Advocates say canceling rent, mortgage payments during pandemic more helpful than delay of payment

By Lisa Deaderick : sandiegouniontribune – excerpt

San Diego Rent Strike 2020 is one local organization advocating for the cancellation of rent and mortgage payments during the COVID-19 pandemic

While the moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 pandemic provided initial relief, the question of how to pay that back rent continues to hover. If the work environment we were once familiar with remains unsafe, and people can’t rely on the one-time stimulus check or unemployment benefits to cover all of their necessities, the likelihood that most people can afford to pay even one month of these delayed payments is pretty low.

One part of the response to the looming accumulation of this kind of debt has been to protest for the cancellation of rent and mortgage payments during the pandemic. Not a hold or suspension that requires the missed payments to be made later, but an outright cancellation of having to make those payments at all…(more)

Column: Housing debate needs to get facts straight

By Michael Smolens : sandiegouniontribune – excerpt

California needs more housing, no question. But how much housing the state actually needs is a big question.

As a candidate and then governor, Gavin Newsom repeatedly said that the state needed 3.5 million additional homes by 2025. That figure became something of an article of faith and helped drive the debate over what the state needed to do to reach that goal.

Disputed legislation was pushed that would strip local governments of some control over land development to encourage greater housing density everywhere — from heavily-trafficked transit corridors to single-family-home neighborhoods.

A study released in August not only raises doubts about that 3.5 million figure, but says the actual need is more like 1.5 million housing units. That’s still a lot, but if it becomes part of the ongoing debate, the lower figure could potentially change the political dynamics surrounding it… (more)

A lot of figures used in future growth projections were based on assumptions that California should expect a steady growth in the economy based on the high tech industry and a robust world economy. Given the number of citizens leaving the state, and the decline in small businesses and traditional jobs, and the current decline in immigrants and seasonal workers, it is important to consider a less robust growth in population than was originally projected. That would mean a lot less demand for the high-end housing that has driven the rush to build more dense housing. Recent votes against higher taxes are also a cause for alarm to those who anticipate a non-ending source of capital for public infrastructure projects. The political appetite for growth and density is declining as social problems take center stage and greed and corruption are exposed. We need new leadership to take the stage, put away the twenty year plans, and deal with today’s reality.

National Trends Organic Urbanism is the Cure for New Urbanism By Douglas Newby : newgeography – excerpt

Organic Urbanism is the Cure for New Urbanism

By Douglas Newby : newgeography – excerpt

The New Normal. Who needs trees when you can have cranes and 100’s of thousands of new neighbors?

New Urbanism is like a virus. For 50 years it keeps coming back in mutated forms. It needs a cure.

First, the only thing new in New Urbanism is the new construction that tears down the organic city. A form of New Urbanism has been around for 50 years. Like I said, it is a virus that keeps coming back in mutated forms. But the scheme, of more density, new mixed-use construction, and fixed rail transit, replacing existing homes remains constant. The desire of planners to determine where you live and where you work also remains constant. New urbanists increasingly do not like single family homes, which most Americans prefer… (more)

Google plans to add tens of thousands of new jobs as it expands in 14 states

Edward C. Baig : usatoday – excerpt

Want a job at Google?

Google plans to hire tens of thousands of employees across the U.S. this year, through investments in new data centers and offices. CEO Sundar Pichai announced Google’s plans in a blog post Wednesday.

According to Pichai, Google’s investment of more than $13 billion in 2019 will lead to major expansion in 14 states and also create more than 10,000 new construction jobs in Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

“These new investments will give us the capacity to hire tens of thousands of employees, and enable the creation of more than 10,000 new construction jobs,” he posted… (more)

Good news for the over-saturated cities in SF Bay who have had to take all the growing pains of rapidly (or is that rabidly) expanding tech firms. Good idea for them to grow elsewhere for a while.

California Lawmakers Push for Oversight of Delta Tunnels Project

By Nick Cahill : courthousenews – excerpt

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) – A group of Northern California lawmakers seeking more sway over a mammoth $17 billion water project introduced a proposal Friday that would require new construction contracts to be reviewed by the Legislature.

The Legislative Delta Caucus says because of the scope of the California WaterFix, the project should require more scrutiny from both the public and lawmakers now that former Gov. Jerry Brown has left office.

Brown fiercely advocated for the expensive public works project that he and supporters believe will both update the state’s aging water delivery infrastructure and protect it against sea level rise and other effects of climate change. Also known as the Delta Tunnels, the project calls for two 30-mile tunnels that would funnel water around the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to aqueducts that supply farmers and cities farther south.

State Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, believes his proposal will shed new light on the “flawed” project that environmental groups bitterly oppose….

Senate Bill 204 would require the state agencies in charge of WaterFix, namely the state Department of Water Resources, to submit information about pending contracts with private companies to the Legislature before finalizing deals…

Democratic Assemblyman Jim Frazier, whose district covers parts of the delta, called SB 204 a “common-sense, good-government bill.”. (more)

 

Gov. Newsom must mop up Brown’s water mess

By Jonas Minton : secbee – excerpt

Despite many high priority issues on his plate, one of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first tests will be how he deals with California’s water challenges and opportunities. Unfortunately, in the last days of his term Gov. Jerry Brown made a bad bargain with the Trump administration and special interests. It’s yet another mess for the new governor to mop up…

Despite many high priority issues on his plate, one of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first tests will be how he deals with California’s water challenges and opportunities. Unfortunately, in the last days of his term Gov. Jerry Brown made a bad bargain with the Trump administration and special interests. It’s yet another mess for the new governor to mop up…

During his last month, Brown quietly signed an agreement with the Trump administration to transfer water from Southern California and portions of the Bay Area to corporate farms in the San Joaquin Valley. In return, the Trump administration dropped its threatened opposition to Brown’s legacy project — the massive tunnels that would divert water from the San Francisco Bay Delta. This was done with no public notice, hearing or environmental analysis…

Scientists have concluded that the effects of this closed-door deal are likely to cause the extinction of multiple California fish species. As a result, there are already over 20 lawsuits from water districts, farmers and environmentalists… (more)

 

 

Building Opportunity: Mapping Gentrification and Investment across Opportunity Zones

By Eric Willett, Vice President, and Brett Dunlavey, Analyst : rclco – excerpt

Among the more controversial aspects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was the designation of certain parcels of land as “Opportunity Zones,” which would allow investors to defer or completely waive all capital gains taxes on qualified investments in these areas.[1] While regulations for opportunity zone investments have yet to be wholly finalized, real estate investors have amassed sizable amounts of private capital to target commercial real estate within these geographies.

Given the significant attention and capital this investment strategy has already attracted, we set out to identify the census tracts that had most gentrified in recent years, and therefore would most likely become the target of Opportunity Zone investment. Our analysis quantifies changes in real estate investment, household income levels, and associated demographic characteristics[2] to build a Gentrification Index that is then applied to every Opportunity Zone in the 25 largest metro areas. Our analysis finds that there are a number of quickly gentrifying qualified Opportunity Zones, some with tens of thousands of multifamily units to be delivered over the next several years.

Read through our key findings below, or use the interactive dashboard to explore the Opportunity Zones in your city that have gentrified the most…(more)

 

Guest opinion: Battle for the soul of Mountain View

by Lenny Siegel : mv-voice – excerpt

New housing shouldn’t displace residents

There is a battle underway for the soul of Mountain View. For decades the Mountain View community has treasured diversity. We have long accepted people regardless of ethnic background, political or religious beliefs, or economic condition. In turn, they have helped build our community, performing jobs that we all need.

But the fabric that holds Mountain View together is at risk. Our extraordinary economic growth is causing gentrification and the displacement of many low- and middle-income residents. When we turn a blind eye, we lose part of our soul as a community…

We do need new housing in Mountain View, but we don’t have to displace people to build it. The city is encouraging both apartment and ownership housing construction on land that is currently in commercial use. We can’t legally force the owners of old apartments to stay in business, but we can eliminate their incentive to demolish by denying redevelopments that displace low- and moderate-income tenants…

If you value our apartment dwellers, vehicle residents, and mobile-home owners, please join me in signing the Soul of Mountain View petition at http://chng.it/TC7SFb4tPD. The soul of our community is at stake… (more)

‘Incentive to create havoc’: Self-driving cars set to turn streets into gridlocked hell – study

RT – excerpt

Driverless cars could spark a gridlock nightmare to avoid paying for parking, a new study warns. Autonomous vehicles could even gang up to create traffic delays, allowing them to continuously cruise around instead of park.

The idea sounds like a smart one: Avoid ever having to pay for parking by getting your car to simply continue to drive around the block until you’re ready to take off again. However, this seemingly savvy hack could turn our urban streets into traffic-clogged hellscapes, roads flooded with driverless cars, making it a challenge to actually get anywhere…(more)

Major Regional Housing Plan – CASA Compact discussion on KQED Forum

Re: KQED Forum on CASA (audio track included)Monday at 9:00 am

Host: Rachael Myrow and Guests: Susan Kirsch, Founder, Livable California;
Michael Covarrubias, CASA Co-Chair, CEO, TMG Partners and Guy Marzorati, reporter, KQED’s California Politics and Government Desk.

See https://www.kqed.org/forum/2010101869236/major-housing-plan-gets-approval-from-mtc-association-of-bay-area-governments

Who will pay for the CASA Compact programs if they are implemented? Who will finance a new regional development organization composed of unelected officials with authority to collecting new taxes? It feels as if the major theme is to use our taxes against us to create a dense living situation that we oppose.

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