Julie Combs, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Our housing crisis started with job growth outpacing new home construction at a rate of 12 to 1, according to according to the regional Equity Analysis Report for Plan Bay Area 2040.
This lack of supply was further complicated by the significant loss of federal and state housing dollars, including redevelopment funds, plus broader trends like increasing income inequality, changing tax policies and wage stagnation.
Locally, we bear the added burden of so many neighbors tragically losing their homes in the fires last year.
Recently, though, we’ve seen communities in Alameda, San Francisco and Santa Clara counties vote to invest in new, local affordable housing projects. I believe we should follow their model, so we too can build more homes for our teachers, nurses, trades people, restaurant and winery workers — homes that every middle class family that works here can afford.
And we want to do so while ensuring our health and environment remain protected.
We need to design solutions to today’s housing challenges, not go backward with old ideas like “it’s the economy versus the environment” as is often implied.
That was always a false choice and, over the years, voters have seen through such misinformation. That’s why they continue to vote for urban growth boundaries, managed growth ordinances, community separators and protected open spaces. We should continue to trust local voters’ wisdom on these issues.