Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 5, 2015

Emancipate the proclamation

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Point, City Council, Development — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am

Usually proclamations and such are super boring, but it will be interesting to see Trish Spencer smile and read this particular proclamation:

Proclamation Declaring May 7 to May 18, 2015 as the 19th Annual East Bay Affordable Housing Week “Here to Stay: Building Inclusive Communities.”

Because typically proclamations, while generally the lightest and fluffiest parts of the City Council meeting sometimes are serious.  When you work in a shop that issues too many proclamations sometimes one slips through the cracks and causes huge political uproar which requires recession which also causes another uproar. (Like so)  It wouldn’t do for a Mayor who won’t necessarily vote for a project that takes positive action toward “building inclusive communities” to be issuing a proclamation supporting affordable housing at the local, regional and state levels.

Here’s the language:

Whereas, quality affordable housing is vital to building healthy, safe, vibrant, and diverse communities; and

Whereas, affordable homes are the solution to homelessness, and provide support to seniors, families, youth, veterans, and people with disabilities; and

Whereas, rising housing costs have led longtime residents to be displaced, live in overcrowded and substandard homes, or become homeless, threatening our region’s diversity and economic prosperity; and

Whereas, creating new permanent affordable homes and preserving and improving existing rental housing helps our residents maintain community roots and encourages social and economic diversity for generations; and

Whereas, development of affordable homes close to public transit and jobs can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide low income families better access to opportunities and amenities; and

Whereas, empowering residents living in affordable housing as advocates helps to shape better housing, tenant protections, and development policies; and

Whereas, non-profit organizations, local jurisdictions, community organizations and many others continue to build inclusive communities by providing shelter, homes and support for low-income people and those with special needs; and

Whereas, East Bay Housing Organizations has organized Affordable Housing Week for 19 years and will feature 21 events acknowledging the need for and contributions of affordable housing.

Now, therefore be it resolved, that I, Trish Herrera Spencer, Mayor of the City of Alameda do hereby proclaim May 8 – 17th, 2015 as the 19th Annual Affordable Housing Week in the City of Alameda.

Be it further resolved, that the City of Alameda will work to support affordable housing at the local, regional and state level and will encourage residents of the City of Alameda to participate in Affordable Housing Week activities.

Trish Herrera Spencer

One of the Affordable Housing Week activities is hosted by Alameda Home Team and discusses the need for housing in general in Alameda.  So perhaps this proclamation signals that Trish Spencer will be supporting Site A and housing in Alameda.  Or perhaps it’s something that she’ll support in theory, but not in practice when she has an opportunity to actually put words into action.



  1. Item 6E tonight is the proposed ordinance to strengthen the Rent Review Advisory Committee (RRAC). There are TWO options: Ordinance A has no threshold (as recommended by the RRAC) and Ordinance B has a rent increase threshold that would have to be exceeded before a renter could appeal a rent increase to the RRAC (the percentage would be decided by the City Council). Landlords wanted a 10 per cent threshold before renters could appeal to the RRAC and the RRAC agreed with renters, who wanted no threshold at all. I hope the City Council adopts Ordinance A: landlords now have far more power than renters, and some landlords are abusing their position by evicting tenants without genuine cause or asking for huge rent increases.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — May 5, 2015 @ 7:25 am

  2. A industrial fabricator I work with rents out of a 36 unit building at Southshore. Told me sound transmission is bad etc. Been there 7 year. Rent started at $1100, wasn’t raised for a few years, but has jumped four times in last three up to $2300. Don’t know how big his unit is. Owners are local and building is paid for but they keep insulting his intelligence with excuses about cost of maintenance. Nothing substantial has been done. I did notice one building getting entire new exterior.

    Comment by MI — May 5, 2015 @ 8:20 am

  3. there was a special Alameda section in the Sunday Chronicle this week with a letter from the mayor. Obama didn’t write his material for correspondents dinner either, but if Trish wrote this letter I’m impressed. It was an ironic piece for somebody who feels threatened by too many people coming here.

    Comment by MI — May 5, 2015 @ 8:23 am

  4. Being a landlord is a business, and people go into business to make money. People are not complaining about the price of eggs or milk at the store? Bread costs have doubled in the last few years…I stood in line at the store yesterday and the women’s food bill came out to $280 when I lived in Seattle that same food would have cost $200…most of that food was probably produced in CA. so why isn’t it cheaper here in CA? I don’t know her but she was buying so much junk food…and I don’t know her family or size of her family, but that food would lasted us 2 months…and I think it was probably for a week.

    It is a business…people want landlords to not make money, but would you do it out of compassion? If you could double your paycheck would you say no? If you doubled your paycheck would you give 1/2 to the homeless? I think they need more rent to own programs because you are not dependent on someone else, the economy, the price of bread. Teach someone to make bread. It comes down to education…they have Alameda Adult school, College of Alameda, Daycare programs…it is available but who will use it? I put myself though college working mostly at gas stations, McDonalds, and a lot of crappy jobs…so I could learn to make bread. Look at Baltimore it is all about blame and not about responsibility. My poor landlord raised my rent…and he should be responsible for me…he can afford it. BTW, What happen to the guy in Baltimore was wrong.

    Comment by Jake. — May 5, 2015 @ 9:36 am

  5. One aspect of the problem is that landlords are often spoken of as if they were all the same. Not true. There are older people who invested in rentals as part of their retirement plan and when major maintenance is required they take a large proportional hit on their needed income. There are people who own 50 units who gouge. If the former were to incur costs above their income, they might have no income on which to live. They might have to raise their rents to cover a major cost or leave their unit (s) in substandard condition because they can’t afford the repairs. It is not a simple issue. I would hope a board or commission would deal with the reasonableness of each case, rather than make sweeping “rules” about redress.

    Comment by Kate Quick — May 5, 2015 @ 1:34 pm

  6. Kate, your concern for those landlords who take a proportional hit on their income because they count on their investment in rentals for their retirement rings hollow. The idea that a beuracracy can or should carve out exceptions for those who ‘count’ on the income from those rental checks flies in the face of fairness. I find it very revealing that you left wing socialists wet their pants making rules and restrictions on everybody else, but whoa ‘don’t include me in those rules’.

    Contrary to your declaration that ‘it’s not a simple issue’ it is a simple issue ‘keep petty bureaucracy the hell out of private business’.

    Comment by jack — May 5, 2015 @ 9:24 pm

  7. Oh, Jack, you missed my point altogether. I do not think either total “hands off” the situation or rent control are the solution. I think where there are problems, they should be evaluated on a case by case basis and some sort of arbitration process to sort things out would be helpful for the renter who feels gouged and seeks redress. No bureaucratic or “one size fits all” but a place for people to go who want and need help. I am not looking for a set of rules and exemptions as you claim; just a sensible evaluation of each situation and a place for people to work things out as their circumstances are evaluated. And the “left wing socialist” label was my laugh of the day.

    Comment by Kate Quick — May 6, 2015 @ 7:19 am

  8. How does supporting affordable housing for Alamedans contradict the desire to limit the overall number of new people coming in? If we were just talking about affordable housing development overall, that would be one thing. The problem is that most of the planned development is not just for affordable housing units. Those affordable units come packaged with very high priced units that are mostly going to attract San Franciscans who want their million dollar house to have an extra bedroom or two. We’re told to support affordable housing so that long time residents don’t have to leave, but that’s not what’s driving development. Attracting well-to-do owners and renters is. Affordable housing is the comeon, but over population threatens to be the reality. Most of us concerned about more residents in town are not concerned with the character or pocketbooks of said residents so much as we are the number of people and what the island can handle in terms of transportation, resources, and breathing space. Let the buyers beware.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — May 6, 2015 @ 8:58 am

  9. I think I understand your point better then you do, Kate. You want a city government commission to ‘evaluate’ whether a particular landlord is deemed ‘reasonable’ in adjusting the rental rate for that landlord’s rental property. Your animus towards those landlords who, evidently own a certain number of units more than you, are considered gougers just because is totally unsupported by anything other than your own preconceived assumptions.

    I still do not understand your position. Why do you think that the market rate for your rental units should be regulated by a chosen group of disinterested citizens instead of yourself? If that’s the laugh of the day for you, you don’t know history.

    Comment by jack — May 6, 2015 @ 7:05 pm

  10. 8
    Because the more ‘affordable’ housing the more well-to-do residents under the ‘gee we have to be look like we care so we’ll integrate the unfortunates (but only a few so they won’t muddle the mixture) into our little Shangri-La. Knock off the phony subsidized “affordable” housing and you end up with a bunch of dumb rich people who’s kids do well in school and end up hating their parents.

    Comment by jack — May 6, 2015 @ 7:46 pm

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