California NIMBYs don’t love their children

California nimbys prevent the construction of housing needed for the next generation of Californians.

nimby-loveLast month I wrote about how American Dream equates with home ownership, and the California Dream resembles the exclusionary policies of the landed gentry of Elizabethan England. Like the working classes of Elizabethan England, the working class in California is doomed to rent from the landed gentry — the antithesis of the American Dream of homeownership.

Besides the death of the American Dream and the creation of a permanent underclass of transitory renters, the California model of the neo-landed-gentry disturbingly excludes our children from the homeownership club, sentencing many of them to this new renting underclass.

It’s apparent that the people responsible for this mess, California Nimbys, don’t love their own children. Why else would they sentence them to live such unsatisfactory lives?

California’s Gentrification

The landed gentry system of Elizabethan England functioned by the principal of Primogeniture, the eldest son inherits. Breaking an estate up between multiple children rendered it incapable of supporting one powerful family, so the eldest son got everything, and the other siblings got much less, sometimes nothing at all. The eldest son would inherit the estate and enter politics, the second son would join the army, the third son would go into law, and the fourth son would join the church.


California homeowners only have one primary residence, so upon the death of the homeowner, only the family of one adult child would realistically live in it, creating the same problem of indivisibility that the landed gentry contended with years ago. While each family devises a unique solution to this problem today, in the end, only one of the siblings can live in the house, and the others can’t. And since California Nimbys prevent enough new homes from being built to accommodate our domestic birth rate, many children will not find another house in the state, some do find a child sponsorship.

Nimbys won’t permit the construction of their own children’s housing. Does that sound loving to you? Wouldn’t a loving parent want their own children to enjoy the opportunity to live nearby?

I recently spoke with a colleague about this. He has four children in a very close-knit family. When I told him it’s very likely that two or more of his children will need to leave the state due to lack of housing, he was incensed — and rightfully so. If his children wish to remain in the area, he wants them to have that opportunity. Unfortunately, the attitudes and voting patterns of his neighbors render that possibility increasingly unlikely.

Making California housing affordable again will require new laws, more avenues to build


How can California increase the number of homes that people can afford? …

California rapidly is becoming a state where renters, not homebuyers, are in the majority.

Joel Singer, the association’s longtime chief executive, spelled out two stark facts threatening the Golden State: California ranks 49th in the nation in homeownership rates. And 50th in affordability rates.

Where are our children going to live?” Singer asked.

Obviously, our children will live somewhere other than California — thanks to the nimbys.


Californians fleeing high state’s high cost of housing

By KEVIN SMITH, Nov. 14, 2016

California’s warm weather, sunny beaches and world-class schools have lured people to the Golden State for decades, but rising home prices are turning that equation around.

Data analysis firm CoreLogic says that for every home buyer coming into California, another three are selling theirs homes, packing up and moving out, CNN Money reported recently.

The trend of out-migration was also noted in a separte trio of reports released earlier this year by Beacon Economics. Beacon noted that 625,000 more U.S. residents left California between 2007 and 2014 than moved into the state. The vast majority ended up in Texas, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona and Washington.

That’s 625,000 of our children who were pushed out of the state due to high housing costs.

Fifteen years ago, my wife joined an internet group of mothers who had children born the same month as my son. We met two of the families that lived in California. One of them was a working-class family from Ojai that moved to Nevada because it was hopeless for them to ever own a house in the Santa Barbara area on a working-class family income. Another family we knew from Costa Mesa moved to Florida for the same reason.

I imagine all of you know families, perhaps even your own siblings, that moved out of state because we didn’t build enough houses to accommodate them.nimby-party

The search for more affordable housing is sending low and middle-income workers out of the state, while higher-wage workers continue to move in, which argues against the theory that high taxes are driving people away.

“California has an employment boom with a housing problem,” said Beacon founding partner Christopher Thornberg. “The state continues to offer great employment opportunities for all kinds of workers, but housing affordability and supply represent a significant problem.”

If an economy produces 100 jobs and 80 houses, house prices will reflect the buying power of the top 80 wage earners, and the 20 lowest wage earners would be permanently excluded from homeownership. The lowest wage earners who can afford a house will own the least desirable properties available on the market — and they will feel thankful they own anything at all.

What would happen if an economy produces 100 jobs and only 20 houses? We would see high wage earners living in houses typically occupied by the working class or retirees, which is exactly what’s happening in Silicon Valley.

Teslas in the Trailer Park: A California City Faces Its Housing Squeeze


Rebecca and Steven Callister, a couple in their late 20s who live in a double-wide trailer in a Mountain View mobile home park whose residents are retirees and young tech workers.

Mr. Callister is an engineer at LinkedIn, the sort of worker who, in most places, would own a home. But given the cost of housing in Mountain View and the brutal commute times from anywhere they could afford, a trailer makes the most sense and lets him spend more time with the couple’s two young children.

We joke that it’s the only mobile home park with Mercedeses and Teslas in the driveway,” Mrs. Callister said. “It’s like the new middle class in California.”


The next time you hear a nimby spout off about the bad traffic or the changing character of their beloved city, remember that they perpetuate and exacerbate a problem forcing your children to leave the state. While many of us may agree that traffic is bad and getting worse, we should all remember that our friends, parents, brothers, sisters, and children generate that traffic, and if we want our family and friends around, we should permit the construction of sufficient housing to accommodate them.

We don’t want to face the unpleasant alternatives.