July 30, 1992 - From the July, 1992 issue

New Growth Management Package: Call it “Economic Recovery”

By Kenneth Bernstein, Editor of The Planning Report. Members of the legislature took growth management matters into their own hands in June, introducing the “Economic and Environmental Recovery Act” in an attempt to break the Sacramento logjam. 


Ken Bernstein

The new legislation carefully omits any mention of the term “growth management” — now taboo in these economic times.

Summary of the Package

The proposed package has three elements:

  • SB 929 (Robert Presley) would enact state conservation and development policies to guide public plans and infrastructure investments. Existing regional agen­cies must jointly develop a strategy for economic and environmental recovery. Local agencies must create four different development and conservation tiers where fiscal incentives and disincentives would apply, and must cooperate within each county to coordinate their general plans. The bill would also establish a state infrastructure bank in the Treasurer’s office to provide loans and matching grants to local agencies for infrastructure, housing, and natural resource protection.

  • ACA 44 (Sam Farr), a constitutional amendment to allow local agencies to approve local bonds for infrastructure, housing, and natural resource conservation by majority vote rather than a two-thirds vote.

  • A bond measure for the November ballot to provide loans and matching grants for infrastructure, housing, and natural resources.

This package grew out of continued meetings among interest group participants from last year’s Growth Management Consensus Project, coordinated by California State University, Sacramento.

Growth Management’s New Label 

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The new legislation carefully omits any mention of the term “growth management” — now taboo in these economic times. Sponsors of statewide planning bills — taking notice of Governor Wilson’s unwillingness to embrace these concepts — are scurrying to repackage their bills as catalysts for economic recovery. 

Despite the new label, the main opposition to the package thus far has come from the California Building Industry Association (represented in the point-counterpoint here) and the California Association of Realtors. 

Sen. Marian Bergeson, chair of the Senate’s Local Government Committee and a key player on growth issues, has indicated support for some concepts in this package, though she continues to sponsor her own bill, which has now incorporated recommendations from Peter Uebberoth’s Council on Competitiveness.

The Prospects

SB 929 was passed by the Assembly Local Government Committee on July 1st; it now awaits action in the Assembly Ways and Means Committee during August. Assemblyman Farr’s constitutional amendment remains in the Assembly’s Local Government Committee.

The Governor’s Interagency Council on Growth Management wrapped up its work many weeks ago and sent its recommendations to the Governor, who has not acted on them. With the Legislature preoccupied by the budget and a recess dming July, the month of August offers the last hope for state legislation during this session. But time is running very short, particularly without active participation from the Governor.

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