Marin Independent Journal editorials too often parrot the distorted narrative created by developers and real estate investors and promoted by legislators and bureaucrats. “Terra Linda apartments a test for leaders,” which appeared Jan. 4, is an example.
The editorial states, “the region’s need for housing, especially affordable apartments, … makes this project one that deserves fair and thorough consideration
Any housing project deserves fair consideration, but this editorial ignores several facts. The first is the claim the state needs 3.5 million new housing units is in error. The frenzy about a housing crisis has been disproved by research at the Embarcadero Institute. It gives a more accurate assessment that pegs the need at 1.5 million units.
The editorial ignores the fact that, according to the LA Times on May 1, that California’s population growth is the slowest in recorded history. It ignores the report from the San Diego Tribune on Dec. 29 that baby boomers will be putting millions of homes on the market in the next few decades.
Legislators, the media and many bureaucrats are quick to muddle housing needs with affordability. Who really believes that a policy of offering just 10-20% of new units at below market rate meets the needs of people making low or minimum wage? Without subsidies, new housing simply isn’t affordable to people at risk of falling into homelessness.
The editorial conveys another unexamined prejudice promoted by Assemblyman David Chiu and Sen. Scott Wiener, that a housing shortage and housing affordability are regional problems. The perspective is promoted by large developers called “rentier capitalists.” They build big, rent high and pay low wages, while extracting and exporting rental income from the community, without making a significant contribution in return.
Better than parroting, readers would benefit from editorials that dig deeper into sources.