Vice-Chair Missoula GOP offers her solution to affordable housing: Get married, have kids

by jhwygirl

In a recent post on affordable housing – a rising crisis we face here in Missoula – Vice-Chair of the Missoula GOP and former candidate for House District 97 (I remember those lovely blue signs around the neighborhood – the ones that didn’t mention her party affiliation) offers her solution to a 30-year old public school teacher who can’t afford the rent in the city where she works.

Clue: Get a husband with a job, then have the kids, and live somewhere other than The City.

Nice. Now there are about 10 different things wrong with that solution, but I’ll only snipe at one: I don’t know that it is really in the best interests of the community and its children to have their teachers commuting in from other communities. I know I want my schoolteachers living in my neighborhood.

Now Missoulapolis has also come down firmly against (no surprises there) inclusionary housing. She comments in her solution-to-affordable-housing post:

I have a cousin who is an ESL teacher there and she make it only because she’s in an old rent-controlled unit and she hangs on for dear life. But the control mechanism distorts the market beyond all manageability so it’s no wonder a teacher can’t get her own place there now. The more the govt tries to manipulate the problem the worse it gets.

What conservatives don’t seem to get is that the market is already screwed. Filled with speculators – she’s even acknowledged this in another previous post – that artificially manipulate the market.

But I guess it’s OK for the private market sector to artificially manipulate the market.

Further – inclusionary housing isn’t meant to manipulate the market – it’s meant to provide economic stability and certainty to the community. The market is already screwed. And in places where it’s done, the market has been screwed for a long, long time, with no signs of reversal. It is not a knee-jerk reaction or a quick solution to a recent problem.

Mark Tokarski, a fellow curmudgeon and contributor to Montana Netroots and frequent blog commentor places this comment at an unrelated (but excellent) post of Shane Mason’s on healthcare. Just substitute the principle of healthcare for affordable housing, and Mark precisely says what I’m trying to say:

Market-based solutions are a joke, since it is the market that got us into this mess. (The market by its very definition has to avoid sick people.)

Mark and I, BTW, rarely agree.

Areas that have done it, such as Vail, Aspen and Jackson Hole – and areas that are considering it – like Whitefish – are doing it to ensure that there are enough employees around to keep business and government up and running with warm bodies. And also to help avoid having to pay policemen and teachers $100,000 a year and dishwashers $25.00 an hour. You don’t have to be an Einstein to figure out what $100,000/year teachers will do to your taxes or what $25.00/hour dishwashers will do to your restaurant bill.

Missoulapolis is also against sprawl and infill – or maybe not….her blog is filled with pieces (lately, it seems) on housing, affordable housing, real estate (boom or bust?), new subdivisions, etc. In one piece she laments the “gash on the mountain above Farviews” but in another posts she seemingly champions the $59,000 – .29 acre lots adjacent to her self-proclaimed Casa del Minjares, (as an example, perhaps, of the wealth of affordable housing opportunities available in Missoula?)

What I do see is someone who offers no solution and no insight to an issue that is very real here in Missoula.

There are many ways to get about to dealing with the problems of affordable housing – inclusionary housing, infill, and yes, in some areas willing to accept traffic and poor air quality and higher taxes – sprawl. The solution, hopefully, should be something the community should come together with…and the longer it waits, the more drastic the solution.

Missoulapolis, oddly enough, self-describes herself as a blogger with “social-con tendencies.” Shouldn’t that come with some omnipotent solution? A solution of all solutions?

And I ponder how we – people like Missoulapolis and I – can come together with the beginnings of a solution to the problem. Myself, I’d rather avoid the drastic solution – but sitting around badmouthing every possible ‘tool’ while offering nothing of substance isn’t the way to do it.

  1. ayn rand

    I would propose an example of what inclusionary zoning is.
    I believe it is a subversive way to transfer wealth from the haves to the have nots.
    It is common knowledge that smaller homes next to larger homes have value added to them
    by the very placement of the higher value home.
    So what the smaller home owner could do is sell the home at a atificially higher price
    and look for another inclusionary zoned home and continue moving on up.
    What “feel gooders” want is everyone to own a home. A laudable goal and well intentioned.
    So who pays to allow the lesser wealthy to own their own home?
    Not the builder, not the developer, not the real estate agent.
    That home, that is artificially priced below actual total costs is paid for by the other
    buyers because their new home is artificially set above the normal margin the agent,
    builder, developer wants to sustain their livelihood. A better way would to hold bake sales,
    raffles, telethons, and just give the money to folks that want to buy a home. They could have a
    credit card like the folks enduring Katrina did. That way, do gooders would not be able to
    meddle with the market forces and would feel real good about themselves.

  2. You are missing one big salient point ayn – the current market is artificially inflated beyond “the normal margin the agent, builder (and) developer” normally gets.

    The supply-and-demand curve is distorted.

    But maybe it is OK, in your book, for the private sector to do that?

    What I’m seeking, in case you missed it, is some solutions – not bashing of each an every other possible solution. Maybe you have something to add towards that goal?

  3. ayn rand

    Who makes that decision that the demand curve is distorted? You, the sellers, the buyers, the government bureaucrat in a windowless office? It sound like you are dissatisfied with the cost of goods. Be they houses or food or fuel. If in fact that is the case and you and all the other dissatisfied would br buyers will stop buying. When that happens, the sellers will stop selling. Seems like a solution to me, or do you espouse the government get involved. That certainly is the ideas we get from the chest thumpers on Pine Street. I get the feeling that there are those that want government to take care of them from womb to tomb. I hope you are not one of those, because folks like me will fight for that which we have worked so hard for. So those that will arm themselves, not with guns, but perverted laws, will find the going get tuff, I hope. The liberal “take care of everyone” ideal if implemented, will some day crumble. Therefore my nom de plume.

  4. Sounds to me like you don’t believe in the American Dream.

    That’s OK – you are entitled to your beliefs and opinions.

    See, we either got one or we don’t. If it is perverse that people want to own their own home, just say it.

    Me – I think it is perverse to think that Missoula’s economy can sustain itself on housing that is pushing more and more people out to the outer reaches of the community, bringing us more traffic and poorer air quality and higher taxes because services like police and schools and fire and municipal government are further and further stretched.

    But hey – if you are OK with that, that’s for you.

    Certainly not everyone should own a home – I’ve said that before too – but when hardworking middle-median income households can’t afford housing, we got problems.

  5. Maybe I’m not thinking too clearly today (damn this hangover), but who are the people slapping anatomy on Pine Street, Ayn?

  6. Mr. Natural

    To jhwygirl:

    The only solution you are seeking is to force people with money to subsidize housing for people with less money. All your rationales are ridiculous. Even the terms you use, such as “affordable” and “inclusionary” are bogus.

    There is no free lunch. The best you can do is the double cheeseburger for a dollar at McDonald’s. The free market is perfect. Accept it. Live with it

  7. Cool! Do I take that as vote for economic instability, higher taxes, poor air quality and traffic jams?

    Or do you have a possible solution to offer?

    I repeat – inclusionary housing isn’t the answer – the community needs to come together for that….will you be assisting in that process?

  8. Hey, thanks for the blog love! I’m only second vice-chair though, and do not blog on the party’s behalf. And I ran in HD 96; you got something against blue signs? My signs had a little elephant at the bottom which is acceptable per state campaign law. As opposed to, say, the fundraising letter I got from a Mr. Kennedy in Billings, which indicated no party affiliation at all. Nothing.

    I not against sprawl OR infill. It’s the planners who oppose sprawl, whatever that is. Today it was the reporter who referred to my neighborhood as sprawl. To me, it’s places where people actually live. It seems like the planners want to squeeze everyone into the middle of town, like a cute little French village, with open farmland outside. Only we don’t have real farmland here – it’s hayfields and common area that turn to weeds because they’re not irrigated or otherwise cared for. I’m surround by the stuff. And some people don’t want to live in semidetached homes or on small lots. I could go for either myself.

    And do not “champion” the River Walk estates – I’m just wondering why the place isn’t being built and wondering what the hangup is – is the market tanking? I’m just interested in that kind of thing. You ought to be interested in such things yourself. If the real estate market ever tanks again like it didi in the 1980s, it will be an excellent time to buy a home.

    Basically I’m just taking note of all the things going on in town and wondering out loud what the answer is myself. If I don’t project a consistent message to you then so be it – I contain multitudes!

  9. Mr. Natural, if you honestly think the American economy operates as a perfect free market, then I have a McDonald’s franchise to sell to you. Ever heard of a little thing called subsidies? Nearly every industry in this country receives support from the government. The only notable exception is the porn industry. Why should housing be any different?

  10. Well now – speaking of subsidies (thank-you Rebecca!), let’s not forget the subsidies that local taxpayers provide to local developers in the form of reduced permitting and approval fees….fees that don’t even cover the cost of staff time and paperwork and legal ads.

    But we’ve had that discussion before, haven’t we?

  11. noodly appendage

    “get married, have kids”.

    Well, that’s the correct order, despite what liberals might think.

    Also, those who can afford houses are most often “hard working” despite what is being implied by posts above.

    I’m against sprawl. But it’s a tough question not easily answered. And I do think some affordable housing requirements, like infrastructure requirements, should be put on developers. However, such requirements HAVE to recognize the free market. Protests that it isn’t free, blah blah, ignore reality. Affordable housing policies can’t afford to ignore the realities of consumer behavior. Or you’ll get much more sprawl.

  12. I think jhwygirl isn’t arguing against the order of procreation, but the notion that getting married and having children is the only way a woman can and should get ahead in this world.

  13. Carol — Bill Kennedy is currently running for Congress, an office regulated by federal election law, not state. Still, it’s great to see conservative leaders continue to embrace the idea that someone else doing something justifies their own action.

    As for the elephant, it’s good you complied with state law. I think jh’s point, though, is that the way right-wingers try to win in Missoula is by shielding their ideology from voters. From what I can tell from the wailing about the Dems’ endorsements in city council races, that’s still very much the case.

  14. ayn rand

    Apparently Bill Kennedy was shielding his party ideology. Let the wailing begin! But thats OK for the donks like Sing er, different strokes for different folks.

  15. Mr. Natural

    What you don’t get is that everybody does not deserve to own a house. Why you assume that everybody deserves to own a house is beyond me. That’s crazy, first. Second, anybody can invent 50 reasons why owning a house is a community “good,” just like anybody can invent 50 reasons why eating vegetables is a community “good.”

    All you are doing is looking for housing welfare by another name. And if you did your research on “affordable housing,” you would discover that the whole scam is being promoted by HUD, the same socialist nincompoop outfit that brought us the housing projects of the 60s and 70s, all of which, by the way, are being demolished because they turned out to be a community “bad.”

  16. noodly appendage

    I disagree and agree, Mr. Natural. This isn’t some socialist, HUD plot.

    I agree that everyone doesn’t deserve to own a house. The ant and the grasshopper story still resonates well with me. Entitlement, it seems to me, is the hubris of generations unused to going without for anything.

    Spend your money profligately, don’t work, and party, smoke and trash your body, and no, I don’t want you in my insurance or interest rate risk pool. I don’t want to subsidize that lifestyle with my insurance, tax or home buying dollars.

    However, increasing the available supply of low cost housing, as the available supply of high cost housing is permitted, seems to be part and parcel to requiring other infrastructure from developers. It might not be SFH, you understand, could be Carol’s condos or townhouses or even small apartments, might have minimal lots sizes and yards, even utlity grade fixtures and construction.

    In addition, on the supply side, there must be room for builders to make a profit. A workman is worthy of his hire, that is, builders take risks and should get compensated for both their labor and putting their capital at risk. Can such a thing be done and still come up with that 60-80% of average income? I think so.

    Then it will be up to the market to decide, will consumers pick cheap, small, dense or will they commute long distances for cheap, larger, and sprawled?

  17. I think the imploding market is going to affect Missoula eventually and we’ll see affordable housing in a couple years. Unless the entire population of California really IS going to move here. Then again, they’re having trouble unloading their castles at the prices they expect.

  18. micah55555

    You anti growth people like jhwygirl need to lay off a little bit. The reason the house prices in Missoula keep going up is because the demand for housing is higher than the supply. Solution: BUILD MORE HOUSES!!!

  19. Micah – How you get out of this post that I am anti-growth escapes me.

  1. 1 Some Observations on Land Development and Profit « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] Vice-Chair Missoula GOP offers her solution to affordable housing: Get married, have kids […]

  2. 2 Candidate for HD 97 Carol Minjares’ Solution for Affordable Housing « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] Minjares also offered this solution to affordable housing last September. […]

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