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“I think the leadership question is actually better focused at the more local level than at the governor’s mansion.”

Joshua Shank and Pete Peterson


Finding a solution to California’s housing crisis requires a meeting of minds, interaction with a diverse range of perspectives and, most of all, the formation of meaningful solutions.

In the lead up to the Center releasing its official post-summit report, I thought I’d take the time to recap some of my key contributions to the days discussion, highlighting some of the more nuanced policy approaches we can take at a local government level to shift the dialogue surrounding the housing crisis.

“I think the leadership question is actually better focused at the more local level than at the governor’s mansion.”

Idea Number One: Promote better ways of interacting with local communities

Rather than waiting for the same old people to show up at their meetings and shout them down, elected officials need to do a more effective job of engaging this ‘missing’ sector of the community that supports new housing – be it through online tools or better public processes.

“This isn’t an invasion coming across the border. We’re actually trying to limit an exodus of our kids who are leaving this state. If we were to address things on that issue, I think there would be a lot more public will.”

Idea Number Two: Reframe the debate

The housing crisis has reached such a point that it’s now a case of either building more housing or seeing your children or grandchildren forced to relocate. It may sound extreme, but if we reframe the community debate using this example, we’re far more likely to get existing community member onside with new developments.

The best local leaders are incorporating this ‘human element’ into their policy narrative.

“For a state that portrays itself as being young, family oriented, and diverse, that is not what’s happening in California right now.”

Idea Number Three: Get the facts so that we can have an informed discussion If you look at the shifts both in household income, ethnic background and age, over the last 10 years Californians are becoming getting older, whiter, and richer. We need to be honest with ourselves about why we are losing our young talent, and how the housing crisis is changing the way we are perceived.

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