June 19, 2024
East Bay Times Letters to the Editor for Sept. 1

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Places like Lafayette
cause gentrification

In her recent opinion piece “Popular California housing narrative upended by planning expert,” (Page A12, Aug. 27) Lafayette City Councilmember Susan Candell writes that state law promoting housing “actually harms residents and communities due to gentrification and displacement.”

Candell started her career in local politics by fighting against the Terraces of Lafayette, a 315-home development proposed on an old rock quarry — no risk of gentrification there. The Terraces, first proposed in 2011, would be 20% low-income, but they have been delayed for over a decade in large part because of Candell’s antics.

Furthermore, Candell presides over the city of Lafayette, where more than 70% of residents are White. The median home value in Lafayette is $1.7 million.

In reality, wealthy, racially homogenous communities like Lafayette cause gentrification in communities of color by refusing to allow sufficient new housing. Thankfully, the state has stepped in with new laws to prevent local obstructionism.

Valerie Sloven
Pleasant Hill

Candell sheds light
on housing falsehoods

Re: “Popular California housing narrative upended by planning expert” (Page A12, Aug. 27).

Hooray for Lafayette Councilmember Susan Candell for spotlighting falsehoods being promulgated by urban density fundamentalists. It is the real estate industry that benefits from their naivete.

Often we hear the simplistic idea that affordability can be affected by building unsightly apartment towers. There is more to it than that. In Oakland, the city planning department is slammed by mandates to meet unrealistic quotas. Meanwhile, getting a permit is an ordeal for my neighbors who want to build ADUs. How much “density” of affordable homes could be added if it were not so difficult to build backyard cottages?

Meanwhile, there are plenty of vacant units in the new pack-em-and-stack-em buildings downtown. In Candell’s commentary, Professor Michael Storper of UCLA brings to voice of sanity to the current crazy landscape.

Amelia Marshall

Plenty to celebrate
with electric vehicles

Re: “Here is the real problem with all-electric vehicles” (Page A6, Aug. 29).

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John Crisp cites a 2021 Volvo study that says that “an EV would need to be driven up to 68,000 miles before it breaks even on carbon emissions.” Yes, in Poland where 85% of its electricity comes from fossil fuel, EVs are not all that clean. But the U.S. Argonne Laboratory’s GREET model suggests a break-even point of 12,000 miles for an EV powered by clean energy, which we are aiming to achieve in the East Bay by 2030.

The real story about EVs is that they have achieved 40% of all new car sales in Alameda County so far in 2023. This means that we are on our way to cleaner air and hope in the battle against climate disruption. Yes, EVs are no panacea — no one ever said they were. But we should be celebrating the success of EVs, not attacking them with distorted numbers.

Jack Fleck