In July, we wrote about Assemblyman Jim Wood’s attempt to speed up construction of some badly needed housing in Santa Rosa by expediting some of the environmental reviews and setting a deadline for legal challenges that can tie up the process for months on end. State lawmakers routinely provide this help for stadiums and arenas, including two more in the legislative session that wrapped up at the end of August. A new arena for the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers was put on the fast track, and so was the latest plan to build a new baseball park for the Oakland Athletics. But Wood’s bill got squashed. Thumbs down.
Anyone who reads this page on a regular basis knows that we’re sports fans. And we would welcome a new stadium in Oakland, but we think legislators ought to give housing at least an equal footing with sporting venues. They could do both, and help many other public and private projects too, by fixing the well-known flaws in the California Environmental Quality Act. The landmark law is supposed to ensure that development doesn’t threat clean air, clean water and the flow of traffic. Too often, it’s used by unions, rival developers and NIMBYs to scuttle worthy projects.
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