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By Tim Hunt

Mass vote-by-mail invitation to problems

Uploaded: Sep 24, 2020

There’s been justifiable concern about mass voting by mail in many states, including California. We have been permanent vote-by-mail people since Alameda County collapsed our precinct many years ago.

What is of great concern to me is the woeful job Alameda County has done purging its voter rolls. We received five mailings from the county registrar’s office—three were to people who live here and two for people who have not lived here for six and seven years. One was addressed to our daughter who moved to Memphis, TN in 2014. The other was addressed to our former youth pastor who rented a room until she got married and moved to Washington in 2013.

I recall how long it took the county to catch up with the deaths of my father-in-law and my wife’s aunt (2009 and 2008 respectively). I think that was at least 2012.

The non-profit public interest corporation, Judicial Watch, settled a 2017 lawsuit against Los Angeles County in 2019. The non-profit announced in a press release that the county had mailed 1.5 million notices to inactive voters. The secretary of state also was required to have other counties clean up their lists as required by federal law.

Obviously, Alameda County has not gotten much done.

The Washington Free Beacon reported a Tuesday study by the Public Interest Legal Foundation out of Indiana. The group conducted a nationwide study that determined as many as 350,000 dead people were still on the voter rolls. More than half were in just five states---New York, Michigan, Florida, Texas and California.

CalMatters columnist Dan Walters opined recently about the staggering cost of building government-subsidized “affordable housing.”

He cited his 2019 column in which he wrote about a $28 million project financed by the city of Sacramento that rehabbed 74 low-rent apartments at a cost of $378,000 each—way more than the median-priced single-family home in the area.

Walters then dug into a Los Angeles Times in-depth piece. The Times dug into a low-income project in Solana Beach that went from $414,000 put unit to more than $1.1 million before the developer bailed after trying to win approvals and obtain permits for nearly a decade. The Times also reported that a low-income housing project in Alameda cost $947,000 per unit.

It brings the Tiny Homes project at Goodness Village, being done for $97,000 per 120-square-foot unit (no land cost) into perspective.

I asked Pleasanton officials what the Kottinger Gardens project on Kottinger Avenue cost. Again, there was minimal land cost because the city already owned the project on the north side and the Pleasanton Gardens board (which I chaired at the time), gave the city our 1.95 acres. The two-phase project expanded 90 patio homes into 185 units affordable to low-income senior citizens.

The per unit cost was $391,696, better than other areas, but with the advantage of almost no land cost. The redeveloped units are a real win for residents—modern units with heating and air conditioning in place of units that were more than 40 years old.