Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 29, 2019

Exclusionary act

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:09 am

“The drug addicts are going to be here, believe me…Retirees, disabled, old people—I have no objection to renovate the whole place and make it nice for them. But don’t get too much of that riffraff in. There will be a lot of riffraff. Then we go onto, with a project like this, you need security guards in the area.”

This quote is from 2017.

This quote is from public comment in reference to an affordable housing development for low income families.

Amazingly enough, this is not a quote from Alameda.  But honestly, it could have been. We’ve heard this rhetoric time and time again.

From City Lab (and posted in the comments by Rasheed S.) a look in the mirror at some East Coast exclusion:

It started when a developer known for building large luxury homes envisioned something different back in 2014 for the 2.2 acre property: a mix of single- and multifamily housing that would accommodate up to 12 families. A higher density project is more cost efficient, he said, and would allow him to sell the units for less than the typical Westport home.

The commission’s discussion was couched in what some would regard as code words and never directly addressed race or income. Chip Stephens, a Republican planning and zoning commissioner, voted against the plan, declaring, “To me, it’s too much density. It’s putting too much in a little area. To me, this is ghettoizing Westport.”

Many zoning boards rely on their finely tuned regulations to keep housing segregation firmly in place. They point to frail public infrastructure, clogged streets, a lack of sidewalks and concerns of overcrowding that would damage what’s often referred to as “neighborhood character.”

An investigation by the Connecticut Mirror and ProPublica has found that more than three dozen Connecticut towns have blocked construction of any privately developed duplexes and apartments within their borders for the last two decades, often through exclusionary zoning requirements. In 18 of those towns, it’s been at least 28 years.

“Does anybody say we need to keep blacks and Hispanics out of Westport? No, but they talk about property values, safety and preserving open space—all the things that a town can do to prevent development that would bring up a more economically and racially diverse housing population,” [land use attorney Timothy] Hollister said. “They don’t use the overt racial terms, but it’s absolutely clear to everybody in the room that’s what they’re talking about.”

It’s a great investigative piece.  Really worth the read.  More exposure to these exclusionary policies is necessary.  It’s something that, even in Alameda, we have people who are unwilling to let go of those exclusionary laws put in place.  As in Connecticut it’s couched in terms of “neighborhood character,” but shouldn’t a neighborhood be judged on who lives there rather than what that homes look like in that neighborhood?

I know one day we’ll look back on these exclusionary policies with the same distaste as we do with redlining.  But as we have not completely understood or accepted the lingering inequalities from redlining we still have not learned the lessons of the past when it comes to our existing exclusionary policies.  If we had, we would reject rather than cling to our own legacy of — perhaps — unintended consequences from policies like Measure A.


  1. Amen!

    Comment by David Burton — May 30, 2019 @ 1:10 am

  2. “…we have not completely understood or accepted the lingering inequalities from redlining we still have not learned the lessons of the past when it comes to our existing exclusionary policies.” A little over a year ago I hosted a talk which focused on the debate over Measure A (1973). It’s amazing how opposed (some) folks were 2003-2008 to even have a study about the policy and its impact. Intended or unintended, there seems to be a desire to prevent any information that might contradict the mainstream narrative that Measure A “saved” Alameda.

    Measure A saved which Alameda and for whom?

    In the last year alone, I’ve had three undergraduate students reach out to me. Young people from Alameda interested in better understanding where they grew up and why they still experienced (remnants of) racial and economic exclusion. Their work will help us with those lessons and even how to address other challenges like climate change from an environmentally just lens. Between your two posts “Shocked (not shocked)” and “Exclusionary act”, we can examine who participates in public meetings for zoning and housing and who opposes production (as well as protections), AND we can see how these actions to maintain the status quo are exclusionary.

    And as another breadcrumb for those interested in this history. Although I had a chapter about Alameda redlining in my undergrad thesis, I’d never read your redlining post, Lauren. The comments there are pretty interesting, especially the Black man detailing modern exclusionary methods and having his experience discounted by others–seems like a common thing in Alameda. [insert another citylab story and hella links to multiple studies about modern discrimination lol]

    Comment by Rasheed Shabazz — May 30, 2019 @ 11:26 am

  3. I enjoy Lauren’s site because of the painstaking research she so often does on issues that that impact our quality of life on our beloved Island.

    She has the uncanny knack to dig up public issues that our city leaders are facing or making decisions on, and publicizing the facts on the issue.

    She spreads sunshine on the Island’s public issues. That is a very very good thing.

    City Government, by definition is tedius and boring. Yet we recognize that these decisions impact our daily lives. Lauren puts the spotlight, rightfully so, on impactful decisions that our leadership is facing.

    I’m all for studies on housing and rental issues. Such as “Did Alameda’s Rent Stabilization Program lead to an increase or decrease in Rental Properties?” I consider myself a SME on this topic, and have voiced my thoughts on this site with the data to support them, that these policies resulted in a substantial loss of Rental Properties and a significant reduction in the number of voting rental households on our Island over the past 4 years. This reduction in supply has also increased rent Island-wide. Tenant Households have moved from the majority to the minority on our Island as a result of these policies.

    I’m all for studies on where to locate riff raff. As long as they conclude “Not In Alameda”. I totally support Exclusionary Policies for Thieves, Muggers, Strong Armed Thugs, Rapists, Sexual Offenders, Vandals, Burglars, and Drug Dealers. We don’t want them living on our Island. They are criminals. No matter the color of our skin, we don’t want these people living amongst us and preying on our kids and families.

    So, how about a study on where the Riff Raff live in Alameda? What residential neighborhoods are plagued by these criminals? I propose some painstaking research using Alameda Police statistics on what residential areas suffer the most from crime.

    Just a quick perusal of the Crime Map over the past 6 months, indicates that an inordinate amount of crime occurs in the residential neighborhood at the intersection of Corpus Christi Road and Orion Street. Yes, this is the Alameda Point Collaborative. Just ask our Police Officers. They are the SMEs on this issue.

    This is the cross, our Blog Mistriss must bear, as do all the denizens of Bayport, who live across the road from this neighborhood.

    The Alameda Point Collaborative is a noble experiment. Who dares argue against housing the mentally ill, homeless women, drug addicts, abused women, and hungry children? Do these problems go hand in hand with rampant crime? Should we expand these housing sites throughout the Island, as we did by voting to add one to Crab Cove? Does this improve the quality of life for law abiding citizens on our fair Island?

    I believe that education is part of true healing. That’s why I’m sharing this information today.

    Comment by Alameda Landlord — May 31, 2019 @ 12:05 pm

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