Op-Ed: Don't Promise to Not Be Racist, Says League of California Cities
Long ago in the ancient days of 2013, The League of Cities published a useful manual: “How to Hide Your Segregation,” or as they put it, “Housing Elements: Beware of What You Promise.” In it, The League offers important advice on how to not get caught when your policies have widespread discriminatory impacts on protected classes of people. The League of Cities is a membership organization of many California cities and towns that lobbies the state and federal government, generally for greater... more
Scene Report: Los Angeles Affordability Threatened by Measure S
If you thought classism, racism, and an overall I-got-mine NIMBY mentality couldn’t get any worse in coastal California, Measure S should have you thinking again. The so-called “Neighborhood Integrity Initiative” brings staunch Trumpism to the nation’s most populous and diverse metropolitan area in an effort to bring an unpredictably vast majority of new development to a halt. Measure S is framed rather innocuously as a “Temporary Moratorium [That] Stops Council Approvals of Projects that... more
Wiener Proposal Brings Teeth to State Housing Goals
State Senator Scott Wiener (D – San Francisco) announced further details today on SB-35, his proposed “Housing Accountability and Affordability Act.” The bill aims to streamline and incentivize infill housing development to ease the state’s housing shortage, and mend the flaws that stalled similar efforts by Governor Jerry Brown last summer. Central to Wiener’s proposal is enabling California to enforce compliance with individual cities’ Regional Housing Need Allocation (RHNA), which the... more
State Agencies Weigh In on Housing and Mobility
California’s high housing costs are central to the state’s struggle with growing economic inequality. As state agencies analyze the causes and impacts of the chronic urban housing shortage, analysts have also begun zeroing in on the unique manifestations of the current widening income gap. Yesterday, the Legislative Analyst’s Office released a report titled “Income Mobility in California Across Generations,“ illustrating a variety of characteristics underpinning California’s unique status as... more
Chiu Seeks Additional Housing Funds by Ending Real-Estate Tax Benefit
Californians eager to see additional funds for low-income housing may soon see relief from a proposal to fund such programs with additional tax revenue levied on those with significant real estate assets. Specifically, Assemblymember David Chiu (D – San Francisco) has proposed ending the state’s mortgage interest deduction for owners with a second home. Chiu’s bill, AB 71, would direct new revenue to fund existing tax credits for the construction of low-income housing. Dubbed the Bring... more
Editorial: Prop 13, or, California's Progressive Blindspot Illuminated
In 1979, California voters passed Proposition 13. This locked in property tax rates at a maximum rate of 1% of its assessed value, which can change at most 2% per year. Most voters (in the counties labeled green above) hoped to protect homeowners from the market volatility of their own equity values, preventing foreclosures that could occur if tax assessments became more than their incomes could bear. Sounds good, right? As it turns out, the ballot measure legislated a de facto caste system... more
Former LA Mayor Villaraigosa Announces Run for Governor
Former Mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa announced today that he would be running for Governor of California in 2018. The candidate will be facing steep opposition in a crowded race that will include current Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, State Treasurer John Chiang, and former schools superintendent Delaine Eastin. Raised by a single mother in Boyle Heights, Villaraigosa served for two terms as the first Latino mayor of Los Angeles from 2005 to 2013. During his mayoralty, Los Angeles... more
LAO Says Coastal Housing Shortage Hurts California Workers
The Legislative Analyst Office’s is back with more findings on the impact of high housing costs, this time in relation to workers, job opportunity, and economic mobility. According to LAO, California used to be a place where economic opportunity was shared across the state. Areas with lots of good jobs also had plentiful housing, so low-income workers could move to those places and access better, higher-paying jobs. Between 1940 and 1960, the state experienced a “convergence” of income,... more
Four Decades Later, LAO Analyzes Impacts of Prop 13
Last week, the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) issued a report on California’s Proposition 13, a 1979 ballot measure limiting property taxes. The independent agency studied its effects on homeownership, tax revenue, and local government land use decisions nearly four decades after its passage. Prop 13’s stated purpose was to bring property tax relief for homeowners. According to the LAO study, Prop 13 did have this effect for some homeowners, while increasing costs for other households.... more
Granny Flat Law May Ease State's Housing Woes
As the legislative session came to an end this past Monday, one important housing law that made it past the Senate was SB 1069, a bill that would ease local requirements on “granny” or Accessory Dwelling Units. Presently, local governments can impose a number of restrictions on granny-units, including requirements related to parking, setbacks, and installation of utility connections, hurdles that often prove too costly or onerous for primary unit owners to implement. By prohibiting these... more