San Francisco trial court ruling a temporary setback for Prop. 13

Recently, a San Francisco judge upheld the validity of a local special tax that failed to secure a two-thirds vote of the city electorate as required both by Proposition 13 (1978) and Proposition 218 (1996), also known as the Right to Vote on Taxes Act. Both initiatives were sponsored by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. The lawsuit was brought by HJTA and, after the ruling, it immediately filed an appeal.

The harmful consequences of the court’s ruling cannot be understated. Unless reversed on appeal, a gaping new loophole will have been created in the Constitutional protections for taxpayers that voters have repeatedly ratified over the decades. Moreover, the decision is a green light to tax-and-spend interests to extract even more dollars from the most heavily taxed citizens in the United States.

By way of background, in June of 2018, 50.87% of San Francisco voters voted affirmatively for Proposition C, a tax on commercial rents. There is no dispute that the tax, projected to raise $145 million annually, was intended for the specific purposes of providing child care, early education, and salary increases for preschool teachers in the City of San Francisco.

The less than fifty-one percent of the vote doesn’t cut it. Proposition 13, approved by California voters in 1978, requires a two-thirds vote of the electorate to pass a tax increase for any special purpose. This has been the law for 40 years. It has also been the consistent position of interests often hostile to taxpayer rights. The Legislative Analyst’s Office, California League of Cities, and numerous other local governments have agreed that all local special taxes require two-thirds voter consent.

The basis for the court’s strange ruling, unfortunately, had its genesis in an earlier California Supreme Court case in 2017.

To read the entire column, please click here.

Restoring Order on San Francisco’s BART

Three months ago, the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system that serves San Francisco and surrounding counties began a “blitz” to deter morning rush-hour fare evasion at four downtown stations. As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, the first month’s results were startling: proof-of-payment citations rose 13 percent, new ticket sales rose 10 percent, add-value transactions to existing tickets rose 29 percent, and—most significantly—average weekly calls to police dropped a remarkable 45 percent. This rapid turnaround in behavior was achieved simply by staffing the stations with extra police officers, fare inspectors, and BART managers wearing bright yellow vests so that anyone trying to jump a fare gate or use a bypass door saw their way blocked by an official.

These results should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the Broken Windows theory of policing developed by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling. The theory’s simple premise: responding proactively to minor crime (vandalism, disorderly behavior, and fare evasion) also reduces serious crime, including violent crime. Before he made New York City the safest large city in the country as commissioner of its police department, William Bratton put Broken Windows into effect as the head of the New York Transit Police, directing his officers to focus on fare evasion. The effect of the policy—first in the subway tunnels and then on the streets of New York—is now legendary.

San Francisco’s BART “blitz” demonstrates the effectiveness of Broken Windows. Just by putting people at the gates who looked to be in charge—neither the fare inspectors nor the yellow-vested managers were badged police officers—BART was able to cut crime in those stations almost in half. Exactly as Broken Windows predicts, those willing to commit serious crime often start by committing minor crimes, like fare evasion. Keeping such people out of the transit system means that everyone paying the fare is safer.

The data also put to rest two common arguments against fighting fare evasion—and, by extension, against Broken Windows policing. Advocates claim that enforcing laws against fare evasion criminalizes the poor. People don’t evade fares out of malice, the argument goes, but because they’re struggling and can’t spare the cash. But the more than 600 additional fares bought during a recent month show that fare-jumpers can pay—they just chose not to do so, knowing that they faced no consequence. Furthermore, the large increase in add-value transactions demonstrates that it’s not only poor people who jump the turnstile. People who already have a ticket or transit card are more likely to be regular riders, perhaps commuters, who figured that they may as well skip paying the fare since no one was watching. Jumping the gates instead of buying a valid fare remains a choice, not an involuntary circumstance.

Another argument against Broken Windows policing is that monitoring petty transactions is a waste of resources because the money spent paying public employees to do this exceeds the revenue from fines or additional tickets. Some of the police officers involved in the new BART policy worked overtime, and their additional salary may have exceeded the value of fines and extra fares. But this argument discounts the cost of the approximately 40 police calls that did not occur as a result of stationing guards in the stations. Each response to a crime is expensive in terms of officer time, the potential deployment of medical personnel, and justice-system costs—but the social benefits of establishing public order are incalculable. Letting people get away with jumping turnstiles leads to a deterioration of the transit environment. When some commuters become cheats, some cheats become thieves—and some thieves become muggers, a progression that Broken Windows seeks to interrupt.

BART has seen ridership drop by almost 8 million in two years, a loss of tens of millions of dollars of revenue driven in part by the drug use, litter, and even mass robbery plaguing the system. For every potential cheat who turned around when seeing an official at the turnstile, thousands of paying customers saw a transit agency finally in charge of its own stations and trains. Reinforcing law and order in San Francisco’s transit system can help bring those lost riders—and their money—back, but only if BART stays the course. BART needs to make fare enforcement more like San Francisco’s famous fog—an ever-present reminder in the city.

Phillip Sprincin is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

This article was originally published by City Journal Online

Free health care will attract more illegal immigrants to California

California is expanding its program to provide taxpayer-funded health care for illegal immigrants, though it’s not going as far as many Democratic presidential candidates want the nation to go.

At the second presidential primary debate, all 10 Democrats on stage said they favored government – meaning all of us who pay taxes – picking up the tab for health care for illegal immigrants with low incomes.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law Tuesday that provides free health care to all low-income young people ages 25 and younger in California, regardless of their immigration status. Previously the state funded health care for people 18 and younger with low incomes, including illegal immigrants.

State officials estimate that raising the age of health care coverage from 18 to 25 will benefit about 90,000 people, although the estimate is far from certain.

It’s surprising that California didn’t go further and allow older low-income illegal immigrants to also get coverage under its Medicaid program, which it calls Medi-Cal, right away. …

Click here to read the full article from Fox News

California Attorney General Resisting Police Transparency Law

Appointed to replace newly elected U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris in 2016, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra ran for his own four-year term in 2018 as a supporter of then-Gov. Jerry Brown’s law enforcement and judicial reforms. “California’s Department of Justice has modernized its police force, sponsored state legislation to require an assessment of 2015 and 2016 data related to officer-involved shootings and has explored options for bail reform,” his campaign web page declared. After winning, Becerra made similar claims in a speech at Stanford University.

But to the surprise of many Democrats, the former 12-term congressman has also emerged this year as a persistent, unexpected obstacle to a reform measure that Brown signed before he left office.

Senate Bill 1421, by Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, requires law enforcement agencies to release discipline records related to officers’ excessive use of force, sexual misconduct and dishonest actions. It replaced a previous collection of state laws and court rulings that made it close to impossible for the public to learn about sustained allegations against peace officers.

But even before it took effect on Jan. 1, dozens of police agencies attempted to undercut the law by saying it didn’t apply to misconduct before Jan. 1. Skinner and the legislative record showed that it was her clear intent to make all discipline records that departments had to legally retain available through public record requests.

CHP has produced no records on 7,000-plus officers

Becerra never supported this interpretation of SB 1421. But he initially declined to issue discipline records of state Department of Justice employees on the grounds that the question of the law’s effective date was being reviewed by state courts. Other law enforcement agencies began releasing their own records months before Becerra’s agency starting doing so following a May court ruling by San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard Ulmer.

Meanwhile, by far the largest state police agency – the California Highway Patrol, which has more than 7,300 sworn officers – had released no records as of June 30, according to the Los Angeles Times. This prompted a complaint from Skinner. “If the state agencies themselves are acting like they’re above the law, that’s absolutely the wrong model and the wrong example to set for the rest of the local government agencies up and down the state,” she told the Times.

Becerra is also appealing part of Ulmer’s May ruling requiring his agency to hand over discipline records it has involving local officers. He wants to limit the parameters of SB 1421 so it only covers the discipline records of officers possessed by their employers. Becerra’s position is that this could lead to the undermining of agencies investigating their officers and potentially lead to the release of incorrect information. 

His department also says the language in Skinner’s bill “focused on an employer’s records about its employees” – not such records in the possession of another agency. But Ulmer didn’t go along with this interpretation. 

Last Friday, an appellate court sided with the judge’s decision and rejected Becerra’s challenge on a preliminary basis. But it set a hearing on July 18 to hear further testimony in the case.

Local Tax Conflict Heats Up

For decades, it’s been an article of political faith – as well as law – that local government taxes designated for particular purposes require two-thirds approval by voters.

The supermajority vote provision was created by Proposition 13, California’s famous – or infamous – property tax limit measure, passed by voters in 1978, and later bolstered by another initiative, Proposition 218.

Two years ago, however, the state Supreme Court seemingly carved out a way for local governments to sidestep that law. It implied, in ruling on a Southern California marijuana case, that if special purpose tax measures are placed on the ballot by initiative petition, rather than by the local governments themselves, the two-thirds vote threshold might not apply.

Ever since, those who want to raise local taxes have yearned to learn whether the Supreme Court really meant to make an exception and, not surprisingly, San Francisco’s very liberal city government, acting on the advice of City Attorney Dennis Herrera, volunteered to become the legal guinea pig.

Members of the city’s governing body, its Board of Supervisors, personally sponsored two tax increase initiatives last year, one for the June election and another in November, both listed on the ballot as “Proposition C.”

The June measure, a tax on commercial rents to finance early childhood education and child care services, received 51 percent voter support. The November proposal, a tax on businesses to finance services and housing for the homeless, garnered 61 percent voter support.

With both votes below two-thirds, opponents of the measures sued, contending that they were invalid. The city began collecting the taxes, but not spending them, while the legal battle raged.

Last week, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ethan Schulman agreed with Herrera and validated both taxes. However, he doesn’t have the last word. Business and anti-tax groups, such as the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, vowed “an immediate appeal” and the issue is clearly headed to the state Supreme Court for a definitive ruling.

A third San Francisco tax measure, also placed by initiative petition and receiving a simple majority approval from voters in 2018, is also being contested. Proposition G imposes a new “parcel tax” on homes and other real estate to increase teacher pay.

Were the state’s highest court to convert its 2017 implication into declarative law, it would almost completely change the dynamics of local tax battles.

Rather than propose special purpose taxes directly, local officials and their political allies, especially public employee unions, could do it via initiative petition and completely bypass the long-standing supermajority vote requirement.

There is, however, another wrinkle to the situation.

Last year, as the San Francisco tax measures were being challenged, the state Supreme Court issued another decision that could affect the eventual outcome.

It declared that when former San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders sponsored a 2012 ballot measure to reform city pensions, he was acting in an official capacity, not as a private citizen, and therefore was legally obligated to “meet and confer” with unions on something that affected their members’ compensation.

Logically, if Sanders was under that legal obligation as an official while sponsoring a ballot measure, then members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors also were acting officially, and not as ordinary citizens, when they sponsored their tax measures. If so, their measures probably should have been subject to the supermajority rule.

It will be interesting to see how the court balances one ruling with the other, if it can, with financial stakes astronomically high in the outcome.

This article was originally published by CalMatters.org

After Decades of Red Tape, Some Developers Seeing Their Projects Through

Building homes in California requires a significant investment of time, money, and other resources, leading many developers to avoid construction projects. But in northwest Los Angeles County, one builder has stayed the course since 1994. On completion in 2021, the 15,000-acre Newhall Ranch — billed as one of the world’s first large-scale planned communities — will feature roughly 22,000 homes that follow the curves of the Santa Clara River in the Santa Clarita Valley. Owned by Orange County’s FivePoint Communities, Newhall Ranch is expected “to be ‘net-zero,’ meaning no greenhouse gas emissions, by implementing several mitigation efforts including solar panels and open space,” according to local radio reports. Some developers and environmentalists regard the development as a “new benchmark in the fight against climate change.” Homes will be outfitted with sun-driven power and charging stations for electric vehicles, and FivePoint plans to offer subsidies to “residents, schools, and bus services” to encourage them to buy zero-emission vehicles.

Though the developer tirelessly met environmentalist demands and generated “green” credibility, the project has endured more than a quarter-century of roadblocks and red tape, courtesy of California’s mammoth bureaucracy — including “lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit,” says Wendy Devine, who oversees a website focused on Newhall Ranch news. The litigation primarily addressed environmental issues, as is typical for California, where the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) has delayed housing development, reduced it in scope and size, and even shut it down. The developer produced more than109,000 pages of documents, navigated the review of 25 government agencies, appeared at 21 public hearings, and attended over 700 meetings. Finally, the project broke ground last year.

Newhall Ranch’s saga makes one wonder how anything gets built in California. In San Francisco, Bob Tillman waited six years and spent $1.2 million in legal fees to obtain approval for a 75-unit apartment complex on his own property. As early as 2013, “Tillman thought he was good to go,” writes Hoover Institution scholar Lee Ohanian. “His location was zoned for multifamily residential housing. He was not displacing any existing residents, because he was converting a commercial enterprise into a residential building. And because his proposed development was high-density housing, the project qualified for streamlined approval.” Yet everything went wrong anyway. The city planning agency’s powerful political appointees turned “what should have been a pro forma approval process” into a nightmare. Last fall, Tillman finally saw daylight, after deputy city attorneys met with the San Francisco Planning Commission to discuss the lawsuit that Tillman had brought against the city.

What happened to Newhall Ranch and Tillman is common across California. On occasion, entire projects get abandoned because the cost of delays and other government-imposed expenses leave little or no profit for developers. While several impediments bottle up home construction, none is enforced more severely than CEQA, signed into law by then-governor Ronald Reagan in 1970. Housing, notes the law firm Knight & Holland, is “the single-largest target of CEQA lawsuits.”

It’s not just hard-core environmentalists who use CEQA to block development. CEQA is also a favored tool of businesses that use it to try to handicap competition (the Parking Spot sued LAX a few years ago over plans to connect a rail line to the airport, for instance); developers who attempt to hinder rival projects; NIMBYs who don’t want anything new built near them; and unions that try to force developers to exclude nonunion workers from construction projects. Yet while CEQA deters housing construction, the policymakers manage to carve out exemptions or secure fast-track approvals for projects important to them, such as basketball arenas and football stadiums.

One would think that the Golden State would be an attractive market for homebuilders, due to its critical housing shortage of as many as 4 million units. California housing should be the next gold rush. Instead, today’s California rush is made up of residents fleeing the state because they can’t find affordable housing.

Kerry Jackson is a fellow with the Center for California Reform at the Pacific Research Institute. 

CA Rep. Eric Swalwell ends White House bid

As reported by Carla Marinucci and Jeremy B. White in Politico:

California Rep. Eric Swalwell, dogged by fundraising challenges and a failure to register in the polls, is ending his longshot bid for the presidency.

Two weeks ago, Swalwell, 38, called on Democratic front-runner Joe Biden to “pass the torch” of party leadership to a new generation in the first Democratic presidential debates. But on Monday, Swalwell called a press conference at his Dublin campaign headquarters to announce that instead of continuing in the Democratic primary, he will instead seek a fifth term representing the strongly Democratic East Bay 15th district in Congress.

“Being honest with ourselves, we had to look at how much money we were raising, where we were in the polls,” Swalwell told supporters, arguing that he had “moved the needle on the debate stage with an issue I was very passionate about,” referring to gun control measures. “So we’ve achieved that,’’ he said. “But we have to be honest about our own candidacy’s viability.”

Swalwell’s decision to bow out comes as another Californian, billionaire activist Tom Steyer — who had earlier ruled out a run for the White House — prepared to announce his entry into the race, POLITICO reported Monday. …

Click here to read the full story at Politico.com

After Stalwell dropped from the race, the Republican National Committee released this statement:
 
“As a no-name Congressman with disastrous ideas and no traction, it’s no surprise Eric Swalwell ‘nuked’ his own long shot bid for president. After hearing his radical proposals, American voters have clearly said ‘thank you, next’ to a Swalwell presidency.” – RNC Spokesperson Samantha Zager

Another legislative attack on transparency

Just two weeks ago, this column exposed the abject lack of transparency in the state budget process. But the way the Legislature enacts its spending plan is just one of many ways Sacramento politicians attack transparency.

In recent years, taxpayer advocacy groups have pushed for greater disclosures in local bond and tax measures. These efforts received bipartisan support as they were simply good government bills. Assembly Bill 809 and AB 195 were authored by Assemblyman Jay Obernolte in 2015 and 2016.  Taken together, these bills require that the tax rate, duration and amount of revenue to be raised by a tax or bond measure must be revealed on the 75-word ballot label, as opposed to being buried deep in the pages of the sample ballot booklet. This places the most critical information about a tax proposal in a place where voters will actually see it.

But tax-and-spend interests, mostly public-sector labor organizations, have never liked transparency and now, with their influence in the legislature greater than ever, seek to keep voters in the dark on local fiscal measures on the ballot. Senate Bill 268 by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, would undermine the previous bipartisan legislation to the detriment of voters. SB268 upends the HJTA-backed, common-sense legislation by stating that for local bond measures, as well as certain taxes, the critical information will be moved off the ballot label and into the sample ballot. For such measures, the ballot label would include a statement reading, “See voter guide for information.” That’s more annoying than helpful to voters.

Adding insult to injury, SB268 is being advanced through the infamous “gut-and-amend” process whereby bills are stripped of all content and new language is inserted in order to bypass public and media oversight.

To read the entire column, please click here.

Legislators Want to Raise the Age to Purchase Guns

A number of gun rights groups have filed a lawsuit against the California law that prohibits anyone under 21 to buy a firearm. Whatever one thinks of the gun issue, the plaintiffs have a solid chance to prevail.  

The case filed in San Diego argues that under the Second Amendment, every adult has a right to keep and bear arms. Yet, California has carved out an exception for a certain class of adults who otherwise have full privileges of all adults. The state recognizes that an adult is anyone over 18—except for purchasing guns. 

In California an individual can sign a contract at age 18; he or she can get married at age 18, even younger with parents and courts permission, he or she can vote at 18. Some local government officials and state legislators want to lower the vote age requirement below 18.

The emotional and logical debate on whether an 18 year old can own a gun is based on the question of maturity. That same argument comes into play in the debate over lowering the voting age below 18, as well. Those advocating for lowering the voting age say young adults are wise enough to understand the world around them to vote. Yet, many advocates of lowering the voting age are for increasing the age to own a gun. How can you have it both ways? For the state to prevail in the lawsuit, it will have to convince a judge that young adults are mature enough to vote but not mature enough to own a gun.

The state may attempt to convince the court that a difference in points of maturity can be drawn. For example, at the time the debate raged over lowering the voting age from 21 to 18 during the Vietnam War period when soldiers under 18 going off to war did not have the right to vote, a newspaper editorial argued that requirements to be a good soldier and a good voter were different. While enthusiasm and physicality were necessary for a soldier, a voter needed mature judgment.

Yet, that argument seems to fall flat, especially when many of the recent gun related tragedies in this country—which are the justification behind the attempt to raise the age of gun ownership—were caused by people over 21 years old. 

While the emotional argument plays a role in the debate, the court is interested in the constitutional arguments. The lawsuit challenges the California law on the basis of the Second Amendment to the U. S. Constitution. Scott Lay, in his piece on this page, delves into the legal issues.

In a bit of irony, the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution lowering the voting age became ratified on July 1, 1971, 48 years to the day when the California gun lawsuit was filed.

The legislators effort to raise the age to purchase guns, and in essence, raise the age of maturity in the eyes of the state on this one issue, reverses a trend when many want to see age requirements lowered.

If legislators are determine to raise the age for gun purchases on the basis of maturity, they may have to consider raising the age requirements for adults to legally function in the state.

Joel Fox is Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily.

Who Killed Zoning Reform in California?

For a moment, it seemed like California policymakers were ready to pass legislation capable of putting a serious dent in the state’s housing-affordability crisis. But in May, the state senate shelved Senate Bill 50, which would have eased restrictions on housing density along public-transit corridors and in job-rich areas. SB 50’s sponsors had built a broad bipartisan coalition of support, and polling indicated that a majority of Californians supported key provisions. State Senator Anthony Portantino, chairman of the appropriations committee, took the steps that blocked the bill, but, according to Liam Dillon of the Los Angeles Times, suburban homeowners were the real force behind SB 50’s demise. Portantino, after all, represents wealthy Los Angeles suburbs like La Cañada Flintridge, which haven’t built a single apartment in decades.

For all the disturbing media coverage of homelessness and displacement in the Bay Area and Los Angeles, the housing crisis has mostly been a boon for California homeowners. The planning-induced scarcity—coupled with soaring tech-sector salaries and a steady flow of billion-dollar IPOs—has sent house values skyrocketing. Even shacks now command bids well north of seven figures. Houses that might have sold for $40,000 in the 1970s can easily go for $2.5 million today.

Compounding the trouble, California is constitutionally unable to tax much of this wealth. In most states, rising house values would mean higher property taxes. But California’s Proposition 13, a 1978 ballot initiative that sets real estate taxes at 1 percent of a property’s sale price and limits annual increases to 2 percent per year, means that property-tax revenues don’t rise proportionately with home values. With house prices increasing many multiples since 1978, Prop 13 has produced one of America’s most arbitrary state tax systems. Its terms reset only when a home is sold or rebuilt, so it’s common for neighbors in identical houses to pay dramatically different tax bills. Property owners have no incentive to sell, downsize, or host additional housing units as costs rise.

California homeowners’ opposition to new housing construction is entirely consistent with the behavior predicted by urban economist William Fischel’s “home-voter hypothesis.” Fischel’s work suggests that homeowners—or “home voters”—will make use of the state and local political process, particularly zoning, to prevent any development that might devalue their homes, which are usually a household’s primary source of wealth. For instance, if a multifamily building is proposed in a municipality otherwise characterized by single-family housing, we may expect a homeowner to resist the development on the premise that an influx of new families could overburden public schools or worsen traffic congestion, or express fears that new rental housing might threaten “community character”—thereby lowering home values. As SB 50 would greatly enhance the freedom of property owners to build multi-family housing, it is easy to see why it would be unpopular in low-density suburbs like La Cañada Flintridge.  

Short of repealing Proposition 13, which is unlikely, one way around the home-voter quandary would be to weaken the bond between home values and school quality. If families were freer to pursue higher-quality schooling options untethered from their place of residence, we would expect to see fewer bidding wars for homes in top-tier school districts, leaving home voters less defensive about the risk of newcomers. School vouchers, charter schools, and an open-enrollment policy that lets students attend public schools outside their district of residence could decouple housing costs from school districts. The state could achieve similar results if its selective public universities placed greater weight on the economic integration of an applicant’s high school in their admissions criteria, giving homeowners in prestigious school districts a reason to welcome new multifamily housing that improves the “adversity scores” of local schools.

At the federal level, phasing out hefty tax subsidies for homeowners would also reduce resistance to housing growth in supply-constrained California. Fischel suggests eliminating the preferential treatment of capital gains on sale of a primary residence, which allows for the exemption of hundreds of thousands of dollars of profit. This would reduce the benefit that homeowners derive from exclusionary zoning, while discouraging the unhealthy practice of concentrating wealth in housing, which, again, drives excessive risk-aversion to changes in local land use.

Eliminating the state and local tax deduction (SALT) would work to similar effect. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 took a positive step in restraining the SALT deduction, but full elimination would further reduce the benefits of restrictive zoning practices by ensuring that homeowners pay more of their property taxes as home values rise.

Beyond education and tax policy, weakening home-voter impulses could also require some concessions on local control. Christopher Elmendorf proposes a compact between state and local governments in which the state would set quotas for housing growth, but the municipalities would choose their own zoning reforms to meet them. Once a municipal plan gets certified by the state, it would supersede the adoption or enforcement of any contrary zoning provisions. Any municipality that fails to comply with its own plan would face financial penalties. Some affluent suburbs may choose to opt for penalties over compliance, but the option of paying for exclusivity might prevent richer communities from blocking passage of the proposal.

In the end, SB 50 is no more dead than its predecessor bill, SB 827, which similarly sought to permit multifamily housing near transit lines. Neither the coalition built by the bill’s sponsor, State Senator Scott Weiner, nor the crisis that it aims to address are going away. But if housing reformers are serious about addressing the root causes of the home-voter impulse, they’ll need to plan for contingencies. SB 50’s foes are already rallying to introduce a ballot initiative aimed at entrenching local control of land use in the state constitution—an amendment that would all-but ensure that California’s housing crisis becomes permanent.

Brandon Fuller is Deputy Director of New York University’s Marron Institute of Urban ManagementNolan Gray is a city planner and a contributor to Market Urbanism.

This article was originally published by City Journal Online