Costa-Hawkins Repeal on November Ballot – It’s Complicated!

nine-county-coalition – excerpt

California voters will see Proposition 10 on their ballots on November 6, 2018.  Proposition 10, The Affordable Housing Act of 2018, a voters’ initiative, aims to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act of 1995.  Costa-Hawkins was sponsored by Senator Jim Costa (D-Fresno) and Assembly Member Phil Hawkins (R-Bellflower), became Assembly Bill 1164 which passed both chambers of the California Legislature, and was signed into law by then California Governor Pete Wilson.

Proposition 10 is the latest battle in the ongoing war between California renters and landlords.  The 1970s were plagued with “stagflagtion,” stagnant wages in the midst of inflation.  In response, cities passed rental controls in an attempt to keep housing prices down.  Then came Proposition 13 in 1978, and the hope that landlords would share their property tax savings with renters thus significantly lowering rents.  When that did not happen, renters started to organize in earnest. But so did landlords, and the result was Costa-Hawkins, which prohibits imposing rent controls on new construction, single-family homes, condominiums, and vacant housing units.  Controls were thus limited by Costa-Hawkins to rental buildings in existence at the time cities passed their rent control ordinances, and limited to the period of time each tenant occupies each unit.

The animosity between renters and landlords over rent control is especially remarkable because at present there are only 15 municipalities (cities and towns) out of California’s 482 with some form of rent control….

Although the populous progressive coastal cities in California will likely expand rent control should the repeal of Costa-Hawkins occur, they could also provide sufficient incentives to avoid bringing construction of rental housing “to a halt.” Dialing down the current focus on construction might actually be helpful to residents not happy with all the stacking & packing going on. Hopefully, city leaders will comment between now and November.

Voters opposed to state-wide mandates such as the recently demised Senate Bill 828, could consider capitalizing on all the talk about repealing Costa-Hawkins in order to bring decisions on rent control back to the cities. The downside of that approach is that if those same voters are also opposed to expansion of rent control, it will take some effort to prevent expansion in their cities… (more)

Please read this most excellent article that explains the facts of how we got here and where we might be going with and without the repeal of Costa-Hawkins. We appreciate authors who take the time to show us the facts and let us decide after careful deliberation.

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Axis Development abruptly abandons proposed 117-unit Folsom Street project

By Julian Mark : missionlocal – excerpt

A potential 117-unit residential project at 2675 Folsom Street will not be moving forward in its proposed current form, Mission Local confirmed today. Its developer, Axis Development, has put the fully entitled site up for sale, Axis Managing Partner Theo F. Oliphant said Thursday.

“I have no comment beyond that,” Oliphant told Mission Local. He declined to name the development company’s desired price and why he is not moving forward with the plans.

This is a surprise move following a fierce battle between community activists and the developer to offer more affordable housing and community benefits. It was resolved last May after District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen brokered a deal between the developer and activists.

With that deal apparently dashed, the land could potentially yet house a 100-percent affordable structure — and the Mission District’s affordable developers are already beginning to queue up… (more)

Upzoning property to raise the value of real estate appears to be a national past time for wealthy government officials of both parties. Neither party cares about protecting affordable housing for working class Americans.

The real reason for upzoning is not to build more housing. The real reason for upzoning is to raise property values and this project a prime example of how that works. For a closer look at the national trend under the current administration and how this program is being sold to to California read the New York Times article linked here.

Ben Carson, is the HUD secretary. He was recently sued for his part in raising rents of HUD-managed properties. His aides are quoted as saying, “…he is focused less on federal solutions than on prodding local governments to ease barriers to construction. He has ordered his policy staff to come up with proposals to push local governments to reduce zoning restrictions on new projects, especially low-cost manufactured housing. HUD will also begin working with landlords around the country to come up with ways to make housing vouchers more attractive and more inclusive, aides said.

Stop state overreach! Find out what you can do to stop SB 828 and similar bills attempting to remove local jurisdiction over zoning and development decisions from local communities. livablecalifornia.org

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HUD Secretary Ben Carson to be sued for suspending Obama-era fair-housing rule
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Breed calls for increased services, street cleaning in walk through SOMA

By Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

Mayor London Breed on Thursday said she wants more engagement with homeless people on the street and greater frequency in power washing sidewalks, and reiterated her commitment to opening a safe injection site…

She said that she would like to see regular engagement with those living on the streets by city officials, such as members of the Homeless Outreach Team. “I envision them walking on the streets and being out here where we know there are people who are homeless. We should be out there every day, ‘What can I do to help you? What can I do to help you? What can I do to help you?’ Till the point where they are like: ‘Fine you can help me,’” Breed told the Examiner…

Breed is a proponent of opening safe injection sites to reduce syringe litter and help steer drug users into treatment, but since heroin and other intravenous drugs are against federal law, The City is wary of the legal ramifications. Breed, however, said she is committed to figuring out a way to make it work.

“I am going to aggressively push to try to get it done this year,” Breed said.

When asked about why the delay, she said, “I am trying to open one. I wish we can open one yesterday. But I also have to be responsible in the approach.” She said she wanted The City to be prepared for any “fall out” and for those “putting their lives on the line to work at these facilities, I don’t want them in jail. I have to make sure that I am responsible in my approach.”… (more)

Looks like our Mayor is concerned about both state and federal laws. That could put a damper on injection sites for a while, even though many support them. Perhaps the medical community could come to the rescue or the rules and regulations re: methadone could be altered to make it easier to procure for those who want it.

Push to scrap downtown cap meets resistance

by Gennady Sheyner : paloaltoonline – excerpt

Citizens’ initiative would cap new office space at 850,000 square feet between 2015 and 2030

A divisive proposal to eliminate the limit on commercial development in downtown Palo Alto ran into a wall of resistance Wednesday night, when the city’s Planning and Transportation Commission opted not to advance the change.

In a decision that ran counter to wishes of the City Council majority and that overruled the recommendation of planning staff, the commission voted 4-0 to keep in place — at least for the time being — the existing 350,000-square-foot cap on non-residential development in downtown…

The vote followed testimony from about 20 residents, including members of the group Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning, which favors slow-growth policies and which is spearheading a November initiative that would halve the citywide cap on non-residential growth. Every speaker urged the commission to keep the cap in place. They pointed to downtown’s ongoing parking and traffic problems and argued that taking up the issue at this time — just months before the voters are set to opine on the issue of office growth — is an affront to democracy. ..(more)

We shall see if the citizens of Palo Alto will be allowed to set the commercial growth limits or if their decision is overturned by the courts as Prop M was in San Francisco.

RELATED:
Measure to limit office growth qualifies for November election
A citizens’ initiative that would roughly halve the amount of new office space that Palo Alto would allow to be built between now and 2030 has officially garnered enough signatures to land on the November ballot… (more)

Inclusionary Zoning: Everything You Need to Know – CityLab

By Benjamin Schneider : citylab – excerpt

You’ve seen the term. But do you really know what it means? Here’s your essential primer.

If you’ve hung around the CityLab site, sat through a City Council meeting, or hobnobbed with a housing developer, you’ve probably run across the term “inclusionary zoning.” You might even think you know what it means. But wait, do you? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Welcome to the pilot edition of “CityLab University,” a resource for understanding some of the most important concepts related to cities and urban policy. If you like this feature, have constructive feedback, or would like to see a similar explainer on other topics, drop us a line at editors@citylab.com (more)

 

La Victoria bakery tenants told to clear out

By Laura Waxmann : sfexaminer – excerpt

Long-time employees and commercial tenants of La Victoria Bakery at 2937 24th St. have been told that they will have to vacate the more than half-century old Mission District establishment next month.

Beginning last week, a handful of merchants who currently sublease space inside of the the bakery were served with 30-day notices of “termination of tenancy” by Jaime Maldonado, son of La Victoria’s proprietor, Gabriel Maldonado.

The eviction notices followed an announcement in March that the two-story building, in which the bakery has operated for the better part of 67 years as one of three commercial tenants, had been put on the market for $3.4 million.

Maldonado has been running the family bakery for decades, but gradually began subleasing the commercial kitchen space to a rotation of merchants to strengthen his business and support local merchants…(more)

 

Sanctuary amid housing crisis

By Wendy Lee : sfchronicle – excerpt

…With no end in sight to soaring housing costs, several Bay Area faith organizations have become a sanctuary of sorts — not just channeling donations and distributing food, but also offering a safe place for people living in cars or RVs. The arrangement has sometimes grated on neighbors, but for pastors, it’s simply an extension of their mission to serve humanity.

“We know it’s just a Band-Aid,” said Brian Leong, a pastor at Lord’s Grace Christian Church in Mountain View, which is hoping to offer a handful of spots for people living in RVs. “We realize that sleeping in your car, whether it’s your lot or anywhere else, is not great. It’s not what anyone wants for themselves or their families.”...(more)