Home One community The only missing element in the housing discussion: tolerance

The only missing element in the housing discussion: tolerance


In summary

If living in a home with a garden is your thing, you probably shouldn’t expect California tolerance from a certain group of people.

By John Mirisch, Special at CalMatters

John Mirisch has been a member of Beverly Hills City Council since 2009, having served three terms as mayor, [email protected]. He is currently a member of the Garden Variety Council.

In California, we pride ourselves on being very tolerant of a wide range of lifestyles and lifestyle choices. Dress as it suits you; love who you love; define yourself according to your own preferences. Do your own thing. Sing your own song. Dance your own dance. The Californian thing is to live and let live.

Except, of course, when it comes to housing-lifestyle choices. If living in a house with a garden is your thing, you probably shouldn’t expect California tolerance from a certain group of people who, with cult zeal, will tell you that your lifestyle is bad, bad, immoral. and even “racist”.

In many ways, the California housing talk has turned into a thinly veiled propaganda war against single-family neighborhoods. Eliminating single-family neighborhoods through overzoning appears to be the ultimate goal of politicians in YIMBY and Sacramento who are selfishly scapegoating local communities and wanting to impose uniform regulations on cities and communities across the state. .

Most Americans from all walks of life live in single-family neighborhoods or aspire to live in them, and yet there are many who try to delegitimize this lifestyle choice. Never mind, for many, living in a single-family neighborhood still represents the American dream.

Let’s be clear: there is nothing wrong with living in a house with a garden in a neighborhood of houses with gardens, just as there is nothing wrong with living in a Manhattan-style density – or any variation between them. of them. These are all life choices that, in most cases, are very personal.

So why all this rhetoric, with loaded phrases like “exclusionary zoning” and these toxic attempts to portray single-family neighborhoods as immoral, racist and evil?

It is ultimately about money – business rather than community – with the anti-family rhetoric of neighborhoods serving to “justify” measures that would eliminate these neighborhoods in favor of “products” that are being sold. lend themselves well to speculative Wall Street investments, private equity and global capital.

Transforming ourselves from a nation of landlords into a nation of renters is also a great way for Wall Street to generate recurring income, the “gift that keeps on giving.”

In accordance with the agenda of the Urban growth machine, proponents of forced density see housing as an investment vehicle rather than as an investment vehicle. as a place to live or as a home. If we look at their rhetoric and “arguments” we can see that most YIMBYs are actually WIMBY’s.

The quasi-religious fervor and fundamental intolerance with which defenders of forced density preach their anti-pluralism agenda in housing is sometimes surprising. Whether those who denounce single-family neighborhoods with the zeal of cult members have had unhappy childhoods in the suburbs, or whether the motives are purely financial, the intolerant rhetoric against garden houses has been raised to the level where one can. read that becoming a homeowner in a single-family neighborhood in fact make you a bad person.

In a country that embraces the principles of pluralism, urban areas should offer a wide variety of housing and lifestyle choices for families and people from all walks of life. And that includes single-family neighborhoods.

We must be tolerant of these choices.

We often hear about “The Californian exception.” In this case, it is an exceptional pride.

For all the speeches of “sacrifice single-family neighborhoods” in what ultimately amounts to further commodification of housing in the name of increased developer profits, our state is currently leading the nation in arrogance, one-sidedness, extremism and, yes, intolerance in our discussions on housing.

It is time for that to change. It is time for Californians to be as tolerant of individual housing choices as they are of any other lifestyle choice. Dance your own dance. Sing your own song. Live, laugh and love where and how it makes you happy. And do your own thing – even if planting your own garden in your own backyard is your own thing.