The City of Davis is facing an extreme housing crisis.
There is a vacancy rate of less than 1%, students and community members are not able to afford housing as rent is rising, and there’s not enough housing to fill the need for the community in Davis. It’s a legit emergency, especially for low-income students who are forced into everything between commuting and homelessness.
Davis residents are voting on Measure J on June 5th, which will allow for the development of the Nishi Property. I’m not going to share all the considerations, facts, thoughtful debate, and propaganda here as there is plenty to go around.
This post is to simply shine some light on who is behind development projects, as I often wonder if there is a better way to meet our housing than entrusting our future to capitalists.
Meet John Whitcombe and Tandem Properties
Just did a quick search for Tandem Properties, and a little internetting got me here
I needed 3 screenshots to cover all the company holdings of John Whitcombe.
Holy crap, that’s a lot of Real Estate in Davis!!! I don’t know John personally or really know much about him, and I think he’s got a great smile, but I’m just doing research here. I’d have a cup of coffee with him and hear him out should he ever want to meet up. I’m sure there’s more to the story than I know.
The Modern Day Aristocracy (am I kidding?)
I remember in 2016 when I was living in New Orleans, right around the time I decided it was unethical for me to rent under most landlord-tenant situations (more on that some other time)…
I went to check out an apartment for rent in the Treme. The person showing me the place told me that they were part of a Real Estate group that bought something like 30,000+ houses in the Treme and 7th/9th Ward among other places (don’t quote me on that number but it at least had that many zeros, it honestly could have been more) , to renovate them and rent them out. I couldn’t help but think entire blocks and sections of neighborhood being prepared for “revitalization” (aka gentrification).
Obviously what’s happening in Davis and what’s happening in New Orleans and other cities is different but I wonder…
What happens when property management groups buy up entire neighborhoods or cities?
Students of economics, history, urban planning, or critiques of capitalism might be concerned that having vast wealth and land resources concentrated in the hands of very few people who are primarily concerned with money (or power) is a recipe for disaster for We the People…as we’re forced to put most of our wealth in their pockets each month (ouch!).
Some renters are paying 40%+ or more of their income in rent each month. How much of that money gets reinvested in our communities and in the lives of people living there?
To me, it’s vampire capitalism at it’s worst where human rights are treated as commodities to be bought and sold for maximum profit.
There is so much money and power behind the housing industry…I don’t know all the details but smart people tell me that legislation like Costa Hawkins makes it hard to implement real rent control measures.
Are there solutions to address the housing/renter crisis that don’t give the Landlord and Property Developer Class more power and resources? I see the hostage situation we are in where we need housing, and they provide it, but I wonder if we need more out-of-the-box solutions.
I have thoughts on solutions for the housing crisis, most of them satirical and “foolishly idealistic”. You can read my 5 Point Plan to Housing Security if you like.
But if you want some real, well-informed, and researched solutions check out this video that talks about some of the issues renters are facing, and some community-centered ways solutions: