High Density, Market Rate Oakland Housing Will Not Cure Homeless Problem Or Climate Crisis

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(Last Updated On: December 10, 2019)

High Density, Market Rate Oakland Housing Will Not Cure Homeless Problem Or Climate Crisis

ONN – High Density, Market Rate Oakland Housing Will Not Cure Homeless Problem Or Climate Crisis

Oakland is using conservative “trickle-down economics” as a rationale for the continued building of expensive, high rise, market-rate housing – at the expense of rapid resolutions to the homeless problem.

In the early 1980s, the rise of Ronald Reagan to become President of The United States, was defined, in part, by something called “Trickle-Down Economics”.

Trickle Down Economics is defined, for the purpose of the housing issue, policies that favor developing housing for the rich, with the idea that, eventually, having enough of that kind of development will create so much supply that per-unit rents will have to fall.

The main problem with this idea is that it’s reared its head in the middle of a giant homeless crisis in Oakland and in California. So, the net result is rather than have the market focus on the development of low-income and extremely low income housing in Oakland, we have the market actually exacerbate the problem.

This idea is being championed not by conservative republicans but by so-called progressive democrats. As part of a process of courting donations from what they perceive as the tech-wealthy, politicians don’t push housing subsidy programs that would quickly inject low-income housing into, in this case, Oakland, at rapid rates. What we get is an unprecedented rise in market-rate housing, and coupled with that, scores of reports of illegal evictions of Oaklanders by greedy landlords.

What we need is the kind of giant affordable housing and extremely low-income housing that California Redevelopment Law helped produce – when it was active. The only reason we don’t have “redevelopment” now, is reportedly, now-former California Governor Jerry Brown got rid of it, thinking it was going to save the State of California $1 billion.

But, the truth is, “redevelopment” could have been retained, and the State of California would have still realized the budget adjustments that produced the surplus the State enjoys, today.

What Jerry Brown killed in getting rid of California Redevelopment Law, was the elimination of the “20 percent revenue set-aside program” that helped cause the building of affordable housing, and created an industry of developers who specialized in the building of affordable housing.

That happened in 2011, and then the boom in tech-fueled market rate housing demand started in 2014. By that time, the impact of the loss of new affordable housing units was not yet evident, but became so by 2016 – and with that, came a dramatically growing homeless problem.

But, what’s slowed the return of redevelopment is the alliance between politicians and real estate developers and real estate agents, who salivate every time a new tech startup IPO is announced. The fact that there are so many more low-income people who need housing is lost on them. And as long as that alliance is in place, we will not soon solve the homeless problem in Oakland.

Instead, we will get more pushing of conservative economic doctrine dressed up as progressive policy and by democrats who ask for our votes. We will be told of how bad Donald Trump is bad for America, and by people who secretly thrive off of the same development policies that made him rich.

Homelessness will be painted as the problem of those who just didn’t measure up, and by institutional racists who pat themselves on the back for not being discovered for what they really are.

They will say that the new market rate housing will solve the climate crisis, fooling those who never bothered to research what caused that problem: the dramatic growth in the population of the World. Between 1962 and today, we’ve added 4.4 billion people to Earth. What happens when you add more people into a room? It gets warmer.

It’s no wonder that study after study explains that even if we reach zero emissions by the Fossil Fuel Industry, we would still not solve the climate crisis – because it’s driven by a population problem.

As the Center For Biological Diversity recently explained…

The largest single threat to the ecology and biodiversity of the planet in the decades to come will be global climate disruption due to the buildup of human-generated greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. People around the world are beginning to address the problem by reducing their carbon footprint through less consumption and better technology. But unsustainable human population growth can overwhelm those efforts, leading us to conclude that we not only need smaller footprints, but fewer feet.

Portland, Oregon, for example, decreased its combined per-capita residential energy and car driving carbon footprint by 5 percent between 2000 and 2005. During this same period, however, its population grew by 8 percent.

Growing Oakland’s population of people in market rate housing will not solve the homeless problem or the climate crisis. We need to stop this silliness.

Stay tuned.

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