Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 31, 2022

NIMBY-palooza, fight the power

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

Wrapping up on the rest of the snipped video: here is a Bay Farm resident asking what would happen if Alameda doesn’t have a compliant Housing Element. Andrew Thomas answers simply that we would have to pay fines and would be sued. Now, for those of you who have read anything that I’ve written about the Housing Element “bad stuff” you’ll know that this is a gross oversimplification of the enforcement mechanisms of the State of California. Not only that the Attorney General’s office has now formed a housing strike taskforce of sorts to go after recalcitrant cities in the case that they want to dare the State to act.

The resident asks who has been sued and Andrew Thomas goes to his go to of Pleasanton, even though there are lots of other cities who are currently embroiled in litigation over this housing cycle but the Pleasanton example is always a good one because Pleasanton is close enough to people that it’s within their ability to care about. The resident then says that the amount of money that Pleasanton had to pay (around $2 million) is “nothing.” Leaving unsaid that the City should just pay that and be done with the state as though it were that simple. Then someone chimed in from the audience that the City would be more exposed to liability because of the traffic from increased building will stop people from getting to the hospital or some other sort of nonsense because, could you imagine. I mean, if that were something folks could litigate over the courts would be absolutely littered with those types of lawsuits.

Anyway, it’s not just $2 million in fines and done. It’s millions in legal fees to just fight the state in the first place and then, like $10K in fines monthly until a valid Housing Element in certified. Without a valid Housing Element, the city also does not have a valid General Plan which means it can’t do any ministerial actions when it comes to approving building stuff. That doesn’t just mean that it can’t approve housing, it means everything: commercial, retail, and even your own small residential remodel. The authority to approve all of that would go to an assigned judge and they have the ability to approve any developments as long as it meets state requirements even if it conflicts with the City’s zoning codes. On top of all that we would not be eligible for any state or federal funding or grants for parks, infrastructure, or housing.

This is the video I described on Twitter but I did not have a video for. This is the one where, when asked by Andrew Thomas, where building should be located in Bay Farm and the audience largely shouted out: Mt Trashmore. Because new residents should literally be forced to live on top of trash before some Bay Farm residents will allow them in their backyards:

This is a video that I love where a residents opines that no multi story buildings can be built on Bay Farm because it’s on fill and you can just sense the annoyance radiating out of Andrew Thomas when he announces “wrong” when the lady spits out some made up facts that she clearly had yanked from deep in her gut because it felt right and sounded possibly truthful.

Okay, I changed my mind, this is the video that I actually love because it’s someone asking about the old Raiders facility because she’s going to suggest that the housing be built out there but, because Andrew Thomas is an old hand at this and has been hearing NIMBY “why can’t it go x” for decades, he knows exactly where this lady is heading and heads her off by saying that it would be possible but that there would need to be negotiations with the Port of Oakland and all of the concession which have been put into place about flight paths, etc would be on the table and up for negotiation if the City of Alameda wanted to go the direction of putting housing in the business park area. As you can imagine that was met with dead silence.


  1. Why should taxpayers vote for an AG who threatens to sue us?

    Solution: vote for Anne Marie Schubert for AG and kick out Bonta, who has never tried a felony case, ignores the rising crime rate, favors early release of criminals, prioritizes suing cities like Alameda who question massive development instead of working problems out, and thinks domestic abusers are not violent. Schubert is famous for prosecuting the Golden State killer, is running as an Independent, endorsed by the largest law enforcement organizations, and is the first gay woman elected to AG in Sacramento County.

    Comment by Common Sense — May 31, 2022 @ 7:31 am

    • Republican AG? No thank you.

      Comment by Lauren Do — May 31, 2022 @ 8:08 am

    • Funny, because here I thought taxpayers paid for an attorney general who’s willing to get off his ass and hold cities accountable for crippling the state’s housing inventory, forcing an unprecedented homeless crisis.

      Comment by JRB — May 31, 2022 @ 8:28 am

    • Or maybe, and this might sound crazy but bear with me here… we don’t do things that go against state law that will most certainly get us sued??? Now that would be common sense. Also, I don’t think being endorsed by corrupt police unions is the selling point you think it is.

      Comment by Rod — May 31, 2022 @ 9:14 am

  2. No more permit hassles from the Planning Dept sounds like a great idea. Bring on the judge.

    Comment by Let's do it — May 31, 2022 @ 7:40 am

  3. I wish I could have attended this meeting to remind people that there were people who opposed their housing as it was in development. I’d ask them to imagine where they would be living if people like them successfully opposed their homes and they were never built.

    We can all stand minor changes to our neighborhoods so that more of us can enjoy living here. I ask my neighbors to imagine the beautiful lives that they could be supporting for their future neighbors by hoping for the best instead of fearing the worst. Instead of using their fear to hoard access to our city, what if instead our neighbors used that power to share? Who are the people who won’t attend school, work, or play here? Who are the friends that you, your children and grandchildren won’t ever make because you’re more worried about some imagined horror? So many new projects have scared our residents only to become crown jewels that increased our quality of life. The movie theater, the new bike lines, and other new neighborhoods have all added to our city’s character. New developments at Bay Farm are likely to do the same.

    We’re starting to see the impacts of folks unable to afford to live here. Restaurants can’t hire servers, pharmacists and doctors are moving out of state, and we’re already in a prolonged teacher shortage. How long will it actually be great to live here if necessary services are difficult to procure, if our children aren’t able to enjoy quality educations? Every time we oppose new housing, we put our own future at risk.

    We will pay for your opposition to housing with poor service, long lines, poorly educated students. Is that really the price Californians as a whole should pay to maintain some outdated notion of paradise?

    With the housing shortage extended nation-wide, it’s no longer appropriate to demand that we all move elsewhere.

    Comment by Angela — May 31, 2022 @ 8:27 am

  4. Wait … you want an Attorney General who picks and chooses which laws to enforce??

    Instead of people urging the City to ignore and go around State law, how about they take a few minutes to hear what the law is and figure out the best way forward?
    A few housing units above the shopping center out there and they are pretty close to done.

    Always great to see people who make up names easily show they mean the opposite.
    Common Sense really means ‘No Sense’.

    Comment by Ron Mooney — May 31, 2022 @ 4:40 pm

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