The Facts on Measure A

The Facts on Measure A

In response to Eugenie Thompson’s op-ed piece (“City Must Follow Charter,” May 29), I feel compelled to correct some factual misunderstandings that some people may have missed. Her attack appears to be based on the “fact” that our City Council, people we elected to care for our community, are not complying with the regulations. 

Measure A fact: the City Council has taken actions to reconcile local housing regulations, Measure A and state law. The basis for her distress appears that in doing so, the 40-year-old charter amendment, Measure A, has been violated. 

To help readers readily understand the Measure A Charter Amendments — no long complicated legalese is involved! It simply says, “There shall be no multiple-unit dwellings built in Alameda.”

The reason that every apartment / condo building in Alameda is over 39 years old is because that Charter Amendment has governed the city’s development. Those who subscribe support for this exclusionary law apparently agree with the exclusion of Alamedans or others who may need or want to live in multifamily housing. 

For example: disabled people, senior citizens, young people, single-parent families, Alamedans who have lost their homes or jobs, or the people who serve us coffee, sell us groceries or teach our children. They must believe that only people who can afford single family homes should be allowed to live in Alameda. 

Fact: fortunately state law no longer permits a city to discriminate against those who do not chose to live in single family homes. In this country. It does not require a vote of the local community to change a law that is in violation of State or Federal laws.

With the enactment of the new state law, local elected officials and their appointed Planning Board members began to act responsibly to notice the community that they planned to draft a Housing Element to be submitted to the state. This submittal would permit new multifamily housing on approximately 2 percent of the total land area of Alameda. 

The local newspapers ran front page articles and lots of people attended and commented at the many meetings. The proposals and the specific sites for multifamily housing were published by the city and discussed at (five) 5 public hearings between December 2011 and July 17, 2012. On July 17 the proposals were approved after taking public comment supporting the proposal. 

Fact: this proved that Alameda is basically neither a community of exclusion or discrimination. 

Crown Beach fact: over the course of all of the meetings/hearing on the plan for multifamily housing and rezoning of sites in a specific 2 percent of Alameda, no individual or agency and neither the Sierra Club (whose representatives were actively involved) nor the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD )(that ignored the entire discussion) ever spoke against the proposed inclusion of the three acre Crown Beach parcel. 

Now, after the fact people are speaking up, attacking council members and fellow Alamedans for opposing the present day proposal of EBRPD to create a rather un-park-like place for parking, recycling and picnic tables. 

I write this in hope that readers will have a better understanding of the responsible actions of our city officials. And also to encourage all members of the community to read, be thoughtful and participate in sharing thoughts at these public meetings that inform the actions of our Planning Board and City Council. 

Helen Sause is an Alameda resident.