ABAG assists the California legislature in taking local control of housing development away from California cities. The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) has proposed a ten-billion-dollar ballot measure for the March 2024 election. The ten billion will be to take tax dollars and build affordable housing throughout the state. In other words, ABAG proposes building public housing projects throughout California with public tax dollars. The measure is titled AB1657.
In the process, local governments will give up local control over housing development within their municipalities. The measure will initially allocate 925 million dollars to Contra Costa County for affordable housing development. The supervisors in each county can distribute the money as they like for affordable housing. Cities would apply for the money, and the supervisors would approve the housing plan and then give money to the city to develop the project. Also, the county could build public housing on county land, such as around Discovery Bay and Byron.
The driving force behind the ABAG activity is Jesse Arreguin, Mayor of Berkeley. Berkeley has a Regional Housing Assessments Need (RHNA) to build 8900 housing units in Berkeley by 2031. Many of the units must be for low-income individuals. Mayor Arreguin, during the 2022 ABAG General Assembly meeting, said there needs to be a shift in RHNA numbers because it is too high. So, create the bond measure, have the legislature reallocate the RHNA numbers to decrease them for Berkeley, and transfer them to cities with land to develop, like Oakley.
Mayor Arreguin’s move is blatantly discriminatory. The mayor proclaims affordable is a NIMBY issue. Yes, Berkeley likes to be known as progressive and supports public housing in other cities “because Berkeley knows what is best.” However, the design of Berkeley’s rhetoric is for others to follow. Berkeley should be excused from such measures because “those people just don’t belong in Berkeley.” I believe most residents in the City of Berkeley support the mayor’s position.
The Oakley City Council debates AB1657 during the City Council meeting this Tuesday, 07-11-2023. I support a vote of the city council opposing AB1657. I have attached links to several items for further review of the issue.
George Fuller, Ed.D. City Councilmember, City of Oakley, CA