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Despite thorough debunking, neoliberal housing politics prevail in the Bay Area

February 8, 2019

By Keith A Spencer : salon – excerpt

Why do so many California politicians count themselves as adherents of YIMBY, a pure form of neoliberal sophistry?

There is a sentence buried in a 2007 San Francisco Planning Commission study that would appear to refute one of the most visible housing activist movements in California. That rarely-cited sentence reads:

For every 100 market rate condominium units there are 25.0 lower income households generated through the direct impact of the consumption of the condominium buyers and a total of 43.31 households if total direct, indirect, and induced impacts are counted in the analysis.

The YIMBY movement, an acronym for “Yes In My Backyard,” consists of developers, activists, politicians and a few political advocacy groups who hew to a seemingly simple creed: To solve the housing crisis, we must simply build more housing. As much of it and as fast as possible, and of all types. The cheery acronym “YIMBY” is, of course, intentionally counterposed to “NIMBY”, shorthand for “not in my backyard,” an anti-development philosophy often used as a slur and which predates YIMBY by many years… (more)


Dear Senator Wiener: You Spelled S-P-E-C-U-L-A-T-I-O-N Wrong

By Susan Hunter : citywatch – excerpt

AFFORDABLE HOUSING DEBATE-Senator Scott Wiener has come up with a solution to the housing crisis: Over-ride local control to make sure more housing units can be built.

This is the main nuts and bolts of his new proposed SB 50 – a state law to over-ride local zoning laws and allow taller and denser buildings along transit stops. Which would absolutely be a solution for a housing crisis — except that what we are dealing with in the state isn’t a housing crisis.

Nowhere in the city of Los Angeles is there a 0% vacancy rate. A vacancy rate is a way of determining the number of units available in an area. A normal and healthy vacancy rate is between 4 and 5 percent. Only in some areas of the northern most part of the valley do we see vacancy rates of 3 and 4 percent, but no where do we see 0. Because we don’t have a housing crisis. That would mean that the price of the housing is normal, and we just don’t have enough of it. Sure, there would be some price gouging in a market like that — but that’s not what we have. I’m also willing to bet that there isn’t a single place in California where there is a 0% vacancy rate. Citywide, we average 6% on our vacancy rate according to the U.S. Census.

Our problem is real estate speculation and greed…(more)

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