News

On August 27th, members of The Two Hundred sent a letter to Mary Nichols, Chair of the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The purpose of this letter was to request a meeting between The Two Hundred and CARB to discuss the disproportionate impact that CARB’s new scoping plan has on California’s most vulnerable communities.


Karma Time

Food for thought …. Berkeley’s legacy of redlining is over 100 years old …. so, it’s no great surprise that NIMBYism and CEQA thwart UCB housing …. karma perhaps …. will millennials pay the price for these sins? …. who knew single-family homes weren’t the ideal …. we have a housing crisis, we agree, but what to do …. depends on if one rents or owns, perhaps …. or what side of the wealth gap one resides ….


UC Berkeley facing 2 new suits over plan for faculty housing, classrooms

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
By Nanette Asimov and John King [June 15, 2019]

It doesn’t sound controversial — replace a parking garage with housing and classrooms — but UC Berkeley’s effort to redevelop a prominent spot at the northeast corner of campus is under legal fire from two fronts.

The $126 million project planned for the corner of Hearst and La Loma avenues is the subject of a lawsuit filed by a neighborhood group Wednesday that says the growth in the university’s enrollment is an unfair burden on the area.

Continue Reading…


Why Housing Policy Feels Like Generational Warfare

The Atlantic
By Alexis C. Madrigal [June 13, 2019]

In his magisterial 2005 history, A Nation of Realtors, Jeffrey Hornstein laid out the country-shaping effect of 20th-century housing policy. In the decades following the Great Depression, the federal government—as well as states and cities—subsidized the creation and consumption of single-family homes. The American dream’s most important archetype became buying a home. “Americans,” Hornstein wrote, “particularly white Americans, came to think of themselves as inhabiting a classless society, composed of one big ‘middle class,’ its membership defined to a large degree by actual or expectant homeownership.”

Continue Reading…


Californians divided on how to fix housing

The Mercury News
By Louis Hansen [June 19, 2019]

Californians might agree there’s a housing crisis, but they’re split widely on how to tackle it, according to a poll released Tuesday by UC Berkeley. 

Slightly more than half of residents say the state needs to exert more control over local development decisions to address the deepening housing shortage, a survey by the Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies found. However, 47% of Californians disagree. Bay Area residents favored more state involvement by a 14% margin, 56% to 42%.

“It’s an almost even split,” said Mark Di-Camillo, director of Berkeley IGS. “This is something that strikes a political nerve. It stirs passions.”

The divided public opinion mirrors a similar divide in the state legislature in Sacramento. Efforts to increase state control over local development have stalled for two years, including an ambitious overhaul of housing policy proposed by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco. The measure, SB 50, would have forced cities to build more housing and allowed denser development along busy transit routes. 

Continue Reading…

SB 50 in limbo?

Food for thought ….SB50 is banished to the realm of the undead…. long live SB 50…. cities fear loss of control…. but lack the will…. bitter medicine perhaps…. looky how things have changed…. a zip code look at our housing crisis…. an interactive exposé…. cities triple down on fees…. supply and demand dysfunction…. make the scare commodity more expensive


Major California housing bill from Sen. Scott Wiener put on hold until 2020

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
By Alexei Koseff [May 16, 2019]

State lawmakers dealt a sharp setback Thursday to a San Francisco senator’s efforts to spur denser housing around public transit and in residential neighborhoods, shelving until 2020 a high-profile bill that would curtail local governments’ ability to block certain apartment and condominium projects.

Continue Reading…


[INTERACTIVE] The Price We Pay

The Mercury News
By Katy Murphy and Kaitlyn Bartley [April 28, 2019]

Using an exclusive ZIP code-level analysis, we show how little most Bay Area families can afford — and how the housing crisis is transforming the region we call home.

Every evening after they say goodnight to their teenage daughter and wrangle their two sons off screens and into bed, Trevor and Jeneca Crump steal a moment for themselves. They turn on the nightly news. She plays Candy Crush on her phone. Then they lower themselves onto a makeshift bed of camping pads on the living room floor.

Continue Reading…


California Nearly Triple the National Average: City fees an obstacle to development

BAY AREA NEWS GROUP
By Louis Hansen [May 8, 2019]

Property manager and new developer Jeff Zell wanted to convert a recreation room into two studios in a San Jose apartment building he owns.

But a project he thought would take a few months and $75,000 has turned into a two-year, nearly $200,000 odyssey of frustration, fees and false starts. City charges almost killed the project, Zell said.

Continue Reading…

Changing Times?

Food for thought ….Is the world turning on its axis …. CEQA, the once saintly untouchable law is being challenged …. worse yet, it is being reined in by the courts …. the enlighten collective consciousness of rational thinkers has taken hold…. can it be …. and proposition 13, the third rail of California politics a source of the housing crisis …. not to worry we have a paradox …. Houston, we have a problem but what’s the rush


California Supreme Court Declines to Consider Limited Applicability of CEQA to Design Review

LEXOLOGY
By Monchamp Meldrum LLP [April 18, 2019]

The Supreme Court yesterday denied a petition for review and request for depublication of McCorkle Eastside Neighborhood Group v. City of St. Helena (2018) 31 Cal.App.5th 80 (see our previous post here). This affirms the First District Court of Appeal’s holding that discretionary design review of an otherwise permitted use is not subject to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Continue Reading…


What’s caused California’s housing crisis? Could it be our cockamamie tax system?

San Francisco Chronicle
Peter Schrag [April 20, 2019]

California’s critical housing shortage — and the poverty and misery that come with it — are at last beginning to get the attention they deserve. But in the list of causes that get the blame — the California Environmental Quality Act, NIMBYism; redundant state and local regulations — and in the proffered remedies, one culprit is often overlooked: the powerful impact of Proposition 13.

Continue Reading…


Bay Area paradox: We need housing, but we don’t want to build faster

BAY AREA NEWS GROUP
By Louis Hansen [April 22, 2019]

Chronic lawsuits against new Bay Area housing developments. Loud, angry protests against pro-growth legislators and mayors.

If the Bay Area has an all-season contact sport, it’s the recurring NIMBY fights against housing construction.

And although almost everyone agrees housing prices are too high, few want to see faster development to tackle the problem, according to a recent Bay Area poll for the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and this news organization.

Continue Reading…