#CAHOUSING: Office to Housing Conversion

Left to right: Ashley Zavala, moderator; Danny Curtin, Jeffrey Roth, Laura Foote and Dan Dunmoyer. Photo by Scott Duncan, Capitol Weekly

CAPITOL WEEKLY PODCAST: This Special Episode of the Capitol Weekly Podcast was recorded live at Capitol Weekly’s Conference on Housing, which was held in Sacramento at the California Endowment Conference Center on Thursday, March 9, 2023.

This is Panel 1: Office to Housing Conversion.

Panelists: Danny Curtin, California Conference of Carpenters; Dan Dunmoyer, California Building Industry Association; Laura Foote, YIMBY Action; Jeffrey Roth, Leg. Director for Sen. Caballero

Moderated by Ashley Zavala of KCRA News

This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Ashley Zavala: Alright, well, as our panelists sit down, I’m gonna introduce each one of you, and after I do this, I’m just going to have you each give a brief introduction about yourself and what you have to do with housing. So first, Danny Curtin with the California Conference of Carpenters. And, Dan Dunmoyer – am I saying that right? –  with the California Building Industry Association; Laura Foote with YIMBY Action, and Jeffrey Roth, the Legislative Director for Senator Caballero. Let’s start with you.

Danny Curtin: First, I wanna thank Tim Foster and Capitol Weekly for inviting me, and I also want to thank him for the little bio that they wrote for us, because he characterized the situation in a way that hasn’t been done in the capitol lately. And it’s a lot about the capitol problem, which we’re getting to, but it says my name, etcetera… ”…they emerged as a key player in the Housing conversation,” I appreciate that – “marking out more nuanced positions that sometimes put them at odds with their labor compadres the State Building and Construction Trades Council…“ So those of you in the capitol know that that is the most sophisticated expression of that conflict, and I don’t know if I’d call it a conflict, it is a policy disagreement, but you would think it was somewhere prior to the Civil War’s tension levels, especially in the capitol, and we can get into all this later, they are highly sensitive to it, but outside of the capitol, it’s like, ‘what is going on… Somebody, please explain it,’ so…

AZ: Jeffrey, did you wanna share a little bit about yourself?

Jeffrey Roth: Thank you Danny for keeping it spicy at just after nine in the morning. Hello everyone. Echoing, Daniel on the gratitude to be invited on this panel. My name is Jeff Roth, Legislative Director for Senator Anna Caballero. She represents a wide swath of the Central Valley, including Fresno, Madera and Merced counties. I am here in my own capacity, but of course… well-informed by a lot of the work that she has done. I handle housing issues, which has been a huge priority for the senator, in which he has a tremendous amount of experience, and so my first foray into this world really has all to do with this topic, a conversion of commercial property into estate, when she originally introduced SB 1385 three years ago, which would then become SB6, which was signed into law last year.

“You see a piece of land, 25 years later, we build on it, ’cause that’s how long it takes in California, on average.” – Dan Dunmoyer

Laura Foote: Awesome. I’m Laura Foote, I’m the Executive Director of YIMBY Action that’s YIMBY Yes in my backyard. And we advocate for building a lot more housing, we believe California is suffering from a chronic housing shortage, and that we have a lot of policies that are keeping us from addressing the needs of Californians. One thing that I think is kind of important to understand about the pro-housing movement, other than we’re incredibly loud, is that we’re kind of a consumer advocacy organization, there’ve been in the housing discourse, we’ve had the people who build housing in the discourse, we’ve had the elected officials, hearing from people who are worried that they might live next door to some housing, and now we’re seeing more and more of the voices of people who need to live in housing joining that conversation, along with the tenants rights activists, along with the carpenters, along with this kind of this important to have all of these different voices when we’re talking about the needs of Californians and how are we going to address this chronic grinding housing shortage. so hopefully the and movement can bring some force to the conversation.

AZ: Okay, and Dan.

Dan Dunmoyer: Thank you Ashley and I too want to thank Tim Foster for including me in this discussion with Capitol Weekly. Dan Dunmoyer and I head up the California Building Industry Association, we’re the association that represents the people who build the homes. So we represent from start to figures, we say ideation…. So you see a piece of land, 25 years later, we build on it, ’cause that’s how long it takes in California, on average. My role in this is to oversee the advocacy and the charitable side of the organization, my background is in the legislature, advocacy, and I mentioned this on a national global basis, ’cause I’ll do some comparative analysis about California and its unique approach to housing, which is completely unique. And the last role is serving for Governor shortages Cabinet Secretary, and then we mentioned that because I spend a lot of time trying to build stuff, and I learned a lot about CEQA, which I’ll touch on as well. So, thank you for the opportunity.

AZ: Absolutely. Okay, so we’re talking to office to housing conversion. The first question, what is that? And is it as easy as it sounds? Whoever wants to take it first.

DC: Nothing’s easy. So let’s start with that. Building anything is pretty complicated, pretty tough. Office conversion is really more, from my perspective, what we need to do for the cities. It’s an important housing conversation, but it’s really more important for revitalizing cities, it’s a small piece, and I don’t wanna diminish that in any way, but it’s a small piece of the housing crisis, particularly the affordable housing crisis, which is really the big, big piece of the problem, but it is a piece… We really support the idea, you gotta revitalize the cities as the work situation changes, so it’s gonna be tough… Mostly because it’s not cheap, it’s very hard to put affordable homes into these buildings because it’s not cheap, but it’s doable.

JR: Danny, to your comment about living in the Sacramento bubble on this issue, to me, it seems like it’s gonna be tremendously easy to do this work, but of course, I’m not on the ground building the units, but a lot of the conversation around this issue that I’ve been focused on with Senator Caballero has to deal with the dead and dying strip malls that plague rural parts of the state, and as a result of these retail spaces, unable to keep up with a lack of commercial demand, a lot of times these big box retail stores or other small commercial enterprises are the first to go and shutter their doors, so when you drive throughout the Central Valley, it’s not uncommon to see a strip mall that’s completely vacant or barely surviving. And so I think when you consider that landscape, converting those parcels to housing is probably gonna be significantly less of a challenge than if you look at, say, what San Francisco is struggling with… the massive commercial vacancies and their highrise towers, that conversion is an entirely different beast to battle. So I think it’s gonna depend on where it’s built and the parameters that we put in place to make it easy or more challenging to do so,

DC: but this one… I don’t want to interrupt….. Well, this is office to housing conversion, it’s a very different animal than the strip mall type issues, the box store issues that was largely dealt with, I think through AB 2011, which more about later.

LF:  Yeah, I think the part… I totally think as somebody who’s in the politics of it, the part that’s easy, knock on wood, please don’t quote later, it should be the politics. That is sort of a no-brainer. That if we have empty offices that are already downtown, that are already near transit that already have a lot of the infrastructure that people complain hasn’t yet been built, it should be a politically easy thing to just allow people to convert offices into housing. There are a lot of hard costs associated with it, so when you build an office building, you put the water in a different place than when you build a home, the elevator, the floor plan, so it is very expensive to convert often office buildings into housing. There’s these dual staircase problems and the old office buildings don’t comply with the new building codes with the homes, and so there are sort of these hard costs that you can’t get around.

What we can do is change the financial dynamics with regards to the incredible cost we associate with permitting and making the process unpredictable and the extra fees and things we put on top and sort of the dis-incentivizing, we do right now for housing, and so that’s the part that government can control a bit more. We can’t control the hard costs of the water is in the wrong part of the building that the carpenters can control, which I’m very excited about, but we can’t necessarily control… what we can do is reduce the cost, reduce maybe spread the fees out over a longer period of time, which is what our bill does, all in an effort to make these projects more feasible so that they’re more likely to happen.

“And in a city like San Francisco, where we’re seeing about a 40% vacancy rate in our downtown, it’s a real problem for the city, even just beyond the problem of not having enough housing, there’s also then this added problem people see of more vacant downtown” – Laura Foote

And in a city like San Francisco, where we’re seeing about a 40% vacancy rate in our downtown, it’s a real problem for the city, even just beyond the problem of not having enough housing, there’s also then this added problem people see of more vacant downtown, which is a real opportunity that we can bring more life back to these cities by just getting out of the way and allowing more of them to becoming housing. I’m hoping politically, you’re right, and it’s easy, but everyone, knock on wood, put good juju into the air.

Panel 1, Office to Housing Conversion. Photo by Scott Duncan, Capitol Weekly


AZ: And when I say easy, I guess I think just from an outsider’s perspective of, ‘Oh, here’s a building that’s already in place, let’s just put some bedrooms in it and call it a day,’ but I know that that’s not the case, and we will get to those challenges in a second, but Dan, I’ll pose the same question to you. Office to housing. Is it as easy as it sounds?

DD: It’s…. of course, I’m in agreement with all the panelists. It’s expensive. It’s politically, hopefully, yes, you’re used to having cars, the buildings there. So hopefully neighbors won’t say, ‘Wow, you can have housing there.’ You probably have less traffic because if you had a big strip mall, a commercial building where you have people driving in and out at one time and leaving it on time you have more congestion or if you live there, I’m gonna ever leave your place when they even drive. So there are some really positive things from a neighborhood perspective, but everyone said it’s all say, ‘Let’s take this room right here, turn this into a place to live,’ …where’s the water… Where is the kitchen? Where’s the toilet. Now, there’s a toilet down the hall, but this isn’t Europe. People don’t like to go down the hall to the bathroom. Certainly don’t wanna shower and the communal shower when they’re paying…what say, starts at about a million and a half in the urban core for a two-bedroom one-bath condo… that’s where price point is. When we look at conversion, it’s actually sometimes easier to demolish the building and start over then to, like, ‘How do you move these pillars?’

Here, this is a beautiful room, but look at the superstructure, and so that it’s the price issue, but for CBIA, we’re a housing for all organization, so we don’t have problems building expensive housing, but what we’re told by the political leaders… And actually what sells… It is attainable housing, which is $500,000 to 600,000 or 700,000 in California, not a million and a half. So urban core, Google, Cisco, these guys work in San Francisco, we think is to work well, ’cause people make 600,000 a year. We’re not sure if this works in Fresno. And so that’s part of the equation is how do you cost this out, but we’re excited about it ’cause it adds another tool, the tool box to hopefully change the dying neighborhood into a living community.

AZ: Okay, and that is a perfect transition into this discussion about the prospects of this before we talk about the challenges, let’s talk about maybe the good things that could come with this type of project. So how many units are out there right now, or… I guess how many office buildings are out there in California that could be turned into housing, and also would this make a dent in the state housing production goals or whoever… Actually, Dan, let’s start with you, because we went to you last, so…

DD: For us, if you build another housing unit, it’s a dent… That’s a small dent, but for us, there’s scores and scores if not thousands of buildings that can be explored for this option, but the question is, do they pencil? So that’s what we do. So I talk to one of our builders that morning and said, ‘Hey, 2011… Are you using it?’ ‘Yeah, we’re gonna try to use it in San Jose.’ And the reason why we able to use is ’cause we lost our housing project through a referendum, the local neighbors shut it down, and so we’re to the point where we think we can make this work. And so you kind of then look at the dynamics of the 20% affordable, prevailing wage, and again, it’s the housing type, you do. So in San Jose, building a million dollars, all unit is actually acceptable, not in Fresno, not in Sacramento. So it really comes down to the neighborhood by neighborhood, but we do see some opportunity there, again, it’s a more higher end builders than our entry level, like Lennar, KB who build your first home, these are more specialty builders, we see a lot of different areas that work in the space, but part of it, the older they are, the more costs because we have to put in solar, we have to put a different insulation, we have put different water systems in. If it’s a newer building like the Salesforce building, that in itself might be easier, still expensive than an older building where you really have to restart all over again.

So we’re exploring it in a building by-building, community by community, and so we do see an opportunity, again more in the urban core or in high-end housing, and so we’re giving it a shot to get us as this law’s only been in effect for a few months, but if we’re exploring it is way too… To my YIMBY colleague, when a city says, ‘No, no, no, no,’ the question is, can this be used as a leverage tool?  It’s a local government saying, Wait a second, you have to say yes… No, they don’t have to. But that’s our hope that they would be more open to say yes.

“A city like San Francisco, this is going to be expensive, but they can’t afford not to rebuild their downtown business district. If it continues the way it is, it’s gonna be an urban blight.” – Danny Curtin

LF:  I texted a bunch of people this morning when I got this question, I was like, ‘Oh, do we have any numbers?’ And the answer is No. But somebody was willing to make up a number for me, which was 5,000 in downtown San Francisco, and I was like, ‘Why do you say that?’ He was like, ‘because it’s a nice round number.’

I think it’s very hard to know because, additionally, let’s take this room, the bathrooms down the hall. If we legalize group housing, if we legalize student dorms for instance, that would mean you could have a whole bunch of units in here, they would be perfectly comfortable sharing the bathroom, you know… The different kinds of projects that you might be able to do have really different scales, what kind of numbers you could possibly unlock, and especially when you’re talking about retrofitting old buildings, it’s really hard before you get into the guts of the individual project to know really what’s possible there. How much are you gonna have to tear down existing structures versus rebuilding, how expensive is it gonna be to maintain the façade? All this kind of stuff. So if you want me to have numbers, I got 5,000, but it is very hard to know.

Right now, there’s almost 200 housing bills that are being submitted. Every one of them is taking a different small bite, and when we look at our problem in California of our chronic housing shortage… I’m on Team Big Bill, right, the YIMBY movement. We had SB50, we wanted the big honking bill that is going to in one fell swoop potentially solve California’s housing shortage. I would say people were not game for it yet, and so we’re going to have to take smaller bites. And I think this is one that should be a politically easy, smaller bite to take, because everybody’s talking about revitalizing downtowns and having a 15-minute city where you can walk to work, and that seems like a no-brainer if we can just enact it.

JR: Well, I think, hopefully, I have some numbers that might resonate with folks, when we were working on SB6, we worked with MapCraft, Urban Footprint and ECONorthwest, who did an analysis of SB6 its parameters and how impactful that maybe… I think it’s a pretty fair analysis, of course, that’s subject to how folks wanna look at it, but they did a feasibility study on available parcels, and with a conservative estimate, there’s probably about 315,000 parcels or about 374,000 acres that could be developed under Bill SB6, and potentially AB 2011, which I do wanna clarify, I know we’ve talked about office to residential conversion, but we’re talking about commercial, rezoned parcels that may be office or retail, and so it’s not just what you see that’s been built, there are commercial parcels that may not have anything on it, that now, in July for the first time, once these bills go into effect, can be used for housing without a zoning change, which is a massive time saving and financial benefit. So anyways, their estimate that if all of those parcels were developed, which obviously won’t be the case, that’s two million units that could hit the market, so I would say that’s a pretty massive dent in California, just supply crisis

AZ: That’s two million statewide, right? Yes. Okay.

DC: I’m gonna hold him to that one, I did wanna make a quick point for those in the audience, he’s reading off his computer and I got papers coming out my ears here… No giggling or whatever works. Exactly…. so there are some numbers, but it’s really speculative. First thing I wanna say is, a city like San Francisco, this is going to be expensive, but they can’t afford not to rebuild their downtown business district. If it continues the way it is, it’s gonna be an urban blight, and really the policy issues have to be revolved resolved around that because they can’t not do it. It’s very expensive to do it, it’s probably more expensive in the long run not to do it, so they really are looking for ways to do it. I would recommend everybody here take a look at the Gensler International architecture firm… They’re really heavy in this space, coming up with some interesting stuff. I glanced through it, this moring, they did a study in San Francisco in the downtown area, and they found 36 buildings that might fit the needs to get complicated. The more you talk about it.. outside windows, blah, blah, blah, it’s very complicated, but it’s doable. They said of the 36th they studied in the downtown business district that are using their paying customers, about 12 of them might lend themselves to this… It’s not an insignificant number.

When you add all the possibilities of all the commercial spaces in every place, but it’s different than what we’re talking about specifically for office concentrations, there’s a whole series of situations with these buildings where they have mortgages and no tenants. And that’s all gonna come to a head pretty soon. And so there’s gonna be some real urgency to this.

But one of the things they say in this study, first of all, about one-third of the buildings they looked at, which were the ones that were prime candidates would be capable of this kind of conversion – and they’ve done this in other cities with the same sort of results – about a one-third of a fairly select group of buildings in the concentrated areas in downtowns. That’s the way it went from the post-war era to concentrating the business districts, but they estimate… In San Francisco, I believe – who needs 82,000 new units by 2031 – 10,000 a year. I lost a number here and my apologies, but the one thing that they do say in here, which is really what we should be talking about, is they quote this paragraph, ‘making it pencil through policy.’ So what are the policies that you need to bring either benefits to the developers or bring the cost down, because in the certain areas that we’re talking about, it has to be done, it’s a question of how, you know the legal issues we’re dealing with here, I think that this bill will pass, it’ll be modified. But the urgency on housing is so big that everybody wants to try everything that’s possible, it will fall on the lap of the developers who have to make it pencil out. And that’s where the rubber hits the road. We could talk about it, how easy, how hard it is, but if there’s no money to be made in any way, shape or form, the government has to step in and subsidize it, that’s when the questions really get tough.

AZ: Okay, so sort of speaking on the topic of prices or the cost of it, will this… Should everything go okay? Or whatever might shake out with this type of proposal, but what would the impact be on the housing market price for those who are looking to live in a place like San Francisco, for example…

LF: If you want me to make up more numbers or…

AZ: I know we’re speaking in hypotheticals, sorry, I know….this helps the renters market or the housing market?

LF: I think it’ll help me. I think if you dropped 5000 units in downtown San Francisco, prices would draw up a little bit, and it’s very hard to know what that little bit would be because it’s also over the course of five years and what’s happening on the job market and all this other stuff, you know, I think they’re… Hopefully, the Terner Center does another beautiful glossy study, and they do a good job of trying to estimate what the cost is gonna be. But I do think that that key, the RHNA number that Dan brought up is really important that we know what the cost of not doing everything to achieve those 82,000 units as an Francisco needs. We know that that is going to be in a catastrophe for the city, and so, maybe let’s use my made up number of 5,000 for San Francisco. That is actually a very important piece of the puzzle because they are really… every city in California is struggling to figure out, how they’re going to hit their housing production goals.

And so adding another tool to the tool kit, is this one bill going to unlock everybody’s RHNA numbers? Absolutely not. I think the biggest thing you could say to our bills as a YIMBY is I’m always saying like, ‘Well, we can’t just build downtown, we have to build in the neighborhoods,’ and does this indulge the fantasy that some anti-housing people might have that, ‘Oh, well, maybe we really could just build downtown.’ Now, I’m here to tell you, no, we cannot just build downtown, we’re gonna have to build in every neighborhood in addition to converting these buildings. We should see this as a small piece of the puzzle, a great opportunity, but not gonna be, you know… And let’s call it a critical drop in the bucket, you know, a lot of drops in a bucket make a full bucket.

Office to Housing Conversion, Panel 1 #CAHOUSING. Photo by Scot Duncan, Capitol Weekly


DD: So this in on the pricing side… to Jeffrey’s point. There’s two ways to look at this. Are you converting this building into housing? Are you converting a commercially-zoned piece of land into housing? Those are two different price points, substantially different. We have not found attainability, price-wise, through reconstruction. Everyone here has touched onit, but I’ll just say it again: If you go to Downtown San Francisco and build, there’s people that can afford it, but that’s not middle class housing for Californians… Maybe for San Franciscans, but not for Californians.

So the other piece; I did the builder math this morning with out builders doing this in San Jose… 20% affordable. It’s gonna have 30 million dollars in additional cost. Prevailing wage is gonna add 30% on the vertical, we already do prevailing wage on the horizontal. Horizontal is asphalt and sidewalk, verticals are sticks and bricks. So those are two components, so if we were to build this… This is not a school teacher and a firefighter, married, buying a home… this is Google, this is Facebook, this is Apple engineers and executives, but there’s nothing wrong with those people having a house. I’m just saying this type of construction, when you have those two price points means that you’re building a nicer, more expensive home than you would if you’re trying to build down the street here in Elk Grove or Roseville, that’s gonna be a third the price of this product.

Yeah, it is a drop in the bucket. And everybody needs housing. So we support this effort. But again, this is not gonna deal with people who are trying to buy their first home, you know, making it under 150,000. It’s just, we haven’t seen a pencil out yet. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t build it, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it, it’s just… This isn’t the attainable for the middle class housing concept that’s done through greenfield, through master planned communities, through larger construction projects that don’t have that complexity and don’t have the underlying cost requirement. So again, positive step, but if we’re looking at what most Californians can afford, this isn’t that product.

LF: Okay, I do wanna push back just a little. I think largely, you’re entirely correct, and there is an opportunity that we wanna make more available to do group housing, dorm-style living as well in these office constructions. I mean a really cool thing would be to take an old interesting office building and turn it into a new school. And to have a few stories of school buildings and classes on your first few steps. New York has a bunch of colleges that are like this, and if you allow mixed use, you can get these kind of interesting dorms and schools and things happening. Uou can also get cheap…. When I was single, I would have loved to be able to afford to live in a dorm style… I lived in a dorm-style apartment with six other people, like… My bathroom was down the hall. It was messy. It was a whole thing.

DC: That’s how I feel now and I’m married. [Laughter]

LF: I think we really… we have a lot of preconceived notions about the kinds of people who live in group housing, and I think we really need to tear that down and think about, this is a great workforce housing, this is housing that not just single people do live in today. And that group housing is a perfectly wonderful source of housing, especially for subsidized affordable, for non-profits that might wanna do some of this housing as well. If we just open up the possibilities and sort of make different options possible with this kind of building, we might see some really creative reuse.

DC: There’s so many things going around here that are pertinent.  Dan’spoint on trying to make this pencil out even with 20% affordability in prevailing wages makes a lot of sense. The premise here though, however, is that they’re giving some benefit by not having to go through the normal process that they have to go through, which is quite costly, legally, time-wise, etcetera, etcetera. Makes it very hard. The real question is: what level of change that give developers and cities the ability to do this needs to be done to make it come down below the high affordability?

The bill we’re talking about on the conversion here has a 10% threshold of low or moderate cost housing, and so if you’re a developer, you’re gonna say, ‘Well, if I have to do 10%, I’m gonna do as much moderate as I possibly can,’ if you want more low, you have to find other ways to bring those costs down. And so the part of the problem we’re facing is not just a housing crisis, the flip side of the Housing Crisis is, of course the housing costs have gone up enormously… But wages have been pretty stagnant – they’re only beginning to start to perk up a little bit. And the Federal Reserve is about to put the squash on that by raising interest rates and killing the housing market. But the cost of housing wasn’t driven by the wages, but it put everybody out of the ability to buy the housing is being developed.

So once the government steps in and says, okay, we’d have a policy to bring those costs down, but we do wanna protect the wage base of the workers in that industry, that’s where we come in, and that’s where the ‘nuanced position,’ which is normally teeth-gnashing, hair-pulling, knife-fighting, etcetera… It’s a question of balancing what the developers get and what kind of housing You need… The governor, I think pointed out we needed to 15 million units by not too long from now, but a million and a half of those are low and ultra low income units. They’re not being built by the private market because there’s no money involved, you gotta subsidize them. And when you subsidize them, you add other public policies, equity, wages, etcetera… That’s the rub of the problem…

AZ: Okay, well, that means… Jeffrey, did you wanna jump in?

JR: I’d like to jump in real quick because I think we’re not talking about on this issue, what is tangible for most people that live in the state, and that’s the cost that art is required to buy a house, if you’re interested in home ownership in particular. I think we all know the housing cost crisis that’s happening is because we don’t have the supply that’s keeping up with our population growth. Median home price at this point is over 750,000, and you’ve gotta as an individual or a family make at least 200,000 to not be cost-burdened by your living expenses, and we’re unlocking for the first time, I think over the last few years, tools to help expand our ability to do infill development. Because California is built out, our environmental laws prevent us from more suburban growth, which I think I generally… I think is a good idea. But until we build more homes, that price isn’t gonna come down, and while I don’t have numbers on that, I’m sure there’s folks that are speculating what that might cost, anything and is gonna be helpful to that end.

“Our dear friend Mr. Strickland, Club For Growth Republican, ran on no more homes in Huntington Beach and got overwhelmingly elected. So even if we have the ability to build in Huntington Beach, Mr. Strickland says, ‘No, all you can do is sue.'” – Dan Dunmoyer

AZ: Okay, so let’s get into the nitty gritty here. What are the major hold-ups for these kinds of projects? Whoever wants to start… Jump in.

JR: Okay, that’s a question that’s better suited for folks on the ground, for me, it’s when you’re running a policy on this issue and as things are negotiated, you get requested to delay your implementation of your bill, AB 2011 and SB6 don’t go in effect until July, and so we’ve let six months passed without developers being able to tap into this tool and start building, so things like that and the policy side, I think create hold-ups.

DD: So the project that I was working on this morning …[garbled] …happens to be her chairman, some hired lawyers, they think we’ll spend about 500,000 in legal costs to… Or through 2011, they budgeted that, even though it’s now makes it by right and easier and less CEQA, because that is a really, really key component, CEQA is a pariah for building in California. It doesn’t work, it doesn’t protect the environment, and it doesn’t keep the cost of housing down, but even if you get through CEQA, which is really important, you still have to get to, yes, with local government with the neighbors and NIMBYs and others, so just the legal cost of analyzing 2011 and trying to implement it, they’re planning to move on July 1st If they can… just… that component is real.

So there’s… When you look at how to get to yes on these issues, this is a big slice of the negative pie of how he build a home in California, but there’s still a lot of local government issues, and if a local government wants to build, It’s amazing, you can get it done. If they don’t, or they have another agenda, or the local neighbors say, I want this just to be a piece of dirt, ‘let’s turn it to a park,’ and not realize the person’s already invested 30 million in the land. That’s the challenge is, there’s still other hurdles and steps to go through beyond what 2011 and SB6 cover that still require you to spend money, time and energy getting to yes.

The other issue in 2011 and SB6 is it’s untested, and we’ve seen local governments say, ‘you know… No, I don’t care,’ …In the city of Martinez, we have won lawsuits that, say the court, the judge orders the construction of the home… the city refuses to give a permit. The only thing that’s left us is to jail, the city council members, and if a building wants to build in that community for a decade after that, they’re not gonna do that.

So that’s the dynamic, that’s just one city that doesn’t want homes. Ontario wants homes. They just approved 50,000. Look at what Riverside and San Bernardino are building, it’s like 20 times more than the East Bay. So if you wanna do it, it’s doable, so there are other components to getting to yes that are beyond the bills, but the bills at least take a slice of that negative pie, take it off the table and make it easier. But that’s where you still run into the NIMBY side and just the local government who has a different agenda or ran on, let’s look at Huntington Beach, the poster child… our dear friend Mr. Strickland, Club For Growth Republican, ran on no more homes in Huntington Beach and got overwhelmingly elected. So even if we have the ability to build in Huntington Beach, Mr. Strickland says, ‘No, all you can do is sue.’  So, and that’s not… Even if SB6 and AB 2011 saying, we can get to yes. If you ran on No More Homes and got overwhelmingly elected, you can fight that forever, and you know, we’ll eventually give up, eventually go bankrupt, will eventually move to Ontario and build a home and make some money. So that’s the dynamic of the other half of Getting to Yes, beyond these two good bills.

LF: Yeah, It’s outlined pretty well the different barriers, and I do think it’s important to see the legislation as part of this sort of ecosystem of implementation and the legal framework… and shoutout to Attorney General Rob Bonta, who is currently attempting to drop the hammer on Huntington Beach. This kind of how real are our laws is a really important question, I think to be asking ourselves in California, how much do we believe in the rule of law when it comes to housing? We’re having this kind of debate right now of, ‘Do cities have to do what state legislatures have told them to do?’ I’m on Team Yes, but that is something that people are still seemingly arguing about. And it’s something that we’re allowed to see the Attorney General really taking a firm or stance on, it’s why we have a lawsuit arm YIMBY Law that is going out and sueing cities and getting them into compliance, but in order for all of these various Planning Department Planning Commission, City Councils to start believing that they have to follow the law, we’re going to have to, I think past harsher laws that create real consequence.  I don’t know that I’m for putting the city council in jail, but I think that there is this kind of, ‘what’s the consequence gonna be,’ right now.

Not to get into this parallel issue around housing elements, but we’re kinda already there. Right now, cities and towns have their housing goals and the cities that have put forward crappy plans that were last out of town are seeing that maybe they’re going to have to do builder’s remedy projects, which is again, another untested thing. If a developer puts forward a sort of a bigger building that is not in compliance with local zoning, they’re supposed to have to say Yes. That’s gonna have to fight it, stay through the courts almost certainly, and that’s gonna lose time and that’s gonna drive up costs, and I think the legislature should know, and I think they do know, that they cannot declare victory yet. That we’re gonna have to keep chipping away at this. We’re gonna have to keep cracking down because this shift is a really fundamental dynamic shift that has to happen in California.

Are we going to allow our wealthiest enclaves to pull up the ladder of opportunity, to say ‘No’ over and over again in the name of cities’ rights and deny people opportunities? Or are we gonna say, That is not in line with California’s values. We are a whole state, we are making decisions communally for the benefit of all, we are not gonna allow this collective action problem/disaster, where Beverly Hills and Huntington Beach say, ‘Screw you’ to the rest of the state. We’ve got ours and we’re not letting you in, and that’s gotta stop, and the legislature has got to consistently say Enough is enough, we have to be a state where people can thrive. Or we could just be like, Let’s not have an economy and sort of go down the tank, that is Option B. I don’t recommend it.

DC: there’s a whole concept here that for the bill we’re talking about, is the issue of density versus urban sprawl or suburban sprawl or whatever, there are opportunities to build housing projects in areas that have land, they’re not simple, there’s a variety of issues that have to be dealt with, but they can be done from the ground up. I think that a major component of what we’re talking about is how are we going to reconfigure more density in a way that’s livable. I think the bill that we’re talking about is a very good bill… it will not solve the housing crisis, but it will help make the city livable and affordable for some people and attractive, as they say.  Taking a business core that’s going dark, turning it into a 24/7 livable community. Sounds wonderful. Can be done. It’s expensive, maybe we should go out and build all the housing in areas that don’t have any housing, but then we gotta build roads, we gotta build schools, you gotta start the whole infrastructure conversation again. It’s not simple, it’s not gonna be dealt with simply…

What I wanna point to again is the Gensler studies, they have a whole series of measures and they’re gonna be step-by-step measures, there’s no silver bullet. But I will tell you the first one is streamlining CEQA, most of the bills that you’re seeing coming out will be by right, which essentially streamlined CEQA, and if there’s housing, the pressure here, is the housing numbers, whatever they’re called, the RHNA numbers, if you don’t meet your RHNA numbers – which very, very few areas, particularly urban areas are meeting – then you’re going to be… The state can step in and force you to make these changes.

They really have to do with Incentives, money, etcetera. That’s the hard thing. But I wanna tell you the first thing is streamlining CEQA.  This is again, the Gensler report, but it also says the use of AB 2011 labor standards, which is the part that we haven’t gotten to, and we’ll have to do for another day. We support all of these programs that will actually add to more housing, Hey, if it’s more expensive housing, what’s new there? If you have money, you can buy a wonderful house. Where it’s gonna be… That’s a different story, but if you don’t have money, you’re in deep trouble, so the issue is, how do we build multi-family multi-income housing that’s livable, that’s close to the job, and how do we raise the wages in society so that there’s a city that has people who are not just rich and poor, we’re beginning to see that, or we’ve been way beyond seeing that, what’s driving the NIMBY from my perspective is the natural, ‘we moved out here to have a nice standard of living, and now there’s homeless people next door.’

That’s what’s driving it. So if we don’t figure out how to do affordable, more densely put together housing in places where we have the infrastructure… Yeah, you’re gonna be going to Huntington Beach and saying your view of the ocean is gonna be blocked by that 30 story low-income housing development. Hell no… they’re gonna fight to the death. We can do it, but it has to be done in a nuanced fashion. Thank you very much, Tim, for that introduction to me, because it’s not happening, it’s all or nothing in every bill… And I gotta go back to that. It’s the Haney bill, I don’t remember the number, but it’s 10% Affordable or moderate income. Okay, so that’s not really quite the answer… will it get done? Well there’ll be some nice, beautiful condominiums built for people who have $600 to $700… $800,000, you bet there will be… And we’re for that. But it doesn’t solve the problem.

AZ: Okay, and that’s a good transition because I do wanna ask about Assemblyman Matt Haney’s bill [AB 1532] to help with some of these barriers with office housing conversion. What challenges, if any, does that the bill face as it moves through the legislative process?

LF: it… It’s gonna be perfect. Yeah, I think we are actually… What’s been kind of fun since we came out with it, most of the complaints have been, ‘Oh, you didn’t include this, you didn’t include this. You didn’t include this,’ and we’re seeing a lot of people adding to the bill saying, ‘Here are other problems that office to housing construction faces that we want you to include in this bill.’ Obviously, the big elephant in the room is Labor, and I can say I’m very excited about the potential for a big deal in the style of 2011, that I think there are these kinds of… And I’m sure we’ll dig more into that later, but I think that there’s such a great opportunity to see these kinds of grand bargains that then have to actually work in practice. To the other Danny’s point that they have to then be implementable and pencil and then upheld with rule of law, all of that sort of complexity to it. But right now we’re at this sort of early stage with this bill and many others, where I think most people recognize that this could be a no-brainer, if we can just add in what needs to be added in in order to make office to housing conversions more feasible.

The biggest complaint I think we’re getting right now is that it doesn’t deal with the building code half of it enough. And there are other bills right now – I don’t remember off the top of my head what the numbers are – that are trying to get more emphasis on…  Because right now, our building codes are not entirely just about keeping us safe, they also have a lot of other nonsense in there, and so there is… I think I need to be an effort to address that half of it as well, but if you have an idea to make it easier to convert office to housing, please let us know. See if we can stick it in there because we are really trying to get through there and remove all these barriers.

I do think people will find it hard to talk about reducing the inclusionary rate, which is a big thing, people debate a lot, down to 10% for these projects. I think that these projects are really hard to make pencil, and so going a little bit lower on how much we require in inclusionary makes a lot of sense. In San Francisco, which has had the largest, the highest inclusionary rate of – I think it’s 24% now – the technical advisory committee, the city economist, is now meeting, is saying to San Francisco that there is no rate of inclusionary, that pencils, and that ALL housing is being stopped because the costs are too high. And so going down to 10% in light of that, it doesn’t seem as controversial, I’m hoping… knock on wood, I think that’ll be something we argue about. But we’re gonna have to have a real conversation about, we need real sources of funding for subsidized affordable housing and relying on inclusionary to fund… Subsidized affordable housing is never going to address California’s need. We need to get much more serious about deep levels of affordability and investing in non-profit subsidized affordable housing, and the inclusionary is a little bit of a sideshow in my opinion, it’s not addressing the actual needs people have to build for the lost income Californians.

JR: Laura, I think you mentioned there’s something like 200 new housing bills this year, so I have no idea what Assembly Member Haney is doing in this bill yet, I’ve got to thank you, the senator has four of her own that we’re working on, but knowing the Assembly Member, he is a very pro-housing member. We’ve the privilege of working with him on an affordable preservation and acquisition bill this year. So I’m really looking forward to learning more about it. Especially as somebody who’s been in this mix for the last three years, I wish you the best of luck. [Laughter] Because this is a challenge, and I kinda wanna maybe speak a little bit candidly.

There’s been comments about sort of a labor bargain that happened last year, but that’s not really true. There are two very different standards in the two big bills from last year, SB6 and AB2011, lots of attempts in negotiating, but ultimately, there was one group that had their labor policy in their bill and another that had their labor policy in a bill. So hopefully, I really think that part of maybe one hold up that we talked about earlier, is that there’s not been consensus developed between how we protect the workers that are building the homes, so they can also afford to live in the homes that are being built as well, so hopefully we can solve that this year.

DD: I think it’s a good bill for San Francisco, I’m not sure how it will work outside…  maybe downtown LA. The building code issue is a big issue. I think a lot of people don’t realize in our zeal to be the planet savers, we’re putting people on the street. And so that’s kind of that sweet spot we try to find… We do have the most seismically-safe, fire-retardant, water-reducing, energy-efficient homes in the world. We just don’t build enough of them. So, we build about 120,000 units a year, notwithstanding the hundreds of bills we passed. In 1963, I was a toddler, I was actually a newborn… We built 331,000 homes, we had 14 million Californians. Last year we had 39 million and change Californians… we built 120,000 last year.

LF: Can I ask: We’re still having people still live in those older homes… we didn’t say, ‘Oh, those homes are so dangerous, everyone must evacuate.’ People are still living in those homes, and so… Just to give you more… [garbled]

DD: So that’s what our challenge is. We’ve passed… If you read all the press releases of all the great authors and many bills we’ve supported, we should have built another five and a half million homes in the last six years. We’ve built about 400,000. So, press releases are great, we love the rhetoric, love the support for housing but the reality of fact is we haven’t got out of our way .

Back to the Haney bill – it does have the labor issue dynamic of skilled and trained versus prevailing – that’s just an issue of cost as to who wins that fight. But the code issue is a real issue. Right now, there is a great excitement about moving to all electric. We think it should be moved to de-carbonization. There’s this concept of hydrogen, there’s a concept of renewable natural gas. There’s other options. The reason why we say that is, we can’t even find the products that we’re being mandated to use, because of  this thing called ‘supply chain.’ So right now, transformers, those little grey things on top of your telephone polls… if you have above ground electricity it takes us about 15 months to get one of those. So, when you move to all electric….  You need one transformer for 20 homes if it’s mixed fuel. You need one for seven homes if it’s all electric.

Great idea. It’s just there are consequences to cost delay. That one-year delay will cost a housing project millions of dollars in additional interest payments for the loan because it’s actually ‘in construction.’ So, there’s just these nuances that people don’t catch because it all sounds good. And solar is great, ‘we should have solar and batteries.’ Well, with solar AND batteries, it is about 42,000 a home. Solar now, we’ve gotten from 50,000, down to 7,000, after the last 15 years. But you put in two of Mr. Elon Musk’s battery storage systems, It’s about 40,000 more. Is that a bad idea? No, it’s an awesome idea – It’s just 40,000 more.

So those are the things that we’re trying to piece together with middle class housing. School teachers, firefighters, that’s our market. And that’s the Haney bill will focus on the San Francisco market. What, 1% of the school teachers live in San Francisco… half a percent? They all commute in. So it doesn’t solve that problem but it does solve parts of the San Francisco problem.

DC: Let me point out that the numbers Dan just gave are absolutely correct. Housing was built…. I think you said you were born in 1963 – [you‘re] just a youngster. But 330,000-something homes a year, and we’re down to [125,000]?  But in 1963, that was a part of the tail end of the post-war housing boom – the wages in the housing industry were middle class blue collar wages.

The wages have not kept up in the last few years, let’s say 50. The housing construction workforce of over 300,000 workers is, in the construction industry, the lowest paid portion of the construction industry. The highest level of… no disrespect to any builders or whatever, it’s a tough industry… but wage violations… the Department of Industrial Relations calls it a ‘crime…’ – no, we call it a ‘crime scene.’ Rampant wage violations. The construction workers in housing are probably equal to the amount of union workers who are building public works and other things, but the subsidy that they are living off of, it’s about a three and a half billion dollar public subsidy to the workforce, in the housing industry, through social benefit payments, through the health care that they’re not getting. It’s really a complicated thing that workforce is barely surviving. So we have a wage crisis and a housing crisis. It definitely has to change, and it will.The cities will figure out if they wanna just tear down all their buildings and have nothing, or they want to have a vital city. It’s gonna happen one way or another, but i’s going to be expensive, so I’m gonna leave it pretty much at that. Had probably had another… well, the labor issue, for a minute here…


AZ: Actually, that was my next question. I’m just… This is gonna be my last question, because I know we’re going to take audience questions in the last few minutes that we have here, but… I know this is a loaded question, it’s the elephant in the room, but, the influence, the role that Labor plays in this kind of project?

DC: I was about to get into that. So, it’s very complicated for people who are not involved in it, but the way we see it is there’s two sort of things being discussed. From the developer point of view, I believe it’s the same cost, because both of them are what they call ‘prevailing wages,’ which is very often, the Union standard. But the one that we’ve promoted and that was in a AB 2011, allows for the existing workforce, the 300,000 or so construction workers who are underpaid, overworked in many cases, and abused in other cases, to make a decent wage. But they don’t have to be replaced. Because the workforce is not there, the union workforce is not there to replace them. So our moniker or whatever you call it, we don’t have that clever phrase, but it was in the Affordable Housing and High Road Jobs Act.

“There’s no way a union contractor can go in there with a bid and beat a non-union contractor who’s paying basically minimum wage, even if they’re providing some other benefits. It’s just not in the cards.” – Danny Curtin

So ‘high road jobs’ are what we call our 2011 prevailing wage standard, healthcare over 50 units, use of apprentices where possible, but more importantly: In many ways, to really change the nature of the industry, we have self-enforcement capabilities for Labor management, federally-recognized labor management programs. Because wage enforcement in the housing industry is virtually non-existent. It happens, but your chances of being inspected by a labor commissioner, a deputy labor commissioner, as a non-union contractor or a union contractor, is once every 300 years. It’s the wild west of the construction market.

The Public Works market is much, much more overseen by both union contracts, and the fact that it’s government… protectionof prevailing wages, the high road, that’s our perspective. The skilled-and-trained and you probably hear more about that… Are you dealing with that in any?… Okay, the skills and train has the same wage protections, but it also has a much more restrictive requirement that you have to hire people who have been graduated from an apprentice program, which is virtually none of the 300,000 workers in the housing industry.

And it gets beyond that. Either you’ve graduated or you can prove that you’ve worked 5,000 hours in your industry. In the housing industry, that’s impossible. There’s such a glut of wage abuse in terms of even having payroll records. But nobody keeps five years of payroll records. I virtually asked any of you if you could dig up your paperwork. So it really is an exclusive process versus what we consider to be inclusive. Those workers out there in the housing construction industry, we don’t see them as competitive to us, we see them as our future members. But it’s up to us to go out there and make them our future members, the only way that can happen is if their wage base is raised so that union contractors can be competitive in that market.

There’s no way a union contractor can go in there with a bid and beat a non-union contractor who’s paying basically minimum wage, even if they’re providing some other benefits. It’s just not in the cards, so if the wages are raised on these projects that give benefits to the developers… and I’m not saying that they will do it because if it doesn’t pencil, it doesn’t pencil. By the way, that’s my position on the Haney bill, I think it’ll pass – whether it’ll get used or not, that’s another story. So that’s where the wage fight is, and…. anybody else?… Maybe we get the audience…

It’s the same wage, it’s the same cost, but we believe ours is reachable because we’re using the same workers that are already in that industry, not demanding that they get pushed out and you bring in union workers. That’s a very complex sort of nuanced problem. There’s just as many non-union construction workers in housing as the TOTAL of the union construction workers, more or less, in the state. And you just can’t say, ‘you can’t do it, we’ll all move over there.’ It’s not gonna work that way, and it will take a decade to build this housing, maybe more. It’s gonna take a decade AT LEAST to organize that industry to be at least the middle class industry.

When I started, back about when Dan was born, people working on the housing – a housing, boom – were buying the houses that they were building. That’s not the case, even remotely close to the case [now]. And sometimes if they were smart, and a lot of them were, they band together and buy a few houses, and then we can be landlords and so on, and so forth, but they could afford a home. I don’t think there’s a working class salary out there now that allows you to buy even close to the average cost of the home, and also rentals. I mean, we’re getting away from the main course of the Haney bill, but the rental market.. if you really wanna build the middle class, you have to have ownership. That’s where the middle class gets their, you know, that’s where their wealth comes from: Ownership of the property that they live in, whether it be a rental conversion to an ownership, or a house.


RACHEL VINCENT: Hi. Thanks, this is great. Just wondering… this office to housing or residential housing conversion is not entirely new. What’s the experience from other jurisdictions? What lessons can we learn from looking at where they have done it?

LF: The biggest thing that we see over and over is that it is expensive, and that each individual housing project becomes this poster child that they then do analysis on. And then each one is unique actually, and you really have to, especially with the older buildings, you have to get into the guts of it and kind of see what’s there.

The thing that I’ve taken away is that when they pass these [bills], anything that makes it easier to do these, they don’t have a good idea of how many units it’s gonna unlock ultimately. It also… all the things that we’ve talked about: the permitting makes a big difference – because these projects are often right at the edge and a feasibility, a lot of the other small things make a big difference in whether the project actually moves forward or not. Because they can speak by with a little bit of revenue from office potentially. Now that might not be the case, but in historic and other places that have tried to incentivize converting, you also get really cool units. I mean, that is the other thing that the photos that are in these case studies are really interesting looking buildings that I think, ‘I wanna move.’

DC: I actually think… and help me out here, Dan. I think the urban cores are gonna see this happening, and it’s beginning more and more studies, the Gensler thing… Please look it up. But it’s really concentrated into places that where it makes some sense. And even there, it’s a limited amount of buildings, but they’ll be done because they’ll be attractive, which will attract developers. But they’re not gonna be the answer to the low and ultra-low income housing problem.

They’re gonna be important to keep the cities vibrant, and that’s what I think the Haney bill is all about. So it’s gonna be in the rubric of more affordable housing, but it’s more housing in this case, and if you’re an urban dweller… I’m from New York. I like it, but you know, if you have a family or some kids and stuff, you tend to like, wanna think about something differently. But if you have to own it, you have to own it if you wanna get back in the middle class at some point.

DD: I just totally agree with both comments, it’s expensive, it’s beautiful, it’s really unique and it’s kind of cutting edge, but again, it’s a very unique clientele that can afford it. Again let’s just look at this room: you see the cut-outs in the cement over there, and here they couldn’t figure out how to put the electric, so they put it down to the ceiling. You can’t drill… you CAN drill through cement, but the cost would be probably half a million dollars just to put that line down there. These two supporting braces, this is not original…  there’s only a handful of people in Labor who are talented enough to do that, so you’re gonna pay a real price for that. It’s gorgeous. You love this room. This is modern. It’s fun to be in. It’s expensive. So that’s what we’re seeing. But again, some of these are the landmark buildings or the big cities, so if you have the resources and money. I just wanna also say consumers that have kids, don’t live in this.

DC: I also want to point out that seismic – that wasn’t here in the original program. That’s not cheap either. If it starts to rattle in here, we’re probably in good shape.

CAPITOL WEEKLY: I did want to throw in one more question that I hope will be very fast because we’re close to the end. I’m curious, I wanted to run off something that Dan had said earlier today, which is that in Europe, all of our building codes are very unfamiliar. And I’m wondering if there might be an idea of modifying any of the building codes so that something like you had mentioned, like college dorms, like something along those lines, might be more possible in California in the future? Is that something that could help address this particular issue of office-to-housing conversion, and also maybe… the housing issue larger? Is that something that we could look at, or is that just off the table?

LF: Well, politically, I think we’re gonna have an argument about it, but I don’t think it’s off the table at all. And there are a couple of bills that I’m really excited about. So this bill is probably not gonna do a ton about it, although it is going to allow more mixed use, which starts to get into this more interesting kind. But I also think that there’s a bill that I can’t remember the number of, but that’s gonna be directing the fire and health safety to reassess some of our building code. And I think right now it sort of has to go through this process of pushing our bureaucracy to reassess that, I think it’s extremely necessary. There’s also something called ‘single stair reform,’ where right now we’re requiring two full staircases. Another thing that office conversions might be able to use is, using a fire escape as the second stair, which, it’s a fire escape. It’s called the ‘fire escape’, it should be an ‘escape from fire’ stairs in my opinion. But these kinds of things are definitely needed.

I hope that the Legislature starts to see these as companion bills, because we are gonna need to address some of these building code concerns as well. People get… they hear of changing the building code and they get very afraid. They think, and I think this is something that a lot of our housing discourse descends into fear very quickly, people get afraid that people who are different than them are gonna come live next to them. People get afraid that the building is going to fall over. We’ve seen affordable housing and projects in San Francisco right now, they made up that it’s a toxic waste dump. And suddenly the entire neighborhoods afraid. And fear just permeates the housing discourse and our elected officials and also our leaders have to be able to get folks to be more real about their fears and to not just give into the fears that they have made up in their minds, but instead to look at the science and say, ‘what is the cost benefit here? What is the analysis telling us that the rational choice is?’ And not, ‘Well, I feel like if I don’t have a second staircase., we’re all gonna die.’ Okay, well, the math says You’re not gonna die, and that in fact, you go into buildings with only one staircase all the time, they were just built before we had this dual staircase requirement.

DC: There’s a point we haven’t talked about it a long time, and it’s critical, and Dan will get this immediately. Prop 13, about, however long ago, was the third rail, it still is, but a lot of fees are tacked on to the housing elements to make up for the fact that the property taxes are not providing much needed for infrastructure. So when you build a housing, you gotta pay for everything associated with that housing project out there. That stuff would have been covered by civic or other sources that were property tax sourced… We changed that, development went to retail and commercial because that’s the way to get income for the local cities. Not the property tax anymore… the state had to bail everybody out for a while after Prop 13. Everything is gonna be on the table unless we don’t want to solve this problem, and there’ll be no way we don’t wanna solve this problem because it’s only gonna get worse. It’s not the only one the legislature’s has to deal with, but it’s the one that’s in front of everybody’s mind right now, all of it codes everything, if there’s a code that’s not necessary, really for safety… Get it out of here.

I don’t know about the stairs and stuff, I mean, if I live on the side with the stairs, I’m happy. If I live over there, get out of the way. It’s like sitting in the airplane in your airplane: make sure you’re on that exit row, so nobody’s stepping on your head to get out of the plane. [Laughter]

CW: Alright, I think we have reached our stopping time. Thank you so much to our panelists, and to Ashley Zavala for moderating….

Support for Capitol Weekly’s Conference on Housing was provided by The Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations, The Western States Petroleum Association, KP Public Affairs, Perry Communications, Capitol Advocacy, The Weideman Group, Lucas Public Affairs and California Professional Firefighters

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