Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 17, 2018

Failure to house

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am

From the Chronicle Editorial Board:

California’s housing crisis is centered in the Bay Area, and the region’s booming economy is increasingly inequitable and unsustainable.

From 2011 to 2016, California added a net of just 209 new housing units for every 1,000 new residents.

That’s right people. From all the talk about out of control housing, statewide only 209 new housing units have been built for every 1000 new residents.

A big part of the solution has to be increasing housing production, as the Next 10 study notes. That means streamlining the building process and making greater demands of local governments that fail to meet their required levels of new housing.

Lower-income workers are increasingly choosing to leave the state, Next 10 found. Those who remain face bleak choices.

A different study pointed to the loss of, wait for it, redevelopment dollars as to why affordable housing projects have gone stagnant.

But still:

The Bay Area’s failure to build adequate amounts of housing at all income levels has led to skyrocketing housing prices. These studies show that the major losers from this policy have been the Californians who work for the lowest wages.

I don’t know how many more editorials and studies we all need to see to recognize, collectively, that there is a problem that we need to solve.  Talking about raising wages and further protection for renters isn’t going to close the gap between the number of units being built and the number of new residents coming into California and, specifically, the Bay Area.  Of course those that want to shut the door behind them and declare: “we’re full” all have the luxury of being comfortably housed.  That, or they all have the luxury of being able to pay whatever a scarce market will bear when it comes to paying for housing.


  1. I’m so over California patting themselves on the backs for their liberal social values. We can be as socially aware as possible, but as long as they continue to oppose housing they will be just as oppressive as evangelical Christians. We are just as hypocritical as those evangelicals who praise Jesus while cheating on their spouses, or condemning their gay children. If I’m going to live among such hypocrisy, I might as well move to a state where I could actually change the political outcomes from red to blue. Believe me, I am counting the days.

    Comment by Angela — May 17, 2018 @ 8:25 am

  2. As Lauren implies in her close, to house Californians we need to move beyond editorials and studies to serious action. Regrettably, many of us who “have the luxury of being comfortably housed” or who can “pay whatever a scarce market will bear” for housing are only too ready to accept easy and ineffective solutions. One of the most counterproductive faux solutions is that we can provide enough affordable housing by requiring builders to include it in their developments.

    Yes, it is much easier to believe that developers can pay for all the affordable housing we need than to require employers to contribute to paying directly for housing their workers or for increasing property taxes on residential property to finance housing that is expensive because of the monopoly local governments grant existing owners of homes. Many are working to permit and fund more housing before California’s current homeless encampments grow in size to rival the slums of Buenos Aires and Rio de Janero. Let us all hope that massive slums are not needed to convince California voters to permit and finance housing or to ration jobs in the State based on housing supply. Which approach, massive slums, more social financing, or job restrictions do you favor?

    Comment by 2wheelsmith — May 17, 2018 @ 8:33 am

  3. “…before California’s current homeless encampments grow in size to rival the slums of Buenos Aires and Rio de Janero”

    I think one of your wheels is a bit wobbly, smitty. Don’t know if you’ve been in Rio but we’re talking of numerous “slums” (that they call “favelas”) some of which have a population ten times that of Alameda. I spent a week in Rio few years ago and the “slums” are a attraction for tourists (during daylight hours…at nighttime a tourist who wanders two blocks inward from Copacabana or Ipanema is taking a serious chance of being robbed)

    Comment by Jack — May 17, 2018 @ 9:44 am

  4. Unfortunately, it’s never that simple. The other editorials–by the same editorial board–illustrate this.

    SF was counting on thousands of new housing units being built at Hunters’ Point. Now, in the wake of the Tetra Tech scandal, that housing has been on hold since 2016. Its future construction is on indefinite hold pending a re-do of the clean-up. [For those not paying attention, two former Tetra Tech supervisors have been sentenced to Federal prison for falsifying clean-up data].

    Tetra Tech is also responsible for the clean-up of Alameda Point, during the same time period. So far we have heard crickets from the Navy and EPA as to whether the same shenanigans have happened at Alameda.Point. The Alameda City Council has not sent a representative to a RAB meeting since Doug DeHaan was on council, and seems to be largely oblivious to the cloud over Hunters Point.

    [Ironically, this is what happens when liberal values of housing advocacy collide with liberal values of environmental protection. I suppose there would be much more housing if we just let Republicans get rid of the EPA and build like crazy on toxic Superfund sites left behind by the military industrial complex.]

    Maybe we will hear reassurances at the Site A groundbreaking next week.

    Comment by vigi — May 17, 2018 @ 10:12 am

    • I hear the dirt is pristine in Lafayette, Orinda, Danville, Alamo, Walnut Creek, Piedmont, etc.

      Comment by Dj — May 17, 2018 @ 10:57 am

  5. As Baby Boomers do they downsize? Are there options in Alameda to allow them to stay in Alameda and thereby freeing a larger single family home? Would be a good data point when developing future housing policies.

    Comment by Mike McMahon — May 20, 2018 @ 8:15 am

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