Opinion

The League of Women Voters and Housing in San Diego

It was on a relaxed Saturday morning that I did enter the Mission Valley public library. As one would likely expect, the scene was a serene one with the loudest of utterances being hushed whispers. Proceeding to the room designated for the Housing 2050 event largely continued this ambiance, for though the event focused on speakers, an air of (mostly) rational thought prevailed. The discussion began, but minutes after my arrival and before long, everyone within took a seat.

The League of Women Voters assembled a total of four speakers from a variety of backgrounds and careers for the hours that followed. As one could assume from the title of the event, the focus was on the future of housing and its implications for later generations of San Diegans. All of the speakers painted a bleak picture with the only variant amongst them being the severity that they predicted.

They pointed to the far more reasonable prices of the past and the recent rise in the last few decades. However, it is common knowledge to most, and the real discussion came in their thoughts and proposals. One proposed solution was an emphasis on deregulation to lower costs.

Such a project is a reality in many other states that have resulted in relatively lower prices and would be sure to have similar results in California if implemented. Of course, this sensible solution is at odds with the politicians and their political stances that most attending this event have aligned themselves.

Sadly, this contradiction overshadowed much of the rest of the proceedings. The disagreement became exacerbated when another of the possible solutions to the rising prices mentioned was Gavin Newsom’s efforts to force more affluent areas to build additional low-income housing. In addition to the previously mentioned implications, such forced encroachments on the private industry has seldom, if ever done well for the market long term and it is doubtful that such efforts would have any positive effect if they were enacted.

While their concern for future generations is commendable, and some of the ideas presented were promising, the realities of the State and their political alignment make many of the common sense proposals complete non-starters.

 

Photo by League of Women Voters of California via Flickr