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?