A great article from the NY Times which touches on the shortage of housing in another popular region that is not the Bay Area but reveals that the arguments that are used in the Bay Area to stem the amount of housing built is not unique to the Bay Area. Even though the “uniqueness” is often used as a reason to not build.
From the NY Times:
But a growing body of economic literature suggests that anti-growth sentiment, when multiplied across countless unheralded local development battles, is a major factor in creating a stagnant and less equal American economy.
One reason they’re not migrating to places with better job prospects is that rich cities like San Francisco and Seattle have gotten so expensive that working-class people cannot afford to move there. Even if they could, there would not be much point, since whatever they gained in pay would be swallowed up by rent.
Yes, even back in 1951 the City Council was receiving requests to do something about outsized rent increases, but the request was shot down:
One of the nice things about that Harvard study is that it has a bunch of policy recommendations. One of the recommendations is about the need to have strong arguments to support funding for affordable housing.
The interesting thing is that the study points out that an emotional argument is not necessarily the most effective as we can see from the discussion around rent stabilization and the lack of empathy for vulnerable renters in fear of losing their shelter.
From the study:
Remember the defeated container project on the corner of Park and Blanding? Which, by the way, was Tony Daysog call for review. I’ll point out that this particular developer is of the “mom and pop” variety that Tony Daysog loves so much when they are of the landlord variety, but not so much when they are of the developer variety. I guess the construction of buildings and then owning and leasing them out is the difference between just walking in buying (or inheriting) a building and then leasing it out if Tony Daysog is to bend over backward to project you. Details, details.
Anyway, the owner/developer did not go quietly into the night and for that I’m glad. I was close to the site the other day and noticed that it was still just sort of a parking lot which, while the appropriate message for the entry way to Alameda for the parking obsessed is not really the most welcoming.
So, new plans which I really like. Do I like them better than the container offering? Hard to say, there was something viscerally relevant to the container project with it’s proximity to the Park Street Bridge and the nod to Alameda’s industrial past, but I’m not really one to get hung up too much on a story. But I like the new ones.
Continued from yesterday, this study is a really good glimpse into how affordable housing is built, the funding is cobbled together, and how ongoing expenses are handled.
So even though we like our black and white characterizations like “all developers are greedy” and “it’s so easy to build affordable housing if developers just reduce the amount of profits they make” one of the things that the study suggests is that while non profit developers are seen in a more positive light, because of the whole “non profit” thing, there are different types of for profit development companies like mac and cheese brands. While technically the end product of a standard mac and cheese box is a gloopy mac and cheese, Kraft is not necessarily the same company as some artisanal boxed mac and cheese company.
Anyway, there are different types of for profit housing developers, the one selected to be studied was a mission driven for profit developer, here was what the CEO said about where developers would go if they were simply trying to maximize profits, essentially, not areas like Alameda:
The summer is a bit slower so I’ll be posting the occasional interesting tidbit from historic Alameda City Council minutes.
This one comes from 1942 where, even back then, low income housing was something that brought out community members to speak out against:
In the conversation about the lack of housing supply, and more importantly the lack of affordable housing supply, in the Bay Area and Alameda the common refrain from folks who would rather not see any development at all, but want to appear to be empathetic to the plight of the overextended and underhoused is that all housing development should cease unless it is of the affordable variety.
Of course that sounds great on paper, but when you drill down to specifics like “how are you defining affordable?” Or “who is going to pay for the affordable housing?” The soundbites are a bit less forthcoming.
Like I said there is no way that tonight’s City Council meeting is going to be short, in fact the two Referral items I touched on last week probably won’t even get a hearing tonight. Let’s just go through the possible sticking points on the agenda tonight.
Oh and recently of the Planning Board, Mike Henneberry is being appointed by Jim Oddie to the Open Government Commission. This news now makes the Open Government Commission meetings must watch given that it’s seated with one of Trish Spencer’s most loyal boosters and someone who encouraged less transparency in the City government for expediency purposes. Anyway, there’s that which shouldn’t take long but should be fun for giggles.
There’s a bunch of leases for Alameda Point businesses which should run smoothly but this might be an opportunity for some back patting so who knows.
Here’s where it starts getting tricky, first regular agenda item is an emergency measure to reflect the additional PERS contributions in the public safety contracts. It should be straight forward because it will simply bring the contract with PERS in line with the existing public safety contracts, but nothing is ever simple with this City Council.
Today is the first day that you can start the process of running for public office in Alameda.
From the City Clerk’s office press release:
A General Municipal Election will be held in the City of Alameda on Tuesday, November 8, 2016 for the following Elective Offices:
City Councilmember – 2 seats
The Filing Period for candidates is July 18 through August 11, 2016. In the event an incumbent fails to file by August 11, the voters shall have until August 17 to nominate candidates other than the incumbent for that incumbent’s elective office. The City Clerk may begin to issue Nomination Papers no earlier than July 18, 2016.
Every elected officer of the City shall be a registered voter of the City at the time of filing Nomination Papers and for a period of thirty (30) days immediately preceding the date of filing. The Auditor is required to have a degree in accounting or business administration or be licensed as a Certified Public Accountant and have five years of accounting experience. The Treasurer shall have five years experience in administering investment programs and be licensed as a Chartered Financial Analyst or Certified Financial Planner.
Commencing July 18, 2016, nomination documents will be available during regular business hours (Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.) in the City Clerk’s Office, Room 380, City Hall, Alameda, California.
So you all may or may not recall in 2011 there was a huge budget problem in the City of Alameda that was forcing the City to take a good hard look of what it could trim off of budgets. One of the possible budget trimmings for the Police Department was to turn over operations of the Animal Shelter to some other entity or lose between four to eight police officers.
Clearly not pleasant options either way.
Eventually the Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter was formed and this non profit group agreed to take over operations of the shelter as opposed to turning over shelter operations to the County or some other agency. The eventual lease terms were hammered out which were designed to divest responsibility from the Police Department, but make it so that the arrangement with FAAS worked. Here are the lease terms from the staff report: