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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 the climate crisis 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.  The treatment of animals, including wildlife and domestic and farm animals, is a measure of the treatment of humans.  Democrats take a stand against animal cruelty.

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, promote smart growth, and increase the total availability of housing;
  • Promote driving reduction targets and safety improvements shown to stabilize the climate, reduce the number and severity of crashes, and work for equitable and environmentally-sound roads and operations to reduce traffic gridlock;
  • Promote efficient land use and create greenbelts around our urban areas to reduce traffic gridlock and minimize wildfires and erosion;
  • Promote the humane treatment of animals through supporting low kill/no kill animal shelters, the elimination of animal testing, and elimination of fur for fashion;
  • Promote adoption, rather than purchase, of animals as pets;
  • Support humane and fair treatment of farm animals whether used for food or fiber production;
  • Provide green spaces and community gardens for all communities;
  • Demand access to good nutrition through supplies of fresh, healthy, and affordable food as a means to countering “food deserts,” particularly for low income communities;
  • Promote regional tax revenue sharing in order to decrease local governments’ dependence upon sales tax revenue and minimize sprawl;
  • Work to keep communities together by preventing displacement due to lack of affordable housing options;
  • Support tenant protection measures and anti-displacement ordinances such as eviction protections and moratoriums, rent control/rent stabilization, and oppose any statewide or local efforts and policies that undermine or weaken such measures that are currently in place;
  • Support establishing local government-based loans to improve and sustain rental property belonging to small property owners, particularly those entering or in retirement years, who are asset-rich-but-cash-poor;
  • 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;
  • Support better representation of and decision-making for unincorporated communities, including elected Municipal Advisory Councils, Community Service Districts, and the right to incorporate as cities;
  • Reduce sprawl by providing for improvements to local infrastructure and community services, and fostering strong local economies;
  • Encourage zoning and housing policies that promote sustainability and affordability, including infill and mixed-use zoning that provide jobs-housing balance, while still protecting the environment;
  • 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 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;
  • Support the goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and injuries, with action by state, county, and local governments to implement street design, vehicle design, traffic regulations, and other policies that prioritize safety for all road users;
  • Support transit-friendly zoning and walkable, bike able neighborhoods to encourage sustainability, affordability, and accessibility regardless of age, income, or physical limitations, by providing jurisdictions the tools to reconfigure streets around people; and,
  • Support home ownership opportunities to more Californians, working with community governments to implement the Housing Crisis Act, allowing multi-unit dwellings to be built on land zoned as single family residential while maintaining environment and landscape restrictions.