Letters to the Editor: The region’s housing costs are sky high and young people just can’t afford them

Organizers with Housing Long Beach, a local advocacy group, hang up a sign in the courtyard of an apartment complex on Cedar Avenue in Long Beach.
(Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times)

Question: What’s the first bill most households pay every month? Answer: Rent or mortgage.

U.S. Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) recently caused quite a stir cross-examining Chase CEO Jamie Dimon. In her example, an entry level employee making $16.50 per hour would use up 65% of his/her income for an average Irvine apartment.

Now, this high of a number might be an outlier, but according to Zillow, Orange County residents pay on average 43% of their monthly budget on their mortgage. Renters pay 48.5% of their monthly budget before paying for anything else.

In the ’60’s and ’70’s central and coastal Orange County’s residents who couldn’t afford their rent moved south and created new cities like Irvine, Mission Viejo and Lake Forest. In the ’80s, ’90s and 2000s they moved to the Inland Empire. What are their options now?

Today, many of the people who are essential to our society — such as teachers, public service workers and nurses — are forced to live miles away from their job. California has the most super-commuters (meaning 90 minutes or more each way to work) in the nation. Not very “green,” eh?

Many Orange County residents seek government assistance for things like lunches for kids, food stamps or after-school care. Orange County Department of Education statistics showthat 62% of students are eligible for free or reduced meals.

Others make more drastic choices. Some double up with other families, straining neighborhoods not designed to handle these changes. Orange County millennials have chosen to stay home with their parents; O.C. is No. 4 in the nation for adult children living at home, according to the Orange County Register.

Others simply go homeless.

Orange County’s homelessness rate is up 43% from 2017-2019, according to the Laist. The failure of income’s inability to keep up with housing costs is widely regarded as the No. 1 reason for this increase.

As a society, we love our job creation, but hate our housing creation. And Orange County has one of the worst jobs-housing balances in the state. The economy of job creation and housing creation must be allowed to work. Central Orange County, such as my city, Costa Mesa, needs more housing, like yesterday

As a society, we have to make the ultimate decision as it relates to our land use. Do we let the economy play out and allow housing to be appropriately built near our jobs? Is more density acceptable? Can we create places where some of our car trips are replaced by more eco-friendly alternatives like cycling or walking? I say, Yes!

Mid- to high-density housing near job centers is user-friendly, eco-friendly and easy on the pocketbook.

Flo Martin

Costa Mesa

Smear against candidate is from GOP playbook

The 2018 effort by the Tyler Diep campaign to smear 72nd Assembly District candidate Josh Lowenthal is only the tip of the iceberg among the relentlessly offensive tactics employed by Republicans and the OCGOP against Democratic opponents over the past few elections in Huntington Beach (“Jewish leaders and Assemblyman Tyler Diep to discuss anti-Semitism in wake of campaign mailers that sparked controversy,” June 26).

One goes back to smear campaigns against City Council members Jill Hardy (a Democrat) and Joe Shaw (a Democrat and H.B.'s first openly gay council member) and the efforts to portray highly qualified business executives and community activists Kim Carr and Cottie Petri-Norris as liberal soccer moms in the 2018 elections.

Both Carr and Petrie-Norris won their races. Then there was the losing effort by former Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) and the Republicans to smear Democrat Harley Rouda.

Voters saw through that negative campaign ploy in electing Rouda in a district (CA 48) with a solid Republican registration advantage.

Tim Geddes

Huntington Beach

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