How the California Constitution makes affordable housing hard to build

In 1950, Californians voted to put a provision in the state Constitution that makes it harder for poor people to find a place to live.

Article 34, which remains in effect, requires voter approval before public housing is built in a community. At the time it passed, the real estate industry argued taxpayers should have a right to vote on low-income housing projects because they were publicly funded infrastructure similar to schools or roads. The campaign also appealed to racist fears about integrating neighborhoods and featured heated rhetoric about the need to combat socialism.

The rule stymied low-income home construction in California for decades, including a decision to abandon public housing in Los Angeles’ Chavez Ravine neighborhood and build Dodger Stadium instead. Article 34 also weakened efforts to integrate suburban communities across the state and led to a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that had the effect of allowing government policies nationwide that discriminate against poor people.

”We know the roots of where it came from,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “It’s a white supremacist chapter in the state’s history.”

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Even the most liberal people I know don’t want homeless shelters, public housing, or drug injection sites in their neighborhood. They will tell you all day that we should do those things, but they don’t want it in their own neighborhood. That’s why the neighborhood votes fail.

Also, it shouldn’t require public housing to fix the issue. That’s using more government to fix the problems the government created. Then there’s the issue of funding it. You’d have to cut funding to something else or increase taxes. MF housing costs $1M or more per unit to build. LA alone needs 600,000 units which would cost $600B to build. You’d be lucky to recover 25% of the cost charging below market rents.


Public housing is a bad idea. Section 8 for all! Just give money to the tenants and let the mom and pap take care of them in a distributed fashion.

Distributed computing is way more robust and low cost than supercomputers. Public housing is the dark road of supercomputing.

In SF, public housing has failed miserably. Tenants live in a 4th world condition with violence threatening their life every second.

Need to have law to jail a neighbor for 6 months if he objects a landlord having a section 8 tenant. Tell your dear supervisors today :smiley:

Need to have access to all tools on your tool belt. In some cases it may be more Sec 8. In other cases it may be more public housing. Having some arbitrary regulation to ban one is nonsense.