Life During the Coronavirus, and a Conversation With Conor Dougherty About the Complexities of the Housing Crisis | Larry Wilmore: Black on the Air

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Hey It's Kelly and welcome to the ringer podcast network. Hope the ringer can provide you entertainment companionship. During this time so as always feel free to check out the ringer dot com. But we're still covering the latest in Sports Pop Culture. Tech and media and the ringers. Youtube channel can provide endless amounts of entertainment. You can find that at youtube dot com slash the ringer. This is one more interesting to various social distancing episode of back on the air. I'm actually recording from my home today here in Pasadena and the world is a little different from the lance time I spoke to you guys so It's very interesting very interesting. It's GONNA know I hope everybody's doing okay. You know keeping your a correct distance from each other and everything man. My head is spinning right now. I'm doing this. By the way we we have a really interesting conversation I plan for you today with Kana dirty The New York Times and I talked to him a few weeks ago actually before this was really blown up like this and he has a book out right now in the housing problem in America. And it's real interesting. It's a great talk. He's an awesome guy so I hope you enjoy that and You know of course. We don't bring up corona because at the time I talked to him. It just wasn't Dow what it is right now but you know it seems that the housing problem I think is going to be a huge issue coming up to this but guys we're in a different world right now. Things have changed so much in the first thing I wanna do is just you know. Just send just love out into the world. You know hoping I there's a lot of anxiety out there I've dealt swimming's eighty myself those first couple of days which is very bizarre. I remember I think it was just a week ago when I think in the same day You know it seemed like this was going to be one of those things that we would you know? We'd handled on a certain way. You know some people would get it in. Yeah there'd be a breakout but you know the world will go in and we will deal with him. But I don't know if I anticipated how much the entire world would shut down in a matter of like like an hour on Wednesday. I remember everything happened at once like Tom. Hanks announced that he He and his wife tested positive. They were in Australia than the NBA player Tested positive and they shut down. The Games and trump came came on television in gave his his speech of Where he finally started to take this seriously. And Everything snowballed from there. You know the entire sports leagues shutdown cities were shutdown. Amin our whole world. Change just in a few days. Even from Friday to Monday has been such a huge change and people are out there acting like we're in a hurricane. There's some natural disaster. I mean hoarding toilet paper. I don't understand why people are getting so much. It just doesn't make sense to me but I do understand that the anxiety and that feeling a I'm not GonNa Make Fun of those people too much you know because I do get it. You know. We're all at home now but we have to keep our distances. We're in this world weird place where we all have to kind of band together but stay apart you know as other people have pointed out to you know My daughter's home from college right now and she missed out on her graduation which they haven't officially canceled but I know that they were they. They absolutely have to. You know even though you know huge disappointment but it's kind of odd like we're not. We haven't been focusing so much on the disappointments on that. It's really been a time at least for me as a family did you. Just Kinda have things. Simple spending time safely together and everything and You know just being together I guess the most simple lane and my heart goes out to so many people who are just you know. Have no way to make money right now. Losing their jobs losing their businesses. Which is probably going to happen you know. We've people focus on the stock market and that kind of thing but you know that's nothing compared to just the everyday person who just needs to put you know. Most people are living month-to-month out there regardless of what the economy says in all that stuff and when you're funds are just cut off you feel so isolated from the world. I mean you really don't know what's going to happen you know. Hopefully it looks like it was interesting that they're gonNA pass this stimulus bill where they're gonNA put some cash in people's pockets. Which hopefully that happens will happen soon. Which by the way you know forget jumped a politics for a second is kind of the thing that Andrew Yang was proposing has universal basic income. That you be I thing and it'll be interesting to see if something like that Makes a difference which I hope it does make a difference for people if that continues to be a thing if people have kind of changed their mind on that we'll sing. I mean that's just a side comment on it but I am concerned about. Here's the thing I'm most concerned about. This is I really am concerned about the president. I'm not really concerned about the people around him. But I am concerned about the president saying when I mean concerned like all the things that I don't like about trump and not even me because I'm a democrat. I'm supposed to not like him. But like even when you look at people like the never trumpers the the the people who are supposed to like him in who rejected him many of the reasons why they don't like him and the reasons why I don't like him are his I. I feel are his horrible leadership qualities in this specific ones are rather than focus on leading people and inspiring people. He focuses on boasting about things you know and having to be the best in something and and never admitting like he could have been wrong about something you know. And it's this oily. You know salesman not to knock sales and there's a degree sales people help there. You know in people in real estate by the way not to knock that industry but a lot of his oily type of real estate salesman stuff you know and his trumpy stuff really really comes across so nakedly just ill prepared under leadership stage. You know he just feel so. Ill prepared to lead people. He really does. He only feels it. He becomes trump to me has become so much smaller right now in terms of in the whole leadership bubble thing not that. I had that big but this is an opportunity for the opposite to happen. This is an opportunity for him to drop all that crap and not be concerned about it and drop all these petty attacks on people because he's still in twitter making petty attacks even when you know his speech said to drop partisan politics and all this stuff but you know it's clear he didn't write that speech because he went right to continuing to attack people in such petty ways people. I mean I really don't care. During these times of crisis you know whether we have a Republican or Democrat in the White House. You know that kind of partisanship. I'm not that type of I don't care about that. I just want somebody who's GonNa lead you know and I really want to support what the president is saying and all that stuff regardless of who the president is and it is just he makes it so impossible in you know to me. It just makes me more angry more angry than everything. I'm trying to let it go because I'm trying to focus on other things but I think a lot of that bullshit gets in the way of of helping people and actual information when he just focuses on that crap so we can't rely on the information that he saying you know we have to try to not listen to his bullshit and maybe listened to some of the people around him who hopefully are giving us correct information and not just kissing his ads. You know there's already been evidence from some of the Republican lawmakers who were very franken their discussion about this outside of the ears of the president. But you know when they talk to private to private groups but within earshot of the president hadn't said Shit you know in have followed candidate Fox and friends model of acting like this was a hoax in a liberal conspiracy and now they're act- scared. Everything's they will you buy the bug as hope spread this ideology. The sifters really makes him. So you know you know back in the politics thing. This whole Democratic primaries taken on a whole different feeling I mean guys hoping I guess would be in this position guidance in OPEC did at the end of January beginning of February after Iowa New Hampshire. I mean he came in think about this. He came in fourth and fifth fourth and fifth. I mean it was pathetic. You know like right now by CNN is giving speeches from his house but he may as well have been doing back then because nobody was showing up right in the kind of comeback that he's made in now with this pandemic happening and people needing the comfort food that it. It seemed like bagging is providing to people by comfort. Food someone who they're familiar with someone who has led before you know. He was vice president for eight years. So He's been you know close to the highest position of power like that. I think that's the biggest reason why many voters are comfortable with Bagman. Who would've guessed that he'd be in this insurmountable position right now as the leader of this race? It's unbelievable I mean Tulsi. Gabbard dropped out of the rings today in has supported by. That's crazy it's crazy so the meaning of the primaries are a little different now you know a lot of the air has been taken out of it because of what's happened in who knows what's going to happen in this election. I think I've been predicting as you know. Dat At that trump is getting get reelected. I don't think that any more. I think the world is different now. You know the world's changed. He can't ride on the good economy anymore. I always said that was the biggest thing and that's gone and if if it's a personality contest and if it's a contest of Leadership. I have no idea how how trump wins now. So my mind is changed about that. Um completely different. That's good news. I know I'm not putting that energy out there because I didn't want to put that in chapter so energy changed you guys energy change. I feel like A. We'll have a leader who though not perfect at least wants to lead in the proper way you know and that would be something good to look forward to. Hopefully you have much right now. I'M GONNA be checking. Md guys in different ways. Because we're doing this differently now I might do You know some short pods which just mean talking and that kind of stuff and weighing in on stuff might do some instagram live events. I did one with the Tommy. Alter last week just off the cuff. But I might do some more structured things like that with some friends so look for that. I'll announce that on twitter instagram facebook. That kind of stuff and And I'll be doing some other kinds of two. I'm really interested right now. Tell you a little personal thing wrote quick. One thing that I've been interested in for a longtime my good friends now. This family members This is appetite of Showbiz but I really have a have an interest in the kind of the self help area the inspiring other people type of Arium in years ago developed kind of a philosophy. Kinda help people in that kind of stuff up shared with some friends and other people and it's really helped them and I think this is a good time for me to start sharing that with you guys. I think I've shared a little bit at some point. I'm going to start doing that in a more structured way. I'm GONNA be Doing some Events with a friend of mine. Who's an expert in this area and it's kind of a thing that I'm I won't say transitioning to but I'm going to bring more to the Front. It's not it's not comedy tonight. Show Biz. It's all in the in the area of just reaching out to people helping people. Helping to clarity in their lives fulfillment you know in. You know just have live more authentic existence. Let's say just just to ease the anxieties of our lives and everything but it's real exciting. Something very excited about and I'll put something that you guys when enjoying and maybe You know who knows if we can if we can just get out there and make the world a little better be great all right coming up we got Kinda darting Really really interesting conversation. We'll talk about this housing problem. In America I welcome back. Everybody got a little treat here today. We get somebody. Just put a little book out now. This guy's this book is a must read. I think for the state of our world. Today's call Golden Gate's fighting for housing in American Connor. Dougherty hopefully put out there. Ed Ghana is here at Connor. Thanks so much for being on black on the air that you so much for having me. I love the show. It's such a treat. I talked to you months ago about this when you told me I met conor when I met you. Somewhere in highland park we went to dinner. Yes exactly which is a trip. And by the way very relevant to this conversation because when I've lived in L. A. in two thousand. That was not a hot area. Yes now it's being pushed out you've heard so even though it was a great restaurant there. There are people who are unhappy about that. This is a good starting point for. I mean this is an issue. That isn't talked about that much. And I think is not really understood even by myself. There's so many layers you know and you give a history of some of this and other but what was your way in. Were you observing? This or was an assignment. I know you're journalist for the times and everything or reside. Look people gotta know about what's going on. I think so if I have to. I'm an economics reporter New York Times so everything. I do is probably rooted to some degree in beat reporting. And I that when you're thinking about the economy you can get so deep into interest rates and all these things but the real big question is how are we doing right. And what are the opportunities to do? Better and how many people can access those opportunities and racing class in all these different things? How has opportunity distributed in America? Does economics is usually so much just left in the abstract totally nine in the practical exactly so if you go back and look at America at its apex what we could debate how the apex looks but we call this generation is what I meant like the fifties and sixties. There was tremendous racism then so we can't say everything was better than now. I'm not talking about it. You know so if you look and you say why are we the richest country in the world? What makes us a rich society? Not just a country with a lot of rich people Russia's some rich people we don't think of them as a rich society housing was always this singular symbol. That are way our way of life. Our economy was winning was better. Yeah and there's this famous moment in I forget exactly what Richard Nixon when he was. The vice president went to this symposium in in Russia and they had a model ranch house of the sword you see all around Los Angeles and he said to Nikita Khrushchev. A steelworker could afford this. America didn't believe it. Nobody believes that they'd been all this propaganda. Saying this is no more typical of Americans home than the Buckingham Palace is a typical home in England. Wow and they're all sorts of people around this country who have lived in pretty nice homes and this having bigger homes having them full of creature comforts was always for a long time our symbol that we are winning look at America today or being able to in another base being able to house your family yet. How it'd be bigger? I mean foreigners have for decades remarked that Oh my God Americans. Poor people live very large home. Nice comfortable that has always been something we did much better than other people share and now you look at America and this is not just true in California although we are the we are the worst child in this In this problem and chosen California's kind of the the lab for this observations exactly and we can get into. Why chose that Biennium go home? But you know you look around this country and there's a huge homeless problem is a million fictions year. I think about a quarter of ten and spend more than half their income on rent so housing has gone from this singular symbol of everything. We were doing right to now. It feels like a singular symbol of this economy. Gone wrong when we ask ourselves. What is the inequality story really look like? It's not just tax rates and all these things we talk about we go. Wow what it looks like to me is. There are some people who are homeless. That's the most extreme version of it but people who live very far away from their jobs and commute three hours or more that is what I think inequality actually looks like and so what I tried to do in this book is the housing finance is the housing phenomena. Yeah and also. Most of wealth inequality is housing. Most of the black white wealth gap is white families having much higher home equity so Bloomberg. Just just mentioned this. The other day in a statement part of his plan People are just go off on a tangent. But if you're like how come back. People are supporting Bloomberg. You know. There's this question something for his. He's specifically is targeted home ownership as a means of creating wealth for blacks that they've been cut out of that historically in the ways that whites haven't you know and to try to mend that gap through home ownership. It's very and it's a message. That's hitting home with a lot of bikes. Who felt that that arm keeping them at bay whether the Red Lining or bank loans or whatever totally if you I mean if you look at the wealth consequences of red lining their profound oh completely absolutely generational. Now I mean it's it's up there on the like generational heights of all time and I I will say redlining is one term for what occurred but it's more than redlining. You've mentioned a lot of this book. Which is Great? There's so many stones that are you uncovering this bigger fuck. I didn't even know about that. You know that are fascinating of how not just racially but just the division of class how it's kept out of certain neighborhoods class distinctions and even people who might disagree with like Charles Murray. Did you ever read his book coming apart? I'm aware of it. He talked about this in a different. I've had numerous essays about it. Yeah essays I don't trust I read the book because his his summaries of it yes exactly but he talks about this from a different perspective from a conservative perspective of how these neighborhoods changed in how. There's a different feel in the neighborhoods at some point in terms of class. You know but you don't necessarily want you know mixtures in neighborhoods after totally and I see this. This is not obviously historically this has been a white thing because they had a lot of the power. This is not a universally wiping right. There are all sorts of black people. You mean there's one in this book who and this is not for reasons. That are irrational or even racist obviously policing being the like right giant cloud over all this but who liked to live in a neighborhood where they feel some degree of comfort with people like them. This does not have to be race although in this country. That's what's Hanging over but you see religious divisions in other countries between people who look identical. You see obviously you say class divisions so you do see there. Is something probably tribal about us? But this country is kind of like this grand experiment in trying to break that down and I think housing as you see in the book through a lot of these different there are some moments in the book where I talk about. People voting one way nationally in a totally opposite way locally and you can see and so actually think one of the things. I love about this about doing. This book is local. Government is were so much of this actually happens. We passed fair housing in the nineteen sixty eight civil rights. Act Go for us to do the next day all the neighborhoods. Were just completely integrate right. So many local governments came up with ways to be like no. That doesn't apply. Let's the same schools to precisely. So this is where we actually find out who we are. This is where we find out. Do these things we do these values. We profess to hold and vote for in these landslide. Elections in these moments does any of that matter or are we really paving the way for that world to actually be created on the ground and I think housing is the singular expression of that because who were willing to live near and who were willing to share space with really determines what we really mean. Well let's see. I WanNa get more specific. Let's talk about. Let's go back to says you do a good job of kind of laying it out historically. Nfl You you kind of start with the Morbid Contemporary Story in San Francisco and everything but you talk about where you're The Post World War Two period. And what was happening. Even you go over to Levittown for a little bit to talk about that. We just significant. But let's just take me through that period of of how you saw housing developing and the ramifications of that. Maybe going forward is that right. Yeah so I think that the history of US America particularly with housing but with so many things begins at the end of World War Two. That's when the economy went crazy. That's when I mean facturing. The kind of good factory jobs that we now missed. That was when all that was happening. And how did housing exist break before this right? So at the end of World War Two we had a horrific housing shortage because there had been the Great Depression and then there was the war and during the war they were rationing so they weren't building much data and you read the stories of that time it's like there was people advertising live in chicken coup and there is a famous Add Place in Omaha newspaper. That said here's an icebox at somebody could sleep in this curled up this way. I mean it was like a legitimate classified blow living. Yes so there's a huge housing shortage that was rectified. Pretty suddenly the country but look something one hundred thousand homes a year in nineteen forty million just like a couple of years later when you can just imagine how transformed like timber industries. I'll be all these things. It transform even the notion of the middle class right almost like we created a middle class because it almost seemed like this. The stratification of the hasn't halves. That was like nobody's ever seen during the thirties. Right exactly and so we built tons of housing and we built suburbs exist at that time but I really built the suburbs as we know them now and got on a path to most people living in a suburb. Which is where we are. Now that's kind of the predominant form of American living. And would you say aside and I know that the people who lived in suburbs where they Driving to cities for work So in some cases there were trains were sat book Revolutionary Road. That's kind of doing that. but then of course we started. Have these factory towns. Okay I mean and if you think about it. The factory was so different than our economy today. Where it's not just Detroit. I mean if you go to the mid West there's Janesville there's been rapid there's all these towns that have very good. Solid JR is obviously most prevalent in the Midwest. But they all these towns where they were a building kind of these little unit towns where they have suburban housing around it and then a factory town so anyway so we built the postwar suburbs. One thing I think is important just kind of around the country also did this thing called redevelopment which James Baldwin famously called Negro Room. That's true but one of the things and this is something. I was talking to somebody about last night. At that time with redevelopment there were some really great progressive plants. But what they would do with redevelopment there were some people were talking about consciously desegregating creating all these different things in cities and then we built the postwar suburbs and as the crowding kind of as the crowding problem was dealt with. They didn't want to do development the same way anymore and suddenly they used it as an excuse to bulldoze black neighborhoods and do civic projects and stuff like that. I always and you when you say that you're talking about civic leaders or business. Some combination like chamber of Commerce types and local so anyway we have this big suburban boom after World War. Two and that really segregates US segregation. Didn't exist then. But it was not like twenty thirty miles separation where people were really living in like homogenized. Most people were now living. In most white people should note Living in the truly homogenized units that are nowhere near neighborhoods With other kinds of people in them so I think that that created some huge problems. That might not have been as bad if we hadn't created this huge separate but anyway so that happened. Suburbs happened and then and as we talk about in the book and this has been very well documented by other people. This book called the color of law in Nineteen Basically the fha loans that the government backed loans that were helping people buy homes and things like that and supporting the whole. Housing Complex is being built company. And I always joke that. They're like of their time in that. All these government they weren't like real companies real companies with this government funding behind that many of the major movements in this country. The move out West. You know the suburb. We're backed by government Totally Largesse I'd just as in all the highway so anyway we get this this big suburban thing and it was almost exclusively given to why people meaning black mixed. That's what redlining is mixed race neighborhoods. It's even mixed race. Neighborhoods could not get loans government loans. So I mean. This is the premise of the color of law. Which is that this is a government created segregation in that they're backing of these loans is what created these these neighborhoods to be so homogenized because If you specifically keep one group of people out of those neighborhoods by not giving them access to loans I mean that is. That is the government's fault and design. And that's we clear it's double dance you know. It's not just the banks the government. It's the people in the neighborhood to total. This is Like I don't want I always want to make sure I keep it. Hundreds of people the the way that racism Kurt in America was not like the clan operating in this evil force. This was normal behavior. It was not considered abnormal to society to think that black shouldn't be with weights. This is how people thought so. They didn't think they were being evil. You know that this is just the way the world is you know and so there was collusion of this. It wasn't just like a bad actor like I don't want people to think there was like if not for these evil beings no matter vigers. Everybody they were in collusion of this. They agreed with the people that live there. Now like the people wanted something different you know and the banks were in the way the banks and the neighborhoods agreed on this. So there's this famous quote I use it in my book where Levitt says I can solve a housing problem or is it can solve race problem but I can't solve both what he's saying. It looks like such a level of Which is kind of the original plan. Acid builds suburb. What he saying. It looks so evil. Now in retrospect would he's really saying is can't have a business if you're going to force me to build mixed race neighbor because people won't buy it right he saying it's not my fault but hey. I'm a business guy what am I gonNA do? He's not wrong right so I it's it's a. It's a shocking painful quote to read. In retrospect but it does give you a sense of how someone building a business in a very practical way. At that time I was thinking as you say it was normalized. Exactly outlier right. Yeah so I feel like the book goes into history at one point and then it kind of brings us up today and says okay. We had this huge housing problem We have all these inequality problems all these things we talked about. How are we going to deal with this? And who were the people dealing with this? And what do their stories look like? And how's it going one of the things I love about this? Is You talk a lot about national politics on your show and well and it's so it's so fundamental that binds us. We all feel like we have stake in it. We all vote for the same people. The choices are are. Get two choices really. They're definitely only choices between the parties. The local government is research. The action happens lately. It's and it can be boring and I think I hope you agree with this. It does not come off as boring in this book. Thousand percent agreeing because Anybody who watches parks and recreation which is like not that heightened of a reality if you look at that show. Local Government is bananas. People show. I just give these crazy speeches. They have nothing to do with with what's going on in the meeting right. The city council people are trying to like manage this unruly room. It's almost like the simpsons. Townhall get together and everyone starts. Who's kind of arguing with each other? This is weird process singing about this on the way over. It's almost like don't mean this. How it how it comes up almost like everyone is donald trump. And I'm joking but what. I don't mean their ideology. Everyone's rookie everyone in this politics. In mogul politics is like figuring out as they go along and I think that makes it's so exciting and funny because they don't know what they're doing and and so one of the main in this book. Is this woman. Sonia trials will. She's a woman from Philadelphia. Dropped out of Grad school moved to San Francisco finds out. It's so easy to get job. Anyone gain a job in San Francisco but it's impossible to find a place to afford rent so she starts showing up to And this is like two thousand thirteen to two thousand eleven says pretty recent so she starts showing up to board of supervisors meeting. San Francisco doesn't have a city council for weird reasons and San Francisco. Yeah and it's because it's a county in a city wrapped in one anyway. So she's showing up and saying you need to build more housing. You don't have enough housing in this city. You're building all these jobs. Creating all these jobs but not building housing for people who are taking those jobs this is crazy and she says I'm from the SF Bay Area Renters Federation. It's called BARF so that Susan. This is somebody who truly does not know what they're doing now. That might seem like a crazy story that you could find an ABC city in America. But suddenly she's got all these followers all these people from Silicon Valley giving all this money and as I kind of track it in the book there starts to create so as everyone knows people who don't want housing near them are sometimes called not in my backyard right. Nimby Nimby shows up and says the NBA. Yes in my backyard. That's a good acronym that's better than buyer F- Well then their group that has subsequently kind of formed around her now has thousands of members and tons of money they are called in be so it's become a yes yes in my back and so there's this whole now and I and I started tracking this through the course of the book. They had this big meeting in bold and others nationwide. Yembi movement as I've been on book tour and all these different cities New York weirdly Washington. Dc Seattle all these groups show up to these book events And and and it's weird. They're like twenty five. They're super into local government. I know about you. I was into like going to bars meeting and stuff when I was twenty. Five is not going to planning meetings on Wednesday night and they're so drunk people laugh in comedy precisely right or at least it's like they`re. This has become like a thing. In America that younger professional type people are getting really into housing policy? And and that's also what makes it funny as it's going to social scene for them they say these ridiculous things at these meetings and so I feel like I was joking to someone that this book is almost like parks and REC in real life. Where these people? You're just like what what? Why did they say this these meetings? It's crazy and then as we can get into. There's they are. They tend to be wider. More Professional Group Then we have a whole anti gentrification movement and they sometimes clashed with these people and sort of asking how these these groups can find some common cause fuse like a more important question than whether or not Americans vote for you know. Bloomberg or trump or band or trump. Or what's fascinating about the journey of your book to is that things that start off kind of black and Lang metaphorically and literally two. They become a little more complicated. You know because not all alliances necessarily laying up where you think. They should line up right totally. Tried to go out with the utmost respect for peoples share spectacles. Yeah so many times you say I might have done that too. Also voted like I can understand the so. There's this Guy Damian Goodman who I met in the book and he's a big activist Olympic Park which I'm sure the neighborhood you're familiar with in Los Angeles. It's a it's A. It's a center of black culture in Los Angeles. It's a really special neighborhood. Honestly it's it's not well known is not as well known as Harlem but it has that caliber of history right and she is very anti efforts to make it easier to build housing in that type of community Cassini. Because he's worried about change for the transportation he starts building alliances with people like Beverly Hilton Style. Because they're worried about it for the complete opposite reasons like whatever when it comes to stopping something. I don't want to find anybody who will work who they are. Yeah and one of the things I think is a is kind of. I think that some people will look at that alliance and go. Oh it's the Beverly Hills people kind of papa cheering the the The black neighborhoods. So that they can have kind of like a human shield. That's bullshit the many of the activists in anti gentrification in neighborhoods where people worried about gentrification are extremely calculating about who and how they are building alliances. And I think it's I think that's to be respected. Because that's their perspective. That's their agency. That's they're just hoping played by anybody. Maybe it's a large policy level. It might not work out for them. Because if we don't build as much housing it will start to create more gentrification. I believe that. But when it comes to the politics I think it's terribly demeaning to portray people in anti transportation alliances as being kind of controlled by these other groups. How would you define gentrification? I feel like it's one of those terms that's used in a way where we're supposed automatically take sides on him but I don't think it's ever really examined for the actual like what actually occurs because I'd make jokes about it and everything so yeah. I don't WanNA can starbucks and my name wait. They have lots. I totally. There's jobs. Well what does it mean? Exactly yeah I totally agree with you and I'm super super interested in asking that question because actually thought may do this. So nobody's steelers but I thought about for the Times. We've done a lot of things where we asked readers to submit things in the creek graphics. I think famously we did you balance the federal budget and you see it pretty evenhandedly. They are cutting defense spending a little bit like when you actually ask them so you. Brian's on it yeah you find out. People aren't nearly as ideological as they as they claim to be as their politicians bright claim that that completely believe that. Because you're forced to take a side on something supposed to force to do something exactly so I've always asked. I have been truly thinking to figure out how to design it. What is gentrification? We don't really does gentrification mean. Does it have to be white right? Does it mean only higher income people does it have to mean you're displaced typically? Those are good questions if we built a ton of housing and all the people who currently there had the option to stay But we also had a lot of wealthier housing there with that then gentrification even if it right so I does. The color of the people doing gentrification make it not centrifugation not gentrification as a professor at claim Lance Freeman African American himself and he has done a bunch of studies essentially so that most gentrification of black neighborhoods is black gentrification to Harlem being bachelor the most prominent example of this is kind of the idea behind empowerment zones. Yeah and I I. It's a loaded term in the political context but when you ask what it really means what it looks like. It becomes a complicated term. So for instance. There's a whole saga. I follow in this book. This is not exactly gentrification but I think it's it's. It's shows you kind of use that. This book is not as Is complicated this girl who comes home. She's fifteen years old. She comes home. One day finds a note taped to her door. Says your rent's going up. Eight hundred dollars. Celestino girl in Redwood city which is in the Silicon Valley but I picked it because it's a very typical city doesn't it's going to bring control. They don't have any ten protections could be any town. Usa and she starts organizing figures out that she wants to fight the landlord. I should say just to give you a sense of who? She is her mom. Who is in the book as well? She's a she's elder cleaned. Houses and then Moonlights as a janitor. So she's like the person takes care of your granny the person who cleans your house under the table and the person who comes in to empty the trash cans of as you're leaving the office high and you. Kinda give them away. She's all those pizza working class. She's all those people in one day right so they organize the get a crappy buyout meaning that the landlord says here's fifteen hundred bucks if you leave quietly rather than protesting me all the time and let me ask you this question when they put a sign like that is that circumventing. What's legal about the ability to raise rent a certain amount is it? Is it circumventing that by doing this in L. A. as their laws against some places Rent control is incredibly rare America. It's in La. It's an Oakland San Francisco New York. A couple of other places most states not only don't ever in control they had a state prohibition uneven contemplating control the State says no city can even think about this. So that's why that city because of that city is what most Americans are going through. I was actually very. I wanted a place that didn't have a lot of tenant protections because that's typical San Francisco. They have a ton at ten protections in the story had been totally different. The person would have been like. I'm going to the Union. You know sure well. The story may be the other way around maybe ten protection at the expensive of mobility. And Yeah so anyway. After they get kicked out priced out. I went to go meet. The family moved in because I wanted to see this whole process. Play out through the eyes of one apartment. It's another Latino family with almost the exact same jobs that two brothers worked construction in the MOM. Did some house cleaning but they just pack eight people into the same apartment that used to have four so that they could afford this much higher rent. Now that's extremely typical. So that's like gentrification right you would never call that gentrification But it's like more like churn. It's all these people. Kind of constantly churning with each other to to to fight each other over this very very very small supply of a fort of of apartments that call them. Affordable is like twenty five hundred bucks a month but that they can even afford meeting. That aren't more than one hundred percent of what they make in a in a in a in a month so I think that when you watch that story you see that there's a lot of opportunity a lot of jobs for all different incomes of all different kinds of people in in places like Los Angeles San Francisco all these booming cities in America. But they're so few affordable apartments that even even poor people are competing with each other. Like mad I mean they don't think of it that way but when you really look at what's happening in the market by following stories like the one I followed you can see there's this feverish competition for any space. And so I think that that kind of then leads the story back to the to the bar people which is how do we actually create through the political process more housing and more affordable housing? As well and so. I'm trying to kind of like we've together these stories from the very poorest people in Some time at home encampment and all that but I was more interested in the working poor. Frankly because I felt like when I see people working at target I just always ask myself like what are they go? How does this work is and San? Francisco's an interesting lab. Because it seems to be a lot of extremes built in there and you touch a little bit on the tech companies kind of these are my words but kind of artificially inflating prices there you know in areas where it makes it almost impossible for people to live in unless you make crazy amount of money but people make crazy amount of money. Don't necessarily want to live there like this this paradox. That's happening there. You know it's it's it is the poster child for what has gone wrong and they're crazy. It makes headaches. Blue picked San Francisco for companies one. Because it's funny pages on this book turned because people do crazy ass shit. Oh completely when you I? It's still gets the crazy stuff out of it system. Yeah so we don't have to do it in the other so Sony with like in most cities people kit the fuck out of here. But what happens to San Francisco some multimillionaire founder of Yelp macgyver with hundreds of millions? Oh my God I love what you're doing. Can I give you some money to do more? It's crazy right so it's a fun place. But the thing is San Francisco. It might be more extreme. Might be funnier. But it's so typical of where America's these days because we had this bifurcated economy and the and the economy is a lot of people making a pretty good livings in some cases astronomically. Good livings in what we call like knowledge industries. You know it could be comedy could be you could be comedy and entertainment but it could be also streaming all those things but obviously the poster child for it as tech right. It's kind of based around and let's call it data as the as the heading because data could be a lot of things right well as opposed to a product like people's whose minds or talent is multiplied by some sort of device. So you're a funny guy and you and I are sitting in this room right now and you're entertaining me with all the performance stuff. You've learned after all these years of being embarrassed I'm juggling as we're talking about. Thirty stock built this skill. Set of what makes it so valuable is that you have a microphone right. And there's an engineer in the other room and then there's the ringer network and all that takes what's happening in this room and allows you to talk to all these millions of people and you can make income from all those right. Charlie Chaplin was the was the poster child for this where I was going to stop saying poster in early in his career you could say to Garrett type if you go back fire and also early in his career. He could only talk to stages only work in a theater highly limited. How could do because you gotta pack the place by the end of his career? There are movies and if you look at his income overtime it's indicative of what happens right. So there's all these people in the country who some sort of device beat a microphone or a software platform or whatever is making them wealthy beyond imagination just by the power of their mind what they can build with software stuff like that and then there's service people people like this woman who cleans houses People who teach gym classes people who do retail jobs people do all sorts of different things we need in a day. Those people not only don't get paid as much because they don't have the benefit of this like multiplying device with microphones and computers. But they have to be near these other people because they're essentially waiting on them so our economy is bifurcated into these people who who through the power of technology can make all this money and do very well knowledge industries. The kind of the thing that's growing again tech is the the main version of this? The richest man in the world has made through tech. And then there's all these other people who have to be near them and our housing market does not like at all reflect that a that. The economy is so stratified but also be. They have to be next to each other. Economy is constructed so that these people are working side by side and right now they just don't live side by side and I'm not saying we have to build some crazy Utopian neighborhood where the richest person living next the poor person poorest person. I'm just saying right now. The the people in the service sector have to commute two three four hours anywhere near them and that just seems terribly unfair and that is why I hope we can with through policy in local politics and all these horrific fights. I track in the book. Bat is the problem I want to see solved. And what about the middleclass? You know person to the nurse. The teacher you know the people in that are not in the service industries. But they're not in you know the upper level industries too because they seem to be cut in the biggest trap in this you know not able to afford the more expensive housing because housing and I want to ask you this question about. Why have prices increase not just in California but everywhere over the past forty years if you start from nine thousand nine hundred seventy nine nine thousand nine hundred eighty two now only education? Which is also a thing. I'm really mad about those two sectors to me have increased in ways that no other sector in America has so I believe has affected the middle class people who were able to afford like my parents who are their houses. Thirteen thousand dollars. I think about it in nineteen sixty two you know. And they're my father's probation assume. My mom didn't work the ability for that. You know what I mean. That's not a service job you know. That's more of you know it's in a different arena. But they had the wherewithal to having nice home for their families and stuff you know. So what's what happened? There you know sorta like because people coming out of this is what's going on. People are coming out of college with degrees. You know who want to go and certain types of jobs in the thought of getting a house is alien to them. Totally and the homeownership rate amongst young adults like multi decade low. Correct like Molina's like this is just never going to happen totally so I think that you bring up an excellent excellent point. Which is that the so-called missing middle right is who is hurt the most in this conversation because nobody's trying to pass a big government program for them and honestly they wouldn't want it they don't want to. I mean I'm not saying they wouldn't want people who work really hard go to college to become a teacher who don't want to think like oh. I have to go fill out some form to get my house. They won't just be participated and they've I think they generally understand this is the lower paying profession. And I make that decision but I wanNA have some level right. They have trouble can make people could make two hundred thousand dollars a year in up you forward. Yeah so I yeah so so. Those people that class of persons journalists kind of in that class is someone we should be thinking about so what we need to do is figure out some way to build a lot more housing and to build a lot more housing pretty much where people already live. I'm not saying that we have to figure out how to do that. How do that through democratic process? What never touched him. Whatever is a highly complicated thing that I track in this book. And I'M GONNA try to say this is a good idea. This is a bad idea. I'm just say here. The people having this fight. Let's just talk to them and watch them have that fight but we need to build a lot more housing and we need to build a where people already live unless we build some rocket car that allows people to live in Bakersfield and commute to L. A. In a reasonable time. That's probably what we're going to have to do. And then we need to build more higher density housing. I do not mean thirty. Four story luxury CONDO with a ten million dollar penthouse. I mean like old philly row homes. Three story no elevator. Kind of those blocks. You Seem Baltimore and places like that. Which though they look. Don't look terribly good right now. They there was a time when they were thriving places. We could build that kind of housing again. It has to be compact but isn't it to be the tallest possible thing. So that's going away from the model that the fifties promise It seems like year assault your little salty these in my own words. Hello Salty about that single family home with the big one and that type of thing and I'm like Yeah S. Right when brothers can start getting this kind of stuff kind of salty about people having these So that's my own editorial better I should say my wife is african-american outgassing. I'm not I'm not. Don't you still salty. I didn't say I never said that any interview. Here's do and she said the other day someone in San Francisco was giving her this whole socialist thing she goes. We just got here round for our. She said we just got here. I WANNA hang out at this party face checking and see if I like it and then you can start talking to me about this socialism. Bullshit only problem with Bernie Sanders. Who I love I hold on Berry. Brothers are just starting to get there now. You WanNA redistribute so no and but that's serious stuff. So Lamar Park this Guy Damian. That is a lovely lovely neighborhood right. Anybody would go to that neighborhood and be like wow. This is really nice to get this wonderful retail strip. The houses of these cute Anglos and so they are actually trying to protect that Abraham for many of the same suburban kind of reasons that you just laid out so I totally appreciate that. I don't know what to say other than we've built a Shitload of jobs in the middle of these cities we created shoe demand for people to work in these places right. We don't have places for them to live. We gotTa fucking build them somewhere. So it's not I. I'm just saying it's like I feel like there's this imbalance everyone created and then the act. I didn't know it was happening. I mean look. This is where the Silicon Valley gets. Bananas you go look at. I don't know if anybody who's listening or you have seen the apple headquarters but it's this iconic spaceship looking flying saucer thing Cupertino California which is not a big place. They didn't build any housing around that right. So that's like the equivalent of like a gigantic skyscraper. In the middle of this little town like people know that people are going to work there. All Day If they're not going to build housing for them is going to be a lot of traffic so. I don't think I think it's pretty dishonest. Go let's put the giant office building there. Oh my God. We don't have enough housing. We didn't know this was happening. Save my neighborhood. It's kind of like you were. You are creating the conditions for your neighborhood to be kind of a place where people want to build. Yeah but that is your decision you. You are sending your city on that trajectory and you're GONNA have to own up to the responsibilities of having to house some of the people who work there. How much of an influence you know? Because the tech thing is kind of an interesting thought. I have different feelings about this whole notion of I'M NOT GONNA pick anyone company but I have a couple of mine where they have this entire ecosystem you know and You WanNa go to the cleaners these walls. We gotTA cleaners here. You WanNa have lunch. We got free lunch air. Why do you need to go onto and it to me? This small businesses that could profit from that from the people who are making a lot of money to use the businesses in the city to help the city thrived. So it's in it's in this walled environment where it's like. Hey how about I get away from this place for an hour for my talk about that but it wants to keep everything there and you know. It's not just one company. There are many tech companies. That do this now and to me that hurts local economies and has an effect on this as well. Don't you think this comes up constantly? The local businesses in Silicon Valley San Francisco in that area where people are travelling through on the buses. And all that stuff so it's not always so everything you just said on top of that it's really socially corrosive because whether or not people are subliminally getting the message. Yeah their neighbors right. Are subliminally getting the message. You have no stake in the yes in the public. Challenge the correct. Fuck your public transportation. Because I don't have to deal with exactly exactly right. I don't care that there aren't healthy options at that Deli. 'cause WE GOT. Qinhua at the co- corporate cafeteria totally agree so there can be as sort of contempt. That's kind of underneath of there for you know just Public accommodation for businesses. And all that kind of stuff totally and I. I don't think the tech companies like went into it but he does start to it. Subliminally sends the message to people. You can't we do not have to worry about the same problems as you. So we're not going to participate in trying to solve them democratically anti-community as far as I'm concerned and and this I truly believe that many so when there's a number of points in the book where you have people like this Damian Goodman or or a bunch of anti gentrification activist in San Francisco Fighting with these kind of people who tend to be younger professionals in San Francisco. They are heavily weighted in tech industry. And sometimes they're fighting over things that I'm like. Why are you finding over this like the need to build more? Housing is so obvious that you should be fighting over. How or where but not the fact that you need to do it. I think that's social corrosion that you and I discussed guests creates a situation where people cannot believe that the other people behind that wall have any stake in their community so whatever solution they're offering it can't possibly be a one that could benefit all people because look at how they live their lives. They live their lives behind closed doors. I don't want anything. Those people are offering. Because I don't feel like they have a stake in in the same problems that I'm experiencing right and and I think that's really bad because sometimes it closes people off to ideas that sometimes might be good ideas and both directions and they. They become ideological rather than practical. Yeah one of the things. I love about local government. Though is there's no fucking Democrats. There's it's so it's it's like Texas people like free market no regulation fuck. Now you're not building a giant building next to my ranch house no way. I'M GONNA pass whatever law to make sure that can't happen. Xactly arm of the state is my friend there. Flipside you see all sorts of people in San Francisco who are like Oh you know sunshine and daisies the rich whatever. Yes fuck that. You can't build an affordable housing complex near me. My house is worth five million dollars right no way so you see also supported in the abstract but not in the practical and I like that about it. I think because it's it makes ask what we're really four and what we're really willing to sacrifice and also how we're going to like actually create a more equitable kind cohesive society You know the kinds of things that great public schools used to Absolutely I think so I I I. This is why I thought it was fun to focus on. The book is about all of America in housing. But I do spend a lot of time thinking about the bay area. The reason is to kind of like really unpack. How local government works. I mean you couldn't do that in every place. You kind of just got to pick a place and delay what our city council meetings as zoning work and how to. There's this whole other narrative the one that President Obama tweeted. I'd read an excerpt in the New York Times about this suburb. That is fighting an apartment complex. Which is of course this is classic store. You could find any city in America and it's about this city manager which is kind of like the effective. Ceo of the city. Trying to find a middle way. And he just gets pulverized from one grouping like I want a bigger and the other grouping smaller and then he has to resign in the middle of the whole thing that story which again so that became an exit the New York Times. That was the thing. President Obama tweeted and that story is so typical where people are trying to build slightly higher housing density. And that and I should say it's a suburb but it's not that it's a five miles from Oakland. It's it's it's right there next to a giant job center so I think that looking at how local governments like that work that is by large. Who gets to decide where how and it will cost. We build shelter. This human being human need human right in America. An so unpacking how those million little city council's are who determine where and how and how much we build shelter and that's like this profoundly important thing the other thing though I would say. And this is the part run super optimistic. People can feel very very distant from federal government. It's you know they get to vote for in the primary and then they get to vote for president but we got all these things like the Electoral College. And if you're in California I just vote even matter because it only matters what in Ohio does or whatever and it's not like you can can. You can write a letter to the president. Or what can you really do? You can call your congressman all these things local government if you start showing up to city council meeting. It is insane. How fast they will start listening to you so when saying that people are like. Why are they fucking listening to me? I don't anything about this. I just showed up to a meeting. And it's actually. It's actually like really cool to see these people showing up and and and realizing how by local democracy which has a absolutely huge impact on my actual daily life. I can have an influence on it. I can participate in that truly degree. I never thought imaginable. The seat of power could be a folded chair right around the corner from watching these people inside of this book. In addition to all these individual stories like this fifteen year old tentative organizer in this poor bugger in the suburbs and this barf person and then there's this done. Yeah there's this none in the book goes around. There's as you said there's been so you said earlier there's all these kind of speculators going around buying apartment buildings with with tons of money and then inviting everyone kind of raising the cost of housing. This none then goes and faces off against those guys. Try by these apartments before they can get to them amazing story. Yeah so there's all these lovely stories of these people also realized that's not very practical to well. She's just she's it's thousand cuts right. She has a problem and she tries to solve it right for her flock. You know that's her but inside of it also this kind of lovely little story of kind of people discovering their political awakening and being like wow. I can because there's so many people in politics that they seem like mercenaries from five years old. They wanted to be president and they became a Rhodes scholar. And whatever right. But then there's also these people who just sort of like accidentally get into politics. Joe I just Kinda went down there and the next thing and those people are so inspiring because they don't know what they're doing and they are just kinda like figuring it out and they sort of show the rest of us will. I could do that too. Yeah but the the biggest puzzle to me for California Is the homeless puzzle right now because I think there's so many things thrown at that either make people feel good or seems like it's the solution but when you're on the ground you realize no that's not it you know and I believe it exists in at least two different forms and people treat it like it's the same thing there's what I'll call the lost generation homeless. The people who you know either have mental illness or they're they're kind of out of society. I'll call you know Were there road back in either through jobs or whatever is at is such a sec- in you know road back to normalcy. It's almost impossible. And then there's the the broken working class homeless people who families some families intact. There's a story about this news this morning. Who just can't afford a place to live there staying motels sometimes living in their cars for time. You know depending on who it is. They're they're transient through like relatives impact. Kind of separate. They're basically homeless. There they may not be on the street all the time but they're basically homeless you know and there's two different solutions for that. It's not the same problem. I totally agree. So without making this huge policy discussion. Right you can save those. You can prevent that working poor class population from becoming homeless for startling little costs. I mean sometimes an intervention of six seven hundred dollars at like one moment and prevent their life from spiraling out of control. And that's true and I'm so policy should recognize that there's so many cheap solutions to this that yet one of them at a local civic level that doesn't require you know all this young Gargantuan things that are hard to get past and then at some larger level we have to build kind of what we call radically affordable housing where you can get like a some kind of apartment for like three hundred bucks so you know what I always tell people. I love this story member. Big The movie Big Tom. Hanks okay. So there's this he could kid goes he makes the wish and the next thing you know. He's Tom Hanks is the twelve year old kids. He's Tom Hanks and he goes home. And His mom's like so the fucker you like a child molester or whatever like I'm Tom Hanks yeah exactly. You still splash. And he can't come can't she? Can't stay there. And then he goes to his body and he called his buddy's house either. Because you can't be like this is my third year old friend right so well you remember the plot exactly rewind so they have to go find him a place to stay and they have like twelve right so they don't have money to go to New York and they'd go to this church terrifying hotel where the guys to give them the sheets and the guy's like new teeth ray. And then they go up to the hotel on the hillock gunshots next door and they're freaking out and FAO Schwarz and before that until such crying and puts the dresser in front of the door. That room had a bad. It was probably like a wire bed with a plastic mattress. And then there's no bathroom no sink. No nothing brag. There used to be those are called single room occupancy hotels SRO's as there used to be tons of those went around the city there like luxury condos and stuff now. They destroyed them all so that used to be where people who now see homeless used to live. It used to be possible to be like kind of like a day laborer who has who kind of occasionally work. Maybe drank too much. Whatever but you could take five ten bucks right. Go get a room for the net. Some people call them cage hotels and you could stay in a place like that and be house. We essentially did not have homelessness in this country. That in my brain is now searching all the old movies where you see that type of House Spiderman used to live in an SRO. Wow Yeah what was the hitch moby with What's his name where he was the uncle and He started off in one of those turns out to be the bad uncle or whatever was yeah. We used to doubt like it starts off. He's in one of those totally so we used to have housing like this and it's gone so some way we're going to have to rebuild this radically affordable housing uh-huh that reflects the wages people are making now. Yeah this is good. Segue naughty for that type of thing. I feel like a lot of a lot of society. This is right and left to kind of class ninety. I totally agree. So you know what I say to people after giving this whole. Sro thing I just told you is almost like we need poor bad neighborhoods. Yeah that's hilarious. I mean yes. It's counterintuitive ever had with the shitty pawnbroker and and the pool. We need a couple more of those fucking nice now. It's not right and I say this joke. We're in the bad hookers these high classic hooker. Yes exactly where and my cats ended New York when I was like? I've just memory of it and you would see hookers like full-on in and that's not the case anymore. Yeah and so. We need insisting build like more shitty asked neighborhoods. People can get an apartment for like three or four hundred dollars right you ask to work as an example this to the New York which was New York almost went insolvent. You know awhile ago but you live in New York. You know many different classical living. Our friend Liebowitz talked about this. I mean at one point to where after the Disney vacation of you know Times Square and and you know Manhattan. It's impossible. You either have to be a complete. Bohemian or rich to be able to actually live as a family in New York. It's almost impossible now. Totally and this is the part that I think is. This is where the economics stuff I think is serious is the best thing you can do. And people like to other cleaning up by the way. Yeah people are like stop cleaning up our city. 'cause IT looks nicer. It feels nicer but nobody thinks. Oh maybe maybe there was a role for that yes such. This is really 'cause 'cause you don't want the other thing you really don't want it turns into a homeless encampment. I Know Street from the one. And it's the lesser of two evils in some ways and I I shouldn't say makes you feel like sh I mean everything shit so there's a lot of shame associated with of course. Of course there is by the way I was at a at a An event the other night in Seattle and this woman came up and asked a question. That fucking blew my mind and I said to her. You just blew my mind. I don't I don't have a response to this. But she said what do you think the psychological cost of all of us driving past this not feeling anything is like we are killing ourselves slowly by by just accepting says normal and I was like I was like I like. I said I didn't have an answer. I said you have contributed a great thought to this room. Unless just all sit with it for a second and then the next question but so I think that on top so just getting away from homelessness for a second the best thing you can do in America to give people a chance to see you're from L. A. I grew up Like out in pomona suburb. Yeah but you're it's there's no way there's no San Francisco there's no seattle. There are these giant Metro areas that are operating as this kind of interconnected region. Those places where innovation is happening and comedy is happening in these industries and streaming is happening all these industries. That aren't just for stars like you. There's all sorts of people who work in these jobs and good jobs through kind of create. This apparatus creams those shows. The opportunity to just be near that is that is huge chance for somebody to better themselves to enjoy the American dream into to get a better income and Detroit. Wisconsin the industrial engine of its time. All sorts of people were moving there there creating a middle class that obviously a tremendous race problems so it was like was perfect great but there was a escalator. That people could get near. Yes with pisses me off. What I think is incredibly unfair to the rest of America is at places like Silicon Valley when when those when you think about them. You think Oh. It's like impossible to live there. It's insane privilege to even be in San Francisco where anytime I travel anywhere. And this is becoming increasingly trove. La People say to you. Oh my God. It's so expensive to live there. I don't know how you manage it. That's fucked up because it shouldn't be that places that contain the industrial engines of our time. are seen as some like insane luxuries even live near and. I'm not saying you have to be able to live in the best neighborhood of Palo Alto or right above the Bart stop in the mission district. I'm just saying like somewhere in the vicinity that you can get to work and pick up your kids after school in a reasonable way and it's to to lock that off. That's why the book is called Golden. Gate's it's means that it's GonNa List Metaphor for we have gated off in the form of high housing prices in the form of gold these engines of prosperity. And that is bullshit. Especially since I mean you look at like Silicon Valley and stuff like that half the Silicon Valley is just Defense Department Spending Defense Department spending you. All these technologies are created through shoot government initiative episode. That means the rest of America and in our in America through the decades they played a fucking huge role in building those companies. That's not some San Francisco's known that Shit and so kind of walling it off from the rest of the country and again this is true and lots of other places Minneapolis. I spend lot of time in Minneapolis. They'd be huge housing problem. Been there many times. Yeah so I think that that is what is like so pressing about this. Is that when we take cities where people can better themselves against cities being the whole Metro region and kind of locked? Lock people out of him. That is a national problem. Yeah there's a price to be paid for walling off the city's walling off in different ways like we're talking about the close economies of Ted companies these housing problems and all these issues it becomes kind of anti-democratic society that we're living in. You know where it's certainly not. What Tocqueville observed in the nineteenth century about the promise of America? What was so special. That's combat world is almost gone totally and But I think that but the other thing is so much action is happening at this. Local government level. People are so people are so depressed about the political situation right now and at the local government. You do see people trying to solve problems. It's by the way they're going to really saw this housing problem. You're going to need some large federal help. But I don I. That's like a sentence multifaceted. But that's like a sentence like fuck. I hope Congress figures it out next sentence right. There's no story there. And but I think that you see people figuring these problems out for you how to live near each other attack inequality so as I talk about in the Book California. Pass this really forward thinking fair. Housing Act in nineteen sixty three. Yeah let's talk about that William Mumford who a lot of people don't know about this is when I mean by some of the hidden gems in your book. You know hiding in plain sight as you say you know but The RUMFORD ACT. That was passed. Sixty two or sixty three. It was passed in sixty three and sixty three and wait around for it was a you know this is a black man. Who is getting stuff done time? You know and it wasn't easy to do these things you know He's kind of the West Coast. Thurgood Marshall many ways. You know you know Marsha was the lawyer. Who is you know doing that kind of Sopa? Go ahead and talk about that also and I want to set up the antecedent to that which is just as powerful. You know what I'm talking. Oh yeah so. Nineteen sixty three. This Guy William Byron Rumford. Who was a pharmacist in Berkeley? Yes and had he was a west by the way the wheel anywhere near the time for this right but the there are some books about the West Coast experience of Black People. That are so interesting. Ebbs very distinct from the southern experience. Completely it's a whole different. Kinda history in northern southern California. Have kind of interesting so your town of Oakland has its own experience. Only Oakland are the only two like real black centers and Yeah and Burke south birthday but that's kind of contiguous with Oakland so he and so this is an important point so there's actually this whole I mean we could So deep into this by the way I should give a quick plug black past dot. Org has this tremendous resource. It's wikipedia allow for stuff like that but Pity history like black appear. Well no but it's written by series researchers in that website to thank and like it's nice to be like this is a resource done by very serious people and I'm really educating myself and it's awesome Internet Bullshit backpass dot Org. Yes black pass dot org remember. Yeah So the Williams was this guy and he passed this fair housing law. I should say so. There was this Guy Digi Gibson behind him who actually figured out at that time. Cities had district elections and so it was impossible for black political power to to to it was possible to be big enough to show to vote their own representative in but the state borders. We're kind of more contiguous with the Black neighborhood so this guy digi Gibson. Who's this unsung hero of California? Politics is a hugely influential figure. Figured out like okay. We we should go fuck the local government. Let's go to the state because those borders more More represent our neighborhoods and so we can get political representation. That way in Rumford with his first experiment so remember was elected. He passed a ton of great laws. There was a lot to make it illegal to refuse to cover black drivers for insurance companies. A huge deal. And Calvin if you're driving a car right and then there's a Fair Employment Act which had mild controversy then he went to housing and this is like the Inter shows guard rail. This is the radioactive thing and they. There was high drama. They got a pass through the drama book. But it was like the shit past at eleven fifty nine after all these weird legislative maneuvers. Like I mean getting. There is a crow a protest group that had started sleeping in the capital at that. Marlon Brando went there to support. It was this whole big thing and then it was it was kind of the pre Berkeley type of move movement happening passes and then as you know in California we have this initiative system were essentially anybody if they can gather enough signatures can put a law or a proposal for a lot on the ballot. The realtor organization was freaked. The fuck out for all the reasons that I was kind of talking about guys like this is going to destroy our business in. Let me explain that a little bit for people unfamiliar this California. If you don't like a law you don't have to be a legislator you can start an initiative and all you need is a certain percentage of signatures based on votes or something like that The way that was initially Saito but the initiative movement in California. I don't know if that's the same in every state but you can cancel shit. You can create shit. I mean we could do a whole fucking pod. Callan on absolutely San Francisco. Sometimes it's fun right. So they once passed a law passed a whole city laws specifically. You guys did this on the daily show. Yeah specifically to allow one cop to walk his beat triple like an election over that Ed so so it becomes this whole thing anyway. The backlash happens fast and furious. As soon as run for passes fairhousing. There's an initiative to cancel passes in like a landslide and it was fascinating because if you look at like a town like San Leandro which is a white town right next to Oakland. Yeah the the. The voting patterns on either side of that border was crazy. But I think this is a really important moment that foreshadow so much of what. We're living right now so it's so. This is just like a year after George. Wallace down in Alabama is like segregation now segregation tomorrow segregation forever. So that's what the South looks like that that time but California's kind of finding this like a lot of there's a number of books about race in California and they all use the term polite racism California is framing this basically a statewide segregation law this this initiative that would have repealed the RUMFORD act of made it legal for anyone to refuse to sell housing to anyone based on or rent housing to anyone based on race. So it's specifically the right to say you I don't want to rent to your black would have been enshrined in the Constitution truly statewide segregation bill. If you look at the way people talked about that in the election. It's like it's like. Oh this is about freedom. This is about property rights. This is about not telling you what you can do with this land right. And and Reagan of course starts to emerge around this time and then runs against Pat Brown. Just a couple of years after the governor who sorry Pat Brown Gerry. Brown Dad was the governor at the time so Reagan and they had a big fight over this initiative and Reagan starts using all these same kind of property rights terms. I think we see so much of that today. No you're so right. I love this section of the book because you know one of my things that I do is language in language very powerful and the way people thought it. You're absolutely right and this is the thing I hope people take away from. This is it was safe language to cover. You know. I'll call it horrible opinions. You know. And this was not Republicans against Democrats collusion both sides. You know people who had common interest didn't like they're just you know just as many Democrats as Republicans or whoever you know after a while it Kinda. I think went into party but the language that was used to fight these types of things to me is what really hits home to me and you can track that through our politics. Whether it's about guns was about this or that at the language that people use because they're not wrong to death taxes. Yea that's one of my favorites that what is that. Shit that one got me. I mean they're not wrong. That's the thing and bodily the left does it in. It's only two. This is not just a observation. It is from that side you know. Medicare for all kind of an example sounds. It's not like destroyed the current. Yes everyone can have it right like it doesn't sound Yeah we have a whole discussion on this but it is fascinating the takeaway from that for something. That you know should be a no brainer for most people. In the way that it's fun is by making it something you really can't disagree with. You disagree for people who are on the sidelines and not really paying attention. Oh yeah that sounds right. Why would I describe? Should the government be able to tell you can sell your property to? She's fair. Thank you for standard for me. Exactly and so. Yeah and actually you can. I mean so there's an for decades there has been this frame. California is a look at the nation's future and I think part of the history shows that was like totally true again and all these other things were foreshadowed in the estate fights right and I think the frame of this book kind of taking these contemporary local fights and saying this is where we're going wake up. America be fucking terrified when this housing Christ comes. Housing crisis comes to your town right. Don't let it get as bad as this and of course that's why I go to. I try to kind of talk about. Minneapolis and other places in the book spent A. I did spend a lot of time. There cut a lot of the stuff out of the book because it was so the same and it just felt like repetitive but Minneapolis. Just pass a law. That would make it the first major city in America to eliminate single family zoning so that does not mean you can build a condo next to a giant condo next to like a single family home which you can be like a triplex like Kinda like have three units. You could have a split level house with a little grainy flat in the back so it was like a light density a flat out. Tell you or cottage house. There's different names for these things. All of them better than a d you which is clinical accessory dwelling unit but They will tell you. We are fucking terrified of becoming California. And so we're trying to proactively. Pass these laws so we are kind of. You're still a look at the nation's future but it's pretty look right now and so actually. That's that's actually again. One of the optimistic things in this book is that you see so much action in other cities where like bat is a lesson not let this happen so we'll counter? Thanks so much for coming in Golden Gate. Two guys fighting fighting for housing in America is fascinating book too so much great information in it just from a historical perspective but also. I love your emphasis on the local and I I think a lot of Even young people. I was just in in Georgia and a meeting Stacey Abramson. She had a meeting afterwards with some local people on. It's all about local politics and I was just flying while. Just listen to this fantastic. Just the energy. That was in their room because people they care about what's happening in their neighborhoods in that kind of stuff in the way that they want to fight for it. The this is what it's about man. You know you you get these things right. It's not as important. You know the the people in Washington as it is. What's going on right there. And if you duplicate that in different places it can that can make a real difference. I feel you know not only. Can I make a real difference? The opportunity to get together to organize around those thing. Yeah starts to create the coalitions that does change washing completely. Suddenly those simpler voting block. That's right and the and also just more practical today like learn how to do shit exactly learn how to run elections. They learn how to organize their friends and neighbors. They learn how pamphlet like all that like super kind of more brass knuckles. Shishir like one stay organized. Look and by the way you see all the presidential candidates when they come to California and stuff. Yeah they're like. What group do I plug into right? who already knows what they're doing show and so once once things like housing is that becomes the key to changing national politics. Used to work more like that in the past. When you have groups like Tammany Hall you know in Unions Union how powerful and they had a structure to it and people were in neighborhoods giving away free Turkeys. I remember my parents from Chicago. Near elections. Freesheet would start going to you. These places like Maine. You get two people in that kind of stuff. That's the crass example of it but there were machines they were called political machines back then. There were operating at local level to give people you know focused on those issues and stuff. Yeah Yeah Totally I. That's again that's why and also Not Not a plug myself too hard. I also just think there should is funny like there are. There are moments in this book. That will make you cry like this fifteen year. Old Girl having her life destroyed by addiction. But then there's also these cookie. Local characters are showing up to BARF showing up to city council meetings in like leggings and cowboy boots and being. You got to change this shit and it's a wild funny seen again. I keep coming back to a wreck but every time I watch that show. Jesus Christ. This is like not fiction. Yeah it is the The the prophetic show of our Tom. Golden Gate you guys fighting for housing America kind of dirty. Thanks so much. Thank you so much for having me. This is Super Fun.

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