Senate Bill 50 is bad for homeowners

| May 2, 2019 | 1 Comment
John H. Welborne

In late 2017, the ladies of the Hancock Park Garden Club (founded 57 years ago) published a booklet, “Your Next Front Yard.” The focus of the pamphlet is front yards — the single-family landscape that both separates homes and unifies neighborhoods. (See:

A month or so later, on Jan. 16, 2018, San Francisco lawyer and former San Francisco Supervisor — and now a State Senator from San Francisco — Scott Wiener published on a blog an explanation of what he believes should be in your and your neighbors’ front and back yards.

That would be four- or five-story apartment buildings.

According to his own words, Sen. Wiener has deeply-held feelings about certain problems in the modern world, in particular relating to some people having single-family homes with private open space, when other people (including some long-dead people who may have lived in California 100 years ago) do, or did, not.

It is instructive to read Sen. Wiener’s own words about the haves and the have-nots.

Residents owning single-family homes in our local communities, and in urban areas throughout the state of California, need to be vigilant. We need to contact elected State representatives, and we need to be prepared to vote against those local elected officials who don’t help stop the current Bay Area-led effort to confiscate our single-family residential environments.

Somehow, for a number of activists in California, “single-family neighborhood” has become an evil thing that they oppose.

To be fair, it’s generally only when bus stops or other transit facilities are near the usually older and established residential neighborhoods that these people (now calling themselves “YIMBYs”) vilify and try to undermine single-family homes.

“YIMBY” stands for “Yes in My Back Yard,” but I doubt there are many YIMBYs (except real estate developers and apartment builders) who even own single-family houses that have front and back yards. YIMBY activists say that they prefer dense urban development. Of course, they are welcome to live in such places.

But, for the millions of Californians who have invested in lower-density neighborhoods that do have yards — and who may have struggled and sacrificed for decades to build up their equity in the house they own — having a boxy, modern, five-story apartment building built next door is not a desirable thing. Nor is it desirable for other neighbors, because such a “block-busting” development will start a chain reaction of other neighbors selling out and moving elsewhere. (I’d choose Texas.)

There obviously is a strong, and still unmet, housing demand. Just look at what that demand is doing to former single-family homes on the lots long zoned as multiple-family — north of Melrose on Wilcox and on Cole and the east-west streets north of Beverly between Wilton and Western.

That cannot yet happen in most of Greater Wilshire or in other large portions of Los Angeles that have single-family neighborhoods long protected by single-family zoning.

But … the state legislation aggressively advocated by Sen. Wiener and his real estate development and construction industry donors and allies will change that.

Your home is endangered by the bill that Sen. Wiener and his allies are promoting in Sacramento.

If you or anyone in your family owns a single-family residence, whether it is in Northern California near a bus route or virtually anywhere in our central Los Angeles area including “jobs rich” hillsides, you are a part of the problem, according to the State Senator from San Francisco. Sen. Wiener wants 20 of his Sacramento colleagues in the State Senate to address that problem … and put you in your place. 

This conclusion is reached from reading Sen. Wiener’s own words. Read them in the Special Supplement in this issue of the Larchmont Chronicle. Then, for your own sake, convince state legislators other than Sen. Wiener to vote “no” on his SB 50 or any similar legislative offspring drafted to confiscate our single-family residential environments.

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  1. vic bic says:

    “not a desirable thing” lmao. this perfectly summarizes the arrogance of the NIMBY argument. you believe you’re entitled to dictate the private property rights of others for reasons as simple as “desirability”. it’s an emotional argument. not a rational or logical one.

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