A dark side to the California dream: How the state Constitution makes affordable housing hard to build–should we undo Article 34?

3 Feb

A dark side to the California dream: How the state Constitution makes affordable housing hard to build

A dark side to the California dream: How the state Constitution makes affordable housing hard to build

 “A 1951 hearing on public housing in Los Angeles. A year prior, Californians added to the state constitution a requirement for voter approval before the building of public housing, a provision that still exists. (Los Angeles Examiner/USC Libraries/Corbis via Getty Images)”

“In 1950, Californians voted to put a provision in the state Constitution that makes it harder for poor people to find a place to live.

Article 34, which remains in effect, requires voter approval before public housing is built in a community. At the time it passed, the real estate industry argued taxpayers should have a right to vote on low-income housing projects because they were publicly funded infrastructure similar to schools or roads. The campaign also appealed to racist fears about integrating neighborhoods and featured heated rhetoric about the need to combat socialism……”

I’d love to know what you think of this article in today’s LA Times? Do you think that article 34 should be repealed? And if so, do you think that finally, the time is right?

I was born in 1953, three years after this provision was passed. I was raised in Yorba Linda, CA a predominately all white community with large lots and no zoning for multifamily units. I grew up oblivious of what was going on outside of my Orange County world. I’m so grateful for the chance today to live in  Pasadena, a mixed income and a racially mixed community. But every day I can see the long shadows of consequences of policies like Article 34.

Jill Shook, Executive Director of Making Housing and Community Happen.

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