|California's 32nd Senate District includes parts of southeast Los Angeles County and northwest Orange County. Source: SD 32 Website. Click the image to enlarge.|
First things first. There's a California election coming up on Tuesday June 5th, 2018. To vote in this election you have to be registered by May 21, 2018. Research, think, vote!
I live in California's 32nd State Senate District (which I'll be calling SD 32). This district was most recently represented by Tony Mendoza, a Democrat who resigned this February in the face of likely expulsion from the Legislature stemming from an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct. Mr. Mendoza denies the allegations. Full disclosure: I voted for Tony Mendoza last time around, before these allegations came to light. It's important to take these allegations seriously while also respecting the due process rights of the accused, always a difficult balance to strike. As a result of this situation, SD 32 has been without representation for months.
I decided to take a look at Tony Mendoza's record on a housing issue near and dear to my heart: accessory dwelling units (ADUs). ADUs are secondary, smaller homes built on the same lot as a detached house (in the typical case). California's landmark ADU laws (SB 1069 and AB 2299 of 2016) went into effect at the beginning of 2017 and have spurred some badly-needed housing construction, while presenting a bold but subtle challenge to the suburban status quo of land use planning that reigns in most California communities. How did Mr. Mendoza vote on SB 1069? He voted no. Ugh, Tony, say it ain't so.
The good news is, there are a lot of promising candidates running to fill the SD 32 seat. My favorite is Vanessa Delgado, a Democrat, the current Mayor of the City of Montebello, and a real estate developer. She seems committed to a progressive agenda, including policies to get more housing built, and has the experience in both the public and private sectors to be effective. If she wins, I'll be watching to see how she does.