Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed legislation to spur housing development is a significant change in how cities and counties approve housing and could be "an important first step toward addressing California's housing shortage," the independent Legislative Analyst's Office said in a review of the plan.
Currently, Brown's plan says projects eligible for streamlined approval must have at least 20% of their units designated as affordable with a smaller percentage for projects near mass transit. The analyst's report recommends the Legislature consider lowering those requirements because the state needs to boost housing construction at all income levels to keep pace with growing demand.
As budget negotiations begin at the state Capitol, keep an eye on the fate of about $3.5 billion of tax revenue. In the push and pull between legislative Democrats and Gov. Jerry Brown, the fate of those dollars is where the real debate is likely to play out.
Brown continued to insist in the revised budget he rolled out last week that the state should put an extra $2 billion into the rainy day reserve fund. And he proposed spending $1.5 billion on repairs to state government buildings.
But both choices would hamper the efforts of some legislative Democrats to boost spending on programs such as welfare assistance and subsidized child care for low-income families.
California Treasurer John Chiang has made it official: He's running for governor in 2018.
The Democrat made the announcement in a statement Tuesday morning.
"As your next Governor, I have a blueprint for expanding and renewing the California dream through fixing our crumbling infrastructure, making retirement security our generation's call to arms, and rebuilding California's middle class through better jobs and improved educational opportunities," Chiang said.
The race to replace Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Orange) in the 46th Congressional District could see Republicans shut out of the contest for the first time in the county's history.
California's relatively new top-two primary system is to thank — or blame. With a crowded field of Republicans expected to split dwindling GOP votes in the district and a more than 20-point voter registration advantage for Democrats, it's likely the June 7 primary will leave voters with a choice between two Democrats: Lou Correa and Joe Dunn.
Both are former state legislators, and both were elected to those seats in part because of help from Sanchez. They have amassed more money than the rest of the candidates combined.
In the age of sharing all kinds of daily activities on social media, Californians who head to the polls will no doubt want to tell their friends all about it on platforms like Facebook or Snapchat.
Don't let them, a top state elections official is telling county registrars of voters.
"The secretary of state's office has historically taken the position that the use of cameras or video equipment at polling places is prohibited," wrote Jana Lean, the state's election chief, in a Monday memo to county officials.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to address affordable housing, which he unveiled during a Friday press conference on his revised budget, primarily tries to address the problem by lowering regulations for affordable development. Here’s what he said about his approach:
The general idea is if you want some assisted housing, you're going to have to reduce some of the regulatory burdens that are faced by developers. That's what the idea is.
Gov. Jerry Brown
Some context here. Yes, the governor's math was wrong. But his larger point is that housing subsidies don't deliver enough bang for the buck especially when compared to broader housing supply needs.
Indeed, an affordable housing plan from Assembly Democrats would cost $1.3 billion and produce up to 25,000 units over time. The state's housing need each year is more than 100,000 units beyond what's currently expected to be built, according to various estimates. Brown didn’t include any money in his budget to fund the programs Assembly Democrats wanted.