County, Cities sweep lack of affordable housing under the rug: 1 simple solution

There was an issue that THC felt was barely given lip-service during the recent local election cycle, and that is Humboldt’s all-around lack of affordable housing.

So what’s THC’s one simple solution to the problem? If we had to say it directly to the Supervisors or other elected officials, we’d make it simple (so they could understand!), and say “Build more housing, assholes!”

If we were to give a slightly longer answer, we’d say it’s critically important to increase the overall housing stock in Humboldt County, whether it is “affordable” housing or otherwise, which has been shown to – gasp! – mean there’s more housing to go around. Meaning that prices go down, and people aren’t forced to compete for an ever-dwindling supply of housing. Most importantly, for many of us in Humboldt, is that we won’t fall prey (at least, not as often) to the ridiculously high rents charged by most landlords and management companies in Humboldt. More private housing construction makes housing affordable for renters and buyers alike.

So, after the homeless issue came to a head in Humboldt, highlighted by our severe lack of housing – affordable or otherwise – it sure seems it got swept under the rug after our leaders gave it lip-service. But maybe that’s because they’re too damn stupid to recognize the solutions as outline by California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office. Basically, again, BUILD MORE HOUSING ASSHOLES!

How do we achieve this? By making it easier for private construction and individuals to build homes. Of course, many of the barriers to easing housing restrictions come from the State. But just as there are many simple ways that we could ease burdens on developers in Humboldt to encourage job growth and increase tax revenue, so to are there easy ways to just plain make it easier for people to build houses. The same easing of restrictions would also apply to multi-family, affordable housing as well.

Waive fees. Provide incentives. Boom. Done! But don’t just take it from us; take if from California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office, and their report from back in February, Perspectives on Helping Low-Income Californians Afford Housing. (Seriously, read that shit!) But here’s the LAO summary:

California has a serious housing shortage. California’s housing costs, consequently, have been rising rapidly for decades. These high housing costs make it difficult for many Californians to find housing that is affordable and that meets their needs, forcing them to make serioustrade–offs in order to live in California.

In our March 2015 report, California’s High Housing Costs: Causes and Consequences, we outlined the evidence for California’s housing shortage and discussed its major ramifications. We also suggested that the key remedy to California’s housing challenges is a substantial increase in private home building in the state’s coastal urban communities. An expansion of California’s housing supply would offer widespread benefits to Californians, as well as those who wish to live in California but cannot afford to do so.

Some fear, however, that these benefits would not extend to low–income Californians. Because most new construction is targeted at higher–income households, it is often assumed that new construction does not increase the supply of lower–end housing. In addition, some worry that construction of market–rate housing in low–income neighborhoods leads to displacement of low–income households. In response, some have questioned whether efforts to increase private housing development are prudent. These observers suggest that policy makers instead focus on expanding government programs that aim to help low–incomeCalifornians afford housing.

In this follow up to California’s High Housing Costs, we offer additional evidence that facilitating more private housing development in the state’s coastal urban communities would help make housing more affordable for low–income Californians. Existing affordable housing programs assist only a small proportion of low–income Californians. Most low–income Californians receive little or no assistance. Expanding affordable housing programs to help these households likely would be extremely challenging and prohibitively expensive. It may be best to focus these programs on Californians with more specialized housing needs—such as homeless individuals and families or persons with significant physical and mental health challenges.

Encouraging additional private housing construction can help the many low–incomeCalifornians who do not receive assistance. Considerable evidence suggests that construction of market–rate housing reduces housing costs for low–income households and, consequently, helps to mitigate displacement in many cases. Bringing about more private home building, however, would be no easy task, requiring state and local policy makers to confront very challenging issues and taking many years to come to fruition. Despite these difficulties, these efforts could provide significant widespread benefits: lower housing costs for millions of Californians.”

In the full report, you can read about how rent-control policies are ineffective and unable to cope with the millions of low-income Californians that “need” housing subsidies. Not only can such policies not meet current demands, but further expanding them beyond the fraction of low-income households that they currently benefit is not feasible. So why pursue unrealistic and exorbitantly expensive policies that ultimately fail to serve the people they should?

The easy alternative, as we’ve mentioned elsewhere, is to make building easier. The LAO report notes that “Even in inland areas [in CA], where land costs are comparable to the national average, housing is far more expensive than national norms. This is driven by development fees that in 2012 averaged $22,000 (not including water fees) for single-family homes — nearly four times the national average.” Four times the national average? We’ve got a novel idea – cut that shit down! Jeez.

And it’s not just the LAO that says these things. Take this excerpt from an article by the California Apartments Association (disclaimer: we did zero research into this particular organization.):

The Legislative Analyst’s Office considered the impacts of expanding rent control in two ways — applying the policy to more properties and barring landlords from resetting rents at market rates when tenancies turn over.

“Neither of these changes would increase the supply of housing and, in fact, likely would discourage new construction,” the report says. “Households looking to move to California or within California would therefore continue to face stiff competition for limited housing, making it difficult for them to secure housing that they can afford. Requiring landlords to charge new tenants below–market rents would not eliminate this competition.”

We’ve touched on a similar LAO report in a previous post before (as did a much better journalist than we are), but that’s because we think the reports are hugely informative, and come from a relatively unbiased source. (Emphasis on relatively.)

And we’ll leave you with some very key concepts from the San Diego Union-Tribune;

…what’s needed is a commitment to increase housing stock by at least 100,000 units more a year than are now being built. “Facilitating this housing construction … would require the state to make changes to a broad range of policies that affect housing supply directly or indirectly,” notes the LAO. Those policies include environmental laws that can be used by green activist and NIMBY landowners to block new projects and sweeping, restrictive local anti-growth laws.

As the LAO notes, these laws “have been fundamental tenets of California government for many years,” They are central to the mindset of the coastal liberals who have largely dominated state politics for a generation — anti-growth crusaders who care more about what they see as proper environmental stewardship than the hardship that limited housing creates for poor people.

Their influence, alas, is why we expect the LAO report to be gathering dust soon, not driving policy. But as the income inequality debate plays out in local and state politics, it will still be valuable going forward — as an illustration of special interest-beholden leaders’ indifference to the effects of their policies on California’s most disadvantaged residents.”

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26 Responses to County, Cities sweep lack of affordable housing under the rug: 1 simple solution

  1. Henchman Of Justice says:

    THC,

    No lip service? Well, 2 of 5 borgs campaigned on jobs, jobs, and jobs…..total suckers as voters took that bait.

    Ok, now time to read the rest of the post for efficacy.

    Like

  2. 300+ Airbnb rentals listed in Humboldt County…
    https://www.airbnb.com/s/Humboldt-County–CA?s_tag=RSRDOJkW
    Cities and some countries have seen a direct correlation between affordable rental housing and
    Airbnb (and similar) temporary rentals.
    IF (a big if..) Airbnb and their hosts will accept reasonable oversight (licensing by local/municipal
    authorities to ensure safe housing and legal status of host vs owner; same tourist tax to be paid as with hotels, motels; better responsibility from hosts (not cancelling with little notice, etc); and NOT abusing the rights of neighbors (loud parties, trash left, parking problems): The list goes on an on. There are websites where the downsides of the ‘sharing’ economy are detailed and even some hosts have been cut off without warning or explanation.
    If someone wants to look at the various Humboldt Co listings they may find one of them might be just down the street or up the road…and you thought you knew all your neighbors?
    Maybe a survey of the temporary rentals would show the number of affordable housing units that
    have been withdrawn….
    Yes, I understand some people need the income their rentals bring them (a lot of Airbnb units are shares…a bed, a room, etc) but there are also the ‘screw the community, I want the tourist bucks’ approach.
    Has the County even done an assessment of rental housing recently? Have they ever?
    Background on problems:
    http://www.airbnbhell.com/
    http://thenextweb.com/insider/2016/03/30/airbnb-new-host-feature/#gref
    https://www.trustpilot.com/review/www.airbnb.com
    There’s a state occupancy tax:
    http://humboldtgov.org/299/Transient-Occupancy-Tax
    and cities can have their own TOT…
    Here’s an article (a couple of years old…at the time there were 158 listings in HC) showing both
    sides:
    http://www.northcoastjournal.com/humboldt/my-house-is-your-hotel/Content?oid=2679081

    I am not saying MORE affordable housing shouldn’t be built, I think it’s a necessity but I think balancing that with exploring other options for getting more long term housing back on the market
    should be explored, if only to demonstrate that people do care and will put time and energy into
    finding all possible remedies.

    Like

  3. Henchman Of Justice says:

    Assholes? Nah, asshats surely.

    More housing- Only IF “smaller units” are permitted on smaller parcels, and thats a “HUUUUUUUUUGE IFFFFFFFFFFFF” given politics in Humboldt has been corrupted for decades upon decaded because Humboldt is a hick county, geopolitically isolated.

    The only way to get shit done is apparently to break laws.

    Like

  4. Henchman Of Justice says:

    Easier – building a house is easy, but the process from start to finish is corrupted, over burdensome on requirements as devised by the locals, not the State; flip the mattative onto the state, and the story is that locals cant make it easier when State morher fuxkers collude to force qn opposite effect for tax collection, increased costs create higher sales prices that equals more taxes collected on a higher value course of construction.

    THC, the corrupted mother fuckers serving us are fearful of those unelected who “get it” and don’t give a shit about political peers or the system insiders. This is what made Roger Rodoni “Da Man”. He knew political locals were pieces of shit just as much as the rest of America, but he stood up and called their shit “to their faces, as etiquettely as possible on a case by case, issue by issue basis”.

    What we got now is “hanging chads from Florida”, ya dont know what the heck is going on.

    Like

    • Henchman Of Justice says:

      Fucking smart phones and college graduates, spell check is now off.

      Corrections: narrative, mother fuckers, an,

      Like

  5. Dustin says:

    My condolences THC, but you have a case of the HOJ scabies

    Like

  6. Has anyone else noticed that our misguided and probably stoned Supervisors voted last week to place yet another tax increase on the ballot? The gang at headquarters think it would be a worthwhile adventure for us to check but we are jumping to the conclusion that if this latest tax increase proposed by our Supervisors actually passes then Humboldt might just be the county with the highest overall tax rate in the country. We know it’ll be close. Stay tuned THC fans!

    Like

  7. Arcatan says:

    As HOJ points out, Sundberg, Bass, Fennel, and Bohn all ran on pro jobs platform. When is the last time the word “Jobs” appeared on their agenda? “Tax” shows up every six months or so but “jobs” never shows except during elections. Looks like Lovelace is the only honest one in the bunch. Mark actually told us that he wanted to tax the shit out of us.

    Like

  8. Anonymous Too says:

    Stupidvisor doesn’t even begin to describe Bass in particular. She’s trapped in some sort of surreal high school Twilight Zone. She thinks that if she lets every single guy play with her tits they will like her. Truth is all they will do is talk about how easy she is and then move on to someone with a brain.

    Like

    • LMOB says:

      Please THC some gentle editing to remove the crass sexism of a public servant. If not, please link to or come up with a policy where you draw the line. So I know if this is a place we can have a respectful (and non-misogynist) conversation.

      Thank you for your consideration.

      Like

  9. LMOB says:

    “County, Cities sweep lack of affordable housing under the rug: 1 simple solution” …

    “Waive fees. Provide incentives. Boom. Done!”

    Then install regressive sales taxes to pay for government. Or drown government, again, the one that maintains roads, regulates public health and environment, provides public parks and library, etc. in bathwater.

    Yes. We’ve heard the conservative populist call now for years and I’m sad that you’ve bitten in too anon THC.

    Basically what you are punditing for is using government to tax the poor and subsidized those with means. Or you are punditing for drowning government in the bathwater.

    What is to stop the free market from using this affordable housing as a commodity? Have you been paying attention to the problem residents of mobile home parks are facing?

    And btw this…“In this follow up to California’s High Housing Costs, we offer additional evidence that facilitating more private housing development in the state’s coastal urban communities would help make housing more affordable for low–income Californians.” is something we should all get on board with. We should be growing in the urban areas. Again, look at the building near the Arcata Co-op as an example of this.

    Let’s give consumers choice and that does mean making difficult decisions within areas with infrastructure. What you are pundit for is for the pubic to pay for new development with the elusive (and I’d argue completely fabricated) goal of affordable housing.

    If you do start paying attention to those Planning Commission meetings, what you will find is like the rest of us, many of the people who own and or build are trying to get the best deal they can for themselves, their employees, their clients and their investors. That involves getting public subsidies.

    So, waive fees and who will pay for the the necessary and required overhead? That’s the basic question. And as you right that the BOS is “pilfering” general funds money, the reason is that the people who do have the means to pay this tax or that fee don’t want to. They would rather you pay for it THC when you buy that 4 pack of hard cider.

    It’s not like the cider buyers of the county have enough political pull to find then finance a campaign for the Board of Supervisors. But our development job creators do.

    Like

    • Henchman Of Justice says:

      “Basically what you are punditing for is using government to tax the poor and subsidized those with means. Or you are punditing for drowning government in the bathwater.” ~ LMOB

      If poor can drive around in an rv, camp off 299 or off 101, then they aint so poor as to whine about a road sales tax.

      If they smoke weed to boot, they got money.

      Poor, as if we are all rich, sheesh. Take back that 1% application, pwitty pweeze with sugar on top.😭

      “Have you been paying attention to the problem residents of mobile home parks are facing?” ~ LMOB

      Problems? Drug addicts? Not enough mobile home parks?

      Surely not any problems with affordable housing, its the most affordable in the county. HOJ used to live in a mh park, 1214 Olympia Way, Town and Country MHP. Best $90 month rent space ever!

      Dont believe the little ole lady outta Arcata moaning about rent cuz she aint gonna get a space less expensive anywhere.

      The AH answer is again, think smallish, think units like a japanese hotel on the island. Still surprised the likes of Danco shoulder rubbing grant frauds have not harassed local gubbamint to do a several hundred single person unit housing complex with individial units being no larger than 300 square feet.

      Better hurry though before HOJ finds the land and does a Trump complex for single people only while gubbamint surely attempts a mixed use format for which HOJ responds, “🏨”

      “And btw this…“In this follow up to California’s High Housing Costs, we offer additional evidence that facilitating more private housing development in the state’s coastal urban communities would help make housing more affordable for low–income Californians.” is something we should all get on board with. We should be growing in the urban areas. Again, look at the building near the Arcata Co-op as an example of this.” ~ LMOB

      Response – actually, that building costs much more per LU than it should have cost, but again, local grant developers are gonna take easy money, do shitty HIGH COST work, hiring mexican laborers at slave wages…….what was that again about treating hispanics better, with dignity? Ya, lots of labor going to hispanics by contractors, and hispanics are treated just above “working in the field status.” Where are the bleeding heart liberal proggies out there…..ya, taking advantage of hispanics in the construction housing politics cuz white trash is too costly! Oh ya, and the Coastal Commission recommends building now in their jurisdictions which means all of Humboldt Bay, but wait LMOB, were you not griping about “The Edge’s coastal development permit process”, or, was that another local liberal proggie bloggie?

      “If you do start paying attention to those Planning Commission meetings, what you will find is like the rest of us, many of the people who own and or build are trying to get the best deal they can for themselves, their employees, their clients and their investors. That involves getting public subsidies.” ~LMOB

      Response: Except that when outsourcing to sub contractors like roofers (often hispanics cuz they work hard), who is getting the short end of the schtick, the laborer of someone’s business……obviously in economics, a pyramid effect exists. Ya cant save money as a local business in one hand and claim in other hand everyone was treated fairly, got paid well, etc…. when grant whoring is involved laced with greedy rates of returns lining Dan Johnson’s plagiarising pockets or any other local developer grant whoring frauds. Of course in all things, there are good and bad and just plain ugly.

      “So, waive fees and who will pay for the the necessary and required overhead? That’s the basic question. And as you right that the BOS is “pilfering” general funds money, the reason is that the people who do have the means to pay this tax or that fee don’t want to. They would rather you pay for it THC when you buy that 4 pack of hard cider.” ~ LMOB

      Response: Great, you also disagree with local fire district tax measures, schools, etc…., cuz once again, the poor suffer at the hands of those with money who want all this shit, but dont want to pay more proportionately to that of only those folks who support the tax……ya funny how the shoe changes feet on taxation, who has the money (but don’t want to pay too much) and the poor (just barely getting into a unit/home, for which your more wealthy greedy neighbors push an increase in property taxes, but dont want to pay it alone amongst the richer neighbors in support, so push a scheme to force the tax on everyone).

      Pot calling the kettle black before back tracking to say its not a pot.

      Like

  10. LMOB says:

    THC:

    “She thinks that if she lets every single guy…”

    How do you want to deal with this type of comment? On the one hand we respect the First Amendment, on the other I would hope this could be a forum where there is a modicum of respect.

    You’ve shown before that there is a line that can’t be crossed. Does this walk up to the line but not cross it?

    It crosses it for me and I’m now in the same boat I was before.

    That’s not your problem, it’s mine. I also think it is your reader’s problem because of the misogyny, which, btw is fostered by sexiest environmentalist contests, your blog becomes more of an unchecked anti-union anti-government fever swamp.

    But oh, well. Right? I guess that is the way of things political. We have our camps.

    Hopefully in the future, you will produce and enforce a comment policy that would allow for respectful exchanges about politics and policy, until then I’ll have to angrily type on this keyboard in response to your half-stories elsewhere.

    Cheers.

    Like

    • Jon,

      We gave this one a lot of thought and after a close vote decided that it could ride. The reasoning is that the unfortunate syndrome that is being referred to in the comment is one suffered by many women. While the dysfunction itself may well stem from a misogynist upbringing leading to a propensity to become dependent on a never ending list of abusive male partners it is also a well established and documented psychological affliction. We feel that the comment is more reflective of the condition then simply a baseless sexist rant. We do agree that it could have been more clinically phrased. It’s a very close call but when it’s that tough we predictably fall on the side of free speech.

      We also gotta admit that in the case of Ms. Bass there is also ample evidence to support the diagnosis.

      You’ll note our significant editing of the subsequent comment.

      Your concern that our sexiest enviro is based on a political ideology is completely baseless. If we could find a handful of local right wing hotties we would gladly sponsor a poll. Unfortunately the candidate pool leaves us wanting. Hows this? If you pass along the names of four contenders we’ll go for it! We’ll even dig up the photos!

      As far as the anti-union bent, HELL YES, you got us dead to rights but only in the context of the government worker unions that are economically destroying our nation. Other unions are only condemned on a case by case basis.

      Like

    • Henchman Of Justice says:

      John,

      Agreed on the contest as being not HOJ’s schtick, but it is protected free speech, and if that problem is YOU, try living in Syria, err that’s mean, try Quatar, err too far away, how about England?

      The schoolyard tits angle, while be it, eye catching, is a truly high school thing that occurs by lots of young girls at that developmental stage, especially back a way when before all the “touchy feely laws.” BTW, most girls were appreciative of being noticed, it picked up their self esteem. Many women as adults appreciate a man who recognizes, it is flattering. Doubt Bass is overly offended, and can’t understand why people try to speak on her behalf. If Bass has a problem, let her voice it, she needs no surrogate voices, she is a strong woman, has a heart, but just makes some decisions we all don’t agree with, asshattery at times.

      Like

    • Henchman Of Justice says:

      John,

      The Supreme Court ruled that “a no speech policy” is impossible to ascertain and define all that which is known and yet to be known, and thus ruled any such policy as never being finite or complete in perpetuity, thus mandating any such policy as being illegal.

      Of course, the reason LOCO and other blogs censor is because it is not gubbamint doing the censorship, but it is armpit locals hand farting their prowess to exclude.

      This whole ploy by the two party system supporters in the private sector to separate a man from his principles is merely political tactics. It really underscores the intent of a society to preside under one set of rules, especially when it is local mother fuckers doing grass roots censorship.

      Like

  11. Just Watchin says:

    Could someone please post a link XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX, so we can make our own decision XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX?

    Like

  12. Just Watchin says:

    “Ample evidence”…….I like it.

    Like

  13. LMOB says:

    So respect and decency won’t sway you, maybe a lawsuit would.
    As I list the requirements for defamation in California, I want to focus on the last.

    Do you remember one of the first keyboard conversations we had? It was about the structural unfairness of our current conversation about public v private sectors – specifically about the nature of using publicly available income data to dis on public employees. Is there a similar publicly available database for our local business owners and their employees? Can that fact alone affect public opinion when used by those with an anti-government agenda?

    So, back to the topic at hand. I wonder if you would allow such comments if they were directed at a local business owner or manager. And remember, you have artfully argued that you are not censoring this bullshit because as a master of the psychology of the fairer sex you believe the offensive allegations are based in reality. In your words …

    We also gotta admit that in the case of Ms. Bass there is also ample evidence to support the diagnosis.

    So here is the answer if “Ms. (sic) Bass” has a case for defamation.
    “http://www.defamationlawblog.com/2009/01/do-you-have-a-case-for-defamation-2/”

    a) “It has been defined as any statement that tends to lower the reputation of a person in the community, and/or subject that person to contempt, ridicule, or obloquy, or cause the person to be shunned or avoided” Yup.
    b) “The statement must be a fact. Generally, you would not be able to prove defamation if the statement is an epithet, hyperbole, or is merely an opinion.” THC, you did this – you made the offensive opinion a fact that can be disproved. “Some statements that appear to be opinions may be construed to be factual statements if the statement implies a provably false statement.”
    c) The statement or statements must be false. Good for you THC for risking all of Mom’s and Dad’s hard work by opening them up to liability by in your search for these spectacularly important truths that make decent people extremely pissed-off.
    d)The average reasonable person must understand that the statement refers to the plaintiff, and not someone else, or a group of other people. Yup.
    e) Publication Yup.
    f)The statement must cause the plaintiff harm to his or her reputation.. Yes, THC it does. And this is the point. It also damages the reputation of her position and her organization, which is also the point.
    g) Damages – Damages are presumed and therefore do not need to be proved if the statement is libelous on its face. A statement is libelous if it is permanent in nature. For instance, any statement on the internet would be libelous; any photograph that is defamatory would be defamatory as well since it is fixed. Yup. You are stating Supervisor Bass’s previous actions which you have evidence is true are true today (something you can’t know btw) and are therefore permanent to her character.
    h) Fault – There are different standards of fault depending on whether the plaintiff is deemed to be a private person or a public figure. Private person plaintiffs must only show negligence. Public figures must show that the statement was made with constitutional malice, that is, that the defendant knew the statement was false at the time it was made, or with a reckless disregard for the truth. This is why Mom’s assets are probably safe in this particular case. So going forward, would you allow such a conversation about an owner of a private business? Time will tell.

    Anyway, good chatting with you over these months. Thank you for the consideration yesterday. You are a good person THC, we just happen to disagree on politics, and in this case, decency.

    Like

  14. Just Watchin says:

    Looney Man On Bike really coming to Bass’ defense. If we didn’t all know that jonboy doesn’t swing that way, I’d swear he was tryin to get into ole Ginny’s drillies!

    Like

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