The Two Hundred
The Two Hundred, a project sponsored by California Community Builders, is a statewide coalition of minority community leaders, veteran civil rights leaders, homeownership advocates, businesspeople, and former-elected officials, organized to abate poverty and close the growing racial wealth gap through homeownership in California.
Prior to The Two Hundred, there was not any cohesive statewide voice to advocate for homeownership for low and moderate income communities of color.
The racial wealth gap divide was dramatically increased, following the Great Depression, by the Federal home loan programs and redlining practices that discriminated against people of color. The gap was further widened by the catastrophic economic impact of the Great Recession, when millions of Americans, especially households of color, lost their homes and what little equity they owned.
The Two Hundred also advocates for millennials and Generation Z who are saddled with large student debt, and high rents due to the shortage of housing stock and, particularly, affordable housing.
The Two Hundred Leadership Council is an assembly of veterans of the civil rights and social justice movements. The Two Hundred leadership brings a unique combination of experience that include: grassroots organizing, intricate knowledge of the levers of power and how to engage them; policy advocacy; and proven ability to work with diverse populations; experience with the inner workings of bureaucracy and institutions and the respect that comes with a lifetime commitment to social justice.
When diplomacy fails, civil lawsuits prevail
The Two Hundred has initiated three lawsuits to address state agency abuse of
environmental and climate laws to worsen our housing crisis, and make homeownership
an ever more distant dream for California’s communities of color, millennials, and
generation Z. This abuse began under former Governor Jerry Brown, who’s appointees
to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) adopted a destructive climate change
metric that counts departing California families as helping reduce California’s
greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions even when families moved to Texas which has per
person GHG emissions that are nearly triple California’s! Instead of respecting the right
of California’s communities of color and working Californians to own a home and gain
the multi-generational wealth that the overwhelming white leadership and staff of CARB
has long taken for granted. CARB’s ongoing bias was also revealed in summer 2020
when a group of Black employees sent an open letter to CARB decrying the agency’s
ongoing racism. The 200, along with other civil rights organizations including the
California Chapter of the National Association of Colored People (NAACP), demands
climate equity. Instead of relentlessly increasing home prices and making it even easier
for anyone to file an anonymous lawsuit to block new housing, Governor Brown’s
climate leaders are content to force California families to buy homes they can afford in
other states even though it worsens global climate change. The Two Hundred’s
litigation actions include:
The Two Hundred v. California Air Resources Board (CARB) challenges four anti-
housing measures that dramatically increase new housing costs. CARB introduced the
four anti-housing measures in 2017 to enhance California Environmental Quality Act
CEQA) guidelines. The Federal and State Fair Housing laws prohibit government
actions that result in discrimination.
Status: The litigation on the four anti-housing measures continues after a ten-
month delay due to COVID 19 and is now focused on reviewing evidence from
the PRA lawsuit.
Public Records Act (PRA)
The Two Hundred v. California Transportation Agency, Office of Planning and
Research, Natural Resources Agency, Strategic Growth Council, and California EPA
forces these agencies to disclose documents showing whether they colluded with CARB
to make it more expensive and challenging to build desperately needed new homes.
Status: The 200 won this Public Records Act lawsuit in September of 2020 but
legal fees for the plaintiff have not been settled.
Results: The documents received demonstrate zero awareness or concern for
the state’s massive housing crisis, and zero references to the racial wealth gap
and homeownership, confirming again that environmental elites in racially biased
organizations such as CARB pursue their costly and discriminatory agenda in
blatant disregard for civil rights and equity.
Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT)
The Two Hundred v. Office of Planning & Research challenges regulations adopted by
OPR to implement CARB’s unlawful anti-housing measures to expand the California
Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to prohibit the act of driving one mile. The act of
driving constitutes an “environmental impact” caused by the residents of any newly
constructed home or apartment, even if those residents drive exactly as much as their
pre-existing next door neighbors. The added cost (mitigation fees) will be $40,000 –
$400,000 per housing unit, depending on the driving distance to work.
Status: The hearing was delayed by COVID 19, and the defendant successfully
changed the venue from San Bernardino to Sacramento County, causing further
delays. The judge, in late January 2021, ordered the plaintiff (The 200) to amend
the complaint since the San Bernardino facts and cause are no longer relevant.