Clarity Blog

Clarity Blog

Posts Tagged ‘economy’

Brown Takes on Greens over (Some) Anti-Growth Litigation

Governor Brown almost sounded like a frustrated land developer earlier today when he talked about the impact litigation by environmental activists has on projects that are essential to meeting California’s demographic growth and protecting its frail economy.  Unfortunately, he wasn’t talking about the ecos’ endless legal challenges to new housing developments.

From the Sacramento Bee:

“In Oakland, I learned that some kind of opposition you have to crush,” Brown, the city’s former mayor, said at a renewable energy conference in Los Angeles.  “Talk a little bit, but at the end of the day you have to move forward, and California needs to move forward with our renewable energy.”

Brown said his office will “act to overcome the opposition,” helping projects overcome permitting and environmental challenges. The Democratic governor announced Friday that he had filed a legal brief urging a federal judge to deny litigation seeking to block a solar energy project in the Mojave Desert.

Yes, the governor is willing to “crush” the very environmentalists who were his strong supporters in the 2010 election – but only as long as it’s over government-subsidized alternative energy schemes. Providing housing for Californians? Rebooting the failed economy? Putting thousands back to work? That’s apparently not worth fighting for.

We’re not sure what we feel about government “crushing” environmental litigators. Having seen them slow so many very well-planned new home communities, driving up costs for consumers and driving down profits for businesses in the process, we confess we’re a bit tickled by the idea.

But two things bother us:  First, we can’t deny we’re sticklers for due process and are more than a little concerned when government gets heavy-handed and agenda-driven.  And second, we’d like to see an acknowledgment that useless litigation is just as bad when it’s used as a tool against home builders and, ultimately, home buyers.

Weekly 3 Land Development: half full glasses and water retention basins

What are the three biggest stories each week in the world of California land development?  You’ll find them right here, or follow LP&A all week long on Twitter at @LPALand for up-to-the-minute news and analysis.  You can also sign up to receive the Weekly 3 via email here. This week:

Someone’s glass is half full.  Of what, we’re not sure.

If you’re like us, you’ve seen so many conflicting homebuilding forecasts in recent months that your head is spinning.  We know there are still many bears out there, but we wanted to share a recent report from CalPoly Pomona’s Real Estate Research Council, which gives us at least a glimmer of hope. The report anticipates that because of current dreary numbers, California homebuilding could rise as much as 246 percent in the next 18 months.  In an accompanying reader poll, 80 percent responded “What are they smoking?”

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What Really Matters

The Field Poll recently asked a scientifically valid number of Californians (who, we’re sure, feel just great about having been scientifically validated) a pretty important question as primary season rolls around:

Thinking of the November election for Governor, how important will the candidates’ position on each of the following issues be to you in deciding whom you would support?

The issues were asked in random order; here they are alphabetically: crime/prisons, education, environmental protection, gasoline prices/energy, global warming, health care, illegal immigration, jobs/economy, state budget deficit, taxes and water.

Only those living in a time warp would be surprised that economic issues rocked the vote … and rocked it hard.  Jobs and the economy was ranked most important by almost 60 percent, followed closely by the state’s budget, a few decimal points behind.  At the other end of a scale, in near-lockstep for the last two positions were environmental protection and global warming.  A scant 23 percent of those polled ranked the imminent destruction of the planet by greenhouse gases as the top priority in their decision-making.

We wonder why, given these results, politicians throughout the state, from Sacramento to local city councils, remain so deferential to environmental interests when these greater environmental protections (as if the laws on the books don’t go far enough already!) come at the cost of jobs.