“Our goal has always been for Huntington Beach to amend its housing plan to allow for more housing,” a Newsom spokesman responded in an email. “The governor supports and encourages all efforts to help the city come into compliance with state housing law, and the state will gladly drop its lawsuit once it does so.”
Petrie-Norris and fellow Democratic state Sen. Tom Umberg, whose district also includes the city, each won traditionally Republican seats by relatively narrow margins, coasting on the "blue wave" that crested over Orange County. Voter registration in Huntington Beach is 40 percent Republican and 28 percent Democratic, and its local government and state legislators historically have tilted conservative.
The city has sued the Democrat-dominated state at least twice in two years: once challenging California’s "sanctuary state" law limiting local involvement in federal immigration enforcement, and again attempting to overturn another state housing law that bypasses city approval.
Having Democrats such as Petrie-Norris and Umberg represent the city could make a deal to end the lawsuit more likely, given that their legislators, governor and attorney general are all members of the same political party. But any compromise could still face opposition from those who want less local control over housing policy.
Petrie-Norris said she’s heard a mix of opinions from her constituents about Newsom’s lawsuit. But what she hears most is, “Why us?”
“There are those people that feel that Huntington Beach has been unfairly singled out, while cities like Marin are in as bad a situation as Huntington Beach,” Petrie-Norris said.
The county of Marin, of course, was the longtime home of Gov. Newsom and has served as a slow-growth poster child for decades.
At the very least, Petrie-Norris said, she would have appreciated more of a heads-up that the lawsuit was coming.
The governor’s announcement “was not handled in the spirit of collaboration that I hope we can manage going forward,” she said.