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June 8th: How many homes did California build in the ‘60s?

June 8, 2024

In this Bear Essentials we highlight one of our amazing partners: Sonia Campos-Rivera, Senior Vice President of Public Policy at UNITE-LA. Keep reading to learn more about her thoughts on California and her organization’s work. Also today:

  • Elder millennials are buying homes in SF - but that’s not the whole story
  • Big companies are loving California
  • Homelessness in California has a depressing growing demographic;

But first…

A HAPPY ENDING?!?

Like Halley's Comet and simultaneous cicada brood emergence, common sense occasionally prevails in California. In this case, the dalliance with sanity comes at the hands of the California Supreme Court, which issued a decisive ruling this week to allow the University of California to move forward with its plans to develop student housing on the UC-owned parcel known as People's Park. In its ruling, the court reversed a prior appellate decision favoring CEQA-wielding neighborhood activists who claimed (apparently with straight faces) that students are "pollution" because they are noisy. However, new legislation — Assembly Bill 1307 — clarified that noise from residents does not constitute a significant environmental impact under CEQA and exempted such housing projects from needing alternative site analysis. Consequently, the Supreme Court concluded that the EIR was not deficient and directed the lower court to enter judgment in favor of the UC Regents. But what about the project itself? Well, it will generate 1,100 student beds and about 100 supportive beds for formerly homeless residents. It's a good start, but still a drop in the bucket for a university that currently houses only 20% of its students, amounting to the least student housing of all campuses in the system.

READ THE DECISION

🤫 Everything you should know

- A stat we love to see: In SF, nearly 38 percent of new mortgages issued in 2023 went to older millennials between the ages of 35 and 44. “It's the biggest share of mortgages taken by older millennials in 2023 out of all the 50 most populous metropolitan areas” analyzed by Redfin. Homeownership is a pathway to generational wealth and numbers showing older millennial California's busting into homeownership is positive, right? Well, the article compares new mortgages taken out by millennials in other cities – like Cleveland, Ohio (23.4 percent), Detroit, Michigan (23.4 percent), Cincinnati, Ohio (23.7 percent) – and makes the claim that SF’s high millennial metric is because in other, more affordable cities this demographic has already purchased homes unlike in the Bay Area where stock is expensive so the rationale is that it takes millennials till they’re in the latter half of their 30s and early 40s to save up the funds necessary to purchase. Newsweek

- For the first time since 2014, California has more Fortune 500 companies than Texas and New York. Our state is now home to 57 companies. Texas and New York, which both tied for second, have 52 companies each. After the news came out we haven’t heard a peep from the same people that were positing #CaliforniaExodus. Here’s the thing, California has everything a Fortune 500 company is looking for, world class cities, a highly-trained and motivated workforce, social policies that aren’t draconian and weird, and unrivaled access to the rest of the Pacific Rim. If you ask us, stemming the “exodus” isn’t enough; it’s time to go on the offensive and start drawing back some of the California companies we’ve lost. Fortune

- A growing percentage of homeless people in California are a surprising demographic: the elderly. By 2040, nearly one in every four residents will be 65 or older. But this was preventable: a survey showed that only an extra $300 to $500 a month would have prevented two thirds of them from becoming homeless. Additionally 89 percent said a permanent rental subsidy or voucher would have kept them housed. The researchers behind the newly released data advocate for building more affordable housing and boosting mental health and addiction services. Do these policies sound familiar? They should - it is what the NCC has been advocating since its founding. Mercury News

NCC Partner Feature

In today’s feature, we are thrilled to have Sonia Campos-Rivera, Senior Vice President of Public Policy at UNITE-LA, for a deep dive into her work focused on uplifting young Angelenos and promoting economic mobility. We’re honored to have UNITE-LA as an NCC partner as they provide economic opportunities for students and their families, guiding them from the cradle all the way through their careers.

What do you love most about California?

What sets California apart is the spirit of collaboration and creativity that permeates throughout the state. We are a community that acknowledges our shortcomings and is committed to addressing them collectively. This sense of unity is palpable, whether I'm connecting with colleagues in San Francisco or discussing state-wide challenges that impact us all. Together, we strive to innovate and integrate solutions that not only support our business community but also contribute to the sustainable growth of our economy.

In California, we encourage creative thinking and proactive engagement in tackling some of our toughest challenges. It’s this forward-thinking approach that fuels our collective efforts to enhance the state's economic landscape and ensure a prosperous future for all.

What advice do you have for Californians struggling to succeed and considering moving out of state?

It's undeniable that many Californians, including middle to upper-income Latinos, face significant challenges, particularly with affordability issues driving families out of state. If I had a magic wand, I’d say: Patience. There’s a collective effort among many of us to address these challenges head-on and find solutions that ensure California remains the Golden State many of us desire to remain in. However, the pressing nature of these issues often makes it difficult for families who need immediate resolutions, especially when considering their children’s futures.

I want to see things like housing and childcare, for example, be more accessible to Californians to strengthen our workforce. Businesses thrive when employees are not burdened by inaccessible childcare or unaffordable housing. Californians need to know that they are not alone in this and that there are concerted efforts underway to improve their quality of life, ensuring that California remains a desirable place to live.

Are you optimistic about California's future?

I'm absolutely optimistic about California's future. Despite the challenges we face, there is clear evidence of progress. Our per pupil investments have increased, graduation rates have improved, and our strategic investments in high-wage, high-growth sectors like healthcare and clean technology demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive and equitable future for all individuals.

Collaboration between businesses, community leaders, and advocacy groups continues to drive positive changes. My optimism is grounded not just in hope but in concrete actions and plans that are shaping a promising path forward for our state. We've seen tough times, like the Great Recession of 2008 to 2014, and we've also seen periods of recovery and surplus. Being strategic and fostering equitable opportunities remain pivotal as we move forward.

How is UNITE-LA working to advance equitable economic mobility for a diverse and rising Latino workforce in LA?

UNITE-LA is deeply committed to fostering opportunities that allow our youth, particularly in the Latino community, to thrive. Our approach is systemic; we strive to ensure our services are seamlessly aligned and supportive of our students’ needs

A key focus area for us is early education, recognizing the vital role teachers play as 'brain architects' for young dual language or English language learners. Despite their significant responsibilities, early childhood educators receive minimal compensation, which barely covers basic living expenses, pushing them to depend on social safety nets. We need better infrastructure for educating our children and compensating educators – because it will benefit our economy as a whole.

UNITE-LA is also actively involved in sectors like clean tech and healthcare, implementing programs with an equity lens to ensure that state resources expand opportunities effectively. We aim to connect these high-growth areas with our communities, making sure that even high school students are aware of and prepared for these opportunities.

What should the business sector do to prepare, support, and absorb the future workforce?

UNITE-LA’s approach to engaging business partners involves a three-pronged strategy: policy, programs, and systems. This framework enables us to effectively collaborate with businesses on critical regional issues through advocacy, investment and internship opportunities that address immediate and long-term needs of the community.

By focusing on these strategies, businesses can significantly contribute to building a robust workforce, prepared for the challenges and opportunities ahead, ensuring that California remains a thriving state for all its residents. UNITE-LA is proud to serve as an intermediary between business and education leaders to ensure a channel of communications exists between both to help each understand how to prepare and support our students for a 21st century economy.

🧑‍⚖️‍📝PAGA Reform Polling Data

Featured in Politico this week and on the tops of many California business owners’ minds is new polling on PAGA reform. The 2004 Private Attorneys General Act allows workers to sue employers on behalf of the state and their colleagues. In practice, it’s gone off the rails. Lawyers take home huge settlements, workers are left with a pittance, and businesses operate in fear of constant lawsuits. EMC research conducted a poll to see what voters think and, in the vacuum of a survey with some persuasive statements, the majority agree PAGA needs to change to better serve California workers and businesses. Sixty-eight percent of respondents agree with the statement that “Small businesses, nonprofits and other California businesses are under constant threat of shakedown lawsuits by trial lawyers over small labor code technicalities. This proposal will protect small businesses from frivolous lawsuits while also making sure employees continue to have strong labor protections.” As organizations take on PAGA reform, this latest data will help inform their arguments.

🌲Big Sur > Monaco

A Monegasque billionaire has struck a deal with local authorities to grant public access to once off-limits areas of Big Sur. We always love to hear new corners of the state are available to be enjoyed by Californians. Los Angeles Times

🏠 How many homes did California build in the ‘60s?

When you’re crushed under the weight of regulations and local barriers to building housing, it gets really hard to stand up new homes and the numbers prove it. Dan Dunmoyer, CEO of the California Building Industry Association, highlighted that in 1963 California built 331,000 and in 2023, we built just 120,000 - a nearly 64% decrease.