Preserve our community by voting ‘yes’ on Z

Editor:
One of the questions we require before allowing anyone to join the Alameda Peeps Facebook group is, “Do you currently live in Alameda?” Too many responses are of people displaced from Alameda because of high rents wanting to move back.

Sometimes it’s people who work in Alameda, teachers, baristas and city employees who can’t afford the skyrocketing rents but still feel part of this community.

I’m so grateful to own a home now, especially in Alameda. It wasn’t easy to pull that off. Still, I’ve come to realize my privilege of calling Alameda home as someone who can afford it, seeing so many that can’t.

So many of the people who work in Alameda, including many of our essential workers and first responders, can’t afford to live here — completely priced out by a scarcity of affordable options. Workers have become forced to commute long distances as housing costs rise. All while many of the people who live here commute off the Island. It’s unfortunate and, in many ways, not fair.

This mismatch drives up the costs of everything in town; it hurts local businesses trying to attract talent and causes the traffic we all hate while contributing to climate change. This path we are on is not sustainable.

Some do not think Alameda should have any additional housing. Nevertheless, the state requires cities to make available areas to build additional homes. We must do our part to deal with the housing crisis we face. Being an island does not excuse our legal or moral responsibility.

The state says how much we have to build, not the City Charter. But then the charter explicitly requires that we only build the largest, most expensive types of homes that add the most cars, hurting public transit, adding to our traffic woes. We should instead be shooting to have housing that is more affordable to a broader range of people. That required new housing could encourage less car use if built near our mass-transit corridors.

Article 26 is obsolete, and it’s holding us back from doing what is right by our community. Forty-seven years is long enough. Exclusionary zoning has no place in our city’s charter. Alamedans need housing they can afford before rising housing costs displace any more of our neighbors. That’s why I’m voting yes on Z. I hope you do too.
Please visit http://yesonz.vote.

— Zac Bowling