Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 12, 2022

“Fine, let them sue us”

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

As we get closer to the date when the Housing Element draft will need to be submitted to the Housing and Community Development (HCD) Department and as rumors start grinding through the community about this or the other thing the bad information that gets passed around about what Alameda has to do or what it doesn’t have to do is reaching a fevered pitch. At the Planning Board meeting on Monday there was a clear lack of understanding about what this whole process is and is not. Add to that the absolute kookiness that lives in the comments on the City’s Facebook page and it’s super clear that a lot of people have a lot of bad information about this process but yet speak with the absolute certainty and confidence of someone who thinks they do know a lot about what the City should be doing in this Housing Element.

I went back and pulled video out from a February 2021 meeting about the Housing Element which featured someone from HCD. It’s really important to listen closely to what the HCD representative says because these are the folks who will be determining if Alameda Housing Element is compliant or not. Because at the last City Council meeting this is what Tony Daysog, one of our elected officials said about the process and about compliance:

I think we can meet our Housing Element HCD obligations working within Article 26 of our city charter. I think there’s a lot of other things that are of concern to me with what we’re talking about in the Housing Element but, to me, the most vital thing is is how we are undermining something that the voters of Alameda just recently reaffirmed and that is reaffirming Article 26 and the limitations that we have on density. We figured out how to work around those limitations you know I mean our side we didn’t we didn’t embrace those workarounds but if it was enough to to get us through the first housing element process several years ago I think it’s it’s good enough to get us through this one.

If the State of California, if the HCD wants to sue us on whatever grounds fine let them sue us.

But I’ll point out that it’s not just that the City exposes itself to liability from the State and/or HCD if the Housing Element is not certified. ANYONE can sue. And there are six cities in California that are already on the receiving end of a lawsuit from an organization associated with the California Association of Realtors because their Housing Elements are not certified:

Enforcing these laws has been a major focus for the organization over the last year, and it has approached around 50 cities in Southern California to discuss their compliance with the law.  Later in 2022, the focus will shift to the Bay Area and other parts of the state, as those regions complete their housing elements. The nonprofit typically offers to forgo litigation against cities that are willing to acknowledge the state law penalties for failing to adopt a housing element

The organization’s lawsuits against Bradbury, La Habra Heights, Laguna Hills, South Pasadena and Vernon fault those cities for failing to adopt updated housing elements by the state mandated deadline. These cities were chosen for being far behind their peers in the housing element process, having demonstrated a hostility toward adequate housing planning or both.

In prior housing element cycles, without litigation, some cities have allowed the process of developing their housing elements to drag on for years after the state law deadlines. For example, the City of La Habra Heights did not develop its 2013 housing element until 2020.  Many Southern California cities have prioritized other non-urgent matters, including implementing policies to limit housing production, while putting off the housing element process. [emphasis added]

And this is not the only housing advocacy group out there with a legal arm so as long as folks like Tony Daysog sit on the dais and is unwilling to recognize that 2022 is different when it comes to certifying Housing Elements, he puts the City of Alameda in danger of a lawsuit. Fortunately we have adults on the Council who are willing to do what is in the best interest of the City but my fear is that we get more Tony Daysog, because he’s running again, and we get another person like Tony Daysog — all talk, no action.

Anyway, I’ve snipped out two video clips which should be watched by anyone with a Zoom login and keyboard and the desire to provide an opinion to any Board, Commission, or the internet at large about what Alameda should and should not do with regard to the Housing Element. This is the guy who will be reviewing our Housing Element and he is not swayed by arguments like (1) we’re an island, (2) A/26 is the will of the people, (3) we can’t get off the island in an emergency, (4) insert your favorite NIMBY excuse here. He knows about A/26 and he’s not impressed by it.

Here’s the first video, this is an answer to a question by the Mayor about Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing and what that means to cities and their Housing Elements. I’ve pulled out and transcribed a few choice quotes:

Affirmatively furthering fair housing isn’t just about discrimination it’s about proactively promoting more inclusive communities.

We will also be looking for a comparison of you, Alameda, to your surroundings and whether you reflect the composition of your broader region and if you don’t then what has led to that and specific goals and actions to overcome those patterns.

And, as I’ve posted before Alameda — compared to its closest neighbors — doesn’t really reflect what’s going on in the broader region despite people parading the fact that we’re “diverse” because they know some Asian folks who have moved into the East End or something. Essentially Alameda has way lower percentages of Latino and Black folks than Alameda Co, San Leandro, and Oakland and that, according to the HCD needs addressing.

This next video is the HCD representation specifically addressing the issues with A/26 and then discusses the consequences of not having a Housing Element.

A few notes is that HCD says they are not going to waver from the requirement have a diverse set of housing types. Because of A/26 we are not necessarily allowed to have more than a single family home or a duplex. That’s not enough under housing law. So immediately that part of A/26 will have to be disregarded in order to have any chance of a certified Housing Element. Some quotes:

So immediately we’re gonna see the measure [A/26], by itself, as a constraint on the supply of housing; on the cost of housing and we would probably be looking for programs to address and remove where possible.

Anything that results in lesser intensification of sites there might be other things that come into play here but, you know, to the extent that you’re carrying out the measure [A/26] in a way that impacts sites now or multi-family overlay sites but that certainly would be an area of pause.


  1. I can 100% guarantee you that there is at least one organization standing by, ready to sue Alameda for having a noncompliant housing element. I was told this by a very reliable source. Good luck, Tony.

    Comment by JRB — May 12, 2022 @ 6:52 am

  2. The problem is that Tony’s tantrum will have no impact on himself. Even if the city did as he’s proposing (and he’s counting on the city ignoring him), he’d not have to spent countless hours fixing the problem (not his wheelhouse), he wouldn’t have to pay the bills. And he’d likely be re-elected for his trouble.

    Comment by Gaylon — May 12, 2022 @ 8:04 am

  3. It comes down to people who don’t like change, but that is the one thing that is consistent and guaranteed over your lifetime.

    Tony is different in that he has an Urban Planning Degree and he is a Housing Policy Analyst for Santa Clara County Housing Authority and so his job doesn’t match his local politics. His professional life and home life seem paradoxical to each other. Santa Clara County is the richest county in California and the largest in Northern California with completely different housing circumstances although they are similar in that both the City of Alameda and Santa Clara County both need additional housing. Tony ran for mayor and for California’s 11th Congressional District elections which he was defeated so is his ambition for Alameda or for politics and Alameda is a stepping stone. These are just some of my thoughts and not necessarily a reflection of him. I did vote for him for mayor but I haven’t voted for him since.

    Some day I will express my thoughts on Trish and the similarities to Sarah Palin.

    Comment by Joe — May 12, 2022 @ 10:09 am

    • I remember Trish’s nickname while she was on the school board: “PTA Palin.”

      These days, she is more comparable to Marjorie Taylor Greene, a terribly misinformed idiot who acts as a chaos agent for no other reason than to hurt vulnerable people in our town. Teachers, minimum wage workers, homeless people, LGBTQ, renters – Trish Spencer has gone after all of them. And she wants to be “The People’s Mayor” again.

      At least Sarah Palin had the decency to go away.

      Comment by NeverTrish — May 12, 2022 @ 12:40 pm

      • Palin is running for Congress. That’s going away?

        Comment by Get informed — May 12, 2022 @ 2:56 pm

  4. I would agree that the city council should do more to satisfy what the local voters voted on. It’s kind of non-democratic otherwise.

    Or the city council needs to deal with a/26 first.

    Or why not just get rid of the part that says voters actually matter.

    But… yes, we need more housing. Let’s do it the right and moral way, and not just advocate for going against voter wishes and local laws. Address those first. It’s a big slippery slope if it can be done for this topic, then what else is to follow.

    Aka, the democrats abolishing rules in the senate that later comes back to bite you in the back.

    Comment by Elle — May 12, 2022 @ 3:51 pm

    • Your penultimate paragraph is textbook nimby. Exactly what would you propose to address the housing need? Low income housing only, paid by people who aren’t you? I do not believe you are sincere.

      Comment by BC — May 12, 2022 @ 5:11 pm

    • Affordable housing only developments then is it? Perfect. I support that 100%.


      The last two affordable housing only projects built by the government (Alameda Housing Authority) came in at an average of $850K per unit (I’m actually being conservative here because the Wedge neighborhood property was pushing $1 million per unit). Our RHNA is around 5500 units give or take a few. That means $4.675 BILLION. Please start the campaign for a $4.675 billion bond to fund affordable only housing in Alameda. I’ll be rooting for your success.

      In the meantime, Alameda has been given clear guidance from the State. We can pull a Tony Daysog and allow the State of California and/or other private organizations to sue us into compliance and incur legal fees on the journey there or we can try to overlay and zone our way to compliance. Honestly I’d prefer the latter but the former would drive the content on this blog for at least another five years so whatever.

      Comment by Lauren Do — May 13, 2022 @ 6:46 am

  5. Until the state can guarantee resources for all their mandated housing no additional housing should be built. It’s simple. We are in a drought and we are constantly facing brown outs. I’d love to hear the build more now folks explain how to get around that.

    Comment by Jmac — May 12, 2022 @ 9:59 pm

    • Building in greenfields and in sensitive areas like forests are a bad idea but are sometimes the only options left because urban cores like the Bay Area have erected so many barriers to housing because of backward ass beliefs like more housing in urban cores contribute to droughts and brown outs.

      Allowing people to have to continue to burn fossil fuel to find housing that is affordable contributes to our climate change problems. Switching to paper straws isn’t going to do a damn thing to help other than make people in $150 yoga pants “feel” as though they are caring for the environment but bringing people closer to where they work and where services are could help stave off the worst of the impacts.

      Comment by Lauren Do — May 13, 2022 @ 6:40 am

    • When was the last brownout warning?
      We are in a drought – lets save water by outlawing lawns including those only ornamental common areas in HOAs, business parks and city props. Mandate only ag and native plantings.

      Be reasonable …

      Comment by Ron Mooney — May 13, 2022 @ 9:19 am

  6. This is aggravating–and irresponsible! It opens us up to liability and he is acting like we have endless deep pockets to pay the state… rather than do an acceptable job on the Housing Element.

    Why is he on the Council if he doesn’t want to help the city?

    Comment by Jennie VH — May 16, 2022 @ 9:18 am

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