Richard Register’s Dec. 3 letter (”Be Progressive”) critical of Berkeley City Councilmember Dona Spring’s alleged positions on affordable housing was, unfortunately, so far off the mark that I am compelled to respond.
Regrettably, Mr. Register erroneously states in his letter that Councilmember Spring is “no friend to those needing housing” in Berkeley. As a member of the city’s Housing Advisory Commission, which receives, recommends and monitors all city Housing Trust Fund-connected affordable housing developments, I can attest that Councilmember Spring has directly supported or voted to fund at least 1,400 units of newly constructed, acquired or rehabilitated affordable housing since 1990.
Of these 1,400 units, approximately 300 units (including units currently in the pipeline) have been constructed directly on – or adjacent to – Berkeley’s major transit corridors, including Shattuck Avenue, University Avenue, Sacramento Street and San Pablo Avenue.
Among the affordable housing developments Councilmember Spring has voted to fund include Shattuck Senior Homes (27 units) at Shattuck and Haste Street, Maggie Kuhn Apartments (40 units) at Sacramento and Alcatraz, and the future David Brower Building (100 units) on Oxford near Shattuck Avenue.
If a future development tentatively planned on the Ashby BART station parking lot site successfully moves forward, (the Ed Roberts Campus mixed-use developed above 300 figure will rise to nearly 400 units.
Almost all of these 300 units are part of multi-storied, mixed use infill developments – the exact kind of sustainable, urban developments that Mr. Register, to his credit, advocates for.
Given the current realities and market conditions that both non-profit and for-profit housing developers must operate in, Councilmember Spring’s commitment to – and unassailable track record on – affordable housing in Berkeley speaks for itself.