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Roundtable: San Diego’s New YIMBY Mayor

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer gestures during his fifth State of the City a...

Photo by Kris Arciaga

Above: San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer gestures during his fifth State of the City address, Jan. 15, 2019.

GUESTS:

Andrew Bowen, KPBS News

Amita Sharma, KPBS News

Rob Nikolewski, San Diego Union-Tribune

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Transcript

Faulconer Says YES To More And Denser Housing

San Diego political types were all a-Twitter about Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s State of the City speech on Tuesday.

The line that sent people to their Twitter accounts was his assertion that the city must change its attitude on new housing from its “not in my backyard” mentality to the opposite — from NIMBY to YIMBY.

For new housing developments, he will ask the City Council to scrap building height limits near public transit, slash parking requirements, allow “unlimited density” for projects that include affordable housing, and overhaul city bureaucracy to streamline the approval process.

RELATED: What To Listen For In Mayor Faulconer’s State Of The City Address

Rent Control Not Dead Yet

Proposition 10, which would have tossed out the state's ability to limit cities' and counties' rent control laws, failed in November.

The basic idea, however, is still alive.

A continuing and severe statewide housing shortage has some prominent California politicians advocating a ceiling on the amount landlords can raise rent.

Championed by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, among others, a proposed state law would resemble California's current anti-gouging law, which limits what businesses can charge during natural disasters.

More than half of California renters pay more than one-third of their income on housing. A third pay more than half their income.

RELATED: Could Anti-Price Gouging Laws Slow Rising Rents?

RELATED: What Can Tenants Do When Rent Jumps?

PG&E To Declare Bankruptcy

Pacific Gas and Electric, the state’s largest investor-owned utility, will declare bankruptcy days from now, its second in 19 years.

Facing an estimated $30 billion in liability from last year’s deadly wildfires, the utility will throw in the towel at the end of this month.

In recent years California has suffered wildfires that are larger, more destructive and deadlier than ever before. The 2018 Camp Fire, which killed 86 people, was linked to PG&E’s equipment, as were several more wildfires in 2017.

There are multiple lawsuits against PG&E arising from the 2018 fires, but the utilitty says climate change and back country development are also culprits.

The California Public Utilities Commission is responsible for the safety of utilities’ customers. It has been heavily criticized for fostering cozy relationships with the utilities they are supposed to regulate.

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