Monday, March 14, 2016

Journalists and lobbyists

Chronicle columnist Charles Johnson was duped by lobbyists in his single-source column the other day in the Chronicle (Bay Area housing crisis fueled by greed, study finds):

“It (CEQA) has been abused in this state for 30 years by people who use it when it has nothing to do with an environmental reason,” said Carol Galante, faculty director of the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley, and a former assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Galante spoke to me by phone as she traveled to Sacramento to provide testimony on the housing crisis to the state Senate Transportation and Housing Committee. “NIMBY-ism is connected to the fact that for everyone who owns their little piece of the dream, there’s no reason to want development next door to them,” she said. “CEQA gives them a tool to effectuate their interest,” she said. “It’s a sense of entitlement that comes with an incentive, because it makes their property worth more money.”

Galante is hardly an objective observer, since she also works for development firms, including the Bridge Housing Corporation, not mentioned by Johnson. 

I blogged last year about that anti-CEQA Holland & Knight study Johnson refers to in response to an anti-CEQA Chronicle op-ed by a lobbyist. (Speaking of lobbyists, check out the list of firms Holland & Knight represent).

The other source Johnson quotes is one of the authors of the Holland & Knight study!

For a different take on CEQA litigation, see CEQA: The Litigation Myth by the National Resources Defense Council and this from Kamala Harris's office. See also this.

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