Elected Officials to Blame for California’s Homegrown Housing Problem

house-constructionWe see the headlines daily — California has an affordability problem when it comes to housing. People have to live further and further away from their jobs, and even a median-priced condo is out of reach for many. Since this affects so many of us, and since California now has about a fourth of the nation’s homeless population, compassionate people want to do something. But that something could make a bad situation even worse. As former U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, says, “the best way to make something expensive is for government to make it affordable.”

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After emigrating from Jamaica as a child and settling in Florida, I came to California as soon as I could. Our amazing state — with its lack of humidity and flying bugs — has always been attractive to aspiring actors, creators and entrepreneurs, so a higher cost of living was expected as a down payment on living the California Dream. What’s happening now, however, is causing sleepless nights for many.

First, we need to understand how we ended up with this problem. California has lots of people willing to build, so how did we not keep up with the clear demand for so long? For years, the state has consistently added about half the housing needed to keep pace with the population. Our elected officials shoulder much of the blame, by constraining supply due to mandates and regulations. Now, of course, they’d like to be part of the solution. Central planning, however, has never worked, even though it’s been tried in myriad ways and in many different variations.

The first hurdle that politicians enacted was the California Environmental Quality Act. Instead of being used to address real environmental concerns and protect our unique topography, it’s often used as a cudgel to enact wage and other concessions from developers. Over a third of the lawsuits filed under CEQA have to do with housing. This, of course, adds costs and delays to development, and gives pause to anyone considering building in the state. …

Click here to read the full article from the Orange County Register


  1. I believe it: Elected Officials to Blame for California’s Homegrown Housing Problem. Aren’t these the same people that sit around and figure out how to raise taxes and do other things without representing their constituents? Or maybe not, who are their constituents?

  2. The amount of effort put in the top line determines what eventually becomes the bottom line.

  3. A start toward a possible solution would be to set up a number of demonstration “free housing construction zones”, similar to “free enterprise zones” where building requirements, regulations and taxes are severely loosened. The only problem is that if they are successful at creating significant numbers of much lower cost houses the legislature would likely cancel or ignore the program. They could start by removing the requirement for solar panels on every house.

  4. Government officials, greed, power, stupidity and the fact that legislators just do no care..they want their way and that is the only way..we the common people could and would resolve many issues if left alone. Alot of what is going on in the USA is pure waste..older buildings being torn down when they could be used for the homeless and also for the Veterans…nothing like that for CA …not good enough

  5. Victoria Smith says

    Yes, the CA Government has wrought this mess with their devastating unmerited policies and onerous taxes and regulations.

  6. We must stop and thank the Demos for all the “amenities” they have added to a new house building code which add to the cost.

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