Dan Walters: How would California’s next governor face the housing crisis?

Some of the candidates want even higher levels of construction. Newsom and Villaraigosa have talked about building 500,000 new units a year to attack the backlog of unmet needs. But that would mean coming up with $200 billion a year in construction funding.

As last year’s housing finance legislation demonstrated, state and local governments can generate, at best, a tiny fraction of those immense numbers. So obviously the solution to California’s housing dilemma, if there is one, lies in reducing construction costs and making private investment in housing more attractive.

That would, in turn, require California to severely reduce costly red tape for projects and compel local communities to accept the denser housing developments their residents tend to oppose, known as the not-in-my-backyard syndrome, or NIMBY.

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