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  #101  
Old 02-14-2019, 09:11 PM
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Well, let's try some actual numbers to see how this works. In one post you mentioned Belvedere. Looking at apartments.com, the cheapest 1-bedroom apartment in Belvedere (actually Tiburon) is $2,891/mo. Rule of thumb is that rent shouldn't exceed 30% of gross income. That works out to roughly $114,000/yr.

The base starting salary for a school teacher in the Reed Union School District, which serves Belvedere, is $55,000. In fact, the TOP salary for a teacher is $106,747, plus $1,700 for both a Master's and PhD. Are the residents of Belvedere willing to increase the salary of every teacher in the district (in some cases more than double) so they can live near their work? How about municipal employees? Health care workers?

Heck, the cheapest apartment I could find listed anywhere in Marin County is $1,800/mo., which is still over the target for a beginning teacher.



How far are you willing to drive for $55K? How about $15/hr?
Let's not forget the carbon foot print commuting so far in stop and go traffic likely driving an older vehicle because that is what you can afford has on the environment.
  #102  
Old 02-14-2019, 09:22 PM
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I have a feeling Bone might have a different view if he wasn't protected by prop 13. So one can enjoy the benefits of a shortage market without the pain.
  #103  
Old 02-14-2019, 11:15 PM
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It definitely restricts economic activity, but I'm not sure about benefitting an "affluent few" -- in theory, environmental regulations benefit everyone, since everyone breathes the air and drinks the water. I'm sure badly written regulations can fail to do this, and possibly corrupt regulations can benefit an affluent few, but I don't know what category this one falls into.
In theory economic regulation like this benefits everyone, and in practice this rule may too. But what this law also does is provide an avenue to slow or limit construction. A similar law also exists in 14 other states.

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Before labeling something as "bad", don't we need more information?
The hypothetical can be fleshed out, sure. But based on the information presented I took the scenario with all else being equal. But yeah, increasing supply as in the example would depress the nearby homeowner's home value.
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I ask you this, Bone. How would you feel about a plan to fix up all "ghetto" areas closest to you...a plan that an economist predicts would lead to a slowing in your property value appreciation? Would you protest it?
If a city wants to do that, I think that's up to the city. I'd be opposed to the state coming in and mandating it. My whole point is that differing cities have different interests that can be expressed locally.

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Well, let's try some actual numbers to see how this works. In one post you mentioned Belvedere. Looking at apartments.com, the cheapest 1-bedroom apartment in Belvedere (actually Tiburon) is $2,891/mo. Rule of thumb is that rent shouldn't exceed 30% of gross income. That works out to roughly $114,000/yr.

The base starting salary for a school teacher in the Reed Union School District, which serves Belvedere, is $55,000. In fact, the TOP salary for a teacher is $106,747, plus $1,700 for both a Master's and PhD. Are the residents of Belvedere willing to increase the salary of every teacher in the district (in some cases more than double) so they can live near their work? How about municipal employees? Health care workers?
First off, that 30% figure is not even close. In the Bay Area, 50% is more likely. For my first house, I was a little north of 65%. Being house poor is a real thing, but those choices are out there for those that want to make them. But in reality, if a person is living in Belvedere and is a teacher - that's a hobby for them most likely. But it's not like the city needs to double wages to attract teachers - they can raise them marginally until someone is willing to make that commute.

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I have a feeling Bone might have a different view if he wasn't protected by prop 13. So one can enjoy the benefits of a shortage market without the pain.
I don't know why I would. The mechanisms may differ, but the practice of preserving home value would remain, possibly by other means.
  #104  
Old 02-15-2019, 02:22 AM
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First off, that 30% figure is not even close. In the Bay Area, 50% is more likely. For my first house, I was a little north of 65%. Being house poor is a real thing, but those choices are out there for those that want to make them. But in reality, if a person is living in Belvedere and is a teacher - that's a hobby for them most likely. But it's not like the city needs to double wages to attract teachers - they can raise them marginally until someone is willing to make that commute.
That the figure in the Bay Area is 50% just indicates that we are in a housing crisis. If the actual figure followed the rule of thumb for most people we wouldn't be having this discussion.
I didn't look up the figure, but what you give sounds plausible.
  #105  
Old 02-15-2019, 10:23 AM
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First off, that 30% figure is not even close. In the Bay Area, 50% is more likely. For my first house, I was a little north of 65%. Being house poor is a real thing, but those choices are out there for those that want to make them. But in reality, if a person is living in Belvedere and is a teacher - that's a hobby for them most likely. But it's not like the city needs to double wages to attract teachers - they can raise them marginally until someone is willing to make that commute.
Bone, you responded to the first half of my post, but not the second half.

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Heck, the cheapest apartment I could find listed anywhere in Marin County is $1,800/mo., which is still over the target for a beginning teacher.
(Bolding added)

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There was a time where I commuted into SF proper. It was really shitty. It took me a bit over 100 minutes each way and I generally hated the commute. But I chose to do that, because the pay was worth it.
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How far are you willing to drive for $55K? How about $15/hr?
  #106  
Old 02-15-2019, 10:34 AM
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If minimum wage is $15/hr, why would they need to commute anywhere? That is the wage everywhere.
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  #107  
Old 02-15-2019, 10:43 AM
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Bone, you responded to the first half of my post, but not the second half.

(Bolding added)
I think the answer to your second question is unknowable. The salaries of health care workers and teachers are typically outside the control of residents through their city budget. Municipal workers can get their pay from city coffers, so perhaps the residents there would pay their workers more. But school employees are county funded. Health care workers are most likely privately funded, unless they work at a county facility which is then paid for by the county.

Looking at the city employee wages, they are a bit higher, and high for a city of that size so perhaps the residents have decided to compensate their employees more. Market forces at work. But in any case, there is no requirement that people live near where they work. If they choose to commute, then they have decided the benefits outweigh the costs.

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  #108  
Old 02-15-2019, 10:44 AM
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I'm not talking about banning affordable housing (in CA, it's called Inclusionary Housing). Mandated inclusionary housing in all developments over 10 units has been a thing for quite some time and I don't have an issue with that. Inclusionary housing is one aspect, but not the only one or even the most important. Most of the efforts in CA are designed to force an increase in supply at all levels. Planning and approval of building is a complex and sometimes long process. CA has recently passed laws, and seeks to pass new laws, that waive environmental review, waive setback requirements, waive parking requirements, waive height limits, waive design review, waive density limits, waive traffic impact review, etc.

Sure some folks would love to see Coruscant come to life, but that type of maximum density is not what the people who are currently there want. Perhaps Emeryville wants to cater to its business community and densify the entire city and that's their perogative - but that same approach goes against what residents of other cities actually want.
This is a distinction without a difference. What makes housing affordable is supply and demand. Restricting supply means that prices are artificially high which necessarily means that housing is unaffordable. Passing laws that say that housing can not be built is exactly the same as banning affordable housing. Inclusionary housing laws are just stupid symbolism because they are nowhere near enough to actually affect house prices. They just create a small group of lucky people who will probably end up being friends of politicians. The law changes you mentioned are what needs to happen to allow actual affordable housing to be built.

If you don't want to live in Coruscant then your options are the same as what you offer others, either move to a neighborhood where housing is more expensive or move to a part of the country that is deserted. Either pay for what you want or go elsewhere to get it. Don't use local government to force everyone else to pay for your lifestyle.
  #109  
Old 02-15-2019, 10:49 AM
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If you don't want to live in Coruscant then your options are the same as what you offer others, either move to a neighborhood where housing is more expensive or move to a part of the country that is deserted. Either pay for what you want or go elsewhere to get it. Don't use local government to force everyone else to pay for your lifestyle.
Why wouldn't using local zoning and other laws be an available choice? If I can convince enough of my neighbors, enough people in my voting district, and enough people throughout the region to vote for these things, that seems like an available option.

For example, the practice of zoning for single family housing is seen my some as restricting supply. Or of having minimum lot size, or maximum density. A significant amount of people who live in places that have these rules (everywhere) like them. It's not that hard to convince someone to oppose a 20 story high density apartment complex next to their house or their school.

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  #110  
Old 02-15-2019, 10:50 AM
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If minimum wage is $15/hr, why would they need to commute anywhere? That is the wage everywhere.
No, that's the minimum wage in SF. In the rest of California it's now (2019) $12/hr for companies with 25 or more employees, $11/hr for those with fewer employees. Some other municipalities in the Bay Area have minimum wages greater than the state minimum, including Oakland, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Pasadena, Redwood City, and Berkeley.

http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/mini...ge-ordinances/
  #111  
Old 02-15-2019, 11:04 AM
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Why wouldn't using local zoning and other laws be an available choice? If I can convince enough of my neighbors, enough people in my voting district, and enough people throughout the region to vote for these things, that seems like an available option.

For example, the practice of zoning for single family housing is seen my some as restricting supply. Or of having minimum lot size, or maximum density. A significant amount of people who live in places that have these rules (everywhere) like them. It's not that hard to convince someone to oppose a 20 story high density apartment complex next to their house or their school.
You can do this, but this practice is hurting our society and reducing prosperity, so you should stop.

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  #112  
Old 02-15-2019, 12:06 PM
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You can do this, but this practice is hurting our society and reducing prosperity, so you should stop.
Can you clarify? Do you think restricting say, used car lots, garbage dumps, strip clubs, etc. in residential neighborhoods also reduces prosperity? Because that is done through zoning. How about traffic mitigation, a system of collector and arterial road systems? Or providing adequate parking, walking systems, Green space, or transit routes? All through zoning. Are you opposed to any zoning?
  #113  
Old 02-15-2019, 12:20 PM
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Can you clarify? Do you think restricting say, used car lots, garbage dumps, strip clubs, etc. in residential neighborhoods also reduces prosperity? Because that is done through zoning. How about traffic mitigation, a system of collector and arterial road systems? Or providing adequate parking, walking systems, Green space, or transit routes? All through zoning. Are you opposed to any zoning?
I'm not opposed to every type of zoning, just the specific type of zoning restrictions that you're talking about -- restricting residential building beyond single detached homes (or similar) in very sought after areas near large cities in order to protect already inflated property values of those homeowners. Zoning should be about overall community benefit and prosperity, not protecting home values when doing so holds back the overall prosperity of the community.

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  #114  
Old 02-15-2019, 01:21 PM
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For example, the practice of zoning for single family housing is seen my some as restricting supply. Or of having minimum lot size, or maximum density. A significant amount of people who live in places that have these rules (everywhere) like them. It's not that hard to convince someone to oppose a 20 story high density apartment complex next to their house or their school.
A significant number of people used to like living in places with restrictive covenants against selling to blacks and Jews. But society decided go ban those practices because society realized they are not conducive for a healthy society.

I am pretty dang certain a significant fraction of the American populace would be in favor of swapping out their drinking water supply with Mountain Dew. There is always a significant fraction who elevate their own likes over what is good for both themselves and everyone else.

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  #115  
Old 02-15-2019, 01:36 PM
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I'm not opposed to every type of zoning, just the specific type of zoning restrictions that you're talking about -- restricting residential building beyond single detached homes (or similar) in very sought after areas near large cities in order to protect already inflated property values of those homeowners. Zoning should be about overall community benefit and prosperity, not protecting home values when doing so holds back the overall prosperity of the community.
What if the overall community says that's what they want? Like, a city votes 100% in favor of single family homes. It seems you're okay with the county level, regional governmental body, the state, or even the feds overriding that community. I suppose it depends on how you construe community.

As I mentioned before, the League of CA Cities is a lobbying/advocacy group that represents the cities in CA. They routinely oppose state action in this sphere. Some cities want to eliminate single family zoning, which is fine for those cities. But what the League wants is for cities to be able to decide this. The community of cities in the state has spoken that letting them decide is better for overall prosperity of the community of all cities.

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A significant number of people used to like living in places with restrictive covenants against selling to blacks and Jews. But society decided go ban those practices because society realized they are not conducive for a healthy society.
I'm certainly opposed to those types of restrictions, or any other based on protected classes. If income becomes a protected class, I think that leads to some absurd results.

Even if restrictive zoning were to be limited or eliminated, there will always be places that are out of reach for some due to economic realities. I see this as a spectrum of targeted outcomes - whereas on one end of the spectrum people can live whereever they want without regard to cost, and at the other end even greater restrictive actions limiting supply as much as possible driving price up and people out.

I wouldn't argue in favor of either end, but I think most homeowners would favor something that leans towards the latter, however slight.
  #116  
Old 02-15-2019, 01:45 PM
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What if the overall community says that's what they want? Like, a city votes 100% in favor of single family homes. It seems you're okay with the county level, regional governmental body, the state, or even the feds overriding that community. I suppose it depends on how you construe community.



As I mentioned before, the League of CA Cities is a lobbying/advocacy group that represents the cities in CA. They routinely oppose state action in this sphere. Some cities want to eliminate single family zoning, which is fine for those cities. But what the League wants is for cities to be able to decide this. The community of cities in the state has spoken that letting them decide is better for overall prosperity of the community of all cities.





I'm certainly opposed to those types of restrictions, or any other based on protected classes. If income becomes a protected class, I think that leads to some absurd results.



Even if restrictive zoning were to be limited or eliminated, there will always be places that are out of reach for some due to economic realities. I see this as a spectrum of targeted outcomes - whereas on one end of the spectrum people can live whereever they want without regard to cost, and at the other end even greater restrictive actions limiting supply as much as possible driving price up and people out.



I wouldn't argue in favor of either end, but I think most homeowners would favor something that leans towards the latter, however slight.
I'd take it on a case by case basis. But what you have described for your community sounds very specifically like the type of zoning restrictions that only help those home owners, while harming overall prosperity and everyone else nearby. And thus should be opposed.
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  #117  
Old 02-15-2019, 02:08 PM
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I'd take it on a case by case basis. But what you have described for your community sounds very specifically like the type of zoning restrictions that only help those home owners, while harming overall prosperity and everyone else nearby. And thus should be opposed.
Like I said, my community is every city in the region. Every city wants local control. So for the sake of example, let's say the bay area has 7 million people. Folks in SF and Oakland probably would lean your way. Call it 3.5M people. What about that community?

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  #118  
Old 02-15-2019, 02:14 PM
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Like I said, my community is every city in the region. Every city wants local control. So for the sake of example, let's say the bay area has 7 million people. Folks in SF and Oakland probably would lean your way. Call it 3.5M people. What about that community?
I'm not arguing against the concept of local control, I'm arguing against specific types of zoning restrictions.

And you've already agreed there should be limits to what local communities can do (regarding race, for example).
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Old 02-15-2019, 02:17 PM
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What if the overall community says that's what they want? Like, a city votes 100% in favor of single family homes. It seems you're okay with the county level, regional governmental body, the state, or even the feds overriding that community. I suppose it depends on how you construe community.

As I mentioned before, the League of CA Cities is a lobbying/advocacy group that represents the cities in CA. They routinely oppose state action in this sphere. Some cities want to eliminate single family zoning, which is fine for those cities. But what the League wants is for cities to be able to decide this. The community of cities in the state has spoken that letting them decide is better for overall prosperity of the community of all cities.
What you're descirbing here is literally no different to me than saying, "Oil companies want to do X. The lobbying organization that speaks for all oil companies want to do X. The oil companies and their lobbyists have spoken, and they know best whether its a good thing to do X."

See the problem in that scenario?
  #120  
Old 02-15-2019, 02:23 PM
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There was a time when where you currently live was much less dense housing. And when it was time for that to change, due to city growth and housing needs, those then living where you are were also likely wildly opposed. Possibly feeling things should simply stay as they are because such progress would negatively impact the nature of their neighbourhood, and their property values.

Those changes, imposed on the then unwilling, substantially contributed to the growth of the city you see today.

Come down to it, perhaps this is just another change resistant old codger fighting against inevitable progress.
  #121  
Old 02-15-2019, 02:54 PM
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What you're descirbing here is literally no different to me than saying, "Oil companies want to do X. The lobbying organization that speaks for all oil companies want to do X. The oil companies and their lobbyists have spoken, and they know best whether its a good thing to do X."

See the problem in that scenario?
Yes, that's a problem. But it's different that what I am suggesting. The League is an advocacy group, but they represent a wider swathe of people than oil lobbyists. And even still, I wouldn't suggest that the group should be able to set policy. I bring it up as a representation of the community of people that iiandyiii was talking about. Ultimately it's an issue that is decided through voters and their representatives. My aim is to get those representatives to vote close to the direction I'm advocating for.

But if the construction is 'prosperity for everyone nearby' or the local community - then it makes sense to define that sphere of influence. Because the approach the state is taking is one size fits all for the state. That's a voting block for sure, but it's not what comes to mind when I think everyone nearby or the community.

Imagine instead the whole state decided to be more restrictive. Then it seems under the nebulous construction of everyone nearby that sphere would be increased until somehow the state lost that ability.
  #122  
Old 02-15-2019, 02:56 PM
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Why wouldn't using local zoning and other laws be an available choice? If I can convince enough of my neighbors, enough people in my voting district, and enough people throughout the region to vote for these things, that seems like an available option.

For example, the practice of zoning for single family housing is seen my some as restricting supply. Or of having minimum lot size, or maximum density. A significant amount of people who live in places that have these rules (everywhere) like them. It's not that hard to convince someone to oppose a 20 story high density apartment complex next to their house or their school.
Because hurting people is wrong whether you do it directly or vote for laws that hurt people. Zoning laws make people spend more on rent, which means they have less to spend on their families. It makes commuting distances longer which means they spend less time with their families. It makes the environment worse and reduces economic growth. All of these outcomes are well known yet people support the laws anyway because they think it makes them richer through higher home values.

Government is a tool. It should be used to help the common good through the police, court system, and the military. If it is being used by the powerful and rich to intentionally hurt the less powerful and well off, then that is a perversion of government. History is littered with examples of the powerful using government to hurt the less powerful, I understand why the powerful do it, but it is always awful. It doesn't matter in the slightest whether the government being used to hurt people is a local city.
  #123  
Old 02-15-2019, 03:08 PM
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Like I said, my community is every city in the region. Every city wants local control.
Every city everywhere wants local control. They're all NIMBYs. The problem is that NIMBY is a terrible way to run a society, but every local government has the concept ingrained as a core requirement.

One of the purposes of local government is to represent the current residents of the town, to advocate for their benefit.

However, there are issues bigger than what benefits the residents of a single town, and local governments are unable to react properly to it, but they have the power to prevent solutions to it. That's where the State, having a wider vision, needs to step in and implement policies that override the town level decision making.
  #124  
Old 02-15-2019, 03:09 PM
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Because hurting people is wrong whether you do it directly or vote for laws that hurt people. Zoning laws make people spend more on rent, which means they have less to spend on their families. It makes commuting distances longer which means they spend less time with their families. It makes the environment worse and reduces economic growth. All of these outcomes are well known yet people support the laws anyway because they think it makes them richer through higher home values.

Government is a tool. It should be used to help the common good through the police, court system, and the military. If it is being used by the powerful and rich to intentionally hurt the less powerful and well off, then that is a perversion of government. History is littered with examples of the powerful using government to hurt the less powerful, I understand why the powerful do it, but it is always awful. It doesn't matter in the slightest whether the government being used to hurt people is a local city.

So let's test this then. If the majority of people support my side, say, 51/49 %, does that change the analysis and then make it favorable in your view? Because your position would also hurt people's economic interests so I'm wondering when that becomes okay. What if that majority was 80/20?

If the people don't want to spend more, travel further, etc. then they could choose to live or work somewhere else they can better afford. Unless you think people have some right to live in a particular place. But I pose the same question to you as I did to iiandyiii - are you okay with any zoning rules?
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Old 02-15-2019, 03:34 PM
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So let's test this then. If the majority of people support my side, say, 51/49 %, does that change the analysis and then make it favorable in your view? Because your position would also hurt people's economic interests so I'm wondering when that becomes okay. What if that majority was 80/20?



If the people don't want to spend more, travel further, etc. then they could choose to live or work somewhere else they can better afford. Unless you think people have some right to live in a particular place. But I pose the same question to you as I did to iiandyiii - are you okay with any zoning rules?
You didn't ask me, but I am in support of keeping industrial uses out of residential ones. But the basis for this would be protection of public health, not property values. No one should be living right next to landfills or wastewater lagoons. People also should not be able to develop contaminated brownfields for residential purposes until they are fully remediated.

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  #126  
Old 02-16-2019, 12:51 PM
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So let's test this then. If the majority of people support my side, say, 51/49 %, does that change the analysis and then make it favorable in your view? Because your position would also hurt people's economic interests so I'm wondering when that becomes okay. What if that majority was 80/20?

If the people don't want to spend more, travel further, etc. then they could choose to live or work somewhere else they can better afford. Unless you think people have some right to live in a particular place. But I pose the same question to you as I did to iiandyiii - are you okay with any zoning rules?
It doesn't matter how many people support it. Being oppressed by one rich guy is no worse or better than being oppressed by 80% of the population. The bedrock principle of freedom is that if what I do does not directly hurt you then it is not your business wwhat I do. If you want to tell someone what to do with their land or on their land either buy that land or shut up.

All zoning laws are bad and should be done away with. If the people around you are acting poorly, say by making something that pollutes the environment, then there are environmental laws to deal with that, if the people near you are too loud or too smelly then there are nuisance laws to deal with that. Otherwise mind your business.

The idea that zoning is all that separates the affluent from the hoi polloi is just not true. Houston has no zoning laws and there are plenty of neighborhoods with nothing but million dollar houses. The people who want to move into the Bay Area are young professionals wanted to start families, not gang bangers yelling "where the white women at?"
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Old 02-17-2019, 04:48 AM
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All zoning laws are bad and should be done away with. If the people around you are acting poorly, say by making something that pollutes the environment, then there are environmental laws to deal with that, if the people near you are too loud or too smelly then there are nuisance laws to deal with that. Otherwise mind your business.
At least that clarifies the objection. I disagree of course. It makes sense to order communities in a way that organizes things like industrial, residential, commercial, etc. The way that is done is through zoning and city planning. A person shouldn't be able to acquire property in an otherwise residential neighborhood and construct a strip club, or a high rise hotel, or other uses because it's disruptive of the area just as polluting is.

And it's not precisely informative to say that Houston has no zoning.

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Houston is lightly regulated, and it’s true that it has no zoning code. But it has many laws that constitute zoning by another name: laws that say how much land is required to build a house; local covenants that determine building size and use; regulations that require new houses, offices, or restaurants to provide a certain amount of parking spaces; and rules that dictate how close new buildings may be to the street. A 21-story residential building in a central neighborhood was met with a seven-year legal battle that culminated in a judge awarding concerned neighbors $1.2 million from the developer.

Looks like zoning, smells like zoning.
But hey, if people in Houston want their city to look the way it does, great for them. Personally I think it's horrendous.
  #128  
Old 02-17-2019, 05:44 AM
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It's not just CA, it's not even just the USA. It is a problem in all the developed countries; how much subsidized housing should you build, and where? And who it o benefit from it? The market works fine for those who have a reasonable income, but how are you going the warehouse the less affluent and the disadvantaged? In short, where does the free market economy end and where does the welfare society step in? There is no simple answer, but housing that is overpriced overall tends to hollow out cities, all the working stiffs have to move out and commute, and the central areas are either for the rich or the very poor who create slums by packing the building with enough people to afford the rent. Not a desirable outcome, but how do you avoid it?
  #129  
Old 02-17-2019, 10:34 AM
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So, Bone, teasing apart your arguments, there seem to be 2 arguments you are making.

1. Programs to make "housing affordable" artificially (like NYC's rent control) distort markets and are frequently corrupt anyways.

I think some of the posters in this thread agree with you here.

2. "I happen to have an early stake in a pyramid scheme and my stake has doubled in under a decade. So this is awesome for me financially and terrible for everyone but the small group of people like me."

Basically everyone disagrees with you here.

Some of the best tech jobs in the country are in the Bay Area. From someone who doesn't live in the Bay Area, but the tech field I am interested in is heavily concentrated there, from my perspective this housing scam is just a scam. It's a way to steal most of the money I'd be working 60 hours a week to earn - or most of my free time. Money or time, lose-lose.

Because either I'd have 30% of my income burning away in rent (and get hit with high taxes on top of that), something like 30% of my waking free time wasted in commuting, or if I could buy,
a. Housing prices cannot inflate forever. There are limits, specifically as to the rent a property can command. It's possible they are already near the max they will ever reach. At current prices, thousands of businesses and jobs are leaving yearly.
b. Unlike you, simply for coming later, I'd be forced to pay double the taxes. Why should you get to pay half taxes because you moved somewhere earlier? What entitles you to this unequal treatment?


And, here's another counter-argument. Other people have mentioned dealing with the problem at a state level.

There's a national security and national economy angle here. In general, the well being of a country is higher if it's more efficient at producing things that other countries value. Present thinking is that Artificial Intelligence is the most important product a country can produce, period, and it's the most valuable thing human beings will ever make.

It seems there is an enormous network effect to having a "tech hub" with the right policies in place. You need all the top tier companies in one place, with a good climate, with labor policies that ban non-compete and poaching agreements. You need reasonable taxes, you need weed and other drugs to be legal, you need a good transit grid, etc.

Corruption in the building permit system is preventing the most valuable and productive part of the entire United States from growing as fast as it should. The way it should work is this :

It should be legal for developers to install any density of commercial or residential structure, anywhere they want, so long as the building/tenants aren't emitting air pollution or high noise levels.

Municipalities should be able to charge a density tax nonlinear to the density of a building, and should be required to upgrade the infrastructure with the money through some form of federal incentive system. They should be able to charge a higher tax for buildings that are isolated - lone skyscrapers are obviously harder to upgrade the infrastructure around than n+1 skyscrapers around the city core.

That is, efficient land utilization would look like a neat 2d bell curve, with the highest buildings in the center and the best transit links between them. (because the owners of the buildings pay for those links). And as you get farther from the core of a city the heights get smoothly lower and lower. Residences would be interspersed smoothly with offices so that in many cases it would be possible to rent an apartment within a few floors of the same building where you work.

Rents, since this is a free market, would mainly just scale up and down with density costs. The only reason it would cost more to live in the center of the city is because those 100+ story skyscrapers cost more per square foot to construct. So rents would be perhaps 50-100% higher there simply because the building you are living and working in is made of stronger and more expensive stuff.
  #130  
Old 02-17-2019, 10:40 AM
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The primary reason we don't have this in the USA is crime. The whole reason for absurdly inefficient suburbs, for land policies restricting density, etc, is that if you make housing expensive in large areas, only people who can afford expensive prices can be your neighbors. And richer people are far less likely to commit violent crimes against you. (they may commit all sorts of white collar frauds or use drugs in their homes but these crimes don't affect you).

There's a racial element here as well but the primary discriminating factor is money. In order to have high density - to have residential next to offices in a massive 3 dimension housing beehive - you have to solve the crime problem. Specifically you have to have individual accountability. Anytime anyone commits a crime, it needs to be solved. You need machine learning driven cameras with 100% coverage on public areas. They would recognize every single individual who passes under them, using multiple forms of analysis (gait, face, height, skin tone, ping their phone, time and place correlation, hair color, clothing syle) and save to a log who they saw and when.

Off database individuals would get learned because they can be tracked from camera to camera until they eventually go somewhere and show their ID or use a credit card or go to a home or something, and then the file entries can all be updated.

If you do this, any time a crime happens, a detective would have the ability to solve it because they could quickly determine all of the actual suspects it could be. And this would be true for both muggings and graffiti up to murder.

Last edited by SamuelA; 02-17-2019 at 10:44 AM.
  #131  
Old 02-17-2019, 10:57 AM
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Don't know if this has been mentioned yet. I'd be interested in getting Bone's opinion.

Much of the skyrocking housing prices can be placed at the foot of foreign investors.

Do you think these speculators should have more say over how an area should be developed than the residents who'd like to actually drop deep roots in a community and help to make it better over the long haul but are quickly being priced out?
  #132  
Old 02-17-2019, 02:30 PM
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The primary reason we don't have this in the USA is crime. The whole reason for absurdly inefficient suburbs, for land policies restricting density, etc, is that if you make housing expensive in large areas, only people who can afford expensive prices can be your neighbors. And richer people are far less likely to commit violent crimes against you. (they may commit all sorts of white collar frauds or use drugs in their homes but these crimes don't affect you).

There's a racial element here as well but the primary discriminating factor is money. In order to have high density - to have residential next to offices in a massive 3 dimension housing beehive - you have to solve the crime problem. Specifically you have to have individual accountability. Anytime anyone commits a crime, it needs to be solved. You need machine learning driven cameras with 100% coverage on public areas. They would recognize every single individual who passes under them, using multiple forms of analysis (gait, face, height, skin tone, ping their phone, time and place correlation, hair color, clothing syle) and save to a log who they saw and when.

Off database individuals would get learned because they can be tracked from camera to camera until they eventually go somewhere and show their ID or use a credit card or go to a home or something, and then the file entries can all be updated.

If you do this, any time a crime happens, a detective would have the ability to solve it because they could quickly determine all of the actual suspects it could be. And this would be true for both muggings and graffiti up to murder.
Total video coverage? Try some of the new cities in the PRC. OK, there is no crime, but it sounds hideously oppressive. And need one say more about the political uses of such technology? Which is in widespread use anyway, and not least in the USA.
  #133  
Old 02-17-2019, 02:45 PM
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Total video coverage? Try some of the new cities in the PRC. OK, there is no crime, but it sounds hideously oppressive. And need one say more about the political uses of such technology? Which is in widespread use anyway, and not least in the USA.
It's how you increase density. The police today already subpoena all the records they can get, they interview neighbors, etc, if they are investigating a serious crime.

The accepted, by evidence, way to reduce crime is you need to swiftly and surely punish criminals who commit it. The smaller the gap between committing a crime and punishment, the better. The punishment need not be particularly severe - the biggest factor in reducing crime is making criminals believe they are nearly certain to be caught, even if they only receive a light sentence.

In such an environment, where nearly every crime can be solved - where theft is pointless because the police will be at your place in an hour, where assault means you will be behind bars for sure by nightfall, where a rape means you will be in prison the same day - most crimes would never even happen in the first place. And those who are mentally ill and who will commit crimes even knowing they will be caught would be contained swiftly.

And there would not be any justification for personal gun ownership.

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Don't know if this has been mentioned yet. I'd be interested in getting Bone's opinion.

Much of the skyrocking housing prices can be placed at the foot of foreign investors.

Do you think these speculators should have more say over how an area should be developed than the residents who'd like to actually drop deep roots in a community and help to make it better over the long haul but are quickly being priced out?
Bone's answer to that is going to be "since foreign investors raise the prices, and thus increases the value of my home equity, I benefit. Therefore I would be in favor of laxer regulations that encourage more foreign investors than there already are. Bring in that Iranian money."

Not everyone is so short sighted. Warren Buffet has his accountants use all the legal tax minimizing strategies on his income, but he knows the system is badly unfair and tilted in favor of the rich. He at least is consistent in saying the system that benefits him personally is unfair and needs fixing. Bone here, by his reasoning shown thus far, would be in favor of slavery as long as he was a slave owner and not himself a slave.
  #134  
Old 02-17-2019, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by monstro View Post
Much of the skyrocking housing prices can be placed at the foot of foreign investors.

Do you think these speculators should have more say over how an area should be developed than the residents who'd like to actually drop deep roots in a community and help to make it better over the long haul but are quickly being priced out?
This is definitely happening in many parts of the bay area. People coming in with all cash offers pushing up prices. Overall I think attempts to mitigate or alleviate this are probably worse than the status quo. Money is money and there is a global market for real estate investment. The only possible out is that to vote, the locality needs to be the primary residence so unless these owners meet the residency requirement they aren't going to be voting.

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2. "I happen to have an early stake in a pyramid scheme and my stake has doubled in under a decade. So this is awesome for me financially and terrible for everyone but the small group of people like me."

Basically everyone disagrees with you here.

Some of the best tech jobs in the country are in the Bay Area. From someone who doesn't live in the Bay Area, but the tech field I am interested in is heavily concentrated there, from my perspective this housing scam is just a scam. It's a way to steal most of the money I'd be working 60 hours a week to earn - or most of my free time. Money or time, lose-lose.

Because either I'd have 30% of my income burning away in rent (and get hit with high taxes on top of that), something like 30% of my waking free time wasted in commuting, or if I could buy,
a. Housing prices cannot inflate forever. There are limits, specifically as to the rent a property can command. It's possible they are already near the max they will ever reach. At current prices, thousands of businesses and jobs are leaving yearly.
b. Unlike you, simply for coming later, I'd be forced to pay double the taxes. Why should you get to pay half taxes because you moved somewhere earlier? What entitles you to this unequal treatment?
First off, many people in tech are regularly working 60 hour weeks. Pretty typical. 30% of your income on housing is nothing. You can live within SF in the residential neighborhoods and still have a 1 hour commute to downtown. Bay area traffic is probably a lot like other major metro areas, but if you're not familiar with it it's bad. To go from the north bay to the south bay could be 5 hours in commute traffic. My commute is 9 miles. It takes 45 minutes. That's less than half of what I was doing previously.

And lastly, I've bought houses and moved at least every 5 years since I bought my first house. I'm not someone sitting on a mountain of equity paying property tax rates from 1990. I pay more in taxes each month than I did my whole first house mortgage payment. In any event, this seems to be targeting prop 13 locking property taxes with fixed increases rather than zoning which is what I'm discussing in this thread.

I actually do think housing prices can inflate forever. Inflation will see to that.

Your other comments about national security and criminal surveillance are a non sequitur IMO. I'll just say that even if there were no crime, I'd have zero interest in living in a people dense environment.

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Bone's answer to that is going to be "since foreign investors raise the prices, and thus increases the value of my home equity, I benefit. Therefore I would be in favor of laxer regulations that encourage more foreign investors than there already are. Bring in that Iranian money."

Not everyone is so short sighted. Warren Buffet has his accountants use all the legal tax minimizing strategies on his income, but he knows the system is badly unfair and tilted in favor of the rich. He at least is consistent in saying the system that benefits him personally is unfair and needs fixing. Bone here, by his reasoning shown thus far, would be in favor of slavery as long as he was a slave owner and not himself a slave.
First, your predictive powers have failed you. Second, this part about slavery is pretty offensive.
  #135  
Old 02-17-2019, 03:19 PM
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First, your predictive powers have failed you. Second, this part about slavery is pretty offensive.
You're in favor of screwing over the little guys who aren't tech workers like you. Don't see how you'd have much sympathy for slaves to be honest. But, regardless, at no point have you argued for any policy that isn't to your personal benefit in your personal situation. You don't appear to care a whit about anyone else.

30% of the rent is "nothing"? Says who? By what standard? 30% of 150-200k is a truckload of money, waaaaay more than the cost to manufacture/maintain a small 1-2 bedroom apartment even in a 100 story highrise.

I assume you are in favor of ISPs who happen to own the wires leading to your place charging $1000 a month for internet? Privatizing the roads in high traffic areas and charging you to drive on them?

All these are examples of monopoly rent-seeking behavior. It's a rat-hole that robs wealth from the economy.
  #136  
Old 02-17-2019, 03:25 PM
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I actually do think housing prices can inflate forever. Inflation will see to that.
This is plain ignorance. An employee, even a high value one like a tech worker, produces a finite dollar value on average to a company. A company can't pay them more than about half their value creation in salary each year. (rest goes to inefficiencies and profit for the owners)

Then, after taxes and food and basic essentials and transportation and student loan payments, such a person has a finite number of dollars left in a month. Rent cannot physically be higher than those dollars or they just can't pay it.

Thus, rent cannot rise past a certain point - and thus the real value of properties even in the Bay Area can't rise above that ceiling for long.

We are talking about real, inflation-adjusted dollars. Obviously as long as money continues to inflate, prices for housing can keep going up - but inflationary increases are not real value changes, you gain no net increase in equity if your property only goes up with inflation.
  #137  
Old 02-17-2019, 03:36 PM
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You're in favor of screwing over the little guys who aren't tech workers like you. Don't see how you'd have much sympathy for slaves to be honest. But, regardless, at no point have you argued for any policy that isn't to your personal benefit in your personal situation. You don't appear to care a whit about anyone else.

30% of the rent is "nothing"? Says who? By what standard? 30% of 150-200k is a truckload of money, waaaaay more than the cost to manufacture/maintain a small 1-2 bedroom apartment even in a 100 story highrise.

I assume you are in favor of ISPs who happen to own the wires leading to your place charging $1000 a month for internet? Privatizing the roads in high traffic areas and charging you to drive on them?

All these are examples of monopoly rent-seeking behavior. It's a rat-hole that robs wealth from the economy.
I think you're making not only leaps of logic not supported by evidence, but leaps that are directly contradicted by evidence. In post #115 I said this:
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I'm certainly opposed to those types of restrictions, or any other based on protected classes. If income becomes a protected class, I think that leads to some absurd results.
Yet you somehow think I'd be okay with slavery. That's pretty poor deduction. And you somehow apply these powers of deduction to other areas ...just because? Good luck with that and the rest of the non sequiturs.

Here, we're talking about zoning and state mandates overriding local control. Perhaps you'd like to join the conversation.

As to 30% - I live in the bay area, so me. I say it. You're free to disbelieve me. My first house, I was at 70% after P&I and taxes and insurance. 30% of 200K is 60 grand, or 5k/month. that's like, a regular mortgage. That's the normal rent on a friend's 2 bed condo in SOMA. 30% as a rule of thumb is great in normal markets but the bay area is near the top if not the highest cost area in the country. Rules of thumb don't work as well here.
  #138  
Old 02-17-2019, 04:07 PM
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I think you're making not only leaps of logic not supported by evidence, but leaps that are directly contradicted by evidence. In post #115 I said this:

Yet you somehow think I'd be okay with slavery. That's pretty poor deduction. And you somehow apply these powers of deduction to other areas ...just because? Good luck with that and the rest of the non sequiturs.

Here, we're talking about zoning and state mandates overriding local control. Perhaps you'd like to join the conversation.

As to 30% - I live in the bay area, so me. I say it. You're free to disbelieve me.
It's not how much the rent is compared to what you are "used" to paying. It's the value you get from the money. As a tech worker, you create value, but these real estate policies are robbing value away from most people. (obviously not everyone, in the same way that early investors in a pyramid scheme make money)

These "non sequiturs" : so far your demonstrated IQ is weak here. These "non sequiturs" were me explaining the real value of land : what a true free market policy would look like. If you want to see the results of that, look here :
https://www.vox.com/2016/8/8/1239004...ng-costs-tokyo

As for local control vs statewide control : if the state government feels that they will improve the state that they govern (for example, if more tech workers can move in and pay state income taxes, the state will have more funds to do good things for it's citizens), what's the dispute here? The state government is sovereign except for matters where the Feds supercede them. Locals governments shouldn't get a say at all - they...aren't...the government, just a delegated entity to control matters the state government lets them control...

As for income being a protected class : dude I agree with you. The fix to the housing crisis is to build and increase density. More supply means lower prices. Increase supply enough and eventually prices will fall to fair and affordable levels for most people. Like it did in Tokyo. No special polices needed.
  #139  
Old 02-17-2019, 04:38 PM
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Ok, then what? I'm actually quite comfortable in my thoughts on this matter. I talk with a lot of homeowners in my neighborhood and my city. It's a pretty unanimous sentiment that people want to preserve their home values. For the vast vast majority, their home is their largest asset. I would be surprised if someone was going to put up a $200K down payment and then not be concerned about that money.
This shows you haven't given serious thought to what's happening.

You keep presenting the issue in the form of "Should X have the right to demand to live in Y locality?"

That's not the relevant question. The relevant question is "How should society structure housing policy to bring the greatest benefit to society as a whole?"

Your preferred policy enriches you and a handful of your neighbors, but it imposes significant hardships that wouldn't otherwise have existed on your fellow community members, the economy and society as a whole.

It makes all of us poorer. In fact it makes us far poorer than it makes you richer.

There have been several restatements of the argument in this thread, but I have seen nothing in your posts to show that you have actually read and understood them. You keep repeating the cause of your self-interest and in asserting the self-interest of the handful of people in similar positions.
  #140  
Old 02-17-2019, 04:46 PM
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This shows you haven't given serious thought to what's happening.

You keep presenting the issue in the form of "Should X have the right to demand to live in Y locality?"

That's not the relevant question. The relevant question is "How should society structure housing policy to bring the greatest benefit to society as a whole?"
This is the relevant question if you are a utilitarian. I am not. The greater good is only one aspect in decision making. I believe you come to your position through thorough thought based on your beliefs. Why don't you believe I could not have done the same?
  #141  
Old 02-17-2019, 04:56 PM
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These "non sequiturs" : so far your demonstrated IQ is weak here. These "non sequiturs" were me explaining the real value of land : what a true free market policy would look like.
So you say that prices can't inflate forever, then I identify inflation (you know, based on the word you chose) then you criticize me say you're not talking about inflation? Right.

Sure cities are delegated entities generally, but the CA constitution has home rule for cities that claim it. On matters of municipal vs. statewide nterest where state law conflicts with city law, then home rule city law prevails. Land use is considered municipal interest generally. Did you know that? You keep making assumptions and so many of them are wrong. I guess, cool story, bro.
  #142  
Old 02-17-2019, 05:17 PM
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This is the relevant question if you are a utilitarian. I am not. The greater good is only one aspect in decision making. I believe you come to your position through thorough thought based on your beliefs. Why don't you believe I could not have done the same?
If you understand the arguments, but still stick with your original position, because you value improving your own lot (when you're already quite comfortable) significantly more than avoiding harming everyone else, then it seems quite reasonable to characterize your position as profoundly immoral. Or am I missing something?

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 02-17-2019 at 05:18 PM.
  #143  
Old 02-17-2019, 05:24 PM
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So you say that prices can't inflate forever, then I identify inflation (you know, based on the word you chose) then you criticize me say you're not talking about inflation? Right.
Well, inflation can't inflate forever, really. At some point, we're going to have to realize taht a 7.25 Quadrillion an hour Minimum wage is a bit too much, and drop some zeroes from our currency.

However, I think the point that was made and that you are avoiding is that housing prices cannot beat the rate of inflation forever.

Especially given that, the reason that housing prices are high where you are is because of the services and opportunities that are available in your area.

Should this NIMBYISM continue, then the services and opportunities that are available in your area will decrease. At a certain point, people will no longer have a desire to live in that area, they will have all taken your advice and gone somewhere else, and developed a growing economic center there, probably with its share of housing problems, leaving you with a nice house, in a place that no one wants to live anymore.

Your gain is not only selfish, but shortsighted as well.
Quote:
Sure cities are delegated entities generally, but the CA constitution has home rule for cities that claim it. On matters of municipal vs. statewide nterest where state law conflicts with city law, then home rule city law prevails. Land use is considered municipal interest generally. Did you know that? You keep making assumptions and so many of them are wrong. I guess, cool story, bro.
Not sure how that in any way addresses the idea that the communities are distorting the real value of the land away from a free market. It is in fact, entirely unrelated.

In any case, you do realize that state constitutions are not nearly as sacrosanct or hard to change as the US constitution, right? If the state wants to change your home rule, then it can.

I'd rather it didn't, as I think that municipalities can often better address the needs of their citizens than the state can, but if it is shown that municipalities cannot be entrusted to use home rule responsibly, as you are demonstrating, then that can be changed.
  #144  
Old 02-17-2019, 07:05 PM
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Just as a datapoint, the Mercury News had a big article on commuting in the Bay Area today. (No link since I hit the monthly article limit, but it should be easy to find.)
169,000 people are commuting from outside the Bay Area - which means outside of Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Napa counties, etc. Commuters from Pleasanton, say, don't count. The average one way commute from San Joaquin county is 73 minutes. Which seems low to me, and includes people who carpool or pay for access to carpool lanes.
There is a picture of a jammed road - 205 in Tracy. It is jammed at 5:45 am.
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Old 02-17-2019, 08:15 PM
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This is the relevant question if you are a utilitarian. I am not. The greater good is only one aspect in decision making. I believe you come to your position through thorough thought based on your beliefs. Why don't you believe I could not have done the same?
You haven’t articulated any belief beyond “I want to maximize my wealth in the short term at the expense of everyone else and probably my own long-term interests.”

I expect a thoughtful person to take other values into consideration, including the long-term interest of yourself and your offspring.
  #146  
Old 02-17-2019, 08:19 PM
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My neighborhood tends to self select on income.
Did you type this with a straight face, as if it had any real meaning?
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Old 02-17-2019, 08:21 PM
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As has been said above, unless you care to address the full range of issues, including poverty, public health, environmental costs, the future of the local and national economies, then it seems that your position is profoundly immoral and shortsighted
  #148  
Old 02-17-2019, 08:28 PM
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A friend of mine in San Francisco told me today that the failure to increase the housing supply is already starting to kill job growth in the area. “People aren’t happy here and only the richest companies can afford to expand,” he said.

Once that worm turns, property values will stop increasing. Then what?
  #149  
Old 02-17-2019, 08:43 PM
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the failure to increase the housing supply is already starting to kill job growth in the area.
Do you have an actual cite for this claim?
  #150  
Old 02-17-2019, 09:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iiandyiiii View Post
If you understand the arguments, but still stick with your original position, because you value improving your own lot (when you're already quite comfortable) significantly more than avoiding harming everyone else, then it seems quite reasonable to characterize your position as profoundly immoral. Or am I missing something?
I don't know if you're missing something. We all do things and live a lifestyle that puts our own self interests above those of others. I don't consider paying a premium to eat out rather than cook in and donate the difference to be immoral. Do you? If you don't, then this is simply a difference of degree rather than of kind. Unless a person is at the very bottom of wealth and income, then they are doing the same thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
Should this NIMBYISM continue, then the services and opportunities that are available in your area will decrease. At a certain point, people will no longer have a desire to live in that area, they will have all taken your advice and gone somewhere else, and developed a growing economic center there, probably with its share of housing problems, leaving you with a nice house, in a place that no one wants to live anymore.

Your gain is not only selfish, but shortsighted as well.
Or, prices will stabalize, or wages will rise, or value will increase, or a host of other possibilities. But I'm pretty comfortable saying that barring some great natural disaster in the region, it's going to continue to be in high demand for quite some time. If prices stabilize, I'm fine with that too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
Not sure how that in any way addresses the idea that the communities are distorting the real value of the land away from a free market. It is in fact, entirely unrelated.
It was in direct response to local control vs. statewide control and cities as delegated entities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
Just as a datapoint, the Mercury News had a big article on commuting in the Bay Area today. (No link since I hit the monthly article limit, but it should be easy to find.)
Not from today, but here is an older one from the Mercury news about super commuting:
Quote:
Gonzalez and her husband bought a house in Stockton last July because they couldn’t afford anything closer to her job. The median value for a home in Stockton is $287,000, compared to $1.1 million in San Jose, $1.3 million in San Francisco and $760,000 in Oakland, according to Zillow.

Now, Gonzalez spends three hours a day in her car, and shells out $300 a month to fuel the long drives. But at least she’s not sitting in traffic, she says — her shift, which starts at 2 p.m. and ends around 11:30 p.m., allows her to miss rush hour. Even so, some days Gonzalez feels like she spends so much time driving that she doesn’t get to enjoy the four-bedroom house she sacrificed so much for. But she reassures herself that this won’t be forever.

“In the long run, it’s going to be worth it,” she said.
So are these people being forced, or are they making a choice? I did something similar for a while - a 4+ hour commute each day. I wasn't forced - I made a choice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
You haven’t articulated any belief beyond “I want to maximize my wealth in the short term at the expense of everyone else and probably my own long-term interests.”

I expect a thoughtful person to take other values into consideration, including the long-term interest of yourself and your offspring.
Actually - it's quite a bit more complex than that. I think the pendulum of state vs. local control is shifting more towards the state in a way I disapprove of. I think that local majorities of cities are better decision makers for their own residents, and maximum utilization of land is not a desirable goal.

And based on my assessment, my offspring will have more opportunity than I had, as I had more opportunity than every generation preceding me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
A friend of mine in San Francisco told me today that the failure to increase the housing supply is already starting to kill job growth in the area. “People aren’t happy here and only the richest companies can afford to expand,” he said.

Once that worm turns, property values will stop increasing. Then what?
Jobs have started to expand to outer areas due to increased costs which is to be expected. Companies like Pandora, Uber, and others find nearby Oakland cheaper, etc. But there's this:

Quote:
The Bay Area now has topped 4 million payroll jobs for two months in a row, extending an employment boom that has chalked up job gains in the nine-county region for 17 consecutive months, the employment department figures show.

...

California added 13,200 jobs during September, and the statewide jobless rate reached a record low of 4.1 percent, the lowest unemployment rate for the Golden State since 1976, according to the EDD.

Unemployment rates in the Bay Area’s three largest urban centers were all under 3 percent, the Beacon-UC Riverside analysis showed.

The September jobless rate was 2.9 percent in the East Bay and 2.2 percent in the San Francisco-San Mateo region and are, in both cases, unchanged from August. The Santa Clara County unemployment rate was 2.5 percent, an improvement from 2.6 percent the month before. The rates in the three regions all matched record lows.

The ultra-low jobless rates are a key indicator that the Bay Area is effectively at full employment and that the great majority of employers have packed their payrolls with essentially every worker they can find.
But if property values stabilized, fine with me.
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