University City Residents Pushback Against Community Plan Update that Adds 30,000 Housing Units

by on March 21, 2023 · 60 comments

in San Diego

Editordue: In the following open letter to Mayor Gloria and other San Diego officials, 44 University City residents give reasons why they oppose the updated Community Plan for their community that would add 30,000 new housing units. Meanwhile, today the U-T ran 3 op-eds all in support of the present community plan for University City and none in opposition. 

Dear Mayor Gloria, Ms. Vonblum, and Ms. Graham:

This letter is to provide collective comments from a large group of University City (UC) residents substantiating reasons why the City of San Diego needs to further reduce the proposed number of housing units in Land Use Scenarios A and B of the proposed University Community Plan Update.

Adding between 30,000 and 33,000 housing units, as Land Use Scenarios A and B suggest, or as many as 56,000 housing units, as pro-development groups are calling for, represents exceptionally poor planning, especially when you consider our small 7.35-square-mile footprint and the limited capacity of our existing infrastructure.  Our specific objections are summarized below:

Enormity of Housing Units Being Proposed:  We know San Diego needs more affordable housing, but we need a reasonable increase in new housing units in UC. What the City is proposing for UC is far beyond the number of new housing units that are actually needed, which   SANDAG’s Series 14 Forecast projects is 554 between 2025 and 2050. There is absolutely no call for placing more.

With an existing number of approximately 27,000 housing units, UC is a vibrant, built-out community that already has had thousands of new apartment units added, mostly to its core and east end of Governor Drive, since the last Plan Update in 1987.  Hundreds of these new units have been built in just the last few years, including Palisades at UTC and Lux. All of these new apartment high-rises have been added without substantially improving our existing infrastructure, given the absence of funding and undeveloped land.

San Diego’s 2021-2029 Housing Element is just 108,036, and approximately 20,000 housing units were built in 2021 and 2022, leaving just 88,000.  The balance needed should be spread throughout San Diego’s 52 neighborhoods, not concentrated into UC’s small area.

Inadequate Infrastructure & Law Enforcement: The City plans to add tens of thousands of people, without regards to the existing, limited infrastructure.  There are no provisions to add new infrastructure, including roadways, schools, parks, recreational facilities, libraries, fire & safety facilities and water & sewer systems.  There’s no money to fund new infrastructure, and there’s no undeveloped land left here to add them.

San Diego Unified School District does not appear to have the funds or land available to build additional elementary, middle or high schools for the area, especially in north UC, where schools are lacking.

Our recreation centers are already crowded, with parking lots generally full and tennis courts overbooked. There are no vacant parking areas left for the additional vehicles that would come with more residents living here.  We also have a limited number of parks in UC that are already in continuous use.

Genesee Avenue and Governor Drive are already extremely congested at peak commute hours and when all of the schools let out.  Added population would bring traffic to a standstill.

The San Diego Police Department, Northern Division, has stated it would be unable to provide adequate police, emergency response, and fire support for our community since it lacks both the funding and the personnel. Crime rates will surge upward if the population increases.

The City needs to rethink how it would possibly accommodate such a drastic population increase without the necessary infrastructure and law enforcement needed to accommodate it.

Wrong Type of Housing:  The City has been calling for affordable housing for all.  However, the type of housing that would be built in UC would be anything but affordable.  Land is expensive here, and affordably priced housing doesn’t pencil out.  Instead, developers would build more luxury high-rise apartment buildings with small units that rent for $4,000 a month and up, with projects like The Palisades at UTC and Lux as prime examples.

Research studies conducted by such firms as London Moeder Advisors reveal that San Diego already has a surplus of around 15,000 small, one- and two-bedroom rental apartments, when 100 percent of the current demand is for single-family homes where families can live and thrive.

Exacerbating the problem is that many of these new rental units would be constructed by demolishing existing, relatively affordable rental properties.  The few subsidized/affordable rate units that might be built would likely to be rented very quickly and have very low turnover.  Students, in particular, would be priced out of the market.

Instead of building more rentals in UC, where high land values attract the affluent and create bid-up pricing for the middle class, San Diego has an obligation to address the needs of its low-income and at-risk population by constructing both infrastructure and new housing in its historically neglected and low-income communities.

Misconception About Public Transportation:  The transportation argument the City is making has no grounds in reality, at least in the foreseeable future and here in south UC.  First, the existing transportation system throughout San Diego is sorely inadequate. To get around the city by bus or trolley is an ordeal, because the city was not originally planned for public transportation.  Trying to add it after the fact has been sketchy at best.  The region’s two transit agencies just announced they are currently facing budget shortfalls impacting operations, which means public transportation will become even worse.

Second, studies show that the majority of people will continue to use their cars, as most people are moving to EVs.  It’s especially unrealistic to think that residents within south UC’s single-family neighborhoods will use public transportation to transport their children, baby gear, loads of groceries, garden supplies, home goods and everything else aboard a bike or bus.

Third, the city justified spending such an exorbitant amount of taxpayer money to build the Mid-coast Trolley Extension by stating it would provide access to UTC for students and others living in lower-cost neighborhoods.  Concentrating new housing in UC makes little sense since those living in UC are far more likely to use their vehicles to travel to other parts of the city rather than taking public transportation.

Traffic & Safety Issues Along Governor Drive:  Placing as many as 1,000 to 1,200 combined housing units at UC Marketplace (Sprouts shopping center) and University Square (Vons shopping center), and possibly more high-rise housing at all four corners of Genesee Avenue and Governor Drive, would add enormous traffic along Governor Drive, which would make it extremely difficult for emergency vehicles to reach us in the event of an earthquake or wildfire in Rose Canyon. The only escape route is toward Genesee Avenue, which is already heavily congested.  Police and ambulances would have an even harder time responding to residents’ calls for help.

With three schools, a park, and two aquatic centers all located along Governor Drive, any additional traffic would compromise the safety of children, along with parents attempting to drop off and pick up their children.  The City needs to perform studies of the potential impacts.

If the City goes forward with its plans to reduce Governor Drive to a single lane in each direction to accommodate a bike lane, the result would be complete traffic gridlock in the mornings, afternoons when the three schools let out, and during the evening rush hour, when motorists use Governor Drive as a shortcut to Regents Road and the I-805.

Governor Drive Shopping Centers: In addition to the traffic concerns, the proposed rezoning at the Vons and Sprouts shopping centers to accommodate as many as 500-600 housing units at each center would be completely out of scale and character of the surrounding neighborhood.

It is unknown how much retail these centers would retain if they were redeveloped, which is of great concern to residents who rely on the existing stores, services and restaurants.  If retail stores were to be diminished, residents would need to drive to other communities to shop and eat out, which goes against the City’s Climate Action Program.  For many seniors who no longer drive, it would prove to be an even greater hardship.

If housing is added to these centers, zoning for the two shopping centers should remain at its current level of 29 housing units per acre at most.

Impacts on Open Space:  Open space areas are at a premium in our community and need to be protected.  Increased housing density and population would threaten the flora and fauna in Rose Canyon, which surrounds south UC on three sides.


While we acknowledge the need for more affordable housing in San Diego, University City is the wrong place to add any more than 5,000 to 10,000 units over the next 30 years.  It would be reckless for the City to proceed with zoning for any more when there is no infrastructure to accommodate more people.

Housing demand in San Diego is for more single-family homes, not more luxury apartment high-rises, which have already saturated the market.

The City’s vision of people suddenly transitioning to public transportation is idealistic, but not realistic.  Our region was not planned for public transportation, and attempts to make a transit-friendly city have failed.  As proof, one only needs to look at the trolley and buses passing by that are almost completely devoid of passengers.

There is absolutely no reason for upzoning anywhere in the single-family neighborhoods of south University City.  This area is built out, and any additional traffic in this area will cause traffic gridlock and pose a viable threat to the safety of the residents, particularly our children.

The City doesn’t appear to be listening to UC residents — tax-paying, voting citizens who have worked decades so they could purchase homes in a single-family neighborhood. Our leading realtors will attest to the fact that a  large portion of the home sales in recent years in UC have been to young couples starting families.  They specifically chose UC for its family-oriented environment where schools are good, parks and recreation facilities are close by, and the crime rate is relatively low.  The City’s plan to add enormous density here will destroy our neighborhoods and quality of life.

With new state-mandated housing, the City of San Diego has an opportunity to revitalize impoverished neighborhoods, repurpose industrial and commercial buildings, and help us live up to our reputation as “America’s Finest City.”  It is unconscionable that the City is aiming to ruin established, well-planned, desirable neighborhoods instead.

We request that the City consider the dire consequences of going forward with its unreasonable and life-threatening Land Use Scenarios in University City and work with our community to develop a far more sensible plan.  We are available to meet to discuss this further.


UC PEEPS, Including:

Judy Murphy
Barba Gellman
Beth Zanelli
Pam Connelly
Angie Jones
Josh Jones
Nancy Powell
Anne Morley
Joanne Adams
Clare Gibson
Denise Olson
Diane DiRe
Lisa Clark
Greg Jaccard
Susan Ros
Eddie Ros
Grady Olson
Peggy Walter
Jennifer Dunaway
Tom Ruff
Susan Nelson
Rich Woods
Evelin Ruibac
Kashy Mary
Karen Drogin
Haynes Pitts
Rob “Beej” Zievers
Nina Podhorsky
Suzanna Flock
Devora Rossi
Bill Mitchell
Liz Fitch
Natacha Schrantz
Jeanine Jacobson
Therese Connor
Michael Kozma
Greg Gibson
Greg Longmire
John Mattison|
Pedro Aza-Blanc
Mirian Schnaidman
Bryan Winkler
Nancy Beck
Bonnie Kutch

cc:  District 6 Councilman Kent Lee, District 6 Director of Community Engagement & UC Community Representative Dustin Nguyen, Councilman Joe LaCava, Tait Galloway, Andy Wiese, Chris Nielsen, Help Save UC

{ 60 comments… read them below or add one }

Greg March 21, 2023 at 11:10 am

Area is inhospitable to bicyclists and pedestrians. Cannot safely access trolley system without driving. Trolley system terminates prior to reaching bulk of current residents. Infrastructure is already overwhelmed during commute hours. This is a handout to developers that harms all residents in the area. Everyone will still be driving.


Paul Webb March 21, 2023 at 2:25 pm

I think you could say the same thing for pretty much every neighborhood in San Diego that is slated for new housing development. (College area, Normal Heights/North Park/Hillcrest, Midway, etc,).


Greg March 21, 2023 at 4:08 pm

This area is particularly awful. Residents are trapped on all sides by freeways or a single absolutely arterial out of their community.


Paul Webb March 21, 2023 at 4:23 pm

I guess it would be impolitic of me to point out that the residents of this community fought bitterly against the Regents Road bridge that would have given them a second way out.


Phil March 21, 2023 at 2:41 pm

An unsurprising and tone-deaf response from people who fear any change (while literally defining themselves as NIMBYs by demanding these homes go in other communities). Also not a shock that the Rag would give this oxygen.
I took a random sample of 10 names from the list above, found their addresses (they’re all single-family home owners in the 92122 area code) and looked up how much they bought their homes for and what they’re worth now.
Average purchase price -$347,600
Average assessed value – $596,164
Average estimated value – $1,447,019
Seems like most of these people are simply trying to protect the scarcity that allowed their homes to accrue incredible returns while not paying THEIR fair share in taxes to build the infrastructure they demand first before more homes go in (their property taxes are roughly half of what they should be if their homes were assessed at their actual value). Not building homes is a handout for them!
They don’t care about the kids (outside their own, who will inherit the home and tax rate) or their community at large. They just want to continue to suck up resources while everyone else pays the majority of the bill for them. It’s shameful to see them pull up the ladder of opportunity for those behind them just because they were born at the right time.


Frank Gormlie March 21, 2023 at 3:29 pm

Phil, I have to say that you certainly took off on one weak sentence in their entire letter and totally ignored any of their concerns — I mean talk about “tone-deaf.”

With your broad stroke of painting NIMBYism on anything you disagree with, you in turn do not respond to their numerous and well-documented problems with the update. Spend some of your time on them, why don’t ya, instead of looking up peoples’ house values.


Greg March 21, 2023 at 4:38 pm

LOL allowing more density in SFH zoned areas increases property values. What it harms are people who actually want to remain and live in their community aka not take the unrealized gains.


Lyle March 21, 2023 at 7:22 pm

Yep. As I go through life, I realize that some things are worth more than making more money. Once I was offered a job that involved a higher salary and a lot of promotion potential compared to the job I was in at the time. But I really liked and felt actualized by my then-current job, so I stayed with it.

A lot of us like our current neighborhoods (and neighbors) and want to stay with them, in spite of the fact that the property value increases make it a not-so-lucrative option to do so. The people in favor of the increases in density are those that want to buy us out and make a profit with little regard for the quality of life for those that live here.

So if the city manages to make things miserable enough for us old-timers that we just throw up our hands and sell out, it may be a benefit for those who want to live in boxes made out of ticky tacky, lined up in a row; but will be a loss for those who really love this particular area and its unique environment.

Also, these SF lots with only one house on them tend to have more area devoted to landscaping and trees thus a) providing more benefit to the atmosphere, and b) less runoff into the ocean. Both of which benefit everyone. Open space and parkland provide similar benefits, but how many of these increased-density proposals include a corresponding increase in open space and/or parkland ? It isn’t uncommon for major government projects to offer establishment of such things as mitigation for losses due to construction projects, but this sort of mitigation is not being offered in current increased-density proposals.

OK. I’m done with my rant.


Chris March 21, 2023 at 8:31 pm

I can’t speak for University City, but I live where Hillcrest, NP and Univ Heights all come together. Quite a few people I talk to (under 45) who are very pro housing density are upfront that they would like to see less 60+ people out and around in their presence and if lowering their quality of life in the best way to get them to pick up and leave than so be it. I’m 61 myself so I’m amazed they are open about this with me. But it comes down to the fact they have their own idea of what they want to see the city become and if older folks are unwilling or unable to adapt to their their vision, then the hope is they (older singe family home owners) will throw their hands up and bail. These are not developers, property management company owners or anything like that.


Geoff Page March 22, 2023 at 1:03 pm

A neighborhood without kids and old folks is not a neighborhood. People who move to adult communities are no better than the young crowd that wants us out. Being with people who are not like you is a valuable part of life, and I don’t mean just younger and older.


Chris March 22, 2023 at 2:35 pm

I agree. It makes me wonder what these individuals think about how life will be for them when they become “those older” folks.


Geoff Page March 22, 2023 at 1:00 pm

Very well said, Lyle, succinct and truthful.


Vern March 22, 2023 at 2:46 pm

Well said, Lyle.

Our families enjoy living in neighborhoods. We grow trees on our lots. We enjoy growing food in the backyard to share with our neighbors. The kids come over to pick blueberries, strawberries, oranges, lemons, avocados and other delicious, healthy foods. The dogs run around playing while family, friends and neighbors visit and enjoy spending time with each other.

We also put a lot of effort into maintaining our homes and our neighborhoods.

Quite a few folks I speak with (ages 30 – 50 +/-) are vehemently against the high density, stack ’em & pack ’em direction the toad-licking YIMBYs imagine is best. Quite the opposite. They, as many do, understand that high density means increases in greenhouse gases (think concrete jungle), major loss of canopy, stresses on infrastructure, higher taxes, breakdown in community and a decrease in affordable housing. They also are quite happy to interface and spend time with “older” family, friends and neighbors.


Phil March 22, 2023 at 3:35 pm

I deeply appreciate this misinformed belief that young people are trying to kick seniors out of their homes when CLEARLY older folks are blocking younger people from coming into their neighborhoods by stopping any additional housing from being built. Who can afford a $1.4 million house?

Additionally – and I know none of you care if it’s true or not – but density fights climate change, not the other way around. Emissions from cars are the plurality of our emissions in this city. That’s because people have to drive from far flung places where they can afford to job sites miles away. Dense housing near job centers are THE best thing you can do to fight climate change but there’s nothing I can say that will let people who got theirs from understanding this. One tree does not in any way compare to cutting down someone’s weekly commute in half. And you all know this.

I just beg any of you to listen to someone trying to raise a family here in San Diego to know what the housing market actually means for them. Let them decide what kind of homes they want to live in. I’m sure Geoff or Frank will block my account (as they have done with other people who have the audacity to argue) because I have the nerve to point out that NIMBYism is ruining our city when it’s all this message board supports (and I don’t know why I even argue with any of you, it’s like trying to tell MAGA people that Trump’s a criminal) but you should all have to know that you’re simply wrong, have never been right and are telling your kids and grandkids to screw off.


Frank Gormlie March 22, 2023 at 4:07 pm

Wow, Phil, good of you to try to discuss the issues with that clever refrain “you’re simply wrong, have never been right…”


Chris March 22, 2023 at 4:59 pm

So what happens when the person loses their job that’s near the dense housing they live in and the nest job they are able to land is 20 or more miles away?


Vern March 22, 2023 at 6:27 pm

Well, Chris, they’ll hope they can keep their small densely packed apartment, then get on their bicycle, ride to the bus or trolley stop, load the bike on the bus/trolley, take multiple transfers and travel three hours to get that “next” job. Simple!


Chris March 22, 2023 at 6:42 pm

We no doubt need to improve our public transit.


Sorry not Sorry March 23, 2023 at 4:34 am

Wait, Trump is a criminal?????


Geoff Page March 23, 2023 at 12:16 pm

I’ve never blocked anyone on this site.

You must have a very myopic view of the world to even make a statement like “it’s like trying to tell MAGA people that Trump’s a criminal).” If you go through life with such a black and white view of the world, you are bound to be disappointed.


Geoff Page March 22, 2023 at 12:58 pm

Exactly. Isn’t that ironic?


Sorry not Sorry March 22, 2023 at 10:29 am

Phil, do you like your investments depreciating? As well as a roof over their heads, real estate is also an investment. Especially in San Diego. You sound shocked and appalled that these people do NOT want their home values to decrease. OH THE THOUGHT.


Chris March 22, 2023 at 10:38 am

Read what I posted above.


Sorry not Sorry March 22, 2023 at 11:59 am

I read it Chris. Apples & oranges.


Chris March 22, 2023 at 12:30 pm

Not really. I think it answers your question to what Phil and like minded people feel about the property values of others.


Mateo March 23, 2023 at 4:25 pm

The Pro-Oligarchy, Politico-Corporate Real Estate Complex’s housing policies of “Build-to-Rent” and the Corportate Monopolization of Housing of the last 15 years have ELIMINATED the ladder of opportunity.
One need only look around to bear witness to the utter devestation of every California city to confirm this truth.
There are 92 publicly traded Real Estate Investment Trusts on the New York Stock Exchange and the 24 REIT’s on NASDAQ. Just one of those corporations, Invitation Homes’ acquired more than 81,000 3 & 4 bedroom homes in LA, Orange and San Diego Counties since Joe Biden headed up the 2008 Troubled Asset Relief Program in the absence of the repealed Glass-Steagall firewall between investment and commercial banking. Glass-Steagall protected all Americans from the Great Depression through 1999. The Corporate Monopolization of Housing, has resulted because of apolitical Authoritarian mandates like this “proposal” being forced down San Diegans throat. The almost overnight construction of 30,000 more luxury apartments will be dumped onto the market almost overnight will further exacerbate, inflate and manipulate the bubble of overvalued rents and the overvalued portfolios of housing values that is now bursting before our very eyes.
The Mau-Mauing of this Flak Catcher doth protest too much, methinks.


Mateo March 23, 2023 at 4:32 pm

My above reply was in regards to Phil’s reply to this article regarding pulling up the ladder of opportunity…


Chris March 21, 2023 at 3:20 pm

I have it will be time to break out the popcorn for the comments about to come, specially have Phil’s response.


Chris March 21, 2023 at 3:21 pm

Meant to say, I have a feeling it will be time to break out the popcorn, especially after Phil’s response,


Frank Gormlie March 21, 2023 at 3:30 pm

Please, Chris, not too much salt.


Chris March 21, 2023 at 8:36 pm

Interesting opinion piece. I can’t say I agree with it but it seems to be a growing sentiment among a large segment of Gen Z.


Gregg Sullivan March 22, 2023 at 10:55 am

I agree with the article!


Chris March 22, 2023 at 11:34 am

I agree with the author of the article about the need to make our city (and cities in general) less car dependent and the need to improve public transit so more people will drive less often. And making housing more affordable to more people far outweighs the property values of homeowners, but I’m not convinced increased high-density housing will achieve that.


Frank Gormlie March 22, 2023 at 2:19 pm

Chris, yeah, that was one of the articles I referenced in my intro to this post; the U-T ran 3 all supportive of the UC plan update.


Frank Gormlie March 22, 2023 at 11:27 am

There is another element in all of this that no one discusses: it’s called democracy. Or the lack of … Where is the democratic process in forming this community plan update? Where is the consensus-building? How can residents of a community be dealt with in such an undemocratic manner? It’s top-down decision making and conditions being imposed from the outside and it’s very authoritarian, very trumpian, I might say.


Sorry not Sorry March 22, 2023 at 12:10 pm

You are absolutely right Frank. I don’t see anything wrong with leaving UTC the way it is unless those residents want the change.

It would appear though that some of the commenters have that childish argument “if you don’t like it, move somewhere else”. What might work in North Park might not work or be wanted in every other “city in general”.


Chris March 22, 2023 at 12:38 pm

If I am one of those commentors, know this. I didn’t say anything to the effect of what you are expressing. I didn’t say anything pro or anti about the proposed developments in UC. I didn’t even say anything pro or anti about high density housing in NP or if what works there would work in UC, only what people I personally know (friends, neighbors, acquaintances) believe. I even expressed I doubt high density housing will acheive the goal of its proponents in brining down the cost of living.


Geoff Page March 22, 2023 at 1:06 pm

Relax Chris, you comments are very clear and even-handed, I don’t see how he could meant you were one of those commenters.


Chris March 22, 2023 at 2:31 pm

You’re probably right Geoff, but it’s often hard to tell in these threads. If SNS was not referring to me, than I apologize to him.


Paul Webb March 22, 2023 at 2:07 pm

Spot on, Frank!

I truly believe that the forces that shape our communities saw the Covid crisis and subsequent lock down as a opportunity – an opportunity to both ram through many initiatives with little or no input from pesky citizens as could be done and to reset to a new “normal” that community plans (and other land use plans) will not be guided by residents but by bureaucrats and elected representatives.

There are so many things that have been totally turned on their heads. Who asked for public input on the turning over of the operation of a downtown park to the owners of adjacent office buildings? Who decided to ignore the public and rate adequacy of parks and open space not by area provided but by the presence in a park of amenities like restaurants? Why are the few opportunities for public input on decisions not couched in terms of “what do our citizens want” but rather on “which of these three completely objectionable alternatives do you prefer?”

The proposed changes to the community planning groups is the last straw – the only remaining possible forums for citizen input being effectively stifled.


Frank Gormlie March 22, 2023 at 2:16 pm

Thanks Paul. I understand you’re no longer on the Peninsula Community Planning Board. That is sad but I totally understand.


Frances O'Neill Zimmerman March 22, 2023 at 12:17 pm

The University City community plan “update” is local fallout from an authoritarian Democratic-majority State Legislature mandate to override historic local control of land use zoning. Now UC is approved for a vast increase of chimeric “affordable housing,” by its own Democrat-majority City Council and Democratic Mayor. What it’s really about is as “undemocratic” as it gets: ensuring the river of political campaign money from developers to ambitious political figures/elected officials.


Phil March 24, 2023 at 8:40 am

Frances have you ever spoken to anyone under 40 about our housing crisis and how it impacts them?


Chris March 24, 2023 at 10:21 am

The answer to you question would be yes. Everyone who writes on here has talked to young families unable to make ends meet here in San Diego because of housing costs. You should know this.

You seem to be doing a bit of cherry picking. The Rag as done tons and tons of articles and opinion pieces on a myriad of issues. Outside of how to address the housing affordability crisis and bike lanes/public transit, you probably agree on. Again, you should know this (and I think you do).

Personally I am very pro bike infrastructure (even when it results in reduced parking) and pro improvement of public transportation and I truly would like to see this city become less car dependent. I have butted heads with others on the Rag over that. But the increased housing density is not a guarantee it will sole the affordability issue. There are quite a few multi family housing units in town that are struggling to attract renters due to high cost. Prices are not coming down to alleviate this. You know this also. Housing and cost don’t follow the traditional “Economics 101” model.
I agree with you we are in a crisis that needs to be fixed and that should take priority over home values, but again and explosion of dense housing isn’t likely to fix that.


Phil March 24, 2023 at 11:43 am

Chris I understand your point of view, and have seen it throughout these comments, but I would like to know if Frances (or any other regular contributors to the comment sections) has ever seen what the impact of their belief structure has meant to their kids and grandkids.


Chris March 25, 2023 at 8:46 am

It comes down to whether or not an explosion of high rise dense housing will achieve the end goal so many of it’s advocates claim it will.


Tanner March 23, 2023 at 10:33 am

Props to @Phil for speaking some truth on this site.


Sorry not Sorry March 23, 2023 at 11:44 am

Thanks Ray Charles. Phil must be Stevie Wonder?


Frank Gormlie March 23, 2023 at 12:56 pm

Sorry, Tanner, there’s been a lot of truth on this site for 15+ years now. From telling the truth about the Iraq war and George Bush to telling the truth about the future of community planning groups, we’ve been here — not perfect of course, but here nevertheless.


Geoff Page March 23, 2023 at 2:20 pm

Take a look at The Rag’s archives. An amazing collection of articles covering an amazing array of topics. It is a record to be proud of and unmatched by the mainstream media.


Phil March 24, 2023 at 8:37 am

Hey Frank can you show me one link from the last 15 years where this website supported new housing? I mean you’ve been incredibly generous in your coverage of significant issues like 10 palm trees getting cut down and the in-depth work from Geoff Page about why almost every cyclist killed had it coming. Still, from what I can see, every single article about the biggest problem in our community – the lack of housing – has been “absolutely do not build that here” so just want to know if I’m missing anything!

And no I’m not talking about generally saying “we need 100% on-site affordable homes”, has there been A project or community plan update or ANYTHING this website has ever supported or is it just a never-ending cascade of “NO NO NO NO” from people who bought their homes in the 80’s for $12.


Mateo March 24, 2023 at 10:42 am

Hey Phil,
Care to address the 8 Trillion Dollar Corportate Monopolization of Housing Gorilla in the Room?

The Pro-Oligarchy, Politico-Corporate Real Estate Complex’s housing policies of “Build-to-Rent” and the Corportate Monopolization of Housing of the last 15 years have ELIMINATED the ladder of opportunity.

One need only look around to bear witness to the utter devestation of every California city to confirm this truth.

There are 92 publicly traded Real Estate Investment Trusts on the New York Stock Exchange and the 24 REIT’s on NASDAQ. Just one of those corporations, Invitation Homes’ acquired more than 81,000 3 & 4 bedroom homes in LA, Orange and San Diego Counties since Joe Biden headed up the 2008 Troubled Asset Relief Program in the absence of the repealed Glass-Steagall firewall between investment and commercial banking. Glass-Steagall protected all Americans from the Great Depression through 1999. The Corporate Monopolization of Housing, has resulted because of apolitical Authoritarian mandates like this “proposal” being forced down San Diegans throat. The almost overnight construction of 30,000 more luxury apartments will be dumped onto the market almost overnight will further exacerbate, inflate and manipulate the bubble of overvalued rents and the overvalued portfolios of housing values that is now bursting before our very eyes.

The Mau-Mauing of this Flak Catcher doth protest too much, methinks.


Phil March 24, 2023 at 11:42 am

I for one certainly believe conflating the belief that “hey we should obviously build more homes” with the oppression of hundreds of thousands of Kenyans – many of whom died in unfathomable conditions in concentration camps across the country – by the British colonial overlords during the Mau Mau uprising is correct. Thank you Mateo.

You do know that words mean things right? That Captalizing Certain Things and using polysyllabic words doesn’t mean you make any further sense?

And if you think we’re going to build 30K homes overnight, I gesture you to look at anything we’ve done since the 70’s. But hey, left NIMBYism is also a thing. Build more homes – including a lot more social housing!


Paul Webb March 24, 2023 at 1:45 pm

Phil, Mateo was parroting a Tom Wolfe essay. Mau Mauing was the use of intimidation of government bureaucrats by young radicals, mostly people of color, in order to gain government social benefits either for themselves or their organizations. Yes, the phrase was taken from the Mau Mau movement in Kenya, but I’m pretty sure that was not what Mateo was getting at.

Oh, and by the way, I would like to point out that while I was a member of the Peninsula planning group, I voted for numerous housing projects, although I did oppose others that I thought were poorly designed, didn’t fit in with the character of the community or were flawed in some manner. So, the generalization that writers on this site have never approved any new housing or new plan. In fact, while I was in a leadership position with the Sierra Club, I angered a large number of people for supporting a development that they opposed because it was an infill development located near transportation and transit.


Mateo March 24, 2023 at 2:28 pm

The reference is to a book by Thomas Wolfe “Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers “, a two part essay.

“Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers”, the second essay reference to the Office of Economic Opportunity in San Francisco, which was in charge of administering many of the anti-poverty programs of the time in the late 60’s and 70’s. Wolfe presents the office as corrupt, continually gamed by hustlers diverting cash into their own pockets.

Wolfe describes hapless city bureaucrats, the Flak Catchers, whose function has been reduced to taking abuse, or “mau-mauing” for the corrupted public officials that are abusing the system for their own gains; i.e., paid lobbyists taking the heat for corrupted public officials.

For the record, no construction of high density luxury apartment complexes has lowered the ever increasing average global temperature even 1 degree.

Nor has high density housing, built by the tens of thousands since 2008, done anything but hyper-gentrify every major city in California and the U.S., and increase homelessness exponentially by inundating every major city housing market with tens of thousands of overvalued rentals. Just like the University City proposal will.

Phil, why is it that you are incapable of replying to the palpable, measurable and visually confirmable effects of the Politico-Corporate Real Estate Complex’s “Build to Rent” policies fueling Wall Street’s Corporate Monopolization of Housing?


Mateo March 25, 2023 at 6:14 am

cric · kets….


Chris t March 23, 2023 at 3:00 pm

At least you said “some”.


Trevor H March 24, 2023 at 2:25 pm

So refreshing to see someone speaking up in the comments. Thanks Phil. These guys have never seen a proposal for anything that they weren’t 100% certain would ‘destroy [insert community].’


sealintheSelkirks March 25, 2023 at 4:15 pm

So refreshing that corporate monopolization of housing? In this country the entire point is all about how much you can rip people off while ABSOLUTELY ruining their neighborhoods.

The people who own corporations…are not nice people. Corporate culture easily requires/forces an employee to do something one wouldn’t normally do outside of corporate culture. Ethics are cancelled, empathy is short-changed, and behavior becomes more sociopath than responsible citizen. The end result is never good.

Hence we get a Trump for president…and bankers who keep crashing their banks while government Socialism is then employed to ‘bail them out’ over and over. Hmmm, Socialism is good for the rich but not the rest of us? Yup.

How come ‘inflation’ keeps rising, housing costs explode? Because ‘everything is so much more expensive’ we are told but corporate profits somehow continue skyrocketing to new heights of absurdity. How…odd that is don’t you think?

Oh wait, who makes the rules? The wealthy who own the corporations, or at least they bribe elected officials to do their dirty work with campaign funding from the swarms of lobbyists that ever-circle politicians like sharks seeking prey.

You know who the largest owner of housing in the world is, Trevor H? Blackrock. Think the wealthy owners give a damn about any consequences of their actions but more profit?

What a system we have.

Here’s more on that:

Private opulence, public squalor: How the U.S. helps the rich and hurts the poor

As for University City:

In 1970/71 my dad and stepmom divorced in MB and he bought one of those crackerbox 2bdrm 1 1/2 bath attached 2-car garage houses in UC that backed up to the edge of a canyon on Haworth St. where it wound across the top of the canyon wall. His work was a pretty quick commute to Mission Bay High School.

The property’s back fence faced west towards La Jolla and the canyon below was full of wildlife. Hanging out past the fence on the top of the bluffs’ steep slope with binoculars I saw deer, coyotes, foxes, hawks hunting rabbits, all sorts of critters. Snakes occasionally showed up in the yard, and once a nice-sized rattler. He paid $22,000 for it.

When he died in ’94 that canyon was completely full of single family homes, asphalt, and concrete.

I visited him occasionally and disliked UC especially the times when I didn’t have a vehicle. It was strictly a car culture place. From Mission Beach by bus it took three hours if you were lucky, quicker to hitch-hike, and once you were dropped off on Genesee and Governor (there was a supermarket and a Thrifty’s on the s/e corner then) it was a hell of a crappy skate because of the awful walk down into the canyon, skate for a ways then walk up the other side to skate around the corner down his block.

I can’t imagine 30,000 new housing ‘units’ being built and the at least 60,000 additional cars that would be added into the already-awful traffic in 1994 when I was down there clearing out his house. It was bad then…almost 30 years ago! That alone should end this debate of allowing this to happen regardless of any other considerations.

If an area does NOT have any of the infrastructure already in place to handle such an increase in population, it should absolutely be cancelled. To do anything else is an exercise in stupidity. But then, there is a lot of stupid going on isn’t there?


In 1970/71 my dad and stepmom divorced in MB and he bought one of those crackerbox 2bdrm 1 1/2 bath attached 2-car garage houses in UC that backed up to the edge of a canyon on Haworth St. but I don’t remember his address anymore. His work commute was to Mission Bay High School.

The property’s back fence faced west towards La Jolla and the canyon below was full of wildlife. Deer, coyotes, foxes, hawks hunting, snakes showed up in the yard. He paid $22,000.

I visited him occasionally and hated UC especially the times when I didn’t have a vehicle. From Mission Beach by bus it took three hours if you were lucky, and once you were dropped off on Genesee and Governor (there was a supermarket and a Thrifty’s on the s/e corner, it was a hell of a crappy skate and an awful walk.


sealintheSelkirks March 25, 2023 at 4:26 pm

Oops, how the heck did the last three paragraphs double? Sorry!



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