Political Punch: Hard times away from California’s coast are a problem for politicians

By John Wildermuth : sfchronicle – excerpt (via email)

The state’s latest employment figures are chock full of good news for the Bay Area and Southern California, but bring more of the same dismal message to the Central Valley.
That could be worrisome for a pair of Democrats who swept into Congress in November on the nationwide blue wave and now have to show voters they can provide the local help that’s desperately needed.
Rep. T.J. Cox of Bakersfield finds his district at very bottom of the state’s jobs well, with an 11 percent unemployment rate in February that was the highest of any of California’s 53 congressional districts. Rep. Josh Harder’s Modesto-area district is also hurting, at 6.8 percent. Both are much higher than California’s overall 4.2 percent.
They’re not alone, and it’s not just a Democratic problem. Of the 10 congressional districts with the highest unemployment rates, seven are in the Central Valley. They include the homes of Tulare Republican Rep. Devin Nunes at 8.6 percent and Rep. Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, the House GOP leader, at 8.2 percent.
It’s a simple fact of economic life in California, said Rob Lapsley, president of the California Business Roundtable, which produces a monthly report on the state’s employment figures.
“From the counties where you can’t see the ocean, it’s high unemployment and a completely different job picture” than along the coast, he said.

The new numbers reinforce that picture. Five Bay Area districts sport the state’s lowest unemployment numbers, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco district at 2.3 percent. The next five are all in coastal Southern California.
That’s great news for three Southern California Democrats who flipped GOP-held congressional seats in November. Reps. Mike Levin of Oceanside (San Diego County), Katie Porter of Irvine (Orange County) and Harley Rouda of Newport Beach (Orange County) all represent prosperous, job-heavy areas where the unemployment rate now is 2.8 percent or lower. That gives them one less thing to worry about in their 2020 re-election campaigns.
The geography of the jobs’ gap also shows up in the Legislature. The state’s lowest unemployment rates are seen in Democratic state Sen. Jerry Hill’s Peninsula district (2.1 percent) and in San Mateo Democratic Assemblyman Kevin Mullin’s (2.0 percent).
On the wrong end of the job scale? It’s a pair of Central Valley Democrats, state Sen. Melissa Hurtado of Sanger (Fresno County) at 12.2 percent and Assemblyman Rudy Salas of Bakersfield at 11.2 percent… (more)

There is no reason to continue to pour more money and jobs onto the coast that is struggling to keep up with the increase in jobs and housing when there are vast amounts of land, housing and labor inland that has recieved none of the attention from the high tech firms, or financing for badly needed medical and educational facilities. Send the jobs to the workers and the housing. Quit pouring more inot the coast citiees.

Editorial: Amazon HQ2 fiasco carries lessons for Bay Area

themercurynews – excerpt

It’s imperative that communities and tech firms build healthy relationships and work together to resolve differences…

The Bay Area and the tech industry have much to learn from Amazon’s New York headquarters debacle, which ended last week when the tech giant backed out of the deal to put its HQ2 in Queens.

The main lesson: When it comes to major developments of this nature, it’s all about relationships. Especially in an era when housing costs are spinning out of control…

Google has already agreed to be a full partner in building the city’s long-desired transit village in the Diridon Station area. If all continues as planned, the area will be a gathering place for all, with a mixture of retail, entertainment, public spaces and housing that will benefit the entire community. Google has also agreed in principle to a package of community benefits that will include affordable housing.

It’s still possible that the relationship could unravel. Nearly 200 protesters jammed City Hall and eight were arrested when the City Council approved the sale of more than $100 million in land to Google in December. Critics fear the project will push vulnerable people out of the city. It will be important that Google and the City Council continue to engage the community as they try to reach agreement on the specifics of what the community benefits package should include.

As with any relationship, expect disagreements. How issues that arise are approached will make all the difference. Amazon and New York City provided a model for how to make a worthy project turn into a full-blown debacle…(more)

Anyone for storming the gates?

 

Marin doesn’t deserve criticism from Sacramento

By Dick Spotswood : marinij – excerpt

Marin-bashing is a popular state Capitol pastime. Look at criticism Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-Greenbrae, endured when he passed legislation defining Marin as — are you ready for this — “suburban” instead of “urban.”

It’s a politically risk-free avocation for glib legislators of both parties whose constituents resent prosperous coastal suburbs in general, and Marin in particular.

An IJ reader suggested a 2016 article by journalist Scott Lucas in the real estate industry news site Curbed-San Francisco. It explained that much of the “housing crisis” lies with planning policies pursued by San Francisco and metro San Jose. Those booming areas successfully lured tax-producing industries without matching them with housing for new workers.

Lucas repeats that “regional planners ought to manage growth to achieve an appropriate ratio (between) housing units and jobs.”

This jobs-housing balance is held out as a planning ideal based on the notion that “cities where the jobs are ought to have housing too.”

The term refers to the ratio of employment opportunities and population in specific places. It illuminates what generates commuter traffic congestion.

It’s a difficult-to-achieve goal. Due to economics and lifestyle choices many humans ignore planners’ command to live close to jobs.

It emerges that at the bottom of the pile of jurisdictions with far more jobs than housing is San Francisco, go-go growth San Jose and San Mateo County.

Which counties are doing the best balancing housing and jobs?

The answer will shock Marin bashers: Marin and Sonoma… (more)

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