Legislation sponsored by Attorney General Bonta could expose Elk Grove to $2.1 million fine; More Singh-Allen vitriol?

During the September 27 city council meeting, Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen harshly criticized fellow
Democratic elected officials. New legislation by State Senator Scott Wiener may once again
raise the mayor's hackles resulting  in more vitriol. |  

In another signal that he is willing to wield the state's power, California Attorney General Rob Bonta recently announced his sponsorship of a bill that would impose larger civil penalties on cities that violate fair housing laws.

Introduced by Senator Scott Wiener (D - San Francisco), Senate Bill 1037 enhances the Attorney General's ability to impose larger fines. Currently, when a court finds a municipality violated fair housing laws, monetary penalties can only be imposed 60 days, or in some cases up to a year, after the court has ordered compliance. 

If adopted, SB 1037, the Attorney General could impose penalties assessed from the date the housing law violation began.

"In recent years, California has passed numerous laws to speed up the construction of affordable housing. Unfortunately, some local governments have flouted those laws because they know that monetary penalties only kick in weeks or even months after a court order is issued, if ever," Bonta said. "We are in a housing crisis and cannot afford to waste any more time. Senator Wiener and I are announcing SB 1037 to ensure we can quickly hold accountable those who refuse to follow the law and act in good faith."

Of significance, Bonta's lawsuit against Elk Grove for what the state says was a violation of fair housing laws when they rejected the Oak Rose housing project remains unresolved. The lawsuit was on the Elk Grove City Council's March 27 secret meeting agenda. 

Although in its initial legislative process, if signed into law, the civil fine clock started when Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen and the city council rejected the Oak Rose supportive housing project in July 2022. Bowing to pressure from a small group led by Elk Grove policy influencer Rand Bekker, at a cost to taxpayers of about $10 million, Singh-Allen moved the project to a District 3 location on Elk Grove-Florin Road.

Weiner, who sponsored Senate Bill 35, the historic legislation that landed Elk Grove in hot water, has aggressively promoted legislation decried by local officials, including Singh-Allen. During the September 27, 2023, city council meeting, Singh-Allen harshly criticized her fellow Democrats (see video below). 

Commenting on California's housing crisis and municipalities that break fair housing laws, Wiener said, "In a housing crisis as severe as California's, cities that violate state law to avoid doing their share should not skate by scot-free." 

If SB 1037 is enacted, violators could face civil penalties ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 per month. In the case of Elk Grove, if the law were in effect today, the city would be liable to pay an additional $220,000 to $1.1 million on top of the $10 million already owed to settle with Oak Rose developer Excelerate Housing. 

No Senate committee hearings have been scheduled. 

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Renegade said...

...and the hits just keep on coming! It seems City Attorney Hobbs continues to give poor and even erroneous advice to the council. Sometimes they listen, sometimes they don't. EVERYTIME it costs us taxpayers millions of dollars.

If it wasn't so sad and true it might make a basis for a great sit-com.

Golden Skillet said...

No April Fool's Day prank here, folks. Just another day at city hall.

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