The ex-presidential candidate getting into sustainable real estate

Tom Steyer is again putting his money where his mouth is.

The 2020 presidential candidate, climate evangelist and California political bankroller launched a new real estate “investment strategy” this month under the umbrella of his investment firm, Galvanize Climate Solutions.

He’s planning to buy and retrofit multifamily housing, industrial buildings, student housing and self-storage units, and has hired Goldman Sachs real estate veteran Joe Sumberg to oversee the strategy.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

You’re in San Francisco, where the downtown is not doing great. Is this a good time to get into commercial real estate?

We’re going to be doing real estate, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to be doing office buildings. That could include multi-family. That can include student housing, that can include industrial.

Obviously, if you live in San Francisco, because I think we’re sort of the eye of the storm, there’s a real question about not whether there’s a need for commercial real estate, but how much of a need is there for commercial real estate in terms of square feet.

And obviously in markets where there is as much demand as there is supply, then a whole bunch of things happen, including when vacancies go up, and that means rents go down and all kinds of valuation issues come into play. It’s not trivial to take a big office building and, okay, if it’s not going to be an office building, what the heck is it going to be?

How are you going to make money at this? What are the risks and what are the returns that you’re expecting?

Real estate is a huge investment area. And within that we believe that this strategy of actually doing sustainable real estate is something which is going to have higher returns that have a huge tailwind to it. We believe that the climate response is a gigantic investable area. We’re dedicated to climate response, but we also believe that it will lead to higher returns because it has to happen and there’s a huge demand for it.

You’re planning to focus on the Pacific Northwest, Colorado, California, Arizona and Texas. What’s driving that: policy, high real-estate values, exposure to climate vulnerabilities?

Econ 101: Location, location, location. You want to be in places that have the characteristics of a positive market to be in. Part of that is just regular old real estate. And part of it is that we want to be in places where we’re going to be able to put this through in a way so that we make sure that it adds to the returns.

When Joe’s talking about it, he’s looking at places where we can make good real estate investments and dramatically reduce carbon footprints and have better returns as a result.

Are you counting on the Inflation Reduction Act for anything?

We have people who are policy

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Millions of real estate documents to be amended in California county

Sonoma County’s recorder’s office has confirmed that millions of its real estate documents contain racial covenants meant to restrict people of color from owning property, and the county is now taking steps to rectify this.

California has a deep history of redlining, a racist practice dating back to the 1930s that prevented anyone who wasn’t white from living or purchasing property in certain neighborhoods. In Sonoma County, these practices involve including racially restrictive language in real estate documents.

“For example, there are a lot of properties that are restricted to only those of Caucasian descent,” said Deva Marie Proto, Sonoma County’s clerk-recorder-assessor.

Proto said that the recorder’s office is searching for an outside vendor to identify keywords and phrases in documents that may indicate the presence of racially restrictive covenants so that those covenants can be redacted. Some keywords include “Caucasian,” “African,” “Asiatic” and “Mongolian,” she said.

The racial covenants in places like Sonoma County differed from redlining practices in other parts of the Bay Area, which more often involved literal lines being drawn on government maps indicating which neighborhoods were “undesirable” and therefore off-limits to mortgage lenders and insurance providers.

“Racial covenants were even more specific than that and were written into the deeds of specific properties and sometimes entire developments to prevent the sale of those properties to certain groups,” said Holden Weisman, senior director for economic equity at the Greenlining Institute, an Oakland -based nonprofit that focuses on racial and economic equity in the Bay Area.

The racial covenants being identified in Sonoma County usually existed in whiter and wealthier areas, Weisman said. Even though they differ from the practice of outlining “undesirable” areas on a map, they still fit within the broader definition of redlining as the systematic practice of excluding communities of color from economic opportunities based on race.

“One big distinction that I’ll draw between them is that these covenants are generally found in what we would see as higher-opportunity, higher-income, more white areas now, because those were the areas that worked trying to exclude communities of color and other groups from entering those communities,” Weisman said.

The use of racially restrictive covenants was deemed unenforceable by the Supreme Court in 1948 and made illegal through the Fair Housing Act of 1968. However, the long-term effects of their use — and the use of redlining practices in general — are still felt across the state.

“We are seeing the lasting effects of these practices in terms of health disparities, in terms of the racial wealth gap that persists, in terms of environmental factors that different communities face, and in terms of just the general quality of life that different communities have access to. And that is tied directly back to both redlining and to these kinds of practices, like racial covenants,” Weisman said.

In 2021, Assembly Bill 1466 passed in California, which created a process for local recorders to identify and redact racially restrictive language within real estate documents.

So far, Sonoma County is

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5 of the best apps and podcasts for new gardeners

Whether it’s getting your gardening questions answered in a tick, identifying unfamiliar species, or listening to expert advice, all you have to do is surf and stream to be bang up to date.

Reassuringly for beginners, there are lots of options to put you on the front foot…

1. Blossoms

From pretty petals to weird weeds, the Blossom app helps you identify over 12,000 plants, flowers, succulents and trees.

Take a shot with your camera or pick a photo from your library, and its artificial intelligence will pinpoint the bloom or leaf. The app also provides growing advice, plant care instructions and much more. Free with in-app purchases.

2. Candida

A doorway to get you digging, potting and planting, think of Candide as your greatest gardening tool. A weighty tome without the load, you’ll find anything and everything you need to know about plants and flowers.

With video tutorials, Q & As and plant ID, you can share posts, hear on-the-spot gardening news and listen to audio tours. Plus, the app doubles up as a fast-track to National Trust gardens and hidden gems to visit. Free.

3. iNaturalist

With iNaturalist, the focus is on connecting like-minded nature lovers and gardeners, sharing your photos and exploring biodiversity.

With a wealth of access to gardening knowledge, naturalists and scientists to help you learn more about nature, you can really get stuck in by recording and sharing your thoughts and impressions with other gardeners around the world. Free.

4. A Way To Garden

The garden whisperer across the pond, Margaret Roach has been recording her 25-minute weekly public radio program for more than 10 years – and has won three silver medals from the Garden Writers’ Association Of America.

Intuitive and fun, Roach has a lovely style. Her A Way To Garden podcast is an A to Z of tending and cultivating plants from seeds.

5. Gardeners’ Question Time

With a worldwide following of avid listeners, Gardeners’ Question Time is entertaining, informative and a wonderful addition to your listening pleasure.

With a panel of horticultural experts to answer all those nagging questions and share their gardening knowledge, this is the podcast if you want to be well-informed and build up your gardening repertoire.

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Best house and home apps on Android in 2023

Now that it’s getting chilly outside, satisfaction with your living space is more important than ever. Wide-scale renovations, redesigns, and relocations are often repellently complicated and unflatteringly expensive. Even with the best communication apps, organizing a big building project or moving is hard enough. Lucky for you, the Play Store offers a few nifty apps for these occasions, equipped to help you maintain your place of residence, contact and lease with building contractors, or get in touch with landlords. These great house and home apps are a good place to start if you’re ready to put a fresh coat of paint on things. All it takes is your favorite smartphone or an awesome Android tablet to get going.


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Thumbtack

For any home improvement, you’ll need a lot of help, and that’s where Thumbtack is a lifesaver. This nifty app provides a platform for contractors to advertise their services to locals looking to hire, offering an impressive variety of services like movers, builders, interior/exterior renovators, and even DJs. Thumbtack also compares prices from the most professional contractors with whoever you are considering, giving you all the information you need to make the best hiring decision. So if the prospect of organizing a great deal of complicated, overpriced renovations, Thumbtack has your back.

Zillow: Homes For Sale & Rent

Everyone knows that moving can be stressful and complicated, and Zillow is invaluable for taking the complicated stuff down several notches to help you find the perfect change of scenery. Listing millions of properties for both purchases and renting, Zillow ensures you’re always in the loop with constant updates on the latest deals in your area and beyond. The app also provides filters for school catchments, local stores/restaurants, and residential real estate experts to help you make the right choice. No details are left to chance, with options allowing you to speak directly to landlords about deposits, rents, pets, and more. Never feel in the dark and find a new fireplace with confidence.

Planta – Care for your plants

It’s always nice to brighten up your living space with some plant life, and Planta helps you maintain indoor flowers, saving you from killing them from dying. The app identifies your plant’s needs and provides instructions on its unique treatments. Even if you aren’t a hardened gardening expert, Planta tells you when your plant needs watering, repotting, and even what level of light is suitable. If you like having some healthy greenery growing up your window sills, Planta is your best bet for getting through the cold months with your petunias alive and kicking.

Looking for great homes in your area? Realtor.com has everything you’ll need, whether you’re looking for property to own or rent. The app provides extensive filters for variables such as room size, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, and commute times. You are given the tools to assess potential deal breakers such as neighbor noise, proximity to shops and restaurants, and flood risks,

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Home business bill SB 1162 shot down by Hobbs | Kingman Daily Miner

PHOENIX — Gov. Katie Hobbs killed legislation Tuesday that proponents said was designed to make it easier for people to operate home-based businesses.

Current law allows such operations as long as they meet certain conditions. And it even allows for temporary commercial signs and offering items for sale.

SB 1162 would have gone a step beyond, declaring that home businesses are “allowed as a use by the right” as long as it doesn’t run afoul of deed restrictions. And it would have eliminated any requirement for licensing that would have allowed city officials to be aware that a business was operating in the area.

“You should be able to operate a home-based business,” said Sen. Steve Kaiser, R-Phoenix, the sponsor of the legislation. He noted that many people started such businesses during COVID.

“We don’t need heavy regulation,” Kaiser said.

Hobbs, however, sided with local officials who were in opposition to effectively removing all their power to regulate.

“While there is no doubt that more can be done to support small businesses in Arizona, this approach is far too broad,” the governor said in his 25th veto of the session. “This bill would create challenges for public safety and code enforcement in neighborhoods.”

That mirrors the comments of Tom Savage, a lobbyist for the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, who was tested against the measure when it was heard by the Senate Commerce Committee. He said the measure would make it more difficult for communities to take care of the needs of adjacent property owners.

“The bill seems to tip the scale in favor of the property rights of those who want to operate a home-based business over the property rights of those who bought their home expecting their neighborhood to be quiet and free from commercial activity,” Savage said . And he said the fact that there are home-based businesses now, under existing local regulations, proves there is no need to further restrict the ability of communities to have some oversight.

But Jenna Bentley, lobbyist for the Goldwater Institute, said the measure is justified.

“Sometimes this is a primary source of income,” she tested. “Sometimes this is a side job they do to help pay for groceries.”

And Bentley said SB 1162 is structured so that it applies only to those operations that have “no impact” on neighborhoods.

Hobbs, in her veto message, was unconvinced.

“I believe that there is a common-sense approach that balances the needs of neighborhoods and small businesses,” she wrote. “This bill fails to strike that balance, and I look forward to working with the Legislature and local leaders to support entrepreneurs and small businesses.”

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