Just say no to more initiatives
Original post made on May 16, 2008
Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, May 16, 2008, 12:00 AM
on May 16, 2008 at 1:42 pm
The reason people are signing initiatives and referendums now is because they are frustrated with the current leadership. If people were happy with the current leadership, they would not be signing these things.
The reason the housing cap needs to be defined now is nobody had any indication a future council would play sneaky games trying to get more houses in Pleasanton by designating housing units as "not a housing unit". There are two ways you can get above the housing cap. You can either go to the voters to ask them to ammend the previous initiative which defined the maximum number of housing units in Pleasanton (the honest thing to do), or you can not count all your housing units (the sneaky thing to do). Unfortunately, the current council has had discussion saying they wanted to excluding counting of some new units against the general plan. The only way to keep the Council in check was to define what a housing unit is. The initiative has a consistent definition as the state of California as well as the US Census. Although those definitions should have been enough, our Council is doing whatever it can to develop more houses. It seems like our elected officials are now more concerned in staying in office than representing the citizens and they feel that raising money for elections is more important. Hence, give the developers what they want so the politicians get more money for future elections. Why else would the mayor hire a public relations person?
I have lived downtown for many, many years and it makes me cry to see how this Council is unwilling to stand up to developers.
on May 16, 2008 at 2:21 pm
The reason the housing cap needs to be defined now is because the previous housing cap initiative was another bad law. The failing was in _that_ initiative. Initiatives lead quickly to bad law.
Additionally, I'd like to see Anne suggest how Pleasanton should follow State affordable housing laws.
on May 16, 2008 at 6:14 pm
Stacey, the housing cap initiative was put on the ballot by the City Council to affirm the housing cap and the urban growth boundary that was in the 1996 General Plan update. That occurred after many years and meetings with a general plan steering committee. So taking your statement, all laws are bad :-)
We do not build affordable housing in Pleasanton (and most of California). We build subsidized housing. If the State wants us to develop subsidized housing, the State must pay for it. As it was explained to me, technically the city must not "get in the way" of providing "affordable housing" (i.e., subsidized housing). If a developer wants to provide subsidized housing, the city does not stand in the way. The City Council can actually solve this "problem" right now during the General Plan update. They can state that all housing units over what has been zoned in the General Plan today must be completely affordable (I heard somebody mention this previously). Period. We have then provided places for "affordable housing" and the developers can work with the state or other interests to pay for the subsidies. Alternatively, those who want more subsidized housing in Pleasanton can put an initiative on the ballot (your favorite thing), or the Council can do the same thing, asking residents if they would pass a bond or parcel tax to pay for subsidized housing in Pleasanton. Funny but I have never seen the housing advocates suggest a tax to pay for the subsidies so I guess they do not feel the issue is that important.
Stacey, who do you think should be paying the subsidies for this "affordable housing"? I see several ways:
1) Tax new home owners (we do this today but it is called inclusionary housing instead of calling it a new home tax)
2) Have the State pay for the subsidy
3) Start a tax in Pleasanton to pay for the subsidy
4) (your idea here)