Recap of Members Meeting – May 22, 2018


  • 6:00    Doors open-pizza available for $5 per person
  • 6:30    ECDC Announcements
  • 6:35    Business Meeting
    • Approval of Minutes of April 2018 Meeting
    • Treasurer’s Report
    • Ratification of President Janet Abelson’s Appointment of Hari Lamba as VP of Publications
  • 6:45    Aissia Ashoori, Affordable Housing Analyst, City of El Cerrito
  • 7:15    Janet Cox, Board Member of Fossil Free California


6:45 started taking minutes

  • There is no conflict with too many EC Council board members because only Janet and Paul are present. Greg is absent at this meeting.


Abelson motion to continue Climate Change discussion after election year

  • Motion unanimously passed

Vice President of Publications

The club confirmed Hari Lamba as Vice President of Publications.

Club discussion on Climate Change

Club members had discussion on climate change.  Member statements are as follows:

  • “Institute for food and nutrition is a broader issue.” – Betty
  • “Support partnering with other organizations. Understand that this is hard to do with political organizations, because there is not too much interest in partnering political organizations.” – Al
  • “Sierra involved in education in energy and ecological issues. How about we partner with the Sierra club.” – Hari
  • “Invite Sierra Club to speak at our club. This is a good thing to know”
  • “We need a club volunteer to take this topic on.”- Paul

Club Announcements

  • Next meeting is June 26th at 6:30 pm
    • Kim Alexander is with the California Voter Foundation and will report on new voting issues and legislation.
    • One agenda topic is “How to present results of the primary”.
  • Proposition 13 reform measure moved from 2018 to 2020. It currently has 585 thousand of the 630 thousand signatures needed to be placed on the ballot.  With two months left to go it has collected $2.5 million of the $3.6 million needed to go forward.
  • Support El Cerrito’s Green Teams and the Rotary Club. Attend the Saturday, May 26, 2018 clean up.  Meet at the city’s northern gateways at the Knott Avenue Parking Lot east of San Pablo Avenue.  Time is from 10 am to 12:30 pm.  Contact or 510-215-4350 or
    • Join El Cerrito’s Green Teams and the Rotary Club for a cleanup of the city’s northern entryways from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Help keep trash from polluting our creeks and the bay, and present visitors with a positive first impression of our city. Wear a hat and bring water. All ages welcome (under 18 with guardian). Meet on Knott Avenue at the Parking Lot East of San Pablo Avenue.
  • BBQ July 1st at 3223 Carlson Blvd from 2-4 pm.
  • “Backpack full of Cash” movie at the San Pablo Community Center, Saturday May 26, 2018 starting at 6 pm. It is a movie about Charter Schools.
  • Club member is sharing newsletters from single payer health care articles written by doctors for doctors. See flyer about Physicians for National Health Program (PNHP).
  • El Cerrito’s first free Treasure Hunt occurs Saturday, June 9th from 2 pm to 4 pm at the Community Center. Prizes awarded to best costume, team, or most correct answers.  See for more information.
  • Volunteer for Diana Becton’s phone bank at Hilary’s house from 2:30 pm to 8 pm. The phone is conveniently scheduled on Hilary’s birthday of June 1st.   Happy future Birthday Hilary.
  • Volunteer for the 4th of July Independence Day city festival. Help the club recruit members or help people register to vote.  See Champagne Brown for a time slot and more information.

Affordable Housing in El Cerrito, Aissia Ashoori, Analyst

  • She reviewed the 2017 Affordable Housing Strategy. She referenced the New York Times article that there are 80 people bidding per unit. The first step is to educate others on public housing. Affordable means that housing is kept to one third of household income (this includes all housing costs). Today some people pay 50% of their income on housing. In El Cerrito, everyone gets the same access to the schools. The Inclusionary Ordinance encourages private funding to build in El Cerrito. Builders either pay a fee or allocate units for affordable rents. The state density bonus allows developers to go bigger or higher to allow for more density.
  • There are no community block grants available to El Cerrito. There is no public housing in El Cerrito. The first-time buyer program is funded as part of County of Contra Costa. Check out for more city plan specifically the El Cerrito San Pablo Avenue Specific Plan.
  • Aissia shared maps of El Cerrito development projects. This map is available at the website.  The current list of projects shows that 1,075 market rate units have been approved, and 214 affordable units have been approved.

Key Notes on slide presentation

  • Affordable Housing definition: housing costs are 30% or less of household income (rents/mortgage).
  • How do we provide affordable housing for households that cannot afford market rate housing?
    • Subsidized affordable housing receives funding from federal      and state funding sources to cover the gap.
      • Many subsidies are only available for certain income categories.
    • Private sector contributes (inclusionary zoning, density bonuses, etc.)
  • Local governments can provide funding or create requirements for private sector to contribute towards affordable housing.
  • Affordable housing toolbox. Affordable Housing Programs:
    • 100% affordable housing – Available in El Cerrito.
    • Inclusionary housing – Available in El Cerrito.
    • State density bonus – Available in El Cerrito.
    • Housing authority – not much available in El Cerrito.
    • First Time Homebuyer Programs – not much available in El Cerrito (But can go through County).
    • Community Land Trust Co-op Housing – not available in El Cerrito.
  • El Cerrito Housing Policies
    • 2014 San Pablo Avenue Specific Plan
      • Form based code for infrastructure improvements for cars, and pedestrians. Keep in mind that El Cerrito is “transit rich”.
    • 2015-2022 Housing Element
    • 2017 Affordable Housing strategy
      • El Cerrito got grant for hiring and developing strategic economics – see website for document.
    • Affordable Housing Goals
      • Goal 1: Conserve and improve El Cerrito’s existing housing
      • Goal 2: Facilitate and encourage the development of new housing
      • Goal 3: Expand housing opportunities for the elderly, the disabled, households with very low to moderate income, and for persons with special housing needs.
  • Definition of AMI categories
    • AMI = Area Median Income
    • 2018 income limits
Household Size Very Low Income (up to 50% AMI) Low Income (up to 80% AMI) Median Income (100% AMI) Moderate Income (up to 120% AMI)
1 person $40,700 $62,750 $73,100 $87,700
4 persons $58,100 $89,600 $104,400 $125,300
  • Around 1,700 people applied for the low and moderate-income family Creekside units (128 market rate, 19 affordable).
  • Four Policy Pillars
    • A: Leverage Private Development to Contribute towards affordable housing needs.
      • The Inclusionary zoning ordinance just passed the council.
      • There are more applications for development coming to El Cerrito.
    • B: Explore and Implement Policy options to reduce risk displacement
      • Tenant protection policies such as just cause eviction.
      • See study session coming this summer.
    • C: Encourage development of “missing middle” housing Types
      • Eliminating parking requirements for additions.
      • Co-housing/co-living arrangements like “Home Match”.
      • Home match pairs up people that benefit each other for living arrangements.
      • Janet recommends Home Match services.
    • D: Increase Local Funding to continue support for low income and special needs housing development
      • Outreach to homeless.
      • Increase low income match money in housing trust fund
      • County wide ballot measure.
      • Local revenue sources to fund affordable housing. See NPH.
      • BART transit-oriented development like McArthur…
    • Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance effective 6/14/18.
    • Tenant Protection Policies study summer 2018.
    • Develop Residential Demolition Ordinance.
    • Proceed with Other High Priority, Short Term & Ongoing tasks.
    • You can subscribe to Community Development E-News!

Questions and Comments: Aissia Ashoori, City of El Cerrito,  Affordable Housing Analyst

Questions on Affordable Housing

  • How are people selected for the few affordable units?
    • Housing Authority has criteria with preference for the disabled, blind, or residents of the area. In addition, each unit or project has its own criteria.
    • There is no specific preference specified by the city of El Cerrito. The criteria also depend on financing. For example, Ohlone Gardens units set aside units for mental health.
  • Did Hana have a lottery?
    • Yes, there is no first come, first served system. There is a cutoff deadline, then selection based on lottery, and those selected are vetted.  Then a wait list is established.
  • Is selection matched against demographics of existing El Cerrito?
    • Randomness in fair housing is based on federal requirements.

Fossil Free California, Janet Cox, Board Member

Janet Cox spoke about SB 964, authored by Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) which is a groundbreaking bill that would define “climate-related financial risk” in law and require CalPERS and CalSTRS to take that risk into account when evaluating investment decisions.  The bill would require a report to the public and the legislature on climate risk and progress toward the goals of the Paris climate accords. Fossil Free California, along with Environment California, are asking supporters to sign a petition that will be used to demonstrate support to legislators.  SB 964 has been endorsed by the California Teachers’ Association, SEIU California, and the Sierra Club, among others.  Fossil Free California is an all-volunteer, statewide group that works to address climate change by reducing the financial support and social legitimacy of the fossil fuel industry. It is the only group focusing on fossil fuel divestment by CalPERS and CalSTRS, the two largest public pension funds in the nation. Projects include Move Your Money, Individual Divestment, and support for lawsuits being brought against oil companies.

  • The goal is to move CalPERS and CalSTRS money out of fossil companies.
  • San Francisco and Oakland have a lawsuit against fossil companies for damages of climate change and for the companies failing to disclose those damages.

Questions on Fossil Free California

  • What is fiduciary duty to investors?
    • Climate risk. Data shows that fossil fuel have asset risk, regulation risk and that fiduciary should consider working towards a living future.
  • Just oil companies? Any other?
    • Divestments movement is based on California Senate Bill 350 as bill aims to divest for companies based on carbon reserves. Senate Bill 350 sets goal for moving towards renewable energy.  Currently holding ground to keep environment below two degrees in temperature rise.  Goal is to just focus on carbon control.
  • What about 100% renewable energy?
    • Senate Bill 100 supports 100% renewable clean energy for California. Fossil free movement tries to tie to finance to business, like no coal in Oakland.
  • Question on Carbon Tax, is there a tax on products based on the BTU?
    • BTU (British Thermal Unit). The Cap and Trade program has oil severance tax. It is hard to have a global carbon tax because there is no global fair playing field. See Citizen’s Climate Lobby who have taken this on. Janet cannot see a carbon tax in California. The Oil Severance tax is a tax on oil that is drilled in the ground. (side note: California is the second largest oil producer in the nation).
    • Nancy Skinner is known as the “Climate Bulldog”. Follow her for more information on this topic.
    • Welcome to join group that will lobby California to pass Senate Bill 100 on June 13th on pushing California to go 100% renewable energy. See Clean Energy for California.

For more information see the website:

Meeting adjourned around 9 pm.