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Re: “Oakland Housing Emergency

Oakland always handles issues like a chicken with its head cut off -and I mean residents and council. Here's a crazy request... quantify and qualify your stinking proposals, and if you can't then don't act on them. All this talk and not even a single number on something as important as what percentage of units the emergency action will impact? What are we even fighting over if we don't know what the impact will be? Oh, Oaklanders don't give a frick about results as long as the idea sounds like it ought to be right and ought to work. Hayward is starting to become more appealing -I hear it's cheaper and if I get an eviction notice the legal self-help center is now just an UBER away.

Posted by Matt_Chambers on 04/06/2016 at 10:58 PM

Re: “It's Time To Overturn the State Ban on Rent Control

"Costa-Hawkins, which doesn't get nearly enough attention from the news media, prohibits Oakland from establishing rent control on buildings constructed after 1983."

Mr. Gammon: Costa-Hawkins exempts units constructed after 1995, not 1983.

Oakland's own rent control ordinance sets 1983 as the cut-off date (Art. 1, sec. 8.22.030(A)(5)), and not Costa-Hawkins. San Francisco has a similar built-in date to their ordinance (1979). Like Costa-Hawkins, both were set at the time the laws were respectively passed - and Costa-Hawkins was modeled on this.

Posted by Daniel Butt on 04/06/2016 at 9:52 PM

Re: “How an Environmental Law Is Harming the Environment

Timely blog post - I Appreciate the points , Does someone know where my company would be able to access a sample DoL EE-2 version to fill in ?

Posted by Virgie Hudgins on 04/06/2016 at 6:27 PM

Re: “Oakland Housing Emergency

Oakland's politicians are afraid to vote for real changes to zoning laws which might create more housing because all the wailers about Oakland's housing crisis don't want new housing built next to them.

So they prate about stricter rent controls, subsidized affordable housing (no such thing) etc. Been doing it for a long time. Hasn't worked and it won't. Why not take a little risk and change the zoning laws in a truly liberal way? If it doesn't work you can go back to complaining and offering useless programs. If it works, well...

Posted by Kurt Schoeneman on 04/06/2016 at 3:16 PM

Re: “It's Time To Overturn the State Ban on Rent Control

I just spoke with some anti-gentrification activists at the city council meeting last night. They told me with a straight face they wanted to stop all luxury housing in the entire bay area and only building low income housing to stop the gentrification of the region. I asked them how they could actually stop investors from building any market rate housing and they simply asserted they could. I asked them what it cost to build a unit of housing and they didn't dispute a cost of 300,000 to half a million dollars but they said there were enough state and local funds to build low cost housing.
I proposed we needed to build more housing at all income levels and they sneered I was one of those "supply side people."
One of the pair said he knew how to crash the real estate market. I asked with great interest how we could do this and he said that currently the city of Oakland pays landowners of vacant land in Oakland not to build housing in order to keep the price of real estate high. " If housing were built on the vacant land it would lower the price of housing."
I jumped on the comment to say I completely agreed with him more housing would help to lower or "crash" the market price. He then seemed to realize t he was also supply sider.

Posted by Nick Yale on 04/06/2016 at 3:07 PM

Re: “Oakland Housing Emergency

Talk about unintended circumstances: This is no victory. Anyone who thinks so is fooling themselves. Rents will soar even higher now. This ruling only applies to buildings built before 1983. So the effect will be the remaining rental pool will become even more expensive since it is exempt. In addition any older units that come on the market through a vacancy will rent for even more to offset lost income from the other units. Kaplan alludes to all of this when she mentions there is state law to overcome in the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act.
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This is all just bad policy and if it goes past 90 days look out. But to unravel this there are some insurmountable challenges for the city. Like prop 13, a lack of new construction and the desire for everyone to live in/near cities.
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Here we are 7 years into an economic boom and Oakland is still trying to figure out how to house the 1000's new residents making home here. Build more, build now, build tomorrow.
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If you look at Houston TX they have made it incredibly easy to do development. Does Houston have challenges? Sure, but expensive housing is not one of them. They have the 3rd lowest cost of living in the USA. Why? Because they made commerce easy.
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Disclosure: I am not a landlord nor do I have any financial interests in properties rented/leased out to third parties.

Posted by Gene Keenan on 04/06/2016 at 3:05 PM

Re: “Oakland Housing Emergency

The claim that laws limiting rent control caused or exacerbated the housing crisis is completely backwards. People who study rent control using quantitative methods (ie data) agree that rent control is bad for the quality and quantity of rental stock.

The best way to fix the housing emergency is to allow builders to build. Stop requiring developers to include affordable housing. The problem with affordable housing is that is simply impacts too few people--most low income Californians receive little or no assistance from affordable housing--and requiring a developer to build an additional 20 units dedicated to affordable housing isn't going to fix that.

A recent non-partisan study found that facilitating more private housing development in the state’s coastal urban communities would help make housing more affordable for low–income Californians. For the full report, see here: http://www.lao.ca.gov/Publications/Report/… .

Posted by Tommy Katz on 04/06/2016 at 2:59 PM

Re: “Oakland Housing Emergency

Where is the data for actual evictions? In another article there it stated that there's mechanism that is tracking actual evictions. Notices yes, actual evictions no. Let's see the data before making rash decisions based off anecdotal evidence.

The bigger question is why is it the landlords responsibility to subsidize low income residents? If the city of Oakland is that concern, they should shoulder the responsibility and put our money where their mouth is.

Posted by Robert Hope on 04/06/2016 at 2:22 PM

Re: “Oakland Housing Emergency

The organizations and individuals of the Post Salon Community Assembly are pleased that the “Housing State of Emergency” Ordinance initiated February 29 by the Assembly was adopted unanimously by the Oakland City Council last night, April 5, after three hours of heart-rending stories from the broadly represented community.

A leader of the group, Carroll Fife, stated: “I am pleased with our unanimous victory at council last night, and I am even more enthused about the broad-based coalition that came together to forcefully address the needs of Oakland's current residents. I look forward to continuing to work toward real solutions with all the impacted parties, including the many landlords who strive to serve their tenants well. “

We urged the Council to recognize the unprecedented level of evictions and rent increases experienced by Oakland residents. More than 60% of Oakland residents are renters and the median yearly income for this group is $30,000 a year. The city’s housing policies must focus on this group in order to stop the displacement faced by a thousand every month. Affordable rent for this group is $750 a month; yet available 2-bedroom apartments are going for $2950 a month (City of Oakland 2015 Rental Survey).

Kitty Kelly Epstein added: “We are aiming to buck the national trend to permit all Oakland residents, who desire so, to remain in their homes. We are especially concerned that effective policies must be quickly implemented which will halt the present hemorrhaging of families with school age children and the African-American community.”

More than 200 individuals signed up to speak on the housing ordinance, and many proposed creative long-term solutions. In an addendum to the ordinance, the Post Salon Assembly laid out twelve specific policy proposals for consideration by the Council, staff, and community in the weeks ahead. These include, for example: 1) stockpiling and leasing residential-suited, city-land and buildings at no cost to the Oakland Land Trust for production of permanently affordable housing, and 2) mandatory mediation in the event of intended or threatened evictions.

Speakers noted that state and federal policies are contributing to the crisis and must also be addressed. The state “Costa-Hawkins” law, in particular, prevents meaningful rent control in all buildings constructed before 1983.

Community groups initiating the Emergency Housing Ordinance include the Oakland Post Salon, Oakland Tenants Union, Oakland Alliance, John George Democratic Club, Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club, Black Women Organized for Political Action, OaklandWORKS, Quilimbo, and Oakland Parents Together.

James Vann
Carroll Fife
Kitty Kelly Epstein

Posted by James Vann on 04/06/2016 at 2:02 PM

Re: “Bad Credit Histories Scuttle Homeless Housing

Of course, few want to see others trapped in homelessness. But, even those who are not homeless seeking non-subsidized housing rentals face the possible adverse results of a credit check. A person's past behavior follows them with good or bad consequences, even if some might excuse the bad ones. The frustrating situation Anthony Dunbar faced is not isolated to the homeless or low-income populations. Property owners are justified in screening those who want to occupy their properties, because large investments are at stake. In Mr. Dunbar's case, it appears the credit check had no errors about his history, only situations that had excuses - like almost all such adverse reports usually do. To his credit, Mr. Dunbar forged onward, realizing and accepting he needed to clear up the negative factors and apply for housing again. His taking responsibility to pay off old bills now has him on a waiting list for his apartment - a welcomed outcome. It does seem some "flexibility" advocated by the article would be appropriate - but that is up to the property owners, not to be enforced by society at large. Without the ability to determine the character and stability of any property renter, low-income or otherwise, there would probably be even fewer rental properties available at even higher rates - making it even worse for all.

Posted by William H. Thompson on 04/06/2016 at 1:50 PM

Re: “Oakland Housing Emergency

Thank you for the emergency action, Oakland City Council, and for the pressure to do so to Causa Justa et al. It is much needed. We anticipate losing our affordable housing before the end of the year, and face a minimum doubling of our rent if we are to stay in Oakland. The possibility of homeownership is at least a year away, but we won't have "cash" offers to compete with investors as we are moderate income. It's distressing to be a tenant in this current climate. The landlords have all the leverage, and most places now do not even include basic utilities. Richmond, Hayward, and Vallejo all are looking like the possible next zip code.

Posted by R.B. Martin on 04/06/2016 at 1:21 PM

Re: “Mental Health 911

Thank you for drawing attention to a very complex problem/issue. I have suffered with mental illness and continue to do so. My opinion is that all police/law enforcement (anyone in authority, no matter rank) should be mandated to complete CIT training and continuing education on this subject. There is enough violence, enough stress, enough anger in our society - its a powder keg ready to explode with extreme ramifications. I would vote for community policing outreach, finding out from the community what they need in terms of resources to eradicate crime in their neighborhoods. The mental health issue - having been in the "mental health system" for over 5 years now, the resources in placed are so stretched and they clearly do not work.

Posted by Christina Chiesa on 04/06/2016 at 12:47 PM

Re: “Oakland Housing Emergency

Alphabeta & David,

You may or may not be aware that 1978's Prop 13 places strict caps on property tax in California. Regardless, you are correct that high property tax discourages speculation by increasing the holding cost of underdeveloped land and buildings. It has the same basic effect as a Land Value Tax, or LVT. Where I previously lived, typical property tax rates were 3%, and housing was dramatically more affordable.

Posted by Ian Rees on 04/06/2016 at 12:17 PM

Re: “Oakland Housing Emergency

Rent control worsens the problem by suppressing investment in the housing stock. You are advocating the wrong solution. Like many politicians, you are trying to look good today while making the problem worse in the future.

Posted by Sean Galaer on 04/06/2016 at 11:21 AM

Re: “The High Cost of Driving While Poor

Eric Breidenbach,
This government racket should be addressed by Bernie Sanders, along with the drug war, the corporate takover of schools and other issues Obama would not confront. Nor will Hillary stand up to the money crowd. We need municipal Government that is not corrupt slime happy to suck the blood from the poor.

Posted by Eric Breidenbach on 04/06/2016 at 4:06 AM

Re: “Oakland Housing Emergency

Property taxes suppress the rent of real estate by diminishing the incentive to speculatively invest in land. In fact, a heavy tax on land values would promote optimal market development of land, raise enormous public revenue enabling reducing or abolishing business taxes and the sales tax, as well as the property tax on buildings. Why not attend a free Save San Francisco Real Estate School seminar?

Posted by David Giesen on 04/05/2016 at 11:18 PM

Re: “Oakland Housing Emergency

This comment was removed because it violates our policy against anonymous comments. It will be reposted if the commenter chooses to use his or her real name.

Posted by Editor on 04/05/2016 at 9:37 PM

Re: “East Bay Hills Tree Removal Plan Still Sparking Debate

Eucalyptus and acacias are often cut back with the intent of reducing fire risk or improving the view. However, they are very tenacious and will quickly resprout thicker than before than before unless actively deterred.
Shortly after moving to the East Bay hills in 1996, we completely removed the eucalyptus trees surrounding our house and replaced them with redwoods. The redwoods are now 20 to 30 feet high, and volunteer oaks and bay trees are starting to sprout around them.

Posted by Mitchell Craig on 04/04/2016 at 6:18 PM

Re: “Why Is There a Housing Crisis?

Mr. Walker is correct in observing the remote participation of the boom and bust economic cycle in he Bay Area housing crisis. Wrong assuming that the activists have proposed non Negotiable standing on development. The Nimby will continue to pimp the crisis. City councils will sell out. The geography and demand will rule the day. The movers will reap the benefits of the boom and perhaps take to water sports during the bust? If we wait on the revolution recipe mentioned for change it's like hoping Bernie will win! So let's cut the crap and introduce something known as FairPlay and genius to maintain equity. It happens in most developing nations in the world. Also known as democratic process in some regions.

Posted by Ranil Abeysekera on 04/03/2016 at 7:39 PM

Re: “Will Oakland's Legal Weed Industry Leave People of Color Behind?

Impressive article. Impressive organizing by Supernova and others. There should be no barriers to ownership or licensure in any business based on drug priors. That goes for medical marijuana, adult use marijuana should it become legal, general contracting or accounting, etc. California and the nation has permanently disenfranchised people for selling a small amount of a commodity that another adult wanted. It's wrong and it's racist.

Posted by Glenn Backes on 04/02/2016 at 2:36 PM

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