The South Bay Cities Council of Governments and SBAOR co-hosted last month in Torrance the Housing Forum, a half-day conference digging into tough and controversial questions about the housing crisis, housing availability, housing affordability, and what to do about it. This event sought practical, workable solutions to the housing crisis and issues of housing supply in the South Bay but applicable to Greater Los Angeles and suburban communities throughout the state.
The Housing Forum kicked off with a keynote address from California Senator Ben Allen (D-26) followed by three panels that progressively set the stage to address critical questions on housing in our region.
The event started with opening remarks from Britt Huff, Chair of the South Bay Cities Council of Governments and Councilmember at the City of Rolling Hills Estates, as well as Mina Semenza, SBAOR’s 2019 President and also the elected City Clerk of the City of Gardena.
“This means that I have spent many years getting to know the issues from both of the perspectives represented by the two hosts of today’s event,” said Mina Semenza in her comments. “With this in mind I applaud the approach and the intent of today’s Housing Forum: To bring all sides together and have intensive discussions on the future of our communities, of our state and of our nation that we all care deeply about.”
Among the confirmed speakers were recognized experts in housing policy and real estate development along with state and local elected leaders:
- Larry Kosmont – Chairman and CEO, Kosmont Companies (Moderator)
- Greg Anderson – Senior Vice President, Shea Properties
- Bill Brand – Mayor, City of Redondo Beach
- Darin Chidsey – Chief Operating Officer, Southern California Association of Governments
- Jeff Kiernan, Regional Public Affairs Manager, League of California Cities
- Anne McIntosh – Community Development Director, City of Manhattan Beach
- Wally Siembab – Research Director, SBCCOG
- Kenneth Stahl – Professor, Chapman University
- Jeli Gavric – Legislative Advocate, California Association of REALTORS®
The last panel discussed from a variety of perspectives the significant and at times controversial housing legislation being considered in Sacramento.
The spirit of the Housing Forum was to bring forward important discussion of the housing issue, even among folks who do not agree on the best proposed solutions.
“I am sure that some of the discussion you hear today will spur passionate debate, and surely some disagreement, while at the same time challenging all of us to look at the issues in new ways and with a new set of eyes that we had not thought of before,” said SBAOR President Mina Semenza. “It is in this spirit that I am looking forward to what today brings.”
Copies of the presentations made by several of the speakers at the Housing Forum are available on the SBCCOG’s website.
The Housing Forum was made possible thanks to major funding from the National Association of REALTORS®. Additional sponsorship funding was generously provided by Reylenn Properties LLC and Watson Land Company.