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Everybody Talks About California’s Housing Crisis, But Nobody Will Solve It

There isn’t a politician, economist, social justice advocate or journalist who hasn’t viewed with alarm the unrelenting climb in housing prices and rents, the dwindling supply of affordable housing, and the promise of homeownership receding out of grasp for young or middle-class residents.

For the past decade, state leaders have rejected any significant actions to increase the affordability or supply of housing yet have allowed new mandates to increase costs.

The consequence has been the construction of a fraction of the new residences California needs to fight poverty and income inequality. And soon it may mean hundreds of thousands of dollars of new fees on new construction throughout the state.

As sure as sunrise, elected leaders in Sacramento will turn down time- and money-saving reforms to build new housing, whether for sale, rent, or even subsidized shelter:

  • A bill to streamline upzoning of underused or obsolete commercial and retail properties for affordable housing could not get a vote in its first committee.
  • A proposal to prevent new local regulations or fees on housing projects if they would have discriminatory impacts on protected classes of Californians was quietly stricken.
  • Legislators rejected a requirement that a government agency charging an impact fee demonstrate that the amount of the fee is roughly proportional to the impact of the development.

None of these proposals would have prevented legitimate environmental analysis or litigation over development projects, none would have stopped fees from being assessed for legitimate public services, and none would have interfered with legitimate local government land use authority.  More

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