News

Dining: The rebirth of Town & Country

Embarcadero Road shopping center has become epicenter for new dining experience

Some descriptions of Town & Country Village of the past might seem unimaginable to anyone who frequents the boutique Palo Alto shopping center today.

"It looked like a tombstone," said Howie Bulka, owner of Howie's Artisan Pizza, which opened at the shopping center in 2009.

Tim Stannard -- founding partner of Bacchus Management Group, which operates Mayfield Bakery & Café -- said he had to work to convince potential business partners that the "sleepy" shopping center was an investment worth making.

"They said, 'I don't know what you see here, Stannard.'" he recalled.

He saw a prime piece of real estate -- a property with ample parking on the corner of two major arteries in Palo Alto (El Camino Real and Embarcadero Road), across from a high school and a major university -- where business owners like himself could sow the seeds for a higher-quality dining-and-retail destination.

"I believed there was a pent-up demand and a sophisticated, knowledgeable consumer that was looking for offerings," Stannard said. "The supply wasn't meeting the demand. Even though the shopping center was sleepy, we had a sense that if we build it, they will come."

And they did. Town & Country -- now home to Mayfield, Howie's, Calafia Cafe, Asian Box, Gott's Roadside, Lulu's, Kara's Cupcakes, Tin Pot Creamery and more -- has become an epicenter of dining in Palo Alto.

Each of Town & Country's food tenants offers something unique to the shopping center, and in their own ways, epitomize the growing trends that define the Bay Area dining scene today.

Howie's Artisan Pizza opened before the phenomenon of artisan pizza had fully infiltrated the Peninsula.

Former Google chef Charlie Ayers brought Calafia Café with the slogan "slow food served fast." (The slow food movement began in the 1980s and is founded upon the ideal of always using locally sourced, sustainable ingredients.)

Asian Box, a small chain run by restaurant consultant Frank Klein, has a similar tag line: "Real food. Fast." Diners can customize boxes of made-to-order combinations of meat, rice, vegetables, sauces and the like (all with an Asian influence).

At Mayfield, each menu states at the bottom: "The following farmers made this meal possible." Before the restaurant even opened, Stannard had already built his own 5-acre organic farm in Woodside to directly supply his restaurants with local produce. The restaurant, serving California cuisine, bakes its own bread and roasts its own coffee. Mayfield also recognized a hole in the Palo Alto dining scene by adding an artisan cocktail menu this winter.

There's also Tava's Indian Kitchen and Mexican eatery Lulu's, which is owned by a local family.

Perhaps the biggest newcomer is Gott's Roadside, the St. Helena-born gourmet burger spot that opened last fall.

Beyond restaurants, there's also Tin Pot Creamery, a Palo Alto homegrown small-batch ice cream shop run by a former Facebook pastry chef, and Kara's Cupcakes, a Bay Area chain.

Though all the new blood is exciting for many, the evolution of Town & Country highlights a divide between old and new Palo Alto.

Many Town & Country tenants who were years-, some even decades-long local favorites, have not outlasted the evolution.

There was the Cook Book, a homey breakfast-and-lunch restaurant so beloved by the community that when it was suddenly evicted in 2005 after 25 years of operation, community members created the website www.savethecookbook.com, promised thousands of dollars to help owner James Kim relocate and wrote letters to owner Ellis Partners saying they planned to boycott the entire shopping center.

Lindsey Hiken, owner of Village Cheese House, said that the community uproar over losing the Cook Book helped the Cheese House, another old-fashioned community staple that's been at the shopping center since 1959, ride the wave of change after Town & Country was sold to Ellis Partners in 2004.

"It kind of set off this 'Oh, whoops,'" said Hiken, who bought the deli from the original owners in 2007. Ellis Partners offered to foot the bill for a remodel of the space that Hiken said she knew was necessary, along with a revamped business plan, to compete and survive.

"We used to just not really have competition because you'd want lunch and (if) you were near here, you could go to Douce France or us or Kirk's. There weren't that many options. ... Now there's Mexican food, there's Asian food, there's everything. The downside of that is that I have competition and it's hard. You can't just be a funky old deli with grouchy people working in it and survive in this climate."

Some restaurants that weathered the initial storm of change after Ellis Partners took over eventually didn't make it. In August 2012, popular lunch spot Korean BBQ shuttered after operating on a month-to-month lease for years. The small, family-owned restaurant with older style open-top glass counter with trays of food couldn't be more different from trendy Asian Box, which opened directly across the street five months before Korean BBQ closed.

Hobee's California Restaurants, a local chain, also moved out in January of this year, making room for Gott's Roadside.

Kirk's Steakburgers, a Palo Alto mainstay for more than 60 years, and Scott's Seafood, operating in the city since the 1990s, have persisted amidst the change around them.

Some existing tenants said they don't mind today's newcomers.

For the first 50 years at the Cheese House -- tucked in the back corner of the shopping center -- there were few people passing by and generating business, Hiken said.

"We're probably in the least visible location in the mall, so I do appreciate the foot traffic."

But rent continues to increase every year and competition gets more fierce as new tenants move in. Belcampo Meat Co., a farm-to-table meat market and restaurant whose offerings include meats and sandwiches, will be opening up one door down from the Cheese House sometime this spring.

"Our rent does go up every year and they're putting in competition, like direct competition. It's definitely not a shoe-in that we're just going to be able to make it," Hiken said. "Some days it feels like the foot traffic outweighs the competition, and some days, it doesn't."

Related article:

Palo Alto's dining scene heats up

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Paul Losch
a resident of Community Center
on Jan 17, 2014 at 12:24 pm

T&C is where PALY students go for lunch. The landlord is making a big mistake if it does not assure that there are establishments to serve the PALY kids.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 17, 2014 at 12:59 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

Oh, please - the Howie's guy totally exaggerates. T&C was quite busy before its management became uber greedy & snotty, kicking out beloved tenants.

Much of the food mentioned in the article above is both overpriced and mediocre. I had numerous poorly executed meals at Mayfield. That Indian place at T&C? It doesn't taste like Indian food. Howie's has also, unfortunately, been uneven, and we've been a supporter since they opened. If you check out Yelp reviews for Gott's, many diners are unimpressed.

Lastly, it's incredibly difficult to find parking a good deal of the time.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 17, 2014 at 2:15 pm

@Hmmm - I dunno, it wasn't a tombstone, but the current lack of parking shows how much more of destination it is now than in the past.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by paly parent
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 17, 2014 at 2:23 pm

@Paul Losch -The students are more of a hassle that prevent the "target customer" (mom's who lunch and have young kids) I suspect the majority of the restaurants would actually be happy if the Paly kids were not there creating long lines to spend just a couple dollars and walking in the parking lot as if there were no cars.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 17, 2014 at 3:26 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

Mr. Recycle - good point. But he was totally exaggerating. And of course, redoing the place seemed to kill off some parking (maybe I'm wrong?) And having a grocery store there also kills off a lot of parking for those not grocery shopping. I sure do love the double blossom daffodils that they had a few years ago - and the scent was heavenly.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by The pitz
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jan 17, 2014 at 3:41 pm

T&C has become miserable to visit. The parking is reduced not so much by the number of cars as by the "creative landscaping" that eliminated over 25% of parking spots!

The new owners tripled everyone's rent, which most merchants could not afford. ALL of the restaurants have lousy service and mediocre food.

I have even stopped going to Trader Joe's; it is easier to get into and out of the one at San Antonio,


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Community Center
on Jan 17, 2014 at 5:31 pm

Have repeatedly gone to T& C For Eyes re: glasses. No parking places since Peet's is next door. No other For-Eyes in the immediate area (Insurance covered at For-Eyes.) Told to try lateSunday afternoon. Miss going to Douce France - but when my wife is along, we might find rare handicap spot. REALLY miss the good old CookBook where I saw 'everybody I knew" and everybody "knew my name'. Yes, Ellis Management wanted upscale, high end - gold plated baby clothes ( store now closed), $4.00 ice cream cones and $3.00 plus cupcakes. Then there is Scott's - which is no match for former beloved good-food Stickney's. IMHO Scott's is 'losing luster'. Rarely go there anymore. obvious on Sundays when the 'foot traffic' seems way down. Prices going up, quality going down. Then there was the initial not- so-subtle ousting of Hobee's. It's worth the drive to South Palo Alto to get the coffee cake ----and the salmon dinner. A big gripe. The flowers and plants usually have a "blue and gold" color scheme- at the entrance to Stanford whose colors are 'cardinal' red and white. Who's ordered this? But all of this will never change. Just have to go someplace else.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Long Time Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 17, 2014 at 8:04 pm

Does anyone know how much the rent is per square foot?

My neighbors used to have a dress store in T&C 45 years ago. They told my family that they had to price everything high in order to pay the rent on their little store. They closed a few years later, and went back to their home
state of Hawaii.

Many people know about the high rents in T&C and for stores on University Ave/
These landlords have held on to the property for many years (generations), and I believe are protected under prop 13. It seems unfair to charge merchants such high rents when it is almost pure profit for them.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 17, 2014 at 11:56 pm

"Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded." - Yogi Berra


 +   Like this comment
Posted by stephen levy
a resident of University South
on Jan 18, 2014 at 11:27 am

stephen levy is a registered user.

What Crescent Park Dad says about T & C goes equally for downtown. All those people Nancy and I see happily walking around downtown must not have gotten the message that no sane person would want to go there.

Usually places are crowded because they are providing something that attracts people.

Go figure some of these comments.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Native
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 18, 2014 at 3:28 pm

It seems that not too many PA residents go downtown or to T&C. I think we are seeing people from elsewhere.

Used to be until five years ago, that I ran into friends and acquaintances frequently when walking downtown or shopping at T &C. But this has not been the case in years. I have occasionally asked these people if they ever go to either location anymore, and the answers range from, "NEVER!" To "Only the off-streets of University" to "Only occasionally on special occasions".

The natives prefer Cal Ave of Castro St.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 18, 2014 at 5:05 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

It seems Mr. Levy missed Mr Berra's point.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Retired Teacher
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 20, 2014 at 4:14 pm

What a strange conversation! I don't think there's any question that the new T&C owners squeezed out some excellent places in search of stores and restaurants that could afford very high rents, which means higher prices and fewer places for "ordinary" folks. And it's hard to miss the self-congratulation in the voices of the people who described T&C as being like a "tombstone." There's always a good side and a bad side to these makeovers.

Personally, I like Califia very much, but I miss Hobee's, the Cookbook, and even the old Stickney's from long ago. The old Cheese House was quite an amazing place, with the best cheese selection around and the greatest sandwiches. Many good places that deserved a better fate are gone.

Fancy businesses and a parking lot full of Beamers, Jags, and Mercedes Benzes do not necessarily a heaven make.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 20, 2014 at 6:32 pm

I really don't like T & C nowadays. It used to be the sort of place where I could meet my Paly student for a quick lunch that would suit both of us. It used to have character, plenty of parking and places I enjoyed using - some of which used to have hard to find elsewhere selections. Now the Cheesehouse no longer has the international foods I used to buy and TJs is a joke - can't understand why people like it. The produce and meat is all prepackaged and you can't buy a list of recipe ingredients - there's always something they don't do.

I can't park easily and the entrance and egress is dangerously difficult. If the people going there like it, then that's fine with me. I don't bother any more.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Midtown
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 20, 2014 at 7:29 pm

With the median prices of houses approaching $2M what do you suppose would happen? Rigged free enterprise at work. The problem is that there are not enough parking places left once they put Traders in for us to park so we can unload all our extra cash. Bad planning.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Michael O
a resident of Stanford
on Jan 20, 2014 at 7:43 pm

Yes, it's TOTALLY IMPOSSIBLE to find a parking spot directly in front of the store or restaurant I'm going to so I might have to walk 100 FEET to get to where I'm going. It's AWFUL. I wish it were the way it used to be so I could park right in from of Hobee's and eat my gigantic tasteless coffee cake surrounding by the other expressionless people eating there.

You'd think from reading these comments that new shops are there because the rent went up. It's the other way around. The rent went up because new shops want to be there. The complainers, to bring up Prop 13 and its distortions of the housing market, are probably those same people enjoying their 1985 tax bills (going up only 2% per year) while the rest of us are supporting the community with our current ones 10 times as high.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Retired Teacher
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 20, 2014 at 8:15 pm

Goodness, I weep for Michael O. A resident of Stanford, an accredited university and a census designated place in Santa Clara County, California. He seems to be a bit confused.

First, he doesn't seem to have any idea that people who own property are the ones who control the rents. True, they can't raise the rents if they can't find renters. But when there's a ton of money floating around, and well-financed business waiting to pounce, they can boot out anyone they want and maximize their profits. Which they have done.

Second, Prop 13. It was passed in 1978, Michael O. It was passed to protect people--mostly older people--who were in danger of losing their homes because of soaring tax rates. And, miracle dictu, somehow corporations, who never seem to sell their properties, were protected more than anyone else.

Third, I never had to walk 100 feet to get to Hobee's to taste their delicious coffee cake, although, truth to tell, I rarely ordered it. Yes, Michael O, I did have to sit next to those expressionless people you excoriate. But, you know what? They didn't seem that different from the people I sat next to at Mayfield Cafe or other incredibly elite T&C places.

All in all, I admire you for supporting our community by paying your extortionate tax bill, as well as the landlords who, after all, are just maximizing their profits as any good capitalist should and will do.




 +   Like this comment
Posted by Retired Teacher
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 20, 2014 at 8:21 pm

Doggone, Michael O, I meant mirabile dictu, not miracle dictu. I'm sure you caught that error.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 20, 2014 at 9:52 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

IIRC, previous shop owners at T&T mentioned that they were being driven out by high rents or the landlord didn't want to renew their lease. There was a plan to gentrify T&C. Too bad that they didn't any real diversity, such as - sure, add Mayfield Cafe, but keep The Cookbook.

In all the years I went to The Cookbook, I never found dried food on my silverware, as I have at Calafia several times, nor did I ever have to send food back because it was cooked wrong, such as I did at Mayfield. I also never had to complain about the poor service and badly cooked food at The Cookbook, as I did w/Mayfield. Oh, and The Cookbook never forgot some of our dishes, as Howie's has.

I don't mind walking from a back parking lot, but I do prefer to find actual parking to walk from.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 21, 2014 at 5:17 am

Did a Stanford resident bring up property taxes??? I always wondered how that works. From the Stanford website:

"Stanford University is aware of the privileges and responsibilities conferred upon it through its federal and state income tax exemptions, its county property tax exemption and its ability to secure tax-exempt debt through the State of California."

I assume Stanford residents and businesses on Stanford property pay some county taxes on possessory interest or whatever, but I have no idea how that compares to the rest of us. Or to get back on topic, the tax expense differences between Town & Country and Stanford Shopping Center.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 21, 2014 at 7:08 am

>> You can't just be a funky old deli with grouchy people working in it and survive in this climate."

Huh?

Wow, what a shot at a business that lasted for decades and many thousands of Palo Alto High School students. The Village Cheese House was the only deli I knew of in recent Town & Country history, except for the deli that used to be in the Town & Country Market. Both were far far better than what is there today.

I think I'd faint if I ever went to the deli today and actually got the sandwich I'd ordered - just once! Maybe the high school students were smarter back then too or more able to focus and less sleep deprived. The new deli is nice, but it is not anywhere as good as it used to be way back in the last century! ;-)

And, for all these supposed "upgrades" the prices are upgraded as well, and the crowds.

By the way the writing in these articles these days is not really up to par to the "funky", "grouchy" writing of the old Palo Alto Daily either, with the typos, grammatical errors and snarky attitudes.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 21, 2014 at 8:57 am

I agree, the old Village Cheese House was great for a big sandwich lunch and had lots of character. It is so, so difficult to find anything approximating a deli out here.
I don't relate that well to the "new" T & Country and find the parking extremely challenging. Before you flame me, I can state I do not require totally nearby parking, but I often get caught in a traffic jam in that center and that isn't fun on a regular basis. Therefore, I go there less often than I might otherwise if the lot layout were better.
I also notice many drivers ignore the stop sign, which stresses me since I have the right of way (without a stop sign) at the particular turn in the center I am thinking of...and one wants to proceed according to traffic rules/rules of the road, but when drivers very often barge ahead, then one must be constantly defensive.
I find Mountain View a less stressful environment. Even though plenty of people are spending their dollars at T & Country, including Palo Alto people, do realize a lot of us are also spending plenty of money outside this city and for good reasons.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Old timer
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jan 21, 2014 at 11:03 am

I used to like to go to Village Cheese House for a sandwich and a mocha, then eat my lunch at the Duck Pond, bringing along old bread to feed the friendly ducks. Now everything is outlawed, even the plastic bags that held lunch.

No old-fashioned charm there anymore. Too glitzy. Parking does not look as easy as it was. It has been several years since I went to Town and Country.
I too, miss Stickneys & The Cook Book that had personable staff, great food and at reasonable prices.

If T & C is busy now, that's great for everyone. But I presume it is due to people new in the area that do not remember what the center was like before the owners/managers/developers got greedy. Too many other still good places to go and not necessarily in Palo Alto.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by stephen levy
a resident of University South
on Jan 21, 2014 at 11:17 am

stephen levy is a registered user.

These comments are at the heart of what it means when the profile and preferences of residents including students changes.

I, too, was around when there was Stickney's, Cookbook, the Village Cheese Shop and, more recently, Hobee's and loved all of these places.

But times change and the owners and shops change with the times.

I enjoy the new and do not see much to gain by blaming anyone for changing with the times or seeking to go back to a different time.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Silly
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 21, 2014 at 11:40 am

1) The traffic and parking are a joke. The turn lanes for El Camino are always backed up. You can't exit a parking space due to dridlock. The "attractive" stone walls are a disaster because they are higher than the height of cars. I've turned into T&C and almost hit cars that are parked waiting for spaces.

2) Do an economic impact study of the cost of the bottleneck. I live close to T&C but often shop the Trader Joe's in Menlo Park because of the traffic mess.

3) Dear brilliant city planners: There are no kids at school all night long so you really don't need the traffic light at the crosswalk at 2AM.

4) I still miss the Prestige shop which had a 50 year history in Town & Country. The landlords upgraded them to a bigger store just in time for the recession. When they asked to be moved back to their smaller store, the landlords said, "tough." How loyal. Complaints to our fine city did nothing to save a local business.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Michele
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jan 21, 2014 at 12:40 pm

This snotty article did not even mention The Sushi House - reasonable, fast, a special lunch and line for Paly kids. Guess I should be glad - less people to crowd my family out. We've been eating here for years. This restaurant survived the big "improvement."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 21, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

Michele - I noticed that, too. While it's not the best that I've had, it's a great local place, family-owned, affordable and reliable.

I find it ironic that one of the most family-friendly, affordable places - The Cookbook, was replaced by a mommy place that has since closed down.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 21, 2014 at 2:29 pm

This article and the banter are pretty funny. I think the place is both. I was very impressed with the, what I would call strategic, rebirth of the shopping center. I think they deliberately picked a demographic and went after it. The timing was perfect, considering a whole bunch of the tech guys started having kids. So there was a need for an upscale but family destination (which is also, in a sense, a tourist attraction for the same reason). Ultimately, though, it's cool. Go there when you want something from there and do some people watching or whatever and just avoid the place during the crunch hour. Not worth the effort.

Kudos to the owner and developers though, it's a success story.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Michael O
a resident of Stanford
on Jan 21, 2014 at 5:14 pm

Mr. or Mrs. Retired School Teacher is giving me an economics lesson I don't need, and missed most of my points and my tone. First, there's still plenty of parking at T&C, just not in front of the store you want it to be in front of. Second, the food is (finally) better in Palo Alto than it was years ago (and not so many years ago.) Thank goodness for that. Third, too bad that rents went up. The food is still better. Fourth, I'm also not excoriating anyone, just saying that the bland food at Hobee's is not missed (by me anyway) and that expressionless people might like expressionless food. (Everyone at Mayfield's and Calafia seem to be having a grand old time. Maybe it's just that the lighting is better.)

I totally agree that Prop 13 abuses by the real estate market are unconscionable, but the inequities created in real estate taxes are absurd. Look up your new neighbor's taxes and see if it is anything approaching fair. I'm not in the mood for massively subsidizing the public services of people just because they've been around here longer. It like a pyramid scheme, only upside down.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by JoAnn
a resident of Ventura
on Jan 21, 2014 at 7:25 pm

" The natives prefer Cal Ave of Castro St. "

which the city "planners" and "managers" are in the process of screwing up.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by twerk!
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 21, 2014 at 8:32 pm

Twerking seems to be a pass time for some paly kids at T&C. I would not have believed it I had not seen it myself.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 21, 2014 at 10:08 pm

@ Michael O.

As Retired Teacher hinted at, the real scandal with Prop.13 is commercial properties. Did you know that before prop. 13, property taxes on commercial properties represented about 2/3 of total property taxes collected in California, while homes comprised about 1/3? Well, now, the ratios have been reversed to 1/3 for commercial properties to 2/3 for homes.

So, please, leave your neighbors out of this and do something about commercial property owners not paying their fair share.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Michael O
a resident of Stanford
on Jan 21, 2014 at 10:56 pm

Totally agree with @Midtowner that it is a scandal that commercial properties are under Prob 13. Stab that law 'til it's dead. It's also quite a scandal that it exists for residential properties. I'm quite nice to my neighbors, by the way, regardless of what they pay in taxes, but will not leave them out of this. It is more than absurd that the neighbor in an identical house down the street pays 1/10th the taxes that I pay. Does @Midtowner have any idea at all about the disparity in tax rates caused by Prob 13, both in relative or absolute terms? Santa Clara County makes it easy to look this stuff up here: Web Link My neighbor, good man (should have won the Nobel Prize, maybe there's still time left) was shocked when I told him in absolute dollar terms what I paid this year. It's not a secret, except to those who argue that Prob 13 is reasonable, because if you look at the actual numbers people would be embarrassed to stand up for the law.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 21, 2014 at 10:56 pm

@Michael O - at lunchtime, 7 days a week, pretty much every space at T&C is filled, including all of them in the back lot of Encina. The only way to get a spot is to circle and stalk, it isn't fun. Why do you think they are doing Valet? They are even double parking at lunchtime.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 22, 2014 at 4:42 am

@Michael, the new neighbor knows what his property tax will be when he chooses to move in. And can be fairly certain of no more than a 2% increase per year. It will be years before he has paid in as much toward the existing infrastructure as his older neighbors who built the city, older neighbors who no longer have children in the schools. After a decade the newer new neighbors will have driven prices further unaffordable. Should newcomers landing higher-paying jobs or bringing in overseas money have the right to force old homeowners out? Is what's happening in San Francisco just the way the cookie crumbles?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Michael O
a resident of Stanford
on Jan 22, 2014 at 10:37 am

To @musical: If you are asking whether I think that housing prices should be set by the market, then the answer is yes. No one is being "pushed out," and your comment about "overseas money" is baldly racist. I'm just saying that property taxes should be more equitable. Not equal, just more equitable. And there's nothing wrong with that. Pay your fair share TODAY. The arguments in favor of Prob 13 as it current stands are bizarre. I will pay in in 2 or 3 years more in taxes than my neighbors have paid in 40! What is @musical talking about? It's like saying because you've lived in a place for 40 years that you should get 90% off on your car, your food, your furniture. It's bizarre...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 22, 2014 at 10:47 am

Hmmm is a registered user.

Mr. Recycle - you're right, and there's not really nearby parking one can use.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 22, 2014 at 11:47 am

What the Prop 13 bashers fail to acknowledge is that the same set of circumstances were faced by home buyers in 1980, 1990, 2000 and so on. We all paid in at the higher rate at some point. Live here long enough and you too will see how it all works out in the end.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 22, 2014 at 2:39 pm

And I will pay more income tax than 47% of the country. Apologies to readers who don't care to watch side-arguments, and in the interest of avoiding escalation I'll quit here.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Michael O
a resident of Stanford
on Jan 22, 2014 at 9:15 pm

What is @ Crescent Park Dad talking about? Fail to acknowledge what? It is exactly the point. When you buy your home should have little bearing on how much you pay in taxes. I should get that if I stay long enough I'll live off the backs of others? Not a great plan for society. And to @musical who is lucky enough to pay income taxes: good for you, but your income taxes are not relevant to the real estate tax question. And to reiterate (for those who don't get this "side-argument"): there appears to be a direct correlation between those who have owned their homes a long time, paying low real estate taxes, and liking boring food. I hope you find a spot to park.


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