(To the board of trustees) Yuba City Unified School teachers and staff have a problem they deal with every single day they’re working. The problem is delivering a first class education to children from poor and nearly poor families. The pandemic has only accentuated the problem. These are kids that are living in substandard housing, in overcrowded housing or in many cases no housing.

California is in the midst of a housing shortage or epic proportions. That shortage has driven California home prices to be the 2nd highest in the nation. Our median home price is now fully $400,000 higher than the national median home price! Prices in Sutter County are more than $100,000 higher than the national median home price yet our median family income is 13% lower than the national average.

The cause of this problem has been reported on by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the California Legislative Analyst and a host of others. To summarize, high housing costs, where we see them, are the result of restrictive government codes and high government fees. Labor and material costs are an almost insignificant part of the reason our costs are higher than the rest of the nation.

California has pursued a 30 plus year policy of blaming builders for growth. It’s a crazy notion that ignores the facts but it justified charging builders impact fees for the growth they were supposedly causing. Of course, the problem is population growth. There were about 175,000 more births than deaths in California in 2019. That number is down substantially from 30 years ago when births commonly exceeded deaths by 250,000 or more. We have a need for more housing and more commercial building. That’s because a growing population needs more places to live, work and shop. Schools, for their part, have been willing participants in this blame game. It’s given them an easy route for raising revenue.

You have the power to make the shortage of housing and high paying jobs worse by increasing fees on residential and commercial building. I’m urging you to resist that temptation.

P.S. As a matter of full disclosure, I am the broker of record for Interwest Homes Corporation. Having said that, I would also tell you that any compensation I receive from Interwest pales in comparison to the appreciation in value that my wife and I experience from our home and rental properties. That appreciation is driven by the shortage of housing resulting from California’s failed housing policies. Personally, my wife and I will benefit from you raising fees. A fee increase will further constrain building and fuel even higher home prices.

Lloyd Leighton

Chairman, Sutter County Republican Party

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