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Slow-Growth Initiative and Home Costs, Traffic

May 29, 1988

I am amazed at how stupid some of the slow-growth initiative supporters are. Your May 24 article "Slow, Pro Growth Forces Debate Traffic and Housing" includes a perfect example.

In response to comments by Crystal Sims regarding the increased home prices the initiative will most likely cause, you quoted Irvine Councilman Ray Catalano as saying, "The only way to get affordable housing is to tell them (developers) they have to provide it." He went on to say that developers sell houses at whatever price the market will bear, which will continue unless we tell them they can't.

I consider this statement to be incredibly naive. A basic tenet of economics is supply and demand--the fewer there are, the more they cost. If the number of houses built in the county slows while the number of people moving in continues to increase, housing costs will climb. That's an economic fact of life.

We have all been told that all we have to do to eliminate a product is stop buying it, but how often does that really happen?

If Councilman Catalano really means county government should tell developers to build affordable housing, I think that's been tried. The state's Coastal Commission, established in 1977, built affordable housing for low- and median-income families for five years, but the program's strict resale requirements are currently causing an expensive bureaucratic nightmare for a number of south county homeowners. This is hardly a solution.

South county is already being developed into beautiful master-planned communities that provide residents with parks, schools, fire stations, neighborhood shopping centers--and roads. I think the developers have been doing a fine job on their own. What more can they do?


Huntington Beach

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