Moving toward Universal Health Care in California in 2019.

Democrats had a clean sweep of statewide races in California and almost have a 3 to 1 super-duper-majority in the state legislature.  Politics has evolved rapidly on health care, from “universal health care” being the outlier position, to being the default position of much of the base.

Yes, I do support Medicare-for-All and single-payer.  However, it will likely take a Democratic President, and progressive supermajority in both houses of Congress to pass.  Someday, but obviously with Trump/Pence in the White House and Republicans controlling the Senate, that day politically is not today.

Single-payer is not the only possible pathway to “universal health care”.     The obstacle to enacting single-payer now from a policy perspective is cost.  It is unlikely that the financing would be achievable without a large number of federal waivers I would not expect the California-hostile Trump/Pence administration to give.

Here is an article written by Gabriel Thompson on this issue from Capital & Main that I found interesting:  WAITING FOR GAVIN – Great Expectations: California’s First Steps Toward Universal Health Care

Give it a read and then let me know, can you buy phenergan online buy Tastylia Oral Strip online without prescription What do you think?

State Senator Scott Weiner Revises Bill to Boost Homebuilding Near Transit.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) has revived a major effort to boost homebuilding near transit, a proposal he says is necessary to address the state’s housing affordability and climate change challenges that have only deepened since his initial bill failed earlier this year.

From the article:

Under the new proposal from Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), developers would be allowed to build four- to five-story apartment complexes in neighborhoods surrounding Los Angeles Metro stations, Bay Area Rapid Transit and other rail stops around the state. The legislation would also ease some local restrictions on building homes near frequently used bus stops.

Wiener’s bill follows a similar attempt in the last legislative session that sparked fierce debate over how far the state should impinge on local authorityto shape community development amid a housing shortage that’s been estimated in the millions. The previous attempt died in a legislative committee after outcry from local governments, labor groups and advocates for low-income residents.

“The heart of the bill is really the same,” Wiener said of his new legislation, Senate Bill 50. “We have a 3.5-million-home deficit in California. It’s undermining our economy. It’s undermining our climate goals. We have to be bold in solving this problem.”

Having learned from last year’s failed attempt:

Wiener made three major changes to the bill that aim to soften opposition from tenant groups and their allies that helped torpedo the prior effort. The legislation blocks developers from using the bill if they planned to knock down properties that renters had occupied within at least the previous seven years. It also allows communities facing pressures from gentrification and displacement to propose alternative plans to boost homebuilding instead of using the system outlined in the bill. And it loosens local zoning restrictions in communities with high median incomes, quality schools and short commutes to jobs, even if there isn’t access to transit nearby — an effort to push development into wealthier areas that might have previously resisted it.

I think California Senate Bill 50 is an idea who time is long overdue.  We have a huge housing shortage, and we already having increasing density.  We just don’t have smart density.  Putting new apartment developments near rail stops just makes common sense.  There is no going back to the low density, sprawl of the 1970’s.  We can only move forward.  Let’s do so smartly.

What do you think?

Is It Time to Repeal Article 34?

Now that California Democrats have a super-duper majority of three-to-one in the state legislature, and hold every statewide elected office, after their most successful election since the 19th Century, the question now turns to what will they do with that majority to try and solve California’s public policy problems.  This blog will look at the changing transportation landscape, the evolution towards universal health care, and how we solve our seemingly intractable housing/homelessness problems.

We need a lot more supply of affordable housing at all income levels.  We all sort of intuitively get that.  The issue tends to become one of NIMBY-ism.  “Build it, but not near me.”  I usually ask the follow-up question, “would you rather have people homeless camped out near you, or living in safe, affordable housing?” The premise of this blog is that we already have the increasing density, we just don’t have the affordable housing and transportation to accommodate it.  So let’s find solutions together.

One solution I saw today was a bill introduced by State Senators Ben Allen (D-Los Angeles Westside/Beaches) and Scott Weiner (San Francisco) that would repeal Article 34 of the California State Constitution.

St. Sen. Allen’s tweet seems mild enough.  St. Sen. Wiener used much stronger language:

Keeping out “poor, non-white people” sounds like something NIMBYs would want to do.  However, repealing Article 34 as I currently understand it would only lift the ban so that cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco with a large number of people who are poor or housing insecure can build new low-rent housing without having to go to an election for every project.  This doesn’t remove accountability because local governments are still be accountable to their voters.

To me, at first glance, repealing Article 34 and getting rid of this particular block to low-rent housing sounds like a good idea.  What do you think?