A & A1: A Lot at “Steak”

Vote yes on A, and yes on ballot measure A1–because there’s a lot at *steak*. 

After a week of 5 and 6 a.m. start times, I set my alarm for 7 a.m. on Saturday morning–a pathetic luxury. A true luxury, as I walked to Bart on empty streets with the sun pressing through thin morning clouds. I reported to the Alameda democrat office in the south shore shopping center, on time (to my great effort), where bagels and people were slowly assembling. There had been no need to rush, and certainly no need to wear a denim jacket for the following 4 hours of trekking around the pavement of a sunny suburban neighborhood, where every bloody house has a flight of stairs before the blessed front door, upon which I hung: ballot measure A1 flyers, encouraging locals to VOTE YES.

There is no organized opposition to ballot measure A1. The business community, the political activism community, the housing community–everyone agrees it’s a good idea. All that it does is put vulnerable people in homes. All it does is put a roof over the heads of people who really, really need it. It’s payed for by uniformly increased taxes–no one group bearing the brunt of the bill. But again: the business community still supports the bill, despite the tax increase. This may be due to compassion, or it may be due to financial savvy. Housing people is, after all, more cost-effective than having people bounce from the streets to the ER, using public services.

I wrote a series of blog posts about the ballot measure at work. We endorsed the measure as part of our advocacy initiative to end poverty. Through my first interview here, I was introduced to how the housing crisis is bad for the economy, for the environment, for the healthcare system, for societal structure, for the business leaders in the Bay Area who support the measure. Through my second interview here, I was introduced to how A1 has the concrete, direct ability to house 65 to 70 percent of low and very low income families who need a place to live. Though a ballot measure that houses people may seem like a band-aid in the greater context of a deeply-entrenched, expansively-developed, bona fide Bay Area housing crisis, the biggest thing I’ve taken away is that “housing is not a band-aid.” When you take someone off the streets, or take a struggling family out of their car, or you put a vulnerable senior into a handicap accessible home, it’s no small thing. You make a huge difference in a person’s life, permanently. And you empower them to focus on and make strides in every other aspect of their life. Permanently.

Alameda ballot measure A1 and Santa Clara ballot measure A are no-brainers. Even if they’re only a step, and create highly-localized impact, putting someone in a home, explicitly, is no small thing. Each ballot measure needs 2/3 of the vote to pass. And I just figured, it would be so silly if these very very very very very very very easy and very very very very very very very important ballot measures didn’t make it, just because people didn’t get it–didn’t get what the measure was, or why they should vote yes. I, as an A1 & A connoisseur, have the ability to support the measures, and hopefully increase the chances, however minimally, of them passing.

Bless the stretch of Alameda county where I targeted housing-friendly voters who haven’t voted yet this election. Bless the chive and onion cream cheese that destroyed my stomach lining as Erin and I traversed the Longest City Blocks Ever. Bless Erin, my partner-in-crime for the day, who says she’s not a feelings person, but was the warmest, most patient and receptive buddy for the day.

She also happens to be the best sport about incessant photography of her face. I couldn’t figure out how to naturally dim the highlights, but I could enrich the low lights. She was just as sun-soaked in real life as she is in those pictures. We were sitting on a curb, waiting to be picked up by someone, anyone, who actually had a car in that baking suburban sprawl. We returned to the democrats office for roast beef sandwiches, a minute of rest on plastic folding chairs, and the hilarity of small children tripping, falling, and jumping right back up without shame.

Vote yes on A1 and A, friends. It’s easy. It’s good.

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