ACA 13 attacks both Proposition 13 and direct democracy in California

by Jon Coupal

August 25, 2023

Less than two weeks ago, radical progressives in the California Legislature launched the most brazen sneak attack on California’s iconic Proposition 13 in its 45-year history. Assemblyman Christopher Ward, backed by the new Speaker of the Assembly, Robert Rivas, introduced Assembly Constitutional Amendment 13 (ACA 13). It would amend the constitution to make it easier to raise taxes, by making it harder to pass citizens’ initiatives that seek to enforce Proposition 13’s two-thirds vote requirement for local special tax increases.

Read more at the Orange County Register

California’s population dropped by 500,000 in two years as exodus continues

By Terry Castleman at The Los Angeles Times

February 15, 2023

The California exodus has shown no sign of slowing down as the state’s population dropped by more than 500,000 people between April 2020 and July 2022, with the number of residents leaving surpassing those moving in by nearly 700,000.

The population decrease was second only to New York, which lost about 15,000 more people than California, census data show.

California has been seeing a decline in population for years, with the COVID-19 pandemic pushing even more people to move to other parts of the country, experts say. The primary reason for the exodus is the state’s high housing costs, but other reasons include the long commutes and the crowds, crime and pollution in the larger urban centers. The increased ability to work remotely — and not having to live near a big city — has also been a factor.

The census data show that the trend has continued and point to those states that have seen population gains even as California’s has shrunk.

Net migration out of California surpassed that of the next highest state, New York, by about 143,000 people. Nearby states such as Utah have warned Californians who might consider moving to stay out. A similar story is playing out in Nevada, where California migrants are seeking to re-create their lifestyle.

Read more at Yahoo! News

Republican Lawmaker Introduces Bill to Repeal California’s ‘Soft-on-Crime’ Prop. 47

By Jamie Joseph

February 8, 2023

In a move hoping to tackle the state’s rising crime rates, California Assemblyman Juan Alanis (R-Modesto) has proposed a bill to repeal Proposition 47.

Proposition 47, passed by voters in 2014 with nearly 60 percent of the vote, raised the felony threshold for theft in retail stores from $400 to $950, limited jail time for misdemeanors to a maximum of six months, and reduced some drug-related crimes from felonies to misdemeanors.

The bill was part of a criminal reform effort to alleviate prison overcrowding, but it has faced criticism for an increase in crime, particularly property theft, across the state’s largest cities since it passed.

Alanis, who also sits as the Chairman of the Assembly Public Safety Committee, proposed his new bill—AB 335—which, if approved, would roll back the statutes of Proposition 47, with the exception of the lesser penalty for possessing concentrated cannabis since marijuana is legal in the state.

The legislation must be approved by the electorate, presumably in the 2024 statewide General Election.

Read more at The Epoch Times

Citing drought, US won’t give water to California farmers

By Adam Beam at the Associate Press

February 23, 2022

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — With California entering the third year of severe drought, federal officials said Wednesday they won’t deliver any water to farmers in the state’s major agricultural region — a decision that will force many to plant fewer crops in the fertile soil that yields the bulk of the nation’s fruits, nuts and vegetables.

“It’s devastating to the agricultural economy and to those people that rely on it,” said Ernest Conant, regional director for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. “But unfortunately we can’t make it rain.”

The federal government operates the Central Valley Project in California, a complex system of dams, reservoirs and canals. It’s one of two major water systems the state relies on for agriculture, drinking water, and the environment. The other system is run by the state government.

Water agencies contract with the federal government for certain amounts of water each year. In February, the federal government announces how much of those contracts can be fulfilled based on how much water is available. The government then updates the allocations throughout the year based on conditions.

Farmers started last year with a 5% allocation from the federal government but ended at 0% as the drought intensified. This year, the federal government is starting farmers at 0% while water for other purposes, including drinking and industrial uses, is at 25%.

“Last year was a very bad year. This year could turn out to be worse,” Conant said.

Read more at ABC News

California lawmakers want to reverse Prop 47; ‘make crime illegal again’

by Louis Casiano at Fox News

February 16, 2022

As crime continues to concern communities throughout California, Republican state leaders are making efforts to repeal a much-debated measure critics say has emboldened criminals and tied the hands of law enforcement.

In March, state legislators on the General Assembly‘s Public Safety Committee will conduct a hearing on AB 1599, which would pose the question of Proposition 47 – known as the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act — to voters once again in an effort to crack down on rampant theft.

The measure was ushered in by voters in 2014 and has been blamed for the many brazen smash-and-grab thefts and shoplifting incidents plaguing cities up and down the state.

California’s Housing Costs Threaten The State’s Future

By Richard McGahey

December 31, 2021

My previous blog documented California’s 2020 population loss, the first time that’s happened since the state was founded.  Billionaire Elon Musk has moved to Texas, but the biggest worry for the state is the loss of lower and middle-income residents, likely driven by California’s high housing costs.  The state must fix its housing affordability problem for a more secure future.

Some media coverage claims the losses are among the wealthy.  A Yahoo finance story claimed “millionaires and billionaires have fled California in droves,” driven not only by high taxes but “political correctness.”

But the Public Policy Institute of California shows that’s not the real problem.  Rather, the Institute finds that “California has been losing lower- and middle-income residents to other states for some time while continuing to gain higher-income adults.”

The Institute, like other analysts, sees “the state’s high cost of living, driven almost solely by comparatively high housing costs” as a major culprit in the outmigration story.  Without a bigger supply of more affordable housing, moderate income families will continue to be pushed out while new immigrants won’t be able to afford life in California.

Read more at Forbes

Fewer people moving to California, more leaving during the pandemic, study shows

By Sarah Parvini at the LA Times

December 15, 2021

The number of people moving to California from other states has dropped significantly since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and more Californians are leaving the state, according to a new study released Wednesday.

The two trends signal that population loss due to domestic migration out of the Golden State has more than doubled since the beginning of the pandemic. The pattern has rippled across California: New entrances to the state have dropped in every county since the end of March 2020. When Californians do move, researchers said they are slightly more likely to leave the state than they were before the start of the pandemic.

Entrances to California from other states have dropped 38% since March of last year, while the number of residents leaving to other states has increased 12%, the report from the nonpartisan California Policy Lab said.

“The public’s attention has been focused on the so-called ‘CalExodus’ phenomenon, but the reality is that the dramatic drop in ‘CalEntrances’ since the pandemic began has been a bigger driver of recent population changes in the state,” Natalie Holmes, research fellow at the California Policy Lab, said in a statement.

Read more at the LA Times

Showdown shapes up in California over growing housing crisis

By Alicia Victoria Lozano at NBC News

December 10, 2021

LOS ANGELES — Immediate relief from California’s affordable housing crisis may not come next year even though a series of new laws is scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, advocates and experts warn.

Efforts are already underway to undercut legislation recently signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Opponents say the housing laws strip cities and counties of control over zoning and do not ensure that new units will be affordable.

 “We absolutely need to advocate for affordable housing,” said John Heath, a proponent of Our Neighborhood Voices, a proposed constitutional amendment that would undo several of the newly signed housing bills. “This is nothing but a blank check being handed to developers.”

But the alternative, say those who support the new laws, is to maintain the status quo that for generations has allowed cities to create their own housing plans, often favoring single-family residences that contribute to the shortage.

The debate illustrates how entrenched the problem is and why it has been so difficult to fix. While the new laws do not mandate building more homes that low- and middle-income earners can afford, simply increasing the housing stock will help ease the pressure, experts said.

“It took a long time for us to get into this hole, and it’s going to take a long time to get out,” said Michael Manville, an associate professor of urban planning at UCLA. “It’s going to take some time to see so much construction that rents are going to fall.”

Read more at NBC News

California has 70% of the country’s most expensive ZIP Codes for home buyers

By Jack Flemming

November 18, 2021

Home prices across the country soared during the pandemic, but at the top of the market, California kept its crown as the priciest state in the nation — by far.

A new study from PropertyShark found that California holds 89 of the 127 most expensive ZIP Codes in the country, or roughly 70%. That’s three percentage points more than the lion’s share it held last year.

The report, which measured 2021 residential transactions that closed from Jan. 1 to Oct. 22, also named Los Angeles County as the highest-priced county in the country, with 21 ZIP Codes on the list. The Bay Area’s Santa Clara County ranked second with 15, and San Mateo County ranked third with 10.

For the fifth straight year, the Silicon Valley suburb of Atherton was the tip-top ZIP Code, with a median sales price of $7.475 million. Of the 28 houses currently up for grabs in the ultra-rich enclave, 22 are listed for more than $10 million.

Read more at the LA Times

Major California city becomes the most unaffordable housing market in America

By Emma Colton at FoxBusiness

October 31, 2021

Sacramento, California, is at the top of the list for the United States’s least affordable new homes markets.

A new study examining household incomes and comparing them with median new home construction mortgages found the California capital tying with Miami, Florida. Eighty percent of households in the Sacramento region, same as Miami, are priced out of new homes, the study from real estate-technology firm, Knock, found.

The median new construction home price in the Sacramento region is $650,000, which means residents need an income of about $128,000 to afford an average down payment of $39,000. The median household income in the area is $76,706, according to the report.

One Sacramento real estate group owner, Kelly Pleasant, said there is a shortage of homes in the area and the market has become less competitive in the last 45 days.

“Instead of maybe 10 offers (per listing), you’re seeing five offers,” Pleasant told The Sacramento Bee. “Instead of $50,000 or $60,000 over, maybe you’re getting it at list price or $20,000 over.”

Read more at FoxBusiness