Alameda Moderates Might be Actual Majority
I read with interest the article that Laura Thomas (“Island Progressives Comprise Majority,” Jan. 23) wrote. I disagree with her on many of the issues mentioned. I don’t believe that the majority of Alamedans are radical progressives. In fact, the majority of Alamedans are not involved and sometimes uninformed. A small, vocal number have made protesting at City Council meetings this their social activity. Unfortunately, many Alamedans just don’t have the time to engage.
In 2016 we had two rental ballot measures. L1, which was moderate and fair and M1, which was radical rent control. L1 won that election. The current City Council has recently created Ordinance 3249, which mirrors the soundly defeated M1 even though the voters disagreed with its basic terms. Its terms are actually more radical then outlined in M1. Realtors and property managers are seeing that many small, income-property owners are leaving the rental market. The “mom and pops” are selling to out-of-town buyers who will treat rentals as strictly business. This type of radical rent control has historically never had any other effect then decreasing the supply of rental units and creating higher rents for tenants. So it goes in Alameda.
The only difference between the more moderate L1 and the recently defeated Measure K was that many owners wanted it to be a Charter Amendment so a radical City Council could not change it. Being a Charter Amendment meant that it could only be changed by a vote of the people. It’s interesting that the City Council was in a rush to change the rental ordinance when they knew that statewide measures were in the works.
Now the Council has created a giant bureaucracy including a rental registry that will have renters’ personal information and addresses available for all the world to see. Some tenants, like those worried about spousal violence, working in law enforcement or having other concerns about keeping their addresses private for safety reasons may be open to future problems if landlords supply the information. It is important for renters to communicate to the Council if they do not want their personal information a part of the public record and accessible to anyone.
The fee the property owner pays this year is $106 per unit and with the rent-control bureaucracy that the City Council created, is bound to go up. The renters will have the privilege of paying 50 percent of that fee this year. Incompetence or lack of common sense?
As far as the city building affordable housing, why didn’t they put condos on the corner of Clement Avenue and Park Street, instead of a major hotel with very limited parking? Why are they taking away 75 parking spaces on Clement across from the future hotel for another bicycle lane? Where’s the common sense? The city is currently having trouble finding a developer for the base. Why?
It’s apparent that the majority of the current City Council are pro- developer, without real solutions for our traffic problems. We are an island with approximately 80,000 inhabitants. It’s very difficult getting off the Island with the current population.
For a more comprehensive explanation of our current state of affairs in Alameda, I invite you to read Robert Sullwold’s blog “Alameda Merry-Go Round.” It is my utmost hope that the voters of Alameda consider this information when completing their ballots in November. It is past time for a City Council that considers the wishes of every Alamedan, and not just the few who are most vocal.