Gov. Gavin Newsom admitted Tuesday that suing the city of Huntington Beach was an aggressive start to getting California cities and counties to comply with state housing goals.
During a meeting in Long Beach with the mayors of several cities facing possible lawsuits from the state over their lack of affordable housing, Newsom took a softer approach, hearing about their housing frustrations first-hand. The governor said he does not want to sue the other 47 non-compliant municipalities.
"We got into the issues of localism and being responsive to the voters, communities that literally had referendums put on the ballot that say, 'No more, not in our backyard' and so, this is difficult, this is tough," he said.
Not all city and county leaders facing suits were able to make the meeting on short notice, including Joe Henderson of Wheatland, whose rural town of 3,500 is just north of Sacramento.
Henderson said he's encouraged by what he's heard from the governor and believes his city is on track to fixing its housing compliance issue.
"There's a cost to putting these things together,” Henderson said. “So hopefully we will be able to get there. You know, I'm optimistic, but it's time and money."
Newsom's budget calls for hundreds of millions in financial support to help cities develop compliant housing plans.