A couple of skyscrapers behind several 3-story buildings

Since tall buildings have been around, there have been many ways they’ve fit into cities: towers in downtown, towers in the park, and most recently, towers on a whole-block development. Let’s look at a 4th way, the Tower in the Village.

Unlike the others, the Tower in the Village does not aim to be the center of attention. Instead, the upper floors are hidden behind a low front that fits in with the rest of the block. It faces a village green instead of a busy road.


The debate over who pays for the cost of running the electric grid in a world of more rooftop solar (Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez’s #AB1139) reminds me of the history of how privately run mass transit dealt with the rise of cars. It points to a future of public ownership.

Most mass transit in the US was built by private companies — often electric utilities, for which running trolleys was a big use of their product. As more people got cars, there were fewer riders left to cover the cost of running the system.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Key_Route_pier_and_trains_1907_postcard.jpg

By the mid 20th century, private companies…


As of September 11, 2021. Bills that are grayed out are no longer active.
This is the summary for 2021. For past years: 2020, 2019

11x17 PDFs
April 6, 2021: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ujuv7716vafwwlm/CA-housing-bills-20210406.pdf?dl=0

June 8, 2021: https://www.dropbox.com/s/zdhhg3qf495cpkr/CA-housing-bills-20210606.pdf?dl=0

September 11, 2021 (End of Legislative Session): https://www.dropbox.com/s/og3go23tkw0aor7/CA-housing-bills-20210911.pdf?dl=0


A person stands in a Statue of Liberty style position holding a solar panel and a wire sparking electricity, standing on an apartment building. Below are trains, buses, cars, bikes, and windmills of increasing size, labeled 20%, 100%, 400%. Title text: Fourplex America — Quadruple Living Standards by 2040

It’s time to go all in on growth. We got to build lots of wind & solar, etc. When we get to 100% clean energy, will we shut down what will then be the country’s largest industry, or will we keep building and grow incomes & the economy 7.5% a year to 4 times its current size?

Renewable energy is different from fossil fuels in that most of the work is done up front. While a constant sized fossil fuel workforce equals constant (or shrinking) energy production, a constant sized renewable workforce equals continuous energy growth.


Missing small housing: low cost options for homeownership and rental housing. A picture if buildings such as RV parks, yurts, cottages, tiny houses, mobile homes, rooming houses, nail houses, small lot subdivisions, and accessory dwelling units

The housing crisis isn’t just a big city problem. Rural areas also don’t have enough homes — for example, California’s Imperial County has one of the highest rates of overcrowded homes.

The causes of the rural housing crisis are similar to the cities: restrictive zoning, low wages, and homebuilding not keeping up with job growth.

The solutions are similar, lower cost types of housing need to be legalized. There’s no need for highrises, when small buildings can do it cheaper. …


Missing Large Housing: buildings larger than the midrise blocks of apartments over garages, but smaller than the billionaire towers.

Missing middle housing — fourplexes, townhouses, etc — is great for most places. However, in places like Palo Alto, where land is north of $20 million an acre, it’s time to look at Missing Large Housing, specifically, ways to build, plan, & finance big buildings cheaper.

Background: Main Street Needs More People

For all the stereotypes about individualism, Americans are social people. From block parties to music festivals to professional sports, many of us love being in a crowd.


Diversity Matters in Stem Cell Medicine. Let California Lead. Vote Yes on Prop 14.

In 2004, California voters passed Prop 71, creating the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), a state agency that funds stem cell research. Stem cells are cells that can be grown to divide into all sorts of cells, and can be used to repair organs and other parts of the body.

While the full potential of stem cells is still in the future, already there are success stories where the cells have been used to restore mobility and vision.

Stem cell research first made the headlines in the 90s. Then, in 2001, the US federal government cut off most stem…


California started the year with over 100 housing bills. In the end, just 13 bills were signed into law. Some of the others were reintroduced in 2021.

COVID Emergency Relief

AB1436 —Payment Extension for Rent & Mortgages: Makes it so that tenants cannot be evicted for unpaid rent from during COVID state of emergency, or 90 days after. The rent is converted into regular consumer debt. Defers mortgage payments.


Among the many ballot measures on California’s November ballot this year, is Proposition 18, which would allow those who are old enough to vote by the November general election to vote in the primary election earlier that year.

I’m supporting Prop 18 for many reasons: fairness, strengthening our democracy, and helping California grow new leaders that reflect our ever-changing state.


California Proposition cartoons of the 12 Props on the ballot this November 3, 2020. If you haven’t done so yet, register to vote https://registertovote.ca.gov and take the Census https://my2020census.gov

#Prop14 stem cells
#Prop15 property taxes
#Prop16 affirmative action
#Prop17 voting for parolees
#Prop18 voting for 17 year olds
#Prop19 property taxes
#Prop20 crime
#Prop21 rent control
#Prop22 uber
#Prop23 dialysis
#Prop24 privacy
#Prop25 ending bail

These ballot measure cartoons are also available as a slide deck here.

Alfred Twu

Artist and Designer in Berkeley, California

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store