Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 6, 2016

The will to build

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

Assembly members are seeking a one-time budget package that would total a $1.3 billion investment in housing, from the Sacramento Bee:

“People literally cannot afford to live where they work, and some folks can’t afford to live in any community at all,” said Assemblyman Tony Thurmond, D-Richmond, pegging the need at about 150,000 new units a year.

Now Democrats are proposing a massive outlay of local grants and tax credits aimed at building or updating lower-cost housing, including multi-family rental units, homes for farmworkers and units with supportive services for homeless people. They said a sizable budget surplus justifies the one-time funding package.

Of course even with funding it’s incumbent on local cities and counties to actual remove barriers to building housing.  Even though almost everyone (ALMOST) recognizing that there is something fundamentally broken about our housing situation in California across all major metro areas, the fact that hardly any city actual wants to do anything about it is indicative of the larger problem.

Even with tax credits, grants, and incentive as long as there are still folks that fold to any sort of resistance to any housing.  I mean, there were actually people who came out against the senior care facility out at Bay Farm, if something like that can’t even get built without several someones kicking up a fuss.

So while there are definitely good intentions in this action, it will probably only get use in areas that don’t necessary have problems with getting housing developed, meaning that it won’t actually get used in the communities that have the most need.



  1. Sounds vaguely intriguing.

    Who would own these units and ultimately benefit from them? The people who live in them? Or is this just a way of privatizing our tax “surplus” (a surplus that exists only if we don’t include things like updating our groaning and inadequate infrastructure) into the usual ownership-class pockets?

    If it’s a publicly-owned endeavor, how do we make sure that enough funding is going to continue to avoid the problems of neglect and residence security that public housing has sometimes been prone to?

    Comment by Jack Mingo — May 6, 2016 @ 6:42 am

  2. There would be more support for housing in Alameda if the transportation issue were addressed. It’s an island with very few access routes. This not only causes concern about traffic on a day-to-day level but would also be of grave concern in the event of a major disaster. Another reason there is not more building in Alameda is that most of the empty space is on the former Naval Air Station property. Despite clean up, there are many who believe that toxic soil there would result in law suits down the road if housing were to be built. Whether or not this is a valid concern, it still gives builders pause as does the global warming factor–one of the reasons we lost the Livermore lab project. Building a lot of housing before planning for a BART station or other additional access points is putting the cart before the horse.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — May 6, 2016 @ 6:45 am

  3. The policy makers in Sacramento have a tendency to propose legislation that address the headline of the day without really providing the local agencies with the adequate resources to address the underlying causes. I could cite numerous examples in education (i.e. class size reduction, Transitional Kindergarten, Career Technical Education, teacher training, etc) where the legislation made headlines but local school districts were stuck with cost of implementation via cumbersome regulations. Hopefully the legislation in this area creates a more coordinated approach to addressing housing, infrastructure and regional cooperation without unnecessary hoops to jump through.

    Comment by Mike McMahon — May 6, 2016 @ 7:32 am

  4. Speaking of which, Mike when they build all the housing on the base where are the children going to go to school? Is that going to be something they look at after the fact, or do they think people who move there will all be single without kids. I am sure it may have been addressed but I probably missed it.

    Comment by joelsf — May 6, 2016 @ 8:10 am

    • The school district/school board needs to work with the City and the developers to address the demographic impact of the development at former NAS. When the school district conducted its last demographic study prior to the 2014 bond measure, the number of housing units and housing density were in the early stages of development. The school district currently has over 10 acres of property at the Point but no funds to build any schools.

      Comment by Mike McMahon — May 6, 2016 @ 4:56 pm

  5. There are a ton of public housing complexes in Alameda and I would venture to say that they are better cared for by our amazing housing authority than some private housing units run by landlords.

    Comment by Angela — May 6, 2016 @ 8:25 am

    • Public housing provides for the needs of a rather insignificant portion of the population at tremendous cost to the public treasury. In any given year generally the amount of public housing constructed is the same as the amount demolished because it wore out prematurely. Note all of the housing at the base that has to be demolished. Market rate housing is the workhorse of the industry. Handicap it and the shortage will be more severe.

      Comment by Ed Hirshberg — May 6, 2016 @ 10:23 am

      • Ed, do you mean “insignificant” as in a very small population or as in who gives a flying fuck about THOSE people, they are insignificant other than their negative impact on the public trough ?

        Comment by MI — May 6, 2016 @ 12:10 pm

        • MI, clearly you know what I mean. If you are only taking care of 2-3% of the population, you are not solving the problem. Particularly when there are year’s long waiting lists and the units are built at eye popping costs. My interest in this is humanitarian. The only method I have seen of getting an adequate amount of quality housing built is via the free market. The more you hamper the free market, the more hardship you cause for those least able to tolerate it.

          Comment by Ed Hirshberg — May 6, 2016 @ 1:49 pm

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