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Goodbye, New York, California and Illinois – Hello where? (bloomberg.com)
193 points by nishantvyas on Jan 17, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 684 comments

Sonoma County, CA here. We've lost more people from our county than any other in the state between 2017-2018 [1], and it is only continuing.

From the few of these people I have spoken with - anecdotally:

- None left because of the fire risk, specifically. [though some obviously did - 2]

- Most left because of the cost of living: $600k avg home price.

- Some also left because of political and human environment: We have homeless encampments on our bike trails. We have fires caused by illegal cooking fires at these encampments. Petty crime is increasing, and state laws are only enabling this - people are sick of it.

1 - https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/9149705-181/sonoma-county...

2 - https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona/2019/04/2...

> Petty crime is increasing, and state laws are only enabling this - people are sick of it.

I wonder if people considered voting the politicians who made these laws out. Judging from CA voting patterns, probably not. And then when it gets really bad, they move to another state and likely vote for the same policies that caused them to move in the first place.

I first heard of this phenomenon the other day from a coworker that lives south of Atlanta, near the major movie/tv production area. People, from what are typically blue areas, are moving in and radically changing the political landscape according to him. He wasn’t necessarily against liberal ideas but his complaint was that they seem to vote for taxes just for the hell of it because every tax proposed is still significantly less than where they came from.

Either way, interesting times.

This is a real problem, and a real concern IMO. People move from their home cities and states to nice areas with low tax, then continue voting for the same policies and ideologies that led to their home becoming awful in the first place. I live in a rather conservative area that sees an influx of New Yorkers every single year. They all seem to complain about two things: the high taxes they left, and Republicans. I'd laugh if it weren't so mindnumbingly sad.

Reminds me of the saying, something like "if it smells like sh*t everywhere you go, maybe it's time to check your own shoes."

You seem to have a lot of judging and questionable assumptions in your post.

There is a very pronounced trend of people migrating away from states that are controlled by Democrats for reasons that are potentially ideologically driven policy failures. This raises a a very real and material question for the new host community - do the migrants understand why the situation became so intolerable that they felt they should move?

Migrants bring new ideas so a certain amount of discomfort and change is expected. But judgements and assumptions need to be discussed to work out if there is any merit to them. There is a risk there that shouldn't be glibly ignored.

So I suppose I'd call on you to flesh that out with some alternatives that fit the facts or some challenges to the assumptions rather than just calling a spade a spade. We all know it is a spade. If the spade is inappropriate suggest a better tool instead.

Statistically, people are moving from rural areas and to urban areas. Rural areas tend to be conservative and economically depressed. Urban areas tend to have high paying jobs and be liberal or progressive.

Aside from a few state/city couplings(Omaha, NE comes to mind) a US "State" is a poor indicator of differentiated policy or ideology. People in Atlanta or Miami or LA or Seattle have a lot more in common with each other than some might think.

Moreover, it seems like you're attempting to paint the picture that a typically Democratic State is somehow worse off than a conservative one. I'm positive that a person born in Washington or California almost always has a better statistical and economic outcome than someone born in the Deep South, for example. So, it seems if I were correct(and I'm almost certain I am), the spade is doing something right.

After the 2016 election while my friends were freaking out and moping I went and drilled down into the fine grained election results. You are absolutely right. The difference is really between 'the city' and exurban. Notable the size of 'the city' doesn't matter. In thinly populated areas the city might only be 15-20,000 people. But they all voted for liberal/progressive/left leaning candidates.

I think there are a lot of issues where the republican/democrat divide is very directly influenced by rural/urban environments.

(please do not assume any of the following takes a stance on these issues. Also don't imagine I know what I'm talking about)

On gun control, rural areas can have more than one gun per person with virtually no impact on an already negligible violent crime rate, while urban areas have fewer guns that are all much more likely to be involved in a homicide. So rural people see the issue as taking away rights for no benefit and urban people see that resistance as tacit support of gun violence and an attack on human life.

On abortion, cities have a lot more opportunity for promiscuity and have more unwanted pregnancies as a result. In the country, abortions are a much rarer concern; eliminating them would have little impact and resistance seems like tacit support of an attack on human life.

On taxation, city wages are higher. This may, citation needed, also influence positions on immigration.

Pollution is a greater concern in the city. Law enforcement corruption is a greater concern in the city. Cost-of-living and therefore necessary minimum wage are higher in the city.

I could go on (I can't, but fun to say so anyway).

Except no one talks about guns that are used for hunting when talking about gun control policy (maybe the idiots who use massive powered automatic rifles for shooting deer may be slightly affected).

Politicians use gun control policy to create divisions in people, but the actual gun control policies being considered themselves almost always poll very well amongst all Americans including those in rural areas and hunters.

It’s like Obamacare, where the actual policies within are supported by overwhelming majorities, but obamacare barely breaks even.

> Except no one talks about guns that are used for hunting when talking about gun control

Not only is that untrue, it’s so untrue that a common trope among gun types is to display two pictures of the same gun, one with a wooden stock, and observe the disparity in reactions. Most people can’t define what a “hunting rifle” is, and certainly can’t define legislation that would ban one kind of gun without impacting the other. One of the biggest complaints about California‐ or 1994 AWB‐style gun laws is that they target cosmetic but “scary” features like barrel shrouds or pistol grips far out of proportion with their actual impact on safety (in contrast with the real elephant in the room, handguns).

> maybe the idiots who use massive powered automatic rifles for shooting deer may be slightly affected

The poster child for moral panic when it comes to guns is the AR-15, which is significantly less powerful than a typical deer hunting rifle, so much so that some states ban it specifically against large game; it’s more appropriate for smaller game like coyotes and hogs.

If you’re trying to get rid of black rifles, then at least say openly that you want to ban semi‐automatic rifles and magazines. Talking about an AR‐15’s “massive power” is nonsensical, especially if you’re claiming your gun control proposals won’t affect deer hunting rifles.

I don't know if you meant to reply to the other response to my comment, but my point is a little broader than that. Hunting be damned, you could fill up wyoming with automatic weapons granted with no background checks and not see a serious uptick in gun violence. It is just a non-issue. Proposals to increase gun laws appear, from that environment, to be a useless power grab by the government. Again, not an endorsement.

To address your main point though, even if a majority of republicans would be okay with the gun control on the table, republican politicians are incentivized to represent the minority that are opposed until an equally signifcant minority actively votes for those policies. That incentive structure is probably for the best given our lack of proportional representation.

Just of note, automatic weapons where ban in the early 80's those that are left in the US are tightly regulated and require a FFL class 3, have strict rules on transfer and the local sheriff must approve the transfer. Many sheriffs will not allow class 3's in their county. If they will not, the resident is out of luck on getting one of the few automatic weapons left. Those remaining weapons sell for upwards of 10 to 20K and not one has been used in a mass shooting in recent history. People buying automatic weapons are by and large collectors.

What you are referencing is semi-automatic weapons, which require you to pull the trigger each time you want a bullet to fire. Many hunting rifles are semi-automatic. The difference between a semi-automatic hunting rifle and a semi-automatic black rifle is the difference between a Corvette and a Corvette with a Ferrari body kit. It's all cosmetic they are at the core the exact same rifle. A Remington semi-auto .223 hunting rifle is in spirit the same gun as a AR-15.

Handguns and homemade explosives are a much greater public threat and that is the reason most gun rights advocates see no value in compromise. The issue is completely a emotional issue and the facts, which advocates are well versed in, weight out contrary to the arguments that gun control advocates are making. The reality is that other than the occasional mass shooting people are just not being killed by rifles of any kind. Handguns are used in orders of magnitude more than rifles to commit violent crimes. A sincere effort to remove guns from criminals would focus on handguns and not rifles. Therefore rights advocated jump to the conclusion that the effort is to disarm the legally owned, armed population as that is the majority of rifle owners. The simple fact is the majority of criminals use handguns, they are more easily concealed, easier to wield and easier to reload.

The only exception to this is mass shooters who want to LARP Call of Duty. Which is why they choose rifles if FPS's and movies used handguns, mass-shooters would use handguns because in their crazy minds they are role playing. That being said, you have a slightly higher chance of getting killed in a mass shooting than you have getting hit by lighting. By the number it's just a non-event. In saying that, I am not trying to minimize them, just stating the facts, they are horrible events and we should certainly do something about them. But disarming millions of law abiding citizens to prevent a lightning strike event punishes the masses for a statistically small problem.

Common sense gun control would have at it's core handgun controls as well as mental health protocols. If they don't then they are conceived via emotion rather than statistical fact.

As a "self proclaimed" centrist, this is well stated. There's nothing wrong with anyone's line of thought, they obviously hold it for a reason. Problems only arise in this arena when one group tries to force beliefs on the other. A hunter trying to convince say, Chicago, that guns are good is going to have a hard time. Same with the Chicagoan that tries to convince a hunter that guns are bad. Neither are wrong, in reality...

Up until recently Dallas / Ft. Worth and Miami where conservative. The Cubans that fled communism held Miami as a conservative metro up until about 15-20 years ago. Orlando and Tampa where the same. Orlando for different reasons but Tampa was largely due to the conservative Cubans as well.

Texas and Florida are two of the states that are experiencing meteoric growth and to imply that those moving in are not shifting the political climate to that in which they came from is to ignore the fact that both went from solidly conservative states, with conservative large metros. To toss up states where the metros became in flux. To ignore that those moving in are not voting in the same failed policies that they are fleeing ignores the fact that both states policies are in fact starting to trend towards taxation, lowering of property rights and large scale social programs. The spade is a spade.

The same happened to Denver over the past 20 or so year.

On a note related to the main topic, I live in FL in the Florida Keys, it is a paradise I spearfish on the weekends and am usually out on a boat. Prices have gone up here, but one can still purchase a home on the water for under 500k. I could barely get a decent apartment in the valley for what I paid for my 7 acres of oceanfront land and home. I mention this to make the point that I can certainly see the draw, you get so much more for your money if one sells out of a major CA metro and moves to one of the growth states.

The biggest thing in those states' favor is easily housing policy. They tend to permit much more sprawl, so housing prices in general, and especially the cost of a detached single family home stay more reasonable. Aside from Houston, they're still not great on allowing housing density though.

Meanwhile, blue states have a "worst of both worlds" kind of policy. They don't permit much sprawl, and also don't permit much density, thereby pushing people to states where they do permit sprawl. Then they tell you that this is good for the environment, somehow.

That said, while it makes for cheap single family homes, sprawl has a LOT of negatives. Strong Towns explains how it basically functions like a Ponzi scheme in the long term, and within older cities the sprawlier parts are usually subsidized by the denser ones. There's also more cost to the environment, to health, to noise, to safety, and for transportation costs for both the government and the user. There's a reason the US has an unusually high traffic fatality rate per 100k people for a developed country, and there's an impact on our collective national waistline as well.

> Meanwhile, blue states have a "worst of both worlds" kind of policy. They don't permit much sprawl

Many states smaller (and less populated) than the expanse of sprawl in the LA basin. The only parts of CA that has much limit to sprawl are places with hard natural geographic barriers, like SF and the Peninsula.

Driving on the east coast or west coast, I see hundreds upon thousands of miles of sprawl. Californian sprawl even extends across natural barriers, with houses clinging to steep hillsides, houses built on ridiculously unstable land, houses built in shrub forests that obviously have an annual fire season. If people want to live that way, it’s fine. But they leave, and they build more sprawl wherever they go...

Miami has never been conservative, at most they had some conservative Cubans, who hardly ever had a plurality in the area. Dallas has never been co see stove either, that is what Ft. Worth and it’s suburbs were for.

Texas really wants a tech industry, which is why it is importing lots of liberals. By that I mean these people don’t move to Texas to be in Texas, rather they were lured their by great job opportunities.

Can you cite a single source of Texas "importing" workers, vs people fleeing to Texas and pretending they did so for Texas's own good? Texas was a tech hub before most of us were born.

Uhm sure? All the people that I know who’ve moved to Austin have done so for the career opportunities...no one just picked Texas and said they were going to find a job later. They were pretty mercenary about where they were going. Some were even forced their (eg when IBM closed Boca and moved everyone who didn’t want to quit to Austin).

> Texas was a tech hub before most of us were born.

Sure, they’ve also been importing liberals since before most of us were born. I mean my dad lived near San Antonio sometime in the 60s for that reason, again it wasn’t his choice (even being in the Army wasn’t).

If you ask Austinites they’ll tell you about lots of folks moving in just for the city and figuring out the rest later.

People move to Texas for cheap housing.

That’s the biggest thing these states have going for them. Lots of space and associated cheap housing.

The last two mayors of Miami have been Cuban Republicans. The city manager is a Republican, several of the commissioner seats are occupied by republicans. One could argue that currently Miami leans conservative. Marco Rubio represents Miami, to claim that Miami does not, at times, swing conservative is to ignore the clear facts that it does and much of that is due to the conservative Cubans.

plenty of the most populous areas in the world are not liberal and progressive. There are at least 20 cities in China larger than NYC. I'm sure India has it's share. So does the middle East and south East Asia. Let's not make assumptions based only on majority populations of European descent.

It is on a relative spectrum what’s left and right in those countries . In Europe for example the U.S. left would be considered moderate or conservative and not really liberal. Also the reason for urban areas being more liberal , is usually because closer you live to ton of people , better you need and appreciate collective/ liberal policies better

The US left is about on par with European left. The US right is more right than the average European right, which shifts the average.

Within those countries, you're still going to see more conservatism in rural areas, and more progressiveness in urban ones.

>There are at least 20 cities in China larger than NYC.

This is incorrect.

And they are all significantly more "liberal" than the surrounding rural areas, even if in absolute terms they are not as liberal as Western cities.

> There is a very pronounced trend of people migrating away from states that are controlled by Democrats for reasons that are potentially ideologically driven policy failures.

This observation may actually indicate the opposite, it is conservative policies that are failing. To see this, consider two potential reasons why people move away from urbanized progressive areas into more conservative areas:

1. Progressive policy failures (as you suggest)

2. The conservative areas are under-developed, and therefore have a greater potential for growth, which creates incentives to move there.

Under the first hypothesis, liberal policies ruin things. But under the second hypothesis, conservative policies ruin things. There is a pretty simple way to test out which is true: if the first is true, and progressive policies are at fault, then a conservative area would become more conservative as it becomes more popular and more people move there. If the second is true, then conservative areas would become more liberal as it becomes more developed.

Pretty much every originally conservative area that becomes developed later becomes more liberal (hello Texas). It's pretty clear that your hypothesis is false.

This feels like some bizarre version of 'white savior complex.'. The truth isn't 1 or 2, but somewhere in between. Conservative areas don't need you, and progressive policies aren't all failures.

> There is a very pronounced trend of people migrating away from states that are controlled by Democrats for reasons that are potentially ideologically driven policy failures

People who have worked in California until retirement taking advantage of it's strong economy to secure retirement income and then moving elsewhere to further maximize retirement dollars are a big part of the trend; to the extent that's about policy outcomes, it's policy success.

> do the migrants understand why the situation became so intolerable that they felt they should move?

For California, it's mostly having a very successful economy combined with terribly stupid housing policy.

Conservative areas are 'better' on the latter on some level because they permit more sprawl, which does provide for more supply, which means lower housing prices. Car-dominant sprawl is a disaster in other ways, though: environment, pollution, health, noise, danger, cost to government, cost to user, etc.

And conservative areas are usually even worse at allowing density, despite being ostensibly free market. I have a lot of conservative FB friends, and it's always amazing how quickly they're suddenly in favor of strict government regulation when it's for keeping housing density low; when it's their favored lifestyle at risk, free market principles are apparently no longer an issue.

There is no pronounced trend. In fact, this very article says so. The trend is for people to move from conservative rural areas to liberal urban areas. In fact, a deeper look at the data will actually prove the opposite. That Democratic controlled locations are thriving and people are moving to it. For example, within New York, NYC population is actually growing.

No one lives in the overcrowded costal states anymore. They're too overcrowded.

It isn't unreasonable to those of us that have lived over practically half of the country. Try moving every year or two, see what that does to your preconceptions and notions.

Atlanta was never a “nice area” until “liberals” moved into it.

Atlanta, the city, was a shithole ridden with crime until the “liberals” moved in.

Which is, for better or worse, the reality of all these cities that seem to complain about “liberals” moving in. They are shitholes because the “conservatives” are all cooped up in suburbs, and so no one pays any tax to maintain the city which ends up being somewhere that is just where the people come in to work and leave in the evening, until the “liberals” move in.

As someone who never mentioned Atlanta, I don't know what you are talking about. As someone who has been to Atlanta over the course of decades, I don't believe you.

Huh. I feel the same way in the opposite direction.

People move from their home states and rural areas to nice areas with civic services and permissive cultures, and then continue voting and advocating for the same policies and ideologies that led to their home being unwanted in the first place. I live in liberal areas that see a steady influx of people all the time, and distressingly large amount of them seem to complain about two things: The ineffectiveness of government (including the underfunded ones they left behind), and Liberals. I'd laugh if I wasn't so concerned about the displacement of my home cultures.

Makes me want to say something like, "if it smells like shit everywhere you go, stop shitting all over everything you find."

I would absolutely sympathize with you, if this were a true story. Believe it or not, I'm not a registered Republican, after all. To be fair, I've never heard of conservative folks overtaking a liberal city, only vice versa. If you have a true story to share, I'd love to hear it.

Instead, it feels like you're just reversing everything I said for argument's sake.

Reasonable. It's anecdotal, and no, none have been "taken over". What I'm predominantly responding to is this weird way people seem to look at these liberal cities and go "oh, they've succeeded in spite of their liberalness" instead of those being part of why they became desirable places to live in the first place.

The few examples that come the most to mind are what "Keep Venice Weird" is reacting to, and the lamenting of SF at the impact "tech bros" (vague, loaded term I know, but I don't have another) has had on the local culture. Which definitely don't fit cleanly onto the usual political spectrum, but AFAIK do roughly approximate it. And yeah, I wouldn't say these places are being taken over, and I would still say there's an influx of people complaining about things that went into making these places desirable in the first place.

I did deliberately match my phrasing to yours, and part of it is for argument's sake. There are both statistics and vibes, but there's not a great way to poke at anecdotes and vibes outside of reversals.

If the statistical reality is that liberalism takes over, but the emotional interpretation of that is... I don't know, that it shouldn't; that's weird to me. If one thing is taking over, it's generally because it's out competing the others. It's almost like when people believe in working together to make places better for everyone... they get better for everyone.

As an aside, sounds like you should be a registered republican. They need people with good heads and something like that set of views, and those sounds like what you have. In case it's in any way unclear, I do mean that as a compliment.

>What I'm predominantly responding to is this weird way people seem to look at these liberal cities and go "oh, they've succeeded in spite of their liberalness" instead of those being part of why they became desirable places to live in the first place.

Why would you think so? For example California used to be if not a Red State then a heavily leaning Republican: since 1880 until 2000 it has not voted for a Democratic president who has not also won the national election (and the 1880 election was extremely close). In the same time period it voted for a Republican candidate who lost the election multiple times (e.g. it voted against JFK and Carter).

Do you really believe that California had not been desirable before it started voting exclusively D (in 1992 the earliest)? I had not been living in the US at the time but judging by the popular culture it does not seem to be the case.

> Why would you think so?

Well asked! I've been trying to understand why I do.

I think it comes to this: Good places to live come from encouraging and empowering people to make those places their own, as communities.

What it means to be a democrat or a republican changes from place and decade to decade. What is effective in actualizing that community participation then also changes as a place changes over time (ironically, that's also why it's important to have that community participation).

AFAIK, the Republican party _used_ to stand for small, decentralized government; now they stand for ineffective and centralized government (despite the talking points).

I'm less clear on what the Democrats "used to be" (except racist, way back in the day), except that in this era and in these places, community participation is hampered by unaffordable housing, unaffordable and/or inaccessible healthcare, and a lack of living wages.

I know I haven't fully answered your question, but I've been at this for far too long. Thanks for asking so effectively!

If you think it's just the parties that have changed, then how about actual policies? Prop 187 has been passed in 1994 with 59% majority, can you imagine anything like that happening in California nowadays? No matter how you see DNC and GOP of 1990s, you surely can see that the California's attitude towards illegal immigrants has completely reversed now.

It's definitely not just the parties that have changed. I have no idea whether that law would've passed today; everyone hears "California" and thinks about SF/LA, forgetting about the large conservative areas. Look how long weed and gay marriage took.

Gay marriage was never passed by popular vote in California, it was a result of judicial activism both on the state level and on federal. In fact, CA voted against gay marriage in Prop 8.

However, the fact that party vote in California changed in 90s, when it's been already a prosperous and desirable state remains. So it does not seem plausible that liberal policies turned it into one. The opposite though, is completely believable - in a rich locale, with a lot of money, politicians who use the money to "buy" votes will eventually rise and will remain in power until the money's gone.

The issue is the lack of dimensionality on your axis. If the political spectrum recognized more dimensions, you would find it that high tax vs republican is only one small dimension, thus not necessarily a contradiction.

But that's not what the data shows. People from blue states are moving to blue cities in red states. Left leaning people are moving to similarly left leaning areas. Austin, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Atlanta, when was the last time these were Republican bastions? Look at the areas experiencing huge population growth. Texas might be red but the populations centers haven't been for years.

I think in the particular case of my co-worker the blue is spilling into the traditionally red rural areas. The population centers inevitably must expand to handle the migration.

So blue cities are expanding, as cities have always done?

Almost all big cities are blue. The biggest red city is Mesa Arizona.

This is a good point, but it would be intellectually disingenuous not to acknowledge that they've been drawn by the policy of the red states, specifically by housing policy that's made housing costs more reasonable than the blue states.

Not that I'm a big fan of sprawl, but it's undeniable that blue state housing policy that strictly limits both sprawl AND density has been an utter disaster for cost of living anywhere where the economy is good.

The sprawl has massive hidden costs; it's a similar situation to stadiums. The city centers end up paying for it, but not reaping the benefits in tax bases / revenue.

The housing costs - while they do have a lot do with policies that prevent massive new construction - also have a lot do with a lot of people moving and wanting to move to these places.

So, question for you: What about the blue state policies is that results in their economies being good, so that these problems exist in the first place?

It was my understanding that most restrictive housing policy is implemented at a city and not state level.

California has largely become a single party state. I'm not trying to start an argument between Democrats and Republicans here, but we can clearly see a pattern everywhere in the world. Once single party rule is institutionalized the politicians are no longer accountable to voter interests.

It's like having a monopoly and not having to compete.

Really you want both sides to be strong and for there to be a healthy push and pull. So the best ideas from each rise to the top and then do battle via good faith debate. With the ability and willingness to steelman each other's arguments.

Instead what we tend to see is an eagerness to interpret everything in the worst way possible, attacking strawmen and talking past each other. Which accomplishes little aside from increasing polarization.

Ideally, you want more than two sides , there are nuances to everyone’s beliefs, forcing them to choose just red/blue is reducing choices and doesn’t reflect real preferences

Not really. The farm valleys are very, very red, while the major cities are very, very blue. I would say CA is a very politically polarized state.

Don't the farm valleys have much less people than the cities? The map might look as if the colors are balanced, but the population density matters.

The valleys are mostly irrelevant due to their lower population.

And that’s why both chambers of the state legislature are ~20% Republican?

Yes, a nicely irrelevant amount.

This is why I really wish we had ranked choice voting (or approval voting). That way we'd have more political parties and a healthier political climate.

Ranked choice voting isn't what's stopping a third party. Majority-wins / first-past-the-post is.

There's ranked choice voting in San Francisco, and there's not a new party.

> Ranked choice voting isn't what's stopping a third party. Majority-wins / first-past-the-post is.

Uh, ranked choice / IRV is a different system than majority / FPTP. Having the former means not having the latter (for any given office.)

But state and federal offices don't use RCV, and local offices are formally nonpartisan, so there are no partisan offices that SF's use of RCV effects.

Maybe I used the wrong terminology. More specifically, I think our issue is with winner-take-all, rather than proportional representation (see: all(?) parliamentary systems).

We have something different in California, apparently you don’t know about it? Hard to have a conversation when folks are unaware.

California allows two candidates from the same party to run against eachother. Do other states not?

It is worse than that. With the passage of the "Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act" California has open primaries (anyone can vote for anyone on the ballot in the primaries) and only the top two get to be on the main ballot. So many times only two Democrats are on the ballot with no Republican candidate at all. Not a good situation in my opinion.

It would actually work in favor of Republican-inclined voters, though not necessarily the party itself.

By allowing anyone to vote, Democrat candidates are incentivized to be more moderate, because a vote from a Republican is as good as another from a Democrat. Without open primaries, a Democratic-only primary pretty much decides the winner, and a candidate only has to appeal to fellow Democrats.

Yeah, no. Reality doesn’t bear out with your theory.

IMHO because R's instantly become disenfranchised. Only if voting were compulsory would it work as prev suggested, and thats not realistic.

Jerry Brown was a conservative by any historical understanding of the term, and he won in a landslide. Gavin Newsom is also relatively moderate. For example, he's made it clear that it's simply not economically feasible to throw money at homeless housing (because he literally tried that in SF as mayor). And hit the pause button on high-speed rail (which is basically a death sentence). Newsom rose up through the San Francisco Democratic political machine, which while liberal on social issues has been until recently predominately controlled by right-of-center politicians and interest groups. The last three mayors, including Newsom, have been opponents of the self-styled "progressive" faction. Unfortunately, Newsom has ambitions for higher office so he's not providing much leadership at the moment; just refereeing squabbles and trying to avoid bad press.

A large contingent of Republicans wanted the top-two primary system, believing it would benefit them. (Though the GOP opposed it.) It didn't work out that way. But it didn't really change the dynamics in the other direction, either; that train had been accelerating for years.

California is a one-party state because of term limits. Running for office is expensive and difficult. Few sane people, unless they're independently wealthy, wish to expend all that time and effort to serve a mere two terms. They want a political career. With term limits the only way to have a political career is to jump office every two terms. The best chance of accomplishing that--of achieving career "progression"--is to work closely with a political party, which can ensure a spot in various low-level offices if you don't make the cut for a bigger office. Term limits make the party system more important. What ends up happening is that the party with more offices and better electoral chances in the near future when this process starts will quickly build on that initial advantage, while the other parties will quickly wither. If Texas enacted term limits I have no doubt that Houston, Austin, Dallas, etc, would quickly become, nominally at least, Republican.

That said, California may be a one-party state, but there are absolutely liberals, moderates, and conservatives within the party. What difference does the label "Democratic" or "Republican" make, so long as there are free and open elections? From a foreign country's perspective, most American politicians behave alike regardless of whether they're Democratic or Republican.

One benefit of being an all-blue (or all-red) state is that there's less political grid-lock. At least, less grid-lock from naked partisanship. Grid-lock from the electorate demanding conflicting and contradictory policies... alas that doesn't go away.

> A large contingent of Republicans wanted the top-two primary system, believing it would benefit them. (Though the GOP opposed it.) It didn't work out that way.

It does benefit them, by giving Republicans more influence on what candidate is elected in districts where they have no chance of electing one of their own.

> California is a one-party state because of term limits.

No, it’s more because the California Republican Party followed the national party to the far right over the last couple of decades, while the California electorate didn't.

California is a “one party state” because Gov Pete Wilson and the CA GOP went after the racist vote in the mid 90’s to get re-elected by heavily supporting Prop 187, which denied all state services to undocumented immigrants. Until then, it was relatively conservative.

Turns out that (thankfully) there aren’t enough racists for keep control of the state government, and since then the CA GOP has become basically irrelevant.

In the long term I think the national GOP is doing this by going after racists, extreme fundamentalists, and other fanatics.

The fanatic vote is political cocaine: temporary high, then you need more and more, then your non coke head friends drift away, then you are strung out.

> then your non coke head friends drift away, then you are strung out.

Alas, that may be more wishful thinking than reality. :( There are countless countries around the world, both in modern history and today, that prove the dynamic can be sustained indefinitely.

I don't know about Dallas, but Houston and Austin are solidly liberal, and I don't think term limits would change that. Most people would still vote the same way for mayor and city and councilman.

Uh, yeah. Reality does bear out your theory. The extremes have been muted on both sides.

Yes, if your views are at the extremes, you have less voice. That's a FEATURE, not a bug. And I feel no sympathy for you.

I would say it’s your own bias which is informing your opinion. California has only gotten more “progressive” with each election.

If that makes you happy, I hope you understand that it’s “progressive” policy which has caused crime to explode, housing prices to rise, and people to leave the state.

> hope you understand that it’s “progressive” policy which has caused crime to explode

Crime has not exploded in California. California’s violent crime rate rose in 2017—but it remains historically low. The statewide property crime rate decreased in 2017. Crime rates vary dramatically by region and category. Violent crime increased in a majority of counties but property crime decreased in most counties. [0]


I don't trust any property crime "stat" in any moderately sized city. Every single person I know whose had property crime happen to them which is in multiple cities and states doesn't even bother reporting it because the cops won't do anything so it's just a waste of time.

Sounds like you’re the property criminal, because the odds of every single person you know having property crime committed against them is ridiculously low, unless you’re the one committing it.

"whose had property crime happen to them" refers only to the people I know who have had property crime happen to them, not everyone I know.

Most of the property crime is see from various places around here the past couple years has been theft and damage under $500 - not enough to make it worth filing an insurance claim, and police reports don't seem to do much around here, sometimes they tell you to call back in a day or two if you do call.

So there is plenty of crimes posted on the fbook / nextdoors / stuff like that were people are feeling victimized / but these are not going to show in any crime stats anywhere. Unless fbook has some AI run through and tabulate this stuff and report it by area one day..

You also can't see the impact from some stats. A neighbor recently had a naked guy pounding on her back door, they did get cops out for that one, arrested him from hiding inside here storage shed... with screenshots of the whole ordeal posted in a group - lots of people were a bit traumatized, yet you would see in the crime stats '1 arrested for trespass' - which does not give you a good idea of the impact on the community of this data point.

trying to reply to comment below, but I guess the thread is at max threshold.

I like to point to data for calming things down sometimes like the gun violence debate.. but often times there is much missed in looking at data from a far.

Plus, a couple of mayors ago, our city mad all the cops change how they report crimes (choose the softer things to charge people with so the stats look better) - and, officers were actively asking people not to press charges for things, go so far as explaining the process, and how we would spend hours in court and they would be off the streets doing important stuff for hours if we pressed charges, and that the person was not going to be in jail anyway..

Maybe things are different elsewhere and maybe in some places they have some of the same tricky data reporting, until we have all robot cops that run the same software in all cities, some of these things are going to be difficult to compare.

Insurance claims generally require a police report.

I would say it’s the lack of mental healthcare and a social safety net that causes all of the above. And it’s not possible to address on a state level as all the other states would ship the problems to the state that tries to offer the benefits.

> California has only gotten more “progressive” with each election.

That is different from "damping the extremes".

Why is it so difficult for those on the "conservative" side to believe that the election outcomes reflect the will of the populace when they actively reject "conservatism"?

> I hope you understand that it’s “progressive” policy which has caused crime to explode

This is a dog whistle way of saying "homelessness" as most crime has not exploded.

However, I have yet to see a conservative solution to homelessness short of "round them up and ship them somewhere else". aka part of the reason for California's homelessness is other, generally conservative, states shipping them in.

> housing prices to rise

A fair argument. And this is also a contributor to homelessness. Prop 13 is going to have to fall before anything really helps with this.

> and people to leave the state.

I'm still waiting for all these Republicans in Southern California to head to Texas. Any time now ...

What the article points out is that most people leaving California are, unfortunately, on the lower end of the income range. Conservatives like you should welcome this as they are generally Democratic Party folks.

Texas is actually the top state destination for people leaving California. I don't know whether we have any data about their political views.


Do you know California is also the top state destination for people leaving Texas ? You know why ? It is because these are two largest states and they exchange population. The per year net migration to Texas is less than 0.1% of CA population.

only beneficial during the primary after the top candidates have been selected, which can both be extremely left-wing due to the caucus

There are plenty of republicans in california, they just run as democrats. Even Reagan used to be a DINO until he came out of the closet in support of Barry Goldwater's presidential run.

How is a jungle primary different from no primary and a free for-all-election with a run-off? Is the latter also corrupt?

>How is a jungle primary different from no primary and a free for-all-election with a run-off?

Majority/runoff with no primary would mean if a candidate gets an absolute majority on the first ballot, they win. You can't win at the primary in the jungle primary.

This is very wrong. Drive the 5 sometime. Outside of LA/SF it gets very red, very fast. Even within those areas it's only the centers that are truly "blue"; (AFAIK) Orange County is particularly conservative, for example, and it's always been my impression that places like Marin, Palo Alto and Orinda are the same way. It's where the term "California Republican" came from.

Look how long it took to legalize gay marriage and weed!

It's not even that it's one party. Since there's only two parties, there's a lot of variance within each, and you can be a Democrat without trying to make freelance work impossible, petty crime routine, streets smeared with human excrement and a trip in public transportation both rare and dangerous. I don't see why even somebody who would never vote Republican still can't choose not to vote for somebody like politicians who pushed through the idiotic AB5, for example. Or the ones who have been in charge for so many other ills plaguing modern California. I don't think it's party-against-party thing. If CA voters wanted, they could vote for much saner policies still well within the mainstream of Democrats (or at least something that has been mainstream of Democrats before 2016), but for some reason they do not.

California is a single party state in name only. There are plenty of conservatives who call themselves democrats in all levels of government. Many city councilmen in LA lean very conservatively in everything but the common sense stuff like not being a bigot, so they fly under the radar and people see the D by the name and vote them back in without reading a word of policy.

Reno resident here. Policy change is something I tend to worry about given there's been a huge influx of Californian "refugees" over past the several years. If California continues its trajectory with housing costs and homelessness, it could definitely "bleed over."

Homelessness isn't as big of an issue here than it is in California (I expect in part because of the colder weather), but housing costs have definitely been affected.

Are you sure homelessness isn't as big an issue? I was in Reno last winter and the banks of the Truckee River were basically one big homeless encampment stretching for miles.

There no California "refugees", because most people in California is also from another state

Crime peaked when Pete Wilson was governor and California was a swing state. Since then, under Davis, Schwarzenegger, Brown, and now Newsom it has decreased significantly.

[0] https://www.ppic.org/publication/crime-trends-in-california/

I know quite a few fairly liberal people who moved explicitly because they wanted to do this. To a lot of people in my social circle, it seems inherently unfair that at a federal level your vote counts for more in a lot of conservative rural areas.

Poor people are broke and don't have good jobs with livable wages, so the average life quality is less for people at the very bottom. A fraction of people will turn to self-/other-harming-distractions like drug use, crime and mischief when things aren't good. Couple that with upstanding citizens being unarmed and helpless unless they're billionaires, judges or Laurie Smith's buddies, criminals are going to see most Californias as "easy pickin's." "Tough on crime" hasn't worked, the War on Drugs has failed miserably and hating on poor people isn't going to solve anything.

If Sonoma alone (or along with other small voting blocs) is bearing the brunt of state policy it may not feel in their power to change.

They not only don't vote them out, but they double down on their voting patterns.

So, I presume you have the legislative solution for homelessness? I'm sure lots of people would be very interested, so let's hear it.

Former Sonoma County resident from 2009-2017 here. Three break-ins in my last year and a half caused my exodus. A new skate park had been built across the street that included bathrooms and a bus stop. A homeless camp immediately sprang up in the woods behind it, and I started getting robbed.

That combined with the fact that the garden I had was 100% legal locally until the state legalized recreational cannabis and the county went for the cash grab. What Sonoma County did to their small cannabis farmers is another huge reason people are heading elsewhere.

It left me in the position of leaving or having an illegal garden that was being robbed. I can tell you that I didn't move to Northern California to grow cannabis illegally and I didn't move to the woods to get robbed, so the choice to leave was tough but unambiguous.

Edit: I misunderstood.

Forcing homeless services into an area and the subsequent homeless people entering your neighborhood is the politically correct 21st century version of blockbusting[1]. I suspect this is probably why Amazon, not exactly a friend of poor people, is putting homeless shelters in their offices, so they can lower the surrounding real estate prices and more easily expand[2].



Drifting the topic but I've wondered why they don't section off some good wilderness land to let homeless people make a kind of wild west type town for themselves. If I was homeless I'd certainly rather live off the land in that setting with a nice cabin even without electricity, catch my own meat, and generally be able to be self-sustaining than sleep on concrete and panhandle.

There are different kinds of homeless people.

Some of them might do well in such a setting.

But more than a few of them would be disruptive and ruin the land and ruin it for everyone else.

There are plenty of articles and videos about what ends up happening to these encampments- they turn into dumps with piles of used needles and lots of human waste. The last thing you'd want is something catching fire and spreading.

Generally, most habitable 'live off the land' type of places are spoken for already, no nearby property owners are going to approve of such a 'zone'.

I work remotely but just moved to Sonoma county because my partner got a job here. The house prices are really insane. Seems most people here are either rich retirees or people whose families have lived here for a long time and made a ton of money with real estate bought before prices exploded. I don’t see any jobs here that would even remotely justify the house prices. It’s a beautiful area but the economy is pretty weird.

I'm born and raised Sonoma County (as is my wife) and we are about the only people we grew up with who still live here. We saved/worked through college bought a house at a decent time (2014), and our mortgage payment for 3BR/2BA is less than many friends pay for a room. If my wife wasn't a winemaker we would most likely not be living here either. I cannot begin to understand how or why people would move here, and many people have come from out of the area to work at the City I work for only to leave after a year or two of living in a home 1/4 the size of where they come from and saving absolutely no money despite their pay increase. We've had 3 people hired for the same position all decline after a month or so of looking for housing, saying they cannot find a place where they could afford based on the salary (and the salaries are high).

It’s hard to beat CA weather, scenery, and access to outdoors. And be a drive from a major city like SF. Hence lots of rich people are willing to pay a lot for housing. Plus, CA has some decent socially liberal laws that set it apart.

If one can afford to live here I get it - sorry writing during short breaks at work. I don't understand how someone who is young and in an entry level service industry job could make the decision to live in Sonoma County, however with my wife supervising 10-40 seasonal interns a year (shes worked in different sized wineries) I have become friends with a lot of them. I wish them the best but more often than not I see them give up after a year or two and move home. This has led to a lot of well loved restaurants slowly decreasing in quality and closing, or offering limited menus (I eat out only a few times a year so I am not decrying the loss of restauarants, but rather pointing out a visible expression of the rising cost of living).

If you have the money I can’t imagine much better places in the world than Sonoma, Marin or Mendocino county.

Scenery and access to outdoors can be had in many other places. It's mostly about the climate.

If your salaries can't sustain a workforce they're still not high enough no matter what you say.

Weird is certainly the word for it. The SF real estate catastrophe is pushing up prices here, particularly the south end of the county, while (in the small tech scene at least) salaries haven't adjusted. I've lived here since 2011 but I don't think I would start here today. But of course, anyone who bought a house 20 years ago is just fine since their costs are fixed. Renters and recent buyers pick up the tax bill. Thanks a lot, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association!

(Seriously, Prop 13 is awful policy.)

Housing prices are going up in Sonoma because nobody is building houses (in SF, Sonoma, or any of the other counties in the 9-county Bay Area). Sonoma needs to build as much (well, more thanks to PG&E) as anywhere else out here.

Yes, absolutely. I'd add that this area loves its urban growth boundaries, so the only way to add lots of housing is to build up. This makes the carve-out in SB-50 for counties with a population under 600,000 problematic, in my view.

>Seems most people here are either rich retirees or people whose families have lived here for a long time and made a ton of money with real estate bought before prices exploded

Yep - I lived there between 2015-2017 and this about sums it up.

Sonoma county needs to clean up. Rampant drug abuse, crime(prop 47) and homeless encampments everywhere. I can’t even begin to explain the hassle I had to deal with my farm there. My farm business is literally trashed due to Sonoma county’s lack of law and order.

> $600k avg home price.

> homeless encampments on our bike trails

These seem linked somehow...

Are they really? An honest question - suppose the housing does a nosedive to 100K. I still find it hard to believe that those living on the streets in tents with no jobs will rush to buy houses.

The other category of “invisible” homeless - those living in cars and at friends places/garages will of course benefit if the average price of the housing drops

That would be the most naive interpretation of the relationship - what if, for example, the invisible homeless also burden charities and other support systems in a way that leads to more visible homelessness? What if, given that high prices are a sign of lack of supply, visible homelessness is just a symptom of lack of construction in the county?

"Suppose the house price drops" is a very non-specific hypothetical. Why would the house price drop, and what impact could that have on homelessness?

I think "linked" is probably the right term. It's certainly a spectrum of people with issues (substance abuse, mental health, opportunity, bad luck).

A drop in housing prices doesn't immediately fix any of those things, but it unlocks some options. Looking at Zillow, rent of a 1 bedroom unit is around $2000/mo (put another way, that's 100% of the income of a person working at minimum wage), that's just an impossible situation.

If housing prices come down, rents come down, the most functional 1/3 of the homeless population gets off the street, resources can be applied to the more difficult cases, etc.

> Are they really? An honest question

Not an economist. But many of us perceive that in the US today the middle class is contracting. A few people from that class may migrate to the upper class-- good for them-- but probably the overwhelming majority of folks migrate downwards.

So if OP means that in a context where there is a lot of quite expensive real estate you would expect also to find a good number of people who are so marginalized that they are living in their cars or on the streets, then yes, they are linked.

Obviously people with no real income will not be rushing out to buy houses... however, lowering home prices would help prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place. If you only have to manage to pay for a $100,000 home, it's going to be much easier to keep those payments up.

For those already homeless, special assistance will be required to get them back into "moneyed" society. However, a lower entry point to homeownership would make this assistance less costly.

You understand rent would also go down too right?

If housing prices nosedive, so does rent. Not everyone in a tent encampment needs to be a buyer.

I’d say my point still applies, perhaps with a smaller degree. If rents drop 3x (an economic disaster pretty much) are tent encampment inhabitants rushing to rent, coming up with deposits and getting pre-approved?

You keep using that word "rushing" but there's no solution that I'm aware of that would cause hordes of homeless to rush towards housing.

What we can do is judge whether a policy helps or hurts. Higher housing costs causes more homelessness. Period.

> If rents drop 3x (an economic disaster pretty much) are tent encampment inhabitants rushing to rent, coming up with deposits and getting pre-approved?

If we're dealing in hypotheticals, why do you seem to be asserting that they would not do so? If they can hold down some sort of job, and they can afford the lower rent why wouldn't they go for a real roof over their head?

Or are you saying that campers simply don't want that? I have no idea what you're on about with these questions...

Those kinds of troubles are the same reason people leave other areas I know well - Most of Orange County/LA County, CA and King County (Seattle)

Are you sure they are leaving king county, because the traffic keeps getting worse here? I wish more would leave, we are full up.

People we know are leaving (I have been in SoCal -- Santa Barbara, LA, and Orange counties -- for the last 12 years) but are clearly being replaced, and then some, by am influx of migrants and immigrants.

Can you talk more about the state laws? Are they not discouraging homelessness or are they too weak on petty crime?

Here's some background on homelessness: https://calmatters.org/explainers/californias-homelessness-c...

I don't expect that you intended it this way, but be aware that the way you've phrased the question is likely to offend --- homelessness is complex and most homeless folks aren't criminals.

I certainly didn't mean to intend, only wondered if the parent intended to conflate the two issues and was trying to find out. I find the issue of homelessness a fascinating puzzle of many issues and wonder how it might be solved.

That link looks good - cheers.

The second one, as far as I'm aware (not from California): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_California_Proposition_47

Prop 47 is a ridiculous red herring. It raised the threshold for felony [whatever] to $950. To my knowledge that threshold hadn't changed in my lifetime, which is to say that the intent of the original statutes was that there should be a significant barrier to a felony charge. Meanwhile a misdemeanor can be punished by up to 364 days in jail. However police are generally unwilling to enforce misdemeanor statutes.

A couple weeks ago one of my cars was vandalized (hood was etched). The last time I talked to a body shop about getting a hood repainted I was told to expect to pay at least $600-$800. I'd expect by now the total cost will be over a grand. For all of the whining about Prop 47 (not from you specifically), do you really think the vandal was cognizant of the threshold for felony vandalism? Do you really think that they were trying to create just under $950 worth of damage? I sure don't. Hell, I don't even think that person deserves to spend in excess of a year in jail over this.

Prop 47 only encourages crime because we've moved into "police won't enforce the laws on the books" territory.

Not enough information about your vandal to speculate on his or her motives but there are reports of gangs of shoplifters raiding shops and taking less than $950 worth of goods each e.g. https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2016/05/14/shoplifting-cal...

Oh it was one of my neighbors, not a gang. ~$800 was the quote for a car with cheaper paint. This car has metallic paint (more expensive and more difficult to respray well), I'd be very surprised if I could find a competent shop to fix it for less than a grand.



I'm not a lawyer so here's how I interpreted these lawyers:

Petty theft is up to six months in jail + up to $1,000 fine. Prop 47 added a misdemeanor shoplifting statute with a max. incarceration to one year. Previously this was considered burglary where a defendant could be charged with either a misdemeanor (up to a year in jail) or felony (up to three or so years).

The existing burglary statute (which otherwise covered what is now called shoplifting) carries a sentence of up to one year in jail (misdemeanor) or more (felony). The gangs taking less than $950 worth of goods are taking advantage of police apathy. So, sure, maybe Prop 47 resulted in an increase in shoplifting/burglary. However, if the police were to see these things through repeat criminals would still be subject to the same felony statue as before.

I am not a lawyer too but, from what I know, the police do not prosecute crimes. They bring their reports to a DA who decides to charge or not. And the DAs, being an elected official and seeing what is the public opinion of these crimes from the prop 47, do not want to charge them. And if the DAs are not going to charge these crimes anyways there is no point for the police to catch the criminals.

The police don't prosecute crimes, correct. As long as they're not making arrests it's not even a matter of what the DA or judge does.

And if the DAs are not going to charge these crimes anyways there is no point for the police to catch the criminals.

And there it is. There is absolutely a point in making misdemeanor arrests. Making misdemeanor arrests allows the rest of society to focus on the next step in the process.

So, in your opinion, the initiative comes from the police and DAs have not changed their charging based on prop 47?

Then, why did the police change their behavior in your opinion?

When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. So for the police more "lenient" sentences for first time offenders is offensive. They want to crack skulls. If they can't then they don't care.

The SF POA, for instance, threw a ton of money around to defend capital punishment in California while the residents of San Francisco elected a DA (Kamala Harris) who campaigned on a platform of staunch opposition to capital punishment. It was a lot of the same crap with the three strikes law. Non-partisan analysis pointed out that the California statute was excessively punitive and expensive but police and prosecutors across the state came out swinging against proposed reform.

Same thing with the new DA (Boudin). One of his planks was focusing on gangs (a.k.a. organized crime) that are breaking into cars versus and focusing on getting addicts and homeless people into diversion/treatment programs. Of course there was plenty of outrage about how property crime was going to get even worse under Boudin's reign of apathy. Whatddya know, someone posted a video the other day of a break-in at an Embarcadero parking lot. Was it a junkie looking to score? No, it was a group of people in a car, wearing masks going about their task very methodically.


Not sure how is capital punishment and a car break in video related to shoplifting so I will ask again: what changed from the point of view of police? They did not get to crack skulls before. From their POV nothing has changed at all - they arrest, book, and put the suspect in jail either it's a misdemeanor or a class A felony. No skull cracking happens at all.

The only difference I can see is that making arrests which do not end with charges will show up as the police harassing the citizenry in the statistics so the police, rightfully, avoids making those. The link I posted quotes a police officer saying as much: While misdemeanors, in theory, can bring up to a year in county jail, Fresno Police Sgt. Mark Hudson said it’s not worth it to issue a citation or arrest a suspect who would likely be immediately released because of overcrowding.

Capital punishment is an example of police demanding to use violent tactics.

I will ask again: what changed from the point of view of police?

Their egos got bruised.

They did not get to crack skulls before

If you mean literally, sure they did. If you mean metaphorically then again sure they did. They're literally throwing a tantrum because things that could've been charged as a misdemeanor or felony (at the discretion of the DA) can now only be charged as a felony for a repeat offense. Note that a lot of the anti-Prop 47 rhetoric misses this. Theft of $950 can still be charged as a felony under a variety of circumstances (including the case of simply being a repeat offender).

While misdemeanors, in theory, can bring up to a year in county jail, Fresno Police Sgt. Mark Hudson said it’s not worth it to issue a citation or arrest a suspect who would likely be immediately released because of overcrowding.

So what? Jails and prisons across the state are overcrowded. The state is exporting prisoners to counties and other states. The overcrowding is a not so subtle hint that simply locking people up is not a solution. Prop 47 doesn't change this dynamic, if anything it would reduce the overcrowding (which is a good thing except for those who would like to see petty theft carry a life sentence).

Okay, I see your point. Police is throwing a tantrum but you are not denying that the criminals are not punished any more.

It's not just prop 47 or the cops. The new DA just refused to prosecute a murder.


> We have fires caused by illegal cooking fires at these encampments.

Be careful about tossing around this kind of rhetoric. I heard the same story about a fire in my old neighborhood in LA. It turned out that the son of the head of Chamber of Commerce started it trying to firebomb an encampment.


Please research the facts before posting this. The fires have been caused by people using Propane tanks with attachments to heat their flammable tents.

The Kincade Fire was started by PG&E, but somehow whenever wildfires get mentioned, people immediately point to the homeless...

I only made this comment because it seems to be feeding into exterminationist sentiments among the wealthy and homeowners. As I pointed out, this led to an attack on an encampment in my old neighborhood.

Your example is deplorable and should not happen.

The other points are not baseless: Skirball fire in LA is currently attributed to a cooking fire as the source: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skirball_Fire

My view is that this is not the homeless fault either - people have to eat and shelter. What we need is a right to shelter or similar approach to actually address the root problem. Medical care and development (lack of it) are also contributing issues.

OP didn't say that the wildfires were caused by the homeless. There have been three small fires at an encampment between Santa Rosa and Sebastopol in the last few months: https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10578855-181/fire-crew-re...

I am sympathetic to the plight these people are in and truly believe the only reason I'm in a house and not in one of these camps is that I somehow avoided the misfortune that has befallen these individuals. A lot of those who find themselves homeless are only there due to a precipitating crisis that they were unable to get out from under. That being said, they do not belong on the only east-west connecting bike path between two towns, where the only other alternative for cycling is to be on the shoulder of roads that are 35-55 MPH. They shouldn't be using open fires to heat tents.

Ever since the Boise ruling cities have been aware that they cannot arrest homeless individuals for camping on public land if there are not enough shelter beds for them within the municipality. The failure of the county to act on this in a timely manner is the big problem here; this camp existed in a smaller capacity in previous years and it should have never formed a second time. They should have made funds available proactively to have the temporary housing they are putting up available before the rain season began in November. Santa Rosa and the county waste time fighting over who is responsible for the camp, as its county own land within the Santa Rosa city limits.

I'm sure I'll get some hate for this but we need to cut our losses with the SMART train and not extend the $0.0025 sales tax in march. SMART is up and running and should now be able to operate on their own revenue. They should cancel any plans to extend further north the Windsor, Healdsburg, and Cloverdale as this expansion will probably cost close to a billion dollars based on the current state of the track through Healdsburg and beyond (failed bridges, completely washed out sections along Foss Creek, etc). We should develop a more efficient bus bridge from these locations to the airport and invest in ending the homeless crisis now.

Yeah, they are blocking a transit corridor. On a floodplain. It's not good.

And I agree --- the county response has not impressed. In that sense it's actually great that the encampment is in such a prominent location. The county can't keep playing their inhumane game of whack-a-mole. They have to actually do something.

The SMART financing situation is certainly a mess, but I don't think that it's reasonable to expect revenue neutrality from a public transit agency. I think it's reasonable for it to see a public subsidy proportionate with automobile infrastructure. However, I am personally very frustrated about the gaps in the bike path.

I'm mostly inclined to blame the situation on the ridiculous way we fund transit development in this country. Everything is funded from a mix of sources --- local, state, and federal --- and the federal funds are often "matching" funds. So SMART has to carefully break projects into bits to match the available funds and grant criteria. It's ridiculously inefficient. But of course, this complaint isn't really actionable given the political gridlock at the national level.

Thank you for being an informed and thoughtful presence in this thread!

"Be careful about tossing around this kind of rhetoric."

It's literally the cause of every fire in Riverside County so it is FAR from rhetoric, it is FACTUAL. It starts in the riverbottoms, from homeless cooking fires.

Every person I know who's left California did it because of housing costs (except for one, who did it to get away from "the damn liberal government that wants to take my guns").

We have a major housing cost crisis in this state, as well as a big NIMBY problem. There have been good solutions run up through the state house, that either fail to pass or get so watered down they are no longer effective, in large part because the most liberal parts of the state happen the also be the wealthiest, so they vote against it.

It's one of the few areas in California where the GOP and the Dems agree.

They only want to help poor people if it doesn't affect their property value.

I was one of those who moved from the SFBay to Texas. Knowing that for what i'd need to save up for a down payment for a home in the bay is enough to buy a house in Texas cash was an extremely strong motivating factor.

Of course Texas has its downsides too.. the weather, the traffic (depends what city), less tech jobs to name a few?

I moved to Texas, because it actually has weather.

I hated the way SoCal was always sunny, always the same weather, mostly the same temperature, and no interesting weather events. I hated how whenever it rained it made the evening news. I found that days blended into each other, weeks, blended into each other... the monotonousness made me bizarrely depressed.

There is a saying that the weather in California is either magnificent, or unusual.

In LA, summer really kicks in end of June and sticks around well into October, with plenty of interesting weather patterns throughout like marine layer events by the coast that just burn off over the course of the day. Then there are six months of perfect fall weather—no hotter than 70 no cooler than 50—rain about once per week, and atmospheric river events keep things interesting. The local mountains snowcap.

Very soon we will be entering the rainy season, if not already, and the hills will turn into emeralds.

I felt the same way about the weather in SoCal. Lived there for 6 years. When I look back and imagine the weather: I walk out of my apartment at 9am and bam, the sun is beaming down on me. Walk out of the office for lunch, same thing. Every single day. Every season. Same thing. So predictable. The monotonousness was indeed depressing.

I missed weather and seasons. I eventually moved to the Pacific Northwest.

> I felt the same way about the weather in SoCal. Lived there for 6 years. ... the sun is beaming down on me. Walk out of the office for lunch, same thing. Every single day.

I moved from NYC to SoCal for 3 years. There's nothing worse than going out drinking until 4AM, waking up with a horrible hangover, and then looking outside to see a beautiful cloudless 70 degree day. I moved back to NYC and now my hangovers are greeted with freezing rain, sloppy sleet, and sub-zero temperatures. Down the Tylenol, order some Chinese food, and sit in bed: the world is at peace.

Nowhere in the world is perfect. Everywhere is a compromise.

My dash melted when I spent a summer in Austin. I would spend a million on a house if I had to just to experience good weather year round, though Austin really isn’t that bad off summer.

Being able to buy a house is a pretty important factor as well.

All of the people I know who left NYC also left because of housing costs, even though New York has been putting up new housing at an insane rate.


NY has not been putting up housing at an insane rate. Housing in NY is actually being constructed at one of the lowest rates in the last century. Adjusted for business cycles (we're in a peak now), NY is building less housing than they have build in ~100 years, and Manhattan is at its lowest density since the 1890s. The current period is only a "boom" relative to 2009-2012 when basically no new housing was constructed.

Manhattan has a glut of luxury condos that are sitting vacant but Williamsburg, Bushwick, Greenpoint and LIC have seen a boom (https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-building-boom-pushes-new-york...) over the past few years.

Commercial real estate has gone up a lot as well and has led to a ton of vacant retail space. My father had a carpentry shop in bushwick and just had his land lord triple their rent.

They have seen a "boom" relative to 2009-2012 when literally zero new housing was built, they have not seen a boom relative to 1900 - 2009, especially when accounting for business cycle. I understand that you are seeing what you perceive to be a lot of housing construction, but relative to historical trends and population/household size trends, there is very little housing construction happening in NYC.

The "boom" is relative to all of 2000s. Look at the number of permits in 2015 [1], especially in the outer boroughs.

My argument, as someone who grew up in Brooklyn and Queens, is that building new housing doesn't really drive the prices down. I have a lot of friends who had to move or shut down their small businesses because of the rising costs.



"building new housing doesn't really drive the prices down" there is a lot of empirical evidence against this claim, and almost no evidence for it. Rising costs in cities are due to a few factors: (1) lack of new housing, (2) changing economic conditions in which high paying jobs are moving from the suburbs to the cities (to be fair, there is a small factor in very few cities of super rich people buying housing and not living in it, but that is largely confined to Manhattan, London, and suburban Vancouver, but is not broadly an issue in housing affordability) From after WWII through the 80s, American cities were largely in this strange largely racism induced recession (white flight to the suburbs) which caused a historical aberration of cheap housing and commercial space in cities. That trend was a very short counter trend blip in the 5000 year history of real estate in cities. The way forward is to build a lot more housing in cities, as its eminently clear that lots of people want to live in them, that living in cities is better for the environment than the alternative, and that our economy would be doing much better if the desired urbanization was actually allowed.

I love cities, think they are great, and live in the Bay Area myself. I don't know how old you are, but much of the flight to suburbs was due to the building of freeways and the fear of nuclear attack on cities. Younger people did not grow up with bomb shelters and duck and cover drills at schools, so living in a big city is not something they fear. If we have a nuke or two blow up a few cities today, there might be flight out of the cities once again. I sure hope that doesn't happen.

White people didn't leave cities because of the threat of nuclear attacks, they left because there was an incredible amount of racial unrest, violence, and rioting. There is a lot of research on the issue [0].

Climate change is a much larger threat to anyone under 30 than nuclear annihilation is, and the balance of evidence we have says that urban lifestyles (car free/car light, living in a multi family home) has a smaller carbon footprint than traditional suburban living.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_flight

How would you possibly be able to estimate the probability of nuclear annihilation? There are 13,000 nuclear warheads ready to launch on a minutes notice.

I don't know old you are but duck and cover drills were a thing in the Bay Area well into the 80s (although typically for earthquakes not warfare).

And if you ask anyone who was in school during duck and cover, they would tell you they took it about as seriously as a tornado drill.

Yes, nuclear duck and cover drills is what I was referring to.

I agree with you that on aggregate across most cities all of this holds, but it's not alway the case for top cities like SF and NYC, where the true demand is way higher than potential supply.

I'm not a NIMBY type and am not complaining about gentrification but am speaking to the fact that building new housing in Williamsburg and LIC helped double average housing prices in the surrounding areas [1]. I used to hang out in williamsburg in the late 90s and early 2000s, when it was an industrial area and bushwick when it was a complete dump. All of the yuppies who live here now would have never stepped a foot in brooklyn/queens if these areas weren't rezoned. I live in Greenpoint now and pay over 3x more than my grandmother used to pay for a similar apartment 2 blocks away from the early 90s till late 2000s.

We should definitely build more housing, but we also need to admit that rising income inequality is the real problem here. A large portion of our country has not seen their wages grow and are a medical emergency away from living on the streets. SV is home to worlds most valuable companies, it might be time for them to start paying their taxes so we can provide a safety net for people who need it like every other developed nation.

[1] https://www.propertyshark.com/Real-Estate-Reports/2015/10/14...

The right metric is new homes per capita by which NYC is about as bad San Francisco.

It doesn't help when there are insane regulations like dedicating double digit percentage of new units to be "affordable"/subsidized/section 8. Anyone with a full time minimum wage job would not qualify for "affordable" housing, you literally have to not work at all, it's such a scam.

Don't get me started on this. I helped an friend get into below market rate (BMR) housing in SF. She paid approximately $330k with almost no money down for a 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo in the center of Hayes Valley. Today, equivalent market rate units in her building sell for $1.5k to $2m.

Basically, there is a supply of homes that are available to you at three points: 70%, 90% and 110% of the median income. How these three points are chosen I don't know. Very few are at 110% of median income. Most are available to those that make 70% or 90% of the median income.

The reason this is bullshit is because it's estimated that you need to earn about 400% of the median income to be able to afford a market-rate home in SF. This pretty much leaves everyone between 110% and 400% of the median income without any real options.

Worse yet, by making a policy that covers the just above the center of the income distribution to the bottom, you basically disincentivize those voters from becoming active and involved in supporting solutions that help the entire distribution. Basically those between 110% and 400% end up a permanent minority unable to achieve support for policies that will help their cohort.

Needless to say, I don't live in California anymore, despite earning almost 3x what she earns because I can't really afford to buy into the market. California is fundamentally broken.

> She paid approximately $330k with almost no money down for a 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo in the center of Hayes Valley. Today, equivalent market rate units in her building sell for $1.5k to $2m.

How does that work if/when she wants to sell the place? Is there some sort of cap on what she can sell it for?

She can only sell it for the purchase price adjusted for changes in the median income. If the median income in the city goes up (which it does over time because lower income renters are eventually forced out of the city), then she can sell it for more. It obviously won't increase as fast as market rates, but it will go for more than she purchased it. The house needs to be sold back through the BMR program. It can only be willed if her heir(s) also qualify for the BMR program at the time of death.

At the end of the day, she gets the benefit of not having to tie up cash in home equity. While other people are paying $6000 or more a month in a lease, she's paying a little over $2000 a month in a lease and gets to put all the excess she has into more liquid assets like an index fund.

There are several ways to handle this, but a common one is to have a deed restriction that sets a maximum resale price and requires the buyer to meet income eligibility criteria.

I wrote some about this, and about how I'm worried that wealthy people could abuse this, in https://www.jefftk.com/p/affordable-housing-workarounds

The entire idea is preposterous. The solution to affordable housing is oversupply of housing. Gov should incentivize new construction to reduce prices and let the market fix it.

Strong disagree, the solution to affordable housing includes a very large amount of private/free market housing, but the free market won't really address the needs of people below 30% of the median income. Additionally, good affordable housing is one of the best anti poverty tools that we have. IMO the long term solution is robust private market housing construction for the middle class, and a robust public housing construction system for those who truly need it.

> the free market won't really address the needs of people below 30% of the median income.

It will if it’s not illegal to build. SROs are illegal. Boarding houses are illegal. Houses below a certain minimum are are illegal.


> From 2013 to 2017, Tokyo built many houses as the whole of England.

> House prices in Tokyo are now 9% lower than they were in 2000, while in London they are 144% higher, adjusted for inflation.

Anyone using Japan as an example of housing prices does not understand Japanese housing.

Zoning in Japan is done at a national level, not local. Once an area is designated for housing, housing goes there. Because of this there is a constant flow of new housing, which drives the price of old houses down.

This is not possible anywhere zoning is done at a local level. Anytime one person has the ability to stop another from building you immediately create NIMBYdom and where the NIMBY exists, more housing does not because the NIMBY cares about nothing but their own property value. But that also feeds into the insane American idea of housing as an investment rather than a place to keep birds from crapping on you.

Until the NIMBY is eliminated, and housing is no longer sold as an investment, housing costs will not go down.

So why can’t we use Japan as an example? That seems like a laundry list of good ideas.

> the free market won't really address the needs of people below 30% of the median income.

Why? Do you think a poor person's vote is worth more to the government than their wallet would be to a house builder?

Is it impossible to make an acceptable house at 30% the cost of a median earner's house?

Your reasoning is valid for people whose productivity approaches zero, in which case welfare can indeed be needed. But the current housing problem is systematic and touches a far bigger percent of the population, and thus shouldn't be solved with charity.

Imagine you are a property developer. You borrow money to buy land and want to build as many housing units on that land as you are allowed to and sell them for as much as you can. Buying granite counter tops in bulk and selling the housing units as luxury is going to make you a lot more than trying to cater to the bottom of the market, so nobody does, unless forced.

Do it enough times and there will be an oversupply of such housing, pushing price down to the cost of land + construction. With no profit margin at that price developers will target higher and lower price points. The solution is always just more construction.

Public housing is a complete failure and the epicenter of violence in every city. Name a current project in ANY big city you'd raise your family in?

Gemeindebau in Vienna Austria.

The problem is that in most areas the government is primarily voted in by existing landowners, who don't want more housing, and don't care if lower-income renters are being forced out.

The non-landowners are either not abundant enough, or only plan to live here for a short enough period of time that they don't bother to get involved in local politics.

While this is the whole "NIMBY" thing... is that really a problem? No one complains that Americans can't vote in Britains elections, to set their laws. The whole point of voting is that the people who actively live there get to decide what happens to their city.

Yes, that's a problem. Nobody that bought a home on the vague notion that they HAVE to make money off of it when they sell it will ever vote to have a homeless shelter built across the road.

I think the cause and effect is intertwined. Many of the people who now plan to only stay for a few years have that attitude because they feel disenfranchised and locked out of the planning process, while at the same time being priced out of the ability to put down roots.

Here in New York, at least, the eligibility for those units is based on the median income in the neighborhood where the building is. In some cases these affordable units end up with requirements that are pretty substantial, e.g. https://www1.nyc.gov/site/hpd/services-and-information/housi...

I don't see anything in your link about NYC putting up housing at an insane rate, and my understanding had been that NYC housing growth was at historically low levels?

Here's a link with some more data https://streeteasy.com/blog/nycs-unsold-condos/.

The rezoning and redevelopment of the queens and brooklyn waterfronts brought a ton of new high rise condos with it. I live in northern brooklyn and there's a new condo building being built on almost every block. At the same time there's more vacant storefronts than I've ever seen and the only businesses getting by are coffee shops, hair salons and trendy modern american restaurants that charge $18 for burgers and fries.

If that’s not making enough of a dent, it’s not evidence that it’s not helping at all.

Compared to CA, NYC is building like crazy from my anecdotal observation.

Your article talks about 16k condos over 6y, which is ~3k/y. That's not zero, but that's really not very much housing compared to the ~8M population of NYC. I know this isn't the total of New York housing construction, but it's so little you wouldn't expect it to help much.

For example, during the 1920s NYC was building housing at about 7%/y! Housing was much cheaper then, and through the period of low demand, but when demand picked up again we didn't let people resume building at anywhere near historical rates.

I found total construction numbers: ~25k new units in 2017, depending on how you count (https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/rentguidelinesboard/pdf/18HSR.pd...)

That's only about 0.3% housing growth.

Sorry, I used 8M people as the denominator for growth instead of 3.5M units, so it's more like 0.7%

The storefronts are only there because of significant state tax credits for including them.

Like all things real estate, there’s some other tax angle where the owners make more money demanding commercial rents above what the market can afford than actually renting it. They probably securitize the losses somehow.

Is it housing cost or housing risk? Is one thing to put a million dollars into a home and sell it for $1.4m five years later. It’s another thing to owe s million on a place that’s now worth $400k.

That's not a thing in California. Loans on residential property are non-recourse, so if you owe more than it's worth you just stop paying.

We moved from San Francisco to New York City after having kids mostly due to housing and public schools.

We miss the city and our friends, but couldn't see ourselves there long term.

New York City is expensive, but there are areas of relative affordability that feel much more accessible, comfortable, and safer than the Bay Area.

> New York City is expensive, but there are areas of relative affordability that feel much more accessible, comfortable, and safer than the Bay Area.

Could you share which areas? I've been exploring NYC as well but have yet to stumble upon any areas that match what you described.

Unless you live in the most fashionable areas of Manhattan, the rents are tolerable. If you live outside the most fashionable parts of Brooklyn, Queens, LIC, the rents are quite okay, provided that you work for a decent wage.

If you choose to live close enough to a train station, almost everything of interest is within 20-40 mins by train. Subway is not exactly great, but it's safe and works around the clock in most places. (To say nothing of the fact that in most places the daily necessities are within walking distance, even in not-so-dense Brooklyn.)

The subway and train system is really a democratizing force.

It makes places in Brooklyn, Queens, New Jersey, and Long Island accessible with a reasonable commute.

Even in Manhattan, though, the rents are similar to SF but we've found you get slightly more for it.

Swaths of Brooklyn and Queens. The thing with NYC compared to the Bay is that their public transit makes living in the relative sprawl much more reasonable than Bay commute traffic

I have friends who swear by Astoria.

I'd say most of New York city meets that criteria.

are you limited to those two cities?

Unfortunately yes so far, due to my career. We're hoping I'm allowed to transfer to a smaller city in the near future.

We're finding it tough to live in a city with two kids, and we'd prefer to live somewhere with a lower cost of living.

Also moved from SF to Nashville, TN.

Lot's of factors:

  - Cost of living  
  - Housing  
  - I am self employed (no state taxes)  
  - Attitude, entitlement, hypocrisy
  - Petty crime rampant (drug use, break ins, theft, defecation)  
  - Extreme political climate in SF/CA

What does the last point mean, in practice?

Could it mean that a person must be guarded with their political views or face societal ostracizing and career stagnation?

I moved from SFBA (tried Mountain View, and SF in SOMA and Inner Richmond) because IMO it's not such a great place in every respect except tech jobs and maybe (compared to some places, to various degrees) weather.

The only way prices figure into the equation is the quality. It's not that I couldn't afford a house in Mountain View, it's that, jobs and prices aside, I'd need to be convinced to move to Mountain View from, say, San Antonio. And I wouldn't move there, or to SF, from Seattle or Denver if the prices were the same - based strictly on the quality of life the way I see it... On top of that, of course, the prices are not the same.

I'll chime in and say that I just moved from California to Washington in September of last year. While its not a huge change, its enough to make a difference.

Factors on why I did it:

- Housing costs #1. I got into a rent controlled 2 bedroom 1100 sqft duplex unit. It was ok, but the landlord sucked and the place was very unmaintained, and i was paying $2800 a month. No yard, no garage, tons of homeless around digging through my trash in the outskirts of Berkeley near trains and noise

- For the same price, I now live in a 2200 sq ft home with a yard, garages, in a nice area called Sammamish. In an area with lots trees, quiet, and a bit of occasional wildlife.

- Political climate was getting intense. Things were being taken to extremes, and I was honestly afraid for my safety if I accidentally interacted incorrectly with the wrong parties. Being in Berkeley didn't help, but it was most of the bay area.

- Washington is fairly liberal, but its balanced, and not extremist.

- Cost of Living in california is off the charts at this point. Between insurances, food, services, etc. things were going up and up.

- Washington has no State tax [Edit: I meant state income ta], while my pay was adjusted accordingly (i moved internally within my company as they have washington offices). I actually have more money at the end of the month. Quite a bit more. I paid down tons of debt just in the few months Ive been here. My grocery bill went down by 25%, my insurances were cut in half, Utilities are cheaper. I feel i have so much more breathing room. I have money to save, I am not living paycheck to paycheck anymore.

And to give context. I am a well paid senior software developer. I made and still make GOOD money. But my dollar goes sooooo much further up here, I am actually getting benefit from that good salary, instead of wondering where its all disappearing too and my debts not going down.

And I actually love everything else up here. I love the weather, I like rain, and the bit of snow we got just recently made me so happy. I see wildlife in my yard (deer and bobcats, and owls). Life is calmer, drivers are calmer. People actually seem like they care about their communities. My neighbors came out and said hi when we moved in and were friendly and welcoming. I didn't even know my neighbors in California.

And traffic, people are unhappy about traffic up here, and it can get almost as bad as California, but taking 30 mins to get 17 miles for work during rush hour, compared to 1-1.5hrs to go 10 miles across the bay bridge for work is vastly better.

California seems to be just unlivable if I want to work there. While I am lucky to be in a company that has good remote work culture, and so on now, most tech companies require you to live near the city the offices are in. And that affects things.

I am lucky I found a path out, and it still burned a lot of savings and bonuses to pay for the move. Even escaping was expensive.

> Washington has no State tax

Surely you mean income tax. Oregon is the state that lacks sales tax and makes up for it with an income tax.

Also, I'm not sure why your grocery bill would go down compared to California. Moving from LA to Bellevue, I noticed groceries cost more up here. Both states don't apply sales tax to groceries, at least.

It also costs a bit more to eat out here vs. LA, at least at the low end. Probably prices are cheaper in LA than the Bay Area, however.

Eating out compared to the bay area is cheaper, but not by a lot, i say about $10-15 for similar quality food and service. For a similar place in California that I pay $75 plus tip and tax and all that, i pay about $65 here in washington. Not cheap, but cheaper bit a little.

Groceries were very expensive for me, and I tried to shop smart with Trader Joe's and Luckys (cheaper than Safeway/Sprouts/Whole foods). I would go to others for small things, but majority shopping there.

Here I live near a Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Safeway, and a local chain call Metropolitan Market, which is like Whole foods 1000x better, but also very expensie.

My grocery budget is the same, but i spend less. For a $150 in groceries in California, I am paying about $110ish for the same things.

So maybe its a Bay Area thing, but I am just paying less somehow.

I think LA in general is cheaper than the Bay Area, so we aren't comparing apples to apples here. The nice thing about LA is that fresh produce is much easier to come by, there is more diversity in vegetables and the quality is higher. Seattle and the East side are just so so in this department.

Likewise, I was living in Westwood LA (near UCLA), food for students is priced cheaper (and also has a bit more diversity). If I could live in the U District with a kid, I would totally go for that since eating out would be much cheaper.

Food is cheap all over LA. You can get a proper meal for like $12 or less in every neighborhood but maybe pasadena. Certain grocery stores are cheap and some are suprisingly expensive. All the international grocery stores are cheap, but even trader joes is cheaper than vons for my typical grocery run (~$50/wk), surprisingly.

Groceries in WA have no sales tax unless it’s something produced by an employee on the store (sandwich made on the spot) or alcohol.

Washington is quickly turning into California in terms of politics. Lots of liberals moving in and trying to take their broken views with them.

Downtown Seattle is looking like SF/Bay Area in terms of crime and lack of police enforcement due to what/whom people vote for.

> Political climate was getting intense. Things were being taken to extremes, and I was honestly afraid for my safety if I accidentally interacted incorrectly with the wrong parties.

Can you explain this point a bit more? Are you talking about political tensions, e.g. Antifa beating you up if you dared wear a MAGA hat, or am I misunderstanding you.

> There have been good solutions run up through the state house

What are the best solutions you've seen?

> They only want to help poor people if it doesn't affect their property value.

I'm sure there are some unsavory high net worth individuals who are happy to support policies keeping housing expensive just to keep assets inflated even if it means access to housing is harder for everyone.

But I'd guess for a lot of people it's more practical: when most of your net worth has become accidentally tied up in your home, some changes may mean you risk becoming one of the poor or homeless. Or visceral: you perceive risk, even though it isn't there (some folks fear a neighborhood light rail stop only to find their property values jump). Or just seeing your community change can be uncomfortable

And while I don't know if the solutions you're thinking of are of the "bring more supply online" kind... there's something weird with the issues in California if the story of net outflow is true. The fact that rents can jump over 60% in a decade while the demand pool is stable or shrinking means that this isn't an ordinary supply problem. Either the existing supply is being manipulated in some way, or some portions of the demand pool can offer a lot more than others pricing the rest out of the market. Solutions that are entirely focused on MOAR SUPPLY may be just as likely allow present dynamics to happen at a somewhat larger scale as they are to fix a macro problem.

> What are the best solutions you've seen?

SB 827 was pretty good. [0]

SB 50 was a good idea with a bad execution [1]

> if the story of net outflow is true.

The article says that California still saw a net inflow due to births and incoming foreign migrants.

> Either the existing supply is being manipulated in some way,

It is, via rent control, which has shown time and again to only help people who already have housing at the expense of those who don't already have it when it's enacted. It also helps wealthy people more than poor people by constraining rent raises even though they could afford market rates.

It is also manipulated by prop 13, which allows people to rent out properties they've owned for a long time at a profit when similar properties can not be. The natural market rate of rent is all inclusive of current costs including tax. But if your tax rate is artificially low, then that difference is increased profit for you, which encourages people not to sell their properties.

For example, I'd had my home for 10 years, and if I were to rent it out, my profit would be about $1,200 a month at current market rates. My property tax is artificially low by about $1,100 a month. So my entire profit would come from Prop 13. Why would I sell my house if I can rent it for profit only because of the lower tax rate?

> or some portions of the demand pool can offer a lot more than others pricing the rest out of the market.

Yes, there is a lot of foreign investment in California real estate which just sits empty. I get ads from agents that "specialize in finding Chinese buyers" which is code for "people who will pay more than asking and not care what condition the house is in".

[0] https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtm...

[1] https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtm...

Prop 13 is essentially "rent control" for homeowners, and largely has the same effects as rent control for renters.

> Yes, there is a lot of foreign investment in California real estate which just sits empty. I get ads from agents that "specialize in finding Chinese buyers" which is code for "people who will pay more than asking and not care what condition the house is in".

Or more simply, “money laundering”.

Well not exactly. A lot of it is that China only allows their citizens to hold so much private wealth, so the wealthy find ways to get their money out and hold it elsewhere.

California real estate (and western real estate in general) is a good place to hold it because of our stable economy, solid legal system, and you get something tangible (the land and building).

So as a rich Chinese person, you invest in western real property as a vehicle to make it appear that you don’t control money that you are not entitled to by law, or move it out the reach of the banking or taxing authority.

... that’s money laundering!

That is not money laundering. If you want money laundering go have a look at what goes on with Trump properties. Real estate changing hands with massive variances in value, well out of step with market influence.

The entire concept of money laundering requires the money be illegally obtained. Simply moving money that you legally acquired around is not money laundering. Stop using words you do not know the meaning of.

Did the laws have protections for the current home owners?

It seems perfectly reasonable to me that people would want to protect themselves if they don't have any assurances that developers won't just build ugly tower blocks.

On the other hand, if people are opposing development that involves real architects developing aesthetically pleasing designs that respect the existing community, then it seems reasonable to me to criticize NIMBYism.

> It seems perfectly reasonable to me that people would want to protect themselves if they don't have any assurances that developers won't just build ugly tower blocks.

If developers want to build ugly tower blocks, and people would actually buy those blocks, why stop them? Just because I bought my house ten years ago doesn't give me the right to stop someone from building something "ugly". At least, it shouldn't.

It's important to remember that just because the law says, "you can now build a thing", that doesn't mean the thing will get built. First, the current property owner has to sell, and sell at a price that it makes sense to build the ugly thing. Then a developer has to want to take the risk of building the thing.

It turns out, making it legal to build things doesn't really mean they spring up instantly. It's a slow process that takes decades to play out.

In the 70s, a section of San Francisco that was zone single family only was rezoned to dual/triple/quads-allowed. Since the 70s, only a few of the single family have been torn down and replaced with quads.

What gets built next to someone's home can affect their quality of life (e.g. due to noise, pollution, increased traffic, blocking sunlight, blocking views, etc.). So I don't see why they shouldn't have a say. It's no different than any other negative externality.

Their say is their ability to move away. Neighborhoods change. The irony is that when they moved in, their neighbors were complaining about all the change happening.

Here in Cupertino, everyone says, "this should all be single family homes!". If you look at the old newspapers from the 30s and 40s, everyone was saying, "We should remain farmland!".

Why is it that the people who built the single family homes happen to be right? Maybe it should have been farmland. Or maybe it will be even better as a mixed community of single family and multi-unit dwellings.

It's called progress. For some reason people think that when they bought the house everything was perfect. The progress until then was good, and any progress afterwards is bad.

The way to do this is to repeal prop 13. This will force people to sell and move.

So you want to create a upper middle class transient population that is mostly tech workers?

Because if prop 13 is repealed..after 15-20 years of work, the retired tech employees can’t afford annual increase in taxes either.

Or is this just to get seniors to leave Bay Area by making it unaffordable for them?

Being priced out of one's home is a red herring that the low tax zealots want you to believe to keep prop 13 in place.

Somehow in the 49 other states that don't have Prop 13, people aren't priced out of their homes from taxes.

There are other options. There are home equity lines, reverse mortgages, or even freezing tax payments and adding them as liens on the property at time of transfer.

But even if you're worried about that, you should still support repealing prop 13 on anything that isn't an owner occupied single family home.

There is no reason a rental property should have tax protection, or a commercial property.

>Somehow in the 49 other states that don't have Prop 13, people aren't priced out of their homes from taxes.

Allow me to introduce you to the great state of New Jersey. People here are absolutely priced out because of the property taxes, especially older retired couples and low earners who may have a house but hit hard financial times. A $400k house will probably have property taxes over $10k.

NJ has Abbott districts:


It’s a tax to try and equalize resources for all schools, and is very progressive in sense. Other states let poor areas have poor funding for schools, whereas NJ requires richer areas to send funding to poorer areas to try to give the poor children a chance. I actually think this is an admirable goal of NJ.

NJ also has one of the worst unfunded defined benefit pension problems, which is obviously not so admirable, and will continue to contribute to rising taxes of all kinds and decrease in government services in NJ for the next 30 years.

As a former resident of New Jersey, I'm aware of Abbott districts, and trying to place the blame them for NJ's high property taxes is absurd. It's not a separate tax, it's simply redistributing school funds from existing tax income. As for the amounts of funding the districts get, here's what it says in the wiki article:

Abbott district students received 22% more per pupil (at $20,859) vs. non-Abbott districts (at $17,051) in 2011.

That is a HUGE amount of money being spent regardless of district classification. As for the pension problem, please do not underestimate the ability of the NJ government to kick that can down the road as hard as they can. I firmly believe that they will do anything they can to not solve it until it's too late.

Taxation is tyranny. I have difficulty understanding the motivations of a working class that is demanding more taxation.

I really think this line of argument is going nowhere; you seem to have fundamental opinions on taxation that others here don't share, and I don't think further discussion is going to be all that productive.

That’s because others seem to have opinions about taxation and no understanding of how taxes work while I am trying to point out that property taxes are Ad Valorem.

in austin people are getting priced out because of taxes. Mainly poor minorities. It is called gentrification.

Houses that were 50K 10 years ago are now 400K with a 2.5% property tax rate. If they are renters, then their rent went up to cover the taxes.

In my area houses are up to 1m+ which results in property taxes of 25K/year so even middle class families and retirees are getting taxed out.

The city is trying to approve density city wide and the NIMBYS are trying to block it. Ill laugh when they all get taxed out 10 years from now.

High density isn’t the answer either. I don’t know one high density city in the entire world where housing became affordable and available for all as density increased.

Medium density and spreading out is the right solution. The example that comes to mind is the snail shell structure/concentric circle design of Paris, France.

With a partial repeal they should also do away with the generational tax transfer. There’s no good reason to maintain an aristocracy.

That never comes up..the same tech sector working population want to pass their fortunes to their children through trusts and tax planning. I have seen them bristle when I suggested that their kids should pay taxes on their inheritance. It would be hilarious if it weren’t so hypocritical

Is it helpful to label older home owners who invested earlier as ‘zealots’?

Property taxes are paid on the sale price. It is not a punitive tax to fund new entrants.

An example: Consider a 75 year old senior couple on fixed retirement income living in their fully paid 40 year old home. They paid the 300k mortgage and the house is worth 1 million.They raised their kids who attended public schools for 12 years each.

Property taxes are used for public school education. 45% of California budget is for schools. Property taxes go into a common pot and distributed to different school districts. It averages between 10-15k per student.

Schools have taken over nannying and provide more than basic education. They take on services that are generally the area of social services and social workers.

For example, if there are more non native English speaking families with children in school, the district gets extra funding. But more often than not, the children who know English as second language don’t come from high income areas..that is..their homes don’t contribute a lot of property taxes to the pot. Renters get the best deal because they don’t have to pay property taxes in the best school districts and often these are older properties that enjoy low taxes.

The problem here is that homes are roofs over our heads. It’s not speculative investments. They are not funding sources for the waves of new migrants and their children.

To ask 75 year old retirees to pay more taxes on property they haven’t profited from is heartless. That you need senior citizens to educate this working generation’s children’s education is shameful. It just means that the current generation doesn’t know how to manage their finances. It’s like someone living off their ageing parents pensions even when they are earning fat pay checks because they think their parents don’t need the money.

In my observation..those who ask for prop 13 to be repealed are usually : 1. First time house owners or renters 2. Transplants to California from other states that are usually economically depressed..almost always suffering from CA sticker shock 3. In their first high paying jobs 4. Don’t have parents living in California 5. Don’t have parents who were home owners in California 6. Really bad at financial management.

It boggles my mind when I see 25-30 year old Silicon Valley tech workers crying for prop 13 repeal and want you make seniors on fixed pensions homeless. They are people who are looking into other people’s homes and coveting what they think they are entitled to...

Most of the property taxes are going to fund public schools. If you want affordable housing, turn your ire towards parents who have kids and are not willing to pay for their own kids education...Instead of demanding from seniors who have paid their dues and have built the public schools and roads and infrastructure of California with their taxes when most of us weren’t even born.

I am deeply ashamed to be part of Silicon Valley that is disrespectful to the senior citizenry. On one hand, they want homeless people from all the states and undocumented immigrants to get free services and be taken care of..just when you think that such charity is laudable...on the other hand they are demanding to repeal prop 13 which will create more homeless seniors and retirees will end up without a nest egg for their safety net making them more vulnerable and even dependent on the state for services. How is this in any way logical or rational..even setting aside the fact that it’s definitely not ethical or moral.

Senior citizens in the other 49 states are doing just fine.

There are problems with increasing property taxes on elderly folks on fixed incomes, the solution isn't to say "you never own any tax on the appreciated value" the solution is to say "you can pay the tax on the appreciated value when you sell your home" which is an insane liberal tax and spend policy practiced in the hippie haven of the... state of Texas.

Additionally, the lions gain of the benefits of prop 13 don't accumulate to the working class elderly living in appreciated homes, it goes to giant corporations like Walt Disney (yes, Disney Land is protected by prop 13), golf courses, extremely wealthy property investors, and the heirs of people who have owned nice homes and then died who then bequeath both their house AND their insane tax rate on to their children.

maybe because young people in other 49 streets are not trying to make their senior citizenry homeless by increasing their taxes to educate their children for free.

Inheritance should be taxed at assessed value as should rental properties as well as commercial properties. Primary homes should not have prop 13 protections repealed. It’s not an investment to many..it’s their home.

In California, public money is spent on things like gender reassignment surgeries for govt/public sector employees and prison inmates..we have student loan forgiveness schemes if you work for 3-5 years for the county...retirement at 50 for most law enforcement and Fire Dept employees. Billions of dollars in pension funds and unfunded pension liabilities. Mayor Newsom just increased funds homelessness by another one billion. Yes, one billion in services like counseling. Not actual homes for the homeless. We offer services and education for all undocumented immigrants. First two years of community college free.

That’s why so many flock to California. Because life in the golden state is golden. And then they try to change prop 13 to punitively tax the senior citizenry and retirees on fixed income. Because. As someone spat out earlier ..”low taxation zealots” are the bad guys.

And then they try to change prop 13 to punitively tax the senior citizenry and retirees on fixed income.

I'm not going to bother digging into most of the rest of your claims but this is particularly disingenuous. Most of the recent attempts at changing Prop 13 have focused on a split roll that would keep the tax limits on primary residences. Putting grannie out on the street is exactly what the anti-tax zealots (Jarvis and co) used to sell the state on Prop 13 and 8 in the first place. What's being proposed now would raise taxes on things like vacation homes and commercial property.

That’s not what repealing prop 13 means..do you know the wording of prop 13?

Why should vacation homes be taxed? It’s is an asset. Imagine.. You buy a diamond ring..would you be asked to pay a use tax every time you wear it?

That’s not what repealing prop 13 means..do you know the wording of prop 13?

Yes. In addition to following the flurry of news articles every time some politician dares to bring up Prop 13, I grew up in the Bay Area, and in fact I studied Prop 13 along with its consequences and potential changes while at university. If you'd like to be pedantic, your words were "And then they try to change prop 13".

Nobody (at least nobody with any sort of visibility) has proposed repealing Prop 13 wholesale.

In this forum, they did.

They used repeal and partial repeal interchangeably.

Prop 13 also pushes undue costs onto new property development. Lower development costs equals fewer luxury condos. Were California to both build more and repeal Prop 13 fully it's unlikely that retired tech bros would be priced out of their houses.

Even so one of the primary roles of a county assessor is to determine where tax breaks are suitable. Allowing the (typically elected) assessor more discretion via a Prop 13 repeal almost certainly guarantees you won't be putting grannies (or retired tech bros) out on the street.

> Property taxes are paid on the sale price.

No, property taxes are paid on the assessed value, and assessments don't just happen at sale time. Only CA has this weird freeze-taxes-at-time-of-sale thing.

> It is not a punitive tax to fund new entrants.

No one is claiming it is. Hell, it isn't great even for homeowners who are "protected" by Prop 13, because if they want to move (say a widow/widower whose kids have moved out, living alone in a 3000 sq ft house who wants to downsize), they often can't, because their new property -- even if it's smaller! -- will destroy them with higher property taxes.

All this protects are people who never want to move, and, worse, it protects wealthy families who can pass their property down to their descendants without a market-rate tax.

> because their new property -- even if it's smaller! -- will destroy them with higher property taxes.

Nope. Prop 13 allows transferring assessed value of the old house to the new house if it's in the same county. Even inter-county if the new county allows it. The assessed value is also preserved when the property is inherited by children and grandchildren. The number of carve-outs it has to favor incumbent landowners is pure insanity.[1]

EDIT: These were allowed to die in December, 2018.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1978_California_Proposition_13...

> Only CA has this weird freeze-taxes-at-time-of-sale thing.

Not even California has that, strictly speaking. California just sharply limits the rate of value assessment increase without qualifying events (mostly transfer outside of close family and new construction).

What’s wrong with never wanting to move? Out of homes people paid off after 30 years of mortgage? Why should we promote the notion that tax paying citizens should become transients due to tax burden?

So tax the descendents. Property rights are one of the reasons why this country was founded..primary homes need to be protected from predatory taxes and redistribution of wealth.

If those who had lived in their house for 30 years sold their property, they will have made more in capital gains from that sale alone than the average American has made in their entire life. I'm not exactly awash in sympathy here.

So you are saying people who invested earlier should be penalized because they were..I don’t know..alive before you and had a life and build a home that happened to appreciate in value even though it’s a perceived value with no real liquid gains.

Maybe they don’t want to profit out of capital gains. Maybe some people love their home of 30 years and would like to spend the reminder of their lives debt free after planning their retirement.

Seniors and retirees are such low impact on society. They have savings. They pay for services they don’t use. Their pensions and ssi is based on pre inflation valuations. They don’t use schools. Probably drive less and consume less and have a smaller carbon footprint. Most importantly they have already paid for themselves and probably paid their dues to society and several batches of public school kids.

To be envious of them and trying predatory taxation techniques on them is a breach and violation of social contract.

On the flip side, there is a finite supply of housing. A retired senior citizen living in a house prevents a young professional from living in that house. Given that the former is going to provide far less benefit to society than the latter, there is an opportunity cost that needs to be accounted for somehow. A property tax is not a bad way to account for the opportunity cost.

> Seniors and retirees are such low impact on society.

IIRC, medical care accounts for more government spending than all other discretionary spending combined. And most of medical care is going to be caring for seniors.

I never said there's anything wrong with never wanting to move. I just said that Prop 13 mainly protects incumbents who never want to move, and creates a really bad situation for everyone else.

Normally property taxes are paid based on assessed value. Assessed value is a function of market value that is determined recent neighborhood/comparable sales. The problem with Prop 13 is that it doesn't allow for the taxes to capture increased market value.

Why should taxes capture market value? That’s surrender to the state to keep taxing us.

To ask for higher taxation is asking for the state to take care of individual expenses through redistribution of wealth. Other states don’t offer as many services as California which is practically a nanny state.

The young people are expecting the state to do the grabbing so they can be taken care by the state. This is mostly due to public schools brainwashing kids with extreme progressive liberalism.

All these seniors that paid their dues paid how much in UC fees/"tuition"? And now they want to tell this generation to pay when they didn't? Isn't that called pulling up the ladder behind them?

No. The seniors paid for subsequent generations of public schools. Even when their children were all grown up and no longer in the school system.

It’s time for those kids who were educated with public funds and tax money to pay back. Not ask for more money from retired seniors.

So fix the university system. Don’t ask retired people to shoulder the burden of grown ass employed and able bodied younger generation and their children.

Most people have rental properties as investment properties.

Example: a 1 million dollar home rents for about 3500-4000/month in my Bay Area city. 10% goes to management company. And insurance is another expense, it’s not a lot.

Assessed value of a million dollar at current rates would be around $12k without parcel taxes or special special taxes added which can be another 3-6k extra.

It leaves about 2000-2500 as income. Assuming the home is completely paid off. If there is a mortgage or if it’s refinanced, there won’t be much of an income.

Rental income is considered income and subject to income tax.

Rents will RISE making housing even more affordable if people 13 is repealed. Any form of taxation is only designed so the house..aka the govt...wins. The house always wins.

Lobbies with housing interests are simply making home owners the villains...while the problem is lack of public transport, infrastructure and proper city planning and commercial zoning.

It’s easy to make seniors(who have no PR companies or lobbies) the villains or hard working people who have one or two rental properties as income nest eggs because they don’t have pension funds or stock options.

The Silicon Valley tech workers act like they are sharing and passing around a single brain cell amidst themselves when it comes to housing issues in the Bay Area. It’s mind boggling how easy it is to manipulate people into a mob when a nameless faceless villain who can’t be identified is painted to be the victimizer.

That’s not really true. Market values are based on total cost of ownership, and higher taxes reduce the value or value growth.

Your taxes go up, but so does your debt service. I live in a secondary market of a very high tax state (NY). My effective property tax rate is about 1.8%, almost double what you see in NYC. But... my housing value is much lower. My home in NYC would be well over $1.5M, and is a fraction of that. It’s better to pay the tax.

In terms of old people, the answer depends. Usually people sell because they cannot maintain the home, want to be near family, or have medical issues. I’ve never heard of anyone (other than a farmer) who moved because of property tax.

Farmers pay a different kind of tax.

If people 13 is repealed, older people will have to move because they can’t pay their taxes on their fixed retirement incomes.

NY is not CA. We are a different market.

You are assuming that property prices will stay the same. If prop13 is repealed, I do not think that will be the case.

Property in CA is speculative and fluctuating. One cannot accept paying taxes based on assessed value. Property market is a volatile market.

It is the equivalent of gambling. Would it make sense if our taxes on the roof over our heads are pegged to Wall Street or stock exchange indices?

When property taxes have to be imposed based on fluctuating speculative assessed value, how would people on fixed income and pensions plan to pay their property taxes at the end of the year?

The assessed values already increase every year. Social security payments are capped. Salaries are based on employment contracts and is capped.

The habit of paying tech workers with stock options that are essentially speculative financial instruments have taken away all realistic financial intelligence one would assume amongst the current generation.

A good economy relies on stability. How does pegging fixed incomes to volatile speculative property value make any sense? It is entirely irrational and illogical. It’s financial illiteracy. You can’t plan for anything and especially not retirement. Such short term thinking.

Your hypothetical old people utilize their stored equity via a loan, just like you draw from your pension. Reverse mortgages are a common way to do that. Or, you sell and downsize into a property or place that you can afford.

Real estate markets are fairly liquid, and assessors always have a process to grieve your assessment based on market or other conditions.

California is way too protective of the property owner. Carrying costs in terms of taxes are frozen in time and anyone can walk away from a mortgage. Stock options are what keep the machine going.

Why are you making financial decisions for strangers? Esp in a way that benefits you and has no value to them?

What is the sense in extending their lines of credit to PAY TAXES?

Are you suggesting that they should go into debt to pay taxes? It is equivalent of highway robbery. Akin to saying.. mortgage your home again to give us the money?

Real estate markets are not liquid. Liquidity is exchange of monetary and financial instruments for an asset. A home is an immovable fixed asset. As long as it’s owner occupied, it’s domicile and not an asset. When it’s rented out, it accrues rental income which is taxed.

Right to property is a fundamental right. This is not a feudal economy and it’s not the Middle Ages. Stock options are speculative financial instruments and relying on them is akin to gambling.

Your understanding of finances ..if representative of the wider California working population..sheds light on why the current generation has no financial management skills. I am beginning to suspect it’s by design starting at public schools where children are taught to suckle at the govt teat and think taxes are nourishing food.

moving away with a million dollar check in your pocket sounds so terrible.....

Moving where? Why should people leave their homes that they built and paid for ..Human beings like their community and neighborhood where they have a support system. When you know your neighbour is just a phone call away next door, you don’t have to rely on doctors or nurses or ambulances or fire departments. As you get older, community is a great source of comfort and moral support.

People won’t realize this until they get older or have lived with older family members/friends. Older family members are also a great source of support and mentorship for the younger generation. It is not always about money.

A million dollar check won’t speak to you or hold your hand. Most of the million dollars will go to taxes and then barely paying for the next roof in a not well serviced and strange new zipcode. It’s a downgrade. Why would anyone want to downgrade their lives and walk into uncertainty when they are old and vulnerable?

> Human beings like their community

What community? Most members of someone's community in SF that didn't buy early enough have been priced out of the city.

The native San Franciscan is a rarity precisely because of bad policy like Prop 13.

We are all only educated by our limited views.

They could literally move anywhere with that money and live like proverbial kings. But I’m not for or against prop 13, I was just saying. My friends parents retired and moved to Portugal. Best move they could ever make, they’re happy, well settled, etc..

maybe they dont want to move. i am genuinely flabbergasted by the number of people who think seniors should just pick up and 'move elsewhere'.

how is this different from someone telling an accented immigrant to 'go back home'?

many retired folks want to stay with their families and grandchildren. finally enjoy their communities after decades of working and paying off bills and mortgages. perhaps some would want to cash out, but many simply do not because they have been fairly successful in the bay area and dont need the extra money, but they are not literal millionaires with liquidity.

30 something year olds after less than a couple of years in a stable job and having another thirty years of earning potential asking people who have a couple of decades left in their lives to uproot themselves.

it is even more bizzare when the suggestion is to take reverse morgages to pay more taxes and supporting the repealing of prop 13. thats like saying that having a $5000 credit card limit is like having $5000 in the bank. reverse mortgages are literally betting on the fact that the person holding it would die eventually. that's someone's inheritance..legacy...a house they built and memories. most importantly, its their property.

there is a vulture like quality to young people in silicon valley's tech sector..those who hover around retiree's homes hoping they'd either sell and leave or find taxes unbearable and sell.

if someone cant afford housing, it means they have to take it up with their employer. if there isnt enough housing, move. take another job. convince your employee to build better cities. its not coveting someone's properties or wishing that they will 'move away'.

this is not an emotional appeal to be 'nice' to seniors. its just absolute shock at the helplessness of a workforce that is supposed to define bay area to come up with creative solutions and their impotence when it comes to creating change with their local governments.

what this shows is that the current working class generation has no influence, no clout, no real wealth, no creativity, no grit to challenge government or authority. most shocking of all, they are cutting off their noses to spite the face by asking for more taxes to be collected and to be delivered to a bloated state govt that has a terrible record with managing public funds, delivering results, being transparent and accountable.

Guaranteed almost 40-50% of these are jobs are going to disappear in the next decade. Guaranteed. what then? what would happen when automation displaces workers/employees and incomes dry up? this is how ghost town are born. while sf bay area is not there yet, it will be a whole different world.

Not saying they should move, just pointing that theres a great opportuniy many don’t see or are aware it exists where moving can buy you a whole lot more in terms of quality of life, healthcare, property.. For that money they could move together with family and still have plenty of resources left. Cali is no longer worth it with everything that is going on right now. Just saying not imposing anything...

I hear you. But that’s like suggesting defeat. The problem here is bad city planning and Sacramento shenanigans. A very cunning move of turning people against people so the govt can get away with doing nothing while pocketing all the cash.

They are literally pitting us against each other instead of fixing infrastructure, public transport, homelessness, community services and tax reform so its less taxes, not more.

Imagine you are a household and you want to maintain a standard of living. As family size grows, it makes sense to cut down the budget, eat out less and making the money and resources stretch more over more heads.

What the govt is doing is essentially vying for free money by taxing people more and creating more cash rich people. And pocketing the cash for the care and feeding of big Gov. they are making out like bandits. This is what Kings and feudal lords did...just tax working class more.

Just follow the money. I did it with just one thing. Prop 47. They don’t even charge people anymore for crimes that involve goods valued less than $950.

Why? Because it costs money to maintain prisons, police force and courts etc. waste of time and resources to petty crime.

This has resulted in more petty crime. Car break ins, property theft, chain snatching, lap top snatching, shopping mall robberies etc. the police won’t even take a report so there is a record of it. Who knows what that number is..

So you’d think they’d save oodles of money, right? Where is it going? It goes back to unfunded pension liabilities. It costs $70k per prisoner. Prison guard unions are the most influential unions. It’s going back to fill the hole that is unfundwd pension liabilities. It’s the same with teachers union, police officers unions, Fire Dept unions. These departments keep shrinking as density increases but they become more and more expensive and have larger budgets. Where is the money going? Pensions negotiated by unions.

Look at homelessness reforms. Where is all the millions going? Half the budget is for salaries and employees. It’s all coming from our taxes. Take every expense and scratch the surface. Beneath all the goop and gunk obscuring transparency, there is the govt playing with our money. With no accountability. We don’t ask questions because we are fighting amongst ourselves. Turning tech workers against seniors. Homeless against working class. Teachers against parents. And indoctrination begins at public schools where kids walk out to ‘support teachers unions’.

This has to end. Let’s not be suckers. This is the oldest game in the book. This is how the British colonized my people for 250 years. They called it Divide and Conquer.

I think that's reasonable.

The issue that I would see is a situation where the new construction causes property value to drop and therefore the original residents cannot afford to sell their homes and move to a neighborhood similar to the one before the construction. If they cannot afford to move away then its really not a meaningful say.

"A say" covers an enormous spectrum.

What much of California gives neighbors is "a veto".

There are many other jurisdictions that have solved this tradeoff in a functioning way.

I think it's reasonable that you don't get an actual nuclear waste facility next door, but people in California have gone so far beyond any kind of "reasonable".

Exhibit 239839229: https://www.citylab.com/equity/2018/10/san-jose-trying-build... - people getting bent out of shape about housing for teachers, FFS!

It's not clear to me from that article: Did the plan that they were opposing provide any assurances that the houses built would be good quality? The people quoted state that their concern is that overcrowded or low quality public housing[1] would be built. If the law addresses their stated concerns and they still oppose it then I think that it's fair to criticize them. However, I don't think it's fair to just assume that they are lying about the reason for their opposition.

[1] I could see criticizing public housing being code for "we don't want anyone who isn't upper middle class"; which of course is unreasonable. However, on the other hand I've lived in places where the public housing took the form of a massive tower block that was like something out of Judge Dredd; so I think its understandable that people would be concerned about it if they aren't given any assurances.

> "we don't want anyone who isn't upper middle class"

This is precisely what it is. They're teachers, for crying out loud.

The US hasn't really done 'giant tower block' public housing for decades. That's just scare tactics.

In that case, then I think it would be reasonable to criticize them. Although, it still seems to me that it wouldn't hurt to put something in the law that specifically says that they won't build giant tower blocks.

The more you read about this stuff, you realize that there's some real ugliness there - now and in the past. Maybe not everyone, but it goes well beyond the original intent of zoning to keep housing away from factories and tanneries and such.


Of course, in places like San Francisco and Portland, people are mostly smart enough to not "say the quiet part out loud", so they come up with other excuses.

Of course, in places like San Francisco and Portland, people are mostly smart enough to not "say the quiet part out loud", so they come up with other excuses.

No we fucking said the quiet part out loud quite proudly in San Francisco. Take a look at the covenants in the Forest Hill neighborhood. It's still fairly bad as those folks recently successfully fought an attempt at building a low income retirement home.

And we certainly weren't that offended by the Chinese Exclusion Act.

Long form piece about racist housing policies in San Francisco:


Because giving them a say has caused massive inequality and the loss of billions of dollars in wealth?

If you want to preserve your sun, traffic, views, whatever, you are free to buy it. Nothing is stopping you from buying your entire neighborhood and leasing to your neighbors, other than your lack of capital. Why should you get something for free that has nothing to do with what you paid for, the parcel and the air 30 feet above it?

It has everything to do with what you paid for. The environment around a home effects the home itself.

It sure does, but you haven't bought the private environment around your property and therefore should have no right to dictate its use by its actual owners.

If someone is doing you legitimate harm, like dumping toxic waste into your drinking water, then you have the public government than can dictate the rights in regard to private use on the toxic waste dumper on behalf of the public. Increasing housing supply in an area with high demand is not doing legitimate harm, it keeps housing affordable and is good for the environment vs. infinite sprawl.

Now that I live in Houston which does not have zoning in the typical sense I prefer that things get done ASAP instead of people arguing for years for the right to build more housing on a lot that they already own. This contributes to the obscenely high cost of living in certain parts of the country.

In my experience (granted I only lived in Houston for about three months during an internship), the lack of planning makes the city a nightmare to get around. I always considered Houston an example of what not to do.

The irony of complaining about aesthetics as mentally ill people run around shouting at pedestrians and pooping on the sidewalk in mid day...

No, it's reasonable to criticize them no matter what because they're preventing other people from having the same opportunities that they were afforded.

I'm not advocating that more housing shouldn't be built. What I am saying is that there is a middle ground between allowing existing homeowners to veto any proposals and not giving them any say or protection.

Sure, there probably is. But if we imagine that this is a spectrum where 0 means "no say" and 10 means "absolute veto power", CA is at 9, and most functioning communities with healthy housing growth are probably at 5 or below.

The aesthetic preferences of crotchety neighbors should be close to the bottom of our housing priorities.

I don't think it's fair to assume without evidence that existing homeowner are "crotchety neighbors". It's quite possible that they have legitimate concerns that, and would support new construction if their concerns were addressed.

Go to public hearings. Their demands are almost never reasonable. New housing should never add any traffic ever, and it should look fantastic (with different people differing on what this means) and it shouldn't have children because there's no way the schools could cope with the "massive increase", and it should have enough parking to handle the entire extended family at Thanksgiving (in a severely land-constrained area) and by the way it should also be actually "affordable" (far below market rates).

They really don't generally argue in good faith.

I would recommend looking into Katherine Levine Einstein's research on the concept of "Neighborhood Defenders".

I've been to plenty of neighborhood meetings. The "issue" most of the time is a personal anxiety over change. Why should society cater to that?

I don't necessarily disagree with you; however, strictly for sake of argument, a couple of potential reasons:

- Providing a sense of security strikes me as a core role of society.

- People who are afraid tend to be willing to resort to draconian measures like NIMBYism to protect themselves.

- Anxiety that things could change so much that one is unable to follow their chosen way of life strikes me as a reasonable fear.

I think you're starting to (unintentionally) argue a straw man, or at least are making assumptions that just aren't true.

No one is saying that developers should just be able to build whatever they want, whenever they want, with no oversight. No one is saying that the community should completely shut up and have no input into the process.

But the actual objections brought up at actual planning meetings that happen in SF are universally bonkers. It literally actually is people opposing change just for the sake of opposing change. If there is anyone at these meetings making reasonable objections, they're completely drowned out by the other 20 people shouting that the sky is falling.

It's protectionism, and the "I got mine, so fuck you" mentality, plain and simple.

You’re assuming the process we have resolves their feelings when it does not. If anything, we’ve normalized the idea that new development is bad and as a community member you should be fighting it, leading to more resistance than there would be otherwise.

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