The recession has hindered the production of affordable housing in California – even while it has heightened the demand for affordable housing. Yet cities in California are increasingly moving away from affordable housing requirements.
If California's redevelopment agencies vanish on July 1, as Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed, it's clear the task of mending the state's blighted neighborhoods will likely grow more complicated. Less obvious is the fact that California's effort to clean up the Earth's atmosphere may grow more difficult as well.
George Skelton, the venerable Los Angeles Times political columnist, recently came out in favor of Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to eliminate redevelopment. Skelton's Exhibit #1 is the Dive Bar, a hangout on derelict K Street in downtown Sacramento that is now one of the city's hottest night spots -- complete with a mermaid tank -- thanks partly to the redevelopment subsidies provided to the project's developer.
An appellate court has blocked a proposed Santa Barbara housing subdivision because the city did not receive of voter approval of an access road and bridge on city-owned open space land, as required by a 1982 initiative.
In the 100 years since the initiative and referendum powers have become part of the local land use planning and development legal framework, voters have used these populist elements of democracy to shape growth. The case from the City of Santa Barbara illustrates a variation on the intersection of planning and voter control.
Voters will face only a handful of local ballots March 8, and the slate is mercifully light--and concentrated in Southern California. After a November election (see CP&DR Vol. 25, No. 21 Nov. 2010) packed with some of the most contentious local and statewide questions in recent memory, next month's smattering of project approvals and parking spats likely comes as welcome relief. The biggest local question surrounds the would-be city of Jurupa Valley, which will vote to become yet the newest city in the Inland Empire, a region that is maturing in fits and starts.