Reporting from the ground
Yesterday I had the rare opportunity of crawling beneath a public housing project in East Oakland. After months of environmental reviews, bidding, and bureacratic due diligence, the Oakland Housing Authority is beginning to spend its stimulus money on public housing improvement projects. A Housing Authority rep showed me the work being done at Lockwood Gardens, near the Oakland Coliseum. Apparently ground moisture is a problem in some of the units; vapor rises through the floor and causes mildew. To fix the problem, workers are laying plastic sheeting over the ground beneath the buildings. The foreman I interviewed is a believer in the stimulus: he told me his company (based in Novato) had hired five new workers for the project, and that he and four members of his crew live in Oakland. The audio will be featured later this month in a piece about stimulus-funded public housing improvements. I enjoyed crawling around and only ruined my clothes slightly.