Allow Alameda to live up to its motto

Many people in Alameda have community pride of living in a place where “Everyone Belongs.” This inclusiveness is one of many reasons that Alameda is a great place to live, along with great weather, walk- and bike-ability, easy access to San Francisco and Oakland, and of course access to the water.

However, Article 26 of the City Charter strikes an embarrassing, revealing contrast against the perception of openness. Article 26 was added to the charter in 1973 and amended in 1991, in both cases by ballot measures. The end result is one of the most exclusionary housing policies anywhere in the Bay Area; it prohibits new multifamily housing and expanding housing on lots under 2000 sq. ft.

Measure Z will entirely remove Article 26 from Alameda’s charter. It will do nothing to erase our shameful 47-year history of the adverse impacts on minorities, nor will it change any zoning codes that follow from Article 26. It will, however, be a small step toward resolving this shameful contradiction between our values and our policies and open up the possibility for reasonable zoning that allows Alameda to be the best version of itself.

A more affordable, inclusive, and livable Alameda won’t have any skyscrapers, and our Victorians will continue to be protected with the Historical Preservation Ordinance. What will change is we can have more of the multifamily housing that is part of our heritage before Article 26, ultimately enlarging our tax base and making good on our motto that “Everyone Belongs.”

Please vote “yes” on Measure Z as soon as you receive your vote-by-mail ballot in October!

— Joe Anakata, Alameda homeowner