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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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The housing challenge facing California dims future prospects

Uploaded: Dec 18, 2018
Two major stories reported last week nicely layout the challenge California faces.
After a nearly 20-year approval process, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors last week approved The Centennial Project on Tejon Ranch. It’s a new city of 19,000 homes and 70,000 residents located on the sprawling ranch. You can see it as you climb up the Grapevine on Interstate 5 near Lebec on the eastside. It’s about 70 miles from downtown Los Angeles and about 40 miles south of Bakersfield.
Meanwhile, CalMatters reported on Public Policy Institute of California poll that demonstrated how the middle class continues to shrink and the state is becoming one of “haves” and “have nots.” Lowlights:
• Fifty percent of adults predict children growing up today will be worse off financially than their parents.
• Two-thirds said the state was divided into “haves and have nots.”
• Forty-five percent said they are “have nots” that includes 56 percent of Black respondents, 61 percent of Latinos and 58 percent of those with only a high school education.
Another survey reported that white Californians are nearly twice as likely to own a home as black Californians.
The surveys explain why California is seeing an exodus of younger people seeking a location where they can buy a home. The state has a huge shortfall in housing and has had for decades. It’s particularly acute in areas of high job growth such as Silicon Valley, the Peninsula and San Francisco to say nothing of the Los Angeles basin.
That’s why you see residential growth way east from the coastal cities here and in the LA area.
The capper is Centennial, which certainly will have local retailers plus there’s the Outlets at Tejon, huge collection at outlet stores at the foot of the Grapevine to take care of other needs. The key question is where people will work and what that commute will look like. Having driven I-5 to LA for decades, I can remember when Saugus and Santa Clarita were small towns—now the one city is 210,000 people and there’s housing developments climbing up the Grapevine.
Environmentalists naturally screamed about the project and argued both sprawl and the danger of wildfires. Proponents pointed out that the community will be built in an open valley and to the current building codes so there will be less of a wild land/housing interface. The area is considered a high fire danger region.
Given its long history, there almost certainly will be law suits, but it’s notable that it passed both the supervisors and the planning commission by 4-1 votes.

Stanford Health Care—ValleyCare will have big shoes to fill next year after President Scott Gregerson steps down from his position.
Gregerson led ValleyCare through a very challenging season when the organization was in danger of defaulting on its bond covenants because of its poor financial performance. He replaced long-time CEO Marcy Feit and moved immediately to shore up the finances by cutting costs, particularly in the executive suite.
Working closely with board chair John Sensiba, they invited proposals that led to the acquisition by Stanford and the current organization. The Stanford affiliation resulted in a major capital infusion to update and upgrade equipment that ValleyCare previously could not afford.
He’s said stopping away from the demanding job to spend more time with his young children. Here’s wishing him well. He deserves a big thank you from Tri-Valley residents for his efforts at ValleyCare.
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