MARCH MEETING: Affordable Housing in San Diego – NIMBYs vs. YIMBYs

Join us for our monthly meeting March 6, where we’ll tackle the issue of affordable housing in San Diego with three great speakers – San Diego Mayoral Candidate Cory Briggs, real estate developer Ginger Hitzke, and Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzales (D-80). The moderator is Scott Lewis, editor in chief of the Voice of San Diego.

UPDATE: We’re meeting at a special location, one time only, the La Mesa Adult Enrichment Center, known to many as the Senior Center, 8450 La Mesa Blvd, La Mesa, at the corner of La Mesa Blvd. and University Avenue. Scroll to the bottom of this post for more information about the venue and parking.

Briggs is a popular advocate of open government, environmental protection and women’s rights. His platform includes fighting Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s initiative to waive height restrictions and other regulations for housing developments near transit centers. The mayor frames these initiatives as helping the city meet Climate Action Plan goals by building dense housing near public transit – therefore reducing reliance on cars. But Briggs things it’s all just a favor for the Republican Mayor’s developer friends and supporters.

Journalist Michael Smolens writes: “Briggs said more transit needs to be planned and built before any residential-building binge. He added that he would support a general hotel-tax increase — which would be subject to a simple majority vote — to help finance transit and affordable housing. He also said developers should not be allowed to pay into a housing fund instead of including affordable units in their projects, an idea under consideration at City Hall.”

So where does this put conscientious developers that truly are building and planning units to provide access for first time home buyers to buy affordable housing? What about the fact that a majority of San Diegans cannot afford to purchase housing within acceptable commuting distance to their jobs? What about the many progressive politicians that are listing affordable housing, public transit and climate action goals near the top of their campaign promises? These questions and more will be discussed at our March 6 meeting.

Also joining our panel is Ginger Hitzke, President of Hitzke Development, a real estate development company specializing in in-fill, redevelopment, transit-oriented, mixed-use, eco-friendly affordable housing. Ginger has her own affordable housing story, and her past experiences have shaped her current opinions, as well as her career goals, philanthropy, interests and many accomplishments.

Hitzke is a first-generation real estate developer and has 23 years of experience in the field of affordable housing development. She has participated in the development of over 1,500 apartments and affordable homes totaling more than $430 million in real estate activity throughout California. After serving as Vice President of Development for Affirmed Housing Group, she formed Hitzke Development. She specializes in the development of affordable rental housing (including permanent supportive housing) on infill, transit-oriented sites.

Ginger is an active member of the communities that she serves, including Circulate San Diego (president-elect), San Diego Housing Federation, Leadership for Urban Renewal Network, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of San Marcos. She currently lives in Temecula, California with her husband, 20 year retired enlisted Navy veteran, Eric, their 24- and 14-year-old sons and their 7 cats and dogs.

Assemblywoman Gonzales is a late – and welcome! – addition to our lineup. She was elected in 2013, fighting for the state’s working and middle classes. She authored legislation helping 6.5 million Californians earn paid sick leave, making California the first state in the nation to guarantee earned sick days for every private sector worker regardless of employer size or sector. She’s fought for automatic voter registration, parents’ rights, grocery workers, immigrants, and more.

Our large and active Club represents the communities of San Carlos, Allied Gardens, Del Cerro, La Mesa, College Area, Santee, Mt. Helix, Casa de Oro and Spring Valley and other close by areas.

IMPORTANT: Note the new, one-time location for the March meeting: The La Mesa Adult Enrichment Center (known to many as the Senior Center), at the corner of La Mesa Blvd. and University Avenue. That’s a short hop from our usual location at the La Mesa Community Center, across the street from the Little League field at the base of the hill leading up to the Community Center.

The address for our March 6 meeting is 8450 La Mesa Blvd., La Mesa, CA 91942.

There is ample parking in the large Little League lot, with a short walk across University Ave. to the Senior Center. Also, there are a few limited parking spaces right next to the Senior Center, for those needing disabled parking or a shorter walk.

Our meeting will begin at its usual time, with a 6:30 social period, general meeting starting 7 PM. We’ll still have snacks, beverages and desserts to share for all attendees.

The reason for the change is that the Community Center, where we usually meet, is doing environmental remediation.

We meet the first Wednesday of each month and beginning in April we’ll be back at the usual location, at the spacious La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Dr, just north of University Ave. in La Mesa. Our meetings start with our 6:30 PM social time (featuring salads, snacks, desserts and beverages supplied by the club and its members) and 7 PM meeting and program. Please join us as a guest or become a member, with our modest annual dues starting at $30.

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