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Politics

California Proposition 1, 2018

Ballotpedia: The Encyclopedia of American Politics

Source: California Proposition 1, Housing Programs and Veterans’ Loans Bond (2018) – Ballotpedia

I’m leaning Yes on this.

There is one problem, which is that there is no anti-displacement language in this law.

$150,000,000 would go toward implementing transit oriented development, which mainly means bigger apartments near train stations, and some bus stops.

In working class communities, new construction tends to be more expensive than the buildings they replace, and even affordable housing can cause gentrification and displacement of poor people.

Specifically, this “transit oriented development” seems to cause transit use to decline, because new development causes local rents to rise, and the new renters tend to have cars. TheĀ  old renters tend to be transit dependent.

A recent study by Audrey Desmuke about the Green Line said similar things about TOD around the Green Line. Just building along transit doesn’t help people with transit-oriented lives, if these transit users are forced away from the transit hubs due to gentrification.

Moreover, I’d say that people who are transit dependent self-select to live along specific bus lines (and trains) to access the most useful lines relevant to their lives. I know I did this when I didn’t have a car, and have done this now that I have transit-dependent individuals in my household. So there’s already self-selection by transit users. Building anew along the same corridors puts transit dependent people are at risk of being gentrified out of their transit-oriented life.

I think this law could be improved, by requiring that use of any of that $150 million dollars come with a requirement of zero-displacement of transit dependent individuals or households.

  • Adults without drivers licenses must not be displaced.
  • Low income households without cars must not be displaced.
  • Disabled persons who cannot drive or have difficulty driving must not be displaced.
  • Seniors who are above some age where they’re likely to lose driving privileges must not be displaced.
  • Persons who are retained must be subsidized so their rents are the same as before, and the unit built must be put under any local rent control law.

Anything less renders this section of the law a deception at best, and possibly a kind of civil rights violation against disabled people at worst.

Moreover, projects which would work for people who fit the above descriptions should be considered better than other kinds of affordable housing. Households which are like those described, and people who are forced into transit-oriented lives, should be considered better tenants for these TODs. Disabled persons and seniors who use transit, in particular, should be given priority for TOD housing, so any units established to protect ridership will continue to contribute to ridership in perpetuity.

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