Riddle me this

When I was younger, I was a big fan of those little puzzle books you bought in the airport bookstore to entertain you during your flight. They featured word hunts, crosswords, and my favorite, logic puzzles. Frequently, when reading the newspaper or listening to public comments at City Council meetings, I am reminded of these logic games I used to so love solving, and I also wonder if perhaps I was the only person who ever entertained myself this way. Certainly, the leaders of the Oakland People’s Housing Coalition seemed to have skipped them.

So here’s a little puzzle for my fellow Oaklanders. If every other city in the Bay Area has inclusionary zoning, and, as advocates of the policy claim, inclusionary zoning is an effective method for supplying affordable housing in urban communities, then why is it that “Families have had to move to outlying areas such as Antioch and Tracy to find homes they can afford.”?

I have heard this identical sequence of assertions repeated probably thousands of times over the last year. And every single time, I can’t help but wonder – are the inclusionary zoning advocates being intentionally deceitful about its efficacy, or are they just stupid? I honestly don’t know the answer.

Also, I call bullshit on Christopher Heredia, who makes this assertion in his story on the matter: “Efforts to get an inclusionary zoning ordinance on the books in Oakland have been stymied by political divisions and those who believe the city has too much affordable housing. Among the latter is City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente.” I’ve listened the Councilman speak about affordable housing and inclusionary zoning dozens of times, and I have never once heard him claim that Oakland has “too much” affordable housing, or anything even remotely similar.

3 thoughts on “Riddle me this

  1. Deckin

    V Smoothe,

    Good to see you back in blogging. The answer to your puzzle is the ‘completely unverifiable counter-factual’. That is, ‘you should see what it would be without IZ’. Of course, this always works with a faith based belief system because the way in which things would be worse is constantly adjustable to suit one’s faith. Try it: it’s a beautiful thing to be snug in the firm belief that you couldn’t possibly be wrong. Next stop, Crawford, Texas!

  2. V Smoothe

    You know, Deckin, the funny thing is that I never even hear them saying that. They just endlessly repeat that every other city has IZ, and absolutely refuse to acknowledge the impact IZ has had on the housing market in those cities.

  3. Max Allstadt

    Len, it’s just that I prefer dilution to concentration when it comes those problems.

    It definitely helps to have enough people around who believe in calling the cops when there’s trouble on the street. It might just push drug dealing and prostitution off the street and into units, but that’s OK. These issues won’t go away. They never will. What we need to do is enhance our quality of life by teaching petty criminals manners. Manners that dictate they keep their crimes out of sight, and solve their disputes with as little violence as possible.

    As for IZ, lets put it this way, if it allows the people in an area to avoid being displaced by growth, and if it creates the political will for growth, I’m all for it. I don’t see how it could work in Berkeley the way I’d described. Where is there high-density housing in Berkeley except on campus and in a handful of downtown buildings? There aren’t any highrises as far as I can tell.