May 18, 2022 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Worst Housing Bills Fail; Solution via Market Forces Now Possible

By Tom Elias, Columnist

Evidence keeps mounting that California’s longtime housing shortage can be solved by market forces set loose by the lifestyle and workplace changes created by the coronavirus pandemic.

Now the failure of the worst parts of a sweeping housing package in the state Legislature leaves the path clear for those market forces to work themselves out. Had the most wide-ranging of the bills passed, there could have been far less motivation for developers and local governments to heed the accelerating non-political forces.

Potential housing effects of the viral crisis became noticeable almost immediately after “shelter-at-home” orders first came from county governments in the San Francisco Bay area, quickly followed by similar statewide decrees by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

White collar workers for companies large and small were suddenly ordered to work from home, as companies from Internet giants like Twitter and Facebook to law firms, insurance companies, stock brokerages and many more provided technology for workers to work wherever they like.

Soon, television broadcasters were shown in living rooms and backyards viewers had never before seen.

Vacancy signs proliferated in the densest of business districts from San Francisco to Santa Monica to Fresno, San Diego, Orange County and beyond. Said a stock brokerage vice president in Pasadena, “We spent $2 million over the last two years refurbishing our offices to accommodate more than 100 workers. Now we get five people a day working there. We don’t need all that space. Our people are as productive as ever; they’re just not in the office very often.”

Realtors report record levels of vacancies, but a building boom propelled by previous state demands for more and more mixed-use office and commercial buildings has continued.

As empty space appeared within existing buildings, spurred strictly by non-political events, state lawmakers kept pushing the most ambitious housing construction plan the Legislature ever saw.

Pushed by Democrats like San Francisco state Sen. Scott Wiener, Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins of San Diego and Santa Monica Assemblyman Richard Bloom, this package included SB 902, allowing up to 10 units on any lot zoned for a single home; two other bills allowing developers to build more high-end units on one site if they constructed enough affordable ones on others; a fourth letting city councils overturn without a new popular vote all height-limit laws passed by local voters – and much more.

But the 10-unit bill died in a committee, along with the prospect of developers trolling established low-rise neighborhoods with fat bankrolls to tempt homeowners sitting on large amounts of equity. So did several other major proposals in the package.

If the lawmakers behind these measures paid any heed to what’s going on in their own districts, they might not have proposed these things, despite the strong support they quite predictably got from developers and building trade unions.

For Twitter’s building in Wiener’s district now stands mostly empty. Office towers in Atkins’ San Diego district are nowhere near filled and “for-lease” signs abound in downtown Santa Monica, barely a mile from Bloom’s home.

These empty spaces and many more like them will likely produce more than 1 billion vacant square feet that can be turned into apartments and condominiums in all price ranges with far less work, in far less time and with far fewer lawsuits to fight them than pushing for new construction. Building trades workers will be kept busy doing the electric, plumbing, elevator, carpentry and drywall work needed to convert commercial space into residences. Established neighborhoods will remain intact.

Yes, it will take some rezoning to accomplish this. But those changes are inevitable: cities and counties would otherwise stand to lose large amounts of property tax money as massive vacancies reduce the value of commercial buildings.

If legislators are really interested in solving the housing problem, and not merely in self-aggrandizement or feathering the nests of their campaign donors, they will leave well enough alone, allowing the market forces to play out over the next two to three years. That way, California will see the millions of new housing units it needs far faster than it could have under any of the failed new laws.

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

Only 10 Vaquita Porpoises Survive, But The Species May Not Be Doomed

May 17, 2022

May 17, 2022

Hope remains for the porpoise species not only survive but thrive with human help. By Stuart Wolpert The vaquita porpoise,...

The American Cinematheque Brings “Bleak Week” To Santa Monica’s Aero Theatre And The Los Feliz Three Theatre

May 17, 2022

May 17, 2022

33 Films From 18 Countries In One Week. By Dolores Quintana Sometimes when things are tough and you’re feeling down,...

SMPD and LAPD Officers Search For Attempted Carjacking

May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

The officers were unable to locate the suspect.  By Dolores Quintana The Santa Monica Police Department with an assist from...

The price of gasoline in Los Angeles County Has Experienced The Largest Increase Since February

May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

Gasoline prices in Orange County Have Also Increased By Dolores Quintana Regular self-serve gasoline in the county of Los Angeles...

Enough Is Enough: Mayoral Candidate Mel Wilson, CD-11 Hopefuls Holdorff-Polhill & Lloyd Visit Conditions At Centennial Park

May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

All three call for “Real Data Reform” to solve the homeless equation here in Venice! By Nick Antonicello An unusual...

Police Pursue Carjacking Suspect On Foot Through Venice Neighborhoods: YO! Venice Show – May 16th, 2022

May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes.* Actor Kane Lim Talks Joining Cast Of Selling Sunset* Police Pursue Carjacking...

New Seven Story Mixed-Use Complex In Palms Has Moved Into The Next Phase Of Construction

May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

Building will have 68 units of residential housing.  By Dolores Quintana At 3659 S. Motor Avenue in Palms, wood framing...

New Four-Story Residential Structure Has Begun Construction In Mar Vista

May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

Structure will be located at National and Federal. By Dolores Quintana Harpco Construction announced that construction has begun in Mar...

Venice Estate Used In Filming of Californication For Sale for $5.5 Million

May 15, 2022

May 15, 2022

The home was built by developer Abbot Kinney By Dolores Quintana One of the Venice homes celebrated in the David...

Assembly Candidate Greets Supporters in Venice

May 12, 2022

May 12, 2022

By Nick Antonicello Lawndale Mayor Robert Pullen-Miles met several members of the Venice community Wednesday evening at The Waterfront Café...

Column: CD-11 Candidates Darling & Good Equal an Even More Dangerous Path on Homelessness Than Mike Bonin!

May 12, 2022

May 12, 2022

By Nick Antonicello Just when you thought things could get better, two Mike Bonin “clones” in CD-11 council hopefuls Erin...

Marina del Rey Could Soon Lose Two Sheriff’s Deputies

May 12, 2022

May 12, 2022

LA County Supervisor Holly Mitchell considering cutting funding for marina patrol deputies  By Sam Catanzaro Marina del Rey could soon...

Garcetti Announces New Water Restrictions for LADWP Customers

May 12, 2022

May 12, 2022

Customers would be required to reduce water irrigation from three times to twice per week By Sam Catanzaro Los Angeles...

Landmark Theater Closing in Former Westside Pavillion

May 12, 2022

May 12, 2022

Theater will close at the end of month By Sam Catanzaro The Landmark Pico theater at the former Westside Pavillion...

Community Policing at the Heart of Beat Four

May 11, 2022

May 11, 2022

The Neighborhood Resource Officer (NRO) Program thrives through community involvement and collective work. Today we hear from Officer Aaron Alpert...