On a 4-1 vote the Fremont City Council endorsed the Alameda County bond measure that will be on this November’s ballot. I was very much in favor of this.
Since I’ve been on the Council I’ve come to believe that affordable housing is one of the most important issues facing many local municipalities including the City of Fremont. Working people are having more and more trouble renting in Fremont let alone buying a home here. When affordable housing becomes available, the number of applicants is enormous.
In my position paper on affordable housing (http://bacon4fremont.com/affordable-housing/), I note that Fremont has a ratio of 8.30 lower wage jobs to places that people with these jobs can afford to live. That means that for every lower wage job in Fremont, 7.30 people have to commute here in order to work. It’s estimated that this translates to 6,000 people who work in Fremont and have to commute from somewhere else. (The corresponding figure for the City of San Jose alone is over 21,000.) If you wonder why traffic is so bad in the Bay Area, this imbalance is a good part of the reason.
Given the current situation, one could easily argue that Fremont, and many other local cities, should have asked for more affordable housing fees on past development. Obviously there was a need for it. But the past is the past and we can’t go back and change it. We can’t go back and ask those developers to pay increased fees. We are stuck with the current situation. Even if we substantially increased fees on future development, that wouldn’t resolve the problem.
I don’t see any other immediate options available that will help resolve the huge affordability problem that we have in the Bay Area. This bond measure will be local money used to resolve a critical local issue.