ICYMI: Senator Borgeas Quoted in New York Times on Housing Debate

Sacramento– In Case You Missed It: California State Senator Andreas Borgeas (R-Fresno) was quoted in the New York Times with his remarks from the recent Senate floor debate on SB 50. He also included some additional thoughts on the housing debate:

"The Senate should improve upon and reintroduce housing legislation," said Senator Borgeas. "California’s complex housing crisis cannot be solved by a 'one size fits all' approach, as we are a diverse state with a variety of housing needs. We should focus on the housing markets with the most demand and build a stronger legislative coalition that also supports local land use authority. I look forward to working with the author, stakeholders, and Senate colleagues on an improved housing bill."

Read the full article here: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/30/business/economy/sb50-california-housing.html

The New York Times: California, Mired in a Housing Crisis, Rejects an Effort to Ease It

A lawmaker’s push for denser development near transit, overriding local zoning, was thwarted by a diverse group of legislative foes.

By Conor Dougherty
Jan. 30, 2020

Mr. Wiener’s measure, Senate Bill 50, would have overridden local zoning rules to allow high-density housing near transit lines, high-performing school districts and other amenity-laden areas. Supporters portrayed it as a big but necessary step toward reducing the state’s housing deficit — and helping to curb carbon emissions from long-distance driving — by fostering development in dense urban corridors. Opponents decried it as state overreach into local land-use rules.

There is broad agreement that the state’s extraordinary cost of living and escalating homeless problem is rooted in a shortage of housing in general and a dearth of lower-cost housing in particular. But many remain skeptical of remedies involving big structural changes.

“The only thing that folks agree on is that we need housing,” said Andreas Borgeas, a Fresno Republican, who voted against the Wiener bill. “How we get there, everyone has a different theory.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom, who came into office a year ago with bold pronouncements about a “Marshall Plan for Housing,” said he supported Mr. Wiener’s efforts to increase density near transit, but never endorsed the bill outright.

Mr. Newsom campaigned on a promise to usher in reforms that would lead to the construction of 3.5 million housing units by 2025. That output would be more than quadruple the current rate, and the governor has started referring to it as a “stretch goal.”

California is not only well behind that pace, but the number of housing permits has actually turned downward — hovering around 100,000 units in 2019 — despite a strong economy and a median home value, $556,000, that is more than twice the national figure.

It is hard to overstate the threat posed to the state’s economy and prosperity. Housing costs are the primary reason that California’s poverty rate, 18.2 percent, is the highest of any state when adjusted for its cost of living, despite a thriving economy that has led to strong income growth and record-low unemployment.

The consequences are in plain sight. Cities are struggling to deliver basic services because teachers and firefighters can’t afford to live near their jobs. A surge of sidewalk tents and homeless camps has prompted city leaders to urge a state of emergency — and led lucrative business conferences to find other locations. Many Californians are moving to cheaper states, and homelessness routinely tops the polls of residents’ biggest concerns.