Another View on AB-1322

Another View on AB-1322

Jeffrey R. Smith

The Alameda Sun’s warnings regarding the “serious” implications of AB 1322 and putting AB 1322 “in its Proper Context” remind me of what is arguably the best movie of all times: High Noon (“Putting AB 1322 in its Proper Context,” May 6).

Shot in 1952, High Noon is a classic, gun-slinging, shoot-em-up Western. It is 60 minutes of nail-biting and popcorn-chomping anticipation, followed by ten minutes of blazing six shooters and gun-smoke. The denouement, after the smoke clears the set, focuses on a surviving hero with suppurating flesh wounds staunched by scraps of cotton fabric urgently torn from Grace Kelly’s petticoat.

The backdrop is a panorama of limp, bloody corpses littering dusty streets, hanging from windows and balustrades, and slumped over the hitching posts of Hadleyville, New Mexico. The Sheriff, Will Kane — played by Gary Cooper — is warned that the dastardly Hank Miller — an early release felon — and his gang will be arriving at “high noon” on a steam locomotive.

As an aside, the actual train used in High Noon had no brakes and ran over the movie camera and its tripod positioned between the rails; the film cassette remained intact. Hank Miller and his transformative team want to even up the score with the insensitive Sheriff who put the misunderstood and troubled Hank — who was about to put his life together — into a non-airconditioned slammer.

Once Hank and the boys had sufficiently perforated Sheriff Kane, they planned to defund the police force and turn Hadleyville into a malleable and pliable “no police zone” — a futuristic utopic vision way ahead of its rustic times. During the 60 minutes leading up to the fusillade of lead swapping, Sheriff Kane tries to put together a posse to defend Hadleyville against Hank and his team of progressive liberators and social scientists.

One by one, each candidate for the posse, buckles at the knees and finds a cogent, compelling, sniveling reason to dodge his civic duty and to hide under his bed.

And now we return to AB 1322 which, like the Miller Gang, threatens to take over Alameda. Perhaps a gruff delegation — lawyered-up and heavily armed with cell phones and ultra-slim briefcases — will arrive from Sacramento, via the Capitol Corridor, on Amtrak; no steam; diesel.

While none of the delegation will be toting a hammer, they will hammer out the “conflicts between local voter initiatives and state law around forming a Housing Element, and how Article 26 of Alameda’s (parochial) City Charter (added in 1973 via Measure A) creates one of those conflicts.”

As reported in the Los Angeles Times, by CBS, at, on ABC News, the Associated Press, California’s population fell by more than 182,000 last year. Few of these bolting refugees had the foresight to take their housing units with them.

Were this “fake news” actually true, nearly 100,000 housing units have been liberated or abandoned by deplorables, ungrateful miscreants and unwokes fleeing California for states where common sense still exercises its dictatorial power, property rights trump government profligacy and the tyranny of the individual reigns supreme — or worse, where armed constables like Sheriff Kane are allowed to stalk the streets.

But can we trust these mainstream news sources reporting from the peripheries? Neither the Epoch Times, National Lampoon, New York Post, Soap Opera Digest nor the National Enquirer carried the California exodus story.

For the sake of steam-rolling local sovereignty and squelching the voice of the Alameda Community, City Hall keeps reminding us of the inevitability of the “2023-2031 cycle” that will force feed us “5406 new units of housing.” Like Paul Revere, local bureaucrats warn us, “AB 1322 is coming, AB 1322 is coming.”

To shoe-horn in enough living space “Some of those units will have to be high-density, multi-family housing under the rules” of course; we would expect nothing less. Compression is a must since “State law also requires that some land be zoned for 30 units per acre.”

Naturally, Article 26 of the City Charter, which “gets in the way of complying with state law” will have to be torched, shredded, trampled on, bulldozed, or knocked down with a wrecking ball; the question is by who?

I had lunch with an unnamed bank president who boasted he once delivered envelopes — handed to him by a local developer — to city hall in order to get elected officials to see the wisdom of approving development plans.

No one would have the chutzpah to even repeat such a story, even if it is true. Personally, I would not touch that story with someone else’s 10-foot selfie pole.

Putting aside conspiracy theories — and omitting impolitic words like corruption, graft, greasy palms — it is curious that the City of Alameda, citing the inevitability of complying with Sacramento mandates, wants us to roll over and play dead before the train load of blustering bureaucrats and arrogant apparatchiks arrives at “High Noon” from Sacramento.

Suppose we summon our courage, stand fast, defend, and respect the expressed will of the People of Alameda and the train never actually pulls in?

The Sacramento specter could be a scare tactic to shiver our timbers, test our resolve and the sovereignty of Alamedeans. It seems that City Hall is trying to get us to dampen our incontinences shorts.

Could home seekers occupy the 100,000 units deserted by refugees fleeing idyllic, liberal listing, California?

Would Alameda citizens be violating some constitutional provision that guarantees housing in tony Alameda to every American citizen?

If City Hall is to be trusted, the Hobson’s choice it presents is: “Would you rather have the City Charter steam-rolled over by City Hall and people you know and have been told to trust, or have the Charter steam-rolled by some omnipotent strangers, like the Hank Miller gang, arriving from Sacramento?”

If City Hall remains loyal to its constituency, and the Sacramento gang does not arrive, to whom will rapacious developers express their gratitude.

The issue comes down to: who should enjoy the privilege of riding roughshod over the people of Alameda?

Sacramento, the developers or City Hall?

Jeffrey R Smith is a sidewalk cicerone, social chameleon, and political invertebrate, as well as a Lieutenant Commander/Naval aviator, USN Retired.