A public comment I delivered to the Ventura County Board of Supervisors today

Thank you Supervisors,

My name is Max Ghenis and I live in Oxnard. I’d like to tell you about my friend, Jim Pagels. Jim is 29, and after college, he worked as a writer before discovering a passion for economics, a passion we share. As a PhD student at the University of Michigan, his research focuses on urban economics — how to make cities more affordable, vibrant, and safe. When the pandemic turned everything remote, he returned to Washington, D.C., a city he loved.

Jim bikes everywhere, and last Friday, he biked to get his vaccine. He tweeted an economics…

After asking each applicant about the housing crisis, most councilmembers voted for those least committed to solving it

On Saturday, the Ventura City Council held a special meeting to appoint someone to the seat of former District 4 Councilmember, now District Attorney, Erik Nasarenko, until the election in November 2022. They selected Jeannette Sanchez-Palacios, a concerning choice for housing (more on that below), but nearly selected a straight-up NIMBY, in a process that revealed the disinterest of many councilmembers in addressing Ventura’s housing challenges.

Ventura followed a similar routine from earlier this month, when Oxnard filled now-Supervisor Carmen Ramirez’s seat. …

Our new paper shows how the budget-neutral policy would reduce poverty and inequality, and simplify the tax and benefit system

Last Friday, Senator Mitt Romney introduced the Family Security Act, a comprehensive, budget-neutral reform to the tax and benefit system that would, for the first time, send monthly payments to every parent in America. The heart of the program is a child allowance of $350 per month for children under age 6, and $250 per month for children age 6 to 17. It would cut child poverty by a third, streamline benefits for low-income children, and make our tax code simpler and more progressive.

Our new paper on the Family Security Act describes its inner workings (it affects seven existing…

Tonight I gave the below general public comment regarding Councilmember Ed Jones’s remarks about renters at their last meeting two weeks ago. You can read about that meeting in the Acorn and watch video of Jones’s comments in this Twitter thread.

Thank you, Mayor and Councilmembers.

I wanted to comment on statements from Councilmember Jones at the last city council meeting. When criticizing apartments proposed for Thousand Oaks Boulevard, he said:

I think we’re building two societies here: The homeowners who, as we all know, take an interest in civic life […] So it goes against my thinking to all…

Last night, the Oxnard City Council voted to appoint Gabe Teran to fill now-Supervisor Carmen Ramirez’s District 2 Council seat. We applaud the Council’s excellent choice in appointing our endorsed candidate.

Teran’s response to a particular question re-asserted that we made the right call. Councilmember Bert Perello asked him (here’s the video):

Mr. Teran, [you’re a] highly qualified individual, but there is an issue with endorsement by YIMBY. That endorsement went contrary to what the council’s and the planning commission’s action was, and I was wondering why would you take an endorsement going against the council and planning commission.


Tomorrow evening, the Oxnard City Council will appoint an interim councilmember to represent District 2, a seat vacated by Carmen Ramirez, who now sits on the Ventura County Board of Supervisors. We at Ventura County YIMBY recommend that the Council appoint Gabe Teran to the seat. As an experienced local leader with exceptionally thoughtful and well-researched views on our housing crisis, we’re thrilled that Oxnard has the opportunity to appoint such a qualified and values-driven councilmember.

We sent our questionnaire to each of the thirteen candidates, and five completed it (you can see their responses here). We were pleased to…

California Democrats can request a ballot for the Assembly District Election Meeting at ademelections.com

Have you ever wondered how the California Democratic Party decides which candidates to endorse? Wonder no more! You have a chance to to vote for the people who make those decisions, and who also decide on party platforms and rules.

The Assembly District Election Meeting, or ADEM, elects 14 delegates in each of California’s 80 Assembly districts. Those delegates serve two-year terms, during which they control platforms, endorsements, and rules at annual Democratic Party conventions.

To vote in ADEMs, you need to request a ballot at ademelections.com by 11:59PM tonight (Monday, January 11). To request a ballot, you must be…

A year that pushed everyone into their homes amplified the importance of having enough of them.

The human toll of 2020 has been horrific. With Ventura County hospitals at their breaking point, vaccines can’t come soon enough, and the devastation will be unforgettable.

It’s also been a reminder of the importance of our work to fix the housing crisis. Study after study has shown that overcrowded housing conditions — the direct result of having too few homes — contribute to the spread of the pandemic. We’ve seen this firsthand, with outbreaks in crowded farmworker housing and in areas like Oxnard with some of the worst housing shortages. …

Our work, studies from other researchers, and the biggest UBI news from the past year

2020 has been a devastating year. Covid-19 has killed nearly two million people worldwide, thrown tens of millions into extreme poverty, and disrupted virtually every aspect of society.

The pandemic has also changed perceptions of social protection programs. With millions unable to work safely, populations are more open to unconditional cash transfers, and governments have delivered.

Researchers have continued to investigate how societies could adopt universal basic income policies, and fueled by our biggest growth year (we now have ten researchers), we’ve contributed with policy simulations and evidence reviews.

Following up on our 2019 review, this post summarizes our work…

I’m running to represent Assembly District 44 (which makes up most of Ventura County, as well as Westlake Village) as a California Democratic Party delegate. Visit maxforadem.com to learn more about my campaign, including my poverty-focused platform. If you’re a Democrat in California, you can request a ballot to vote in your district at ademelections.com by January 11.

California’s 44th Assembly District. Source: CALmatters

At the 2016 California Democratic Party convention, party delegates from across the state voted to endorse Democratic candidates for elected office, as well as ballot measures, platform language, and party rules. One of those endorsements was Scott Wiener, a first-time state Senate…

Max Ghenis

Economist. Founder and president of the UBI Center. Studied at MIT and UC Berkeley. YIMBY. Former Google data scientist.

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