Commentary: Why housing solutions should work for all San Diegans




Shared By Francine Finn | Scott Finn & Associates



Almost any San Diegan you meet can tell you that it’s too expensive to live in our city. That’s not up for debate. The real question is: What can we do about it that creates more housing while protecting the character of San Diego’s neighborhoods?

The rhetoric in the mayor’s race might convince you that you have to choose between the two. Any candidate who sets up this false choice is lacking the vision on housing that we should expect from our next mayor.

I’m a third-generation San Diegan. My parents were a maid and a gardener, and they worked hard to afford a home in San Diego in a neighborhood that is special to them. They live in Serra Mesa, a middle-class neighborhood that is the realization of the American dream of home ownership for many of the people who live there. As mayor, it will be my job to protect the community character of not only their neighborhood but every neighborhood in the city.

My college-educated brother, his wife and their three children live in a two-bedroom apartment in Birdland. They both work but the housing market is squeezing them out to the point where they are considering moving. Sadly, I’ve heard this story too often on the campaign trail.

As mayor, it will be my job to develop more housing that is affordable to them and other working San Diegans. The housing policy that we create for San Diego cannot be a choice between my parents and my brother and his family. Our future has to include housing for them both.

Four principles guide my beliefs in housing for San Diego.

We have to create housing for everyone at every income level. We all know the statistics and stories — people are spending more than half their income on rent or they want to buy a home but can’t afford it. This isn’t just a problem for the poorest San Diegans. It’s a problem across many income levels. We need solutions that reflect this broad need.

We should be smart about where we grow. The fear-inducing, “us” versus “them” rhetoric that I’ve seen surrounding this issue does a huge disservice to San Diego. This language is meant to convince people who live in single-family homes that their neighborhood character is under attack. That’s simply not true. I support new housing in many forms, where it makes sense, including near jobs and essential infrastructure like high frequency public transit. This approach will help the city meet its obligations under state law and live up to its groundbreaking Climate Action Plan that I authored when I served as San Diego’s interim mayor.

We must eliminate red tape that is stopping us from developing solutions. We should shift our focus to cut red tape and incentivize the production of more affordable homes such as casitas/granny flats, duplexes, garden-style apartments and row homes — and build them where it makes sense. Cutting red tape is more than a talking point for me — as an Assembly member I have voted for legislation that will reduce processing times and limit increasing government fees on new homes for a period of five years. In addition, for the first time ever, the state will be providing resources to local governments to incentivize thoughtful development.

Communities should have a voice in determining San Diego’s housing future. San Diego’s system of community plans is designed to give the people who live in a neighborhood a strong role in the planning process. I recently supported legislation that maintains community planning, protects San Diego’s voter-approved coastal height limit and rejects a “one-size-fits-all” housing policy. San Diego knows best what its housing future should be and we can’t cede this authority to political insiders whose vision of San Diego doesn’t match ours.

San Diegans shouldn’t settle for a mayoral candidate who isn’t serious about tackling our housing problem head-on. It is a false choice to suggest that we can either build more homes or protect neighborhood character. San Diego’s next mayor must do both. A candidate who views our future as a choice between the two isn’t right to lead our city.

I am unapologetically a pro-neighborhood, pro-housing candidate. If elected mayor, I will fight as hard as my parents did to achieve their dreams and as hard as my brother and his wife are doing to realize theirs. I want to build a city that works for all of us.

Gloria represents 78th Assembly District in the California Legislature. He is a former San Diego City Council member, City Council president and interim mayor. He is a candidate for San Diego mayor. Website: toddgloria.com


Written by: Todd Gloria

 a candidate for San Diego mayor, represents the 78th Assembly District in the California Legislature.
(Union-Tribune file photo)

Shared from: https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/commentary-building-a-city-that-works-for-all