Crashing symbols

Those who have been striving to put before Alameda voters a ballot measure repealing Measure A in its entirety – not just its prohibition of multi-family housing but also its restriction on residential density – will get their last chance at Tuesday’s Council meeting.

Ordinarily, the Merry-Go-Round wouldn’t give them much of a chance of success.

After all, two separate Council subcommittees, representing four of the five Council members, now have considered the repeal issue.  The first, consisting of Vice Mayor John Knox White and Councilman Tony Daysog, rendered a split decision:  Mr. Knox White supported repealing all of Measure A; Mr. Daysog opposed repealing any of it.  And then the second, consisting of Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft and Councilman Jim Oddie, recommended that the voters be asked to jettison only the provision banning multi-family housing; the density limitation would stay in place for the time being.

Since a majority of affirmative votes is required to put a Council-sponsored initiative on the ballot, the stated opposition by three Council members to getting rid of Measure A entirely would seem to doom the effort to seek voter consent for a complete repeal.

But Mr. Knox White, who abandoned his coyness during the campaign to become the leading proponent – the position he always seeks – of removing Measure A from the City Charter altogether, and his chief ally among City staff, Planning Director Andrew Thomas, haven’t given up.  Indeed, Mr. Thomas, who published a scathing critique of Measure A last December, makes one final pitch in the staff report to be presented to Council Tuesday for repealing the density limitation as well as the multi-family prohibition.

As we see it, Mr. Thomas’s most recent argument is unlikely to change the minds of the recalcitrant Council members.  Nevertheless, there might be a way to get their votes for complete repeal anyway with an approach focused less on analysis and more on emotion.  We call the Crashing Symbols strategy, and we’ll get to it in a minute.

But, first, Mr. Thomas’s latest.

One of the reasons for repealing Measure A’s density limitations, Mr. Thomas contended in his December 2019 “evaluation,” was that those restrictions made it more difficult for the City to meet its share of the Regional Housing Needs Assessment assigned by the state.  (The RHNA requires each city to “make available” residential sites sufficient to “accommodate” a specified number of units in each of four income categories.)  The logic was impeccable:  a 10-acre site zoned for 21 units per acre under Measure A would produce 210 units that the City could count toward the RHNA.  But if the site was re-zoned to 30 units per acre, it would produce 300 units to apply against the quota.

In 2012, Mr. Thomas (aided, no doubt, by former City Manager John Russo) devised a clever scheme for boosting the unit total for RHNA purposes even though Measure A remained on the books:  Staff got Council to pass an ordinance creating a “multi-family overlay” permitting a density of 30 units per acre, which it then slapped on 17 sites, many of which formerly had been zoned for 21 units per acre.  Voila, the City’s residential site inventory now contained 2,525 units, which was more than enough to meet the RHNA quota.  This enabled the City to submit a housing element acceptable to the state.

At the time, no one on staff or Council argued that this maneuver was consistent with Measure A.  By the same token, no one admitted it conflicted with the Charter provision, either.  Instead, staff argued that the state law requiring a city to adopt a housing element satisfying the RHNA in effect pre-empted the Charter.  We weren’t so sure – but the issue was never litigated.

The next RHNA cycle – for the period from 2023 to 2031 – is coming up, and, in the most recent staff report, Mr. Thomas uses that fact to double down on his argument against Measure A’s density limitations.  Rather than having to go through another site-by-site process similar to the one used in 2012, he suggests, Council should get voters to repeal those restrictions entirely.  Then, it can zone whatever parcels it wishes to 30 units per acre – which Mr. Thomas says is necessary to qualify a site as “low income” under state law – or to whatever density it chooses.  The more parcels that are zoned at higher densities, the more units will be included in the City’s residential site inventory – and the easier it will become to satisfy the new RHNA.

And that’s where the kicker comes in.  The City of Alameda won’t get its RHNA allocation for the 2023-31 period until early 2021.  Nevertheless, Mr. Thomas states in the latest staff report that he expects that new quota will be approximately double the 1,723 units assigned for the 2014-22 period.  Indeed, the guess he throws out is that the City will need to show that it can “accommodate” between 3,500 and 4,000 new units in the next eight years, of which about half must be “low-income” units.  There will be no way the City can meet that target, he argues, without being able to zone a host of properties at densities of 30 units per acre or greater.  To facilitate doing so, Measure A’s density limitations should be eliminated altogether.

(We asked Mr. Thomas where he would recommend putting the additional units if Measure A’s density restrictions were gone.  He told us that his “current thinking” is that the inventory of “available” residential sites for the 2023‑31 period would include the 425 units at Alameda Point remaining on the residential-development cap; Shipways; Encinal Terminals; the sites on the northern waterfront that haven’t been developed by 2023 – i.e., Boatworks and a portion of Alameda Marina; and the Southshore Shopping Center.  But he went on to caution that even if all of these sites were zoned at 30 units per acre, that wouldn’t enable the City to meet the higher RHNA he expects; rather, densities of 40 or 50 units per acre would be necessary.)

Perhaps Mr. Thomas’s last-ditch effort will convince two Councilmembers to join Mr. Knox White in voting to put a measure repealing Measure A in its entirety – including the density limitations – on the November ballot.  But, at bottom, the current pitch is just another, albeit more urgent, version of the argument Mr. Thomas made in December 2019.  It hasn’t managed to attract enough votes for immediate complete repeal so far.  Why would it do so now?

Moreover, we think the comment submitted by the Alameda Citizens Task Force makes a valid point:  if the City must zone additional properties at 30 units per acre in order to meet the expected new RHNA requirement, it can do so selectively rather than across the board.  Outright repeal of Measure A isn’t necessary; a multi-family overlay ordinance, version 2, followed by re-zoning a handful of properties, would accomplish the desired result.  It may be more cumbersome to do it that way, but Mr. Thomas is a creative fellow.

If the advocates for completely repealing Measure A are going to succeed, we don’t think it will be on the merits.  Instead, to get the required majority, a different approach – the Crashing Symbols strategy – will be necessary.  In essence, the proponents will need to make the issue all about race.

We’re not sure she’d appreciate receiving credit from the likes of us, but we got this idea from a comment posted by Laura Thomas, the co-founder of Renewed Hope and long-time housing advocate, on Blogging Bayport Alameda a couple of weeks ago.

According to Ms. Thomas, she had met a month before with Mayor Ashcraft and her political consultant. “[T]he strongest argument for doing away with Measure A,” Ms. Thomas told them, “was racial justice, that it was essentially a stain on our city’s history for how it had re-enforced exclusion.”  At the time the Mayor and her consultant “were more interested in the argument for increasing the supply of housing,” Ms. Thomas reported.  But then came the killing of George Floyd and the resultant nationwide protests against “systemic” racism.  Now, “[e]veryone is jumping on the racial justice band wagon,” Ms. Thomas wrote.  “The argument for how zoning laws and no-growth controls is institutional racism writ large will be much stronger and will actually begin to come into focus for many people who would never have been able to connect the dots.”

So there’s the game plan for the advocates of complete repeal:  get a majority of Council members to “jump on the racial justice bandwagon” by characterizing Measure A as “institutional racism writ large.”

With all due respect to Ms. Thomas, we regard labeling Measure A “racist” as a bit of a stretch.  Even Rasheed Shabazz, who has spoken and written prolifically on the topic, acknowledges that “there does not appear to be direct evidence of racist intent” behind the Charter provision.  And both Mayor Ashcraft and Councilman Oddie already are on record rejecting the notion that the Alamedans who proposed, and voted for, Measure A in 1973 and 1991 acted out of racial bias.

The fallback position taken by Ms. Thomas and Mr. Shabazz, among others, is that Measure A is racist because, regardless of its purpose, it had the effect of keeping blacks out of Alameda.  But this contention is flawed, factually and logically.

As Councilman Tony Daysog frequently points out, the black population in Alameda in fact has increased significantly – both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of the total population –since 1973, when the multi-family prohibition was adopted, and 1991, when the density limitations were added.  (According to U.S. census data, 1,869 blacks, representing 2.6 percent of the total population, lived in the City of Alameda in 1970; by 2010, the numbers had risen to 4,759 and 6.4 percent).  If anything, Alameda has become more, not less, “diverse” since Measure A went into effect.

Moreover, by restricting new residential development to single-family homes and duplexes, Measure A may well have had the effect of keeping poor people from moving to Alameda.  But that is an impact on a group defined by economics, not by race, and we refuse to equate “poor” with “black.”  In this regard, we are not alone:  When he worked for the State Assembly, Mr. Oddie recently told his colleagues, “we were always told by people [to] stop linking race and poverty.”  Call Measure A anti-poor, if you wish; but that’s not the same as anti-black.

But for purposes of getting a majority of Council votes, it doesn’t really matter whether characterizing Measure A as racist is factual and logical.  What matters is whether the Charter provision can be made into a symbol of racism (systemic or otherwise).  If Measure A represents, as Ms. Thomas put it, a “stain on our city’s history,” it can be said to deserve the same fate as other racist symbols, such as statutes of Confederate generals (or even, in San Francisco, Ulysses S. Grant and Francis Scott Key).  The statutes ought to be torn off their pedestals; Measure A ought to be torn out of the Charter.

Once one accepts the characterization of Measure A as symbolizing racism, removing it from the Charter can be justified on the same basis as, say, removing the name of Henry Haight from an elementary school.  It was Mr. Shabazz who successfully made the case a few years ago that, because Haight had made racist remarks in his inaugural address as California governor in 1867, his name didn’t belong on an Alameda school.  If Measure A truly is a symbol of racism, it likewise doesn’t belong in the City Charter.

This kind of argument relying solely on symbolism might very well work to get the necessary two additional votes from Councilwoman Malia Vella and Mr. Oddie, both of whom are running for re-election and counting on “progressive” support.  The two Council members already have demonstrated their fondness for slogans that can be delivered as sound bites (“Housing is a basic human right!”).  Striking at symbols really takes no more thought than spouting out slogans.

Ms. Vella is vying with Mr. Knox White (and likely Council candidate Amos White) to be seen as leading the battle to eradicate “systemic” racism wherever it rears its ugly head in the city of Alameda.  If Measure A can be put into that category, even if only symbolically, advocating its removal from the Charter would give her just as much cred as pushing to “de-fund” the police department.

For his part, Mr. Oddie has to be worried about being left out of the movement du jour.  Portraying himself as “Just Cause Jim” may have worked in 2016, but the times have changed.  Indeed, this week the Twitter trolls and their favorite blogger pilloried the Councilman for being insufficiently “anti-racist” in his remarks at Monday’s Council meeting.  Redemption may be just a vote to repeal Measure A away.

If both Ms. Vella and Mr. Oddie get onboard, Mayor Ashcraft’s position becomes irrelevant. If not, her vote will be decisive.

We don’t know, of course, what advice the political consultant she brought to her meeting with Ms. Thomas is giving her.  But Ms. Ashcraft doesn’t have an election to worry about for another two years, and she doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to get rid of Measure A in its entirety.  By nature, she is positively Biden-esq:  reform, not revolution, is the best way to go.  And that’s the way she has approached the Measure A issue.

Consider the reason given by her and Mr. Oddie for not recommending immediate repeal of the Charter provision in toto:  the City shouldn’t make any changes to the density limitations until a “comprehensive public planning process” has taken place.  And note how she was moved, in her meandering oral remarks on June 2, to utter the cliché favored by both former Mayor Marie Gilmore and herself:  “What I would ask is not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

Moreover, Ms. Ashcraft has a better sense than some of her colleagues of the extent to which the electorate can be moved in a “progressive” direction.  Even groups like A.C.T. and the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society don’t oppose repeal of Measure A’s multi-family prohibition; it’s the density limitation they want to preserve (in some form).  The Mayor might fear that pushing for complete repeal will generate enough opposition to the ballot measure that the advocates for reforming Measure A will end up with nothing.  “What I would ask,” we can imagine her saying, “is not to throw the baby out with the bath water.”

Sources:

“Evaluation” by Andrew Thomas: 2019-12-09 staff evaluation of Measure A

July 7, 2020 staff report: 2020-07-07 staff report re ballot measure

About Robert Sullwold

Partner, Sullwold & Hughes Specializes in investment litigation
This entry was posted in City Hall, Housing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Crashing symbols

  1. William says:

    Eliminating multi-family guidelines will only cause more crowded streets and traffic. Don’t fall for this trick by Council. Measure A must sty in place so that a limited area like Alameda does not suffocate on itself. Alameda is already too crowded. The island can not stay up with the growth. We have enough housing, we simply have far too many people! Tony is the only person who does not have plans to run for higher office, thus he truly cares about Alameda. The others want to head to Sacramento. Ignore them.

    • JRB says:

      The population of Alameda today is almost exactly what it was in 1990 – just under 80,000. The perception of growth happened because the Navy left town, our population was depressed for many years, and slowly the people came back. But what’s different now compared to 1990? Easy:
      -Car ownership per home has gone up, from 1.9 to 2.2. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but with 40,000 existing homes in Alameda, that’s 12,000 more cars in the city.
      -Public transportation ridership has decilned.
      -More people are relying on the carshare economy – DoorDash, Gig, Uber, Lyft, etc, which means crowding of cars on the streets.
      -More people are commuting over longer distances, which means more cars on the road at any time.
      So the short answer – you’re not stuck in traffic, you ARE the traffic.

      And it’s very strange that you’re praising Tony Daysog for not seeking higher office. You clearly must’ve forgotten that Tony Daysog once launched an exploratory committee to run for the United States Congress – out of Walnut Creek. “He truly cares about Alameda.” Walnut Creek isn’t even in Alameda County, let alone Alameda City.

      https://ebcitizen.com/2014/02/17/tony-daysog-for-congress-no-not-in-this-district-the-one-over-there/

  2. Getting rid of Measure A would unlock potential for revitalizing various business districts, but it won’t unlock the potential for providing affordable housing. Still intact would be the capitalist system, within which the new housing construction opportunities would be taken advantage of. Our current inclusionary housing requirement calls for 15 percent of new market rate housing to be affordable. This is the regime that has gotten us to the crisis of affordability we are in today. Flipping the ratio to 15 percent market rate and 85 percent affordable would solve the problem, but that would be an impossible task for any for-profit enterprise.

    The only way to usher in a new era of equity in our state’s housing supply is for the state, either directly or through public-private partnerships, to build affordable housing. If we want to amend something that will provide real housing equity and break the cycle of a growing caste system in our society, it should be the state constitution. We would be better served if our state spent less time issuing mandates to local municipalities to provide zoning for housing and more time issuing checks or forming partnerships to actually build the housing that is needed, which is affordable housing.

    For the most part, getting rid of Measure A will be a token gesture, with the supply of housing continuing to be driven by profit. The current system is unsustainable. Society is breaking down. Political marketing to end Measure A isn’t going to change that fact.

    • Carol says:

      Wow, Richard Bangert. “Society is breaking down”. That makes this entire discussion a bit of a moot point, doesn’t it? Seriously, though, I don’t see how we can keep looking to plans made in December 2019 [pre-Covid], when no one can accurately predict life in the post COVID-19 era yet. This AM, SFMTA announced that some of its transit lines will never be coming back at all. More people will be working from home. Isn’t much of this RHNA reasoning predicated on the need to bring workers to the cities where the jobs are? What happens to the concept of transit oriented development, when the transit does not resume? Andrew Thomas seems to be carrying on as if all his previous assumptions about growth will always be valid. He is blind to current events. But a blind person could see it with a cane. Now is the time to pause and consider, not rush blindly ahead giving no thought to changing public health conditions.

      • Carol, Just sticking to the subject at hand – housing – the ubiquitousness and scale of homeless encampments is prima facie evidence of a breakdown of society. Quite the contrary to rendering discussion of housing policy moot, this breakdown is a call to action before it gets even worse. The governor seems to understand this. Maybe he will be the agent of change that makes meaningful strides in ending the inequity in housing.

        As to your assertion that “no one can accurately predict life in the post COVID-19 era yet,” I can predict that the homeless encampments are not going to be any smaller. If anything, they will increase in size. Wait till the eviction and foreclosure moratoriums end and the supplemental unemployment benefits end. What are the people going to do who, for example, don’t have a restaurant to go back to work at?

        Regardless of where people work and how much transit is necessary in a “post COVID-19 era,” everyone still needs a decent place to live at an affordable price. Paying 40 and 50 percent of household income for a place to live leaves tenants with little to nothing to save. How can this scenario, played out over decades, possibly have a happy outcome?

    • Carol says:

      Richard, those are good questions How are people who have lost their jobs going to pay rent at all? 40 percent of nothing is still nothing. What happens when eviction moratoriums expire? Seems like we will need a whole lot of housing completely subsidized by the state. Or maybe a hefty new tax/surcharge on Alphabet, Amazon. FB, Tesla, etc. The question is: is the is the Island of Alameda the best place to build it all? RHNA is hardly a scientific process. The criteria for establishing city allocations is fungible. What if the need for social distancing becomes an integral part of that criteria? We just don’t know yet.
      The mayor just mentioned that she and Vella are on some League of California Cities subcommittee. Mr. Sullwold. can you tell us anything about that subcommittee, its name and function? Thanks!

      • I contacted Mayor Ashcraft about the inquiry in your last paragraph, and she replied:

        I am currently Vice Chair of the League of California Cities Housing, Community and Economic Development Policy Committee whose function is (from the League’s website):

        The Housing, Community and Economic Development (HCED) Policy Committee reviews issues related to general plans and zoning, housing, rent control, Subdivision Map Act, residential care facilities, other land use regulation, development fees including school fee adequacy, annexation and incorporation policy, development agreements, building standards including seismic safety standards, economic development policy including redevelopment and enterprise zones, military base closure and reuse, mobile home regulation, and sign regulation. The principle behind the policies reviewed by this Committee is to foster local control of community planning decisions as they relate to land use and economic development.

        Councilmember Vella is also a member of this policy committee.

  3. Mr. Sullwold,

    You partial quotation is misleading. Although I have not found any “direct evidence” of racist intent, there is what you might call “circumstantial evidence.” In addition to the concerns raised by Alameda NAACP leaders, who both opposed Measure A, there were two lawsuits in the 1980s. After Alameda’s 90%+ white electorate adopted Measure A, San Leandro HOA’s looked at exclusionary zoning. Yeah, 1970s “Suburban Wall” San Leandro looked to Alameda for inspiration.

    It makes sense. Although Mr. Daysog starts the diversity index at 1970, this neglect the 30 years prior. Alameda’s Black population saw a huge decrease in the decades after World War II. That historical context is relevant, as it was two decades of racist local housing policy and practice.

    Finally, Alameda’s white population has consistently decreased, but the proportion of white people who own homes has increased. So, when white renters left, Black and other POC moved into those old apartments. I guess that’s diversity though.

    In absence of documented intent — I’m not sure how reliable “I promise I wasn’t racist 50 years ago” is — disparate impact is not just about intent, but about impact.

  4. David Howard says:

    There are a couple points on this that are always lost, even by our gracious host here…

    Measure A was effectively neutered, in 1979, 6 years after passage, by the Density Bonus Law, so far as the creation of below-market-rate units is concerned.

    Click to access California-Density-Bonus-Law_2020.pdf

    Indeed, the Boatworks project was one of the first to publicly and visibly request an exemption to Measure A on the basis of the Density Bonus Law – and the City of Alameda has been fighting the developer in court for years. Why is that?

    This is what makes anyone suspicious of those who advocate for the repeal of Measure A on the basis of need to create affordable housing – the purpose and intent of the Density Bonus Law was specifically to create affordable/below-market-rate housing, by sidestepping local ordinances like Measure A. Any such projects in Alameda would have, and have been, multi-family structures with a mix of market rate units and below-market-rate units.

    That advocates ignore this suggests they aren’t really interested in building affordable housing, but building more market-rate housing only.

    So – are Measure A repeal advocates really just trying to enable more for-profit market-rate housing construction?

    San Francisco has tens of thousands of housing units entitled, or close to entitlement, but not yet built, and, pre-COVID, was one of the most expensive housing markets in the country.

    https://sf.curbed.com/maps/map-san-francisco-development-planning-pipeline-housing

    I’m sure the numbers are the same in New York City. The notion that we can build our way out of high market prices is laughable – least of all because for-profit developers have no financial interest to flood supply and depress prices for their product.

    Perversely, Measure A combined with Density Bonus Law acts similar to inclusionary housing requirements, which mandate a mix of below-market-rate housing and market-rate housing. Supposedly just the sort of thing that Measure A repeal advocates want.

    The other issue ignored is the failure of policy makers and developers to fully integrate planning – opposition to higher density housing in Alameda would largely melt away if residents saw transportation infrastructure coming online first. But we don’t see that.

  5. David Howard says:

    There are a couple points on this that are always lost, even by our gracious host here…

    Measure A was effectively neutered, in 1979, 6 years after passage, by the Density Bonus Law, so far as the creation of below-market-rate units is concerned.

    Click to access California-Density-Bonus-Law_2020.pdf

    Indeed, the Boatworks project was one of the first to publicly and visibly request an exemption to Measure A on the basis of the Density Bonus Law – and the City of Alameda has been fighting the developer in court for years. Why is that?

    This is what makes anyone suspicious of those who advocate for the repeal of Measure A on the basis of need to create affordable housing – the purpose and intent of the Density Bonus Law was specifically to create affordable/below-market-rate housing, by sidestepping local ordinances like Measure A. Any such projects in Alameda would have, and have been, multi-family structures with a mix of market rate units and below-market-rate units.

    That advocates ignore this suggests they aren’t really interested in building affordable housing, but building more market-rate housing only.

    So – are Measure A repeal advocates really just trying to enable more for-profit market-rate housing construction? Or are they hijacking the notion of racial injustice for their own profits?

    San Francisco has tens of thousands of housing units entitled, or close to entitlement, but not yet built, and, pre-COVID, was one of the most expensive housing markets in the country.

    https://sf.curbed.com/maps/map-san-francisco-development-planning-pipeline-housing

    I’m sure the numbers are the same in New York City. The notion that we can build our way out of high market prices is laughable – least of all because for-profit developers have no financial interest to flood supply and depress prices for their product.

    Perversely, Measure A combined with Density Bonus Law acts similar to inclusionary housing requirements, which mandate a mix of below-market-rate housing and market-rate housing. Supposedly just the sort of thing that Measure A repeal advocates want.

    The other issue ignored is the failure of policy makers and developers to fully integrate planning – opposition to higher density housing in Alameda would largely melt away if residents saw transportation infrastructure coming online first. But we don’t see that.

    BART-to Alameda is a fantasy project, decades away, if ever, unlikely to benefit the daily commute of many people voting this November.

    Andrew Thomas has already stated publicly in meetings that there will be no more new bridges. There will be no “southern crossing” bridge freeway traffic to exit vehicles from the island, and their doesn’t seem to be any bike bridge any time soon, and, anyway, the volume on that bridge won’t take care of all the desired new housing.

    So long as residents don’t see transportation infrastructure coming online before housing – new housing is going to make them late for work in the morning – they are going to hold that new housing hostage by opposing it however they can.

  6. Dave says:

    Routinely ignored in this discussion, including by our gracious host, is the density bonus law enacted 6 years after Measure A, in 1979, which effectively neutered Measure A.

    Those who want to repeal Measure A say it prevents below market rate housing from being built, because it precludes multi family housing. However, the Density Bonus Law particularly enables bypassing Measure A when below market rate housing is built.

    Perversely, Measure A and the density bonus law do essentially the same thing as inclusionary housing laws – require developers to build below market rate housing when they want to build market rate housing. Perversely, this configuration of laws actually helps to ensure and require that below market rate units get built, and that for-profit developers can build more market-rate units to pay for them.

    It’s suspicious that some – not all, but some- Measure A repeal advocates ignore this, and seem to want to do away with Measure A so that large, profitable, market rate multifamily housing projects can be built, with little incentive or requirement to build below market rate units. Time and again we’ll see developers horse trade – or sue, to take it to closed session, as Don Perata often did – to minimize their BMR requirements. Much harder to do this when it’s baked into the charter.

    If certain council members are cynically hijacking a racial justice movement to change a law to create profits for developers who fund their next election campaign…. shame on them. How is that morally superior to retaining the law they want to repeal? (Nobody can deny that we see developers and adjacent building trade groups jump in with donations every election year.)

    There are tens of thousands of entitled but not built housing units in San Francisco, and, yet, pre-COVID, SF rents are among the highest in the nation. Same for New York.

    https://sfplanning.org/resource/housing-development-pipeline

    The notion that we will build our way – with market rate units – out of high rents in Alameda is absurd. For profit developers are no more going to flood the market and depress prices for their product any more than the OPEC cartel drives down the price of oil significantly to depress prices for their product.

    Un-fettered production of market rate housing is not the path to lower rents and lower housing prices, and below market units. The construction of below market units is the path to below market units.

    Further, always un addressed is the refusal of the applicable agencies to put transportation infrastructure in place before large projects are built. Opposition to housing in Alameda would largely melt away if residents saw transportation come online so they aren’t late for work in the morning.

    Absent that, the only thing residents can do to promote transportation infrastructure is hold new housing hostage with laws like Measure A, organized resistance to projects, local ballot measures, etc.

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