With Rishi Kumar. Click here!

RISHI KUMAR FOR US CONGRESS

California High Density Housing

Managed Growth and Infrastructure Concurrency

  • Here is my op-ed piece that summarizes Sacramento’s push for high-density housing and the associated inadequacies.
  • Here is a vision plan - a solution for housing, traffic, homelessness, and a long-term sustainability plan for Silicon Valley.
  • Send in your support for the HCD audit - click here
  • Take the 2-minute Housing Element Survey

The push for high-density housing from Sacramento legislation and The Housing Element mandates are raising huge concerns today. Our neighbors are angry and beginning to engage! There are huge changes coming to our cities and it benefits us all to engage now and ensure that we do the right thing.

I have always been a proponent of managed growth - Yes, we need housing, but I have pushed for an approach that is pragmatic and based on the foundation of a proper urban plan. By contrast, Sacramento’s plan will hand a blank check to the real-estate developers.

A tax increase(s) is the unfortunate reality we are facing. The push for housing without an infrastructure plan will impose inordinate pressure upon every city to increase taxes to fund the infrastructure gap. Therefore, city governments will be tremendously pressured to raise taxes once the build-out (and up) of your city occurs over the next few years.

Housing Element’s Impact on your city

As you know, the Housing Element’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) is a state-wide housing mandate from California's Department of Housing and Community Development. The 2022 RHNA housing numbers are exponentially higher than what has been allocated in the past - thanks to SB-828. As a result, high-density housing sites are being proposed in every city. Many cities and communities are reeling under this housing pressure and are fearful of its impacts that will be felt for decades to come. The land developers will make a fortune and our cities will cease to be what they are today. The RHNA housing units allocated to your city include categories such as very low income, low income, moderate income, and above moderate income housing. It is also an environmental disaster. Sacramento’s housing policy is relying on supply and demand to create more housing in the hope of driving prices down - but that has never worked anywhere. The legislative bills from Sacramento like SB-9 and SB-10 are also pushing high-density housing all over California - and there are more coming. Based on the push that is coming from Sacramento, there is only assurance - there is none! All bets are off, and every commercial or residential property can be in scope for development! Sacramento's approach has failed to adequately address the creation of more affordable housing or fix the systemic challenges that have led to today’s exodus from California.

The Housing Element’s inflated* housing goals, i.e RHNA numbers, has been rigged for cities to fail and for developers to make money. Yes, setup for failure thanks to politicians who have sold out to the real-estate industry as the op-ed points out. Once a city fails to attain their RHNA numbers, SB-35 is triggered; essentially triggered by developers failing to pull building permits. If building permits are not pulled, cities are blamed. But a city government is not in the business of building housing as we all know. The city hands out permits and mostly cities do not like to reject permit requests. If developers don’t pull permits, then developers circumvent the city council (as per the definition of SB-35) and go through a ministerial approval a.k.a rubber-stamping approval without public hearing. The developers get a free rein over the city.

Do you see what is happening here? RHNA calculations are not meant to be scientific and accurate; it is geared to ensure that its corporate members make money. The inflated housing goals in SB 828 has set cities up for failure and for developers to rake it in!

Please stay vigilant and involved. Communicate with your neighbors. Now is the time!

My housing policy in a nutshell

  • Protect communities from increasing taxes, protect property value, preserve the quality of life, while keeping crime and burglaries down. I will strive to develop a managed growth plan for Silicon Valley; my policies favor housing on the foundation of an infrastructure plan that keeps the environmental impact, traffic, schools, roads, water, and sewers in consideration. An infrastructure tax increase should not fall upon the citizens as an afterthought “surprise, surprise.” Read my op-ed piece here published in The Mercury News and The Palo Alto Daily Post. If we solve the transit problem, we will solve the housing problem - this is how cities like Tokyo and Singapore have approached the housing crisis successfully.
  • Stand firm against dark money’s influence on the political system and call out elected leaders who are selling out to special interest groups , such as real estate developers. Our elected leaders are pushing high-density housing down our throats via bills that only toe the line of real estate developers. Not right! Housing Is A Human Right has released a special report about a housing proponent politician’s troubling financial connections to the real estate industry. It reveals that this politician— who aggressively pushes a controversial “trickle-down” housing agenda that fuels gentrification — has long relied on vast amounts of campaign cash from developers and other real estate insiders to win elections and stay in power. These bills can generate billions for the politician’s political patrons.

I will do all I can to ensure that we make the best choice for you and your neighborhood with the above agenda. As part of the pushback, I am supporting the push for a state-wide 2022 ballot measure to ensure that local ordinances are NEVER preempted. Additionally, I am inviting elected leaders from 21 counties via the Managed Growth group to get involved. I am also leading efforts to get signatures for this petition locally that will be submitted to the California Secretary of State to place the ballot measure on the Nov. 2022 ballot. Polling indicates about 70% of Californians are against the preempting of local control that Sacramento’s laws are pushing for. The petition will need 1.5 million signatures by April 2022 to qualify. If this ballot measure is passed, local housing laws will prevail, and prior bills like SB-35, SB-9, SB-10 will become null and void, marking the end of the blank check to land developers by our politicians.

Here is how you can stay connected with this effort:

  • Sign this petition
  • Join this Facebook group
  • Subscribe to this email group
  • Visit Livable California here

But you may ask, “What is the alternate plan?”

  • Housing and Transportation: Click here to read
    During the early days of our 2019 congressional campaign, we called out the failures of the Bay Area’s Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), which were highlighted by the Santa Clara County Civil Grand Jury (CGJ) 2018-2019 report. Our elected officials cannot afford to sweep such failures under the rug. It is about time we took some action! I support Assemblymember Marc Berman's AB 1091 which supports the CGI recommendations and calls for action.
  • Water infrastructure challenge: Click here to read
  • Homelessness challenge: Click here to read
  • Big Money in politics: Click here to read

Why are SB9 and SB10 wrong for the future of our city?

  • Developers win: These bills do NOT require developers to invest in infrastructure improvement; rather, they are only required to provide bare-minimum parking, and avoid costly entitlements. How will the current infrastructure - water, sewer, gas, roads - support the spike in population if we are not going to mandate that developers make the necessary infrastructure investment?
  • Where is the urban plan? Population growth should be founded upon a pragmatic urban plan. Question - what is the plan? Who will be responsible for making this investment? Is there even anyone thinking about it? There are so many urban cities in the world that currently do not have the water resources to support the population. Guess what happens? Rationing of water - an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening. Would you be OK with that?
  • Accelerating climate change: These bills are an environmental disaster and a gift for developers; instead of creating trickle-down equitable and affordable housing, they will disrupt our protected open space by allowing developers to circumvent the Environmental Impact Review (EIR). Front yards and backyards will be lost and permeable surfaces that replenish groundwater will disappear with the footprint of structures taking up the space. If we add housing, and if our commute time to jobs - just a few miles - becomes hours, how are we reducing the greenhouse gas, given that traffic is the primary reason for the climate crisis?
  • Affordable housing? These bills neither mandate affordable housing nor do they create trickle-down, equitable affordable housing. It is a myth that increasing housing supply will cause rents to drop and homes to become affordable - explained here. Are developers interested in dropping the price of housing? Aspersions are made related to racism and housing practices are often disadvantageous to low income communities. In reality, “solving racism” is a great excuse to add housing, but those too will be mostly for the rich.

Educate Yourself

Here are a few interesting articles that are a must read if you are puzzled by this housing push.

  • How California’s sixth-cycle RHNA was rigged. How dysfunctional the latest California Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) has become? Read this.
  • "The two-page document encapsulates the Catch-22 at the heart of Yimby doctrine: blame cities for the market-driven housing crisis, then perpetuate the crisis by enshrining the market imperative in law and public policy. The petition also hints at Yimbyism’s hegemony at the University of California." Read this.
  • "The movement to allow multifamily buildings in zones previously limited to single-family homes….the question of whether it will actually increase housing production is a lot more complicated, according to builders and architects." Read this.
  • Turning local planning decisions over to developers does not mean more affordable housing, it means more profit for developers. Read this.
  • This book explains how Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and California State Sen. Scott Wiener implement Big Real Estate’s greed-driven agenda on the local and state levels - the book explains it all.