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Affordable Housing Hurdle May Be Removed

As California grapples with a growing affordable housing shortage, State Sen. Ben Allen (D – Santa Monica) has drafted legislation that would repeal Article 34 of the State Constitution which, as it’s currently in effect, requiring voter approval before public housing is built in a community. Article 34 was approved

The California State Capitol Building

in 1950.


This is the third time the there has been an effort to change or abolishing Article 34; the most recent was in 1993. It failed by a large margin in 1993 with opposition arguing that residents should have the right to keep public housing out of their neighborhoods.

Allen believes Article 34 “is an anachronistic barrier that stands in the way of,” providing public housing. “It’s reflective of old school values that we’ve moved past.”


Allen believe the electorate has shifted since the 1993 attempt to eliminate article 34.

State Sen. Ben Allen of Santa Monica recently attempted to pass a statewide initiative, known as Proposition 10, this past November which would have repealed state law that currently restricts the scope of rent-control policies that cities and other local jurisdiction may impose on residential property. It failed 59.43% to 40.57%.


According to the L.A. Times, “the city of Los Angeles is one of the principal supporters of Allen’s ballot measure.” Mayor Eric Garcetti said “L.A. fought for – and won – billions of new affordable housing dollars in the last three years, but Article 34 inflicts unnecessary and costly burdens on cities, delaying the construction of housing in the communities we need it most.”


Allen’s proposed bill requires the approval of two-thirds of both houses of Legislature for it to be placed on the March or November 2020 ballot.

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©2019 by Elliot Theo Schwartz