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A major California housing bill failed after opposition from the low-income residents it aimed to help. Here’s how it went wrong

Two weeks before state lawmakers halted a plan to aggressively increase housing production near transit locations across California, dozens rallied outside San Francisco’s City Hall to argue their sides.

When Chinese, Filipina and black tenant activists spoke to fears that expanding housing this way will displace residents of their communities, supporters of the measure drowned out their voices with chants of “Read the bill.”

The scene of predominantly white protesters shouting over people of color fed a criticism that has dogged backers of recent legislative efforts to boost home building. In a twist on the term “NIMBY,” these mostly twenty- and thirtysomethings with white-collar jobs are referred to as “YIMBYs,” or “Yes, in my backyard.” Organizations like these have sprung up across California and the YIMBYs argue their efforts will benefit low-income people of color statewide.

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