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By Kim Murphy
Murphy and Murphy Southern California Realty 

Real Estate Round-up: Fair Housing and Redlining


Last updated 2/28/2020 at 11:52pm

For nearly as long as I’ve been writing my column, the topic of the shortage of affordable workforce housing has been a key issue in real estate. There are many programs that address affordable housing, so people at the lowest of income levels or those on state subsidies can secure housing. But affordable workforce housing is an even bigger problem within California. It doesn’t matter which region a person lives in, the housing available close to employment is generally not affordable to that workforce. At last month’s California Association of Realtors meeting this topic continued to take center stage but was linked closely to the related topic of fair housing. Let me explain.

The Fair Housing act was passed in 1968. Its goal was to eliminate housing discrimination to any group of individuals based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex or familial status. In 1975, the Age Discrimination Act was passed into law, adding that as an additional category of individuals that cannot be discriminated against. The law has been clear for over 50 years, yet various groups still struggle to achieve a basic component that many people take for granted – stable housing.

Another practice called “redlining” was outlawed in The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977. The practice of redlining related to the carving out of certain geographic areas, specifically to preserve for a particular group of individuals, or to prevent a particular group of individuals from living in that area. Reverse redlining targets neighborhoods by selling products and services at higher prices than they are sold for in areas with greater competition which will in turn, segregate certain groups simply by making it financially impossible to live in an area.

So where am I going with this? It breaks my heart to say it, but I believe all of this “no building” fury is unintentionally denying the rights of homeownership to many of the residents of San Diego County. It is cloaked in the existing problem of traffic congestion and the always present fear of wildfires. When you consider that the firefighters support a development, given their knowledge of it, it would seem that the fire impediment should be off the table. And when you consider that nearly 70,000 cars drive in from either Riverside County or Mexico, so those people can work in San Diego County, it’s hard to understand how housing people closer to their jobs will create more traffic congestion. Having homes closer to where people work and along transit corridors like I-15 will actually decrease traffic congestion and San Diego County will be collecting taxes on those new residents, rather than having them simply use our roadways and take their income out of the area.

So how does this lack of building attitude relate to fair housing and redlining? At the broadest sense, much of the workforce is being denied housing close to their jobs, because of the anti-building sentiment. They are being discriminated against by those who are wealthier, be it through income or ownership. Fair housing is a right for everyone. One group is working hard to keep another group out of their area by making it impossible for them to afford local housing. Redlining is illegal.

I absolutely, get it. We all, including me, want nothing to change in our “neighborhood.” But it is going to change, with or without our involvement. Months ago, I wrote about the mandated state housing element that all cities and communities are obligated to meet. At that time, I invited everyone to be part of the conversation or they would be left out of the decisions. Cities have tried to fight their mandated housing numbers by denying development. Huntington Beach and Encinitas are just two of them. So guess what happened? The state of California sued them. Now, rather than having a say in development in those cities, the state is demanding development, and will be keeping an ever-watchful eye on what is approved and not approved.

Take Fallbrook and Bonsall. Without development occurring along the I-15 corridor, which will help the county meet its housing element, parcels within both towns will have to be developed. If 2,000 homes are eliminated along the transit corridor, they will have to be built within both towns by developing many little clusters of homes. Talk about congestion? We will have it in town. Our streets aren’t built to handle more commuters in and out of town. The main ingress and egress routes are single lane each way. We will be creating a congestion problem. And what about when the next fires come – and they will – what will that evacuation look like? Opponents to development along I-15, use a 600-home development in Valley Center as an acceptable solution. Think about 600 additional vehicles coming in and out of Valley Center, up Valley Center Road or Lilac Road, just to get to I-15. That scenario is what will happen.

The March 3 election will come and go, but the decisions residents make when they vote will be with the county for a very long time. Dig deeper than the obvious, think about the long-range consequences and vote with your eyes on the end results.

Kim Murphy can be reached at [email protected] or (760) 415-9292 or at 130 N. Main Ave., in Fallbrook. Her broker license is #01229921, and she is on the board of directors for the California Association of Realtors.


Reader Comments(1)

ddill73 writes:

I find the 2/28/2020 column misrepresenting the facts and confusing the readers with race baiting tactics. Housing is expensive in San Diego County because land is expensive. Housing is affordable in Riverside County and Mexico because their LAND IS CHEAP. Building out the I-15 Corridor will simply add to the existing bumper-to-bumper rush hour congestion on I-15 with expensive homes that the average SD County worker can not afford. We must build up affordable housing in the cities and villages.


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