Tom Steyer Promises to Force Towns to Comply with his Climate Friendly House Building Directives

Grand Park Los Angeles
Grand Park Los Angeles. By PKMOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

During the Nov 20th Democratic Candidate Debate, Tom Steyer promised if he is elected President, towns and municipalities like Los Angeles will be forced to build more eco-friendly affordable housing.

Mr Steyer, Millions of working Americans are finding housing that has become unaffordable, especially in metropolitan areas, it is particularly acute in your home state of California, in places like Los Angeles and San Francisco. Why are you the best person to fix this problem?

When you look at inequality in the United States of America, you have to start with housing. Where you put your head at night determines so many things about your life. It determines where your kids go to school, it determines the air you breathe, where you shop, how long it takes you to get to work.

What we’ve seen in California is as a result of policy. We have millions too few housing units and that effects everybody in California. It starts with a homeless crisis that goes all through the state, but it also includes skyrocketing rents that effect every single working person in the state of California.

I understand exactly what needs to be done here, which is we need to change policy and we need to apply the resources here to make sure that we build, literally. millions of new units. But the other thing that’s going to be true about building these units is, we’re going to have to build them in a way which that’s sustainable. In fact how we build units, where people live, has a dramatic impact on climate and on sustainability.

So, we’re gonna have to direct dollars, we’re gonna have to change policy and make sure that the localities and municipalities who have worked very hard to ensure that there are no new housing units built in their towns that they change that and we’re gonna have to force it. Then we’re gonna have to direct federal dollars to make sure that those units are affordable, so that working people can live in places and nobody is spending 50% of their income on rent.


Steyer didn’t say what would happen to town mayors and other municipal leaders who object to his policies.

I accept cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco have serious housing affordability and availability issues, but forcing towns to obey a federal directive to build more houses regardless of local objections would likely be the end of urban green spaces.

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November 21, 2019 6:17 pm

Let’s see a picture of your house, Tom.

John Minich
Reply to  Kamikazedave
November 21, 2019 6:47 pm

Kamikazedave: Exactly ! With so many of these “leaders(?)” demonstrating a “do as I say, not do as I do” attitude, I also would like to see HARD proof that they follow through on their own words. I’ve read that former California governor Jerry Brown, who promoted building and living more densely, bought some rural acreage to retire on and set up his water supply so he would not be subject to water rationing that has become law for most of the rest of us. I have not found any contradiction to that article. While most of our dams are required to release about half of the inflow out to sea for “environmental” purposes, the Hetch-Hetchy dam, which supplies water to San Francisco is exempted from that requirement.

Garland Lowe
Reply to  John Minich
November 21, 2019 7:13 pm
Bryan A
Reply to  Garland Lowe
November 21, 2019 10:28 pm

Mandating more housing be built also requires infrastructure capable of delivering needed water and sewer services as well as electricity. Then the Water requires additional storage/supply capacity or you wind up like South Africa, always running short. And increased sewer storage/processing facilities for the increase in community effluent production. Styer needs to pot a little brain behind his rhetoric…hmmmm…perhaps that’s his problem in the first place…his rhetoric is the creation of a little brain.

Reply to  Bryan A
November 21, 2019 11:47 pm

How about build them in Los Altos Hills where Mark Zuckerberg and I think Steyer live. People got 10 acre estates there, just “force” build them on 9 of the acres and leave Zuckerberg 1.

Reply to  Bryan A
November 22, 2019 11:55 am

Eric Simpson:
Zuckerberg is reported to have bought all the houses adjoining his Palo Alto home and leased them back to the current owners.
Maybe he intends to build high-density, ‘sustainable’ housing (whatever that is) on them … or maybe not.

Reply to  Bryan A
November 22, 2019 12:29 pm

he has a little brain in a little pot.

Or else he is highly confused about reality/

Charles Higley
Reply to  Kamikazedave
November 21, 2019 7:05 pm

Force them to build affordable housing with regulations applied and limits imposed and we are looking at hovels or tents in California. Water would be communal, bathrooms communal, heating and A/C only at night (Why would one be home during the day? What? No job? Shame on you!), but electricity at night would be very expensive, so that would be turned off as well. Without electricity and a ban on natural gas, they are back to wood stoves and burning wood and even dung. How third world of them.

The whole idea of rent control is unsustainable as it forces the landlords to find ways to avoid expenses and let the buildings deteriorate.

Rick C PE
Reply to  Kamikazedave
November 21, 2019 7:41 pm

I was going to post a picture, but with 6 mansions to choose from, seems pointless. That doesn’t include his ranch.

Reply to  Kamikazedave
November 22, 2019 4:22 am

House? Don’t you mean “houses”? What about his cattle ranch, where he raises “unaffordable” beef? Steyer is even more of a hypocrite than Warren, and that is a very high bar!

Reply to  bernie1815
November 22, 2019 6:03 am

Fortunately, the chances of Tom Steyer being elected President are roughly the same as those of my 29-year old horse sprouting silver wings and a horn in the middle of his fuzzy, grizzled forehead.

Reply to  Kamikazedave
November 22, 2019 9:32 am

His vast money and property, doesn’t necessarily indicate intelligence, wisdom or rationality.

November 21, 2019 6:35 pm

“Tom Steyer promised if he is elected President, towns and municipalities like Los Angeles will be forced to build more eco-friendly affordable housing.”
So he would use the office to force his private will??
Sounds like some other recent politicians.

Bryan A
Reply to  donb
November 21, 2019 10:31 pm

It is difficult to build”Eco Friendly – Affordable Housing”
You can build Affordable
You can build Eco-Friendly
But eco-friendly is generally more expensive than affordable style construction

Curious George
Reply to  donb
November 22, 2019 7:37 am

It’s a nice billionaire touch. Did you ever dream of building a ghetto?

Gordon Dressler
Reply to  donb
November 22, 2019 3:43 pm

Mr. Steyer need to bone up on the US Constitution, specifically the 10th Amendment that states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Nowhere in the Constitution do I find that the US Government has the power to either establish or regulate “affordable housing”, whatever the adjective “affordable” means in context. So, Steyer will have to first override the US Constitution or, failing that, pass a new Amendment to it to allow him to do what he claims he wants to do.

The wisdom and foresight of the founding fathers of the United States of America is just incredible!

John Boland
November 21, 2019 6:40 pm

Units? Where I live we call those houses, and the government does not build any of them. Maybe all those city dwellers should just buy a gun, move to the country, and live as they choose.

Reply to  John Boland
November 22, 2019 8:50 am

“Units? Where I live we call those houses…” Tom Steyer actually isn’t talking about houses. He’s talking about high-rise apartment blocs, full of tiny studio apartments with high rents, for the poor and the working class to live in. Agenda 21 or 2030 is to get people out of their private homes and into tiny apartments; out of their private cars and into public transportation; and out of the rural areas and into the cities.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  John Boland
November 22, 2019 10:00 am

“Units” gives you a clue as to the type of housing he is proposing. Think high-density, basic apartments, built cheaply.

Reply to  Paul Penrose
November 22, 2019 5:15 pm

Think East Germany. Think East Berlin prior from 1961 to 1989.

Bruce Cobb
November 21, 2019 6:41 pm

Yes. The housing projects of the New Deal up through the 60’s and 70’s worked so well. We should definitely try those again.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
November 21, 2019 7:05 pm

The homeless crisis on the West Coast by all expert accounts, is not one of affordable housing, it is a problem of drug addiction and mental illness. If one goes and reads up on all the reporting, yes California’s big cities, plus Seattle, and Portland all have affordability issues, but it is their lack of drug enforcement, lack of dealing with mental illness that keeps these people on the streets.

Most of the homeless population there does not want the housing and shelters offered because being in one requires they stop doing drugs (clean-up) and get mental health treatment.

Richard Miller
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 21, 2019 10:22 pm

You can thank the ACLU for that.

Bryan A
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 21, 2019 10:39 pm

It’s also an issue of 10s of thousands of houses being destroyed by Fires in recent years.
The Camp Fire Destroyed 11,000 Homes. A Year Later Only 11 Have Been Rebuilt

Reply to  Bryan A
November 22, 2019 5:45 am

More people are moving out of California than moving in and for good reason.

Bryan A
Reply to  Scissor
November 22, 2019 6:12 am


Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 22, 2019 5:42 am

Yes, but except for all the sh*t in the street, what is more eco-friendly than a tarp, a grocery cart and a few cardboard boxes?

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 22, 2019 9:00 am

I live in Portland, Oregon, in a high-density neighborhood with a lot of homeless people. Granted that many of them are mentally ill or drug addicts, many others are sane, non-addicted, and struggling very hard to survive. Many of the homeless spend many hours each day collecting beverage cans to get the refund, and most of those people are sane, polite, and obviously hard-working. I think that “technological unemployment” has arrived in a big way, that the jobs are never coming back, and that the jobless/homeless situation can only increase.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
November 21, 2019 7:18 pm

This news video documentary is 5 weeks old. Very accurate, very current if you really want to see what is going on and why it is getting worse for the Left Coast.

Steyer probably doesn’t give one shit about the homeless in his San Francisco. He wants them to go away while simply spouting Democrat talking points about the problem the Liberals like him have created.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 22, 2019 5:01 am

one of the guys they interviewed was called a “street camper”

Reply to  Latitude
November 22, 2019 7:06 am

Neil Boortz used to call them urban outdoorsmen.

November 21, 2019 6:43 pm

Steyer could not figure out the difference between affect and effect. Nice going, Tom.

…”…includes (the effect of) skyrocketing rents that (affect) every single working person in the state of California.”

Michael S. Kelly LS, BSA Ret.
Reply to  goldminor
November 21, 2019 7:56 pm

You beat me to it.

Reply to  goldminor
November 21, 2019 8:10 pm

In fairness – that was a transcript of his verbal remarks during the last debate. So Breitbart is to blame, not Steyer. (Far more important defects of ignorance in Steyer than whether he can spell or not, actually.)

It could also be a foolish reliance on spell check and autocomplete. My idiot phone wants to change “effect” to “infect” every time.

Reply to  Writing Observer
November 21, 2019 9:35 pm


Reply to  Writing Observer
November 22, 2019 4:05 am

Maybe your idiot phone knows something you don’t know, W.O.? It may be sending you a hidden message…. 🙂

November 21, 2019 6:59 pm

Well, the only ‘force’ he could use is the leverage of federal funds, assuming Congress doesn’t force HIM not to. By the time the rules, regs, and costs filter down to the local communities, and combined with a big dose of NIMBY, I suspect the end result will be that the fed funds are declined, and absolutely nothing gets built.

Joel O'Bryan
November 21, 2019 6:59 pm

Steyer has zero chance of winning even on primary. He knows that. So why is he running?

If you know anything about Steyer through the years, it is that he has given hundreds of millions to Democratic Party PACs, and he’s certainly hit maximum contribution limits every year to candidates with what many for people is full year’s salary but is pocket change to Steyer.

Here’s just one example of $74 million he gave to Harry reid’s Senate PAC in 2014 alone.

But PACs are very different animals from actual campaign committees. Political Party committees and the candidate committees have to follow strict contribution limits from donors, and they cannot coordinate their campaign messages with PACs. Getting caught breaking either contribution limits or coordinating their campaign with PACs by a candidate is serious jeopardy, with potentially jail time and big $ fines.

Currently, Federal Election Commission rules limits an individual’s campaign contributions to $35,500/yer/per campaign through 2020 election cycle. Party and Candidate Campaigns are required to track this and report donations and revenue and expenditures every quarter. If an individual tries to give a party or a candidate more than they are allowed, the candidate’s committee or the party committee must return any excess contribution.

But Candidate Steyer running for the Democrat’s Prez nomination is very different thing than simply being an individual wanting to donate money to candidate or Party. Steyer is self-funding his own campaign. In the quarter that ended 30 September 2019, his FEC quarterly report showed he had contributed $67million of his own money to only $2 million from other contributions since declaring on July 10.

I believe Steyer is only in the race to bypass Federal the individual campaign donation limits to ultimately fund the DNC and whoever the Candidate becomes with millions of his own dollars when he ultimately withdraws from the primary race. That is because there does appear to be a viable loophole in the FEC rules that Steyer may be trying to exploit here. Under current FEC rules, once a candidate withdraws from the race then his/her campaign committee can transfer an unlimited amount to candidate’s and political party committees. The FEC could close this loophole before he exploits it. But the FEC can only make new rules if it has a quorum of committee members, and the Senate Democrats are currently blocking new FEC committee confirmations using senate procedural rules, thus keeping the FEC without a quorum at the moment.

So Steyer will, if I’m right about his intent, stuff his campaign’s committee account with several hundred million dollars of his own money by next Spring (after the Jan 15, 2020 quarterly reports are due to the FEC). Then he’ll withdraw at some point, and then divvy up and transfer that cash to the various national DNC and state Democratic Party committees, and candidate committees, effectively bypassing the contribution limits.

You also have to know that it is Steyer who has single-handedly funded the Democrat’s impeachment effort against Trump since 2017 with his “needtoimpeach” organization and funding a pressure campaign on Congressional Democrats to do just that. This guy is rabid dog crazy, has severe case of TDS, and willing to spend many hundreds of millions of dollars of his own money to defeat Trump.

November 21, 2019 7:01 pm

Someone told me that an acquaintance had moved to Vancouver (BC Canada). I asked how she could afford it.

BC implemented an empty house tax. That caused more units to go on the rental market and rents came down to affordable levels.

The above anecdote caused me to google the rental market in Vancouver. OMG talk about the unintended consequences of government legislation. It’s like the old lady who swallowed the fly.

So, Mr. Steyer, your idea sounds great. What could possibly go wrong? I have no clue what will go wrong but history tells us that it will go wrong.

For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong. H. L. Mencken

Good luck buddy.

Gary Mount
Reply to  commieBob
November 21, 2019 9:47 pm
Craig from Oz
November 21, 2019 7:10 pm

“In fact how we build units, where people live, has a dramatic impact on climate and on sustainability.”

Dramatic impact…

Okay…. Is this more or less dramatic than a wind farm?

Tom Abbott
November 21, 2019 7:24 pm

From the article: “What we’ve seen in California is as a result of policy. We have millions too few housing units and that effects everybody in California.”

The Homeless number in the thousands in California, not the millions.

Shoki Kaneda
Reply to  Tom Abbott
November 21, 2019 8:00 pm

About 140,000. How many have left CA because they could not afford housing? What is the lost economic opportunity because people were not available to fill jobs? You cannot measure economic losses and insufficient housing by homeless numbers.

November 21, 2019 7:31 pm

Forcing towns to build ‘affordable housing’ even with ‘regulations applied and limits imposed’ would result in both reduced open and recreation space, as well as reduced cost construction standards. Viewed from Australia, most housing construction in America currently has the appearance of being built largely out of cardboard and tarred paper. This proposal would probably result in people living in hovels, tents or cardboard boxes using communal taps and bathrooms without electricity and using open wood or dung fires to cook.
All this though would not be out-of-line with the present flow of insanity coming out of California.

Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
November 22, 2019 4:59 am

yeah but WE sold off our fairly decent trust homes for great profit as state govts used it bail emselves outta the poop.
and we now have homeless problems
and insane rents due to multiple homeowning neg gearing.
meanwhile we could provide govt land and allow people to build mudbrick etc flats for themselves or with some supervision for lifetime tenancy but not owned, and pay rates etc with a minimal rental
hell theres decent tranportables for under 40k that would provide decent homes for many on disused state land in suburbia ie disused school grounds etc

November 21, 2019 7:40 pm

So how many developers look for projects that give them low returns? Are you going to force them to build?

Reply to  markl
November 22, 2019 7:12 am

“Are you going to force them to build?”

That was rhetorical, right?

November 21, 2019 7:45 pm

One of the seven deadly sins is ‘envy’. Now it’s called social justice and some people think the government should enforce it.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Dan Pangburn
November 21, 2019 8:08 pm

You must have read about or watched Langone’s interview on FoxNews. That guy is a true American philantropist to make America proud.

Steyer, Bloomberg, the Rockefellers… they are all just a big doggie-bag of billionaire hypocrites, spending their money to screw the middle class so they can get richer.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 22, 2019 7:03 am

Joel O’Bryan – November 21, 2019 at 8:08 pm

Steyer, Bloomberg, the Rockefellers… they are all just a big doggie-bag of billionaire hypocrites, spending their money to screw the middle class so they can get richer.

Steyer musta learned from the Rockefeller family that had extensive holdings in coal and NG in WV and thus the reason the “family” installed a “fox-in-the-hen-house” to ensure their screwing of the WV middle class would continue unabated, to wit:

Jay Rockefeller moved to Emmons, West Virginia, to serve as a VISTA worker in 1964 ……. and retired in 2015 after serving 30 years as a United States Senator from West Virginia.

Iffen you got “big” money backing you, …….. your rise from being an out-of-State Republican VISTA worker, …….. to a Democrat in the House of Delegates, ….. to Secretary of State, …… to a University President, ….. to Governor of West Virginia, ….. to a Democrat US Senator ……… will be fast n’ furious and fam ily rewarding.

Shoki Kaneda
November 21, 2019 7:57 pm

Well, every trial lawyer will vote for Steyer because twenty years of litigation is the only certain outcome.

November 21, 2019 8:00 pm

What a self-important, pompous ass! As far as I know, this sad excuse for a human being, has never produced a single thing in his sorry life. Permanent member of the “parasite” class. Don’t pontificate to me, you creep!

Reply to  eck
November 22, 2019 8:00 pm

“The urge to save humanity is almost always a false-face for the urge to rule it”
H.L. Mencken, American journalist

Doc Chuck
November 21, 2019 8:12 pm

Has it passed anyone’s notice that Commissar Tom isn’t about to embrace his own personal equality with all the proletarian units who will reside in the imposed housing units. After all, how many of them has he already similarly housed via his own exceptionally ample means from the goodness of his heart? I thought so.

No mon ami, all this fervid building is going to be on your dime as a member of that very same working class that garners his warmest wishes from afar, and thus diminish your own discretionary spending to fund this most generous largesse with his name on it. I can assure you that the money ain’t comin’ from Mars, baby.

And do tell, what unspoken proportion of all this regrettable population pressure is attributable to several million sanctuaried illegal immigrants? I thought so.

Jean Parisot
November 21, 2019 9:35 pm

So, he agrees that land use and UHI effect climate measurements?

Rod Evans
November 21, 2019 11:30 pm

Something tells me, all this concern about affordable housing or shortage of such in California is likely to go away very quickly.
There is a classic example in the USA of a very wealthy city that had similar problems back in the first half of the last century. The city expanded and demand for affordable housing was never quite satisfied. The situation seemed intractable, until a socialist authority took control of the city and changed everything. That city, once the second richest in the USA now has zero housing demand issues. You can buy huge lots for a few hundred $US, no body bothers. The now bankrupt city authority is dedicated to restoring the natural environment to parts of their city not visited by wildlife for a hundred years prior to their bulldozing program returning the city to nature.
If you want to know what will happen to California, its housing and its homeless problems, just go and visit Detroit. The answer offered by socialists will be clearly visible. One other benefit of the socialist administration solution, the population disappears. That makes controlling and collecting taxes very easy, nobody pays, because there is no body around to target for payment.
Affordable housing problem solved.

4 Eyes
November 21, 2019 11:44 pm

Dear Tom, just so you know, you can’t force people to do anything so what are you going to do to those who can’t build it “eco friendly” and “affordably”. Perhaps some specific definitions on what ecofriendly and affordable actually mean might help but we won’t hold our breaths waiting for your response. Useless, please elect me because, trust me, I know what’s best politico speak.

rhoda klapp
Reply to  4 Eyes
November 22, 2019 12:30 am

Maybe he has his own constitution, because what he proposes is not within the power of the president under the version the rest of us are familiar with.

November 22, 2019 1:15 am

Of course eco homes have dramatically lower costs for electricity, heating/cooling…

Paul Penrose
Reply to  griff
November 22, 2019 10:14 am

Define “eco home”, then provide real data from a neutral party (i.e. not a “eco” developer or an environmental activist) that proves they have “dramatically lower costs”. Absent such, this is just your opinion, which may mean something to you, but carries exactly zero weight outside your own head.

William Haas
November 22, 2019 2:41 am

The federal constitution limits the powers of the federal government to specific powers spelled out explicitly by the constitution. The rest is left to the states. So what Tom wants to do is a power left to the states and not to the federal government. Tom is running for the job of the federal government’s CEO. As the federal government’s CEO, I want to know Tom’s plan for the federal government to pay off all of its debts that it has been accumulating. Spending even more money and piling up even more debt is not going to help. As a matter of economic policy, I want to know how Tom plans to turn our annual trade deficits into trade surpluses so that we can at least begin to pay back our accumulation of debt.

November 22, 2019 3:37 am

Will he send the military?

Or is he like that other guy who said he might use nuclear weapons if citizens reissted his taking their weapons?

The left sure is dictatorial, but then we knew that.

Ed Zuiderwijk
November 22, 2019 3:46 am

I have just taken an option on plots 31 to 40 in Central Park, NYC.

November 22, 2019 4:06 am

It starts with a homeless crisis that goes all through the state – article

Yeah, well, Steyer, you numbskull the state created that homeless crisis by letting it happen to get votes from the homeless. It’s at least as bad as the dead voting in Chicago elections.

Mark Broderick
November 22, 2019 4:26 am

And the left calls President Trump a fascist dictator !

November 22, 2019 5:08 am

Finally, an admission this is about COMMUNISM and dicatatorships. The Democrats have at least stopped lying about that.

November 22, 2019 6:10 am

It seems Steyer, who wants to be president, knows nothing of federalism.

Don’t expect the legacy press to splain it to him.

November 22, 2019 6:15 am

It appears to me that this is a California problem not a National problem. Shouldn’t the governor of California handle it instead of the president of the US.

November 22, 2019 6:18 am

Steyer has his hands on Soviet Bloc housing plans he can’t wait to implement.

Geoff Withnell
November 22, 2019 6:19 am

To point out the elephant in the room, how bad would the affordable housing unit shortage be for legal residents of Los Angeles if the masses of illegal immigrants were not there?

November 22, 2019 6:58 am

His reply told us so much, yet so little. It talked about his plan for an authoritarian government, disregarding the constitution and the division of power. But he gave no details on his plan for housing; he claims to know “exactly what needs to be done” but rambles about “apply(ing) resources” and “change(ing) policy” without actually telling us anything.

He uses euphemisms like “direct dollars” to soften the reality that he actually means increasing taxes of the working class to pay for other people to have a free home.

November 22, 2019 7:02 am

Sustainable homes are not going to be affordable homes.
More insulation, triple pane windows, high efficiency furnaces. They all cost money. Lots of money.
What Steyer is proposing is for the government to build homes and then sell them at way below cost.
Once you do that you are going to have to create new laws that prevent the new owners from turning around and selling their subsidized house to someone else at full market value and walking away with 10’s of thousands of dollars in profits.

Michelle Z.
November 22, 2019 7:19 am

Reduce, reuse, recycle, right? That new development of affordable housing would probably be cardboard and plywood or OSB, maybe. Easy to put up, extremely easy to take down.

November 22, 2019 7:44 am

Tom Steyer is either a Russian agent or a useful idiot…or both. Dr. Hill clearly stated that Russia is using propaganda in the US to destroy the US Fracking Industry. Fracking and exporting LNG is a death sentence for Russia. Tom Steyer is the greatest ally Russia could ever hope for. Simply watch the video of Dr. Hill.

Russian Agents; The Real Russian Collusion – Kill Fracking Save Russia

BOMBSHELL: Dr. Hill Exposes Russia’s Propaganda Campaign to Kill US Fracking Industry

WUWT you should do an article on what DR. Hill said yesterday. This issue needs more attention.

Mark Broderick
November 22, 2019 8:24 am

“Glass disaster: Tesla Cybertruck’s ‘Armor Glass’ breaks during demo”

“Musk exclaimed what sounded like “Oh my (expletive) God,” when the stunt went wrong.

“Maybe that was a little too hard,” Musk said as he laughed off the mishap. Undeterred, he asked von Holzhausen to do it again to the rear door window, which had the exact same result.”

D’OH !

Steve Z
November 22, 2019 9:16 am

Tom Steyer’s chances of being elected president are between slim and none, and closer to none, but even so, a U.S. President (or even an act of Congress) can’t override state or municipal zoning laws.

In many densely populated cities, the people who arrived there first bought the best land, built large houses on large lots, which are now worth fortunes. They also enacted zoning laws to keep lower-income people out, forcing them to live on poorly-developed land, and NIMBY is written into the zoning laws.

People can flee cities with high home prices by moving to suburbs (which can have separate zoning laws more favorable to them), at the price of longer commutes and higher transportation expenses.

If Steyer wants to lower the overall housing costs in a city, he should run for city council or mayor, and try to change the zoning laws of that city to favor the construction of low-income housing (which would still have to be built by private investors). But he will run into opposition from the wealthy residents of the city, who will probably bribe other city-council members to keep the zoning laws as they are, to keep “undesirable” people out of their wonderful neighborhood.

Roger Knights
Reply to  Steve Z
November 22, 2019 2:49 pm

Probably part of what Steyer wants is a revocation of zoning for single-family housing. The authorities in Seattle just made a big step in that direction recently. They also have made it a lot easier to get permits to construct ancillary housing (aka mother-in-law housing) in back yards.

Paul Graham Sery
November 22, 2019 10:05 am

Hey Tom Steyer, how about donating your SF home to get things started?

November 22, 2019 10:27 am

San Francisco has a real estate cartel that self-regulates what housing of any size that get built.
It is made up of fellow travelers of Mr Steyer.

November 22, 2019 11:43 am

Visit SF and dump on it, literally.

On the outer Barcoo
November 22, 2019 1:57 pm

Ah, that’s what US citizens really need: an ukaz from an oligarch. Bravo, Tom: great plan!

November 22, 2019 8:03 pm

“The urge to save humanity is almost always a false-face for the urge to rule it”
H.L. Mencken, American journalist

Johann Wundersamer
November 28, 2019 9:05 pm

“Steyer didn’t say what would happen to town mayors and other municipal leaders who object to his policies.

I accept cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco have serious housing affordability and availability issues, but forcing towns to obey a federal directive to build more houses regardless of local objections would likely be the end of urban green spaces.”


Utter Drivel!

NY Central Park “urban green space” remains due to instability for constructions”:

The building may sway

One potential downside with all that height is that it’s good for views, but not for structural integrity.

“Skyscrapers are going to swing in strong winds, regardless of how they are built,” points out Shane Lee at RealtyHop. “In the last few decades, we have seen many structural designs that allow skyscrapers to withstand high winds and earthquakes, such as the tuned mass damper [a device that reduces vibrations] in Taipei 101 and the concrete slabs in the One World Trade Center building. But skyscrapers are going to sway, and Central Park Tower is no exception—maybe 3, 4, or 5 feet.”

While swaying in a building 95 stories up might give some the heebie-jeebies, at least Central Park Tower is not as skinny as the supertalls at 432 Park Ave. and 111 West 57th, since this makes the swaying seem all the more precarious.”

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