The following blog post is a time-stamped, full transcript of Bob Preston’s interview of Todd Gloria, California State Assemblymember and Candidate for Mayor of San Diego. The episode was recorded May 14, 2020 and published on the Property Management Brainstorm Podcast. The audio version of this podcast can be found at this link of the North County Property Group website, as Episode 38- Tackling the Housing Crisis: Property Management Brainstorm Show.
Bob Preston: 01:12 Welcome brainstormers to the Property Management Brainstorm show. I'm Bob Preston, your host, broadcasting from our studio at North County Property Group in Del Mar, California. If you're new here, please subscribe so you have ongoing access to all of our great episodes and if you like what you hear, please pay it forward with a positive review in the state of California in many cities throughout the country, including right here in San Diego, a housing crisis has emerged in which many citizens have become homeless or live in substandard housing. Simply put, housing that people can afford may now be more out of reach than ever. In the state of California, one person who has vowed to make progress on California's housing crisis and further advocated for increased investment and innovative solutions to housing and homelessness is California State Assembly Member Todd Gloria Assembly Member Gloria is also running for the Mayor of San Diego, which will be on the ballot in November of this year. Todd, welcome to Property Management Brainstorm.
Todd Gloria: 02:13 Thank you, Bob. Thanks for having me.
Bob Preston: 02:14 You bet. To start things off in preparing for today's podcast, I've visited your website and I've studied your bio super impressive and inspiring story. It would be so wonderful if you could tell us about yourself and your journey, if you will, toward your career in both San Diego and state of California politics.
Todd Gloria: 02:29 Sure. I'm happy to, um, you know, I'd like to tell people I'm a third generation San Diego. Um, I'm the proud son of a maid and a gardener, um, who raised my brother and I to believe that if you care about something, you're supposed to leave it better than you found it. Uh, it turns out that actually is a pretty decent recipe for a career public service. Um, I was that nerdy kid that would watch C-SPAN for fun, uh, when I was growing up. I know that makes me weird. Uh, my classmates certainly informed me as such, uh, uh, back then. Um, but you know, I just sort of fell into community service, into public service, started volunteering on campaigns, uh, at a very young age and, uh, just found my way to a lifetime in serving my hometown, which I feel honored to do. Um, I worked for a long number of years for our County of San Diego and the Health and Human Services Agency, uh, served on our Housing Commission, ran Congresswoman Susan Davis, the San Diego office, and did two terms on the city council to two years as council president. Eight months as interim mayor and now I'm finishing up my second term in the California State Assembly.
Bob Preston: 03:34 And you're running for mayor for San Diego. Again. There's that too. There's that too. Are we going to have an election?
Todd Gloria: 03:40 We absolutely will have an election. Yeah. I think it would be a bit different. It is possible that it might be all more than ballot. Um, but uh, we, we will have an election. We have to have an election. We are a democracy. We must do that.
Bob Preston: 03:51 We have to have an election in November here. Right. So, I suppose when you get into public service, you understand that there a time might come where there's some kind of a public crisis, but wow. I mean, I don't think anybody was ready for this. What's it like in Sacramento right now? Are you able to work in Sacramento? Are you working from home? Give us some insight into how that is.
Todd Gloria: 04:08 So these are unusual times. In the legislature, uh, went into recess, uh, in mid-March after passing a $1.1 billion response package for the state's efforts to deal with COVID-19, and then we all returned to our districts, uh, and just went back to Sacramento, uh, this past Monday for the first time in seven weeks and, uh, came back to San Diego last night. Uh, assembly has resumed meeting. We had committee hearings this week. We're presenting and considering and voting on bills at this point, but it's a very different experience, Bob. We, uh, uh, are not permitted to have staff with us in the hearing rooms. Uh, the public is generally participating remotely. Uh, we are all practicing social distancing, wearing masks have spaced far apart. Um, it's just a real experience. And so, I was actually excited to go back to work on Monday. Um, just, you know, I think we all are creating some normalcy. Uh, but upon getting there, I realized, you know, this really is far from what is normal, what we experienced typically as, as a state assembly. Um, but that said, the, as we just mentioned, this is democracy. It requires a legislative branch to function and to work. Uh, and there's a lot of work that must be done. Everything from our state budget, uh, to new legislation to modify legislation, uh, to just oversight of this response efforts. So, I'm glad that we went back. Um, I'm also glad to be back in San Diego today.
Bob Preston: 05:26 Right, yeah. I'm sure it's got to be different, but a lot of smart people gathering there, so I'm sure you'll figure out how to keep our, keep our state running. Well, Hey, I think you know a little bit about me. I, I'm a in the housing market myself, I run a property management business in North County and in December I was watching the 60 minutes episode, you've maybe heard about it and it was about the housing and homeless crisis specifically in Seattle. And I literally was just overwhelmed by that episode and I started thinking about it. It just seems like there's so many similarities to San Diego. So, do you see a comparison to what's going on in Seattle and our housing crisis that we're having here in San Diego?
Todd Gloria: 06:01 Well, I think both situations are comparable in the sense that they're both are unacceptable, right? That, uh, the level of on-street homelessness in both communities, there's a major frustration.
Bob Preston: 06:10 Other cities too, right? I mean, I know you're probably up in the Northern California light. You got to see a lot of that up there as well.
Todd Gloria: 06:16 Well, even in Sacramento, you know, which I'm seen as being relatively affordable and, uh, in a midsize city, but they have a substantial homelessness crisis there. It really impacts every community. I too saw the 60 minutes piece on Seattle. I thought I did an exceptional job of, of dealing with issues that I've worked on my entire career, you know, from homelessness to housing affordability to income inequality, uh, to just, uh, the, the beating that working in middle class Americans have dealt with over the last number of years. It was all a display. It happened to be in Seattle, but you know, many of those stories are comparable here in San Diego. Uh, I remember in that Seattle piece you had a young couple that was I believe living in their car and living in a tent. Many of that here. Uh, lots of issues, addiction and mental illness. Uh, that was also true here. Um, but I think broadly speaking, what you have is a situation where I think there was in that piece, uh, was a, a letter carrier. Um, if I remember correctly. Yeah.
Bob Preston: 07:09 US postal worker. Sure.
Todd Gloria: 07:11 Um, and who was homeless and when I saw that piece, um, you know, I think back to the relationship that we had with our letter carrier when I was a boy, we had the same letter carrier for years and years. We knew him well.
Bob Preston: 07:23 Same with sit out front, wait for him to walk up. Right. They did it by foot at the time.
Todd Gloria: 07:27 Yeah, exactly. And, and thinking about what that was 30 years ago to where it is now, where I'm certain that our letter carrier back then was able to probably own a home and provide for his family very sufficiently. Clearly the woman in the 60 minutes piece in 2019 was not doing the same thing. And, um, I think it speaks to a host of issues. It's a very complex inner tangle inter tangled up, um, series of public policy issues. Uh, but, uh, it needs addressing, uh, Seattle, uh, in San Diego, in California and across the nation.
Bob Preston: 08:00 So it's been a little frantic here over the past couple of months with the COVID-19 pandemic. And I have to believe that that's had an impact on homeless homelessness. Right. Can you tell us much about that and what is, you know, if you want to use San Diego as a backdrop or the state of California, what specifically in response to COVID-19 is California or the city of San Diego doing in response?
Todd Gloria: 08:20 Well, I think there's some good news and bad news here. I mean, good news is, is that Bob, you know, someone who's worked in this area for a very, very long time. You know, what we have done over the last two months is stuff that I think a lot of us had hoped for or kind of dreamt about. Being able to bring this level of attention and priority to our unsheltered population. And we're doing it now because of COVID-19. And what do I mean by that? Is the hundreds of hotel and motel rooms that have been procured to house many of our homeless folks who are vulnerable to or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, uh, two, the repurposing of our convention on a temporary basis to a homeless shelter, housing, not quite a thousand of our unsheltered here in San Diego County. So, we are bringing a tremendous amount of resource, a lot of effort, a lot of collaboration that candidly, I think has not always been the hallmark of the work.
Bob Preston: 09:11 Creativity and innovation. Right? I mean, some of the things we're doing, it just shows we can do it. Yeah.
Todd Gloria: 09:15 Bingo. And so, you know, I hate that it takes a pandemic to make this happen. And I certainly don't think that this is a like for like exchange, but, um, this is something that we can be proud of and shows that with the right leadership and the right focus, uh, that we can, we can do a lot. Um, I think that the challenge is, is that when this emergency is over, uh, the temptation to go back to status quo, we're essentially, we were back in March 1st, um, is not going to be possible in my mind. We can't do that. We can't declare a victory over COVID-19 and then shuffle all those homeless people who are in the convention center out onto Harbor Drive and wish them luck. We have to come up with more creative ways to do that. And I, and I am seeing evidence of that happening. Uh, the flip side of all this positivity to the extent that it's positive, um, is the fact that understandably, COVID-19 is our top priority. Uh, the public health response as well as the economic recovery efforts, um, have to take center stage. And this is interesting because you may know that this year the governor's state of the state address was focused entirely on homelessness. Every bit of it was about the homelessness crisis, which is unusual. Um, and so that level of focus was there just back in January. Fast forward to today, you know, the agenda has changed a bit and I think our challenge is to make sure that people remember that we had a homelessness and housing crisis before COVID-19. It's going on even as we speak now, and it may be substantially worse afterward. Uh, and so we have to be able to multitask and make sure that we don't just focus on the public health response and the economic response, but we continue to make progress on housing and homelessness issues.
Bob Preston: 10:54 Well, that's right. And with the unemployment rate and the financial crisis, you're exactly right. You might see an increase in homelessness after the pandemic is actually over because I mean, the economy is not just going to be a light switch that turned right back on them. Right. It's more like a, I hear the analogy to a dimmer switch is going to come back on slowly.
Todd Gloria: 11:11 Yeah. Well, and you've identified something that's preoccupied a lot of my mind. Um, I think, uh, the state and localities, uh, took appropriate action by issuing an eviction moratorium, um, but you know, the details of that is not that the rent has been forgiven, it's just that it's been delayed and, uh, you know, some of those, uh, executive orders end at the end of this month. Uh, so you may have a situation and you're in property management, you'd know better than I, how many folks are actually making the rent all or part, you know, those bills will come due and you know, I'm fearful that many can't do that. Um, and that, as you say, um, a lot of these folks will be pushed out onto the street. Uh, it also is impossible that some of these landlords, you know, may not be able to make their mortgage and that could create a new foreclosure crisis, that we would have tremendous impacts on housing affordability. So, we're at a precarious position, uh, and I am advocating along with our governor and others to ask for the federal government to take decisive action on housing in a future, uh, relief package. They've passed now four bills to address COVID-19 Everything from the cares act on multi-trillion-dollar effort, uh, to, uh, replenishing the small business of, uh, paycheck protection act. Then I think a future bill has to consider housing, uh, and understanding how we address this concern of making sure that we don't substantially add to the ranks of housing insecure or homeless people in the United States.
Bob Preston: 12:36 Wow. That's very interesting. What would that look like if you had a chance to give input to, you know, president Trump, you know, some sort of federal stimulus or whatever you want to call it, protection. What would it look like?
Todd Gloria: 12:45 Well, you know, I've been talking to smart people to try and help me make sure that I'm articulating this um, wisely. I think that my initial reaction, Bob, is that, um, what we have to do is have a direct relationship either with a tenant or with the landlord. I think one of the things I've learned in the two months since this is all begun is that, uh, the creation of new programs from whole cloth actually adds to the wait times for servicing. I'm thinking specifically of pandemic unemployment assistance, a new unemployment insurance, like policy for self-employed and independent contractors. For many of your listeners, they may have applied for that. In fact, about a half a million in California now had, but it took a month to stand that thing up. Um, and you know, a month in the world of rents and mortgages is meaningful. Right. And so, I think I would, what I would advocate for beyond just actually doing something about this issue would be to do it fairly decisively and fairly swiftly. Um, particularly acknowledging this particular case. You could be talking about something that may be a few weeks or few months from now, at which point the acuity of this crisis, the number of unpaid rent bills, a number of unpaid mortgage bills, uh, could be several months’ worth and waiting additional month or two or three or four for state or local governments to stand up a new administration and your bureaucracy. Um, that makes me fearful that the people were trying to help may actually fall into, uh, the homelessness and housing insecurity that we're specifically trying to fight again. So, um, you know, there's, there's, there's a lot of different ways that this can be handled. You can, you could ramp up, uh, housing choice vouchers. You can do direct contributions to, uh, uh, state housing agencies, but ultimately that money needs to get in the hands of either the landlord or the tenant, um, and, and make sure that we're not adding to the ranks of homeless. And in California, and again, this is not just a California issue. There are plenty of communities across the United States that have passed these eviction moratoriums. And again, I think that was the right thing to do given the circumstances. We just have to make sure that the back end of this thing is equally considered as it was at the beginning of this crisis.
Bob Preston: 14:42 Well, I'm glad we have people like you that are thinking about this kind of stuff because there is a ripple effect that could go down through, like you mentioned, the tenant, the landlord, the homeowner and their, you know, and everybody their own financial obligations throughout that chain. Yeah, that's great. I read an article you wrote in the San Diego Union, I think it was a couple of years ago, and you had cited that the department of housing and community development, uh, a study that said that we build about 80,000 homes on average per year. Maybe that's changed now. That was a couple of years ago, but that's far below what we need, which is about 180, 180,000 homes needed each year just to keep up with our growth and a what, is that still an issue or what's been done in the meantime about that?
Todd Gloria: 15:20 No, that is very much still an issue and it'll be a shame to see, uh, how COVID-19 impacts that. Obviously, uh, California has declared, uh, construction to be an essential service. So, you know, those, that work has continued despite the, uh, the state of home order. But that said, um, obviously with the uncertainty in the markets, um, and you know, other uncertainty, um, in, in our economy. Um, you know, I think this will have a negative impact. Um, I think the, what I saw in terms of data earlier in the year is that we were actually going downward in terms of our housing production despite a lot of effort to try and ramp up production. But for your listeners, I think it is broadly, uh, you know, numbers may fluctuate year to year, but we're basically building half the amount of housing that we need for population growth. And I just, because I can hear some of their comments already. The population growth we're talking about is our children and our grandchildren. You know, the inward migration is not what it used to be to California. And so, uh, before anyone's, as you had just put up, you know, close the door and all that anymore folks here, locals only, um, we're talking about our kids. And I guess that's the focus certainly of my mayoral campaign is as a hometown boy who, um, is delighted to be able to live in his hometown and can serve and contribute to his community. You know, I know that for a lot of our young people, they grew up here, we subsidize their education, we invest in them, and then we show them the door because we don't create a space for them to be able to live here. They can't foresee being able to buy a home in their hometown, uh, raise a family, build wealth, and as consequence, other communities get to benefit from our investments in them and their knowledge and their education and their workers and their skill sets. Um, and that is not a recipe for economic growth. Uh, and so we have to be able to, uh, ramp up housing production, uh, not for a lot of foreign investors and those folks, I'm not concerned so much about them. I'm concerned about the kids who are in our high schools and our colleges today who wonder whether or not there's going be a place for them in California. I want to express to say there is one. We need to make space for them. Um, and that our, uh, economic, uh, fortunes depend on doing so.
Bob Preston: 17:20 Yeah, we need to figure out how to make that happen. I have four kids from, uh, between 15 and end to their early thirties. And you know, they're all facing this. Like how do I, how do I get my starter home? I had read on realtor.com and I don't know if it's specific to California that uh, the starter home segment shrinks by 17% a year. You know, because there's this still discrepancy between, um, salaries, not keeping up the price of housing. So, it's all pretty complicated. Far from simple and solutions won't be found in any one assembly bill or act. But you've championed some state bills last two years to work on the housing crisis. One of those I think is called the Casa Act or AB-237 in 2018. Can you tell us about that?
Todd Gloria: 18:01 Yeah. Um, this was legislation that I did, um, in partnership with Council President, Georgia Gomez, um, our, uh, San Diego County Chamber of Commerce, uh, in San Diego as mayor. Uh, and we all kind of worked together to say what is it we can do to build more housing that is priced affordably for working in middle-class Californians. Um, you know, the, the, you, you cited a number of data points, uh, one that I like to point to is the city recently, not recently, about a year ago, issued a report looking at its housing productions or permits that were issued over the last 10 years. And over that 10-year period, roughly 4,400 homes were created, uh, at the low and very low-income part of our market. Uh, there were about 27,000 at the upper income levels at the luxury end. Uh, and there were 33 homes that were permanent for the middle class in San Diego, in the city of San Diego, over a tenured. And so, when you see that sort of barbell, if you will, and I, this is why I need to point out 4,400 homes for low income people is not enough. It's not nearly enough for demand, but it's certainly a lot more than the 33 that was done for the middle class you had. The problem that we're identifying is that we're simply not building enough homes at that price point of the market. And so, the Casa Act is to use an incentive-based method. So no, uh, no tax direct taxpayer monetary subsidy, uh, to really incentivize the production of homes in that middle section. Things that would be naturally affordable for working people. And so that bill was adopted. Um, it is, uh, currently being implemented in the city of San Diego and what they're calling the Complete Communities, uh, uh, initiative. And I believe that's going before the city council fairly soon. But my bill authorizes that effort. The city is working on that. Understandable, given the leadership of both the mayor and the council president, what we have to do, Bob, is to make sure that other cities are doing the same thing because while San Diego has an acute housing crisis, there's a housing crisis that is across the state, right? In every community have to do its fair share. It is not enough for San Diego to be aggressive and increasing housing production. Every community has to, uh, to ramp up its production to if we hope to solve this problem in California.
Bob Preston: 20:07 So I think then in 2019 you championed an $8 billion housing package also in California, again, targeting working and middle-class Californians. I think there are a number of different assembly bills within that total package. Um, that might be exhaustive to discuss in particular specifically, but maybe you could just give us a summary of what that entailed, what it was intended to do and you know, how are we doing an implementation?
Todd Gloria: 20:32 So, you know, it was a legislative strategy amongst my colleagues and I to basically take our individual bills that all sort of speak to the same issue and put them together as a housing package and then try and work on it systematically as you mentioned. Exactly right. One bill is not going to solve the entirety of this problem. Multiple bills will not solve the entirety of the problem, but you know, there's strength in numbers and I'll tell you that, you know, it was a mixed outcome. Uh, there were bills that passed Senate bill 330, uh, which is a part of that which basically provides, um, certainty a certainty of billing in this, you know, for any of your listeners who have gone to apply for a permit, uh, what they may know when they get in the queue for the permit is the permit may cost a certain amount of money and then by the time they actually get to the counter, the price may have changed. And, um, I kind of liken it to if you got in line at Starbucks and the coffee was $2 when you got in line, but it was $4 by the time you got to the counter to pay, um, that level of uncertainty actually creates problems in the development process.
Bob Preston: 21:26 Or perhaps the building codes and the, the, um, you know, right, the, the requirements to get that building permit may have changed as well.
Todd Gloria: 21:33 So what Senate bill 330 says is, okay, whatever has to stay the same throughout the process that you can't move the goalposts, if you will. It's a modest, relatively modest effort, but I'll tell you it was a fairly controversial bill. Um, and you know, actually within the context of the mayor's campaign, you know, there have been criticisms of my support for that bill. Um, I just sort of stand by the notion that none of us would accept or tolerate a business charging us a different price just in the length of time that we were waiting for, for service. I don't know why a city should be able to get away with that. And so, um, that was something that was successful. What one of the bills that wasn't successful. It was Senate bill five, which would have reestablished a form of redevelopment in California. listeners may remember that we eliminated redevelopment during the last recession in California and that has been to the detriment of affordable housing production in our state because that was the primary funding source for many of these projects that worked for low income, uh, informally homeless individuals has to be five was an attempt to resurrect that, not as it was like, you know, we're trying to avoid the excesses of the past and the mistakes that others have made in terms of using that resource for say, sports stadiums and things of that nature. But to really focus it on housing production and neighborhood infrastructure. That bill was passed by the legislature, but the governor vetoed it. And so those are just two of the bills that are part of the package and I think a, a reasonable reflection of some progress. Uh, some, uh, lack of progress, uh, in a need to come right back again, introduce more bills. Um, I have, I think at this point, uh, two or three bills in this space this year. That's again sort of focused on that middle section of our economy, making sure that working people, guys and gals who get up every day and go to work, play by the rules, but don't see a future for themselves in California. These bills are intended to create housing for them. Uh, and my hope is that we'll get it through this legislative year. Uh, the hesitation you hear in my voice is the fact that because we were in recess for seven weeks, uh, our legislative process is going to be much more truncated. Uh, we are all being asked to reduce our bill packages, uh, to offer fewer bills. But I stand by my comment that housing was a crisis before this pandemic. It will be one afterward and we need to continue to endeavor to do the work of addressing housing affordability. Probably now more than ever.
Bob Preston: 23:44 Is the objective of some of these assembly to sort of decrease the number of obstacles that are there to build housing. In other words, kind of accelerate the rate of building housing that's affordable for people like you've mentioned?
Todd Gloria: 23:55 I think there's, there's a certainty of process. I mean, it isn't that, um, anyone should be able to do anything. And in fact, I want to be explicit in saying that, you know, I don't support building anything anywhere. Putting a bunch of McMansions out in the back country, uh, that would undermine our climate goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and vehicle miles traveled as well as, uh, increased the, uh, the risks associated with wildfires. Uh, we don't need more of that housing. We also need, don't, we don't need a lot of, uh, luxury condos along the waterfront. Right. That's the most expensive form of housing, but we have to have is this housing, again, that is priced for working people. The kinds of stuff that probably you and I were raised in, the home that I grew up in was probably 1100 square feet. Right. Uh, and it was enough for four people for my parents and my brother and I, um, we need to get back to that kind of housing. So the bills that I like to author, um, really sort of create a certainty of process, not removing, um, all, uh, oversight or checkpoints to make sure these are projects that are community, um, enhancing. But it is to say that, um, to, to be permissive and say, yes, you may propose this. Um, I think one of my observations is that there's not been a lot of innovation in the housing sector, uh, in terms of how we make housing. Right. And, uh, you know, even how we're talking right now is an innovation that was not possible just a few years ago. Right? You see innovation in every corner of our economy. And yet it isn't necessarily here despite the fact that we have more need than ever. And so, um, if you can, uh, create homes that are slightly smaller and maybe not normally permitted, but could be considered now because of a bill that I wrote, um, and because it's slightly smaller, it actually ends up being cheaper. That's the kind of stuff that I think is meaningful. And additionally, providing certainty of process and saying that this particular effort or this particular permit can, the fees will stay the same. The rules won't change. That kind of stuff. Um, provides, uh, the willingness for those who want to work in this industry. The ability to say I'm more likely than not to be successful in getting to my finish line and as a consequence, make the investment, build a home that a family can later.
Bob Preston: 25:52 That's a really, really good stuff and very insightful. Um, I'd like to shift a bit to San Diego so I've, you know, stood up on your campaign a little bit and I even read one of your pamphlets. I thought it was very well done. Tackling our housing crisis was on your website. So, I downloaded it and I read it. And you have this vision to put a roof over every person's head at a price they can afford. I mean, that's a very ambitious plan of course. And um, I know it's a complex issue, but what will we need to do as a San Diego community to see that vision become reality?
Todd Gloria: 26:22 Well, it's going to be a lot of hard work. And yes, it is a lofty goal, but I think leaders have to set those goals and work aggressively to reach them. Um, and it, again, it goes back to your kids, uh, to my nieces and nephews, um, that, uh, you know, there has to be a place for them. And so that means that we have to, uh, increase the amount of homes that we are producing in our community. Again, not building anything anywhere, but focusing the kind of housing product near existing infrastructure and jobs. Uh, and how do we do that? Uh, well, first off, you have to have a leader that says this is a problem. Right? And sometimes that's been something that, a key difference in this campaign. Um, where, you know, I've been very clear in saying I believe our housing crisis, um, is the most significant issue. I believe that homelessness is an expression of our housing crisis. Um, but I, while we talk often about the 7,000 or so unsheltered people in our County, my mind is often on the hundreds of thousands if not more than a million families who are housing insecure and who don't know if they're going to be able to make it here. Those are the people who are not seen because they're not laying out on the sidewalk or in a canyon, but they are equally victims of this housing crisis. And so, what I'm trying to lift up as they, we can do more and we should do more. So, there's that leadership piece and then you operationalize that by doing things like, um, running the development services department in a customer service-oriented way. Making sure that we are holding people accountable, giving them objectives and goals and managing them to meet those goals that we're passing, that we're appropriating our limited taxpayer dollars to do things like update community plans, uh, which provide that certainty of process because it creates a consensus from the community and from the development industry about what goes where and how that ought to look. And that certainty of process against helps to speed production. Um, and uh, uh, and then I think just it is going to be incumbent upon the next mayor and really any mayor because this is a national problem. There are housing crisis across the nation, but on any merit to say this is the issue, I'm going to commit to working hard on it. And again, my career as starting as a housing commissioner to my service as the chair of the housing committee at the city, uh, to my service on the housing committee in Sacramento now, um, I believe I have the wealth of experience and background to be able to make transformational change on this issue if elected Mayor.
Bob Preston: 28:34 So you have a lot of good ideas that are around infrastructure making the process of building. I think more simple. I'm kind of, I'm kind of paraphrasing some of your ideas, ideas, housing and land trust, a lot of really creative thinking. Is there another side of this equation though? There's, there's the side of, of what government can do of what San Diego can do. Infrastructure. What about income inequality? That's another side of the equation that's a little bit tougher to solve.
Todd Gloria: 29:00 It is. Um, and the market forces on that are certainly at a higher level than the municipal level. Right. Um, I have tried to do what I could and can do, um, at both the local and state level, uh, addressing this. You may recall that, um, I authored the city's minimum wage and paid sick days ordinance back in 2014, um, that was ratified by the voters in 2016, um, to increase the minimum wage, uh, as well as provide paid sick days, which, you know, I think today we understand the value of those paid sick days now more than ever. Um, and then at the state level, you know, working to expand our earned income, earned income tax credit, uh, to reduce tax bills for work in is to really incentivize work to give them a fighting chance to live in this state. So, um, I acknowledge and recognize that it's, you know, both sides of the ledger, but the income that's coming in and the expenses in it, other family has to pay. Acknowledging that housing is always there, almost often, always the highest cost that any family endures. Um, but you know, and, and you know, what can a mayor do about that? Well, you know, again, you could do ordinances like the ones that I've done and championed the things I've done. Um, it can also be about making sure that we are, um, you know, recruiting the businesses and retaining the businesses that pay better wages and, you know, encouraging companies to do right by their workers. Um, you know, it is, it is a 360-degree effort, right? You can work on housing production, you can work on, on income, uh, improvements. Um, it, it requires a full throated uh, effort. And, um, I, I've tried to do that in my time in public service.
Bob Preston: 30:32 Absolutely. And, um, one of the other aspects I think you support are rent caps or some form of rent protection, whatever you want to call it. In 2019, there was a Tenant Protection Act, AB 1482. Do we need to take that further or does 1482 pretty much cover what you're talking about in your pamphlet?
Todd Gloria: 30:50 I think 1482, um, is, is good legislation. Um, I have, I do see a distinction between it and rent control, which is something that I've historically not ordered. Um, this is really about anti rent gouging. Um, and I think about an apartment building that is just outside of my assembly district that saw a 75% rent increase when nothing was done to the property. There were no improvements, there was nothing done. It was just a unilateral major increase, uh, in, and it's that kind of behavior. This is an old building, um, that I think the state acknowledged appropriately does, it doesn't, does not helping the cause. Um, in terms of what we need to do, I think, uh, one of my chief criticisms about my time in Sacramento is that we're really good at passing legislation. I don't feel that we always do a great job on oversight after the fact. How is that implemented? And to the extent that cities are permitted to enforce, uh, AB 1482, I think that that's what the future should hold for making sure those tenant protections are implemented correctly. It is now state law tenants have these rights, but I think we always know that landlord tenant disputes are difficult and cumbersome. Um, you know, the, the city, uh, does do some of that work. Now I want to make sure that we implement that correctly. I think the other thing that was attractive to me about 1482 which is unlike rent control, um, is that it statewide in its scope. Um, I mean, I would say that, um, you know, you don't have, uh, uh, distinctions or differences between say La Mesa and San Diego despite being next to each other and that sort of uniformity of process creates a fairness, uh, for landlords, uh, that wouldn't, they wouldn't experience otherwise. So, I think we're in a good place from a policy perspective. I think it's all about implementation now. Uh, and the city may have a role in doing that.
Bob Preston: 32:32 I launched this podcast a couple of years ago. One of my very first guests, I don't know if you know Dwight Warden, he's, he's on the city council and Dwight happens be my next-door neighbor too. He says, hello, by the way, our dogs are really good friends. They bark at each other in the driveway. Anyway, he was on the show and specifically we were talking about short term rentals in Del Mar, otherwise known as vacation rentals. And I know you've got some concerns about this in San Diego and what it might be doing to our community housing stock. I would love to get your response to this. I asked Dwight the same question and that is, has there ever been a more perhaps emotionally charged issue than this one, you know, facing San Diego?
Todd Gloria: 33:11 Um, you know, it's funny you asked that because I sat through multiple hearings on this issue when I was on the city council. I think the only ones that actually lasted longer at me and say there was more public testimony and I could be wrong, you can go back and check this if you like, but I think La Jolla seals, uh, and medical marijuana may have had longer here, but it certainly in the top rate of if you're not for one. Um, and you know, it's, it's a, it's a complex issue. Um, you know, there's, uh, private property rights, uh, coupled with neighborhood character and impacts to affordable housing. Um, and I guess, uh, I think my frustration in this is that the city is really an outlier at this point where it has not regulated, uh, this use. Um, and that's regrettable. Uh, when I was on the city council, I managed to pass two motions of the council directing the mayor to bring the council and ordinance to regulate vacation rentals. Both of those motions were ignored. Um, now you have a situation where the city council adopted an ordinance that was referendum. Um, and no action has been taken since that referendum. Um, despite the fact that city council could today pass something if they want it to. Um, that lack of forward progress is creating uncertainty in the market. Both if you're a neighbor that is dealing with a nuisance or a misbehaving, a host or a property owner who relies on that rental income from, uh, from home-sharing to make your mortgage. I think that the city's leaders owe it to the people of the city to provide some rules of the road. When it comes to this, I certainly support regulating, uh, short term vacation rentals and making sure that the revenue that we receive from this is invested into a robust code compliance effort to make sure that bad actors are weeded out. Uh, and that, uh, we get some certainty on this. I, um, I've seen this before, but when I was elected to the city council in 2008, um, we had, um, Oh, I think nearly 200 marijuana dispensaries in the city. Um, California voters had approved compassionate use in 1996 and in 2008, the city had still not adopted any regulations around, uh, the sale of cannabis, uh, in our community. And it created a wild west situation that nobody was happy with. Um, I wrote the city's ordinance on retail sales of cannabis, uh, and that has created more control and, and enforcement regulation. Um, and the kinds of problems that we were seeing back in the 2000’s we don't see today, uh, in this industry. So, I think that much like in that case, inertia by city leaders has really exacerbated problem. I think that's true for vacation rentals and that could end tomorrow if city leaders chose to do it, if they don't choose to do it. And I've been honored to be elected mayor of San Diego, I will commit to making sure that we regulate short term vacation rentals and provide certain new process in this situation.
Bob Preston: 35:52 So in Del Mar, they, the city council actually came up with kind of a compromise, which personally I thought was very reasonable and then the coastal commission got involved. Right. And so, the coastal commission's objection was I, I suppose, access to our beaches if I'm getting that right. Maybe you have another opinion on that. Is that going to be an issue for the city of San Diego as well as the coastal commission ultimately going to get involved in this decision?
Todd Gloria: 36:15 Yes. They have legal jurisdiction over the neighborhoods West of I-5, which interestingly enough are the ones where this issue is probably the hottest. Um, and uh, yeah, whatever the city council, uh, ultimately adopts, would have to be blessed by, uh, the coastal commission and so we're going to have to factor that into our consideration. Um, and yeah, I think the experiences of Del Mar and other coastal communities up and down the state, uh, inform what the coastal commission will be willing to accept. Um, I'm hopeful that my experiences at the state level, uh, as a representative of one of the coastal districts in the state legislature, I have had, uh, plenty of opportunities to work with the coastal commission, uh, that I can take that experience and those relationships to deliver. Again, sensible regulations to provide relief to those who are dealing with nuisance properties and certainty for those who are really counting on that income. In order to, to, uh, to make the mortgage.
Bob Preston: 37:10 Let's shift topics a little bit. The city of San Diego is in kind of a budget crisis of its own right. I don't know the exact number, but I had heard that we may come out 477 million shy of last year's budget reduction of about 10%. So, this has got to be one of your top concerns if elected mayor some, some things are going to get cut so something's going to have to give. So, what's your impression of that and you know, do you have any influence on the budget in advance of the election?
Todd Gloria: 37:36 I wish that I did, but you know, you and I know the same things is we're both for this purpose. You know, citizens that read what we read in the paper and um, you know, the, the, the budget situation is pretty dire both at the city and at the state level. Um, and we're going to have to deal with that because both of us are required by law to have balanced budgets. So, you know, we can't run deficits like the federal level, and so you have to sort it out. Bob, I think in this particular case, um, my experience, uh, is a value add. Um, when I was elected to city council, uh, back in 2008 and we were in the great recession, uh, and the city at that time was facing a nine-figure budget deficit. So, I mean, it was a significant situation. It was very terrible. Um, but what we did was work through it. And by the time I left city hall in 2016, we had a balanced budget with a modest surplus. And with growing reserves, reserves, by the way, that will be, uh, critical to helping to mitigate some of the reductions. There'll be necessary as we deal with the COVID-19 recession. Um, so I guess the way of saying, you know, I've seen, uh, but tough budgets before. Uh, I was as chair of the budget committee for six years when I was on the city council. So, I know my way around this issue.
Bob Preston: 38:45 You do, yeah.
Todd Gloria: 38:46 And what I would just say is that what we have to do is to be extremely smart and work closely with stakeholders, particularly our employees to find cost savings wherever they can be found to protect core services, particularly public health and public safety during this time, uh, and live to, to, to fight another day. I mean, we will get through this. There's no question that we will, you know, we will survive. Um, the question is what kind of city will we be in? What will that look like going through this? And again, my focus would be on working in a collaborative way to minimize the impacts to citizens and to residents, uh, and to make sure that when we come out of the back of this, we're stronger than we were before. Again, we did that with the great recession. Um, I hope that we can do it with the COVID-19 recession.
Bob Preston: 39:30 Todd, if you're elected Mayor, it'd be the first openly LGBTQ ever in San Diego. And what did you think of Pete Buttigieg and his run for president? Maybe this is something you get asked a lot and if it is, I'm sorry, but I just would like to get your impression, was that run at presidency inspiring what you saw Mayor Pete do?
Todd Gloria: 39:48 Uh, it was, and if I may, Bob, I also want to point out I'd be the first person of color elected mayor of San Diego. Wow. Which should be equally astounding, uh, to your, to your listeners that a city like ours has yet to make that particular, uh, uh, break that particular barrier. Um, but you know, we got a chance in November guys. Um, so with regard to Mayor Pete, um, you know, I think back in quick personal story, if I may, um, when I was in my intro to policy class, uh, in my senior year in high school, um, I remember our teacher, uh, he was kind of an unusual fellow and he was giving a lecture and he said, uh, that there are two things that you could not be if you want it to be a politician or elected official. And the first thing was gay. And the second thing to this day, I can't remember what it was because I was so astounded even in the early 1990's, that he would say that it just seems inappropriate then. Um, and for someone who is as a proud American and who are, we were all raised that you can be and do whatever you want in this country if you're willing to work hard. Um, that was, uh, that was, uh, it was a gut punch that was a body blow. But here's the thing, I had already volunteered on a woman named Christine Keyhole’s campaign for city council, and she had just been elected to the city council successfully proving the teacher wrong. And so, I think about what Mayor Pete means for millions of young kids across this country who, while he was unsuccessful, he ran an outstanding campaign, uh, was a credible, polished, a very successful.
Bob Preston: 41:22 Guy is so smart, unbelievably smart, right?
Todd Gloria: 41:25 It goes back to that sort of, that, um, that, that saying you can't, if you haven't seen it, you can't be it. Well, now folks have seen it, and it may not be Mayor Pete who broke that barrier, but someone will, and it will be because like Chris Keyhole before her, there was a guy named Al Best, who was the first to run for office in San Diego as an openly gay man. He did it in the 1970's. Uh, he lost his job. His house was vandalized. He was ultimately not successful in his race. But then about 20 years later, Chris Keyhole came along. And then fast forward to today where there's a number of, uh, openly LGBT, uh, elected officials in San Diego County. In fact, there are more here than there are in San Francisco, if that tells you anything. Um, I think about the seeds that Mayor Pete planted in this, uh, of this election year and I have no doubt that going forward that this will continue to grow because those young people who, like when I was a young kid sitting in front of the TV watching C-SPAN gets inspired, gets, uh, is told you could do this if you do, if you work hard enough and they will do it and that will all be better because of it.
Bob Preston: 42:24 Yeah. And I think, uh, more women in politics, um, openly gay people in politics, more and more people of color. It's very inspiring, you know? And so, I, I'm inspired by what, what you're doing and what Mayor Pete did and I, I think it's fantastic. Hey Todd, I can't thank you enough for coming on the show today. I know you're incredibly busy and thank you so much for coming in during COVID. I would love to continue, but in this just time, we need to wrap up the episode today. So, any last words or thoughts for our audience or maybe a plug for your mayor candidacy?
Todd Gloria: 42:53 Well, I appreciate it. First off, thanks for this opportunity. I could talk about housing all day long.
Bob Preston: 42:58 I could too. Yeah. So, in the interest of time though, we've got to move forward. Yeah.
Todd Gloria: 43:01 We're both passionate about this subject and I hope that that passion is infectious and that more people take up this battle of, of dealing with this issue because I see it as critical and core to the success of our community, of our economy. Um, and, uh, so I appreciate this chance to talk and, and then with regard to the mayor thing. If folks want more information, I would just say go to toddgloria.com but my, my, my closing thing would be to say that, you know, uh, while we talked about first, right, the first openly LGBT or the first person of color elected mayor, you may remember I did serve as mayor for a while. Uh, I to remind people I did it for eight months. I'm now asking for the opportunity to do it for eight years. Um, and I hope that folks will give me that opportunity and allow us to again bring transformational change to the issue of housing and homelessness in our community. Um, I appreciate your time.
Bob Preston: 43:50 Well, I already told you I live in Del Mar. I can't vote, but if I could, you'd have my vote. Thanks so much for coming on. I really appreciate it and best of luck in your campaign.
Todd Gloria: 44:00 Thank you, Bob.
Bob Preston: 44:05 Okay, as we wrap up today, I'd like to make another quick plug to our listeners to click on the subscribe button and give us a like, also, please pay it forward with a positive review to help encourage more guests like assembly member Gloria to come on our show. That concludes today's episode. Thank you for joining the property management brainstorm show. Until next time, we will be in the field working hard for our clients to keep their properties managed well and maintain top tenant relations and we'll catch you next time.