Marin IJ Readers’ Forum for Dec. 18, 2021


December 17, 2021 at 12:16 p.m.

Here are five ideas how city, county and state officials should handle state housing mandates.

First, address the heart of the problem. Secure anti-speculation legislation to stop the “Blackstones” of the world. Instead of giving investors/developers the right to city planning and the right to take ownership of single-family homes and neighborhoods for their investment portfolio, demand legislation that gives safeguards.

Second, get to the core of the issue: People can’t afford housing because they don’t have the money. Secure economic legislation that addresses the disparity between the uber-rich and the growing hordes of impoverished. Eliminate tax breaks for the rich and the corporate practice of off-loading expenses to increase profits.

Third, insist the state restore funds for subsidized housing.

Fourth, replace the lament, “our hands are tied” with legal action and dismantle the power of regional agencies like the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

Fifth, sign the Our Neighborhood Voices Initiative petition.

Our housing dilemma is based on a history of faulty assumptions and inaccurate numbers. Here are a few:

  • Cities don’t build housing, but the state intends to punish cities with hefty fines if builders don’t build to meet mandates.
  • Increased density increases land value that increases housing prices. Legislation is driving up housing costs.
  • Communities strive to provide “affordable” housing, but high land value makes it impossible. If a city doesn’t meet the state’s assigned quota, Senate Bill 35 will kick in, allowing developers to build more market-rate housing.
  • The housing crisis is based on false claims that we need 3.5 million new homes. Studies show that is off by about 2 million.
  • The allocations are unrealistic and unattainable. The Embarcadero Institute reveals some double counting, but the report has been ignored.

When people know, they care. Get involved and make a difference. Join

— Susan Kirsch, Mill Valley