Article 34 in the California Constitution is attracting a lot of scrutiny as the 1950 provision is described as inherent racism, classism, and simply obsolete for today’s needs. The provision has outlasted several attempts to repeal it, now, multiple state senators are reintroducing an amendment to abolish Article 34.
“Article 34 is a stain on California’s Constitution,” said state Sen. Scott Wiener, who is co-sponsoring the repeal effort with state Sen. Ben Allen. “It was designed to keep people of color and low-income people out of whiter and wealthier neighborhoods. That is racism and classism, plain and simple, and it needs to be reversed.”
The provision hinders affordable housing development because it requires states, cities, counties, or towns to gain voter approval to construct or acquire affordable housing projects. The National Low Income Housing Council reports that Calif. only has about 22% of the needed affordable housing units for its extremely low income population.
Article 34, at its very genesis, was born out of the need to stop the encroachment of socialist ideals in the 1950s. Affordable housing was largely seen as almost ‘communist,’ specially under the McCarthy Administration.
The fear of interracial integration among American legislators, made way for convoluted mandates such as this one. Bigotry was very pronounced therefore the majority vote served as an ostensible symbol of righteousness, but in reality, it was to garnish a unanimous vote against people of color moving into white neighborhoods.
Clearly, the nation has moved beyond the McCarthyist model of thinking.
Real estate, specifically Multifamily investors, are looking toward a new approach now more than ever. The pandemic has only amplified the need for affordable housing development with so many people losing their income and homes.
“Amidst a global pandemic that is exacerbating inequities, state policy should encourage cities and counties who are trying to build affordable housing for their residents,” Allen said.
“If the proposed constitutional amendment, SCA 2, passes the legislature, the Article 34 repeal will be placed on the ballot.”