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National City has increased the density developers can build to and sped up the time it takes to get a building permit. But even combining those regulatory incentives with the area’s low land costs, bayfront views and proximity to downtown San Diego, the freeway and the trolley hasn’t made a difference.

A slate of November ballot measures would give local residents in cities across the state the power to veto or stop development projects. Meanwhile, Gov. Jerry Brown is trying to wrestle some control over building decisions away from locals. The conflict between cities and the state has ramped up in recent years, and it’s coming to a head.

One of Ed Harris’ first acts as a city councilman in 2014 was to stage a protest against a city plan to add density near a planned trolley stop in Bay Park. Now, Harris is running for mayor and talking up the need to build new housing near transit – just what the proposal he opposed intended to do. In an interview, he said he’s changed his perspective.