San Francisco is cursed, and leaves everybody with a no-win decision between lacklustre "progressives" and incrementalist moderates. Why is this so, and what can be done about it? We use material analysis to learn more. Chatter about the November election.
Alex Nunez is a housing equity advocate for Cafecito and the Housing Justice Coalition, he's here to talk about the recent RV Ordinances in Mountain View, and discuss paths for real and effective anti-displacement programs.
Kelsey Banes is a leading voice for housing production in Palo Alto, while working in supplying support for our neediest: the homeless. How are the systems of supplying both affordable and market-rate housing related to the needs and struggles of those who are housing insecure, and what can we do to help?
Does landownership matter in agriculture? Turns out it does! Crop scientist and podcaster ("Farm to Taber") Sarah Taber is on the program to talk about how landownership drives power dynamics, creates inefficient classes of exploitative family farms, while destroying the environment. Showcasing approaches and technologies that deliver more productive and more sustainable results, from labor practices to alternate forms of ownership and tenure.
The legendary book about a fatal love of highways, the drive for land acquisition, and the seductive world of municipal bonds.
Diego Aguilar-Canabal comes on the show to speak on his article about how an anti-public-housing movement began with Oakland homeowners, and Jordan Grimes discusses how the constitutional amendment that came out of this movement still affects affordable housing programs today. We talk about the unsuccessful Supreme Court challenge to this amendment, and rant for a while about how dumb dead-ends in leftist discourse undermine a future in which we are able to build public housing again.
Ray Wang, a Cupertino planning commissioner, threatened to get Richard Mehlinger fired, after a hubbub over a NextDoor post in which Mr. Wang called YIMBYs "fascists". We discuss the story, what it means for participation in local democracy, with some tangents, on the real nature of fascism.
Talking politics, both with the exciting new white paper with all the best policy proposals (including land value tax), and some fun discussion on the dem candidates' housing plans.
It's easy to take highway funding and construction as a natural and unavoidable fact, but in reality it's *people* behind it. In Clayton Nall's book "The Road to Inequality: How the Federal Highway Program Polarized America and Undermined Cities", the nitty-gritty of what this did to our politics is explored in depth. We are joined with Alex Baca, who explores the relationship of highway funding to the viability of the left in America.
SB50 is stalled for a year, but we recorded this *just* before, as we see efforts to block it underway by our favorite Palo Alto NIMBYs, aided by ostensibly woke anti-gentrification groups in direct coordination with homeowners. But mostly, about Lydia Kou being bad on twitter.
Lenny Siegel served on the Mountain View City Council from 2014-2018, serving one term as mayor, and has been a lifelong activist for progressive causes. How has Mountain View been able to address equitable solutions for housing better than its neighbors, and how can it do more? We also debate the contentious issue of local control, with Pardis Beikzadeh and David Watson of South Bay YIMBY saying that state intervention is necessary, and Lenny saying that other (perhaps bigger) solutions are needed.
Sasha Perigo is co-chair of the Homelessness Working Group for SF DSA, and has worked in the past for fair housing in Marin County. What can we learn from sharing this perspective with Darrell Owens's activism in the East Bay, as well as a view from Silicon Valley, where the show is recorded? Plenty to talk about regional issues, as well as tenant solidarity as well as other socialists views on housing justice.
What's mightier, redistributing land vs building more housing? Are these ideologies necessarily at ends, and what's their respective roles in the current housing scene? Sonja Trauss of SFBARF/SF YIMBY/CaRLA makes the case that georgists are too focused on taxing the land to see that zoning needs reformed. Other topics are broached, from property rights, political orgs, and whether sweeping wealth redistribution is needed (we quickly agree it is).
It's been about a year since the Stanford land-use/housing justice activism group SCoPE 2035 (Stanford Coalition for Planning an Equitable 2035) has been on, and there's a lot to catch up on: campus protests against university lawsuits, more challenges for housing Stanford employees, university dealings with Palo Alto, and more; we hear all about the challenges and advantages of being a group made out of current (overworked) Stanford students.
Holly Balcom tells us how, compared to the Bay Area, Portland, Oregon does so many things better: better cooperation between land-use groups and tenant groups, coherent regional government, an anti-sprawl Urban Growth Boundary, and even the exploration of land taxes. However, pushing back against suburban conformity and exclusion, NIMBYism, and unaffordability is very much an active challenge, and Holly lets us know about what's been going well, and what still needs attention in Portland.
Chris Beiser runs the facebook meme group "Georgist Memes for Land Value Taxation Teens", and comments both upon the modern phenomenon of Image Macros as a way to spread ideas, as well as the functional value of ideology, the implications of modern technology with the evolution of ideology, and the special role of Georgism to navigate ideological rifts in the modern landscape.
We continue the CASA talk by talking about the infighting, the disappointments, and most importantly, the cartoonish villainry we've seen. Rants about the CAA, Realtors, ranking NIMBY cities into a hierarchy of awfulness, and picking apart why some YIMBYs can't figure out how to get onboard with tenants rights.
The CASA Compact is the "grand bargain" that could transform housing and tenant protections throughout the Bay Area. But what are the details? We pick apart the ten pillars and anticipate some of what we'll see in Part II of this series: CASA, the Drama.
We've talked Cupertino on the program before, but never with a native.... until now (!) JR Fruen talks about the relationship between council and Better Cupertino, Mayor Scharf's comments on "building a wall around Cupertino", irregularities around commission appointments, and what all those lawsuits are all about.
Alex Baca has plenty to say about the shortcomings of the Green New Deal platform, with respect to the waste that comes from our land use decisions. We're also joined by Ollie Zhu, as we probe key questions about equity (for whomst?), chat about rust belt urbanism, and talk about the challenges of grow-the-pie solutions being balanced against zero-sum battles.
Quakers (The Religious Society of Friends) have for centuries combined a radical commitment to personality morality with works in the world, including reforming economic life. This continues today, as we talk to Olivia Hanks, program manager for the Quaker Peace & Social Witness "New Economy" project, looking at overturning the inequities of modern economic life, looking to bring natural resources in common and create a sustainable world for future generations.
Vancouver is a city with housing policies that are the dream of the Bay Area, with an recent end to single-family zoning as well as stronger tenant protections, but yet exclusion and tenant instability still persist. What more could Vancouver do to address this, and could a move by City Council to introduce a Land Value Tax help? Jennifer Bradshaw talks about this, her work in housing activism, why housing opportunity matters to those who desperately need it, and why high vacancy rates are good for renters.
Alex Schafran discusses his new book, which is about the new style of segregation we see throughout the greater Bay Area (even beyond the Altamont Pass), how even well-meaning people helped create it, and what changes to our politics we need to find our way out.
Max is back on, and we talk about the grievance culture of those fighting to preserve "Local Control," focusing on the extreme measures being taken by the League of California Cities to preserve the rights of Beverly Hills and Palo Alto. Nuttiness ensues.
Darrell Owens, housing advocate wunderkind travels from the East Bay to share his experiences dealing with class and racial segregation reinforced by our land-use policy, and also finds time to rant about transit, blind spots in otherwise progressive policy, and so much more...
So, the election happened. Diego comes on the show (via a telephone submerged in molasses, sorry listeners) to talk about the good news in the East Bay and disappointing news in SF (including how this was tied to the shocking failure of Mayor Breed and Scott Wiener to endorse Prop C). Some South Bay election updates, though expect more in future weeks for all the in-depth details...
We cover city council elections in the major Santa Clara County cities, along with local measures, county-level elections, and the state propositions. Jason Uhlenkott is here to explain how South Bay YIMBY endorsed all the races, and we try to analyze all the major policy decisions.
Rent stabilization may seem simple, but as Yonathan Randolph lays out in his recent article, it interacts with a body of legal precedent that reflects what "fair rate of return" a landlord shall receive. What exactly does this mean for rent stabilization programs, and how does this compare to other powers (such as that to tax) to take land rents away from landlords?
What taxes *should* Disney parks owe, and to *whom* (considering that in Florida, they literally *are* the government). And does Disney resemble a NIMBY in how they resist residential equity in their enterprises? These questions are pondered with guest Alan Joyce, Disney Park aficionado.
Ollie Zhu is based out of San Jose, and is active in housing, through the Silicon Valley DSA and beyond. We talk about what it means for tenants to build power, the pitfalls of depending upon non-profits in place of bottom-up organization, the challenges of Silicon Valley's housing situation, and what the left could stand to articulate better about housing.
Max Kapczynski of Palo Alto Forward is back to talk about the eviction process at Palo Alto's President Hotel, but first off: talk about the Cupertino head tax and the Cupertino hyperloop. What is it? Is it a savvy method of bringing Bay Area transit into the 21st century, or is it a ridiculous boondoggle (spoiler: it is a ridiculous boondoggle).
Jordan Grimes is an activist for housing and transporation in San Mateo, where efforts to add housing capacity are often met with hostility from homeowners, who often trace the city's problems to an influx of tech workers. Jordan, though, is a San Matean born and raised. Paul Leone also joins the program to talk about how San Mateo thwarts affordable housing. We talk process and policy, including the extension of Measure P, to set a hard limit on possible density.
We talk Sunnyvale with Richard Mehlinger of Livable Sunnyvale, and Max Kapczynski of Palo Alto Forward. Sunnyvale still has a corn field, which is going to be developed... into single family homes (?!?!?!). We talk why, as well as the history and latest with the evictions of the Blue Bonnet mobile home park, to be turned into relatively low-density townhomes. Who bears the weight of change in Sunnyvale, and why? Too, we talk about the future of expanding tenant protections to Sunnyvale renters through a 12-Month Lease program, and how Catholic social teachings have influenced Richard's thinking.
Gregory Stevens was a pastor at Palo Alto First Baptist until a series of tweets about Palo Alto's failure to actually address its moral failings was shared with City Council, leading to his resignation. He's on to talk about the anarchist, anti-capitalist message of Christ, what it means to actually practice this moral vision, and why Palo Alto isn't doing it.
Glen Weyl is a co-author of a new book dedicated to William Vickrey, embued with the spirit of Henry George, and full of bold ideas to use economic policy in innovative ways to give workers the share they deserve and to bring forward a fairer world. We discuss these policies, including how they overlap and depart from the idea of the original land value tax.
San Jose is one of the few places in the Bay Area that has more housing than jobs. San Jose has a seriously gnarly budget situation. How are these two things related? Asn Ndiaye has plenty to say.
Michael Goldman is a councilperson for Sunnyvale City Council. We recently had an extensive conversation about affordable housing at a Denny's after a council meeting, and are extended it onto the airwaves. It certainly seems that we disagree fundamentally about everything, but after we share ideas, what can we learn? Plenty of talk about urban economics and land markets.
Max Kapczynski of Palo Alto Forward is back, to talk about recent goings-on in Palo Alto. An affordable housing overlay made its way through council, but what does it *really* mean about the housing situation at large. We expand this into a conversation about developers, and how money is made. Some claim they're no different than anybody else offering a service, and some claim that their form of making money is inherently immoral. Who's right?
We talk with Asn Ndiaye about what leftist housing policy means, analyze the PPP Social Housing policy paper that everybody's talking about, and find time to discuss the importance of real estate in Sex and the City.
Paul Leone of the non-profit Midpen Housing Corporation is on to talk about the intricate, complex systems that produce affordable housing today. Max Kapczynski is back, as questions are asked about how to understand how policy impacts the production of affordable housing, and how affordable housing in California can work better.
Chris P. of KZSU talks about the experience of living in an RV in Silicon Valley for 18 months.
SCoPE 2035 (Stanford Coalition for Planning an Equitable 2035) is a group of Stanford Students, trying to influence the way that Stanford does land use, to give housing stability to Stanford students, faculty, staff, and the surrounding community. Cecily Foote and Nani Friedman talk about the organization's goals and progress.
Max Kapczynski is back, and we're talking about Scott Weiner's SB 827, which has created a nearly nuclear amount of buzz. What's it all about? Will it really fix housing? Will it have side effects? And does it have a chance?
Everybody talks about regressive taxes vs progressive taxes, and many are saying that congestion taxes on our roadways would be regressive. Who's right and wrong?
We talk positive and negative visions of the future with the founder of the Foresight Institute, Christine Peterson. The Foresight Institute holds a conference looking forward to future technology and society: Vision Week, held December 2-3, 2017.
What can someone do to make the housing situation better? That's the question we talk about with Max Kapczynski of Palo Alto Forward, fighting the fight for housing reform in the midst of the most ingrained NIMBYism one can possibly find. Perverse incentives, perverse incentives, perverse incentives: we have it all.
In the lead-up to the Fed Chair decision, we talk the policy-ineffectiveness proposition, modern controversies about monetary theory, and nit-pick about inflation.
We talk about 19th century beefs in the Catholic church, the excommunication of Georgist priests, and how modern Catholics view economic principles.
Mark and Jake start off talking about Esperanto for 20 seconds, and then get into a long discussion about the power of idealism, and how central the role of fairness is in popular consciousness.
Kedar gives us the scoop about urban and surburban development in Connecticut, with a focus on Hartford's experiments with Land Value Tax, municipal debt financing, and the millennial rush towards dense urban hubs. Additionally, we fail to deliver useful information about New Haven Pizza.
Diego Aguilar-Canabal (of East Bay Forward) isn't here to talk about housing, but rather the disaster in Puerto Rico, how it has personally affected his family, and the unfair policies that continually works against the US Territory.
A roundtable discussion on how the issue of critical goods (water, food, fuel) is treated after a natural disaster. Is raising prices necessarily immoral? When is rationing necessary? And how can this be tied into theories of value?
Alan Joyce (co-host of Earful of Convoy and Earful of Cocktail) comes on the program to explain the ins and outs of some of the weirder and wilder economic laboratories out there: videogames. How does scarcity in Eve Online resemble real estate bubbles? What does Second Life tell us about marginal land?
We have Matt Krisiloff of YC Research to talk about the Basic Income project, Y Combinator's United Slate (which featured LVT as a plank). Should these be viewed as separate, or two ideas that are fundamentally linked? Also a conversation with Kedar about the technical and moral merits of a UBI versus a Jobs Guarantee.
2012 Nobelist and Stanford professor Alvin Roth has saved lives by designing better markets: clearinghouses to trade kidneys, as well as improved matches in public schools and medical residencies. He joins the show to talk about his life's work and the many lessons we can learn about fixing broken markets.
Steve Omohundro shares plans for creating provably correct protections against AI superintelligence, and thoughts on how human values can be embued into AI. Resource allocation, decentralized cooperation, and discussions on how Blockchain Proofs of Work/Stake can possibly be compatible with basic needs.
Let's head back to the early nineties―Prop 13 was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in an 8-1 decision, and Jack Miller wrote a 66-page barnburner about the injustice in the decision. We have Jack Miller on to talk about the jurisprudence of fair taxes, the importance of Horizontal Equity, and how this all came together in Nordlinger v Hahn.
Victoria Fierce works for (pro-housing) East Bay Forward. Victoria Fierce is a member of (pro-economic-justice) DSA. This has led to an undue amount of drama. Does this have to be so? Why can't socialists and YIMBYs get along?
Katy Tang represents the Sunset on the SF Board of Supervisors, and has led Home-SF, which works to end displacement while still building more units, by tying affordability to upzoning incentives. We talk about ending zero-sum thinking.
James K. Galbraith has produced a deep catalogue of books; in his recent "Inequality: What Everyone Needs to Know", he touches on the land value tax. We talk about that and much more.
Jeff Andrade-Fong works with Tech for Housing to bring attention to tech workers about how housing policy affects them, and what they can do. Josh Vincent advises land policy on a city-by-city basis using open data and more. Changing policy is hard, but we talk about what people can do about it.
We talk to James Howard Kunstler, who has long been a voice railing against the ugliness of modern sprawl and its attendant psychic torment. How does a land tax offer a possible answer to this tragedy?
Last November, Berkeley passed Measure U1, nicknamed the "Landlord Tax." It increased the tax rate for landlords of five or more rental units. Behind the bill was Stephen Barton, who's been working for affordable housing for decades. On the side, he's been writing about the Georgist history of Berkeley's leadership.
Tomas Piketty showed that accumulation of capital was driving modern inequality. But then a young economics student showed how scarcity of housing explains Piketty's phenomenon, not accumulation. We're joined by Professor Nic Tideman of Virginia Tech, to discuss Matthew Rognlie's influential paper.
Kedar is back to talk about mobility. We have depressed economies and cities with excess demand. Why?
Corey Smith of the San Francisco Housing Action Coalition talks about the policies and the politics to get the housing supply up to 5,000 units a year. All your favorites are here: CEQA and Prop 13. Some talk about the limits of empathy: are our land-use policies making us meaner?
We featured the libertarian transhumanist perspective of Zoltan Istvan a few weeks ago. Today, James Hughes, who couples a concern for transhumanism with a progressive attitude and a focus on economic justice.
Kedar and Mark have a conversation about Georgism, Prop 13, and why this all matters.
Zoltan Istvan ran for President on the Transhumanist party, and is now running for California Governor as a Libertarian. He proposes a Universal Basic Income, funded by the leasing of federal lands. How does this compare to the Georgist ideal of a citizen's dividend funded by land rents?
Mark Mollineaux, Jacob Schwartz-Lucas, and Edward Miller discuss the land-use policies of Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and more. How responsible is municipal ownership to land to the world-class infrastructure and vibrant economies of these cities?