units On Single Family Lots; Action Comes After Bill Has Already Passed State Senate And All Assembly Policy Committees, Seeks Unspecified Amendments To Give LB City Hall Greater Autonomy For Future Development Projects, Defers To LB's Sac'to Lawmakers On How To Do It
Writing on her City Council letterhead "on her personal behalf" as a Councilmember, Price sent a June 23 letter addressed to "Long Beach Delegation to the State" that stops short of opposing SB 9 (that would require CA cities to approve (except in historic districts) allowing four dwelling units on single family lots and prevent cities from requiring parking to match if the parcel is within a half mile walking distance of public transit, including buses.
Price's letter states that the City of Long Beach has made "significant, good faith progress to improve housing policies with the goal with the goal of creating an environment conducive to more housing development but does so in a way that considers the unique local circumstances and environment of our city." It requests "that you [state lawmakers] consider appropriate changes to SB 9 with the intention of eliminating unintended consequences that harm communities where good faith and meaningful progress is being made on housing. Perhaps one incentive for cities that are making progress would be would be to allow more autonomy and discretion for future development projects...I defer to you on how that balance could be reached but I hope you will consider something along those lines as the discussion moves forward."
For months, LB's Eastside Voice joined by the Lakewood Village Neighborhood Association, Citizens About Responsible Planning have urged Council opposition to SB 9 (joinng opposition by dozens of cities and neighborhood groups statewide) and pleaded with Councilmembers to agendized the issue for public discussion and the LB policy position. The LB neighborhood groups received no supportive response from any Council incumbents (including Price.)
SB 9 was introduced with former LB Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez as a named co-author on Dec. 7, 2020. No LB Councilmember, or the Council's "state legislation committee, agendized the bill for public discussion and a policy position. To date, the City of LB has taken no position the SB 9.
The City Council's "2021 State Legislative Agenda" recites that the City would oppose legislation could reduce local control. The LB Council and city staff have remained silent on SB 9 as it advanced through two state Senate policy committees and received "yes" votes on the state Senate floor by LB state Senators Gonzalez and Umberg.
On June 22, SB 9 passed its final Assembly policy committee prior to an Assembly Appropriations Committee hearing (a state budget gatekeeper) one step from the Assembly floor. Councilwoman Price sent her letter voicing "concerns" a day later on June 23.
Assemblyman Patrick O'Donnell (D, LB-San Pedro) has said he strongly opposes SB 9 (on which he doesn't have to vote until it reaches the Assemblu floor. However in a July 6 Zoomed meeting (organized by Corliss Lee's Eastside Voice), O'Donnell indicated he won't hold any news conferences or issue any releases opposing SB 9. Such actions are normally part of aggressive legislative advocacy; Zooming into an already supportive neighborhood group is not.
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