November 9 celebrates the birthday of Hedy Lamarr. By all accounts, the most beautiful woman in the world, as well as one of the smartest. History has it her day job was actress, and her after-hours contribution to science was technology not only capable of scrambling enemy frequencies but also morphing as the precursor of today’s wireless gadgets. If you have not seen Hedy Lamarr’s ground breaking film, Ecstasy, you should – a good example of libertarianism trying to survive in a controlling world. If you work to rid the world of senseless war, as most Libertarians do, but acknowledge that there are adversaries out there, you might be interested in Hedy Lamarr’s frequency hopping as she and co-inventor George Antheil furthered existing concepts in an effort to confound the Nazi's in WWII. Happy birthday, Hedy.
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.
Thanks to loyal supporters of the Libertarian Party of San Francisco, the LPSF had enough funds in its modest treasury to file four paid ballot arguments which will appear on the November 2015 voters’ pamphlet. If it were not for our commitment to serve as sometimes a lonely voice standing in opposition to government overreach, the many egregious proposals forever appearing in the voters’ pamphlet would go unchallenged. That commitment is only possible because of supporters who, not only keep our lights on, but also enable us to make our case in favor small Constitutional governmentS at the local, state and federal levels.
Please check out our soon-to-be-published recommendations for the November elections and our upcoming posts. We will offer our views on what really makes communities prosper -- which is not mountains of government subsidies that shackle initiative and mortgage our future.
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.