Downtown Concord California

Pulse of Concord — A look at opinions on market-rate vs. affordable housing

Edi Birsan Pulse of ConcordThe survey results of a little less than 200 were taken mostly before the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic hit. I wonder if these views have drastically changed since then.

1. Affordable Housing.

Some people believe that the construction of new market-rate housing in Concord will result in an increase in affordable housing. How many new apartments at $2,500-$,3000 need to be built before an existing apartment at $1,900 will be reduced in rent?

  • 6 percent, very likely with more than 4,000.
  • 5, likely with 3,000.
  • 27, do not know.
  • 25, unlikely to happen.
  • 35, very unlikely and, in fact, will cause the rise of the $1,900 to match the market.

There were also 35 comments which ranged from “Supply and demand is magic” to “This is specialist economist knowledge, how could a lay person answer this?” as well as “Affordable housing, or 50 percent below average rents, should be built by we the people.”

Based on the above, the simple response is that people do not seem to think that making more market-rate housing will drive down the below market rate places. So supply and demand may be “magic,” but people think it will not cause a drop in what may be low rates.

2. Concord needs new $3,000 a month rental apartments.

  • 4 percent, strongly agree.
  • 11, agree.
  • 24, neither agree nor disagree.
  • 20, disagree.
  • 16, strongly disagree.
  • 13, do not care what Concord needs, I am totally opposed to having more $3,000 a month apartments.
  • 12, do not care what others think Concord needs, I am totally opposed to more apartments of any kind.

This question came from a reader and ties in with the first question. The $3,000 a month price reflects the recent failed bid by Avalon to make a 313-unit apartment complex on the “white picket fence” property downtown. The responses show a hostility to the concept, some of which is just simply anti-apartment.

3. Union construction wages should be insisted upon when government money or land is being used.

  • 26 percent, strongly agree.
  • 26, agree.
  • 14, neither agree nor disagree.
  • 18, disagree.
  • 15, disagree strongly.
  • 1, do not care.

With more than 52 percent agreeing to 33 percent disagreeing, it might be said that there is a sampling bias. However, the demographics that we have done on the sampling over the years reflect fairly close to the city demographics.

4. Chick-fil-A should be prevented from opening a restaurant in Concord.

  • 21 percent, strongly agree.
  • 7, agree.
  • 12, neither agree nor disagree.
  • 15, disagree.
  • 37, strongly disagree.
  • 8, do not care.

There are a few hot button issues in the LBGTQ community, and this is certainly one of them.

Running 52 percent vs. 28 percent to leaving them alone, it would appear that there has not been a major acceptance of the extreme hostility felt toward this company because of its owners’ and corporate donations to anti-LBGTQ non-profits.

Edi Birsan is a member of Concord’s City Council. Write to him at or go to his Facebook page, Pulse of Concord.

The statements, questions, information and opinions herein are those of Edi E. Birsan personally and do not purport to reflect any policies or opinions of the city of Concord, including without limitation the Concord City Council, city of Concord staff, or any other people, institutions or organizations associated with the city of Concord. No city of Concord funds or resources were used, and I did not wear a mask during the typing of this report.

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