‘Community Character’ Concerns Are a Veil – a Thin One [Al Abdallah, COO, Urban League of San Diego County/Voice of San Diego]
[Groups] behind the most recent efforts to ostensibly protect “community character” – like those in Kensington, Talmadge, and El Cerrito – have something obvious in common. These are the same communities that used redlining to shut out families of color decades ago.
A middle-class that relies on increasing property values as a means to fund their kids’ university tuition, their own retirements, and the next generation’s down-payments sows the seeds of its own destruction. Far from guaranteeing you kids’ security, a focus on asset appreciation dooms them to precarity and penury.
America’s strategy of tying personal wealth to housing — owning your own home as the foundation of personal prosperity and comfortable retirement — is a long con, trapping millions in poverty. These millions include much of the Millennial generation and Gen Z, who are just never going to own their own homes, and therefore will always struggle financially.
When we see the cost of food and healthcare go up, we know that’s bad news, because we know that food and healthcare are essentials and human rights. But when the cost of housing goes up, we cheer, because that means our homes are more valuable. And yet housing is an equally essential human right.
We need to separate personal wealth from housing. I don’t know how to do that short of violent revolution. And no I do not consider violent revolution to be an acceptable answer.