Young San Mateo residents like me have never lived in a Bay Area with affordable housing. In 1991, years before my peers and I were born, San Mateo voters passed Measure H, a citizen’s initiative with deeply regressive building height and density restrictions that has severely limited the number of available housing units in the city. If San Mateo voters pass Measure Y this fall, we commit to 10 more years of this archaic, exclusionary housing policy that displaces young people from the community they grew up in at an alarming rate.
If there’s one lesson we’ve learned from 2020, it’s the idea that the status quo is unacceptable, and Measure Y’s height-averse, backward-looking approach to housing means more of the same. In comparison, a no vote on Measure Y would allow the city government to create additional housing for our teachers, nurses and emergency responders, valued members of our community that are too often priced out of San Mateo. A yes vote on Measure Y would fuel additional traffic into San Mateo from far-lying cities, exacerbating the critical issue of global warming and leading to additional congestion on city streets. Contrast this distressing trend with the benefits of rejecting Measure Y, namely increasing housing density in areas of the city near transit, where additional units would result in fewer impacts to the community.
This fall is the time to cast a no vote on Measure Y and reject the dangerous status quo for the future of our community.