Election 2020

The Nation's Top YIMBY Legislator Crushes His Socialist Opponent

California Sen. Scott Wiener coasted to victory in an election that pitted his deregulatory housing agenda against his opponent's socialist vision.

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California Sen. Scott Wiener (D–San Francisco), the country's top YIMBY ("Yes in my backyard") legislator handily won re-election against a democratic socialist challenger who ran against Wiener's friendliness to new private housing development.

As of Wednesday morning, Wiener had managed to capture 59 percent of the vote in his reelection bid, according to the city's Department of Elections. Opponent Jackie Fielder, an instructor at San Francisco State University and socialist activist, captured a little over 40 percent of the vote in the two-person race.

"Wow. Thank you for re-electing me with ~60% of the vote. I'm so honored to continue representing you in the Senate," tweeted Wiener the night of the vote. "Nearly $1.5M was spent by or on behalf of my opponent & we prevailed."

Wiener is hardly a libertarian. He has, however, been a fierce advocate for repealing the miles of red tape and regulation that have produced California's housing shortage and the sky-high rents and housing prices that come with it.

He's sponsored a number of bills that make it easier for people to build new housing, and harder for local governments to reject it. Wiener's signature, but ultimately unsuccessful reform this year was S.B. 50, which would have legalized the development of fourplexs statewide, and allowed midrise apartments near job centers and transit stops.

That free market-friendly, if not radically Rothbardian, vision is in stark contrast to Fielder's own much more left-wing housing platform. Her "California Homes For All" plan included proposals for a $100 billion fund to buy or build new, price-controlled housing units, and a repeal of state laws that limit rent control and allow landlords to evict tenants from a unit if they're taking it off the rental market.

"Our state's housing affordability crisis cannot be remedied by relying on real estate developers and the private market alone," wrote Fielder on her campaign website. "The market-based approach spearheaded by our current State Senator will not solve the crisis and, in our own Senate District, it will only accelerate income inequality, displacement and high housing costs."

Fielder has opposed S.B. 50 on the grounds that new market-rate housing will only spur gentrification and displacement, and she's criticized another of Wiener's bills, S.B. 35, for streamlining the permitting process too much in a state where approvals of new housing can take years.

To her credit, Fielder has endorsed repealing zoning restrictions in Cupertino, Beverly Hills, and other wealthy communities that are not in her backyard on the grounds that this would prevent wealthier renters from moving into poorer communities.

The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) were big boosters of Fielder's campaign, endorsing her back in January, and actively promoting her candidacy on social media with tweets that labeled Wiener "anti-homeless" and a stooge of luxury real estate developers.

Wiener's resounding win in an election that pitted two very different visions against each other is a vindication of the deregulatory YIMBY approach to housing affordability.

Coupled with the crushing defeat of the statewide initiative Prop. 21, which would have allowed local governments to expand rent control, it was a good night for free market housing policy.

NEXT: Michigan Voters Demand That Police Get Warrants for Electronic Data

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  1. Wiener is hardly a libertarian. He has, however, been a fierce advocate for repealing the miles of red tape and regulation that have produced California’s housing shortage and the sky-high rents and housing prices that come with it.

    Yeah, I don’t think we’re harboring any illusions about that. Key words: Re-elected/incumbent/60% of the vote.

    So what California essentially did was maintain the status quo instead of speeding up the status quo harder and faster with the socialist candidate.

    It’s depressing when I look at what some call ‘victories’.

    1. It’s also funny what people Reason will pump up for their support in some areas and the ones they won’t who were more supportive in more areas.

      Obviously, for the Kochs, illegal immigration is the only thing that matters.

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      2. It’s not even that in this case for Britschgi, I suspect. It’s that the guy will not with the idea that the epitome of libertarianism is allowing big government to rip apart zoning so that: 1) someone wealthier can drop an 8-plex next to your house, and 2) then have .gov fill it with anyone that can pay, including Section 8 tenants.

        Existing homeowners—for whom, their own is a giant part of their investment strategy—understandably think that sucks.

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      3. “Obviously, for the Kochs, illegal immigration is the only thing that matters.”

        What does that even mean??? Are you completely unaware of their campaigns for criminal justice reform? And a free market? Or that they are pro-choice and pro-gay marriage? They are not perfect, but there is no more libertarian big money source than the Kochs (or Koch, since one of them actually died).

    2. It’s depressing when I look at what some call ‘victories’.

      Yeah – if there’s a “victory” there, it’s in having kept Fielder far from any position of influence, but the fact that she got 40% of the vote is downright scary.

      1. I like how she claimed that the guy was “anti-homless”, presumably making her “pro-homeless”… which is why she’s espousing policies that would make more of them.

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    4. Not another weiner!

  2. Keep pimping the corrupt lying democrat party hacks, reason koch.

  3. Jackie Fielder, an instructor at San Francisco State University and socialist activist

    But you repeat yourself.

    1. No shit. I’ve a relative that went there.

      Stunning apartment at the top of the giant student housing tower at the West end of campus. No kidding, it would have gone for minimum 7 digits, maybe 8, just for the view.

      Absolutely fucking crazy, the low-rent seedy version of U.C. Berkeley.

  4. In California we have to be thankful even for this minor victories. Or as some would put it, speed bumps on the race to the bottom.

    He’s from San Fransisco, which as like, what, sixteen actual Republicans? Even Berkeley across the bay has more Republicans. Serioiusly. So yeah, a Democrat is going to win. It’s essentially a city ordnance that no one is allowed to vote for anyone not Democrat or Green.

    Remember, this is the city that called Gavin Newsome a “reactionary”.

  5. Unmentioned; the glories of an “election” between a democrat and a democrat.
    Sound anything like the one-party “elections” in the USSR?

    1. All these liberal circle jerks in the media. All that’s missing is a concierge to hand out tissues.

    2. Yeah it does sound like those one-party “elections”, but inferior.
      I say inferior because nobody got sent to the gulag after this one. Hopefully, California can improve on this aspect of “democratocracy”.

    3. What’s your point? Should we ship 50% of SF’s progressives out to some heavily conservative rural district, and ship in 50% of the conservatives to replace them? If a district that is 90% progressive offers two progressive candidates, democracy is working the way it should (assuming the converse applies to districts that are 90% conservative).

      1. His point is about the state law that sets things up so that it’s impossible for a republican or libertarian to even get on the *ballot*. I don’t think he’s endorsing shipping people anywhere.

  6. Wiener is hardly a libertarian.

    In other news, Jeffrey Dahmer is hardly a vegetarian.

    1. A grade snark. 100 thumbs up.

    2. He’s had better men than Wiener for breakfast…

      Love that shirt.

      1. So has Weiner, to judge by the disgusting insert-cock-here millenial smile he sports. Goddamn that’s the worst affectation since Oscar Wilde’s Moroccan-taint-leather gloves.

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  8. Now that he’s an imbed, he’ll get bought and give his constituents the Weiner, and yes, in their back yard.

  9. My California district/county actually had Republicans on the ballot. They got about 20 percent of the vote.

    1. The Republican party (or the LP, yeah I am laughing too) need to figure out a way to be competitive on the left coast. They’ve ceded these states to a degree that the Democrats are pretty much insured to have a better than average chance of always winning the mythical popular vote. I don’t know about California, but have many relatives in Washington, and they admit it almost as if there isn’t any reason to go to the polls anymore and the Republicans just run a bunch of place holders with no real shot at winning. And almost no effort to win either.

      1. Personally, looking at last night, it is a way to pull the curtain back and demonstrate that the modern Democratic party is not the party of the little guy or minorities but the party of white, upper class progressives. Pound this message for the next four years. Turn their charges of racism back against them, because I don’t think there is anything to much more racist than white progressives. Every time they scream white privilege, use a modified line from Reagan “there my opponent goes again, saying Blacks/Hispanics can’t get ahead unless white people let them and only he/she as a white person can allow blacks to get ahead”. And everytime they scream systemic racism respond with “you are right there is, and you are the enforcer, insisting only you a white person, are equipped to help blacks, that they can’t get ahead by themselves.’ And then list how progressive policies and SJW policies hurt minorities. Also, promote the growing number of young black and female and hispanic conservative Republicans. Run James again against Whitmer in Michigan. Make Cameron, Haley, and Klacik more prominent in national messaging. Everytime they call Thomas or Scott a racist name call it out. Point it out.

        1. Ooh! Ooh! Can I play? How about also pointing out that they are the party of the billionaires, Big Pharma, Big Tech, Big Climate and the military industrial complex. Also the deeply-unpopular propagandists in the legacy media.Also what can only be called “Big Ed”, which promotes, not better education, but MORE GOVERNMENT-GUARANTEED MONEY for them to spend. (the dazzlingly rapid increases in tuition have gone almost entirely to physical plant (as if campuses weren’t pleasant enough already) and more Admin positions…which are to college presidents as new agencies are to governors. The money has NOT, obviously, gone towards better actual education.)

          That’s the 2020 Dems, they’re half what we used to excoriate the “rich people’s party” (Republicans) for, and half what we used to ridicule the old Soviets for.

      2. The way other businesses would do it would be to study what the customer — in this case the voter — wants, and figure out how to give it to them better. You can’t impose your desires on the customers. See some aspect of the electorate that’s underserved by the other candidates, and thru which you can put together a majority.

  10. This is an outrage.
    America needs more socialists in power if we are to achieve a true utopia like they have in Cuba, North Korea and Venezuela.
    You would’ve thought all that pro-Marxist indoctrination by the teachers in America’s public schools would’ve kicked in by now.

  11. He’s sponsored a number of bills that make it easier for people to build new housing, and harder for local governments to reject it. Wiener’s signature, but ultimately unsuccessful reform this year was S.B. 50, which would have legalized the development of fourplexs statewide, and allowed midrise apartments near job centers and transit stops. That free market-friendly, if not radically Rothbardian, vision is in stark contrast to Fielder’s own much more left-wing housing platform.

    What you call “allowed” actually means “overridden local jurisdictions and local zoning choices”. That’s an illiberal and authoritarian policy, not a “free market-friendly” policy.

    The response to this will be to encumber more homes with CC&Rs that restrict choices that previously were restricted by zoning. I think that’s actually substantially worse.

    1. “The response to this will be to encumber more homes with CC&Rs that restrict choices that previously were restricted by zoning. I think that’s actually substantially worse.”

      Which is exactly what Houston does.

      1. Just not to be misunderstood: I think CCRs are preferable to zoning in principle. However, the outcome of these laws is that people end up subject to state and local zoning and restrictions, and on top of that CCRs.

  12. Oh yay, barely covert socialist wins against overt socialist.

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  16. 40% of Commiefornians openly voted for someone whose party registration itself is still illegal (if someone would hurry up and enforce the damn CCA). The man elected is a pedo apologist, and Reason is trying to make inroads because there’s maybe one policy where we have the same agenda.

    Fucking meme party.

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