Candidate Survey: Special Election

In anticipation of the April 3rd Special Election, SCANPH asked candidates to share their perspective on addressing the housing and homelessness crises. We received responses from the following candidates:

Jeff Bornstein, Democrat
Assembly District 45

#1 What do you see as the number one deterrent preventing the state from addressing the housing crisis in California?
    There is a haphazard manner in which development and housing has been addressed. There needs to be incentives for cities and towns to offer new housing, but the incentives should be for those developers who incorporate affordable housing. In other words, housing in apartment buildings should include a certain percentage deemed affordable. Also, incentives for single family home development should receive assistance if those homes are for those in a middle or working class priced level, not for the super wealthy. Development must be limited to continue open space and not price out long-time residents due to gentrification.
#2 What are the ideas and/or tactics you would like LA County to pursue to address and prevent homelessness?
    All bond money for propositions H and HHH must be distributed to help prevent homelessness and house those permanently who are homeless. More shelters are needed, but also more affordable housing. Evictions cause homelessness, and I support the repeal of both Costa-Hawkins and the Ellis Act so those who fear being priced out will not lose their homes, and not fear their apartment being taken of the market and turned into condos. Anything that ensures continued rent control is needed. Also, I want to assist those who are mentally ill get whatever help they need, and those who are addicted should also receive treatment and not be criminalized. Those who are cited for sleeping on the street or in cars should receive resources and assistance instead of being treated as criminals. 
#3 What will you do to increase the state’s investment into affordable housing?
    I would eliminate costly boondoggles like the bullet train, and put that money into both affordable housing and also programs like a single payer health care system. I would ensure that every budget passed grants more and sufficient money to help build and encourage affordable housing. I would tax the super wealthy and corporations more to help pay for affordable housing. Finally, I support state bonds to help create and fund affordable housing, as long as the money goes to it directly, and is not wasted on bureaucratic red tape. 
#4 What is the state’s responsibility in facilitating land use policies at the local level?
    The state should encourage affordable housing and sensible development. However, I oppose a one size fits all policy dictated from Sacramento. I believe that the local governments should have first say on how housing and development should occur. If these policies at the local level neglect or are insufficient in facilitating more affordable, than Sacramento may need to intervene, along with the judicial system to ensure that housing is not geared just to the wealthy. 
#5 If given the opportunity to have a supportive housing project in your district, what would you do if there are constituents in opposition? How would you proceed?
    I would have a dialogue with my opponents to find common ground. However, supportive housing is paramount, and I will proceed despite any opposition. I will stand firm, and have newsletters, town hall meetings, and use the bully pulpit from my office to lobby my constituents to support needed and necessary housing projects. I am not running for office to be universally liked, but to do the right thing to meet the needs of my constituents, whether they voted for me or not. 

Tricia Robbins Kasson, Democrat
Assembly District 45

1.  What do you see as the number one deterrent preventing the state from addressing the housing crisis in California? 
Neighborhood opposition, including abuse of CEQA. 

2.  What are the ideas and/or tactics you would like LA County to pursue to address and prevent homelessness? 
Passage of the homeless housing bonds was a start. But we have to guard against creating homeless housing “encampments” – whole neighborhoods populated by formerly homeless people living in “affordable” housing. There are multiple reasons for homelessness and each of them have multiple solutions. There are the chronically poor and those who fall into poverty because of the loss of a job, medical debt, the cost of housing, or other causes. Temporary housing, jobs and job training are part of the answer for them. The mentally ill need housing with wrap-around support services. Those who are homeless because of drug issues, present a different set of challenges. What unifies each of these is the need for more housing units. As long as we have a housing shortage, costs of housing will continue to rise and more and more people will be excluded from the housing market.  

3.  What will you do to increase the state's investment into affordable housing?
I think the issue is one of available housing, more than of affordable housing. Once again, it is the shortage of available housing that drives up the cost of housing. My degree in urban planning and economic development, and the years I have spent working this the field, gives me the perspective to be effective on housing issues in the legislature. We must attack the issue from two sides: 1) create more housing, and 2) create the jobs and train the workers who can earn a living and afford to buy or rent housings. 

4.    What is the state’s responsibility in facilitating land use policies at the local level? 
The state can offer economic incentives for local government to enact such things as density zones near mass transit stations. The state also could offer financial incentives for local government to reduce the homeless population through construction of new housing, enactment of job training and vocational education programs, and mental health programs. But it is long held tradition and a matter of law that land use is a local issue in California. The state can influence local decisions and incentivize certain actions, but I would be cautious about allowing the state to coopt the issues. 
5.    If given the opportunity to have a supportive housing project in your district, what would you do if there are constituents in opposition? How would you proceed?
I already have faced these kinds of issues and had success in resolving them. As Economic Development Director in the office of L.A. City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, I have worked closely with local residents and business leaders to reach common ground on projects. I am the lead staff person on the Reseda Rising program, which is reviving a depressed neighborhood with recreational, commercial and affordable senior housing. Before joining Councilmember Blumenfield’s staff, I was a planning associate at Rosenheim & Associates, land use consultant. I worked with the Warner Center Association to complete the 2035 Specific Plan, which includes commercial and residential elements.   


Patrea Patrick, Democrat
Assembly District 39

What is your definition of affordable housing? How do you propose to increase the affordable housing stock/inclusionary zoning? What do you propose to do to curb evictions? What actions have you taken so far to help fix the current housing and affordability crisis? Do you support the repeal of Costa- Hawkins?
a) Affordable housing is a dignified, safe, and clean property that any American would feel comfortable living in.
b) My plan is to work with the city to open up some of the 8000 lots they are sitting on: To work with the city to release land to projects for affordable housing and to work with the state to end the problem. The responsibility lies within the state to implement the policies and achieve the goals and objectives of affordable housing through the administration of land use and development restraints. It's the states responsibility to oversee that this HHH bill, 1.3 billion, is spent wisely, every dime accounted for. It must not be done in a superficial manner. As with many City projects the public unknowingly overpays contractors. Voter's trust is at an all-time low because politicians are not insisting on realistic bids from contractors so projected cost are never honest. We need the city and state to work like a well oiled machine. There are great working models to show as examples of how this has worked in other states. How is California to compete in a global market place when we aren't even able to address this local problem?
c) To curb evictions we must use rent control. There is a growing population of elderly
and jobless that face eviction, but there is also a shortage of housing. Until there is enough Affordable housing we really have a problem on our hands. We must take it to the voters in November. Affordable housing and homeless is one of my big issues. I have been working with Starting Human in getting the city to work with the state in solving this crisis. I do support 'repeal of Costa-Hawkins'

Jeannette BrownComment