Housing and a Vibrant Environment Can Co-exist.
Welcome to Episode 13 of Offshoot with Ms. Jennifer Hernandez, a land use attorney from Holland and Knight.
Jennifer is truly remarkable. She expertly and fluidly draws connections between the flaws of California’s Environmental Quality Act and the rights of its citizenry to have attainable shelter. Jennifer reveals that CEQA is no longer utilized to protect the environment from pollutants, nor to protect open space. Instead, it is actively employed by a wide array of special interest groups to advance ulterior motives. As Jennifer puts it, CEQA is used by someone who has money to stop what you’re doing. The Act’s abuse effectively stops development (NIMBY), secures project labor agreement for local unions, and stops competition from establishing a foothold. It also provides bounty hunting lawyers fertile ground to extort cash from developers before allowing their projects to advance.
There’s a lot in this one.
Listen in as Jennifer explores:
- Humility and the fact that no matter what you know, there’s a lot that you don’t. Listen and observe as your narrow expertise isn’t going to cover it all.
- The role that a home played for her mother and grandmother in tough times, and why that’s worth protecting.
- How CEQA, if you take the strictest read, would like to freeze California in 1972 (the time the law was enacted).
- How government agency discretion plus any change to the environment are enough to trigger CEQA, plus where you can find categorical or statutory exemptions from the act.
- The fact that only 13% of CEQA complaints come from entities which predated the filing of the complaint, meaning 87% are filed by entities that we created just for the CEQA complaint.
- How CEQA challengers need not identify themselves or their relationship to the project.
- How bounty hunting lawyers employ bots to monitor the internet for new Environmental Impact
- Reports in order to leach payment from the associated projects.
- How affordable housing is just a complete mess.
- How not understanding a politician is their problem, not yours. Insist on policies and politics that make sense.