On April 1, Pasadena Mayor Victor M. Gordo released a letter to the residents of the city that addressed California Attorney General Rob Bonta’s claims that the city is in violation of Senate Bill 9 (SB 9), a housing law passed by the California Legislature in 2021.
Bonta released a statement on March 15 in which he stated that the City of Pasadena introduced an ordinance where the city exempted certain areas from the SB 9 requirements, declaring them as “landmark districts.”
He goes on to argue that the sidestep of SB 9, officially documented as Urgency Ordinance No. 7384, is both invalid and violates state law.
“Pasadena’s urgency ordinance undermines SB 9 and denies residents the opportunity to create sorely needed additional housing, under the guise of protecting ‘landmark districts.’ This is disappointing and, more importantly, violates state law,” said Attorney General Bonta in the statement. “Right now, California is facing a housing crisis of epic proportions, and it’s going to take all of us, doing our part, to alleviate its worst effects. At the California Department of Justice, we’re in this fight for the long haul. I urge cities to take seriously their obligations under state housing laws. If you don’t, we will hold you accountable.”
In response, Gordo’s release stated that both Gordo’s statement and outside reports on the matter are “not conforming to the facts.”
Gordo argues that SB 9 was written and passed in bad faith, noting its “cookie cutter approach” fails to acknowledge cities throughout the state that have made impactful measures in affordable housing historically – which in return is implying that all cities in California are being treated the same and disregards “particular facts.”
“Despite leading the way in developing affordable housing and determining to comply with SB 9 while protecting certain unique architecture as SB 9 specifically provides, the city is accused of egregious violations and bad intent. It has even been suggested that we are considering declaring the entirety of Pasadena an historic or landmark district,” Gordo stated. “This is simply untrue.”