There is no doubt that there is a housing issue plaguing California, and more specifically, San Diego. Last week, City Council President Georgette Gómez made a futile attempt to address the housing issue with an insipid proposal, only to be quickly vetoed by Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
The concept of affordable housing has sparked much debate among economists. However, the vast majority of economists concur that affordable housing equates to less quantity of housing with reduced quality and relatively higher prices. Currently, the City of San Diego has an inclusionary housing policy that intends to produce more affordable housing.
Yet, Gómez wants to amend the 15-year-old plan to include higher development fees that would allow developers to evade the inclusion of low-income housing and the decrease of average income needed to be eligible for the newly constructed homes. Since the vote came down to a 5-4 outcome, Mayor Faulconer was able to veto the harmful proposal, explicating how it would actually prohibit the promotion of affordable housing.
Following the veto, Georgette Gómez is left with two options: either abandon the counterproductive proposal or attempt to construct a compromise to overrule the veto. If she abandons it, she will leave San Diego with its current housing policy and no proactive resolution for the issue. If she tries to produce a compromise, Gómez will need the support of a fellow councilmember. As of right now, Councilwoman Vivian Moreno, a Democrat, appears to be Gómez’s swing vote, but her chances look slim after she rejected all the changes Moreno asked for.
In addition, Moreno voiced how Gómez’s changes would only damage the construction of affordable housing—a similar opinion held by leaders within the construction industry. If fellow Democrat—and construction leaders—could not even support the changes, are the changes truly adequate to resolve the current housing issue?
As of right now, there is ambiguity with regard to Gómez’s decision. Representatives of Moreno have remained diplomatic, business coalitions who opposed the reform have received no word from Gómez, and even Gómez herself has not articulated her stance due to her new campaign for Congress.
Instead, she has been busy projecting the failure of her proposal on Mayor Kevin Faulconer, fallaciously claiming that his veto harms working families. The fact is that Mayor Faulconer has produced initiatives that have reduced homelessness by six percent in the past year, while Gómez uses working families as a buzzword to keep citizens interested. Her economic illiteracy with regard to the housing crisis will only further aggravate the issue and leave San Diego with no concrete resolutions.