By Cindy Marten
Schools are important, but the science on COVID-19 is clear.
California has now entered a critical new phase in the fight to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The virus is present in our communities, and we all must work together to prevent its spread. These facts formed the basis of the decision this week by San Diego Unified, Los Angeles Unified and other districts across the state to close our schools. In San Diego Unified, schools will remain closed through April 6.
Not much is more important to a community than its schools. It’s where our children go to learn, play and grow. So although this decision was not an easy one, we feel it’s the right one. We made the decision based on science and in partnership with our colleagues from the world of education.
The science on COVID-19 is clear.
Those communities that took sweeping action to prevent its spread have fared better than those that waited for the pandemic to take hold. Although very few possible cases of coronavirus have been reported in San Diego County so far, we’ve learned from the experiences of other states and countries that getting out ahead of this virus as much as possible can help contain it.
We made our decision to close in concert with the San Diego Office of Education, Los Angeles Unified and many other districts throughout the state. Together, we concluded (as did every other district in the county) that closing schools is the best way to proactively protect against what Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency.
The No on A coalition announced that based on a clear trend in ballot returns from the March 3 Primary Election, Measure A has been defeated – capping a tough opposition campaign that faced long odds. As of March 9, 51.48% of votes cast were “No” on A, according to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters.
“Voters understood Measure A would not do what it promised, that it was riddled with loopholes, and that it would force more San Diegans to pay more for homes and apartments in the midst of our housing affordability crisis. They also understood Measure A was funded by out-of-town billionaires to keep affordable homes and apartments away from their $10,000-a-week hotel located along the I-15 growth and transit corridor,” No on A campaign manager Tony Manolatos said.
Manolatos continued: “I’m extremely proud of everyone who worked on this campaign. The leadership at the top from the BIA and the REALTORS® was tremendous. They supported the team every step of the way, and we had a fantastic team that built a remarkable coalition and ran an impressive campaign. So many people deserve so much credit for this win. We did not just defeat a ballot measure that would have set our region back decades. We also created a movement that I expect will help us dig out of our housing crisis. It’s important to keep working together on solutions to provide more affordable homes and apartments for all San Diegans.”
Measure A was intended to block affordable housing. It would have forced a countywide vote of 1.6 million voters to add as few as 6 homes to the County General Plan. Just about everyone opposed it, including the San Diego County Democratic Party AND the Republican Party of San Diego County. With Measure A being put forward during a record housing affordability crisis, it seemed obvious that it was bad public policy – but its defeat was by no means assured. Polling showed the measure was likely to be approved by voters because of the deceptive ballot language.
“This was a tough uphill battle all the way, but the NO on A campaign never relented. They did so many things right on a limited budget. Competitive Edge is proud to have provided research to the No on A campaign team,” said John Nienstedt, President of Competitive Edge Research & Communication.
By Dick Murphy, Wendy Gillespie and Julie Meier Wright
In an era of intense and often senseless partisanship, there is an initiative on the March ballot opposed by a broad bipartisan coalition of community leaders, including both the San Diego County Democratic Party and the Republican Party of San Diego County. Measure A is a countywide ballot initiative that, if passed, would create added challenges to building the homes and apartments we so desperately need, and further drive up the cost of all housing. As members of the Strategic Roundtable, we join the bipartisan coalition urging a NO vote on Measure A.
Measure A would make our housing affordability crisis worse, and that would hit young families, seniors and workers the hardest. It would negatively impact all of us. Our entire region would suffer — economically, environmentally and socially — if voters approve Measure A.
Thirty years ago, Peter Navarro launched a campaign to cap the number of housing units in our region by trying to stoke fears of sprawling development and traffic congestion. Voters across the county rejected all of the no-growth propositions promoted by Navarro, and as a result San Diego became one of the most vibrant economies in the nation. Navarro is now in the Trump Administration backing tariffs that increase the cost of goods and service
California is facing a profound crisis because of the cost of housing. With rents for modest apartments topping $2,000 in many cities and the median cost of homes north of $550,000, it’s no wonder the ridiculous cost of a roof over one’s head has caused California to have the nation’s highest rate of poverty — and caused growing numbers of poor and middle-income residents to flee the Golden State.
The factors driving this crisis were clearly laid out in a state Legislative Analyst’s Office report in 2015. It found that the high cost of shelter was directly related to a massive shortage of housing stock, which was in turn caused by the difficulty of building new homes and apartments because of the high cost of labor and land — and the regulatory thicket homebuilders face at the local government level.
Against this backdrop, a proposal to make it harder to build housing in large parts of San Diego County would actually harm the local economy by fueling a cycle of less worker housing, higher employer costs, job losses and an exodus of firms and families. If the “SOS” (Save Our San Diego Countryside) measure passes, general plan amendments that add six or more housing units in unincorporated areas would require county voters’ approval.
Yes, proponents — mainly environmental groups, some union locals and the wealthy owners of the Golden Door Spa in North County — have effective arguments. They say county supervisors have a history of kowtowing to deep-pocketed developers and approving projects in remote areas with inadequate infrastructure and high fire risks. They argue that “people, not politicians” should be trusted to prevent sprawl. They say that tens of thousands of units could be added under existing zoning.
Written by Andrew Keatts
Mayor Kevin Faulconer unveiled his proposal to eliminate height limits on new development near transit, a headline-grabbing idea he first announced at this year’s State of the City address.
In practice, his idea is not as straightforward – or, likely, as controversial—as what he proposed in a speech during which he declared himself a “YIMBY,” for yes in my backyard, generating a raft of national attention for his pro-development stance.
It also kickstarted a fierce debate over city development that has come to define the race to replace Faulconer. Attorney Cory Briggs was so opposed to the speech that he jumped into the mayor’s race, before deciding to run for city attorney instead.
Councilwoman Barbara Bry has since issued ominous warnings that “they” are coming for the city’s single-family homes and pledged to protect neighborhoods while deriding YIMBY groups as Wall Street tools. Her chief rival, Assemblyman Todd Gloria, sought and won a YIMBY group’s endorsement on the day he launched his campaign.
But Faulconer, it turns out, is not actually proposing a citywide elimination of height limits near transit stations.
In turning his applause line into a policy proposal, he’s tempered it enough that it might not be so controversial after all.
For instance, there would be no changes in single-family home neighborhoods. The policy would be limited to properties that already allow developers to build multi-family housing that are also within a half-mile of rail stations or bus stops where two lines with decent frequency operate.
Under AB 1482, starting in January, landlords and owners of multifamily buildings not built within the last 15 years, as well as big corporations and institutional investors that own condominiums and single-family homes, won’t be allowed to increase rent by more than 5% plus inflation a year.
Landlords will also need to provide “just cause” to evict tenants. The rent cap law will expire in 10 years.
“About a third of California renters pay more than half of their income to rent and are one emergency away from losing their housing,” Newsom said Tuesday at an event in Oakland.
“One essential tool to combating this crisis is protecting renters from price-gouging and evictions.”
The other renter protection bills Newsom signed include prohibiting landlords from discriminating against tenants and military veterans who use Section 8, Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing or other housing assistance vouchers, and landlords have to give 90 days’ notice to a tenant before imposing rent increases of more than 10%.
"The bills signed into law today are among the strongest in the nation to protect tenants and support working families," Newsom said.
The signing comes a year after residents voted against Prop. 10, which would have repealed the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act that limits rent control, and during a time when the state is experiencing a severe housing crisis, alleviated the high cost of living and rising rents.
California joins Oregon and New York in passing some sort of rent control measure to limit the amount landlords can hike rent. This is part of a much larger tenants rights' movement happening worldwide.
Rent control advocates say a combination of low wages and lack of affordable housing in big cities across California is forcing many people to be evicted and is leading to the state’s homeless crisis.
A listing posted online advertises a 200-square-foot studio for $1,050 a month. The shed is located in the backyard of a home on Oregon St. in North Park.
The asking price is about $300 per month less than a typical North Park studio. However, renters in the area are reacting with surprise and anger at the high price.
Southern California Rental Housing Association Executive Director Alan Pentico spoke to KUSI News' Dan Plante on the subject:
No one likes a rent increase, but as with all expenses, it is normal for rents to increase over time.
While reasonable rent increases are to be expected, a small number of owners have taken advantage of high demand for housing to impose larger rent hikes.
These rare instances of “rental price gouging” have made headlines, but they don’t reflect the reality of most renters in California. Unfortunately, new statewide legislation designed to address these isolated incidents could actually mean the majority of tenants in San Diego and across the state will see their rent payments increase every single year.
Having passed the Senate and Assembly this week, Assemblymember David Chiu’s Assembly Bill 1482 is now headed to Governor Newsom’s desk for his signature. It would create a government-approved annual increase to rental housing rates. While this legislation would indeed prevent owners from making dramatic rent hikes, it also has an unintended consequence: a strong incentive for owners to impose the maximum allowed rent hike, every single year.
Certainly, price gouging is wrong in any industry or trade — but the idea that gouging is widespread just isn’t backed up by statistics. The vast majority of property owners set reasonable rents and many haven’t raised rents annually, even in today’s strong housing market.
A severe lack of supply makes it expensive to purchase or rent a home in California, and the high price of homes is putting further pressure on the rental market. In San Diego County, AB 1482’s government-approved rent hikes would be more than double the average increase in rent over the past decade, according to data provided to stakeholders by the bill’s author and consultants in the California Assembly Housing & Community Development Committee. As a matter of fact, the data shows in the period between 2007-2017, the median annual increase in contract rent was 2.9%.
By Lani Lutar, Responsible Solutions