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beyond blue
Barack Obama and Jerry Brown Get It Right on Zoning
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  • Andrew Allison

    I understand why the developers are happy, but I’m not sure that “cramming” unwanted development can be described as a “free market principle”.

    • CaliforniaStark

      In California coastal cities, a substantial amount of the development being built is high end, luxury housing. Often it replaces older, more affordable housing with about the same unit count. The developers in question, who are often major political donors, often receive all sorts of financial incentives and in many cases actual subsidies. This is not about free market principles; it is a form of crony capitalism, under the guise of being socially progressive.

      • Andrew Allison

        This is, in general, simply not the case. Teardowns represent a relatively small portion of the market. Luxury housing is typically greenfield development, i.e., takes over open space. I have lived in CA for almost 50 years (five of them on the City Council of an affluent Bay Area community), and on the Central Coast for 25, and know whereof I speak). The subsidies developers receive in exchange for their “influence” largely take the form of avoided infrastructure costs (traffic, water, schools, etc.). The Brown/Obama agenda is to cram additional, non-conforming to local ordinances, housing into neighborhoods that don’t want further development.

        • CaliforniaStark

          Am referring to urban coastal Southern California, where most vacant land has already been developed. However, the shift away from greenfield development to redevelopment in urban areas is happening statewide, a result of recent state mandates. I respect your past land-use background; however, over past five years the land-use laws you are familiar with have been radically changed to limit sprawl and encourage urban redevelopment and increased density.

          As Joel Kotkin articulately stated in an article entitled “California Wages War on Single Family Homes.”

          ‘In California, the assault on the house has gained official sanction. Once the heartland of the American dream, the Golden State has begun implementing new planning laws designed to combat global warming. These draconian measures could lead to a ban on the construction of private residences, particularly on the suburban fringe. The new legislation’s goal is to cram future generations of Californians into multi-family apartment buildings, turning them from car-driving suburbanites into strap-hanging urbanistas.”

          http://www.forbes.com/sites/joelkotkin/2011/07/26/california-wages-war-on-single-family-homes/#48e2da72c193

          A prime example of the effects of these new policies took place in November 2015, when the California Supreme Court blocked a large 20,000 unit new development in the Santa Clarita Valley named Newhall Ranch, based in part on the EIR for the project not sufficiently taking into account the greenhouse gas impacts of its sprawl.

          • Andrew Allison

            It was “In California coastal cities, a substantial amount of the development being built is high end, luxury housing. Often it replaces older, more affordable housing with about the same unit count.” with which I disagreed. You’ve now correctly identified the real problem.

  • PKCasimir

    The Federal Government should have absolutely no role in city zoning ordinances. Neither should the Governor of a state. Especially when the President and the Governor are “Mr. Clueless” and “Governor Moonbeam.”

    • Jim__L

      Subsidiarity is the way to go, definitely.

  • FriendlyGoat

    Maybe we should start by stipulating that zoning, rent control, professional guilds, occupational licensing, public sector unions and higher education accreditation are, while imperfect, traceably helping real people while “gravely” harming imaginary people. There are merits to some arguments against these things, and there are merits to the arguments on why all these things were started. This piece just looks like a poor excuse to gripe about the so-called blue model—–AGAIN—-for no edification to the readers.

    • Anthony

      Garry Wills (off topic but politically relevant) is not a politician nor a partisan and has scholarly written about U.S. history. So, I find his “correlative objective” argument worth recommending: http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2016/06/29/trump-eliot-objective-correlative-haters-for-all-seasons/

      • FriendlyGoat

        Thanks. Garry reports that 66% of Trump supporters in a poll believe that President Obama is a Muslim. This—–after nearly nine years that people have seen and “known” him as a public person. Never mind that he does not observe Islam in any respect whatsoever, that it would be entirely inconsistent with his marriage to Michelle, with his many years in Reverend Wright’s church, with his life in high school, colleges, Chicago politics and with his two books.
        The only answer to the Trump supporters is for them do be defeated in a national election. None of them are going to somehow magically get either sense or honesty.

        • Anthony

          Disenchantment extends to Hillary and Trump and for many Americans our politics and governing appears inadequate (though aren’t we citizens partly to blame). Indeed, we have trouble meeting a consensus about “what to do” – the campaign thus far has centered around character more than ideas (legitimate and doable policy). But, I think you’re right. Most importantly, politics is about conflict and we (United States) are embroiled in conflict which amplifies the extremes – “the center sags and paralysis prevails” (is this accidental).

          Relatedly, Steven Pinker in his book “The Better Angels of Our Nature” (chapter on Inner Demons) references the American Psychiatric Association profile: “a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and a lack of empathy (disregard for and violation of the rights of others – black and white thinking)….But the trio of symptoms at core are grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy – which may reveal their obviousness at mass rallies.” An around about answer to your query perhaps.

          • FriendlyGoat

            We need to move the campaign off of the “character” of Trump or Hillary and onto the policy consequences of Trump or Clinton. We on the left can be assured we are the ONLY ones who will want to do that.
            Why? Because we aren’t that proud of Mrs. Clinton? No, because a clear articulation of issues and consequences favors “left” and does not favor “right”.

          • Anthony

            No disagreement from me FG. You engaged it well on “Letter” at another thread. Cutting through the polemics beyond this site daily is where the work is. Dr. Ropke’s comment brought to my attention the inanity of shallow…

          • FriendlyGoat

            It’s said that a troll is someone who goes to opposite-view places and makes the counter-argument. I’ve come to believe that the most negative people on the Internet hang out with their like-minded. Years ago I spent some time at Common Dreams dot org and discovered that some of the lefties there were both problematic and ugly in their pious scorn of nearly everything. I would suspect the Huffington Post is a similar haunted hangout. Now at this site and a few others, I have discovered that the regular righties pretty much do the same thing. This one is a better place to be than many of them, however, because of the nature of the topics and the smaller number of comments. When the comment section has hundreds or thousands of comments, it’s a zoo by definition.

          • Anthony

            I think there exists a “purpose” gap between what you infer represents trolling and commenters drawn together by what they believe are common values (yet it’s hard for me to say as I have given idea little thought) Now, regarding on-line trolls this may be useful: scottbarrykaufman.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/trolls-just-want-to-have-fun.pdf.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Thanks.

    • Tom

      Note here that FG deploys the tactic of the guild, and unwittingly reveals his true colors. Those who benefit from the system are real, and those hurt by it are imaginary.
      Spoken like a true member of the nomenklatura

      • FriendlyGoat

        One can take a dispassionate look at all zoning, all rent control, all professional and occupation licenses, all public-sector unions, all higher-ed accreditation and discover that:

        1) Most people don’t like a landfill moving next door to their houses
        2) Most people don’t like to be long-term renters subject to just ANY amount of increase in price with no bargaining power
        3) Most people want their doctors to actually have the requisite training, experience and ethical constraints before being allowed to practice
        3) Most people don’t like working in the “chain-of-command” nature of public sector jobs without some guidelines imposed on the “commanders”
        4) Most people don’t like to rely on “trust me, this is good” shtick (like Trump University) when buying higher education.

        YES, some of the people protected by these things take undue advantage
        (like some people take undue advantage of ANY situation when possible.
        But this blanket criticism of all blue model conventions never holds water when subjected to two questions. 1) What happens if/when you just end those conventions? 2) Do the majority of people really want them ended (after hearing the answer to the first question)?

        That the identity of WHO would be “helped” by ending blue model conventions cannot be specified is why they are imaginary people.

        • Tom

          1-5. Most people are aware thst there is a lot of room between today’s bureaucratic morass and anarchist dystopia.
          You are not one of them.

          • FriendlyGoat

            The problem is that TAI, and now you in particular, never get around to specifying the “room”. We have all repeatedly agreed that Louisiana flower arrangers should not be licensed. We may even agree that San Francisco is erroneously “over the top” in certain of its land use regulations. That does not just extend to ALL occupational licensing and ALL zoning. TAI seems to want to make it so, but ii is not so and anyone of “balance” knows it.

          • Tom

            Except that TAI hasn’t said that, unless you’ve exchanged marriage vows with the status quo.

          • FriendlyGoat

            What TAI has said here is:

            Unfortunately, Brown and Obama don’t follow this logic far enough to see that many of the blue model regulations Democrats defend act in precisely the same way. From rent control to professional guilds to occupational licensing to public sector unions to the higher ed accreditation, a morass of outdated blue model regulatory policy functions to protect privileged insiders by penalizing outsiders trying to make their way in.

            Dropped like a bomb—–with no specificity, other than:

            “This doesn’t mean America needs to embrace Ayn Rand-style libertarianism,….”
            It’s gripe, gripe, gripe with no real point on what actually should be changed or what citizens want changed.

          • Tom

            Oh, so kind of like you and your consistent ranting about high-end tax rates. Okay.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Since you brought it up, the GOP stands firmly for MORE high-end tax cuts. I don’t. My “ranting” is not in the same league with your whole party’s deceptive insistence on this. It’s contributors give millions and millions of dollars each cycle for no purpose other than getting a multifold tax-cut return on that “investment”.

          • Tom

            Yes, I know you want more taxes. And yes, it is ranting, because you act they are THE problem with America.

  • Wayne Lusvardi

    I surmise few recognize that streamlining development processing will not reduce new housing prices one iota. For everyone’s edification, if I am a developer and I can shave off time and maybe some fees from the cost to manufacture a home or tract of homes the retail home price will not be reduced one bit because cost isn’t price. The new housing unit will still sell at the same market price because it has to be sold in a market of supply and demand. But you might say, won’t producing housing faster result in more supply and thus lower prices? Not in necessarily in California because there are growth controls and quotas. Like most of Gov. Brown’s pet pieces of legislation they are purely symbolic. And there are always unintended consequences usually resulting in the opposite of what was intended.

    Because of this fast tracking of new housing development will state regulations requiring quotas of affordable new housing be eliminated or relaxed? No. Who will benefit? Arguably developers. Who will be harmed? Local cities who may not be able to shake down developers for as many fees and exactions. So municipal revenues may decline leading to a push for higher property taxes (or utility taxes) to make up for the loss. Higher property taxes may reduce property values but the package price of a home (mortgage payment + taxes + utility costs + insurance) may stay the same or go higher. Gov. Brown always compares himself to some Greek or Roman god-like ruler. He is the Augustus of California, employing double talk and symbolic laws for political gain.

  • victoria wilson – mn

    These conversations will continue to be mind-bendingly difficult and hence somewhat depressing until the components of the social issues are stacked into categories and evaluated numerically. The tale always starts with grand schemes of broad revolutionary change until the details reveal that the flawed system in question was in fact set on a solid foundation of peoples wants and needs; that the interlocking parts of the interactions all affect each other so that a tug on one is a pull on another; that there is not one ultimate good and one ultimate bad but an infinite number shaded spots in between. The balancing act in the system needs to reach its own equilibrium not one dictated by a human brain incapable of such extensive and complex calculations. So loosening some of the outdated, or poorly structured, or inappropriately monopolistic rules is a start. But to what measure, within which grouping, to the benefit of whom? These questions are best answered by a reliable model, one representative of the systems in play.

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