At the May 17 Burlingame City Council meeting, an unprecedented number of recent Burlingame high school grads and young women of color showed up to support Senate Bill 9, but the council decided to send a letter opposing the bill. Not a single councilmember directly addressed the young people’s concerns that exclusionary zoning has exacerbated economic and racial segregation in Burlingame.
I listened in earnest as each young woman spoke to their personal stories about how the housing crisis has impacted their life and how the exclusive nature of Burlingame does not reflect the diversity of California and greater United States.
The Burlingame City Council holds steadfast in its mission to protect exclusionary zoning, but a new generation is making their case: A future without zoning reform is not a bright one. High school and college students in the Bay Area are the latest generation feeling the consequences unfettered local control has had on the housing crisis. They know their ability to continue living here will come with great insecurity, while inequities across race and class fueled by exclusionary land use policies compound. For them, land use is on the menu and they’ll be voting in the next election for seats in every level of government.
I hope state Sen. Josh Becker tunes into the local discourse like the one we just had in Burlingame to understand whose concerns are being represented by local city councils and whose needs are being ignored.