Behind the False Housing Narrative

Some California legislators are now quoting a false housing narrative that was created by big money special interests for their self-enrichment

One-size-fits-all statewide legislation has been proposed that imposes the plan of these big money special interests on the whole State of California, often focused on the southern western coast from the Bay Area to the southern border.

The goal appears to give private developers cart blanch “by-right” authority over all California land use, taking that authority away from all cities, counties and citizens.

They are doing it under the cover of a fear-based PR campaign about a “Crisis”. This campaign is characterized by constant use of half-truths and lies.

This campaign has been so successful that its themes are now echoed daily by most legislators in the Sacramento echo chamber and even the Governor and the press echo their rhetoric.

Their rhetoric is very believable to officials because big money special interest backers have formed private “think tanks” to fund and write “studies” to support this campaign. They even associate some these organizations with the names of top universities in order to appear to be part of a real academic institution that we all know and respect.

The special interests are conspiring to achieve their goal incrementally, coordinating and supporting hundreds of land use bills introduced and constantly amended over multiple legislative years.

Much of this legislation appears to actually have been written and “sponsored” by the special interest groups for their economic enrichment – billions of dollars.

Some of the legislators introducing these bills may not knowingly be part of the conspiracy. The tentacles of special interest reach are long and can appear independent.

Special Interests get hundreds of billions of dollars using this false narrative.

What is the prize that could inspire these interests to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to support it? The prize is the hundreds of billions of dollars (trillions?) in land value that will reward the backers of this scheme.

What special interests will reap these spoils? The special interests include; global and national financiers, big real estate, big developers, and big business – especially the Bay Area tech companies that are likely the reason that much of this is led by a few Bay Area legislators.

How are the spoils created? They focus on increasing land values, using this limited resource and legislatively constraining its use, artificially reducing its supply, and concentrating it to urban mega-centers. As normal growth demands exceed this limited supply, the land values begin increasing at accelerated rates. Then additional legislation is used unlock further spoils by forcing increased density and rents per land parcel.

These artificial “hot market” areas become prime commodities for global capital to exploit with new financial instruments they create to commoditize our land for sale and trade world-wide. This, in turn, further drives up the value and rent. The special interests continuously extract their spoils through every incremental change.

The billions of dollars “created” and concentrated to the already rich are paid by all of the less rich and all the everyday people that have to pay these ever-increasing rents to keep a roof over their heads.

The legislation increments follow several themes: concentration of density, speeding the pace of development, and giving power to developers to have their way with the land.

What are the lies and half-truths?

What are the lies and half-truths that are used in the campaign to confuse and sell out the people? These half-truths often start with basic economics, claiming it’s all supply and demand, saying if we just increase supply the rents will drop. Of course, this premise is false for the situation they have created, where unlimited demand by global investors can never be met in the artificially constrained urban concentration zones they are creating through legislation.

They use global warming as another PR theme, claiming their urban concentration plan will save the planet and trying to guilt us all into accepting the higher rents and loss of livability as our contribution to saving the planet.

Tied to this theme is the Transit Oriented Development (TOD) rhetoric. They claim that concentrating development along transit corridors will force people out of their cars and help save the planet. What they don’t tell you is that transit use is limited. The rich in a few locations use it for trips to work, but it is primarily used by lower income transit dependent people. Concentrating unaffordable new construction along transit corridors, gentrifies out the lower income people and undermines the transit system itself. But this theme further allows hyper local concentration and creates localized “hot markets” for the special interests to exploit.

They also exploit race to guilt us and get their way. They point to past racism and financial “red-lining” that disadvantaged low income communities of color. They claim we need to un-do this wrong by opening up all communities to dense apartments to provide opportunity for anyone to live anywhere.

What they don’t tell you is that many low-income communities of color have lower property values and are thriving communities with home ownership and cultures that would be destroyed by their plan. They want to increase the property values in those communities by opening them up to exploitation and transforming them to the places that the rich will populate. This exploitation and homogenization plan is guised as being done to benefit those communities. In fact, it is to break what they could see as “a current form of social redlining” that is excluding the rich. The race card also is an excuse to put dense apartments into formerly exclusive communities, but those too will be mostly for the rich.

All honest thoughtful people must help expose this false narrative’s half-truths and lies. Some that are doing that include: