Search The Tattler

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Moratorium Victory Pyrrhic for Developers, Mayor

Onus Now on Developers, Mayor to Deliver on Housing

Family Friendly, Affordable, Ownership Housing

Opinion/News Analysis
Champagne glasses may have been clinking as giddy developers relished their victory in beating back the 45 day residential building moratorium in the Emeryville City Council chambers in a special meeting on the Friday before last.  But as the sun rose Saturday, aching heads from over-imbibing were undoubtedly made worse by the realization that the victory isn't all it seemed to be for developers in Emeryville, indeed theirs is a pyrrhic victory.   Because now they're going to have to deliver their residential development projects to the Council for approval, and they're going to have to impress the new progressive majority...the same three Council members that said YES to the moratorium.

Mayor Ruth Atkin
in Hot Seat

We're going to deliver
affordable family friendly
housing MY way, the
empower developers way
(strange it hasn't
worked up 'til now).
The developers have a little 3-2 problem;  Asher, Martinez, Donahue versus Atkin, Davis.  That's the new guard versus the old guard.  It's a problem for them because while a 4-1 super majority is needed for a building moratorium, to approve a specific development proposal, there needs only to be a simple majority.

Councilwoman Jac Asher got it right when she said from the dais, developers themselves would benefit from a moratorium.  The new majority is big on planning in our city and they intend on updating City Hall's regulations to make them comport with planning documents (and the resident's values).  A moratorium would have provided time and a space to do that.  Developers would have benefited because they would have known ahead of time, how to craft a project that would stand a chance of being approved by the new majority.  Now, they have no idea and onward they're going to march forward with project proposals that will not be approved, wasting their time and money.

Generally, it's a good idea to work with and co-operate with the people that lord power over you.  That's a lesson Emeryville developers are going to have to learn the hard way.

Build Our Way To Cheap Rent?
Integrity is not big with developers.  They lashed out at the moratorium with a disjointed and absurd idea; planning is not needed or even wanted they say because if a town plans how to develop, that will drive up rents.  Emeryville is in no position to get what it wants because the town's hands are tied; developers must be put in charge to keep rents low.  Not mentioned by them is the fact that they keep building luxury apartments (because that's how they maximize profits) and rents will not be lowered this way.  In fact rents will be pushed up around town.  Also not mentioned is why this deregulation idea of theirs has delivered precisely what they now say is no good; high rents (and lack of family housing).  This argument of theirs is just more lies on their part and those citizens who spoke out, forwarding the bogus low rent meme, are tools for this shameless developer money grab.

Mayor Atkin In The Hot Seat
The Mayor, Ruth Atkin, who threw in with the developers with her vote (as did developer's perennial favorite Councilwoman Nora Davis) now has a heavy burden to bear.  Having won, she's going to have to make sure her way, the anti-moratorium way, delivers the kind of housing we want and need.  Councilwoman Jac Asher and her colleagues had their idea how to do it but Mayor Atkin shot that down.  Now Ms Aktin is in the hot seat .  Emeryville residents want affordable housing, ownership housing and family friendly housing.  Ruth Atkin now has to see to it it gets done that way.  Ms Atkin, it's worth noting, never explained why her way, the same way we've been developing this town for a generation, hasn't worked up 'til now.  For their part, developers laid it on thick and heavy at the Friday special meeting; they will deliver affordable family friendly housing if only the moratorium is defeated.

"I just think this [the moratorium] is the wrong way to go about doing this" Mayor Atkin said as she killed the moratorium.  Let's see how she does, doing it her way.


  1. You never took Econ 101, did you? What part of supply and demand don't you understand? Here's how it works: scarcity means higher prices. So to connect the dots for you, when developers build more housing, the price lowers. If you want to have a city that kicks poor people to the curb, then do stuff like initiate building moratoriums. Why is it leftists can never understand even the most basic tenets of economics?

    1. Interesting. So, given that Emeryville has for a generation been allowing developers to build our town the way they want, why then are rents so high here now? I mean this town, unlike our neighbors, has built far more than what has been identified as required by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), an increase of more than 50% over 10 years. You'd think given this dramatic increase given the tenets dictated by supply and demand, there would be an effect on prices. Unless you're positing that we need to massively step up our building rates. Where do you stop? 100 story towers on every parcel perhaps? Or maybe there's something else you're not considering. What you're saying is Emeryville must be a sacrifice zone to some meme resplendent with subterfuge obedience and allegiance to developer's bottom lines. Did YOU take econ 101? Economics is a science, with rationality inseparable at its core.

  2. Much adoo about nothing. Heaven help us !

    1. Nothing? Democracy is nothing? Residents getting the town they want is nothing?

  3. Is there even any land left for new developments? The last council approved what, 3 major new luxury all-rental projects? Can the current council do anything about the Sherwin Williams or Nady projects or has that ship already sailed?

    1. Sherwin Williams, Nady, the Public Marketplace...all are still in play. These three projects alone will add more than 10% to our population. They need to be approved by the City Council; likely a daunting task without major concessions by the respective developers. Of course, the Council needs to hear from the residents on these projects. Make sure you stay involved.

  4. The voters WILL remember.

    Richard Ambro