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Bernie Sanders accuses Apple of starting California housing crisis

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But the senator fails to call out cities not doing their part

View of streets and one-story homes from above.
Aerial view of Cupertino.
Photo by Shutterstock

Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vermont senator and 2020 presidential candidate, tried to take a bite out of Apple after the Cupertino-based company announced plans to invest $2.5 billion toward housing relief in California.

The self-described Democratic socialist criticized the company for not paying enough taxes. He also claimed that Apple won’t fix the worsening housing crisis, but instead will merely add to its real estate portfolio.

In a statement, Sanders said: “Apple’s announcement that it is entering the real estate lending business is an effort to distract from the fact that it has helped create California’s housing crisis—all while raking in $800 million of taxpayer subsidies, and keeping a quarter trillion dollars of profit offshore, in order to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes.”

While railing against the tech giant, the presidential hopeful failed to mention how cities (like Berkeley, Cupertino, and Palo Alto) have played a leading role in stymying housing development.

Lawmakers and homeowners in Cupertino, where the median home value stands at $2,074,600, have tried to stop the Vallco mall project, a development that would turn a defunct mall into 2,402 new apartments (with 50 percent of them below market-rate).

In 2016, Palo Alto planning commissioner Kate Vershov Downing made waves after resigning and penning an open letter condemning the city’s housing policy that, in part, nixes zoning that would expand development.

And although Berkeley has made some progress in recent months, the East Bay town has gone out of its way to block housing, like in May when it sued the University of California to halt a 150-unit development in order to save a parking lot. (Berkeley really loves parking lots.)

California ranks 49th in housing per capita, which has led to an increase in homelessness as well as soaring rents and home prices.