The Battle Over California's Housing Crisis

Battle lines are forming over what could be one of the most contentious fights over housing in California in decades. That’s right, I’m talking about the upcoming November ballot measures.

Here is a quick look at the housing decisions facing voters that could alter the future of affordable living within the state and Silicon Valley.

Proposition 1, Housing Programs and Veterans’ Loans Bond

On the ballot in California as a legislatively referred bond act.

This ballot measure would authorize the sale of $4 billion in general obligation bonds to finance existing housing programs. This includes $1.5 billion for Multifamily Housing Program for low-income residents, $1 billion for loans to help veterans purchase farms and homes, $450 million for infill and transit-oriented housing projects, $300 million for farmworker housing program, and $300 million for manufactured and mobile homes. In addition it would appropriate General Funds revenues to pay off bonds for existing programs that have insufficient revenues, offer housing assistance for buyers, and finance infrastructure work/grants to match a local housing trust fund dollar-for-dollar

For more information, see:,_Housing_Programs_and_Veterans%27_Loans_Bond_(2018)

Proposition 2, Use Millionaire’s Tax Revenue for Homelessness Prevention Housing Bonds Measure
On the ballot in California as a legislatively referred state statute.

In 2016, the California State Legislature passed legislation to spend revenues from Prop 63 for homelessness prevention housing. However, due to pending litigation over the revenue, it did not go into effect. Prop 2 is one of the upcoming ballot measures because changes to ballot initiatives require a public vote. Its approval would ratify existing law establishing the No Place Like Home program, ratify issuance of up to $2 billion in previously authorized bonds to finance it, and amend the Mental Health Services Act.  

For more information, see:,_Use_Millionaire%27s_Tax_Revenue_for_Homelessness_Prevention_Housing_Bonds_Measure_(2018)

New census figures show California has the highest poverty rate in the nation due to its affordable housing crisis. San Francisco, despite all of its glitz and glam, is one such city that has fought over how to address the issue. One local mom and business owner shares her experience with homelessness in the city:

Proposition 5, Property Tax Transfer Initiative

On the ballot in California as a combined initiated constitutional amendment and state statute.

Prop 5 would be an expansion on Prop 13, that would allow homeowners over 55 or severely disabled to transfer the tax-assessed value from their prior home to their new home, no matter the new home's market value; location in the state; or number of moves. This would be a change for homeowners over the age of 55, who are currently eligible to transfer their property tax assessments from a prior home to a new one once in their lifetime — and only if the new home is worth equal to or less than their current home. Additionally, counties, not the state, currently decide whether tax assessments can be transferred across county lines.

For more information, see:,_Property_Tax_Transfer_Initiative_(2018)#cite_note-cla-2

Proposition 10, Local Rent Control Initiative

On the ballot in California as an initiated state statute.

Prop 10 would repeal of the Costa-Hawkins Act, thereby allowing rent control to apply to single-family homes and new developments. As well as amend the civil code allowing a city or county the right to govern a landlord’s right to establish and increase rental rates on a dwelling or housing unit.

For more information, see:,_Local_Rent_Control_Initiative_(2018)

In this day and age of sky-high rents and low inventory, buying and renting in California has left none of its citizens unscathed. While there are those that support this upcoming ballot measure, the San Francisco Chronicle stated it best, when arguing that Prop 10 would “entrust another vast swath of housing policy to the very same officials” whose policies exacerbated the crisis to begin with. The stakes are too high to pursue policies that have been shown to fail. To read more on why a UC Berkeley professor recommends voting no on Prop 10:

Measure A, Santa Clara County Sales Tax Renewal

On the ballot for voters in Santa Clara County.

Renews the one-eighth cent sales tax to fund local services, such as public safety; educational services; and job creation. The revenues from the existing sales tax have also been used to provide supportive services to the homeless and ensure affordable housing.

For more information, see:,_California,_Measure_A,_Sales_Tax_Renewal_(November_2018)

Measure B, Daves Avenue Property Designation

On ballot for Monte Sereno voters in Santa Clara County

Measure B would create a new land use designation- Public/Residential Multi-Family- and apply the designation to property located at 17765 Daves Avenue.

For more information, see:,_California,_Measure_B,_Daves_Avenue_Property_Designation_(November_2018)

Measure P, Mountain View Per-Employee Business Tax

On the ballot for Mountain View voters in Santa Clara County.

This proposed tax would charge Mountain View companies an annual rate for each employee to fund a number of transportation related projects and allocate 10 percent toward affordable housing and homeless services. The expected revenue could generate about $6 million a year for the city, with $3.3 million coming from Google alone.

For more information, see:,_California,_Measure_P,_Per-Employee_Business_Tax_(November_2018)

Measure V, San Jose Housing Bond

On the ballot for San Jose voters in Santa Clara County.

San Jose voters have the option to authorize a $450 million affordable housing bond, which will provide funding for housing affordable to working families, veterans, seniors, homeless families and individuals, teachers, nurses, and paramedics.

For more information, see:,_California,_Measure_V,_Housing_Bond_Issue_(November_2018)