Friday, September 25, 2015

San Mateo County affordable and low income housing crisis task force

The Daily Journal (San Mateo County), Bill Silverfarb, 9/25/15.  "Housing task force launches:  Group to brainstorm solutions to gap between jobs and housing."

Image result for housing crisis San Mateo County picture
How about building some affordable, low cost, dense
housing on the infill and excessive open space of this City?
.... "With rents up 50 percent in four years to an average of more than $2,500 a month for a one-bedroom apartment, many low-wage earners can no longer afford to live in the county while a new glut of high-tech workers and other professionals can.

To address the gap in housing to jobs, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors convened a task force to tackle the housing crisis that met for the first time Thursday morning, (9/24/15). The Closing the Jobs/Housing Gap Task Force will work over the next year to find ways to preserve and increase housing at all price levels in the county.

Velocity Rendering....".. The goal of the task force is to identify the issues, strategize potential tools, solicit community input at a future date and create a menu of options for participants to bring back to their constituents and communities for consideration. It is being co-chaired by supervisors Don Horsley and Warren Slocum.

.... The task force’s members, appointed by the Board of Supervisors, will include two county supervisors, city councilmembers, planning commissioners, both profit and nonprofit housing developers and members of the Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo, the Housing Endowment and Regional Trust, HIP Housing, San Mateo County Board of Realtors, the California Apartment Association, chambers of commerce, League of Women Voters and the San Mateo County Economic Development Association."  Read more.

Related -  Westlake Urban Blog, 5/6/15, "2000 Delaware, workforce, housing, and affordability crisis."  "Andre Wiley, an Oakland school teacher who works two jobs to support his wife and young son, was hit with a 35 percent rent increase for a “no-frills” two-bedroom apartment. Now he’s contemplating moving to the Central Valley to find an apartment he can afford. Martha Ortega, a San Mateo County resident, was forced out of her two-bedroom when the new owner raised her rent by 44%. She and her husband are now living in a one-bedroom apartment, and her husband is working two jobs to earn enough money to pay the bills. Nicole Jones, a single mother and San Mateo resident, “felt lucky” to find a converted single-car garage for $1,000 a month.Stories like these are in the news every day. ...."    

Note photograph.  People by Valerie Schmalz, from Archdiocese of San Francisco/News, 7/13/15, "Housing crisis: Redwood City tenants protest eviction."  Affordable/low income housing from Trumark Homes, "The San Francisco Bay Area needs new homes; Trumark homes answers the call.

Posted by Kathy Meeh


Anonymous said...

Doesn't this kind of stuff lead to revolution? Raging economic inequality, haves and have nots and will never haves. Can we count on government to keep the pain and anger barely in check with just enough assistance to keep people struggling? Duh. What's a government for?

Jimmy McMillin said...

The rents too damned high!

The Local Libertarian said...

7:23 -- disconcerting it may sound, but I think the system is losing its ability for fairness for all the participants. It has always been tilted in the favor of "haves" but lately, the tilt has assumed a degree that it is pretty much a foregone conclusion that the "have nots" have little recourse for fairness.

Such a situation is not helpful for the "haves" and yet solutions are scattered and limited. If not resolved soon, symptoms such as these can manifest as a full blown disease of the system.

Not good.

The Ghost of Leon Ray Livingston said...

Who needs a home, anyway? We've got the Fog Fest. Just pitch a tent or throw down your favorite blankie, woobie or sleeping bag anywhere along the parade route. Tell the cops you are just reserving an observation spot for this year's or next year's FF parade. As long as we have a FF, you have a home. And did I forget to mention that the Pacifica Resource Center is just a stones throw away? So you're pretty much good to go for that room and board thingy.

In these tough times, living the life of a hobo isn't just a necessity, it's a science. And there's nowhere better to hone the academics of that science than the hallowed halls of Pacifica U.

Anonymous said...

122 Yeah, the mean streets of Pacifica. Give me a break. We lead charmed lives here by the sea. Low crime rate, low homelessness, obscenely high property values, pretty scenery. Gentrification underway. We pat ourselves on the back because people who need help and ask for help can get it right here at the PRC. Help them and then wave byebye as the poor, working poor and even moderate income people leave a town they cannot afford to live in. Problem solved! Let's rant. Been listening to the Pope and I'm not Catholic. Affordable housing? That's a huge problem and it's a Bay Area problem. But just when I want to jump aboard the Pacifica "we need more housing" bandwagon, I realize the housing being touted with such enthusiasm is not the housing poor/moderate income folks could afford. Instead of 1 affordable unit for every 10 market rate, how about reversing that equation? How about seeking out groups that build affordable housing or requiring developers to build affordable units (doesn't have to be within their upscale development) instead of "buying" their way out of them? What?? Woosh...there goes that enthusiasm.
Pacifica is firmly in the "haves" category and becoming more so everyday. I'm guessing we'll all find a way to live with that, won't we? Don't forget to support the PRC. With enthusiasm.

Steve Sinai said...

One of the reasons the few new houses that actually get built in Pacifica cost so much is because the NIMBYS force the developers to reduce the number of houses proposed. So in order to get the project to pencil out, each house has to be more expensive. NIMBY policies mean both less housing AND more expensive housing.

The Local Libertarian said...

@7:21 -- and the process of developing existing housing either for higher density or modifications to support a larger family is hellishly arduous and time & soul sapping. If there is a honest intent to solve this problem, it would've been solved. The "haves" impede this ultimately to their own detriment.

Housing shortage is most certainly not a lack of land problem. Its simply an exercise in market manipulation going horribly wrong!

Steve Sinai said...

Lame, Local Lib. The reason the process is so hellishly arduous and time & soul sapping is because the city and our local NIMBYS make it that way.

Anonymous said...

Who blocked housing in the quarry? NIMBYS.

Who forced Harmony@1 to reduce their housing? NIMBYS.

Who blocked Connemara for 10 years and made them reduce the number of homes built? NIMBYS.

Who tried to stop the Houmams from building three apartments on Palmetto? NIMBYS.

Who's trying to force the landowner of the plot behind the Pedro Point shopping center to donate that land for a park rather than use it for housing? NIMBYS.

Who's trying to stop new housing at the plot of land near the car wash at Monterey and Waterford? NIMBYS.

Who caused dozens of apartment units on Esplanade to disappear by delaying approval to place erosion-reducing rip-rap on the beach underneath those apartments unless the apartment owner agreed to build a trail? (That's known as extortion.) THE CITY OF PACIFCA.

Who gave away over 50% of Pacifica's land for permanent open space? NIMBYS.

Who wants to add $10,000 to the cost of each home in Pacifica by requiring home sellers to remodel their homes to include environmental "upgrades"? HIPPIES.

Who blocks new housing and then whines about high housing costs in Pacifica? NIMBIES and HIPPIES.

Anonymous said...

Those damn nimbys! Shhh, quiet now...I think I hear a developer of upscale housing saying his prayers. Let's listen in...and Jesus, please bless the nimbys and all the regulatory agencies for showing me an easier way to make lots of money. Please look out for them, would ya? And, I guess you'll have to look out for the poor slobs who just need a regular old roof over their heads. Not a thing I can do for them. I've seen the light and it's GREEN! Amen.

Anonymous said...

Uh, Steve, where it really counts, the city and our local nimbies are one and the same. Pacifica is doomed by geography and boot-licking politicians.

Anonymous said...

It was him! It wasn't me! Yeah, I shall never forget the stirring public letter written by one of our tennis-playing realtors just a few years back. Jean D'Arc with a tennis racket and a real estate license. She was moved to action by the faintest prospect that the PSD might sell Oddstad School property for affordable housing. I think Big Mike blithely mentioned it somewhere. My God, the horror! There goes Jean's neighborhood. Lifestyle, security, all shot to hell (perhaps literally). Not to mention property values. We don't mention those because you know it ain't about the money and it's not about "those people" moving in. Hey, I don't judge... well, not hardly, because we are all capable of being nimbies. It's purely situational. Like Local Lib said, if the "haves" (that's us) wanted to fix the housing problem, we would.

Anonymous said...


Did you get hit in the head. Too many Fog Cutters at the Fog Fest? Your comment is incoherent.

Anonymous said...

519 Delighted with your comment. Truly. Now, go play tennis.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your situational clarification.
NIMBY's and NOBIES have saved all of us. They have fought hard against all development for many years which has resulted in a windfall for us homeowners. Supply and demand is as real as rain and drought.
Our homes are worth millions now because there is no supply and demand is topping the charts.
God Bless the NIMBY'S and NOBIES. They have made those of us who already own homes millionaires and those who don't ........ well there's always Stockton.

Anonymous said...

604 Nothing converts hearts and minds like cash. If the nimbies restricted growth, and I know they did, then they also increased the personal wealth of existing home owners--particularly us old farts with decades in Pacifica. Isn't there just a whiff of hypocrisy when we condemn them from the comfort of our million-dollar-plus shacks? Penance? Write a check to the PRC and mark it for housing assistance, today. And, welcome to the congregation!

The Local Libertarian said...

@6:04 -- Fallacious argument. You suppose that those fighting to prevent development know the future and possible market conditions. We've all been on the receiving end of largess owing to growth and concentration of wealth in this part of the world. It is very clear they were not capable of predicting market movements as recent as 2008-2010.

Pacifica itself hasn't done much to contribute to that growth. Or for that matter most of the Bay Area. Its always been the select few that brought in the tide that helped everyone.

Your statement that restrictive development has led to contracted housing supply and therefore higher home prices is also flawed. If people saved on cost of their homes/living, there would be more disposable income/spending going around that would ultimately feed into the economy in form of demand for services, higher wages and better employment.

What we have right now is poor wages, questionable employment and inflated home prices. And we don't have savings. The whole house market pricing is supported by low interest rates -- but not by the actual consumer ability to spend. So, when the interest rate go up, and spending contracts, you are left with the worst of the situation: Low wages and low liquidity and a housing market with in-affordable homes or sellers with in-affordable mortgage debt.

Steve Sinai said...

Local Lib, your last comment reminds me of the adage - "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit." Do you actually think your analysis makes sense to anybody?

Only in NIMBY-nomics does less supply mean lower prices.

The Local Libertarian said...

@10:20 --

1) Interest are at a historical low, there is no incentive to save or stay liquid.
2) Tell me, how many people can actually afford to buy a home with their own savings? And do you really think banks are able to back home mortgages purely on earning potential?
3) What happens to affordability when the interest rates go up?

I think you need a remedial class or two in Economics.

Steve Sinai said...

Local Lib,

You're going off on tangents, which tells me you want to avoid discussing the fundamental relationship between supply and demand.

The tangential issues you're bringing apply nationwide, yet there's not a housing crisis across the country. There are also plenty of places in the USA with unemployment rates lower than in the Bay Area, yet have affordable housing.

The difference here is that we don't have enough housing to meet the demand. In Pacifica, the NIMBYS have a lot to do with contributing to that problem.

The Local Libertarian said...

@11:30 -- Pacifica doesn't have a housing problem. The population of Pacifica has remained relatively stable for the past 30 yrs. Some numbers:

Census Pop. %±
1960 20,995 —
1970 36,020 71.6%
1980 36,866 2.3%
1990 37,670 2.2%
2000 38,390 1.9%
2010 37,234 −3.0%

Est. 2014 39,088 [6] 5.0%

So your claim of housing falling short in Pacifica is factually wrong.
Now, there is a housing problem in the larger SF Bay Area. Specifically with regards to affordability to rent or own.

There is housing, but the current wage level cannot support it. And building more housing doesn't solve the problem of declining wages.

One way to "patch" this problem is to attract high value/high wage earning immigrants -- which is what is happening in the Bay Area. Immigration is the biggest driver of home values in SF Bay Area.

Pacifica's problem is its inability to take advantage of the larger Bay Area macro-economic/immigration trends.

Steve Sinai said...

How does a stable population in Pacifica show we don't have a housing problem? All it indicates is we have a fixed supply of housing, enough for a little under 40,000. And wages are not declining in the Bay Area. They are increasing.

When you have more and more people moving to the Bay Area, many with good incomes, you have a lot of people bidding up the prices for that fixed supply of housing.

It's that simple. Talk about immigration trends and interest rates has very little to do with the problem, and it's only being mentioned to distract from the real issue. We need to build more housing.

Anonymous said...

Hey Sinai, You should have went down to Fog Fest instead of watching the Niners.

47-7 ouch.

The Local Libertarian said...

@2:16 AM -- Unless the number of residents per home has dropped it is not indicative of a housing problem. Can you prove that residents per home has dropped in Pacifica in the last 40 yrs?

Nominal wages have been increasing. So has cost of real estate and rent. When you consider real inflation, then real wages have been falling. See here, here and here

Now consider the increasing cost of housing. See here and the CPI here

Local natives have been priced out unless they've been able to enter a stream of some gainful employment. The people that suffer the most are indigents since generosity/contributions to charity will falls as CPI goes up.

If you build more housing, it will not solve the crisis for the simple reason that any such housing will require labor who will demand current higher wages to support their current existence. The out come is effectively more of more expensive housing at which point you'll be looking for a market or immigrants to support that.

If you are a local and you do not have the kind of gainful employment to support your cost of living, your suggested best course of action is to cash out, move on and raise a next generation that are not as entitled but smarter and harder working and capable of competing with the best of the rest of world.

Now, if you really want to solve the housing crisis look for ways to decrease the cost to build/modify per unit of housing.

Make permitting easier.
Make subdivisions of existing built out area easier.
Build transport infrastructure so people can be mobile and seek out options.
etc ..

You have to thank the GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council) for their prolific oil output which has contributed to significant decline in cost of energy (historic lows). Without that, we'd already be in the middle of another crisis.

Anonymous said...

Local Lib

It's puff puff pass.

Anonymous said...

Someone needs to google the term "libertarian" and learn what it really means.

Steve Sinai said...

7:34 AM, I jumped off the Santa Clara 49ers bandwagon last year. Now I've climbed onto the Raiders bandwagon.

Local Lib, again you're throwing out a bunch of random gobbledygook. Now you're bringing oil prices into it? Sheesh, why not talk about how the cost of beef affects Pacifica's housing problems?

The only part of your last comment that makes sense is the part about making it easier to get permits and improve transport infrastructure.

Anonymous said...


The Raider Nation doesn't want homers on the bandwagon.

The Local Libertarian said...

@10:50 AM -- Liberalism doesn't exclude looking at facts and trying to be reasonable. If you think Ayn Rand foisted version of thinking is "libertarianism" -- I suggest you pick up a few books on David Hume, David Ricardo, Adam Smith, Ludwig Mises and Frederich Hayek, Fredric Bastiat for a start.

@7:34 -- appreciate the fact that you run a decent blog. But either you don't understand how to debate or you seek to intentionally mislead.

Anonymous said...

Local lib......
You are insufferable. I guess everyone should just move into tee-pees cuz there is simply no way out of this housing conundrum.
The NIMBIES and NOBIES are the most responsible for the mess we have in Pacifica because they have put all of their political energy into freezing and squeezing our city into a circa 60's sitcom.
I personally loved the 60's (especially the music and challenges to authority) but time marches on. Populations increase, technology advances, power morphs and people's needs are forever in flux.
Other than some nice trails these people have really damaged our city.

Anonymous said...

Why blame the NIMBIES and NOBIES if they have better political organization and can better drive their point across? May be that is the reality of the situation that we should just all accept and move on.

Steve Sinai said...

Local Lib, stop with the phony intellectualism. Nobody's buying it.

Kathy Meeh said...

332, that's your NIMBY perpetrator view. But, that doesn't fix the structural destruction your Gang of No has caused.
So, what is the "move on" plan to fix the twisted mess you have created?

Anonymous said...

My momma taught me that when somebody does something for you, you should say thanks. Despite the collateral damage they have definitely caused, ie, a town that won't survive in its present form, I've got to say thanks nimbies for making me rich! Battered by the stock market, no juicy CalPers pension, but I did buy and hold a couple of Pacifica shacks. One sold and one to go! Will I miss Pacifica? Not for long. My requirements are pretty scenery and a convenient airport. Plenty to choose from.

Anonymous said...

Pacifica thinks they are going to set up rent control like SF. All the talking heads were there thinking Pacifica city council gives a shit what they say.

The decision is already made. Shut up and pay up peons.