California is the only state in the country to block the construction of affordable housing in its constitution. This story detailed the history of a little-known nearly 70-year-old constitutional provision that had a dramatic effect on the building of homes for poor people for decades. The piece examines the racist and classist origins of the provision as well as its far-reaching impact. After the constitutional provision was challenged on equal protection grounds, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in its favor, which had the effect of allowing government policies nationwide that discriminate against poor people.
This story connected the long history of environmental activism and limited growth in a wealthy county north of San Francisco with its high housing costs and persistence of racial segregation. In short, Marin County residents — no matter the reason — have often opposed new development and those decisions have resulted in racial inequities unseen elsewhere in California.
The warehouse fire that killed three dozen people in Oakland put the effects of ballooning housing costs in the Bay Area on tragic display. This feature, published on the fire’s one-year anniversary, profiled a survivor of the fire and her ongoing quest to find an affordable place to live despite numerous promises from elected officials to improve the region’s housing situation.
The only Republican mayor in any of the 10 largest cities in America, San Diego’s Kevin Faulconer thinks he has a plan for how the GOP can win in urban areas. This national feature on Faulconer’s strategy on engaging communities of color and other groups that don’t traditionally vote Republican shows how he’s trying to distinguish himself. But he also has yet to deliver on policies that would meaningfully affect the lives of people living in underserved communities.