Jeffrey Levin 
Member since Apr 29, 2015


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Recent Comments

Re: “Oakland Looks to Close Owner Move-In and Occupancy Loopholes, Reduce Evictions and Harmful Rent Increases

The City's own surveys show that public concerns about housing affordability, displacement and homelessness rank higher than concerns about crime. In which case, the City is actually focusing on issues that are of most concern to Oakland residents.

As for this claim: "many who have had sweetheart rent deals for decades and quite honesty want to keep them for life. That is big motivator for making claims that may not actually be true", what actual documentation do you have that this is widespread?

The vast majority of Oakland renters are paying far more than 30% of their income for rent. That's not a "sweetheart rent deal".

Posted by Jeffrey Levin on 07/13/2017 at 5:09 PM

Re: “Town Business: Oakland's Proposed $2.6 Billion Budget

@Bruce Ferrell - The City doesn't build or operate housing itself (the Oakland Housing Authority, a separate agency, does own and operate public housing). But for decades it has provided funding to developers of affordable housing (mostly but not exclusively locally based nonprofit groups). There are long term deed restrictions to ensure that the housing remains affordable and occupied by eligible lower income households.

The City can require developers of new owner-occupied housing (i.e., new condos) to provide affordable units, but State law precludes such requirements for new rental housing unless the City is providing some kind of financial contribution, fee waiver, etc. The City recently enacted an impact fee where developers of market rate housing pay into an affordable housing fund, but it hasn't yet generated much revenue, though it is anticipated to do so in the future as new projects apply for building permits. The City *could* condition rezoning, increased height, reduced parking, etc. on provision of affordable units, but so far it has rarely done so.

Posted by Jeffrey Levin on 05/03/2017 at 12:12 AM

Re: “Town Business: Housing Emergency; Biff's Demolition; “Love Life”; Pop Tax

Building dense housing with more of a transit orientation in our downtown areas is smart planning. And yes, it reduces greenhouse gas emissions and serves other environmental objectives.

But Oakland has NO affordable housing requirement, so it's a safe bet that new market-rate housing will in fact cater to high-income urban workers. Projected rents on new apartments in general are in excess of $3,000 per month, which by accepted affordability standards (30% of pre-tax income) requires an income of $120,000 per year. The median income for renter households in Oakland is between $35,000 and $40,000. So it's a pretty reasonable conclusion that this development will in fact "cater to high-income urban workers."

Unfortunately, as rents skyrocket in our urban centers, low income workers are pushed to outer suburbs not well served by transit, where they will then have to drive to work. And that is definitely NOT good for climate change. Sustainable development has to be equitable, too.

Posted by Jeffrey Levin on 04/04/2016 at 6:18 PM

Re: “Affordable Housing Now

It's important to look at what was built not just in one year, but over the long run. For the period 1999-2014, which covers the last two Housing Element periods and includes both boom and bust cycles, the City's own figures show that only 26% of all new housing was affordable. The rest was market rate housing, at costs that are two to three times what the average Oaklander can afford. With the elimination of redevelopment, the City cannot even maintain that level of affordable housing production going forward.

The issue isn't whether there should be market-rate development. The issue is whether scarce public land, rather than other privately-owned land, should be used for luxury housing or should be used to ensure that there's at least a modicum of affordable housing built in areas that are being planned for gentrification.

22 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by Jeffrey Levin on 04/29/2015 at 5:18 PM

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