re: Item 13 - C RHNA Lawsuit - STRONGLY OPPOSE
September 28, 2021
Re: Item 13 - C RHNA Lawsuit - STRONGLY OPPOSE
Dear Mayor Himmelrich, Mayor Pro Tem McCowan, and members of the Santa Monica City
Santa Monica Forward strongly opposes the recommendation that our city’s WSCCOG
representatives encourage the WSCCOG to join the OCCOG in their RHNA Lawsuit. Such a
move would tarnish our history as leaders in progressive housing policy and would group us
with reactionary, right-wing cities in Orange County that continue to deny the existence of the housing crisis.
The evidence for the housing shortage is clear - California, and especially coastal cities like Santa Monica, have built substantially less housing than needed for decades. Incumbent homeowners and landlords profit. Renters, newcomers, young people, and everyone else aspiring for the California Dream suffer.
The impacts of the crisis are everywhere. Walk a block or two out your door in Santa Monica
and you are bound to meet someone without a home. Or speak to a younger person or a
service worker who has moved to Santa Monica, and ask them how much they pay for rent.
To continue to deny the housing crisis is similar to other right-wing denialism around vaccine
effectiveness, the human causes of climate change, and the results of the last election. We
should not align ourselves with any ideology that rejects the facts at the expense of our fellow community members.
RHNA has been on the books for decades. This lawsuit will go nowhere. But, it will tell Governor Newsom, Attorney General Rob Bonta, and HCD that Santa Monica is not serious about meeting its housing goals. Will that work in our favor when HCD reviews our Housing Element for compliance with state law? Or will HCD twist the screws to get back at us for undermining state efforts to solve California’ housing shortage? Maybe ask Huntington Beach, a city that has wasted massive amounts of taxpayer money by losing multiple housing lawsuits with the state over the past few years.
Please firmly reject Item 13 - C. Our RHNA requirements are not just a policy exercise, they are an opportunity to put roofs over the heads of families, and reduce the rent burden that is holding so many of us back.