2018 Platform: Sustainable Communities

California Democrats seek to build healthy, livable, and sustainable communities that conserve natural resources, promote smart growth, are economically prosperous, and are socially equitable.  Unsustainable consumption reduces our energy independence, exacerbates both global warming and urban/suburban sprawl, and increases our trade deficit.  We are committed to environmental justice, a sustainable lifestyle, and a healthy economy.  We believe all Californians have a right to affordable housing in reasonable proximity to where they work, study, and hold community ties.

To promote sustainable communities, California Democrats will:

  • Support local governments and regions in completing voluntary, sub-regional comprehensive planning processes that stem the tide of urban and suburban sprawl, and promote smart growth;
  • Promote driving reduction targets shown to stabilize the climate and work for equitable and environmentally-sound roads and operations and reducing traffic gridlock;
  • Promote efficient land use and create greenbelts around our urban areas to reduce traffic gridlock and minimize wildfires and erosion;
  • Provide green spaces for all communities;
  • Promote regional tax revenue sharing in order to decrease local governments’ dependence upon sales tax revenue and minimize sprawl;
  • Protect and promote the construction of affordable housing to alleviate and prevent homelessness, and develop supportive housing with continuum-of-care services to help homeless people reestablish themselves as self-sufficient contributors to society;
  • Support tenant protection measures and anti-displacement ordinances such as eviction protections, rent control/rent stabilization, and oppose any statewide or local efforts and policies that undermine or weaken such measures that are currently in place;
  • Protect existing homeowners' property rights by limiting eminent domain to reasonable public uses; oppose the abuse of eminent domain to take homes without the consent of the owner and convey property from one private person to another or to any corporation merely to increase tax revenues;
  • Develop a sustainable rural strategy to stabilize and enhance rural communities affected by economic downturn, land use changes, loss of agricultural land, and reduction in resource extraction;
  • Encourage policies and practices that enable communities to be resilient in the event of natural and human-made disasters;
  • Encourage incentives to reclaim and redevelop old abandoned buildings and brownfields;
  • Provide a homestead floor with absolute minimum protection for homeowners when they are forced into bankruptcy due to unanticipated health care costs or predatory lending schemes;
  • Support better representation of unincorporated communities, including the right to incorporate as cities; support reforming the incorporation process and local tax allocations to facilitate such communities to attain self-governance through incorporation;
  • Encourage zoning and housing policies that promote sustainability and affordability, including infill and mixed-use zoning, while still protecting the environment;
  • Support inclusionary housing policies and oppose in lieu development fees that exacerbate income divides, encourage sprawl, and marginalize poorer residents into less desirable areas that frequently have higher pollution levels and other health risks;
  • Encourage municipalities to work with non-profit developers, build publicly-owned housing, promote co-housing, and create housing trusts and other innovative measures for developing affordable housing;
  • Oppose arbitrary or burdensome conditions placed upon affordable housing construction that otherwise meets zoning and environmental regulations; and,
  • Oppose tax breaks that incentivize landlords to maintain extended vacancies in high-traffic commercial zones while holding out for excessive rents that have the detrimental effect of keeping out locally-owned establishments in favor of chain retailers.
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