On Monday night the Planning Board had a scoping session about the Alameda Marina Master Plan EIR. I don’t really have a ton of opinions about this particular project, but I do understand that the current spaces needs a lot of work and — as with most infrastructure projects — the owner can’t float the entire cost of repairs and rehabilitation without a new income stream which is why, redevelopment plans.
Anyway, these comments were puzzling from one of Mayor Trish Spencer’s appointees to the Planning Board, Sandy Sullivan, had this to say about the project in general:
My comment is, it’s a lot of houses in that area and there are existing businesses being booted where are they going. As ugly as an RV park is a lot of people in Alameda own those things. There is a shortage of space, there are waitlists to get in to these storage areas of that goes away where are they going? How many Alameda residents will be displaced?
First, let me point out that the displacement she is referring to is the displacement of people’s stuff. Not actual people. I had to listen to this twice to understand that the RV park wasn’t an RV park where people were living and therefore she was concerned about the people living in their RVs getting displaced. No, she was worried about Alameda residents not having a place close to them to park their RVs and having storage space.
You know what else has a waitlist? The Housing Authority list of people waiting to get into public housing or to get a Section 8 voucher to help pay for rising rent costs. Also you know what else has a waitlist? Any time a list opens up for the low income housing units that becomes available after the these developments help fund them. But somehow we’re supposed to be concerned that there’s a waitlist for a storage unit for stuff.
Then there was this part of her comments:
I’m very concerned about the number of rentals versus the number of for sale. And that’s a very big concern. [unintelligible] And already this city is 55% rentals and the rest homeowners. It’s an issue.
Seriously. I don’t understand why this is an “issue.” Out of politeness or fatigue no one on the Planning Board challenged Sandy Sullivan as to why she made this comment and why it’s an “issue” and a “big concern.” It’s probably the same sentiment which makes a large swath of Alameda unsympathetic to the plight of renters and younger residents lamenting the high cost of housing in the Bay Area and specifically Alameda. That somehow renters as a majority is something that is bad and providing more rental housing is somehow not a positive thing.