We can later discuss whether the California legislature has legal authority to create such regional agencies. We can also later discuss motives behind self-serving non-profits. However, at present perhaps we need to talk about the ballot proposal itself.
There are a number of private non-profit foundations claiming to be working on conservation of the Bay, such as Baykeeper, Bay Institute of San Francisco, Friends of the Estuary, Save the Bay. There are governmental agencies already tasked with flood control, such as the Santa Clara Valley Water District. Why is this Authority reinventing the wheel? Three possible answers should be cause for concern: 1) The trend of government taking over tasks performed by private and semi-private entities, thereby expanding funding from groups of voluntary supporters to all taxpayers who may or may not be supporters. 2) The trend to establish regional authorities for purposes of planning, fund raising, and execution, thereby placing these tasks further away from direct action by the taxpaying public. 3) The trend toward a top-down approach in the process of implementing systems.
We at the Libertarian Party of San Francisco have always encouraged voters to become informed of all major legislative proposals so that come Election Day, they can cast their vote for measures and candidates confident that what and who they are voting for represent their interests. Therefore, we are providing information we deem important on the proposed Affordable Housing Bonus Program.
Some basic assumptions first: City leaders have declared housing supply and affordability San Francisco’s number one challenge. To meet this challenge leaders have developed policies designed to accommodate existing and newly-arrived residents via legislation that provides for government and developer-provided subsidies, as well as substantial increased population density. The AHBP is another “tool” in the arsenal of such legislation.
Background: City leaders maintain that the AHBP is necessary because, 1) the California State Density Bonus Law (Gov Code 65915-65918) enacted in 1979 requires “local governments to provide density increases and reduce regulatory barriers to promote supply and affordability,” 2) the State Supreme court in a 2013 decision said cities need to abide by the State Density Bonus Law even if they have their own “inclusionary laws,” and 3) it is the City’s policy to incentivize the production of subsidized middle-income housing, not just the low and moderate income housing included in the State Density Bonus Law. In other words, the State might attempt to enforce its requirement that cities must offer developers a density option, so to come under compliance, the City has developed the AHBP -- which by the City’s choice goes over and above the State requirements.
What’s new in the AHBP: The City has been operating under the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance, developed in 1992, but given explicit rules in 2012 in the voter-approved Housing Trust Fund. So, a comparison between the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance, the State Density Bonus Law, and the proposed Affordable Housing Bonus Program is the best way to see what’s new. The chart at the bottom of this article provides a comparison.
In early July, the Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) unveiled the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule (AFFH). Government believes that making a plan that does not work bigger, then it will work. The segregated inner cities of today attest to the uselessness of Lyndon Johnson’s Fair Housing Act of 1968 (FHA). Such evidence only prompted the current federal administration to enact a supersized version of the 1968 FHA. This “new and improved” version carries a worrisome twist, which popular radio host Mark Levin does not hesitate to ascribe to the actions of a “police state.”
“The AFFH can’t affect me,” you might say, “My home is not HUD guaranteed and is located in a nice little community in the outskirts of town.” Such nice little communities should expect to be the first affected by the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule.
When there is a rise in the mandatory minimum wage, businesses can either raise the price of their goods or lay off workers. To think that businesses will absorb the extra cost without taking action is naïve.
The workplace used to be a lot more professionally diverse thanks to different types of instruction, such as vocational institutions, apprentice shops, and inexpensive certificate classes. Then government decided everybody needs to go to college, and poured money into subsidized student loans. Now we have sky-high tuition and college graduates taking orders at McDonalds. To think colleges will not raise tuition to capture as much of the large amount of government money available is naïve.
Up until the 1960s, owning a little house in which to raise a family was possible for members of a thriving middle class. There was help from the GI Bill and Fannie Mae, but most homes were privately built and privately owned. Then government decided that if a little subsidy was good, lots of subsidy would be even better. So we have a lot more people competing for housing where the subsidies are the most generous. To think that housing subsidies do not contribute to high housing prices is naïve.
Once home to rowdy gold prospectors and plucky homesteaders, San Francisco gentrified itself after the earthquake of 1906. By the 1950’s, people dressed up to go downtown for a shopping trip – ladies in hats and white gloves and gentlemen in suits, just like in the picture. And everybody voted for conservative pro-free-market mayors.
But all that started to change when Redevelopment Agency’s Justin Herman tore down the Fillmore – not cool. The Flower Children moved into Haight-Ashbury in the 60’s. Lawrence Ferlinghetti co-founded City Lights Books, with Peter Martin, who’s idea was to publish Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” – huge impact. The Summer of Love ushered the era of progressive politics, and as with all such eras, government grew and grew.