Spring is Coming Soon

Spring does not start until March 20. But housing markets are being planned with new fertilizer. The fertilizer is a wave of housing legislation intended to simulate housing markets.
Can state and regional government overcome market forces and reduce housing costs equitably?What will be the sociology of drastically changed neighborhoods when many decisions are centralized to unelected officials? What will be the impact on principles of democracy such as representative governance and taxation?
By early summer our state legislature will be proposing new governing powers split between elected representatives and those who are appointed. What is the risk in this paradigm shift?
Let’s think about a new governor, super-majority legislature and powerful alliances of businesses who have contributed to the jobs/housing imbalance. What are the likely outcomes? A Housing “Marshall” Plan by summer? Or the Law of Unintended Consequences?

Respectfully, Editors: Neilson Buchanan and John Guislin

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Does Our Guv Have the FAANGS*?

Gov. Newsom called on Silicon Valley companies powering the state’s economy to step up and match the money he intends to set aside to build workforce housing, in an effort to ease California’s housing crisis.
“Businesses absolutely want to do their part to help address California’s housing crisis,” wrote Rufus Jeffris, spokesman for the pro-business Bay Area Council. “They also want to see meaningful progress in fixing state and local policies that are largely to blame for creating that crisis over many decades.”
Ed. Comment: We await the day that there is meaningful movement addressing the riddle of how much housing for whom, where and at what cost. We will be pleasantly shocked if Tech Titans fund solutions to match the traffic and housing problems they created.
As soon as the FAANGS and their colleagues write checks, we will report on what kind of housing will be built. Everyone is interested in where, when and for whom. Tick, Tock.
*acebook, A mazon, A pple, etflix, oogle and tanford

Journalism Rises Above the Noise

Gov. Newsom is challenging the Bay Area’s most successful corporate leaders to partner with state government in solving California’s housing crisis.
Good for him.
The critical, unanswered question is how businesses should contribute. The growing consensus — articulated by the governor at his Thursday budget press conference — is that the region’s tech titans should be doing more. Much more.
For example, Apple and Alphabet — the parent company of Google — have market caps at just over $700 billion. Facebook’s market cap is $415 billion. Apple’s net profits during the nine-year economic expansion total more than $350 billion.
The governor is merely calling on Bay Area companies to match the $500 million he wants set aside to build workforce housing for middle-income residents.
Ed. Comment: Some people think journalism is dying. We disagree.

Value in Last Year’s News
In a move that is energizing tenant advocates but enraging some landlords, San Jose will consider pursuing a law that would make it easier for people who receive rent vouchers to find a place to live.

“The nation’s 10th largest city currently doesn’t require landlords to take what are commonly known as Section 8 vouchers, federal subsidies that low-income residents use to help cover rent. And according to a recent survey by the city’s Housing Department, about two-thirds of landlords don’t accept the vouchers.” San Jose Mercury News

Ed. Comment: This old news published in December is not stale. We wonder how San Jose landlords are working with their City Council. Stay tuned for more coverage from SFPRA thanks to the Merc.

Splitsville: Regional Housing Plan Splits Elected Leaders


A sweeping package of proposals to preserve and expand the Bay Area’s housing stock by passing new renter protections, loosening zoning restrictions and expediting the approval process for residential developments is making its way to the state Legislature despite a flurry of opposition from local leaders, many of whom decry the proposed policies as unfair, anti-democratic and potentially counterproductive.
Known as the “Casa Compact,” the plan was hashed out over an 18-month period by a committee created by the regional agencies Association of Bay Area Government (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), which focus on housing and transportation policies. Palo Alto Weekly
Ed. Comment: Faulkner could not have written a better, more dramatic or longer lead sentence. This article is a reminder for a principle of American democracy. What is written between the lines? A saga about representative government and the authority granted appointed officials..

Nights of Woeful Countenances

For a snapshot of Mountain View’s housing situation, take a look at the soon-to-be complete Evelyn Avenue Family Apartments. The new project, located at 779 E. Evelyn Ave., is held up as exactly the kind of housing expansion the city needs. It features 116 new apartments as well as a gym, a homework center and community event space.

It is just one example of the pent-up demand for housing that Mountain View faced through 2018 that’s likely to continue to dominate city politics in 2019. Mt. View Voice

Ed. Comment: The post-Siegel era has arrived. How will Mt. View balance its social assets with housing, jobs and ever-illusive better transit to and from work? For the record, we tip our hat to ex-Mayor Lenny Siegel and what he represents. To dream the impossible dream!
Do Googlers know the way to San Jose and Sunnyvale? Yep! On a more serious note, we urge Mt. View to continue its leadership and show the region how affordable is defined. What kind of housing, where, for whom and at what cost to whom?

Mullen the State Budget

A trifecta of San Mateo County representatives cheered a spending plan that outlines filling the state’s rainy-day fund, increasing funding for schools, and allocating the first full round of new gas tax revenue toward transportation.

Ed. Comment: What will the legislators and new governor do with a $132 billion budget and $6 billion surplus? We expect Assemblymen Mullen and colleagues to brew some spicy legislation.


Kickin’ Back and Thinkin’

If you live in the Bay Area, you’ve most likely been having a similar conversation—over and over and over again—for the past few years. You know the one: about rents and home prices, rapid change and cultural loss, of being priced-out and left behind. It’s that same conversation that surfaces every time your favorite local bar or restaurant (or roller skating rink) closes down. Or when you hear that another friend is giving up and heading elsewhere. It’s exhausting, and yes, kinda terrifying.
The Six Fifty
Ed. Comment: What Silicon Valley needs now and how! Run, don’t walk, to your library and grab a copy.
Thankfully, it is not entitled Silicon City In the Shadow of Death


Success of SFPRA newsletter success depends upon its readers. Please feel free to forward the newsletter to your friends and neighbors. Ask them to subscribe at no cost by clicking the subscribe button above or by emailing cnsbuchanan@gmail.com.

Editors, Neilson Buchanan and John Guislin, are unpaid, private citizens on the SF Peninsula and have no ties to developers or government organizations.

Comfort the Aaggravated; Aggravate the Comfortable.

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