Welcome to the AM Alert, your morning run-down on California policy and politics. To receive it regularly, please sign up for it here.
Restaurant workers, teachers, first responders – even doctors – are getting priced out of California, and home-ownership is beyond the reach of many, according to a nationwide housing survey from the real estate listing service Trulia.
Trulia analyzed state and national housing trends comparing median salary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to median home price. San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego ranked among the least affordable places across the state.
In Sacramento, virtually no homes are affordable for restaurant workers, whose median annual income of roughly $24,000 per year compares to a median home listing price of $449,000. The percentage of homes available for service industry workers came in at about 1 percent. For teachers, roughly 32 percent of homes in Sacramento are considered affordable. Just over 42 percent of homes are considered affordable for first responders such as police officers and firefighters. For doctors, roughly 90 percent of homes are affordable.
In San Francisco, 41.57 percent of homes were considered affordable for doctors. It was less than three percent for first responders and teachers, and zero for restaurant workers. The picture was just as bleak in Los Angeles.
The state’s tight housing market has led to rising home prices, soaring rents and rampant tenant displacement. With more than 130 housing-related bills in the Legislature, state lawmakers are seeking to address the widening crisis. The bills range from proposals to streamline the permitting process for new development, impose new fees on real estate transactions to fund affordable housing projects and eliminate a state mortgage interest deduction for second homes.
Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, chair of the Assembly’s housing committee, are seeking to draw attention to a set of proposals aimed at easing the crisis. Rendon and Chiu will be joined by other lawmakers during an 11:30 a.m. news conference at the 7th and H Street Housing Community, an affordable housing complex in Sacramento.
FEINSTEIN TOWN HALL: Sen. Dianne Feinstein holds her first town hall in San Francisco today since President Donald Trump took office.
Feinstein, 83, has come under fire in recent months for not holding town hall meetings, as Republican and Democratic members of Congress across the state have faced angry constituents and packed town halls. A protest at Feinstein’s San Francisco home in late February urged her, broadly, to take a strong stance against Trump. She’s expected to face a crowd and tough questions today on federal immigration policies, the rollback of environmental regulations under Trump and the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Feinstein, first elected to the Senate in 1992, could also address the biggest question looming in political circles – whether she’ll run for re-election in 2018.
Though she has hinted that she plans to run for her sixth term next year, a recent statewide poll indicated voters are ready for someone new.
The town hall is at 11 a.m. at the Scottish Rite Masonic Center, at 2850 19th Ave., San Francisco. It’s expected to last an hour.
SEA LEVEL RISE: Sea levels are steadily rising, and coastal California waters could rise more than a foot in the coming years if the oceans continue to warm, and Antarctic glaciers and ice caps continue to melt at their current pace, according to a new report from the California Ocean Protection Council.
The impacts of sea level rise are already being felt along coastal California, according to the report, including “more extensive coastal flooding during storms, periodic tidal flooding and increased coastal erosion.”
Authors of the report rebuked the belief, held by leading Republicans in Congress, that climate change is a naturally occurring phenomenon.
“Waiting for scientific certainty is neither a safe nor prudent option,” the report said. “Consideration of high and even extreme sea levels in decisions with implications past 2050 is needed to safeguard the people and resources of coastal California.”
DRIVER’S LICENSE BACKLOG: People seeking to take the state commercial driver’s license test in California can wait up to three months, prompting two state lawmakers to propose a bill that would allow third-party testers and schools to offer the tests. The bill’s supporters say the backlog has resulted in lost job opportunities for those applying for truck and bus-driving positions.
Assembly members Freddie Rodriguez, D-Pomona, and Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, will hold an 11:30 a.m. press conference to discuss Assembly Bill 301, prior to its first hearing in the Assembly Transportation Committee. The hearing is at 2:30 p.m. in Room 4202 of the Capitol.
IMMIGRATION CRACKDOWN: State Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, and Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters, are hosting a “know your rights” forum on immigration from 6 to 8 p.m. tonight in Davis.
The event is expected to address widespread fears among undocumented people about a federal immigration crackdown. Speakers include immigrant service providers, legal advocates and local law enforcement officials. The event will also be livestreamed here.
The event is at the UC Davis School of Law, at 400 Mrak Hall Dr., Room 1001.
Angela Hart: 916-326-5528, @ahartreports