Blogging Bayport Alameda

August 5, 2016

Blast from the past: ugh

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am

In 1943 while being concerned about approving every peddling license the City Council was also concerned with the housing shortage, but more specifically about the “problem” of an increase in the population of Blacks in Alameda.

The City Manager reassured the City Council that the Housing Authority would control the number of Black families that wanted to live in Alameda.

Apparently there was “rumor” going around town that the problem was very bad and required vigilance to keep under wraps.

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  1. There is probably no more efficient way to rid Alameda of African Americans, Philipinos, and other minorities than rent control. The African American population in San Francisco is 5% and falling. Oakland and Berkeley have seen substantial declined in their minority populations. In contrast landlords routinely rented to minorities in apartheid South Africa where it was “illegal” because it made good economic sense. You can’t really improve on the free market.

    Comment by Ed Hirshberg — August 5, 2016 @ 9:00 am

  2. A sad part of the history of Alameda and the entire United States. At that point in history – halfway through WWII – things were better in some places, and a lot worse in others. Many Japanese Americans had been moved out by the government as a wartime measure Although those specific chapters have been closed in Alameda, we ought to wary of declaring ourselves free of the past or the underlying human tendency – from which no group is immune — to blame or marginalize the other. It sure seems to make up part of the fizzling Trump campaign. I also read about syndicates from “Hong Kong” supposedly acting egregiously or ruining the housing market in Alameda and outrage that anyone write a newspaper article describing Alameda as a nice place lest those “techies” might be attracted and drive up prices. Some of that may have a racial tinge. Some of it is simply ways of dividing up the world into supposed good guys and bad guys along other lines. I’m not arguing an equivalency between the past and present, but rather that, especially when it comes to politics, there are frequently temptations (and often express encouragement from those seeking influence) to view the world as us versus them, and not simply a debate between Wonks (or policy choices) A, B and C.

    Comment by MP — August 5, 2016 @ 9:12 am

  3. If you dig deep enough into Alameda’s history of housing and zoning and other schemes, this is what you find. And the idea that the free market helps Black people and other minorities is ludicrous

    Comment by Laura Thomas — August 5, 2016 @ 9:27 am

    • Your vocabulary is much better than mine. I was searching for the word “ludicrous” but my mind could only summon terms I’m trying to avoid writing online.

      Comment by Alison — August 5, 2016 @ 10:35 am

  4. I have a friend in a rent controlled apartment in the Mission who happens to be a real live artist. The commercial space beneath him subsidizes the loss of market rates on his apartment bringing in about $7000 a month. The whole thing is out of whack and frankly the techies have done pretty good job of othering themselves. Without rent control all the people like my friend would be gone and gentrification complete. I can’t argue that rent control is perfect or best, but desperate times require desperate measures. Ed’s assertion that rent control being the fastest way to get rid of minorities is asinine because clearly letting the market price them out is plenty efficient. The South African thing is so weird it doesn’t warrant a response. Are you celebrating the 5% African American population in SF or trying to blame it on rent control? It’s about jobs and a whole complex economic ecosystem of which housing is just one part.

    Comment by MI — August 5, 2016 @ 9:40 am

    • There are studies showing that rent control moved the minorities out of Oakland and Berkeley as the apartments were soaked up by white middle class college graduates who probably should have been buying their first home but were seduced into staying in an apartment by very low rent. I just don’t want to see a similar study done for Alameda to try to figure out what happened to the Filipino population. I have worked in rent controlled markets for 33 years now and have personally seen that they do not benefit those who are struggling, rather the benefit goes to the educated middle class who can work the system.

      Comment by Ed Hirshberg — August 5, 2016 @ 11:37 am

      • Interesting. Poor people work the system. Middle class people work the system. The rich sure has H work it; they invented it so they could work it best. We all work the system.

        Comment by Laura Thomas — August 9, 2016 @ 3:18 pm

  5. I hope that desperate times bring reasonable measures. Again, I draw no equivalency, by the desperate times require desperate measures line of thinking is precisely the language used to rationalize wartime interment. Again, I draw no equivalency, but for me a declaration of desperate times is not a blanket sufficient to cover any bad policy that the declarant seeks. Before the house right now is a choice between a very extreme form of rent control (essentially, the max under California law) and more moderate, compromise put forth by the City Council that seeks, in part, to avoid the adverse consequences of the strictest rent control.

    Comment by MP — August 5, 2016 @ 10:12 am

    • Again, I draw no equivalency, *but*

      Comment by MP — August 5, 2016 @ 10:13 am

      • Again, I draw no equivalency, but for me a declaration of desperate times is not a blanket sufficient to cover any bad policy that the declarant seeks.


        Well said, sir.

        Comment by dave — August 5, 2016 @ 10:34 am

    • interment vs internment. Interment means burial — the act of placing the deceased in a grave or tomb. The word is often confused with the word “internment” (with an “n”), which means confinement or imprisonment, especially in wartime.

      Comment by vigi — August 5, 2016 @ 10:38 am

  6. Is there a 2nd on a Motion to rename Godfrey Park?

    Comment by CD — August 5, 2016 @ 11:14 am

    • Second. Would also be into citywide bookclub to read The Warmth of Other Suns.

      Comment by gaylon — August 5, 2016 @ 11:51 am

    • While you’re at it you better get a 2nd on renaming Washington Park, Street, Court, and Way.

      Comment by jack — August 5, 2016 @ 7:03 pm

  7. Hopefully people will actually read BOTH of the Rent Control Ordinances rather than just the ‘hype’. I know MP has. The ARC Measure establishes a double relocation benefit for Seniors, Disabled and families with children. The current Renters are protected under this system but if they need Housing in the future it will be very hard for them to find. The Measure caters to DINKS.

    Comment by frank — August 5, 2016 @ 5:39 pm

    • Frankly:
      And those are not who we want in the future in Alameda? I mean who in this economy and shitty schools wants to raise kids.

      Comment by jack — August 6, 2016 @ 7:35 pm

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