My View: What We Are Doing Is Not Working – We Have to Do Something Different

I read Sean Raycraft’s Thursday guest column with great interest.  He writes, “Who is most hurt by the Davis housing crisis? As far as I can tell, it’s the most vulnerable. The unhoused, the working poor, and students.”

He added, “Over the last few months, I have been collecting stories, listening to friends, coworkers and community members about the housing crisis in Davis.”

Then on Thursday night I listened at home to the Davis School Board meeting.  It was a small number of people who actually spoke, but their stories were horrifying.  A bright young teacher is getting married early so she can get on her fiance’s health care plan from the Sacramento School  District.  Another single mother with a 12-year-old who has had to take an outside health care plan with a $6000 deductible because it’s the only plan she can afford on her salary.

Substitute teachers making $90 a day and just under $3000 for the first nearly two months of the school year while administrators are getting over $100 an hour.  And a bright young teacher who is getting a master’s at home as he teaches a full day and gets $1000 a month from his parents just to make ends meet.

These are not the working poor that Sean Raycraft was necessarily talking about – these are teachers who are educating our kids and many of them cannot afford to stay and do not believe the district values them.

The story of the teacher having to rent out the second room of her two-bedroom rental duplex is heart wrenching.  She can’t even afford the rent on the full unit and she has to stay in a room with her 12-year-old daughter.  The other teacher is living in a one bedroom with a young child and paying $1050 a month, half his take home pay.

Reading Sean Raycraft’s piece side by side with the stories from teachers and parents this week is an eye-opening experience.

On the district’s end, it is clear that the district is going to have to figure out a way to get more competitive salaries or they will lose all of the best and brightest teachers.  It is disheartening to hear the Superintendent’s response disputing whether Davis has a teacher shortage, because what is very clear is that they will have a crisis very soon if something does not change.

But part of the biggest problem is the mismatch between the cost of living in Davis and the compensation offered by DJUSD.  It is literally forcing teachers who are willing to stay at DJUSD to live elsewhere because even people making far more than them can’t afford to live here either.

When I met with Blair Howard last month he noted that, while they qualified to live at Grande, they could not afford to actually live there because the cost was too high a percentage of his take home pay.

What is striking to me is that Davis could be doing a lot more to help the school district in this respect than they are.  And not just the school district, but really all competitive industries.  I was recently at a meeting where a consultant shared the fact that they surveyed a number of Davis businesses with medium to large numbers of employees.

Not surprisingly, the vast majority of employees do not live in Davis.  Most of them when surveyed indicated they would like to live in Davis, but either cannot afford to or there is no housing available.

When the Vanguard looked at travel data, we found that there is a huge mismatch between housing and jobs in Davis.  The result is a huge number of people who live in Davis, work outside of Davis.  About 16,000 people who live in Davis leave the city and commute elsewhere.  Meanwhile, a huge amount of people who work in Davis, about 21,000 of the 28,000 jobs in the city or at UC Davis, are occupied by people who live outside of the area.

That by itself has impacts.  It clogs our roads with commuting traffic and it increases our carbon footprint.

In his piece Sean Raycraft never mentioned rent control.  As we have mentioned, the issue of rent control could become a big issue in Davis in 2018. That is an issue that Lucas Frerichs raised on Wednesday, and at least one candidate for city council could make it a centerpiece of a 2018 campaign.

“We should consider rent control,” Councilmember Lucas Frerichs said. “I don’t know if the council is going to act on that, but there is definitely a drumbeat in the community for rent control.”

But rent control will only go so far.  It will not deal with the issue of supply which seems to be, along with affordability, one of the biggest drivers of the current crisis.

What is clear to me is that we have a rather large problem and it extends beyond affordability of Davis to the working poor, it shows that even professional teachers are having a hard time making ends meet.  DJUSD is going to have to address the issue on their end, but even if DJUSD does increase the pay and make it more equitable compared to other districts – we still have a big problem.

The problem is this: if teachers have to commute from Sacramento to work in Davis, why would they want to work in Davis?  It is one thing to commute several hours a week to a well-paying job.  It is another thing to commute several hours a week to a job that doesn’t pay that well and you can probably get a comparable paying job elsewhere.

You spend all day teaching, then you have to drive home for a half hour in rush hour traffic, eat, and then spend your evening grading papers and prepping for the next day.  Adding the commute to all of that is probably something that will prevent teachers from remaining for the long term at their position.

Again, this issue extends beyond just teachers to the broader community and the shortage of affordable living options.

As Sean Raycraft pointed out in a comment: “I’m curious to hear what solutions to the housing crisis others have. Because while the issue goes unaddressed, people are suffering. People are becoming homeless. PEOPLE WITH TWO JOBS ARE NOW HOMELESS! I’m not advocating for any one housing policy, but …  we *have* to do something.”

The question is what the community is willing to do – what we are doing right now is not working.  The question is whether the residents of Davis are willing to try to find something that will work better.

—David M. Greenwald reporting



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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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63 Comments

  1. Mike Hart

    We have to do “something different” indeed… build homes for the rich.

    Davis has one of the lowest percentages of availability in any market in California. The Davis realtors are marketing Woodland like it is north-north Davis these days because we have considerably more realtors than houses for sale.

    If you think about housing like Monopoly, there are a lot of homes that are “affordable” down in the dark purple squares IF they were on the market. But as there are no homes available in the light blue squares where they might have adequate room for growing families, they stay put.  You go up through the orange, yellow, red and green squares of Davis you find the same thing… people with the ability to move, but zero availability allowing that move.

    So what does the city do to combat this problem? Build a few more “affordable” houses… which allows a few of the 21,000 commuters to move into town and nothing more. If instead Davis allowed more “Blue squares” to be built, there would be a flow as those houses vacated, greens move up, yellow etc. until you could create a collection of less expensive homes to become available. You create the full-employment act for Davis realtors, you allow dozens of families to become more adequately housed rather than just one.

    But that isn’t what you meant when you said “something different” is it?  No, I am guessing more rent-control blather, even more mandated low-income housing and micro lots. If you want to “think differently” start looking for a way to build another El Macero.

    1. Keith O

      But that isn’t what you meant when you said “something different” is it?  No, I am guessing more rent-control blather

      In my opinion you’re guessing right.  The push is on.

      1. David Greenwald

        I found myself largely in agreement with Mike. There is a reason I haven’t come out with a position in favor of rent control – I’m far from convinced its our biggest problem.

    2. David Greenwald

      You think I personally am pushing for rent control rather than more affordable housing. Interesting.

      Had a conversation with one of the councilmembers yesterday, you can probably guess which, said the biggest mistake we made on Cannery was building a large percentage of low density, 1800 square foot houses rather than a whole host of high density, smaller homes. And we don’t have another Cannery. If I support rent control – a really big if at this point – it will be in conjunction with increasing supply of rental and affordable housing (small a).

    3. Tia Will

      Mark

      Your analogy to Monopoly only goes so far. In a game of Monopoly the number of players are limited. I think that your strategy would work very well if Davis were a closed market with new homes available only to current residents and workers. However, this is obviously not the case. As I mentioned in a post yesterday, expensive homes in our area are being snapped up for cash by those wanting to escape the high prices of the Bay Area.

      I get around 3 unsolicited offers to buy one of my two properties in Davis ( neither of which are for sale) for cash weekly. These come not from local realtors, but largely from the Bay area. This dynamic is also prevalent in Sacramento in two of the more desirable areas for housing in Midtown and near UCDMC which I discovered during a house search a year ago.

      I am neutral at this point on the issue of rent control, so this comment is not meant to promote that option, merely to present another aspect of the problem.

    4. Mark West

      Mike’s proposal might have merit in a normal real estate market, but in our current market, it won’t have the desired impact. With our 0.2% apartment vacancy rate, buyers of houses in Davis generally do not trade up (or down), but rather they buy again, keeping the original house as an income generating rental unit filled with desperate students. The houses on the purple squares in Mike’s Monopoly analogy rarely reach the market, and in the few instances when they do, they are snapped up by wealthy investors looking to play the same rental game.

      Davis does need more high-end housing, but the potential buyers of those properties have the resources to live anywhere they want, including buying an existing house, tearing it down, and rebuilding to their specifications. Students and the working poor do not have that luxury, nor do they have the luxury of waiting for a trickle-down solution. With the majority of Davis residents living in rental housing and facing housing insecurity issues due to the severely constrained market, the critical need is for workforce and student housing, high-density apartments, townhouses and stacked flat condominiums, not more McMansions.

  2. Don Shor

    Possible sites for new housing:

    1. North of Covell, W of the hospital (requires Measure R, senior housing already in plans);
    2. North of the hospital (Measure R may not be required);
    3. North of The Cannery, E of Northstar (Measure R required);
    4. North of Covell, E of Wildhorse, N of Lake Alhambra Estates (Measure R may be required for rezoning);
    5. Inside Mace Curve (Measure R required);
    6. Nishi (Measure R required).
    1. Howard P

      Assume the numbers were not ‘preference’… as far as services avail, and logic, my ranking (preference) would be:

      1-2 (tie, for different reasons):  under Mace Curve and Nishi (agree with Don’s notations) [Nishi should have primary links to UCD for transportation, and likely utilities]

      3: “North of The Cannery, E of Northstar (Measure R required)”; (assume that means Covell Village site)

      4: “North of Covell, E of Wildhorse, N of Lake Alhambra Estates (Measure R may be required for rezoning)”

      Don’s # 2 is probably not feasible

      Don’s #1 is feasible, but carries several challenges

    2. Tia Will

      Don

      Please correct me if I am wrong, but I believe North of Covell and North of the hospital are not prime ag land. Can you post the ag status for all of the above to refresh my memory ?

      1. Howard P

        I’ll leave to Don the ‘soil capabilities’… the fact is that the area you reference have not been farmed since the hospital was built.  Nor, will they be…

  3. Ron

    Article:  “It clogs our roads with commuting traffic and it increases our carbon footprint.”

    Interestingly enough, the only time that I regularly commuted to work via private automobile was the time that I both lived and worked in Davis.  When I got a job in Sacramento, I normally took public transit.

    Depending upon the point of origin, destination, and mode of travel, commuters may, or may not have a significant impact on local roads.  (For example, those traveling down Highway 113 might not go through the city.) In contrast, those who live in the city might actually drive through it (as I did). (Especially if the city expands.)

     

     

      1. Ron

        I just provided a personal example which showed otherwise. Living and working in Davis does not preclude driving to work, through the city. In fact, that can have more impacts on local roads, compared to alternatives.

        There’s also a dedicated commuter bus line that’s running between Woodland and Davis, now.  Look for that to expand, in the future. (Perhaps facilitated by the upcoming “innovation center” in Woodland, as well.)

        Above, you said that you “largely agreed” with Mike Hart.  With all due respect to Mike, he suggested building another El Macero.  Do you think many folks from El Macero (or the other luxury neighborhood – just to the north of that) are normally riding their bikes into Davis, for work or pleasure? Or, do you think it’s more likely that they would drive?

        You also criticize the Cannery.  Isn’t that (for the most part) housing intended for families?  (Even with those postage-stamp-sized yards?)

        What about the upcoming Chiles Ranch?

        1. David Greenwald

          I took his comment to mean that we needed another location on the periphery to be developed that could provide the necessary housing.  If that’s the case, I don’t think I would locate it where El Macero is located.  I live literally a row of houses above El Macero and it’s a long trek to get into town.  There are other locations for housing that would be preferable to adjacent to El Macero.

        2. Ron

          There is no justification to pursue peripheral housing developments at this time. However, I realize that you and others will continue to “make the case” for it. And, if it “fails”, then you’ll probably blame Measure R (and perhaps its supporters), instead of accepting the result.

          1. Don Shor

            There is no justification to pursue peripheral housing developments at this time.

            A very tight housing market with very limited supply is perfectly reasonable justification to pursue peripheral housing developments. The only question is whether any developer is willing to pay the extra costs of holding an election in the face of likely defeat. But the market here certainly would readily absorb more housing stock.

          2. David Greenwald

            There is plenty of justification starting with the lack of available parcels for the housing in town. Whether it happens or not is a different question.

        3. Ron

          Don:  I agree that the market would “readily absorb more housing stock”.  I suspect that this will always be the case in Davis, even if/when there’s a cyclical correction in the housing market.

          I would strongly disagree that this is a reason to pursue peripheral development. For one thing, there’s still lots of ongoing and planned construction within city limits.

          1. Don Shor

            I would strongly disagree that this is a reason to pursue peripheral development.

            I wouldn’t do it, and I think most developers have pretty much given up. But Dave Taormino seems to think otherwise.

          2. David Greenwald

            It is a reason to do it, there may be other considerations to override it, but it is a reason.

        4. Ron

          Don:  “I wouldn’t do it, and I think most developers have pretty much given up.”

          Development interests never “give up”.  They only bide their time, while searching for some reason or opportunity (valid, or not) to convince others (e.g., arguments regarding “green” benefits, “social equity”, “economic development”, VMT’s, . . .)  (In other words, the “throw spaghetti at the wall, and see if it sticks” approach.) Too much money at stake, to permanently give up.

          Someone once commented (on the Vanguard) that you could “tar and feather” developers while chasing them out of town, and they’ll come back for more.  (Something to that effect.) And, that was not coming from a “slow-growth” person, as I recall.

          Interestingly enough, I know someone in the construction industry who expressed surprise that Davis would approve a relatively large development such as the Cannery.  (As a side note, I recall that sales were slow at the Cannery, for some time.  I think some even dropped their prices, for awhile.  Not sure how it is, now.)

          1. Don Shor

            know someone in the construction industry who expressed surprise that Davis would approve a relatively large development such as the Cannery.

            The city council majority really wanted either a business park or a mixed business/residential development there. But the landowner made it very clear that they would do nothing other than residential, ever, no matter what, and since they owned the property free and clear with basically no carrying costs they could simply wait for a favorable council majority. They only needed to sell it to 3 Davis residents, not 50% + 1 of the voting public.
            When Rochelle and Dan ran, they made it clear they would support housing there. Their stated reasons at the time were the dearth of housing for young families. I will be very surprised if very many young families end up living at The Cannery. That’s certainly not the demographic of the new home buyers there that I have met.
            In my view it was a wasted opportunity at many levels.

        5. Ron

          Don:  “In my view it was a wasted opportunity at many levels.”

          I’m not making an argument regarding the housing mix, at the Cannery.  But, many of the houses are, in fact, “middle-class” type homes, which would normally appeal to families.  (Except that the yards are quite small.) Some also have “granny units” that can be rented out.

          If Davis starts approving developments with smaller houses and/or multiple-unit structures (and perhaps entirely eliminate the yards), I’m not sure that it will appeal to young families (who already have other nearby choices).  Especially since they can send their kids to Davis schools (without even paying the school district parcel tax), if they have a connection to Davis.

        6. Ron

          “Especially since they can send their kids to Davis schools (without even paying the school district parcel tax), if they have a connection to Davis.”

          By the way, this issue facilitates “commuting” into Davis (via private automobile), as well as the amount of funding that the district receives.

  4. Roberta Millstein

    I see that the .2% vacancy rate is still being quoted.  A recent Enterprise article had the vacancy rate at 1% now (that is, vacancy rates have reduced very slightly from what they had been).  Still very, very low vacancy, but if the Enterprise is right, that’s the number we should use.

    1. Ron

      David:  I’m not sure we agree regarding the specifics of the concern.  (In fact, I really doubt it.)

      Student housing is an issue.  (But, you already know the location where some of us are actively advocating for that.)

  5. Jim Frame

    (But, you already know the location where some of us are actively advocating for that.)

    Oh, you mean the one over which the citizens of Davis have absolutely no control?

    1. Ron

      Jim:  Ask Santa Cruz and Berkeley if they agree with that assessment.  🙂

      Let’s see – the LRDP is still in draft form. Perhaps it won’t need to come to that.

      It would be nice though, if UCD’s “customers” (students) became more involved. (That is, unless they believe that the city will continue “jumping”, when UCD says so.) So far, some on the council haven’t shown much backbone.

        1. Ron

          Don:  Sorry, I don’t have a crystal ball.  In fact, I do not “know that” (and neither do you).

          We do know that they’ve delayed the release of the LRDP. Perhaps a sign that they’re still considering it.

          1. Don Shor

            Don: Sorry, I don’t have a crystal ball. In fact, I do not “know that” (and neither do you).

            We do know that they’ve delayed the release of the LRDP. Perhaps a sign that they’re still considering it.

            I don’t need a crystal ball. I can read, and I can listen.

            Matt Dulcich made it very clear on Wednesday that they will not commit to a higher number. His response to more density and heights was “we’ll try.” So they will allow builders to go to higher densities and build more units. They won’t constrain planning. But they will not add to the locations of growth and they will not commit to increase the number of units in the planning document.

            — Vanguard Sept 30 2017

            If they haven’t penciled out higher numbers now, they aren’t going to. Do you have a shred of evidence that they are going to increase the numbers significantly enough to improve the housing situation in Davis?

        2. Ron

          I have alluded to one possibility.  In addition, I suspect that the city will approve some form of housing aimed at students, on Olive Drive.  (Regardless of the adequacy of development fees, unfunded bicycle/pedestrian overpasses, impacts on the “worst intersection in town”, using up space in advance of the next round of SACOG requirements that might be more suited for traditional apartments or commercial development, etc.).

          In any case, perhaps it’s time to ask the students why they’re not more involved or interested. (Perhaps it’s because they, and UCD know that the city is more willing to absorb the costs and impacts.)

          The bottom line is, how long/often does the city have to come up with a “plan B” for concerns that UCD is creating? And, should “plan B” always consist of a straightforward “accommodation” of whatever UCD plans to do, into the future?

          1. Don Shor

            I have alluded to one possibility.

            A lawsuit doesn’t get housing built. And why don’t you quit “alluding” to it and just come out and say it? You want to sue UCD. And please clarify: to force them to do….what?

        3. Ron

          Don:  If the LRDP plans are finalized, why not release them now, then?  (Or, soon?) Why did they announce the delay? (Feel free to speculate.)

          In any case, it’s interesting that this article/comments have “drifted” entirely into student housing, now. (The primary concern that we agree needs to be addressed.)

          A lawsuit, in fact, can ensure that housing is built to match enrollment increases. It’s already included in at least one of the “agreements” discussed above. (In fact, a settlement agreement is something that both sides agree to, without being ordered to by a judgement.) Perhaps it won’t come to that, regardless.

        4. Keith O

          In any case, perhaps it’s time to ask the students why they’re not more involved or interested. 

          Maybe if we can get Milo Yiannopoulisto to come out publicly against student housing on campus that will get them riled up.  Another possibility is if race can somehow get introduced into the equation.

        5. Ron

          Keith:  Pretty funny.  🙂

          Regarding “race”, some are already implying that.  (Not today, so far.)

          “Build our way” to a diverse community. It’s practically an adopted slogan, at this point.

          I read one of the referenced articles yesterday, regarding the “YIMBY” movement in San Francisco. (Posted by someone who appears to support that idea.) The article noted that some minority communities are being displaced by the YIMBY movement, and are actively protesting against it.

        6. David Greenwald

          Remember I asked them that question Ron, they rather resented it and reminded me they spent a good deal of time working with the administration on the LRDP.

        7. Howard P

          Fact:   if UC changes the LRDP, the legal requirement will be that (unless the change/revision is within the parameters) they revise or re-do the EIR process… not bloody likely they will make changes to the LRDP, unless the changes have been evaluated as an option in the DEIR.

        8. Ron

          Keith:  As a “card-carrying” liberal (or is it “progressive?”) on most social issues, I’m thinking there’s room for both concerns.  (And, maybe room for more than one strictly-defined gender, in a restroom?)  🙂

          In all seriousness, I’m wondering why the city and its residents should be concerned about the “student housing crisis” created by UCD, if the students aren’t that interested in what UCD is doing to resolve it.  (And, they’re apparently “defensive” about it, as noted by David’s comment.)

          Even before David made that observation, I’ve heard that some students are essentially “repeating and supporting” UCD’s position. (Probably those involved with “working with the administration”.)

           

           

        9. Keith O

          Ron my point is if the students really cared they would be marching and doing sit-ins like they do with other social issues.  You would think campus housing would be high on the list.

        10. Roberta Millstein

          In all seriousness, I’m wondering why the city and its residents should be concerned about the “student housing crisis” created by UCD, if the students aren’t that interested in what UCD is doing to resolve it.  (And, they’re apparently “defensive” about it, as noted by David’s comment.)
          Even before David made that observation, I’ve heard that some students are essentially “repeating and supporting” UCD’s position. (Probably those involved with “working with the administration”.)

          Ron, the way one student put it at the conclave was (paraphrasing): “It’s like when your parents are fighting and blaming each other, and no one is fixing the problem.”
          I can see why it might look like that from a student perspective, but sometimes one side really is more to blame, even if what you mainly want is for the problem to be fixed.

        11. Ron

          Keith:  I agree.

          I think part of the reason is that (some) on the council don’t have sufficient backbone, to do what’s right for the city (overall).  And, (some) students are taking advantage of that.

        12. Ron

          Michelle:  “It’s like when your parents are fighting and blaming each other, and no one is fixing the problem.”

          I think that what Keith and I are pointing out is that students seem plenty motivated (and effective) regarding some issues, and yet seem to (only) be focusing their efforts on the council, at this point.

          Ask Katehi, and Lt. Pike if they think students can have an impact (when they’re so inclined).  They certainly showed up for the Sterling development.

          College students are not children, and shouldn’t be comparing the city (or UCD) to parents. Part of what (some) may need to learn is that the city has responsibilities and goals, besides student housing.

        13. Ron

          Woops – comment was in response to Roberta (not Michelle).  (I had been reading the other article, regarding school funding.)

          I suspect that I agree with Roberta, most of the time. (Michelle doesn’t often weigh in, regarding growth/development issues.)

        14. Roberta Millstein

          I think that what Keith and I are pointing out is that students seem plenty motivated (and effective) regarding some issues, and yet seem to (only) be focusing their efforts on the council, at this point.
          Ask Katehi, and Lt. Pike if they think students can have an impact (when they’re so inclined).  They certainly showed up for the Sterling development.
          College students are not children, and shouldn’t be comparing the city (or UCD) to parents. Part of what (some) may need to learn is that the city has responsibilities and goals, besides student housing.

          I agree.  I just wanted to report the perspective that I heard.  I think it’s important to understand where people are coming from.  (And FWIW, the student did apologize up front for the imperfect paternalistic metaphor).

          1. Don Shor

            I think it would be hard to describe any set of attitudes held by the student body overall. David probably interacts with the activist students and the student body leaders, but I know that when I was a student at UCD the political end of things was completely dominated by people from the humanities. I couldn’t have named a single senator or ASUCD officer and certainly didn’t vote. I’d be very surprised if things have changed much.

            Students are significantly impacted by the lack of rental housing and the lack of affordable housing. I doubt that motivates them to activism, since it wouldn’t yield results within their time here. Rent control, on the other hand, would provide immediate and tangible benefits to them, irrespective of what it might do to the market in the long run. Whether that would motivate them to vote locally, I don’t really know, but I doubt it.

            Personally my greater concern, as I’ve expressed on the Vanguard for about a decade now, is for the young adults who rent in the Davis market who are not UCD students. These folks are not generally the target market for Affordable Housing projects. They are our employees, often community college students or young adults who grew up here and are now working in the area. It is difficult to explain to people who don’t interact with young adults just how difficult the housing market is locally. “Housing insecurity” hardly describes it. I am aware of rent increases at 5% each year, year after year. A young man who couldn’t renew his lease because the apartment building was being master-leased to UCD. Looking for apartments and having less than a dozen choices city-wide. Deciding to live out of town and commute in, with the attendant costs and the nearly complete lack of effective transportation eating up all the putative savings.

            It’s a desperate market for renters. It’s been bad for years, and has gotten progressively worse. I know of no other community with an apartment vacancy rate this low. So when I hear blasé dismissals of this situation or completely naive, unrealistic expectations for how the university is going to solve the problem, I begin to wonder how completely out of touch some people are.

        15. Ron

          Don:  The types of renters you’re describing might qualify for Affordable housing.  (You’ve previously noted that the local income limits to qualify are qute generous.) Other than that, I sincerely doubt that Davis is going to “build its way” to affordability.

          It may be that some local employers may ultimately have to “pony up” a higher salary, or face losing workers.  (Some positions may ultimately be lost to automation, as well.) In a sense, Affordable housing programs subsidize low-wage employers, and enable that situation to continue. The same might be said for rent control. (However, this does not necessarily mean that I’m against such programs.)

          Of course, housing affordability is a much bigger issue in the Bay Area (and other areas).

          1. Don Shor

            The affordable housing projects in town have waiting lists.
            The problem is insufficient supply with respect to demand. It’s Econ 1.
            Davis won’t build it’s way to affordability, but greater supply would increase the apartment vacancy rate and decrease the rate of rent increases.
            I oppose the current city Affordable Housing policy precisely because it is not geared to the people who, in my opinion, need it the most, and because it removes housing sites that could simply be high-density apartments. It creates these strange developments where people win a lottery to get into highly-subsidized housing, while the simplest answer would have been to just build apartments on the site.
            It really doesn’t matter how much employers are paying their workers if there are no units for them to rent.

        16. Ron

          The problem is not “insufficient supply”, regarding the folks you’re referring to (low-income, long-term renters).  There’s TONS of apartment complexes, in the city, with more to come (including Sterling, and possibly some form of Lincoln 40).  Students move out all the time, especially right before summer.

          You haven’t even defined the criteria you’re using to refer to these folks (e.g., income levels, number of people).  Nor have you defined how many are already living in Affordable units. 

          Might there actually/already be more folks living in Affordable units than there are local, low-wage workers?

          I’m not sure how the Affordable housing program results in fewer “high-density” proposals.  You’ll probably recall that the city INCREASED density for the upcoming development near Fifth and Pena, which is geared toward those at risk of homelessness.

          Again, employers might need to raise their wage, to stay competitive. Asking the government to subsidize workers (so that a sufficient wage does not have to be provided) is not a good goal.

  6. Ron

    David:  “Remember I asked them that question Ron, they rather resented it and reminded me they spent a good deal of time working with the administration on the LRDP.”

    Are you referring to the students, and their efforts?  And that they “resented” the question?  Really?

    Also, what does it mean that they are “working with the administration” on the LRDP?  When students have a significant concern regarding university operations and decisions, do they normally “work with the administration”?

    Seems like this confirms my suspicions.

  7. Howard P

    Don… your 11:13 post… if rent control went into effect tomorrow, students today would see zero benefit… leases are signed… the City can not roll back rental rates.  A sophomore, would, at best, not see increases until after they graduated.

    If the rent control idea ‘takes legs’, current students would likely see significant increases in the next year or so… landlords will want to lock in higher rates, so that, if rents are ‘frozen’, they have a “cushion”…

    No rent control ordinance can roll back rates.  The ex post facto thing.  The ‘best’ it could do is “freeze rates”, and so current students would see zero benefit, except the ‘benefit’ of things not getting worse.  And, depending on how the ordinance is crafted, it won’t necessarily help their ‘successors’…

    1. Don Shor

      For the record, I strongly oppose rent control as I feel it would make things much worse. But I can see the appeal as a simplistic answer to the current crisis. People who assume landlords are greedy (see earlier comments) are likely to support rent control.
      The reality is that Davis has a lot of small landlords. I personally know individuals who use the rental income as part of their retirement. There are a few larger property owners that control the larger apartment complexes, but there are a lot of smaller apartment buildings, single-family homes, duplexes, etc., that are investment rentals for individuals who are not particularly all that wealthy.

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