Blogging Bayport Alameda

June 2, 2016

Sucks to be you

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

And another article about why housing prices are so high and why that unicorn developer simply does not exist, highlights:

“Only one in four households that is income-eligible for federal housing assistance receives any. The annual cost to taxpayers of the federal income tax deductions for home mortgage interest and property taxes, which mainly benefit relatively affluent households, is double what the government spends on all lower-income housing programs combined.”

While there’s been an 18 percent increase in the number of low-income households from 2007 to 2013, funding for the largest HUD program remains below 2008 levels.

This confluence of factors, especially rising demand and ever rising rent, would seem to be a perfect storm for more construction. But according to Williams, we’re also seeing roadblocks hindering much-needed affordable housing construction.

“From suburban to urban builders, it’s become increasingly costly to build any new residential units,” says Williams. “Declining subsidies, land and labor costs, everything has come together. All the overarching factors are making this far from a fully functioning market.”

“What I’m hearing from everybody else in the affordable housing community, from across the country, is that it’s just getting harder,” she says. “Money is getting more scarce, disparities are getting worse, and the cuts are making everyone crazy. People who have been in this business don’t know where we’re going. Even though we’re building a handful more buildings each year, we’re losing so many off the backend, the net add is sometimes negligible.”

Also relevant to this discussion is this timely tweet by Kim-Mai Cutler:

As long as our citywide and regional response to concerns about families being priced out is shruggy emoji dude up there then we’ll continue losing friends and neighbors who don’t have the security of a decades old purchased house or  massive salaries that can compete when a commodity is scarce.

Essentially it costs more to build and there’s less building going on, but the idea is that we’ll totally get some developer in the face of rising costs to only build affordable housing units.  Yeah, that’s totally going to happen.


  1. The biggest problem is that there is now something called housing privilege. When you already have secure housing you cannot imagine that hardworking folks can’t afford stable housing. You get the notion that they don’t deserve stable housing and that one’s concerns about traffic are more important than providing stable housing to everyone. The reason people around here aren’t just giving up and saying “I don’t deserve to live in the bay area” is because our jobs are here. Our families are here. Our community is here. And we’re not going to give up on living here because the someone says the status quo must stand. I’m going to stand up and say our housing MUST change into taller, denser structures. One day my kids might want to remain in the Bay Area. Their kids might want to remain in the Bay Area and I’d rather see our region adapt to those realities than languish in nostalgia.

    We are already starting to feel the effects of a stingy housing development perspective: teachers cannot afford to live close enough to work here. Traffic is so bad that they cannot afford to commute here. Our quality of life is primed to decrease substantially if we as a region do not radically change the type of housing we build.

    Comment by Angela — June 2, 2016 @ 7:48 am

    • First of all by living in you mother in laws house , you are living densely ( lmfao ). You are not ENTITLED to live here. You are however entitled to put down the wine and comic books and get a JOB! Stop looking for a hand out when you are able bodied. You are also a prime candidate for Section 8 , why nothi that rout rather then suggest we distroy our town to make room for your kids who will more then likely not be in any danger of living here with you as a role model. It’s time to work ,work , work ,work (Drake and Riri )

      Maybe you can move in with you nasty ass friend Buckley!
      LOL! Feel the Bern!!!!!

      Comment by Master Blaster — June 3, 2016 @ 8:25 am

    • ” web content producer ” LMFAO to the point where I just peed on myself . Your such an idiot it hurts laughing at you . I can’t wait to see your developments of housing …. Oh wait you may want to provide housing for yourself first ( still laughing ). It’s not the greedy landlord’s fault you got are useless degree and decided not to work. It’s not the developers fault that you’re about to be priced out of this market thanks to rent control. It’s not this town’s fault you couldn’t qualify for a loan to buy a house. This is a small town you idiot, we know everything about you.

      Comment by Master blaster — June 3, 2016 @ 8:41 am

  2. Maybe you and your kids should adapt to the the real reality and move to New York with Denise, since the quality of life here is primed to decrease substantially.

    Comment by jack — June 2, 2016 @ 8:50 am

  3. having just returned again from Europe, I don’t see why we can’t live in densely populated cities as they do in Europe. their life style looks pretty good to me. I’m with Angela I want these newer younger people around me, its what makes this area we live in worth living in. They don’t need to leave, the region needs to adapt.

    Comment by John P. — June 2, 2016 @ 9:09 am

    • Most of Western Europe has gross population density approx 6-8x that of US. That’s a horse of a very different color. Also worth noting that rural & suburban Europe is heavily car dependent, but most tourists don’t see those areas.

      In any case, you could do it right now, John, simply by moving to SF, the 2nd densest city in America. What’s stopping you?

      Comment by dave — June 2, 2016 @ 9:54 am

      • Dave, I must have went to a different Europe than you, I saw very small cars, many scooters and bikes, and crowds of people walking and eating outside. I’m going to say right here in Alameda and try to destroy it just like we did with the Alameda Theater and parking garage. Why move to S.F. when I can help bring it here.

        Comment by John P. — June 2, 2016 @ 12:36 pm

  4. Angela, by saying you are not only entitled to live here, but so are your children and your children’s children, you are embracing the very definition of “housing privilege”. You have already become the Beast you are railing against. You are just angry because others who are not you have something you want. Hardly a noble motive.

    Living in a desirable area, and keeping it desirable, demands eternal vigilance. Like most things in life, it’s survival of the fittest.

    Comment by vigi — June 2, 2016 @ 9:24 am

    • survival of the fittest in this case apparently means: I got lucky and my parents bought the house for peanuts that I still live in and if they had not, then I could be one of the ones being driven out after decades and I would be fine with that?

      Comment by librarycat — June 2, 2016 @ 1:12 pm

      • What are “peanuts”? My parents bought their house in 1949. According to the Internet, in the 1950’s Milk cost 17 cents and a car cost $700. In those days, milk was delivered to the Milk Door in the side of our house, directly into a dry cupboard in the pantry. It was in glass bottles, which were picked up for refilling by the milkman. Babies wore cloth diapers and mothers subscribed to a diaper laundry service. No disposables. My mom hung washing on a clothesline, no dryer. Everyone drank water from Drinking Fountains, not plastic bottles.
        [Recycling? HA! Those times were much more eco-friendly when we weren’t trashing the planet with disposables].

        Oh, please tell me how your assumption about “buying a house for peanuts” is at all valid. Guess what: my parents were both fresh out of the Navy after WW2, and they had to borrow money to buy that first house in Alameda. It took them decades to pay off that loan–they were still paying it off in the sixties. I went without many things you probably took for granted growing up. librarycat, you need to start actually reading some history books or something. At least some NON-fiction for a change.

        Comment by vigi — June 3, 2016 @ 10:44 am

    • HUMANS are entitled to having safe, secure and accessible housing. When there’s a robust economic engine offering jobs, a human should have a right to a reasonable commute to and from that job. This right should supersede a sense of nostalgia in a community. What value does nostalgia have anyway? One man’s nostalgia is another man’s tacky facade. Do you think that there are people nostalgic for Alameda’s old farmlands? How great is nostalgia if it prevents families from remaining invested in their community and able to spend money in its small businesses?

      Our communities should be able to house people no matter how much money they make. Homeless people should not have to be homeless. Hard working families should not have to pay more than 30% of their incomes. This is a reality not just in Alameda, but Bay Area (and California wide) I should not have to inherit a large fortune (or a house) to be able to afford safe and secure housing.

      Comment by Angela — June 2, 2016 @ 5:39 pm

      • Just where are all these ‘rights’ enumerated other than in your angelic brain? I mean anybody can come up with a list of ‘desires’ but ‘rights’ nada.

        Comment by Jack — June 2, 2016 @ 6:18 pm

      • You such an idiot and. Hockabout . You want it handed to you instead of working for it. This utopia you speak of exists in the suburbs of Sacramento. You’re such a narcissist .
        I don’t understand why people don’t want to read about knitting 😤

        Comment by Master blaster — June 3, 2016 @ 1:26 pm

  5. Imagine walking into a car dealership and demanding a Cadillac at a Chevy price because you really, REALLY want one and have been a licensed driver for a long time.

    That would be absurd.

    Hint: it’s absurd (among other things) with housing, too.

    Comment by dave — June 2, 2016 @ 9:49 am

    • Dave sometimes your comments are absurd, but not always.

      Comment by John P. — June 2, 2016 @ 12:39 pm

    • Dave ,

      Please arrange for Angela’s Gold Coast home , preferably one with a view of the 4th of July parade. ….Angela please tell Dave the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you are entitled to. Somehow you were overlooked when houses were being given out. Please accept my apologies for the inconvenience and I’ll see if we can make a complimentary pool happen 🙂

      Feel free to contact me @

      Comment by Master Blaster — June 3, 2016 @ 2:42 pm

  6. John P. [aka Liberal Genius] did you see this while you were in Europe?

    In Lidingo, Sweden [which just happens to be Alameda’s very first sister city], local renters are being evicted to house Middle East migrants. “Uffe Rustan was born and raised in Lidingö. So were his children.” Uffe and his family are being forced to move out of the housing they rent from the City of Lidingo. Yeah, living in Europe is SO much better.

    Comment by vigi — June 2, 2016 @ 12:28 pm

  7. what is so wrong with trying to see that as many people as possible can have a chance at good living conditions in our city.

    Comment by John P. — June 2, 2016 @ 12:43 pm

    • John P.

      In a desirable location like Alameda , no matter what there will be high demand . So if you build 10k more units , you will still have higher paying tenants wanting this location. Think of the housing situation as a dam that is cracking and water starting to gush through , think of your solution as a bucket.

      Comment by Master Blaster — June 5, 2016 @ 2:49 pm

  8. As is often the case when I read many of the comments- I still don’t get why people like Vigi and Jack claim that Alameda should not change in any way because they love their special snowflake of a community (uber nimbys as I call them) but have absolutely no problem when long term Alameda families (sometime generations of families) are driven out. Which completely destroys their beloved community because these people had a commitment to Alameda ?
    They don’t seem to have any problem with Alameda then?

    Drive out teachers, physical therapists, nurses, managers, small business owners, people who have worked for the food bank or the shelter or donated time and money to the community schools in favor of the new techy from Google or Hong King- sure! What could it be?
    hummm..what could it be?.

    Comment by librarycat — June 2, 2016 @ 12:56 pm

    • To borrow from JP, as usual librarycat you make no sense at all

      I am a third generation Alamedan. My great-grandparents settled here from Bohemia in 1876. I know MANY long-term generations of Alameda families. Not all of them live here anymore, but not because they were “driven out”. Upward mobility has driven them to seek greener pastures. I don’t know what all this obsession about staying in Alameda is about. Personally, I’ve always wanted to move to Piedmont. But I can’t afford it. As long as I am here, I’ll make the most of it.

      I wouldn’t presume to speak for Jack, but all I am trying to do is point out the flaws in some of the arguments made here. This debate over rent control is not special to Alameda. It is going on all over the Nine Bay Area counties, and it is most intense in the communities closest to the Bay itself. I think Alameda has the best arguments against density because we are the only community that is a legitimate water-locked island. Geography limits what can be done here, and we should respect that.

      BTW, why aren’t these housing advocates trying to increase the density on Bay Farm Island? That’s where the LAND is.

      Comment by vigi — June 3, 2016 @ 9:54 am

      • So wanting to stay where your family has lived for a long time or where you have worked hard to create a life for yourself or your family is an obsession? So you don’t know anyone who has been driven out? What a sheltered life you lead- apparently only monied landowners in your orbit. Also you want to advocate for the disabled and elderly but you gleefully watch them be driven out of their homes.

        If that is true and you have wanted to leave – why are you still here? you have no good reason to stay here and “tough it out’ in this place and according to your post- you want to leave so take advantage and do so- you could sell and get the hell out of dodge with big $$? . Plenty enough to move to Piedmont in the day – you stay because this is your home – you were gifted with some giant luck by your family – why do you fight to stay?- you have admitted that you don’t even have money to buy a computer so if you sold- you could bring joy to yourself.

        Comment by librarycat — June 3, 2016 @ 1:38 pm

  9. You forgot. I want to drive out library cats too. I have no beef with mice who just want to left alone, but library cats probably the most arrogant prima donnas on earth love to kill poor little mice. Oh, and by the way I haven’t seen many snowflakes in Alameda, Colorado, on the other hand, where I grew up, yikes.

    Comment by jack — June 2, 2016 @ 1:51 pm

  10. Homeowners get a major subsidy from the taxpayers with their mortgage interest deduction, as you point out, Lauren. Renters get no such subsidies. Getting a house is a major uphill struggle for the majority of Bay Area residents and has been for decades. Despite the many attractions of the Bay Area and Alameda, it’s slowly disintegrating socially and I think we are all going to be losers, even those of us who can hang on or tend toward smugness about our good fortune. The notion that people have to earn the right to live here seems like a glaring symptom of that social disintegration and is quite depressing.

    Comment by Laura Thomas — June 2, 2016 @ 5:00 pm

    • Why do you assume all homeowners have a mortgage? I don’t. Lots of long-time homeowners don’t. We are paid off. That “good fortune” you smirk about just might be Hard Work. The “notion that people have to earn the right to live here”…isn’t that sort of like the notion that people have to compete to get into the college of their choice or have to get in line at 4 AM to get tickets for an event that will be sold out in minutes when the box office opens? Life is competitive. Frustrating, yes, but I don’t see how that causes “social disintegration”

      What would be the opposite of that “notion”?

      Comment by vigi — June 3, 2016 @ 10:04 am

      • You already told us you inherited your house and pay taxes pegged to 1980s levels (which you complained were too high).

        Was it Hard Work inheriting your house with a paid-off mortgage?

        Was it competitive between you and the other heirs?

        Comment by brock — June 3, 2016 @ 12:03 pm

    • Laura,

      Please disclose to the group you are a failed real estate investor . Laura lies 😱

      Comment by Master blaster — June 4, 2016 @ 5:59 am

  11. They don’t have to earn the right, they have to earn the bucks. If that’s social disintegration and depressing then elect the Bern he’ll undepress y’all.

    Comment by Jack — June 2, 2016 @ 5:32 pm

  12. I hate this new format that scrolls back to a previously discussed comment when a new comment posts. I just made a comment that took me 2.5 minutes to locate, therefore I will no more play this compartmentalism game and only post in the fresh new number, as per 12 on this one.

    Comment by Jack — June 2, 2016 @ 6:43 pm

    • 2.5 minutes OMG, Dave can you spare that kind if time. Your on this site all day long anyway.

      Comment by John P. — June 2, 2016 @ 7:33 pm

      • Jack, not Dave, although I get you two confused all the time.

        Comment by John P. — June 2, 2016 @ 7:35 pm

  13. At your age I’ll bet you think you’re Do at times instead of just a head nodder. .

    Comment by jack — June 3, 2016 @ 9:05 am

  14. I live in one of Alameda’s pioneering homes. Hearsay, but outside my house is where aliens shared lemonade for the first time with native Alamedans. Later native Alamedans begged for food.

    Comment by Gerard L. — June 3, 2016 @ 3:52 pm

  15. One of the hardest testimonies for me to hear during the rent control hearings was from a stay at home mom who said for three years her landlord had kept their rent affordable so she could stay at home to take care for their kids. But after three years, the landlord starting raising the rents and they could no longer afford to rent the house.

    Instead of thanking the landlord for not raising her rents for three years, they proclaimed the landlord was now a greedy landlord.

    First, to be a stay at home mom is a luxury in this market. I was never able to stay at home to care for my children. I had to work – and for many of those years I was a single mom. If you do have a landlord who is willing to subsidize your rents so you can stay at home to care for your children, say THANK YOU! Next, start immediately developing a plan for when your landlord can no longer afford to subsidize your rents – have a plan two because gifts like these don’t last forever.

    My parents worked two jobs to put a roof over our head and food on the table. Both of my parents were teachers. My mother taught school during the week, and cleaned houses on the week-end. My father taught school during the week, and refinished furniture and painted houses on the week-end and during the summer months. Many times we had to pitch in to help. They did whatever they needed to do to make it and I don’t ever recall them complaining. We lived in a great neighborhood and went to great neighborhood schools. We had one family car, and went on a summer vacation every year. They had to work hard – but they believed they were living the American dream.

    I get that it is hard and people are struggling, but I’m really tired of people pointing fingers and blaming other hard working people for their misfortunes. If you talk to them and ask them to share their stories, I bet you would be surprised and you may learn something valuable that will help you make your dreams come true.

    Pointing fingers and blaming people who have what you want is negative energy. Redirect your energy and put your ENTIRE focus on what you want and how you can create it. This is a shift to positive thinking, and positive thinking is the stuff that creates!

    Comment by Karen Bey — June 4, 2016 @ 7:44 am

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