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Southern California Cities Push Back On Newsom's Proposal For Housing Increase

Building housing
Building housing
Max Whittaker for KPCC

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Governor Newsom has called for 3.5 million more homes by 2025 to relieve the housing shortage in California, but many cities and counties in Southern California aren’t on board. 

Every eight years, regional agencies representing local governments have to create a zoning plan to accommodate for housing goals, accounting for population spikes and the predicted income of this population. The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) is coming to the start of a new eight year period in 2021. Their current plan is to zone for 430,000 new homes in that time, which would make it impossible to meet Newsom’s 3.5 million home goal. 

This gets to a larger tension in the housing debate in California. While local governments have largely rejected state-level housing efforts, arguing that they undermine local control, many are reticent to commit to increased homebuilding in their backyards. 

Should local governments ultimately have control over housing zoning? Is their current proposal adequate in meeting the state’s housing goals? 

We reached out to the Southern California Association of Governments. They were not able to accommodate our request for an interview.



Liam Dillon, Sacramento-based reporter for the Los Angeles Times who covers state politics, policy and housing; his recent piece looks at Southern California Assn. of Governments’s housing plan; he tweets @dillonliam

Adam Fowler, director of research at Beacon Economics whose expertise includes Southern California’s housing market

Richard Green, housing policy expert; director of Lusk Center for Real Estate Chair at USC; former senior advisor at the Department of Housing and Urban Development under the Obama administration

Joel Kotkin, presidential fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and executive director of the Center for Opportunity Urbanism, a think tank in Houston; he is the author of “The Human City: Urbanism for the Rest of Us” (Agate B2, 2016)

Councilman David Ryu, Los Angeles City Councilmember representing District 4, which stretches from Sherman Oaks through Griffith Park to Miracle Mile and includes Hollywood, Sherman Oaks, Los Feliz and Koreatown