“In tight markets, poor and middle-class households are forced to compete with one another for scarce homes. So new market-rate housing eases that competition, even if the poor are not the ones living in it. Over time, new housing also filters down to the more affordable supply, because housing becomes less desirable as it ages. That means the luxury housing being built today will contribute to the middle-class supply 30 years from now; it means today’s middle-class housing was luxury housing 30 years ago.”
“When presented last month with Residocracy’s “Land Use Voter Empowerment” initiative (LUVE), the council requested a Section 9212 report, which it received from city staff last week. The council will consider the report at its meeting tomorrow night.
The 65-page report is negative about LUVE, which would, in general but with some exceptions, require voter approval of new construction taller than 32 feet. The report finds not only that LUVE would have many negative unintended consequences, such as making post-earthquake reconstruction problematic, but also that LUVE would have a negative impact on its ostensible intended consequences, such as preventing worsening traffic congestion and gentrification.”
“The use of referenda is especially inappropriate in this case given the complexity of zoning issues and urban planning. Research into direct democracy from Switzerland suggests that voters with less education are more likely to reject complex propositions or not vote at all; it is difficult for most voters to calculate the benefits and costs to them of complex propositions like general plans, specific plans and development proposals. In the case of LUVE, is the average voter expected to review construction plans and read through thousands of pages of CEQA documents in order to come to an informed decision?”