Blogging Bayport Alameda

August 26, 2015

Blast from the past: Measure I

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:06 am

I linked to the Measure I ballot measure last week, but wanted to excerpt for you from an article in the Alameda Times Star prior to the election.  As I mentioned, Measure I passed (shocker!) but was invalidated by the court.

From the article, apologies in advance for any misspellings, I’m typing this out from a print out from the microfiche:

Jim Branch of the City’s Housing and Community Development office says that the measure probably will have no real effect since the City has no foreseeable plans to build further new units of subsidized housing. The Section 8 new construction program […] has since been discontinued.  So Branch says, as far as he is concerned, the measure is coming after the fact.

He also warned of a possible dangerous backlash of the passage of Measure I: a reduction of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) money to the City.  The funds are earmarked for projects such as further construction at Mastick, economic development activities for aiding existing businesses and attracting new ones, and housing rehabilitation.

If the City does not show good faith in seeking to provide affordable housing, Branch commented, the Federal Housing and Urban Development department […] could block passage of funds to Alameda.

Peter Sheehan, Legal Aid attorney for Alamedans for HOPE […] also issued warnings about possible legal difficulties of the measure.

Measure I, he commented, may be pre-empted by state law […] Similarly, the City of Alameda may not have the legal authority to pass an ordinance requiring all proposed subsidized housing projects to go before the voters; such a law may be only within the State’s perogative. [sic]

Also, he said, the measure may violate the Equal Protection clause of the California Constitution, the terms of the 1981 Consent Decree airing from the HOPE suit, and Title VII of the federal Fair Housing Act.

The group that gathered signatures for this referendum styled themselves as the Alameda Improvement Association (AIA) and initially formed to oppose a 40 unit project at 716 Central Avenue.  More from the article:

By voting almost 4 to 1 in 1979 against the City’s purchase of Atlantic Avenue property of the purpose of construction lower income housing, the AIA says, the people of Alameda indicated that they did not wish further subsidized housing to be constructed.  The City, they claim, has acted contrary to the people’s will as expressed in that advisory measure.

Under the terms of a 1981 Consent Decree, the City is required to make efforts to produce 79 units of affordable rental housing.  The Shuwa project will provide 40 of the required 79 units, [Branch] said, and currently 12 other units are being considered for rehabilitation.  Those units are located in seven existing privately owned structures.

With the housing market in its present straits, Branch says the City will have to struggle to meet its 79 unit requirement.


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