April 18, 2024 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Link Housing Fix To Hsr, Solve Two Big Problems

By Tom Elias, Yo! Venice Columnist

So SB 50 is dead, most likely at least for the rest of this election year. How does California now solve its housing problems without that most ambitious of proposed tactics for doing the job?

Maybe it’s time for Gov. Gavin Newsom and the labor unions who strongly back him and his policies to revert to a plan he talked up while running for governor back in May 2018: Link a necessarily complex housing fix to the ever-troubled bullet train project.

One perpetual California problem could help solve another.

Newsom strongly suggested this during a campaign interview, saying housing projects could be made to dovetail with the bedeviled bullet train project, now abuilding in the Central Valley and nowhere else.

Doing this would be completely consistent with Newsom’s holistic approach to government, perpetually insisting it’s best to try to tie things together.

It would also follow logically from Newsom’s late-January admission that the single goal he touted loudest during that 2018 campaign – a demand to build 3.5 million new housing units in the state by 2025 – was grossly exaggerated. While it’s real, the need for new housing is not as big as Newsom believed then; his goal was based on incomplete information.

The pullback in the governor’s goal was perhaps the most under-reported major story of this winter, buried in the flood of news coverage from both the impeachment trial of President Trump and California’s problem with homelessness. His goal had already proved unrealistic: unsold housing inventories in various parts of the state were high enough in 2019 that developers did not press for permits to build more than about one-fifth of what Newsom wanted during his first full year in office.

The aim of solving the supposedly gigantic housing shortfall was a main justification for SB 50, the failed attempt by Democratic state Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco to densify housing in almost all areas near light rail stations and major bus routes. The fact so much new housing is not really needed clearly took wind from the sails of SB 50.

But there nevertheless remains a big shortfall of affordable housing. Fewer than 25 percent of California households can now afford to buy homes – new or pre-existing – in the state. Less than 50 percent can afford so-called affordable units, which now average more than $500,000 apiece to build. Even when their sale price drops to about $350,000, while other prices in the same developments are lifted to compensate for it, many working families aspiring to home ownership still can’t buy.

That’s where high speed rail can come in. The planned bullet train route runs through some of the least pricey land in California, in both the Central Valley southeast of the San Francisco Bay area and in High Desert areas north and northwest of Los Angeles.

Building there could bring housing prices down enormously, as land costs remain a huge element in today’s high prices. Even though building in these places has increased, development remains slow because commutes to the state’s biggest job centers simply take too long.

Add the bullet train to the equation, and everything could change. Commute times between Tracy and the Silicon Valley, or from Bakersfield to Los Angeles, would be under one hour, far less time than many current freeway commutes. So no more 2:30 a.m. bus departures for workers who live in Tracy and work at Tesla’s Fremont plant.

Since 2018, Newsom has never repeated his observation that “The bullet train project…could be very useful in helping with housing.”

Instead, the state has heard Wiener and others gripe about the supposed evils of urban sprawl and single-family home zoning. But the prospect of living in a single-family home with breathing room played a big part in attracting millions of today’s Californians to the state during its big growth years. This was one reason for the failure of Wiener’s densification efforts.

For sure, tying the bullet train to new housing could create immense incentive to build in areas that get relatively little developer attention today.

It’s probably the most holistic, least controversial way to solve much of the housing problem.

Email Thomas Elias at tdelias@aol.com. His book, “The Burzynski Breakthrough, The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It,” is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, visit www.californiafocus.net

Related Posts

Legislation Seeks to Place Speed Cameras on Pacific Coast Highway

April 18, 2024

April 18, 2024

The Proposed System Would Work Alongside Radar Feedback Signs, with Violators Facing Fines of up to $500 Malibu officials, led...

(Video) Award-Winning Pianist to Premiere “Rocket Man: A Live Orchestral Experience” in Santa Monica

April 18, 2024

April 18, 2024

Classic Songs Will Include “Crocodile Rock” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” @yovenicenews “Rocket Man” is coming soon to Santa Monica...

Venice Shorts: New Encampment Emerges at 6th & Broadway

April 17, 2024

April 17, 2024

Tent-Like Structure Next to Church Has Several Components By Nick Antonicello A new encampment was set up last week and...

Girls Learn Self Defense at Empowerment Summer Camp for Girls

April 17, 2024

April 17, 2024

This summer, girls are invited to explore practical self defense training at SHIELD Women’s Self Defense’s 2024 Empowerment Summer Camp...

Brentwood Art Center: Kids Explore Fundamentals of Drawing, Painting and Mixed Media

April 17, 2024

April 17, 2024

The beloved Brentwood Art Center is hosting summer camps at its new location at Olympic and 17th in Santa Monica. ...

Camp Integem: Explore, Design and Innovate with Future Tech

April 17, 2024

April 17, 2024

This summer, kids are inviting to make magic as they journey into the fun-filled, hands-on world of artificial intelligence (AI),...

(Video) Mayor & Vice Mayor of Santa Monica Speak Out Against Needle Exchange Program

April 16, 2024

April 16, 2024

The Demonstration was Organized by the Santa Monica Coalition @yovenicenews A Santa Monica rally has held against the needle exchange...

Marina del Rey Apartment Shooter Faces 20 Felony Charges, Could Spend Life in Prison

April 16, 2024

April 16, 2024

The Self-Employed Chef Is Being Held in Lieu of Over $5M Bail By Zach Armstrong A man accused of firing...

Los Angeles County District Attorney Announces Charges In Brutal Venice Sexual Assaults

April 16, 2024

April 16, 2024

Charges Filed Against Suspect in Venice Canals Case by LADA George Gascon Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón has...

Measles Infected Traveler Visited Santa Monica Pier, Public Health Officials Warn

April 16, 2024

April 16, 2024

Authorities Urge Individuals Who Were at The Specified Venues to Monitor Their Health The California Department of Public Health notified...

420 is coming and our friends at Venice Kush are going to be going all out !

April 16, 2024

April 16, 2024

420 is coming and our friends at @Venice Kush are going to be going all out ! Check out this...

Kids Learn Local Waters in Aquarium Science Camp

April 16, 2024

April 16, 2024

This summer, kids have the opportunity to engage in science and learn about the fascinating water systems in Santa Monica...

Saint Monica Prep: Mariner Sports Camps Focus on Fundamentals

April 15, 2024

April 15, 2024

Teams at Saint Monica Preparatory took big wins this winter season.  The coaches leading an undefeated girls’ soccer team, winning...

Sophie Dance West Dance Camp Enrolling Now

April 15, 2024

April 15, 2024

Calling all Swifties! Sophie Dance West, an all-inclusive kids dance studio that welcomes any skill level from beginner to highly...

GoFundMe Raises Over $84K for Venice Canal Attack Victim

April 15, 2024

April 15, 2024

The Victim Received at Least Eight Fractures to Her Jaw, a Large Laceration to the Back of Her Head and...