I read Susan Kirsch’s Marin Voice commentary (“Problems with state housing policy emerging before our eyes,” Oct. 17) with keen interest.
It has been claimed that the state’s need for affordable housing is a compelling state interest that preempts the constitutional powers granted to cities. In fact, the current avalanche of housing bills coming from Sacramento provides only token benefits to low-income people as required by the law.
“Affordable housing” is a term that can mean anything to anyone, but under state law its meaning is clear — developers must subsidize housing for low-income people by setting aside housing units that are offered at below-market rates.
That is not happening in any meaningful way. In fact, it’s getting worse as developers get bonuses and concessions for nominal “affordable housing,” and density bonuses for building overwhelming quantities of rental housing units.
The American dream of home ownership is being squeezed out by a landlord/tenant model fueled by hedge funds, private equity and the like with vast financial resources. Next, I suspect rental obligations will be traded in ways reminiscent of the subprime mortgages of 2008. There will be no landlord who cares whatsoever about the residents or the cities. There will be no one to talk to and no community involvement — just pieces of paper, now fully digitized. There will be little new home ownership.
Kirsch is making a profound point in calling attention to the propaganda that Sacramento legislators are selling.
— Jackson Stromberg, Mill Valley