Think Americans still live in the decentralized republic the Founding Fathers bequeathed? Think Americans benefit from a federal form of government, where control is local and residents get to decide about the character of the place they inhabit? Think again.
Consider California’s housing-supply law. If residents of a community don’t want to “develop” their corner of the world—if they wish to preserve the character of the place they call home—Big Brother Central Planner will make them.
Gavin Newsom, California’s new governor, is suing “Huntington Beach, a coastal city in Orange County, for failing to comply with the state’s housing-supply law.”
California has a severe shortage of affordable housing, and he wants to bring a sense of urgency to the problem. The state has the highest poverty rate in America when adjusted for the cost of living. One-third of renters pay more than half of their income towards rent, and homeownership rates in the state are at their lowest level since the 1940s.
The lawsuit against Huntington Beach is meant to be a warning shot to cities that they cannot stonewall development. Fifty years ago the state passed a “housing element” law requiring communities to plan for new housing for all income groups, based on forecasts for population growth. In 2017 the state legislature passed several bills to speed up housing development and approvals. Until recently many cities have not met their housing numbers but faced little consequence …