Livermore Planning Commissioner's Future Uncertain After Using Term ‘Ghetto'

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A Livermore planning commissioner recently used the word “ghetto” to refer to a proposed low-income housing development. An action that had the city council considering firing him, and public emotion running red hot.

“John Stein made classist and racist comments,” said an opponent. “No one on a board should perpetuate systemic racism.”

The fury was caused by last month's comment from Planning Commissioner John Stein about the Eden development, a partly-affordable housing project, under consideration for downtown Livermore. 

He said, “I really don’t want to see the downtown become a ghetto of affordable housing and I support inclusionary housing both on a macro and micro scale.”

Stein was back Monday night, apologizing for using the word “ghetto.”

“To anyone I may have hurt I am sorry,” he said. “It won’t happen again.”

The council considered removing Stein from the planning commission, but a motion to do that failed. 

The council instead is giving Stein a second chance, with strings attached.

“I move to send Stein to the planning commissioners' training through Cal Cities which has lots of really informative webinars that I think will be helpful,” said councilmember Brittni Kiick. 

Stein now must attend a class on a number of topics, one of them-about the meaning and impact some words can have, whether that meaning or impact is ever intended.

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