Seems like rents are astronomical in Humboldt County, even though we’re not in the same stratosphere as urban centers like San Francisco, L.A., and San Diego.
A common complaint in Humboldt County is that those darn pot growers are taking up all the available housing for use in cultivation. Although that may be true to a certain extent, we think the effect of that has been over-exaggerated, especially in recent years.
You see, what’s to explain all the crazy rents being charged throughout the rest of California? Those darn pot growers?
As we’ve talked about before, we think California’s housing shortages can be attributed mostly to one thing – there just aren’t enough units to go around.
The Sacramento Bee published an article a few days ago that looked at the critical need to build more housing in California that touches on the current state of continually rising rents and the prospects of our leaders pulling their heads out of their asses and doing something about it. (Forecast: bleak.) Read the article here:
Want to know something funny? The Bee compared California’s out-dated approach to “encouraging housing” to our very own swine-in-chief:
““President Trump wants to keep people out by building a wall. California is more sophisticated – it uses zoning and development laws to keep people out, but they have the same effect.””
Something surely must be done to provide more housing. Cue our state representatives and leaders riding to the rescue of California’s beleaguered citizens, right?
Well…the Legislature reached a budget deal last week that included no new money for affordable housing.
But then Jerry Brown swooped in and is now seeking a cool $400 million to dedicate towards the creation of affordable housing.
Gee, Jerry – what a great idea! Let’s throw another $400 million of tax payer monies at the housing shortage problem just like we have for the past four decades. Look at how well that’s worked for us so far.
However, Brown did propose relaxing regulations and streamlining approvals to get the ball rolling:
“The Democratic governor wants to streamline housing development by limiting environmental project reviews, lowering permit requirements that can drive up per-unit costs, providing financial incentives to cities and counties that build new housing and strengthening laws that require low-income set-asides in new construction.”
It was a great idea, until environmental groups and unions did us all a favor by shutting those ideas down.
An actually exciting prospect on the horizon is that a few state senators are proposing bills that – you guessed it – would introduce some new taxes to help fight the problem. At least, it’s exciting when you’re only considering the need for more housing.
Of course, it would be more exciting if there was any remote chance of increased funding for housing coming to pass any time soon. Want to know what one of the biggest reasons why our lawmakers won’t act on easing restrictions? Because they’re reluctant to introduce a new tax after they just bamboozled Californians with the gas tax this year. (Which reminds us – tune in tomorrow for an important update about what you can do to get rid of that awful, awful gas tax we’ve been saddled with.)
Of course, there’s a simple answer to the problem that doesn’t occur to the majority of our money-hungry politicians: we can encourage housing by relaxing regulations on all types of housing construction. Boom. Fixed that problem for you, California.
Assembly Bill 73, introduced by Senator Weiner, proposes to do precisely some of those things. We’ll keep you updated on that bill’s progress, but don’t hold your breath.
The Sacramento Bee article goes on to discuss how rents are forcing people out of their homes and often onto the streets. In Humboldt, of course, we don’t need any reminders. We get those every day when we see our streets, greenbelts, and trails overcome with homeless who – among other things – have fallen victim to our State’s inability to care for its residents.