Last week the North Bay Business Journal held a great Conference on Construction and Housing. I felt the messaging was so important from that conference, I am using some of the Power Point slides from Peter Rumble of the Santa Rosa Metro Chamber for this edition of my Soapbox. There was too much info to include all aspects in this “Soapbox”. Some of the speakers addressed the high cost of development as part of the reason for our collective inability to build the needed workforce housing in the last twenty years or so.
To illustrate a bit about the importance of the ECA in all of your lives, the ECA is unofficially going to be the sponsoring organization for doing a survey on protected wetlands and endangered species such as the California Tiger Salamander.
It is hoped that the survey being proposed will provide valuable information that would help or enable alternative plans be developed to mitigate habitat costs for the California Tiger Salamander and other endangered and protected plants and species. If we can help to make those costs more reasonable, we effectively are removing part of the impediment to building more affordable workforce housing in Sonoma County.
The Conference started out with Peter Rumble making some points and I have included a few of his points in the following paragraphs:
**California is the 8th largest economy IN THE WORLD! For a single state to make that accurate claim, is “eye popping”. With unemployment at 3% or lower, obviously, this California is still the land of opportunity-right?
Housing and Our Economy
I would “move to another state in order to heighten opportunity to purchase a home” says 63% of Californians in a recent survey.
Peter’s slide on the poll showing 63% of California residents are willing to move due to housing costs should open our eyes to the magnitude of the housing crisis. The inability or unwillingness of California Cities to build enough housing to keep up with expanding businesses is out of control and getting worse. These are not just words. Businesses are now choosing to relocate (which means their current and potential future workforce will not live here) and so are many long-time residents that see the opportunity to “cash in” and retire to a less costly area for their retirement years.
It is not just housing of course, burdensome regulations and difficulty in getting projects from “need” to “idea” to “built” are all contributors. Politically, it seems “left and right” cannot be farther apart but both “left and right” share one common result-they suck at getting the houses built that we need! Even though I wrote this before Dan Walters column, he agrees with me. click here
Peter Rumble’s presentation last week commented:
Change in Perspective
What Republicans want to do with I.C.E. and border walls, wealthy progressive Democrats are doing with zoning and Nimbyism. Preserving “local character,” maintaining “local control,” keeping housing scarce and inaccessible —the goals of both sides are really the same: to keep people out.
-New York Times, May 2019
Whether the New York Times article is too political or not, we must combat Nimbyism, we must combat regulatory “BS”, we must combat politicians who point the finger at the other party rather than accept responsibility for the failure our housing situation is. All of these have led to the housing crisis and all are currently a factor in making it difficult to “build our way out” of the mess we are in.
We must embrace change, and not think of cities and roads as concrete, glass and asphalt. They are flesh and blood, our sons and daughters, our grandchildren, our doctors, our teachers, our soccer coaches-and they all need a place to live! I feel so strongly about this I would recommend to the Board that they task me with writing letters of support for any City in our area of influence that has a housing project being proposed. Unless the project is truly horrible for the site, the ECA should help give local politicians a “soft place to land” by supporting the development.
What do you all think?
That’s All Folks