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Today's Read: It's Time to Take CEQA Reform Seriously

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Content courtesy of Borre Winckel and the Voice of San Diego

Regulations in California have something of a dubious (and occasionally comical) reputation within the state and throughout the country. California is a state notoriously draped in red tape, complicating just about everything imaginable. After all, it was just last year that we were debating whether your morning coffee needed to come with a cancer warning. Unfortunately, some of the red tape in our state is misused to a much graver and more dangerous extent, putting low-income residents and entire sectors of the economy at risk.

Nowhere is this more plainly visible than in the weaponization of the California Environmental Quality Act, known more commonly as CEQA. Originally written with the noble intention of ensuring that new development projects around California were undertaken in an environmentally responsible manner, it has since become a blunt-force bit of regulation used to put permanent holds on important housing and development projects throughout the state. Instead of protecting the environment, CEQA is now often misused to freeze a critical sector of our economy and keep our courts full.

California's housing prices have been impossibly high for some time, and they continue to rise. State residents are having a tough time finding an affordable place to live, and in one study conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California, 35 percent of respondents said they are considering moving out of state altogether because of how expensive it has become to live here. California has long been a place where people dream of living, and we should not let housing prices get in their way.

Read more here