Why California Is Suing Its Own Cities

Governing: Not many governors decide to sue a city in their state within a few weeks of taking office. Gavin Newsom, the new Democratic governor of California, however, did just that, signaling his seriousness about addressing the state’s chronic but worsening housing shortage.

Under a 2017 state law, California cities and counties are required to include, as part of their long-term plans, a “housing element for the preservation, improvement and development of housing.” About 10 percent of the cities in the state have failed to do so. With his lawsuit, Newsom went after the biggest of these, Huntington Beach in Orange County, south of Los Angeles.

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