What do you call a government project that destroys an historic building, creates an eyesore, accomplishes none of its goals, can’t pay for itself, and requires no accountability on the part of its perpetrators? That’s right gentle readers! A BOONDOGGLE.And so it is with the much ballyhooed University Heights Project meant to provide subsidized (oops, “affordable”) housing for needy CSUF teachers. The University sank millions into this venture by buying property from the BPOE and building them a new lodge on the site of the original, totally Rat Pack cool building. Well, the old building is long gone, the new butt-ugly building is done, and cheapo cookie cutter stucco tract houses jam the ridgeline.
Only problem is nobody wanted to buy these boxes on dinky lots. A covenant that would keep the properties restricted to CSUF personnel was way too limiting for buyers in a plummeting real estate market, so nobody was buying in.
At first sales were restricted to CSUF employees as per plan. Then they were opened to any public employee. When will they be for sale to anybody? Occupancy of one kind or another has been pegged at about 40% although a quick drive through is reminiscent of a trip to Calico or Rhyolite. The word on the street is that the bank has pulled out because the deal can’t pay for itself.The architects of this miserable failure have yet to suffer any of the consequences that a private real estate developer would. Let’s see if we can help. First, there’s Milton Gordon, President of CSUF who must be wondering how come nobody has called him out on this yet. And of course let’s not forget our dear friend Fullerton City Council member and all around buffoon Dick Jones who actually did take credit for it (link to video) ironically unaware of the true fiasco unfolding up on Elk Hill.
There is an object lesson here of course that will no doubt be lost on educrats and befuddled local electeds: stay out of the housing business and kill policies that encourage tax-payer purchased housing subsidies for public employees.