Time to move on from inclusionary zoning

Zennie Abraham thinks blogging about crime is depressing. He’s right. You know what else is depressing? Blogging about affordable housing.

The Blue Ribbon Commission met on Tuesday for the final time, and after more pointless discussion, decided…nothing. The Commissioners were unable to reach a consensus on anything and will be issuing no recommendations to the City Council.

This is a phenomenally depressing outcome from a commission that was charged with creating “a comprehensive housing strategy to ensure that housing, be it rental or ownership, is affordable to all income levels within the city.” Also, this is what happens when you become so focused on ideology that you forget what you’re supposed to be doing in the first place. All the BRC did, all the Council does, and all the housing activists do is sit around yelling about IZ endlessly. At this point, it should be abundantly clear that this Council is not going reach a consensus on IZ. They do not have the five votes needed for it to pass.

Tens of thousands of families in Oakland have serious difficulty finding a place to live. As of September 2006, the City of Oakland was supporting a grand total of 10,712 subsidized housing units. 3,308 units of public housing. 2,572 assisted units for families. 157 units of supportive housing. 90 units of transitional housing. 3,914 units for seniors. 679 SRO rooms. A little over half of these are federally funded by Section 8.

I have explained repeatedly why I think IZ is a bad idea for Oakland. But that is no longer the point. The very real needs of too many residents are being totally ignored while we draw out this fruitless debate forever. It’s time to change the discussion. The Council needs to start looking for ways to increase the affordable housing supply that we might be able to agree on.

One thought on “Time to move on from inclusionary zoning

  1. dto510

    One BRC member told me that the IZ compromise fell apart because the commissioners couldn’t reach a consensus on condo conversions. The IZ activists passed up their best chance to get an ordinance in order to preserve twenty-year-old, irrational condo regulations.