Sacramento Bee columnist Erika D. Smith makes a legitimate point: Housing costs are so outrageous in San Francisco that workers there are fleeing to cities in the Central Valley and, in turn, raising rent and housing prices here.
Now, she writes, “it seems Sacramento is cruising at top-speed toward peak San Franciscification.
“What’s that, you ask? It’s the point at which gentrification becomes so advanced and so unavoidable that it will completely change the way we lowly Sacramentans live.”
But then she can’t resist using the cheapest trick in a columnist’s laptop: Taking a shot at some place perceived by the writer as a cultural backwater.
Continues Smith: “Those of us who haven’t bought homes will have no choice but to move to Fresno – or Texas, which is pretty much the same thing.”
And whom, exactly, does Smith blame for the skyrocketing housing costs in her beloved River City?
“My landlord, like so many other landlords and property managers across the city and the county, are clearly testing the upper end of the market, trying to find the ceiling. The problem is, they’re not finding one.
“For this, I blame the Bay Area transplants who haven’t done any research. Get it together. Ask questions. There are neighborhoods other than midtown (Sacramento) – and the prices are very different. Stop paying thousands upon thousands of dollars for rent just because you think it’s a bargain.
“If not, you’ll just keep making Sacramento more untenable for all of us. And, more importantly, you’ll be moving us closer to San Franciscification and recreating the situation you just left in the Bay Area. Do better.”
Rather than blame people who are simply seeking more affordable places to live, she should finger the actual culprit. That would be a Democratic Party dominated Legislature that ignored California’s housing crisis until this year’s session and then passed three “affordable housing” bills that amount to a gnat on an elephant’s backside.
A May 2017 report from the California Center for Jobs & the Economy stated the following:
“Drawing from a series of public, academic, and construction industry sources and based on 2016 data, requiring builders to pay government-determined prevailing wage rates would raise the median price of a new home by $42,900 to $79,000, the price of a unit in a new multi-family development by $47,000 to $86,500, and the monthly rent for those units by $250 to $460.”
Instead of taking swipes at Fresno and Texas, or Bay Area commuters — which is neither imaginative nor original — Smith should have focused on the causes of California’s housing crisis: A shortage of housing, over-regulation and union-friendly legislation that artificially raises construction costs.
— Written by Bill McEwen