New Laws Are Headed Your Way: Gov. Newsom Signs Several Bills Addressing Housing & Economic Development


Last week, CA Gov. Gavin Newsom took major steps in addressing the state’s housing crisis and ensuring its economic growth.  With a myriad of new laws signed into effect, trying to identify the ones most likely to affect your local jurisdiction can be a daunting task.  Having recognized this, RSG read through the newly enacted laws for you and has listed below key ones you need to know about.


  • AB 68, Land use: accessory dwelling units (Ting) - Removes barriers for ADU production by preventing local ordinances from imposing requirements on lot size, dimensions, and parking amongst other factors.  Additionally, it reduces permit processing time down to 60 days.

  • AB 139, Emergency & Transitional Housing Act of 2019 (Quirk-Silva) - Requires local governments ensure an adequate number of sites are zoned to address the “very-low” income housing units required under the local government’s RHNA and the homeless count prior to the housing element planning period.  Additionally, it defines capacity guidelines for emergency shelters and, requires the need for shelters be based on the availability of beds, utilization, and transition out of emergency shelters.



  • AB 116, Local government (Ting) - Revises the requirement that Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts (EIFDs) receive voter approval prior to issuing bonds by removing election and 55% voter approval requirements.  It also specifies that the public financing authority (PFA) consider implementation of the EIFD plan at three public hearings held at least 30 days apart.

  • AB 485, Local government: economic development subsidies (Medina) - Requires local government provide transparency in the granting and duration of subsidies of $100,000 or more for warehouse distribution centers.   Local agencies in conjunction with these companies would be required to inform the public of key deal aspects like job quality, anticipated retention, accountability for falling short of promised retention and details of the subsidy deal before approval.

 Got questions?  If so, RSG is here to help!  To learn more about these new laws and how their implementation can benefit your community, contact RSG Principals Jim Simon at or Tara Matthews at

Join us for the 2019 Housing Legislation Workshop!

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RSG and Goldfarb Lipman LLP are proud to present the 2019 Housing Legislation Workshop. With recently enacted legislation taking effect next year, local governments have been left to navigate these new laws, leading to questions like:

  • How will new legislation affect your jurisdiction’s practices?

  • What will you need to be prepared for when legislation becomes effective on January 1, 2020?

Our housing workshop will provide you with key information that will help you not only ensure you are compliant, but also understand how to utilize new legislation for meeting your community’s affordable housing needs!  Presenters include RSG Principal, Tara Matthews, Goldfarb & Lipman LLP Attorney, Barbara E. Kautz, and RSG Senior Associate, Suzy Kim.

Ms. Matthews is a respected housing expert with more than 15 years of experience focused primarily on all aspects of affordable housing.  She is both Principal and Vice President of RSG, overseeing the firm's Affordable Housing Product Line. As a San Diego Housing Federation Policy Committee Member, Ms. Matthews has been a speaker at the annual San Diego Housing Federation Conference and will be speaking at the 2020 League of City Managers' Conference. 

Ms. Kautz practices in the areas of land use (especially housing-related land use), CEQA compliance, real estate, economic development, fair housing, and affordable housing. Ms. Kautz is a frequent speaker at conferences, including those sponsored by the League of California Cities, American Planning Association, Housing California, an!d Nonprofit Housing Association for Northern California. She is the co-author of Local Government Financing Powers and Sources of Funding in the ABA Legal Guide to Affordable Housing(2005, update 2011) and author of In Defense of Inclusionary Zoning: Successfully Creating Affordable Housing, 36 U.S.F. Law Review 971 (2002).

Ms. Kim has over ten years of experience working in the community development field. While RSG is the cornerstone of her career, she previously worked in the non-profit and public sectors. Ms. Kim's expertise is as broad as the field itself; she regularly works on projects involving affordable housing, relocation, municipal finance, and strategic planning.  

This event is free but seats are limited so RSVP today on our Eventbrite page. 

We hope to see you there!

The Latest Additions to the RSG Team!

RSG is growing! We searched high and low to find talented and innovative individuals who are as passionate about the work we do as we are and we struck gold! Having been successful in our efforts, we would like to introduce you to the newest members of our team.

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Jordan Perez joined RSG in 2019 as a Research Assistant.  Jordan holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics from California State University, Fullerton. He acquired a strong analytical skill set through coursework in economic research methods and cost benefit analysis. Jordan has worked in both the public and private sectors at the Embassy of Canada, the County of Orange, and a tech startup.


Wesley Smith is the newest member of the RSG team. Wesley earned his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Hawaii, as well as a Master of Public Policy degree from USC. He’s gained significant experience via internships at the Hawaii State Senate, San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments, and the Orange County Transportation Authority. As our newest Research Assistant, Wes is ready to help RSG continue building better communities and bolder futures.

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Kyle Westra joined RSG in 2019 as a Research Assistant.  Kyle brings with him a background in housing and economic development research and planning experience. He has performed country wide land-use regulation and home value research as well as local municipal code analysis and research. He embraces a constant search for knowledge and best practices to apply to his projects.

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Katie Blaus joined RSG in late 2018 as the Business and Office Manager.  With a B.A in Communications, Katie’s professional experience spans over 15 years.  Before joining RSG, Katie worked as an Office Manager, Executive Assistant and HR Generalist for a major mortgage firm. During her time in these roles, Katie provided assistance to the CEO and Executives with the management of their practices in a number of areas including employee relations, administrative oversight, licensing, benefits, training and creating policies and procedures. Katie’s professional and academic experience has provided her a strong set of skills that allows her to effectively perform her role at RSG.

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Matthew Pelletier joined RSG in 2019 as a Research Assistant. Matthews holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from the University of California, Riverside. He has acquired a strong analytical skill set through coursework in corporate finance and security analysis.

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Alan Alé joined RSG in 2019 as a Research Assistant.  Alan holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of California, Davis.  His educational background combined with his significant experience in research analysis has provided him with an extensive set of analytical skills that he is able to impart upon each job he assists with. 


Brandon Fender initially joined RSG in 2009 while attending the University of California, Irvine where he earned a BA in Social Ecology.  As a member of numerous project teams, Mr. Fender gained experience in housing administration, economic and market analyses, housing construction and development, municipal finance, and development feasibility.  In 2014, Brandon and his wife opened a small independent craft brewery in Santa Ana. Having spent some time in beer production, retail operations and wholesaling, Brandon returned to RSG in 2019 as an Associate.

Best Practices & Regional Economic Development Initiatives – Discussions from the latest Orange County Economic Development Working Group Meeting

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OCED’s last quarterly meeting featured a discussion with RSG’s President and Principal, Jim Simon, on best practices. Jim facilitated an open discussion with current best practices from members who represent a number of Orange County cities and organizations including the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce, City of Brea, City of Westminster and the U.S. Small Business Administration among others.  Like other fellow attendees, Jim shared one of RSG’s current best practices: creating a nonprofit strategic plan for the City of South Gate to attract non-profits to provide training and capacity building.

The meeting also included a presentation from Aneesh Raman, Senior Advisor of Strategy & External Affairs from the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development.  Mr. Raman discussed the Governor’s upcoming regional economic development initiatives areas of focus which included:

  • Inclusivity: - Focusing on affordable workforce housing and education costs that address geographic inequality.

  • Changing the mental map– having Californians feel like they are a part of and supported by the State.

  • Sustainability – Supporting industry growth through long-term economic development including looking at business attraction, migration and retention.

  • Resiliency - Being better prepared for natural disasters, evaluating historic job creation and planning for what’s next.

If you are interested in learning more about these topics and OCED, please connect on LinkedIn at

RSG Works To Address the Complexities of New Housing Laws

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A recent article published online in The Mercury News brings to light the difficulty in navigating the waters of housing under the 2017 housing bill package. The article titled “State threatens to sue Cupertino over housing  policy” details the City of Cupertino’s struggles to stay compliant with housing obligations in effect under new state law. 

After receiving a warning notice from the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) for a possible lawsuit should  the City fail to  meet the  required housing development  standards, the  City is now faced with  juggling conflicting interests as it finds a way to satisfy residents as well as the  requirements of new legislation.  Recent land development efforts, including one passed under SB 35, have met opposition from some residents.  Should opposed residents prevail in their efforts to thwart pending developments, the City will undoubtedly be in violation of state law and therefore open to a lawsuit from HCD.

Having recognized early on the difficulty cities might find in trying to comply with new housing legislation like SB 35, RSG  created a housing workshop to help explain the complexities of recently passed housing bills, as well as how City’s will best be able to utilize them for the betterment of their communities while meeting compliance.  Along with the legal input of participating law firms, our workshop focuses on some of the following topics:

  • What does the 2017 housing bill package mean for local communities?

  • How to best prepare for the major implications on local planning policies and housing developments.

  • What is the best way forward in meeting compliance and partnering goals as well as what are the penalties for not complying or developing housing?

Along with the input and participation of legal firm Rutan & Tucker, LLP, RSG debuted this workshop at our headquarters for an audience of local communities.We then took the show on the road and earlier this month, presented the workshop with Rutan & Tucker, LLP at the City of La Quinta’s City Hall for surrounding communities. On November 6th, RSG along with legal firm Goldfarb and Lipman, LLC, will be presenting this workshop for local communities in the Bay Area. If you are interested in having RSG present this workshop in your surrounding area, or just have general questions pertaining to the 2017 housing bill package, feel free to reach out to RSG Principals Tara Matthews at or Jim Simon at

League of CA Cities Cocktail Reception - You're Invited!

RSG is co-hosting a Cocktail Reception with Rutan and Tucker and Hilltop Securities! Please stop by and join us on October 17th at 5:00 pm for drinks, food, and fun at the beautiful BO-beau Kitchen in downtown Long Beach.

If you will be attending the League of California Cities Conference taking place October 16-18 in Long Beach, CA, come on by booth 655 to visit with RSG President & Principal Jim Simon and other members of the RSG team!

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SB2 and You!


More updates on Senate Bill 2 (SB2) – the first senate bill of its kind to establish a permanent funding source for affordable housing!  Some of the main purposes of SB2 include accelerating housing production; streamlining the approval of housing development affordable to owner and renter households at all income levels; facilitating housing affordability for lower- and moderate-income households; and promoting projects and programs to meet the local government’s unmet share of regional housing needs allocation.

California requires all local governments effectively plan to meet the housing needs of everyone in the community.  This fact coupled with some of the more distressing numbers that have come out on the number of affordable housing units needed in California counties, helps emphasize the value in SB2 funding.   Year 1 and Year 2 funding could prove to be very helpful in helping to close the gap on the current housing numbers and the number needed in your jurisdiction.

With the deadline to apply for the Year 1 Planning Grants rapidly approaching, here are a few key dates and aspects you need to know:

  • Key Dates – During September 2019, HCD is anticipating releasing the NOFA for Year 2, Permanent Local Housing Allocation for entitlement jurisdictions.  With this, local governments that received an entitlement allocation per the 2017 Federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) formula will be able to see what the eligible award amount will be for their jurisdiction and apply for funding.  November 30, 2019 is the application deadline for Year 1, Planning & Technical Grants.

  • No income restrictions – More often than not, a lot of programs set income thresholds and aim to provide funding for housing needs addressing lower income households below 80% of the AMI.  SB2 Year 2 funding provides funding for both lower and moderate income (80% to 120% AMI) households.

  • Plan ahead – Part of the application process for Year 2, Permanent Local Housing Allocation, requires that jurisdictions submit a plan detailing how the funds will be used for eligible activities.  Applicants should keep this requirement in mind when planning to apply for funding.

To help local jurisdictions understand and navigate SB2, RSG has created a summary table to help identify key elements jurisdictions will need to keep in mind when deciding to apply for Year 1, Year 2 or both year’s funding programs.  And as always, we’re here to help!  If you have any questions regarding SB2 and how it might help your jurisdiction, please feel free to reach out to Irlanda Martinez, Analyst, at

Out & About - Come See RSG at these Upcoming Conferences!

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RSG prides itself on keeping a pulse on the various issues our clients face in their efforts to improve their communities. Part of our doing so involves us attending various conferences so we can be sure to have the most up to date information and resources available to service our clients. Throughout the months of September and October, RSG staff will be attending a number of conferences. To find out where you can catch us out and about, continue reading below.


September 20, 2019 - RSG team members Jim Simon, Principal, Suzy Kim, Senior Associate, and Kyle Westra, Research Assistant, will be in attendance at the 40th Annual Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California’s Annual Housing Conference taking place in San Francisco, CA. Come on by our booth to say hi!


October 10, 2019 – RSG team members Tara Matthews, Principal, Dima Galkin, Associate, and Irlanda Martinez, Analyst, will be in attendance for the San Diego Housing Federation’s Annual Conference being held in San Diego. RSG has a booth, so stop on by!


October 17, 2019 – Stop by our booth and say hi to team members Jim Simon, Principal, Alan Ale, Research Assistant and Jordan Perez, Research Assistant as they attend the League of California Cities Annual Conference & Expo in Long Beach.


October 25, 2019 – Come by our booth and meet team members Tara Matthews, Principal, Dominique Clark, Associate, and Alex Lawrence, Analyst, as they attend the Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing’s Annual Conference in Downtown Los Angeles. 

Let's Do Better With Economic Development Incentives

by Jim Simon

by Jim Simon

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Yesterday, I was fortunate to be the instructor of CALED’s Advanced Certificate course on Business Retention and Expansion, where we spent a full day diving into the purpose, structure, and best practices for retaining businesses.  Studies have demonstrated that roughly 4 out of every 5 new jobs created in a city are a result of existing business growth.  The overwhelming number of businesses that close are not a result of failure, but rather a result of acquisitions, consolidations or other corporate decisions.  Yet, we continue to hear about incentives for new businesses as critical to economic development success.  

I get that, after all, you don’t break out the “big scissors” when a business stays in town for another year, and it would be hardly exciting to run for city council on the record that during your tenure, 99% of the businesses stayed around.  So incentives, particularly financial in terms of rebates, continue to be the area of effort and investment.  Few EDOs talk about the amount spent on business retention versus incentives for recruitment.  From Amazon HQ2 to Foxconn and others, throwing tax dollars at a project seem to be the measure of impact.

As evidenced by the Brookings March 2018 study, these incentives are missing the greater need beyond the project they aim to benefit.  For example, the study found that poor Latino and Black residents were left out of any benefit from the resulting project, that workforce investments for the existing community were rare, and the existing workforce rarely benefited from incentives. Meanwhile, nearly billions are being spent annually by communities across the country under the banner of necessary economic development. 

These sobering realities were startling for our group of 3 dozen economic developers, but rather than simply feeling incentives are not good policy, we need to be seeking much better parity between these incentives and the fundamental purpose for economic development to begin with.  Certainly it’s difficult, particularly where tax revenue growth is often central to the focus for California communities, but I see an opportunity for California to do better.  Irlanda Martinez and I will be back at Fresno State for CALED’s Keys to Local Economic Development course on October 21-24, 2019 where we will look into how communities are getting more results and the best practices that can be employed in your communities.  Hope to see you there!