The Cost of NIMBY

Timothy L. Coyle
Consultant specializing in housing issues

Neighborhood opposition to new housing projects is likely viewed by the general public as a natural right of existing property owners to organize objections to a change to their living environment. After all, why shouldn’t longtime residents have a say in what goes on or might go on in their neighborhoods?   Why can’t they say who should stay and who should go?

Well, for starters, unless they have a covenant running with the real estate they own, there likely isn’t something in the associated contract which gives existing property owners that determinative power. In other words, they don’t have an inherent right to block new development.

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Progressive Cities: Home of the Worst Housing Inequality

Wendell Cox
Visiting Professor, Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers, Paris

America’s most highly regulated housing markets are also reliably the most progressive in their political attitudes. Yet in terms of gaining an opportunity to own a house, the price impacts of the tough regulation mean profound inequality for the most disadvantaged large ethnicities, African-Americans and Hispanics.

Based on the housing affordability categories used in the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey for 2016 (Table 1), housing inequality by ethnicity is the worst among the metropolitan areas rated “severely unaffordable.” In these 11 major metropolitan area markets, the most highly regulated, median multiples (median house price divided by median household income) exceed 5.0. For African-Americans, the median priced house is 10.2 times median incomes. This is 3.7 more years of additional income than the overall average in these severely unaffordable markets, where median house prices are 6.5 times median household incomes. It is only marginally better for Hispanics, with the median price house at 8.9 times median household incomes, 2.4 years more than the average in these markets (Figure 1).

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California’s ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ Economy at Forefront of Innovation Forum with Mexico

Fox and Hounds Daily Editors

(Editor’s Note: This press release was received from GO-Biz, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development)

The California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), in partnership with ProMexico, Mexico’s Trade and Commerce agency, will join The Mexican Entrepreneur Association and the Mexican Association of PE & VC Funds on a three day conference, October 18-20, promoting innovation exchange, trade, and investments between California and Mexico. The forum will focus on four main technologies: the Internet of Things, cloud computing, virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

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Challenge to Feinstein Tests Where Californians Stands

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

With the announcement that State Senate president pro-tem Kevin de León will run against Dianne Feinstein (and billionaire Tom Steyer may join the fray), it will prove a good test on where California voters stand on how elected officials should function.

Many progressives are loud and angry and ready to jettison Feinstein from her seat, but the average California voter may have a different idea when measuring her record and style of governing against the politics that de León and Steyer espouse.

Both de León and Steyer built much of their political resume on anti-Trump rhetoric. That will certainly score points with many Democrats in a state that prides itself as being head of the “resistance.” Both de León and Steyer have criticized Feinstein for not being tougher on Trump and his appointees, and urging patience that Trump might turn into a “good president.” Steyer is calling for Trump’s impeachment.

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An Unacknowledged Love Affair – the Left and DiFi

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

Some loves are so deep and passionate that the lovers can’t admit their true feelings, even to themselves.

This describes the love between California progressives and Dianne Feinstein.

Yes, I know, progressives and Dianne Feinstein seem to be in constant quarrel. Progressives blast her as a sellout; she tells them they’re unrealistic and impatient and don’t get anything done.

But they say these things only because they love each other so much.

From any perspective broader than the skinny-jeans narrow world of California politics, California progressives and Feinstein have much in common. Like agreement on a political party and almost every social and economic issue. You have to look at very specific pieces of legislation to find any real divide, and those differences were more often about tactics (Feinstein is compromising and conciliatory, while progressives want to fight), than ideology.

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Will PAGA Finally Be Reformed at the Ballot Box?

Chris Micheli
Attorney and Lobbyist at the Sacramento government relations firm of Aprea & Micheli, Inc.

Earlier this month, three separate initiatives were submitted to the California Attorney General for title and summary to reform California’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) statute because this law continues to be of significant concern to California employers. Enacted over a dozen years ago, PAGA allows employees to sue their employers in a “representative action” for violations of the state’s Labor Code.

Because the Legislature has been unwilling to address any significant changes to PAGA (found at Labor Code Sections 2698, et seq.), the state’s business community has been looking at reforming PAGA at the ballot box, assuming the statewide electorate is willing to do so. In the instances where multiple versions of a proposed initiative are filed, we assume that the one that enjoys the most support in public opinion polling is the one most likely to proceed.

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Hollywood Fractivists Should Fear, FractCheck is Here

Dave Quast
Spokesperson for FrackFeed

For years, anti-fracking activists (“fractivists”) and Hollywood celebrities have made unfounded claims about fracking with no consequence or regard for scientific facts. The fact that oil and gas fuel their jet-setting and yachting lifestyles is apparently lost on them, too. To dispel these rumors and keep fractivists’ false claims in check, the pro-energy grassroots group FrackFeed has launched a new fact checking initiative called FractCheck.

At, popular claims about fracking will be judged on a rating scale, based upon how true or false they are determined to be. This includes claims from Leonardo Di Caprio, Mark Ruffalo, California Governor Jerry Brown and President Donald Trump. Claims from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are also “fract checked.”

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Piercing the Veil of Opposition to the California WaterFix

John Mirisch
Beverly Hills City Council Member and two-time former mayor

While I was walking back to my seat in the Metropolitan Water District Board Room after having made comments in support of the California Water Fix, a stubbly dude in a porkpie hat looked up and sneered loudly at me, “A**hole!”

One might think that I had just completed a tirade against Pabst Blue Ribbon to provoke such a response, but my actual comments were self-explanatory and follow here:

My name is John Mirisch and I serve on the Beverly Hills City Council.  My comments reflect my own position, though our Council is supportive of the California Water Fix.

Beverly Hills is actively working to expand our own water portfolio, making significant investments and we believe a variety of measures, including conservation is important for the future.

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Natural & Other Disasters

Richard Rubin
Attorney Richard Rubin has taught public policy at USF, UC Berkeley and other institutions and is Chair of the California Commonwealth Club Board of Governors

As many of California’s bone-dry North Coast counties near where I live are being ravaged by the worst fires ever in a state that has become all to accustomed to these conflagrations with people dying and homes and businesses reduced to a pile of cinders we need to take stock of the preciousness of life.

Our cities north and south are going up in flames despite the valorous efforts of heroic first responders and we see communities coming together even as the life savings of thousands of their residents have been reduced to ashes.

Good friends in Sonoma & Napa Counties just miles away must now figure out how to adjust to what has become a catastrophe of immense proportions.

In the bigger scheme of things, whether we vote Democrat, Republican, Independent or not at all we realize that nature plays no favorites and can at any time wreak random havoc on earth’s inhabitants. It cares not a whit on how the state or the nation is being run or about who is in charge.

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A Tale Of Two Headlines

David Crane
Lecturer and Research Scholar at Stanford University and President of Govern for California

Rolling Stone just ran a hagiographic interview with California governor Jerry Brown accompanied by this headline: Jerry Brown’s California Dream: is this the blueprint for a more progressive America? But the very same week CALMatters ran a column with a very different headline: Latest academic tests underscore California’s education crisis.

How could Rolling Stone conduct a lengthy interview with California’s governor and not ask a single question about K-12 education?

K-12 education in California is a highly centralized, $90 billion per year, state operated enterprise run by the governor and legislature. Local school districts have little authority over the critical components of successful K-12 education such as tenure and teacher dismissal rules or affordable levels of pension promises without the consent of the governor and state legislature. With six million kids attending California public schools, one would think Rolling Stone would ask the state’s governor who oversees those schools how schoolchildren are faring. After all, K-12 is the largest expenditure made by the state General Fund and the governor and state legislature write the Education Code.

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