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By Douglas Moran

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About this blog: As a teenager (in the 1960s), I stumbled across the insight that real power doesn't reside with those who make the final decision, but with those who decide what qualifies as the viable choices. As a grad student, I belonged to an...  (More)

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Stupid Growth: So-called "Smart Growth" is a cancer on the community

Uploaded: Jun 7, 2014
Rule of thumb: Anything that needs to be labeled "smart" isn't.

Classic Brainteaser: "Why aren't there ants that are the size of elephants?" The answer in the brainteaser culture (predominantly adolescent males; favored by some tech companies) is: Weight increases as the cube of the size, but the strength of the legs increases as the square (the cross-section). The more sophisticated answer is that increased size requires substantially more infrastructure, for distributing nutrients, disposing of wastes, controlling muscles… For example, in a tiny animal, getting oxygen to the cells is much simpler because the cells are much closer to the surface (you don't need a complex distribution system and powerful pumps).

In discussions of growth across a wide range of disciplines, the routine characterization is a curve. There are typically sections of rapid growth followed by tapering off. A basic concern in managing growth is the problem of overshooting what is sustainable, and creating a collapse (rapid negative growth).

The two basic conventional reasons for pursuing economic growth are:
1.Support the growth of your own population.
2.Improve the economic well-being of your own population.

The current ABAG targets for population growth are contrary to both of these, but rather use the rationalization that population growth will continue uninterrupted and indefinitely at the hyper-growth rates of earlier decades. Growth in the previous decade (ending 2010) had been significantly less than projected. Based on that experience, the California Department of Finance reduced its growth projections for the current and coming decades. In 2012, Council member and economist Greg Schmid looked at the data and reports and discovered that ABAG had adopted much higher projections of growth. This allowed ABAG to assign much higher housing targets to Bay Area cities, which in turn forces cities to allow more high density development.

The desire of the region's political elite to have a population growth rate of 30% (or more) per generation (25 years) is the equivalent of expecting an ant to scale up into an elephant.
Request to commenters: Please don't quibble about the exact growth rate targets—they are frequently adjusted and re-apportioned among the various cities. Also, as targets they are bureaucratic constructs—the focus should be on the consequences of such targets.

When I sit in meetings on growth, it is very clear that ABAG and its allies have an agenda to push rapid increases in the Bay Area's population and to promote high-density development. For some of these advocates, this is ideological; for others, it appears to be financial self-interest. For some, high-density is the goal, which necessitates high population growth. For others, the causation is the opposite: They see high-density as needed to accommodate their desired high-population growth.

"Smart Growth" is inextricably entwined in these agendas. When I refer to "Smart Growth", it is to how it is actually practiced (note the name of this blog), not the vague theory/abstract goals (foot#1) that ignore the complexities of the real world and that are used to deflect objections and criticism with "Of course, that is not what the theory calls." It is a dogma that is advocated as broadly applicable, but that dismisses common real-world cases as irrelevant exceptions.

"Smart Growth" is predominantly used by those advocating rapid growth as a shield against pesky practical questions about the impacts of such growth, in essence, asserting that there is no need to consider the impacts of "Smart Growth" because being "smart" means that there will be no such impacts.

"Smart Growth" is based on an absurdly simplistic notion of cities: There are jobs, housing and commutes between the two. The importance of community has disappeared (it was a crucial part of the Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee (CPAC) process in the mid-1990s). Although Smart Growth advocates often say they support "walkability", their actions are to the contrary: They routinely push to replace walkable destinations for the surrounding neighborhood with housing for the very few. This is an example of why I characterize "Smart Growth" as a cancer: It promotes excessive growth of limited types that displaces, and otherwise overwhelms, other aspects of the community required for healthy functioning.

Similarly, the Smart Growth advocates seem oblivious to actual experience: They claim that Smart Growth dogma will result in trip reduction, but what people I talk to report is that it replaces the destinations they went to with places they never/rarely go to (irrelevant, too expensive). They now have to go further and further to the places they actually visit, and because these are now special trips, trip combining—a key method of trip reduction—becomes less practical (when going elsewhere, that place is no longer on-the-way or only-a-small-detour).

Smart Growth advocates routinely use it to try to impose their social and cultural preferences on others. They present high-density housing and public transit as the one-true-way that people should live, and that those who differ are selfish and uncaring about the environment. Sometimes there is a cluelessness involved: For example, an advocate who lives and works near Caltrain stations just can't understand why Caltrain isn't a viable option for everyone's commute. Often there is a large measure of hypocrisy involved. In many hearings, I have heard advocates for high-density housing say that Palo Alto must become more like Manhattan (or even Tokyo). Some wax rhapsodically about living in a tiny apartment above a noisy restaurant on a busy street, but the ones I knew lived in large single-family houses with large yards.

The conflict in vision of what Palo Alto should be was recently stated very succinctly by Eric Filseth "… I think the core issue here is really simple. There are two conflicting visions for Palo Alto, and pretty much all of this other stuff stems from that. Vision A is we're a medium-density family town, a great place to live, with good schools to send your kids to. Vision B is more like San Francisco South – basically the financial and professional hub of the Peninsula. The idea is that Palo Alto will accommodate regional growth through high density office and housing construction, near public transit, and with a thriving retail and entertainment sector to support it. That said, Vision B also comes inherently with unsolvable traffic and parking problems, pollution, and overstretched city infrastructure and schools. If you want Vision B, these things are the price. It is San Francisco South, for better and worse." (foot#2)

This is a big topic, and consequently, this is an introduction to be followed by postings on specific areas. My queue currently contains:
1. The Law of Supply and XXXXXX and other bad economics (now available)
2. Shills and Charlatans of "Smart Growth"
3. Should Palo Alto really aspire to be more like a Chinese factory city?
4. Public Transit Follies
5. Who Profits, Who Sacrifices?

---- Footnotes ----
1. Smart Growth: "Its goals are to achieve a unique sense of community and place; expand the range of transportation, employment, and housing choices; equitably distribute the costs and benefits of development; preserve and enhance natural and cultural resources; and promote public health." (Wikipedia)
2. At City Council meeting of 2013 December 2. Listen for yourself in the video (at 1:30:24)

----
The Guidelines for comments on this blog are different from those on Town Square Forums. I am attempting to foster more civility and substantive comments by deleting violations of the guidelines.

Comments

Posted by UC Davis Grad, a resident of Mountain View,
on Jun 7, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Okay, Douglas, I'll bite. (I know I'll regret doing this, but...)

The alternative course of action is...what? Look around you, and see what has happened in this area for the last 30 years or so. Look at the fact that the population in this area has increased significantly (in my neck of the woods, the population has gone from about 55,000 in 1983 to 74,000 today). Yet, the infrastructure to deal with this influx has not *really* kept pace with population growth.

You seem to offer only a criticism of a course of action. What is your alternative? Because, quite frankly, puttering around while waiting for a solution to show itself is not an actual policy.

[[Blogger's response: Smart Growth, in name and how it is practiced, has been the dominant planning approach in this region for over a decade. And its core practice of rationalizing growth without regard to infrastructure goes back much further. "UC Davis Grad" rightly worries about the problem and then seemingly contradictorily argues for the continuance of the regime that caused it and will likely further increase the problem.]]


Posted by Justin, a resident of Mountain View,
on Jun 7, 2014 at 11:39 pm

[[Blogger's note: This is the sort of comment I hope to discourage as inappropriate. I am annotating it to provide guidance for subsequent commenters. See also the "Guidance" link at the bottom of the entry. Apologies for the limited formatting, but the blogging software offers minimal annotation capability.]]

Wow, what hyperbole. A Chinese factory city?
[[If you pretend not to understand common literary devices, or attack people for typos, grammar, spelling errors or similar, your post is disrespectful and will be deleted]]
And Manhattan and Tokyo?
[[Implies I engaged in hyperbole, instead of reporting what others were saying. And they weren't engaging in hyperbole, they were arguing for buildings over 20 stories tall along El Camino and in other sections of Palo Alto. If the posting and comments are beyond your reading comprehension level (either ability or effort level) or you are unwilling to honestly portray what others have said, please don't comment.]]
Any increase in density would make Palo Alto "more like Manhattan" but it is never going to be close in density.

Here is the problem with what you say:
Palo Alto isn't an isolated city.
[[Disingenuous: This cannot be reasonably inferred from what I said, nor relevant to any of my points. I want to avoid the back-and-forth that results from dealing with misrepresentations. Waste of readers' time.]]
This is about the whole Bay Area, the whole state really. No, housing will probably never be affordable in Palo Alto. But right now we have thousands of jobs coming in
[[Jobs do not just appear out of thin air, unbidden and uncontrolled. One of the basic functions of planning and zoning is to maintain a *balance* between job growth and the rest of the city. If you have this lack of knowledge and sophistication, you are being disrespectful by wasting other readers' time.]]
and no place for people to live close by, even in small and expensive apartments. So they will live in San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Berkeley, even East Palo Alto. And middle class residents there are getting displaced, forcing them to move east, possibly even out of the Bay Area and to Stockton or Sacramento. And then they'll be forced on 2+ hour commutes each way to get to their jobs in the bay because that's where all the jobs are.

As to unsolvable traffic and parking problems, that is just BS. We still have zero metered parking in Palo Alto, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, and Cupertino.
[[Disingenuous (again) -- This refers to the statement by Eric Filseth that I cited and it refers to the situation in San Francisco as predictive of the direction Palo Alto could go, not the current state that Justin refers to. Just plain dishonest.]]
There is still plenty of room for growth in bicycling and there could be a lot more carpooling.
[[Displays no awareness of extensive considerations over many years. The intended purpose of comments on this blog are for people to add useful information and perspectives.]]
I'm sure we'll see self-driving cars lining the streets of Palo Alto within 10 years just like Teslas are today.

You need to face the reality that there is a very strong demand for living in Palo Alto, even if it may turn into a city that is slightly less convenient for today's residents.
[[Disrespectful. People are complaining about *substantial* degradation. To trivialize and dismiss this brands the commenter as either (willfully) ignorant or intentionally obnoxious. There are plenty of Internet forums dedicated to letting people anonymously engage in such behavior. This is not one of them.]]


Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of Fairmeadow,
on Jun 8, 2014 at 9:21 am

For what it's worth, the link following points to a graph of the growth rates in the Bay Area for the last 60 years, with a projection of the growth rate in 2020:

Bay Area Growth Rates: 1950 to 2010/2020:
Web Link

The source of the data for the graph comes from this Wiki-page on the SF.BayArea:

Web Link


Posted by History Buff, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jun 8, 2014 at 9:35 am

"… there is a very strong demand for living in Palo Alto…"

Does that mean we should meet it? For everyone? Or just for those who can afford it?

Should we keep meeting the demand until Palo Alto looks like San Francisco?

If we DON'T build it, they can't come.


Posted by Bond Perilous, a resident of another community,
on Jun 8, 2014 at 9:45 am

[[Blogger's note: Example of "disrespectful". It is invalid to criticize what is explicitly labeled as an *introduction* to a series as if it were a stand-alone argument.]]

I find it difficult to get behind your argument, Douglas, when all that is presented is anecdotal with a smattering of empirical evidence. What's more, as far as I can tell, the problem statement seems to be "Palo Alto is changing. Smart Growth must be the culprit and I don't like it." Ambiguity and lack of substance begs the question, what's the point of this article if not to bash Smart Growth?


Posted by Justin, a resident of Mountain View,
on Jun 8, 2014 at 10:44 am

"Jobs do not just appear out of thin air, unbidden and uncontrolled. One of the basic functions of planning and zoning is to maintain a *balance* between job growth and the rest of the city. If you have this lack of knowledge and sophistication, you are being disrespectful by wasting other readers' time."

Clearly, job growth is politically palatable even if there is no accompanying increase in housing. Maybe you don't support it, but most residents do, even those who oppose higher density housing.

"This cannot be reasonably inferred from what I said, nor relevant to any of my points."

Yes, it is relevant. You ignore the benefits to the rest of the area (in less traffic, more available housing) if Palo Alto becomes more dense. Web Link

"This refers to the statement by Eric Filseth that I cited and it refers to the situation in San Francisco as predictive of the direction Palo Alto could go, not the current state that Justin refers to. Just plain dishonest."

I have proposed measures/alternatives that are not in place now that could help mitigate the negative impacts of future growth. All you have said is that smart growth advocates are stupid hypocrites.

"People are complaining about *substantial* degradation."

And there are many more people who aren't seeing any degradation and new residents who are perfectly happy with Palo Alto's weather, schools, and open space. Should their views be dismissed because of a vocal minority?



Posted by History Buff, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jun 8, 2014 at 11:03 am

"You ignore the benefits to the rest of the area (in less traffic, more available housing) if Palo Alto becomes more dense."

If I believed that more dense housing leads to less traffic, I'd also have to believe in the tooth fairy.


Posted by Douglas Moran, a resident of Barron Park,
on Jun 8, 2014 at 1:49 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

RE: Justin
> On the Web Link
The biases of that TechCrunch article are clearly stated in the first two paragraphs. "everyone ...changes ... so that everyone who wants to live here, can" but means "everyone but San Francisco", which needs to be protected from the changes to be inflicted on everyone else. And the belief that current residents need to sacrifice to accommodate those that want to move here is highly controversial.

> "Job growth is politically palatable..."
This is either disingenuous or incredibly naive. Local politics the world over is notoriously corrupt, because it is so easy to hide giving away massive profits (the finances of development tend to be both confidential and opaque). An example from Palo Alto is the rezoning of Alma Plaza in contravention of the Comprehensive Plan. Using real estate Comps (comparable properties), it was estimated that the rezoning would alone more than triple the developer's investment, from $6M to at least $18M (Web Link). It turned out to be even more: He had made a contingent sale of roughly 80% of the property for $20.5M (Web Link).

> "Maybe you don't support it, but most people do..."
> "Should their views be dismissed because of a vocal minority?"
"Silent Majority" claims (Nixon's: Web Link) are inappropriate for this blog. They are the mark of ideologues and others who want to avoid inconvenient facts and analysis.


Posted by Bond Perilous, a resident of another community,
on Jun 8, 2014 at 2:08 pm

[[Deleted by blogger: continued refusal to abide by Guidelines]]


Posted by Justin, a resident of Mountain View,
on Jun 8, 2014 at 4:44 pm

"And the belief that current residents need to sacrifice to accommodate those that want to move here is highly controversial."

So is the belief that San Francisco residents need to sacrifice to accommodate those who move there. And the people getting displaced there are far worse off than most Palo Alto homeowners.

"'Silent Majority' claims are inappropriate for this blog. They are the mark of ideologues and others who want to avoid inconvenient facts and analysis."

Web Link
Sure there is a majority dissatisfied with traffic and parking, but overall satisfaction is greater than 90%.


Posted by Douglas Moran, a resident of Barron Park,
on Jun 8, 2014 at 5:01 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

RE: Justin

> Web Link Sure there is a majority dissatisfied with traffic and parking, but overall satisfaction is greater than 90%.

Being able to reasonably get to places is an important measure of live-ability.

Satisfaction levels from the cited report:
Quality of new development: 44% ("much below" other jurisdictions)
Traffic flow on major streets: 34% ("much below" other jurisdictions)
Amount of public parking: 39% ("below" other jurisdictions)

And then there was the defeat of Measure D (Maybell up-zoning)as a dissatisfaction measure.

"Yes, Mrs Lincoln, but, apart from that, how did you enjoy the play?"


Posted by Douglas Moran, a resident of Barron Park,
on Jun 8, 2014 at 5:27 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

@ Justin
> So is the belief that San Francisco residents need to sacrifice to accommodate those who move there. And the people getting displaced there are far worse off than most Palo Alto homeowners.

This is your final warning about disrespectful conduct.
1. You misrepresent my response which focused on San Francisco being *exempted* from sacrifices.

2. Smart Growth policies have long greased the skids under many working class families throughout the Peninsula, such as those in the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park. Since this has been an on-going high-profile discussion on this site, I have to assume that you are well-aware of it and they just don't count for you. Your pro-SF bigotry is inappropriate for a PA-based blog.


Posted by OMV Resident, a resident of Mountain View,
on Jun 8, 2014 at 9:55 pm

[[Deleted by blogger: Violation of Guidelines: (1) Misrepresents others' comments, (2) debates about moderation policy are inappropriate as comments on the blog (which "OMV" knew since he quoted other portions of that web page).]]


Posted by iconclast, a resident of University South,
on Jun 8, 2014 at 10:29 pm

[[Removed by blogger: Casting aspersions (on advocates of New Urbanism/Smart Growth)]]


Posted by curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jun 9, 2014 at 9:44 am

You removed a post for "casting aspersions on advocates of New Urbanism/Smart Growth"

Whaaaatttt???

Have you read your own posting above, or even its title?

[[Blogger's response: Breaking my guideline about not discussion moderation policy.

"Aspersions" was not the most descriptive word choice but it was late. The comment was mostly name-calling, so "vitriol" might have been a better word.

On the title: Titles are meant to capture potential readers attention as well as describe the content.

If an approach repeatedly produces results contrary to its purported goals, it is natural and appropriate to call it "stupid", especially if that approach calls itself "smart". And for growth that squeeze out other things, "cancer" is the obvious metaphor.

As to "disrespectful", I continue to be amazed at how many Palo Altans treat this as applying only to the phrasing of what was said, not its content. My background, and hence that of this blog, is the opposite. Notice that my admonitions to commenters were for misrepresenting what others had said and for being dismissive of others. I expect adults to have a robust enough psyche to be able to handle having their actions called "stupid" when their actions repeatedly produce counter-productive results.]]


Posted by Garrett , a resident of another community,
on Jun 9, 2014 at 11:58 am

The San Francisco Bay Area produced some great victories in open space preservation and freeway expansion projects. We somehow started the events leading up to smart growth and some of the basic principles.

Most places want to back out of ABAG, smart growth, smart planning and fough hard against dense even right next to transit. We are free to live anywhere there is cheaper housing but we can only grow out so much.

I doubt very likely a CEO who lives in Woodside will want to drive 1 1/2 hour east.


Posted by History Buff, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jun 9, 2014 at 2:36 pm

" … overall satisfaction is greater than 90%."

From Palo Alto Neighborhoods (PAN) 2014 Survey Results – May 1, 2014:

Living in Palo Alto
• Palo Alto as a place to live is rated as Unanimously Declining
• Ease of travel to work is rated as Unanimously Declining
• Affordability of your current housing is rated as Unanimously Declining
• Access to retail services is split between Declining and Staying the Same


Posted by resident, a resident of Barron Park,
on Jun 9, 2014 at 6:04 pm

Thanks Doug for offering a discussion on Palo Alto's current growth/development concerns. The city council and city commissions ( planning, ARB) have created so many problems for residents, its difficult to even begin commenting on them. As you simply phrased it, Palo Alto has experienced "stupid growth".

For your future blog topics, could you explain a bit about them? #3 and #5 are rather obvious, other items seem a bit obscure. I am not a planner/developer so I am not familar with many of your references


1. Supply and XXXXXX, and other bad economics
2.Shills and Charlatans of Smart Growth
3.Public Transit Follies
4.Should Palo Alto really aspire to be more like a Chinese factory city?
5.Who Profits, Who Sacrifices?


Posted by Tom, a resident of South of Midtown,
on Jun 9, 2014 at 6:40 pm

If you build it, they will come . . . and keep on coming, necessitating ever more building. We are too densely populated as it is. High density housing, the current ideal, reminds me of crowding as many rats as possible into one cage. Then there's surprise when stress and aggression takes place. I, personally, do not want to live cheek by jowl with so many neighbors.


Posted by Enough, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Jun 9, 2014 at 10:06 pm

Tom, thank you so much for mentioning the outcomes of experiments with rats and crowded cages. The "too many rats in a cage" example is one I use often, and it is is SO fitting for this discussion. Overcrowding causes aggression. The rats begin to bite each other over the limited resources (food, water, space, ...).

We have the same over-development issues going on in Menlo Park. Some of the same over-development advocates are working both Palo Alto and Menlo Park. And what happens in the neighboring city, affects what happens in your city. NO MORE HIGH-DENSITY!


Posted by Justin, a resident of Mountain View,
on Jun 10, 2014 at 12:25 am

[[Deleted by blogger: despite a "final warning", Justin proceeds to use the pejorative "NIMBY" and a further false characterization to describe those he disagrees with, makes a demonstratbly false statement about the moderation, and falsely ascribes motivation to it.]]


Posted by Magda.grant@comcast.net, a resident of Charleston Meadows,
on Jun 10, 2014 at 12:30 pm

A very thoughtful discussion, much needed and much appreciated. Thank you for spending the time and effort, Douglas.


Posted by Old Guy, a resident of Ventura,
on Jun 10, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Doug, I think you've nailed something.

But there does appear to be an entire set of dynamics going on here.

Yes, cities and areas tend to boom, and sometimes bust. Are there examples of cities of comparable size, with high quality-of-life, that have kept their populations pretty much constant in the face of a large surrounding population (i.e. the bay area)?

There are two things about the push for rapid population growth in Palo Alto that I have never understood. Have you encountered a viewpoint that makes sense of either of these?

1. Our local government cannot not support the people who are already here to the extent they could just decades ago. We are past the point where more people makes the place better just by having more people. I guess there are probably more than two million people who would like to live in Palo Alto, including so many in the Bay Area, Mexico, Asia, and other parts of the U.S. How many of these are we obliged to accommodate? Where is the limit, and why is the limit set where it is?

2. If we are to increase our population, as you pointed out, there needs to be some big fundamental changes to infrastructure or even our approach to infrastructure, and also a very large number of smaller adjustments made to accommodate the increase. Everything from park access, dog issues, water and utility issues, safety, representation, code enforcement, watchdogs, culture of a large government vs. a small one, etc. Why would we want a rapid population increase, instead of a slow increase, so that we might be able to digest this growth? The graph provided above showing a decreasing rate of population growth is heartening to me, but why is our government forcing us to disregard this concept?

The feel of living in Palo Alto has been taking a huge hit. Who is the city for? Is it primarily for those who find a way to make money from it? Those seem to be the ones calling the shots. Is the primary purpose of the city to house as many people in the world as possible?

I've heard the argument that Palo Alto has an obligation to assist the overall US and world economy by bringing as many people to live in the city as there are jobs in the city of Palo Alto. Does this make sense?

Is it immoral for a city to keep its population down to allow a high quality of life, or a unique "safe, suburban, quiet life with great weather, near a world class university and close to oceans, mountains, and other natural bounties?"

It was so desirable to live here that the price to live here is high. Is there an obligation to provide a lower relative cost of living in Palo Alto?

Also, I think it is often overlooked that by adding lower cost-per-unit, higher density housing, we are actually increasing the cost of housing. By that I mean that the price to buy the same space or quality of residential housing goes up when more lower cost units are available. The price of a SFH goes up along with the property value when property is rezoned.

The net impact is to raise the price of comparable housing, not lower it.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jun 13, 2014 at 7:44 pm

Smart Growth sounds like a great idea ... well, another great marketing term for something that does not yet exist. I see no indication that anything our industry or government does is smart. It is just enough for these marketing ploys to convince people not to challenge the smartness of the Smart Growth.

I mean why is everything named like a product now ... slick name that conveys no information?

It used to be that at least public officials and private companies had some competence to solve problems ... now they just boldly go wherever they can chase the most money and call it the opposite of what it is.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jun 13, 2014 at 8:04 pm

1. We are past the point where more people makes the place better just by having more people.

True, way!

2. Who is the city for? Is it primarily for those who find a way to make money from it?

True, not primarily - only. This cancer will just keep growing until we have San Francisco right here. The most beautiful fertile land paved over and covered with giant buildings like a termite hive, maybe with a few holdout houses left. What kind of quality of life do you think it is when people hold on to a house while skyscrapers sprout up around it?

This place ... this whole place, now that there are economic entities and consortiums in place to do big things exists only to serve the giant corporations. To cater to their needs and their employees. If there were resources in the Earth here and this was not California, we would have oil drilling right in the downtown and it would be called Smart Growth too - or maybe Clean Growth.

This has almost always been the case, it's just that now "capital" can strike anywhere and disrupt of destroy community or the environment as if there is no value at all to it ... because it does not show up on a balance book, it does not have any rights, and by and large it cannot vote. We do not know how to do this smart, and since money and the military is really the only thing that matters, there is really no growth, it's just combustion ... digestion.

This place is no longer what it was, and it can never go back to what it was. It is now a fairly high status place to live that is pleasant for those who are trying to make a lot of money, but this is no longer a place where families can settle because in the timespan of a family things will hit that will destroy that. I came to Palo Alto in 1970 and there is virtually no one left that I originally knew back then, everyone is gone, all the young families and their kids.

There is no smart growth ... smart growth would have been very limited growth - but there's problems with that as well like people living in Palo Alto and having to commute to San Jose or the reverse.

Maybe a real "Smart Growth" would be to find appropriate places to cluster industry, and then conserve the environment for nature and figure out how to produce housing fairly that is pleasant and away from industry in distance but with public transit connections. But how do you do that when everything is already the way it is.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jun 13, 2014 at 8:07 pm

I guess there must be some SMART reason why Palo Alto Online does not have "TRACK THIS TOPIC" on the most community oriented part of their site ... the BLOGS ??????

[[From the blogger: PAOnline recognizes that tracking would be highly desirable and has told us bloggers that they plan to implement this, for both individual blog entries and the bloggers. However, they didn't give us a target date.]]


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jun 14, 2014 at 11:07 am

[[Deleted by blogger as off-topic: was about the blogging software (plus it is something over which I have no control.]]


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