KQED: In Pushing Affordable Housing Measures, Local Leaders Ask Voters to Contend With Racist Housing Law

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Oakland City Councilmember Carroll Fife wants you to know what Article 34 is. She wants you to face it, in all its historical ugliness, and do something about it.

The rule, embedded in the state constitution, requires local governments to turn to their voters for approval if they want to build public housing. Californians voted to add it to the constitution in 1950 and it’s been making it harder to build affordable housing since.

“There’s still people who don’t know that Article 34 was a direct result of white backlash to civil rights victories and the attempt of President Truman to desegregate housing,” Fife said.

“Article 34 was intended to keep neighborhoods segregated,” said Amie Fishman, executive director of the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California, which represents affordable housing developers. She says the rule slowed lower-income home construction for decades.

“No other type of housing development asks nor requires voter approval in this kind of capacity,” she said.

Read more via KQED…