At New Avenue, recent news has really gotten us thinking about what Labor Day means and how we take care of ourselves and each other here in the US.
At New Avenue, we support working parents, no matter how they parent or how they work.
Assemblymember Buffy Wicks has been making waves with her support of the latest piece of housing legislation to come before the California legislature.
According to California Assembly rules, members for whom Covid-19 poses a significant risk may have someone else vote on their behalf. Because she had given birth in late July, Ms. Wicks requested the opportunity to vote by proxy. Assembly leadership denied that request.
Ms. Wicks was forced to bring her newborn to the capitol, where she worked late into the night, debating SB1120, casting her vote in favor of the bill, and caring for her daughter.
All of this puts a spotlight on two fundamental issues:
1. When it comes to supporting working parents, we have a long way to go.
When American workers become parents, they face tough choices. Whether they continue working as they always have, modify their work situation, or put their careers on hold, finding balance can be incredibly difficult. The consequences of their decisions are often harsher than necessary.
Like many of us, Assemblymember Wicks had two jobs to do: parenting and legislating. In this situation, she could have done both without putting herself and her newborn at risk.
For many businesses, it’s not hard to be both flexible and profitable. At New Avenue, we embrace this with our own designers and contractors. They can join us as employees or independent partners. They can hire a team or work alone. They can work part time or full time from home or an office. They can work on a per-project fee, a salary, or hourly pay.
It’s our job to make the business work for our clients and the people that provide the design and construction services.
Clients get excellent service first, of course, but if a contractor wants to bid jobs, build them, and then head to Mongolia to build schools in the summer like Purev does, we can schedule around that. If someone wants to be an in-house designer who lives in Portland and flies to San Francisco once a month like Sam Sudy does, we work with that. If a designer wants to work from home while maintaining an independent studio like Jeff Rexford and Amy Guiang do, then we make that work.
If anything good can come of Covid, we hope that more people will explore the possibilities and more companies will realize that flexibility is best for everyone.
2. The California housing crisis is still far from over.
As she addressed her fellow lawmakers on the last day of session, Wicks said, “We are 3.5 million homes shy of where we need to be right now in this state…It’s the simplest way we can have density that still adheres to neighborhood character. So please, please, please pass this bill, and I’m going to go finish feeding my daughter.”
The Assembly voted to pass SB1120. Unfortunately, despite the efforts of Assemblymember Wicks and other supporters of housing reform, the bill didn’t make it back to the Senate in time for a vote before the midnight deadline.
SB1120 would have allowed more California homeowners to build additional homes on their properties. Had it passed the Senate and been signed by the governor, many California homeowners would have been permitted to split their properties in half, creating two separate parcels of land.
That would make it more affordable for property owners to build additional homes and either rent them out or sell them, increasing the amount of available housing in the state.
It was an opportunity to further housing reform in California, where new housing is desperately needed.
Working, parenting, housing…it all ties together.
In many ways, the issue of housing accessibility and the challenges of working parents are related. In both arenas, the answer is to remove barriers.
At New Avenue, we support working parents, no matter how they parent or how they work. We recognize that parenting and working at the same time is harder than it needs to be, and we love helping our clients redesign their homes to remove some of the obstacles that get in their way.
We also support making housing more accessible. There are so many ways to do that, and it’s important to tackle the housing crisis on multiple fronts. Although SB1120 ran out of time, this year’s changes to California and Oregon law have made housing better for so many people. We’re headed in the right direction.
Thank you, Assemblymember Wicks. We stand with you.
Want to add an ADU or remodel your home? Your first step is to set up a free call. We’ll answer all your questions and set up a contact-free meeting to get your project started the right way.