The headlines this morning from the Bay Area are not looking good, if you’re concerned about California’s woeful lack of housing production, particularly in the coastal metropolitan areas. As I’ve written before, the historic underproduction has led to insane housing and rental prices, extreme gentrification, outlying sprawl, and terrible traffic and air quality problems.
Yet in response to the challenge, we’re seeing more of the same activists attempting to shut down or stunt housing development in the inner core — exactly where we need new housing. First, San Francisco’s board of supervisors narrowly shot down a proposal to put a moratorium on new housing in the Mission District. It’s now likely to go to the ballot. Second, activists shut down an Oakland City Council meeting on a proposed 24-story residential tower. And finally, San Francisco supervisor Jane Kim wants to go to the ballot to shut down the San Francisco Giants mixed-use project next to their ballpark.
All this on the heels of restrictive zoning and ballot challenges that we’ve seen up and down the state, particularly in places like Santa Monica and San Francisco. If local government leaders continue to defer to these opponents, our present environmental and economic challenges will only worsen.