Veronica Stewart Long, Livermore

The city council threw away the unique opportunity to craft a strategically designed public space to be used by the entire community in favor of building a segregated low-income apartment complex in the heart of our downtown. Part of the justification is the “housing crisis” with the long waiting lists to prove it.

They cited a list with 13,000 names up to and during the May 24-25 council meeting, where they approved the apartment complex. They did that even though the number was wrong. When questioned about the list prior to the council vote, Mark Palajac, the Chair of the Livermore Housing Authority, said that it had been purged, and he thought it was about half of the 13,000. In reality, the meeting minutes of a February meeting reported that the list had been purged - putting it at 1,610 individuals. The minutes also described difficulty renting out some of the city’s low-income apartments because people on the list did not qualify or had moved elsewhere.

There are a few problems with this situation. The first is that officials misrepresented the need for low-income housing in Livermore by stating the list had 13,000 names when there were in fact 1,610. The second is that “interest lists” do not reflect the actual demand – but they are presented as if they do. The third is that finding data on the actual need is difficult and decision-makers seem to be comfortable making choices despite a lack of data. If the council is going to take a sacred area away from the community to give it to a housing developer – they should at least have some actual data to support their decision.