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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Election 2016 Candidates Questionnaire: Christian Patz

Housing Affordability: 
Christian Patz

The Tattler presents the 2016 election candidates questionnaire.  Candidates for elected office will answer questions broken down into topical sections that effect Emeryville residents. Responses will be released section by section rotating through all the responding candidates representing the City Council and School Board hopefuls.  
The order of presentation was chosen randomly. Regular Tattler stories will be interspersed in the 2016 election questionnaire.  Readers wishing to peruse all the answers by an individual may use the search bar function by entering ”Election 2016 Candidates Questionnaire” with the name of the candidate and all of that candidate’s sections will be presented. Alternatively just typing in the name of the candidate will also work. 
There are six candidates running for three seats and all answered our questionnaire save candidate for City Council Brynnda Collins.  

Today, candidate for City Council Christian Patz, who answers questions on affordable housing:

Christian Patz

I set my roots in Emeryville in 2003, when my wife I and purchased our home in the Triangle neighborhood. Our family grew in 2010 with the birth of our son. I am a special education teacher that now works as the Director of Special Education for the Oakland School for the Arts. I have served on the Emery School Board for the last two years.
Campaign website:

Section 1 Housing Affordability
With each passing year, Emeryville becomes less affordable, regardless of the epic residential building spree over the last 20 years here.  Emeryville has never built housing at a pace even close to what we have done recently.  And yet, affordable housing remains Emeryville’s most intractable problem most people agree.
Tattler: Emeryville’s affordability rate right now is approximately 11% city-wide according to City Hall using their metrics.  We had more than 30 years of the Emeryville Redevelopment Agency (RDA) who’s primary function was providing affordable housing and 11% is the sum total we could muster with all the largess that agency could bring to bear.  How do you see us raising the 11% average appreciably in the post Redevelopment Agency era? 
Christian Patz:  Housing is the biggest issue in the entire Bay Area and Emeryville especially. The complexity of the issue will require the council to look beyond a single solution. I will work with our economic development team to look at future projects to determine the best way to proceed. San Francisco and Alameda have models that are showing promise.

Tattler:  Emeryville, formerly an industrial wasteland with lots of abandoned warehouses and factories in the 1980’s has been almost completely rebuilt now with lots of housing and shopping centers.  Seeing so little fallow land left and the housing stock that we have is mostly less than 25 years old, where will we build the affordable housing that we need?
Christian Patz:  Our goal should be to include 15 to 20 percent affordable units in every new large scale project.

    Tattler:  Urban density is generally recognized as a net positive thing.  However, increasing density also comes with its own problems, overcrowding of parks and traffic being among them.  Emeryville right now has more than 200% of recommended market rate housing according to the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG).  How do you suggest we increase affordability without increasing our existing 200% of market rate housing more?  Is ABAG wrong?
    Christian Patz:  Given the way development was done in Emeryville over the last 20 plus years, moving any of the percentages is going to be a challenge. We need to treat any increase in affordable housing as a victory. As each new project comes to the commission and then council, we need need to focus on increasing our affordable housing stock. Over time, we can move the needle from 11% to 12%, then 13%, and on until we get in line with and then ahead of the rest of the Bay Area.

    Tattler:  'Supply and demand' is central to classical economics as everyone knows.  Here in Emeryville, developers and some others are using this argument to forward a position that the problem in Emeryville is that we haven't been building enough housing and that's why its so expensive here.  Yet at 200% ABAG recommendations for market rate housing (and going higher), the more we build, the higher the housing costs go.  Neighboring cities have built less than 100% of ABAG recommendations.  Does Emeryville have to be a sacrifice zone for the greater region to satiate the supply and demand axiom posited by some?
    Christian Patz: Emeryville is a unique city in the area and we can not compare ourselves to other cities. I feel we are using the wrong metrics. As a town of 10,000 people, you could find we have 200% of multiple elements. We have 300% more Ikeas per residents than East Palo Alto. We have a limited supply of affordable housing in the Bay Area and a huge demand. Changing that is going to take thoughtful planning going forward and there will need to be a regional plan.

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