measure A

On Monday, Jan. 13, the Planning Board hosted a Measure A “workshop,” opening for discussion what many consider the city’s political third rail. Members of the City Council subcommittee addressed the 1973 Measure A and its 1991 counterpart. Vice Mayor John Knox White and Councilmember Tony Daysog opened the dialog by thanking the board members for working with city staff.

More on housing measure’s history

Last evening a contentious Planning Board meeting at City Hall featured a discussion of the 1973 Measure A. In its Jan. 23 edition, the Alameda Sun will cover that meeting in detail and offer another installment of this series about the measure. 

Measure A is an exclusionary zoning charter amendment adopted by the Alameda electorate in 1973 designed to prohibit construction of multifamily housing. Proponents emerged in opposition to the proposed development of Harbor Bay Isle by Utah Construction and Doric Development and the pro-growth City Council incumbents. Although purported to “protect the environment,” an examination of the stated positions of the original “framers” and opponents, and the multiple legal challenges can help Alamedans understand how Measure A prolonged racial and economic inequalities.

The courts and the state of California recently delivered bad news to the Friends of Crab Cove (FOCC). The organization is fighting to stifle Alameda Point Collaborative’s (APC) plans to open a wellness center in the now-shuttered federal government buildings on McKay Avenue. FOCC has long protested the idea of opening such a center, hoping instead to have the area reserved for open space. The organization successfully created Measure B, which will appear on the ballot in a special election on April 9. If passed the measure would create open space.

Alameda voters will very likely see a measure on their Nov. 2 ballot that will ask them to appeal the 1973 Measure A. This measure became part of the City Charter as Article 26. Section 26-1 plainly and simply forbids the construction of any multiple dwellings on the Island City and 26-2 made exceptions for replacing low-cost housing and the construction of a proposed senior center. 

Voters passed another Measure A in 1991. This added Section 26-3 that limited residential density to one housing unit per 2,000 square feet of land. 

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.

Ordinance began to unravel at birth

The City of Alameda faced several Measure A challenges in the first six weeks of the ordinance’s existence. “There shall be no multiple units built in Alameda,” the ordinance read, without defining “multiple units.” The first test came with Braddock and Logan’s three townhome developments planned or underway on Bay Farm Island: Garden Isle, Casitas and Islandia. 

Part One in a Series


The Alameda County Registrar of Voters posted another voter results update of the April 9 special election on Friday, April 12.

This is the third update the Registrar’s office has released since last Tuesday’s election. The new results did not change much and Measure A is still expected to pass, while Measure B will most likely fail. 


I am fortunate serve as the Mayor of a compassionate, caring city. Alamedans look out for others, even those we don’t know, as shown by the outpouring of assistance for Coast Guard personnel and families during the federal government shutdown, then enthusiastic support for the warming shelter at Christ Episcopal Church, volunteers who deliver Meals on Wheels and serve at the Alameda Food Bank, and the community-wide effort to save our animal shelter.