CALMatters: Commentary: How would California’s next governor face the housing crisis?

CALMatters: Commentary: How would California’s next governor face the housing crisis?
March 12, 2018 Joanna Rivas

So how would the next governor of California deal with the state’s most serious policy issue, its acute and ever-growing shortage of housing, particularly for low- and middle-income families? Hundreds of affordable-housing advocates filled a cavernous ballroom in Sacramento’s convention center last Thursday with that question on their minds, hoping to hear answers from the six candidates for governor. They couldn’t hear much due to the room’s horrendous acoustics, but as the six were questioned by Sacramento Bee journalist Angela Hart, they delivered responses that were all over the map. Predictably, the two Republicans, Huntington Beach Assemblyman Travis Allen and San Diego businessman John Cox, talked mostly about cutting red tape. Predictably, too, the four Democrats—Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, state Treasurer John Chiang and former state schools superintendent Delaine Eastin—talked mostly about more direct governmental actions, such as bond issues and tax credits. Interestingly, however, only Cox directly addressed the biggest factor: the immense gap between the state’s horrendously high costs of building new housing and the incomes of the 40 percent of Californians who are mired in poverty or near-poverty, largely due to their crushing housing costs.

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