Blogging Bayport Alameda

September 8, 2014

A house is not a home

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Development — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

Looks like the City is moving forward with the promised taskforce to examine housing and rent costs in Alameda.  The structure is a seven member task force with appointees supposedly representing stakeholders in housing and rent costs in the City of Alameda.   They’ll be tasked (heh) with answering four key questions with the help of one staff person who will essentially do all the grunt work of research, etc.

I’m going to leave this article right here in case you want to know how bad the problem is in San Francisco and so Alameda is receiving some of that spillover.

The questions the taskforce will tackle are:

  1. What is the state of the residential rental market in Alameda? This could include a quantitative analysis of rental rates, vacancy rates, absorption trends, and the length of residency and race/ethnicity of residents in different types of rental units. The answers to this question will help identify the need/define the problem regarding housing costs.
  2. What have been the impacts on rental rates, supply of rental housing and the physical condition of rental housing in jurisdictions with rent control/stabilization ordinances? This could include a background report summarizing longitudinal data regarding rents in stabilized units vs. market rate units, the impacts and effectiveness of existing programs in the Bay Area, and the legal limitations of rent stabilization (e.g., the Costa-Hawkins Act).
  3. What changes, if any, need to be made to the City’s Rent Review Advisory Committee (RRAC)
  4. What changes, if any, need to be made to the Alameda Municipal Code (AMC) relative to residential rental housing?

Remember, Alameda is about 50% renters and so whatever the outcome of this exercise, it will affect 50% of the Alameda population.  Which is why the make up of the actual task force seems…odd.

Here’s the proposed stakeholder list:

  1. The President of the Planning Board or his designee
  2. A representative of the Alameda Chamber of Commerce
  3. A representative of the Alameda Association of Realtors
  4. The President of the Social Services Human Relations Board or his designee
  5. The Chair of the Rent Review Advisory Committee or her designee
  6. A representative of Renewed Hope Housing Advocates
  7. A representative of the East Bay Rental Housing Association

Of the group, only one of the seven actually represents tenants specifically.   I mean, tenants could luck out if the SSHRB puts up a tenant advocate or the Planning Board does as well, but it feels as though the Chamber of Commerce, Association of Realtors are more “landlord” friendly.   The Easy Bay Rental Housing Association is a property owner advocacy group so there is no doubt on where they will stand on the issue.

If the taskforce is seated and starts working in October there should be a final report by May or June of next year.   There will be at least two public meetings that I would highly urge folks that are concerned about rent and housing prices to come and speak at to share testimony.  It seems more arms length when we hear stories from San Francisco about people losing their housing, but it makes a much bigger impact when those are neighbor stories.



  1. The housing bubble is just being imported to San Francisco from China….. It gives them a place to park their hot money and rent the property and get decent return til they can get residency……it also gives them a chance to open a business and if they promise jobs…..There are now more millionaires in China than in Japan, as the wealthiest Chinese reaped huge returns from shadow-banking-related financial products, a new study revealed……We are seeing it here also.

    Comment by living in the light — September 8, 2014 @ 10:29 am

  2. If rents escalated at the same rate of building fees, taxes, and permits most would be living in Cardboard houses. It leaves the homeowners and landlords in quite a fix……Let alone the Renters.

    Comment by living in the light — September 8, 2014 @ 10:34 am

  3. The Chinese saw their portfolios swell as wealth in the country grew by a whopping 49% to $22 trillion last year. The report’s authors attributed that explosive rise to specialized financial products such as trusts — the amount of wealth in trusts rose 82% in 2013 — “reflecting the country’s rapidly expanding shadow-banking sector.”

    China had 2,378,000 millionaire households in 2013, a rise of 82% from the previous year and almost double the 1,240,000 millionaire households in Japan, according to the Boston Consulting Group Global Wealth 2014 report unveiled on Tuesday.

    They are investing in New York LA and San Francisco ……Housing Markets…..Plus were offering new Visas that are being Bought up….Interesting times

    Comment by living in the light — September 8, 2014 @ 11:10 am

  4. Just in case people are looking for some data to support the hypothesis in #1 and 3.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — September 8, 2014 @ 12:46 pm

  5. Living in the light, Unless you use a different name every time you post this is the first time I heard of you so why should I believe anything you post. It sounds like you just are posting things against Chinese people, with out any real examples or proof. Prejudice is “living in the dark”, we were the ones who borrowed money from then and now we should fault them for reinvesting in order to make making a profit?

    Rent control doesn’t really work as it would take more rental units off the market and in essence would have the same effect as measure A. People staying in places whey don’t even want anymore and landlords unable to get rid of undesirable tenants. I think if it rent control were to take effect you would see a mass eviction of tenants before it could be put in place and a sell off of rental properties. SF is having so many problems around that issue right now.

    Comment by Joseph — September 8, 2014 @ 12:49 pm

  6. Joesph earlier on this chat you said you lied to the Judge …..So don’t really pay much attention to you….. Nothing against Chinese people….Just showing who is buying……Also 80% of the paid for Visa were issued to them……They are just becoming huge players in the Real estate in SF….They are coming in with all cash offers…..Ask anyone who is doing any business in Real Estate in SF and Bay Area…Been that way for a few years and Realtors are marketing aggressively…..

    The Real Point is…….If rents escalated at the same rate of building fees, taxes, and permits most would be living in Cardboard houses. It leaves the homeowners and landlords in quite a fix……Let alone the Renters.

    Comment by Living in the light means accepting that which actually is... — September 8, 2014 @ 3:01 pm


    Michael Withey, founder of MCW, has developed a plan where 25 of the TECHDWELL tiny houses could be built on about half an acre, with each unit costing $15,000 to $35,000, sums that include land costs. He contrasts this with the Bud Clark Commons, a recent low income housing development built in Portland, which had a per unit cost of $253K.

    Monthly rents at the tiny house communities would only be $250 to $350, making them affordable, Withey believes, for people making $7,000 and $21,000 per year. Withey told us that half the rents collected will go back into the micro community for maintenance and improvements while the other half would fund the next community, making them not only self sustainable, but self replicating as well.

    Comment by What Portland is Looking At — September 8, 2014 @ 3:25 pm

  8. 6 I never said I lied to the judge or have done so, so I am not sure what you are talking about? And your name was “living in the light” and now it is “Living in the light means accepting that which is actually is” who are you? Certainly, someone who doesn’t want anyone to know who he is. You would be more honest if you said comment by anonymous.

    What you said had more creditability when Mike posted his comment. When I first moved back to the Bay Area it was supposedly Japan who was buying all the properties. I don’t see myself living in a cardboard house anytime in my lifetime.

    Comment by Joseph — September 8, 2014 @ 3:53 pm

  9. #7 what Portland is looking at is great, but this is the bay area where land cost is 10X more then Portland. My brother just bought a 8 year old house, 4 bedroom 3 bath, 3,200 sq ft house in Portland for $270,000 with a large lot. The tiny house concept is fine if you don’t have kids they are for a single individual. Do you really want the city of Alameda managing such a project, just one or more government positions. The rent from the project wouldn’t cover the wages of someone managing it.

    The one in Olympia “is housing the homeless and other economically marginalized citizens and it temporary.” They have a communal kitchen and laundry and are subsidized by church organizations. In a perfect world that might be a nice idea but you are talking about the Bay Area, where you pay $500,000 for a lot, plus sewer hookups, the other hookups, insurance, property taxes. Then monthly you have electricity, garbage, gas, cable, water/sewer, phone, ect. Our utilities were like $700 this month. They are pretty much nice looking trailers and are not going to withstand an earthquake. The ones in Portland the city will be subsidize them.

    Comment by Joseph — September 8, 2014 @ 4:44 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Create a free website or blog at