» 4th Annual Local Government Conference: Will California Ever Figure Out How to House Itself?

Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

Thursday, April 5, 2018

It’s hard to overstate the challenges posed by today’s California housing crisis. The average price of buying a house is now suburban homestwo-and-a-half times the national average, rents are at historic highs, and the state’s homeownership rate is the lowest it’s been since the Second World War. But this crisis is even worse, as it impacts virtually every institution in the state. Housing shortages and the resulting high prices have become a huge drag on the state’s businesses and economy. As people commute further to find affordable housing, their health worsens, traffic thickens and children have less time with their families. Evictions are up, and, in almost every major city of the state, the homeless are more visible than ever before. And, more broadly, the failure of markets, governments and communities to address the crisis exposes structural problems with planning, taxation, environmental regulation and all levels of government, especially the local. What do we know about the nature and causes of the California housing calamity? What have the market and governmental responses so far accomplished? How can Californians and their local governments, after failing to meet their own housing for decades, dig out of their housing hole and create housing that serves our communities in the future?

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Victoria Carty

Victoria Carty is an associate professor of sociology. Her research focuses on social movements in the United States, Mexico and Panama, and she has written several journal articles and book chapters on this topic. Most recently, she published a book titled, Wired and Mobilizing: Social Movements, New Technology, and Electoral Politics (Routledge Press). She is also very interested in public sociology, specifically issues of immigration and homelessness in Orange County.

Joe Cortright

Joe Cortright is President and principal economist of Impresa, a consulting firm specializing in regional economic analysis, innovation and industry clusters. Over the past two decades he has specialized in urban economies developing the City Vitals framework with CEOs for Cities, and developing the city dividends concept.

Joe’s work casts a light on the role of knowledge-based industries in shaping regional economies. Prior to starting Impresa, Joe served for 12 years as the Executive Officer of the Oregon Legislature’s Trade and Economic Development Committee. 

Laura Foote-Clark

Laura Foote-Clark lived in Washington, DC, New York City, and Chicago before moving to San Francisco in 2014. She held a variety of transient jobs, from barista to sales, before founding a pro-housing advocacy nonprofit in 2015 in a fit of rage after a Noe Valley neighbor tried to block a single family home from becoming a two-unit building. Since then, she’s been involved in San Francisco’s housing politics, kickstarting the YIMBY movement with Sonja Trauss and advocating throughout the region and state to push pro-housing laws. Laura is executive director of YIMBY Action, a non-profit dedicated to ending the Bay Area’s housing crisis by advocating for more home-building.

Tory Gattis

Tory Gattis is a Founding Senior Fellow with the Center for Opportunity Urbanism, and co-authored the original Opportunity Urbanism studies and City Journal article with noted urbanist and Center Director Joel Kotkin about creating a city philosophy focused on upward social mobility for all citizens as an alternative to the popular smart growth, new urbanism, and creative class movements. Tory writes the popular Houston Strategies blog and its twin blog at the Houston Chronicle, Opportunity Urbanist, where he discusses strategies for making Houston a better city (and has published numerous Houston Chronicle op-eds on these topics as well). He is the founder of Microschool Revolution, a startup backed by the Rice University Owlspark accelerator program and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation to create a high-tech network of affordable private schools ($10/day) combining the best elements of eLearning, home and traditional schooling to reinvent the one-room schoolhouse for the 21st century. Tory is a McKinsey consulting alum, TEDx speaker, and holds both an MBA and BSEE from Rice University.

Steven Greenhut

Steven Greenhut is senior fellow and Western region director of the R Street Institute, a free-market think tank. He joined R Street in February 2016, having most recently served as California columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune. Previously, he was vice president of journalism at the Franklin Center, where he oversaw a team of watchdog editors and reporters in state capitols. Steven spent most of his career as a member of the editorial board of the Orange County Register, where he still writes a  column. He is the author of two books, 2004’s Abuse of Power: How the Government Misuses Eminent Domain and 2009’s Plunder! How Public Employee Unions are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling Our Lives and Bankrupting the Nation. He is based in Sacramento.

Jennifer L. Hernandez

Jennifer L. Hernandez leads the West Coast Land Use and Environmental Group. She divides her time between the San Francisco and Los Angeles offices, and works on projects in Northern and Southern California, as well as the Central Valley. She has achieved national prominence in her work on brownfield redevelopment, wetlands and endangered species, as well as the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). She represents a broad variety of private, nonprofit and public sector clients, including real estate developers, public agencies and operating companies in numerous industries. Ms. Hernandez serves on the firm's Directors Committee and was the first West Coast lawyer and first Latina awarded the firm's highest honor for her professional, pro bono and community achievements.

Bruno Kaufmann

Bruno Kaufmann is the Global Democracy Correspondent at the Swiss Broadcasting Company. He served as member of executive government in Falun/Sweden between 2010 and 2017 and co-chairs (together with Joe Mathews) the Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy. The next Forum will take place in Rome/Italy in September 2018. He holds an MA in Political Science and is the author of numerous books and publications on active citizenship and participatory democracy including the Global Passport on Modern Direct Democracy.

Jonathan Lansner

Jonathan Lansner has been the Orange County Register's business columnist since 1997 and has been part of the newspaper's coverage of the local business scene since 1986. He is a native New Yorker who is a past national president of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. Jon lives in Trabuco Canyon -- yes, a homeowner -- and when he's not fiddling with his "trusty spreadsheet" at work you can likely find him rooting for his beloved Anaheim Ducks or umpiring local lacrosse games.

Joe Mathews

Joe Mathews is Innovation Editor for Zocalo Public Square, a nonprofit combining daily journalism and live events. He writes the syndicated Connecting California column for Zocalo and 30 media outlets. Joe serves as a professor of practice at Arizona State University and Co-President of the Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy. Joe is co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It and author of The People's Machine: Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Rise of Blockbuster Democracy.

Michael A. (Mike) Moodian

Michael A. (Mike) Moodian has served as an adjunct faculty member at Chapman University since 2007. He is currently an associate professor of social science at Chapman-affiliated Brandman University and a writing instructor at Chapman’s College of Educational Studies. Mike codirected the 2010 State of Orange County Survey and edited a graduate textbook titled Contemporary Leadership and Intercultural Competence (Sage, 2009). He has been a guest op-ed contributor on social and political issues for publications such as the Orange County Register, San Jose Mercury News, Los Angeles Daily News, Honolulu Advertiser, Riverside Press Enterprise, and La Opinión.

Sam Moss

Sam Moss, Executive Director of Mission Housing Development Corporation, oversees the administration of all the organization's assets, programs and services. Issues like human resources, operations, budgets and board meetings come with the territory. Since taking the reins at Mission Housing in September 2013, Sam has grown the organization from eight people to 25 people, and has added the construction of more than 1,000 new, 100% affordable housing units to the Mission Housing pipeline. Prior to joining Mission Housing, Sam managed real estate assets for union pension funds and various union locals throughout Northern California.


James E. Palmer

Dr. Palmer has dedicated his life’s work to helping those in need. His professional focus is the creation of long-term self-sufficiency and stability among the least, the last, and the lost by going beyond traditional temporary solutions to address the underlying causes of transitional and chronic homelessness. Dr. Palmer is the first person in the United States to have served on three levels of government simultaneously. He served as a City Councilmember, County Commissioner, and Presidential Appointee. While serving on the Tustin City Council, one of his significant achievements was authoring and implementing one of the most comprehensive local government transparency laws in California.

Lloyd S. Pendleton

For more than fourteen years Lloyd has been an advocate for homeless citizens. In 2004 as a loaned executive from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he took the lead in writing and implementing the State of Utah’s Ten-Year plan to offer housing opportunities for all the State’s chronically homeless individuals. In 2006, Lloyd retired from his employment and went to work for the state as the Director of the Homeless Task Force to continue implementation of the Plan to end chronic homelessness and reduce overall homelessness by 2015. Because of his work with Utah’s homeless population and the agencies that serve them, he was awarded the 2009 Governor’s Award for Excellence. Also, in 2009 he was awarded a Purpose Price Fellowship as a social entrepreneur in a second career for his work with the homeless population. 

John Sanphillippo

John Sanphillippo is an observer of the social, political, and economic dynamics that create the built environment we inhabit. He lectures around the country, is a regular contributor to www.strongtowns.org, www.newgeography.com, www.faircompanies.com, and has been published in a variety of periodicals such as The American Conservative. You can find the bulk of his work at www.granolashotgun.com. He lives in San Francisco and is a graduate of Rutgers University. 

Fred Smoller

Fred Smoller, an Associate Professor of Political Science and Chapman faculty member since 1983, is the organizer of this conference. He received his Ph.D. from Indiana University. His major area of interest is American politics, with an emphasis on state and local government, citizen engagement, and public administration. In 2010, two of his graduate students collected data for a ground breaking salary study that exposed salary levels of some public employees that many considered egregious. The ensuing City of Bell scandal focused much attention, some positive and some negative, on Dr. Smoller and his two students. Their research set in motion a public discussion about local government that led to the passage of transparency legislation.

David Snow

David A. Snow is a Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). He has authored or co-authored well over 100 articles and chapters on homelessness, social movements, religious conversion, framing processes, identity, and qualitative methods in a range of sociological and social science journals, and 10 books including the award-winning Down on Their Luck: A Study of Homeless Street People (with L. Anderson). Professor Snow has conducted research on homelessness in numerous cities around the country, including, most recently, Orange County, California, as well as in Paris, Sao Paulo, and Tokyo abroad. Professor Snow is past President of the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction and the Pacific Sociological Association, a recent Vice President of the American Sociological Association, and a recipient of the Society for the Study of Social Problems’ Lee Founders Award for career contributions to the study of social problems, the John D. McCarthy Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Scholarship of Social Movements and Collective Behavior, and the George Herbert Mead Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction.

Mark Stivers

Mark Stivers is the Executive Director of the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee (TCAC), which facilitates the investment of private capital into the development of affordable rental housing through the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program. Prior to joining TCAC in January of 2015, Mr. Stivers served the California Legislature for 18 years, including 16 years as the lead housing staffer for the Senate. Mr. Stivers began his career as a fair housing counselor with two non-profit agencies in the Bay Area.


Saskia Thompson

Saskia Thompson joined the Detroit Land Bank Authority in September 2017 as it’s Executive Director, after spending over 20 years working in various roles in local government in the cities of Detroit, Charlotte, and Philadelphia. In her most recent role prior to joining the DLBA she worked for the City of Philadelphia as Deputy Finance Director and the Executive Director for the Office of Property Data, responsible for redesigning and optimizing the collection, sharing, and maintenance of accurate data of the 570,000 parcels within the city. During this time she worked on numerous other initiatives, including serving as Project Director for the sale of the Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) where she secured a deal to sell the asset for $1.86 billon, managing an $8 million project to overhaul the system used to conduct assessments and valuation of all properties with the city, and she also served on the City Planning Commission.

Bill Witte

Mr. Witte, who founded Related California in 1989, oversees all of Related California's multi-family and mixed-use development activity in California. Previously, Mr. Witte served as Deputy Mayor for Housing and Neighborhoods under Mayor Art Agnos where he oversaw all housing, development and redevelopment activities for the City of San Francisco. He was Director of Housing and Economic Development under Mayor Dianne Feinstein and served as an appointed Commissioner of the San Francisco Housing Authority. Mr. Witte graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies and a Master in City Planning. Mr. Witte is a member of the Board of Overseers of the Graduate School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania and is Vice Chair of the Board of the Lusk Center for Real Estate at USC.

Jonathan Woezel

Jonathan is a director of the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), McKinsey's business and economics research arm. He also leads McKinsey's Cities Special Initiative and is responsible for convening McKinsey's work with city, regional, and national authorities in more than 40 geographies around the world. He is a co-chair of the non-profit think tank, the Urban China Initiative—a joint venture of Columbia University, Tsinghua University, and McKinsey—that aims to develop and implement solutions to China's urbanization challenges.


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