Matthew Lickona 7 a.m., April 24
- Community Blog
- I've Got Issues
California Cap and Trade Doles out Billions to Land and Housing Developers
I will start by saying I am a huge environmentalist and support aggressive targeted action to protect our environmental resources but California Cap and Trade Law does the exact opposite. It doles out billions of dollars it collects to reduce greenhouse emissions to housing developers to develop land. The reason you don't hear any opposition from the Building Industry or the Chamber of Commerce is because this program is an absolute WINDFALL for housing developers. They love affordable housing because they are paid more than market price to build low quality projects. And the best part is there is no accountability for either the quality of the project or the money they are given.
I had a sneaking suspicion that the $50 billion to $100 billion for state discretionary spending generated by the bill would be given to what else...AFFORDABLE HOUSING!!! Because we all know affordable housing has everything to do with greenhouse gases right? The bill will generate $6.25 billion to $12.5 billion per year from 2012 to 2020.
Cap and Trade is a program authorized in 2010 under Assembly Bill 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. AB 32 requires excessive air polluters to buy emission permits in an auction from those industries and utilities that pollute less than their pollution quota.
So of course development friendly legislators have already come up with an array of bills to spend the estimated $50 to $100 billion windfall.
Senate Bill 535, sponsored by State Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, would spend Cap and Trade money building affordable housing, hospitals and schools. (Good news for developers---note it will all be used for affordable housing -- schools and hospitals require a high degree of construction quality and accountability developers hate.)
AB 2404, the Local Emissions Reduction Fund, sponsored by Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes. D-Arleta, spend Cap and Trade monies on Strategic Growth.
There is the magic phrase "smart growth"....it means high density development that developers want anyway because it allows them to maximize profits. They just got you (since you will in the end be paying these fees) to pay for THEIR very profitable projects.
What is the Strategic Growth Council?
The Strategic Growth Council was authorized under Senate Bill 732 in 2008, sponsored by State Sen. Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento gets to use money to: “increase the availability of affordable housing, encourage greater infill and compact development, revitalize community and urban centers, and assist state and local entities in the planning of sustainable communities.”
Since when does "smart growth" have anything to do with the cost of housing? And if these people genuinely care that people cannot afford housing then turn this money into vouchers.
Good God, this program would make George Orwell turn in his grave. Housing development is the BIGGEST threat to the environment so the idea that funds intended to protect the environment will be used to develop land and demolish existing buildings (incidentally 40% of landfill waste is building debris from building demolition) is absolutely assinine!!!
And if anyone needs a refresher on what a disaster Affordable Housing slush funds have been look no further than this example:
LA affordable housing developer ADI is currently being investigated for stealing $250 million dollars from tax payers and putting much of it into an offshore bank account. Additionally they used the money to bribe many public officials. The fraud was not discovered by anyone working for the city. It was only discovered because the developer was getting a divorce and a bitter ex-wife turned him in. I mean this is a MAJOR case of fraud and the media is completely silent about it and we are going to give these guys more tax money and sell off our parks to pay for it? "Los Angeles claims ADI, Ajit Development & Investment, Pacific Housing Diversified, and six people, including the companies' shareholders, officers, directors, agents and employees, profited from the RICO conspiracy for years, fraudulently getting money and loans from the city's Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF), which includes state and federal money for development of affordable housing." http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/04/25/36066.htm How many more of these stories have yet to be discovered?
Please voice opposition to any money from Cap and Trade being allocated to developers!