Anger over affordable housing crisis disrupts press conference in Oakland

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- At Oakland City Hall today, what was supposed to be a press conference about SB 50 to build more housing quickly devolved into chanting and a shouting match over affordability that drowned out the message.

State senators and the mayor continued speaking while the crowd shouted over them for almost 30 minutes.

RELATED: Building a Better Bay Area: Housing Crisis

Anger over affordability bubbled up in the crowd. Some blocked news cameras and even surrounded Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, demanding she take action. They shouted, "you're the mayor,fix it, do it for your city!"

Misty Cross with Moms 4 Housing said, "It's like we are talking to a wall. A brick wall. And it's hurtful to look at someone born and raised here and she doesn't feel the same way we feel."

An hour later, in the quiet of her office, Mayor Libby Schaaf responded, saying "What you see is such an intense passion and anger. An explosion around just how dysfunctional our housing system is right now."

RELATED: Bay Area Housing Crisis: How are you making it work?

She is backing SB 50 as part of the solution. State Senator Scott Wiener said "We need more subsidized housing for more low-income people but we also need more market-rate housing to bring down the price for the middle class. "

Senate Bill 50 is expected to come up for a vote by the end of January. It's provoked a lot of animosity over forcing cities to build higher-density housing near transit hubs.

The new amendments will make the requirements more flexible and give cities two years to develop their own local guidelines.

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