As part of Tuesday’s epic City Council meeting — believe me I haven’t even touched the good stuff yet — there were lots of public input during this meeting. Some would have you believe that it was an overwhelming majority against the Housing Element and the Multifamily Housing overlay, but there were exactly 19 opponents who spoke and 16 proponents who spoke, including former Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker.
As an aside, Alice Lai-Bitker has to be one of the nicest elected officials ever. She has this humble way about her, I remember meeting her once at a open house for Alternatives in Action — this was a while ago when we were considering preschool options and Home Sweet Home was on our short list — and she has this sort of attitude where she never assumes that someone would immediately know she was an elected official, but I digress.
Anyway, despite this even split of people for and against, Doug deHaan had this to say about the representation of the folks who bothered to pay attention before Tuesday night:
You know, all fairness everyone, we all get busy all into vacation time, a very important time for all of us and our family. But we owe it to our people to understand exactly what is happening. I know it, we’ve been working with it, we’ve been working with the housing group for ages, but that doesn’t mean that the community knows it…
First, this is a good time as any to point out this really great comment by Mike McMahon who wrote:
Individuals elected persons who they believe will take the time to watch out for their interest I would contend that is the responsibility of an elected official to ensure that their constituency is properly informed and engaged toparticipate in the civic process.
Given that the people who got really upset by this whole Housing Element business falls smack into Doug deHaan’s core constituency, I would argue that — as he has done many times in the past — should have informed them about this well before last Tuesday. That it was really his responsibility to get the word out before these last two weeks. As he stated himself, “I know it, we’ve been working with it, we’ve been working with the housing group for ages.” If it was for “ages” perhaps he could have typed out a quick email blast months ago when this process was moving toward completion. But more about that some other time.
I wanted to address the issue of the “community” vs the “housing group.” I guess I find it a little offensive that the “housing group” despite being made up of Alamedans isn’t considered a part of “the community” or rather the community that is worthwhile to be listened to.
Here are the people that spoke the other night, I’ve broken them down between Pro and Con and added a little blurb about their general comments, I realized I missed screen capping two con people and am too lazy to go back and do it:
Alameda is different and special.
Infrastructure can’t handle all the people. Traffic!
Loopholes to state law?
Agendas are too hard too read.
All the people for this are people that I have disagreed with in the past so that means it’s bad! And SunCal bad!
Vote no on this tonight because I don’t think it will work out, but I quite possibly have not actually read the element and instead have only skimmed the packet.
This tube of toothpaste will serve as an analogy for many different things. And SunCal bad!
I’m gonna talk directly to City Staff and blame them for everything!
I moved from a city with no multi-family units I thought this city was the same!
RHNA is unfair and doesn’t spread responsibility fairly.
More public input.
Alameda has become less white after Measure A was passed, ergo Measure A is not exclusionary.
We won’t get sued because we’re not Pleasanton.
We were able to protect Measure A for years, why can’t you?
Do we have to belong to ABAG?
Ditto on the needing to belong to ABAG.
Here starts the people who supported the Housing Element.
Thanks for moving forward with this.
This will allow Alameda to control its own destiny.
Great need for housing and Alameda needs to do its part.
Thank you for moving this forward.
Need to be compliant with state law.
Need more diverse types of housing in Alameda.
Ditto! And let families stay together.
Housing Element is about the values of this City.
This is the holy scripture guy! He’s awesome!
Multi-family housing isn’t scary, promise!
Talk to the state about housing numbers don’t complain about it locally.
Alameda is a special place, but we have to move forward and maintain control.
Support the Housing Element, young people need places to live that are affordable.
See yesterday’s post.
We need to have options for people when it comes to housing.
Dismissing all these people who did pay attention, who are Alamedans, and lumping them as part of a “housing group” and not as a part of the “community” is pretty offensive.