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Original post made on Oct 26, 2013

A shot at the wrong target

Read the letters to the editor here Web Link posted Friday, October 25, 2013, 12:00 AM

Comments (5)

Posted by Zayda, a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 26, 2013 at 9:16 pm

@Andrea Schneider
I'm a little confused. In the recent flyer from YesOnD you are prominently featured claiming "Measure D will help seniors like ME stay in Palo Alto." You claimed you had to move to Portland because YOU couldn't afford to rent in Palo Alto. Were the rents in Mt. View, Sunnyvale or San Jose also too high? Or was it a job in Portland which lured you away from your family. Then you returned and had to move in with your 101 year old father. Now you are telling us that it is your FATHER who would be deprived of a place to live if Measure D is defeated. Who will it be next week?


Posted by Zayda, a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 26, 2013 at 9:53 pm

@Winter

Thank you. At the hearings PAHC claimed that the occupancy rate for senior housing is 1.1 seniors per unit. That would mean 66 seniors in the Maybell Orchard apartments. YOU, on the other hand, claim that "All No on D will do is deprive over 100 of our elders of any hope of remaining in town." Is that a more realistic figure or is it just 'ad hominem hyperbole'.
You are absolutely correct. The goal IS PC zoning reform. Like 1967, Maybell Avenue is just the first battle in the city-wide war to stop the insane over-development of OUR Palo Alto. Maybell Avenue had the courage to say NO to the developers and the City Council. Now the rest of the city has been awakened to the destruction which will be caused by the likes of Jay Paul and Ken Hayes. That the traffic glut every day all over Palo Alto is not the enemy of development; it is the result of it. It is the necrosis caused by the cancer.
YOU, of all people, who want to stop the rape of the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park by the Mayor's former employer, should realize that these are not isolated cases. NIMBY is not living in isolation. It is realizing that by helping others protect their neighborhood, you protect your own.


Posted by NO ON D, a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 27, 2013 at 1:10 am

There are many well meaning people who advocate this rezoning based on an emotional reaction to low income senior needs. Many do not yet know that this building has only apartments in it and no amenities. They do not ask questions about whether the very large subsidies spent on this project are the best way of providing housing for low income seniors.

We do not have infinite tax money. What if subsidizing these seniors' rents is a more efficient way of Supporting them than spending millions, defacing neighborhoods and build these segregated buildings for low income seniors?

I am voting NO on D because I w ant to hear a discussion of why this is the most efficient use of the tax payer funds.


Posted by Joe Hirsch, a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 27, 2013 at 7:25 am

Please note that the Yes on D group banners in its mailers, etc., state "Affordable Senior Housing in Palo Alto" or "Affordable Senior Housing for Palo Alto", not "Affordable Senior Housing for Palo Altans", if that makes a difference to you. The most major proponent of high-density rezoning for this project is signaling that they really don't believe that a majority of the seniors in their Maybell proposal will be Palo Altans. Given their financing, which as I understand it includes City, County and possibly Federal money, they can't restrict the housing to Palo Altans, no matter what individuals would like to think or say.

Vote AGAINST Measure D and send this project back to were it should have started one year ago - a conversation between PAHC and the neighborhood seeking a win-win situation (ala the Terman Working Group 30+ years ago) that could have avoided bringing us to where we are now.

Vote AGAINST Measure D and its high-density rezoning in a residential neighborhood.



Posted by Parent, a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 27, 2013 at 8:57 am

The outcomes people want:

If Measure D passes:
City and PAHC: build apartments for seniors at Maybell, save tons of money doing it by upzoning neighborhood.

If Measure D doesn't pass (if Against D wins):
Neighborhood: A working group is formed that finds a way to put in the affordable housing in a win-win like the Terman Working Group that brought us the 92-units of affordable housing in the same neighborhood 30 years ago after just such controversy. The needs of children's safety, of the neighborhood, of the families who use the park, and the disabled children at the school programs for the disabled across the street are respected rather than ignored as everyone works out how to best achieve the housing the next day. Trust is rebuilt in the community and goals are met. (Many neighbors Against D were in that group including Joe Hirsch and have been asking for this all along.)

What people will actually get:

If Measure D passes:
PAHC: ongoing and expensive legal battles, causing more cost, division, and mistrust to the community and their reputation. They may very well not get to build anyway.

ABAG: Palo Alto can no longer claim it can't upzone residential neighborhoods to meet its goals.

If Measure D fails (if Against Measure D wins):
The City has to finally listen to and work with neighbors. A working group is formed that finds a way to put in the affordable housing in a win-win like the Terman Working Group that brought us the 92-units of affordable housing in the same neighborhood 30 years ago. The needs of children's safety, of the neighborhood, of the families who use the park, and the disabled children at the school programs for the disabled across the street are respected rather than ignored as everyone works out how to best build the housing the next day. Trust is rebuilt in the community and goals are met. (Many neighbors Against D were in that group including Joe Hirsch and have been asking for this all along.)


The proponents of rezoning, in order to push through a bad plan to make/save themselves a lot of money and convince the rest of Palo Alto that so dramatically upzoning in residential neighborhoods is a good idea, have demonized the neighbors and torn this neighborhood apart. Having worked with the AGAINST people, I know they are good people who will work out a real win-win.

By the way, the money for the new development is being made by selling off the upzoned property - the for-profit developer will then make a ton of money off of it. His profits from selling the new houses will NOT be going to support the affordable component, as people mistakenly seem to think, only the profit of selling the upzoned land will. The for-profit developer stands to make a killing, which will be going into hs own pocket.

With this project PAHC is becoming a developer for the main building - why don't they just build the houses themselves, too, and put all the profits into the affordable housing? They could afford to respect the zoning then. They would then make all the money from selling the market-rate portion, and would make even more money than the plan in Measure D by millions, while building something acceptable to the neighborhood at the same time.

Neighbors asked for this win win in City meetings, and PAHC said that's not their mission, to make money. Huh? They want to make money by selling the upzoned property to a for-profit builder, but don't want to make even more money just building the houses more in keeping with the neighborhood zoning along with the main building and selling them to help finance the main building far better? I repeat, they are using the profits from only the sale of the upzoned 55% of the land to the market-rate developer. They are literally using the densification of the neighborhood to make money. The market-rate developer will be keeping the profits of selling those homes, those greater profits will not go to support the affordable side. The costs of the plan will be borne by the neighborhood, the children's safety, the disabled children at the school across the street or the disabled, etc.

And a Supreme Court ruling in California last week - against Palo Alto of all places - gives the developer 3 years to challenge the fee written into the ordinance anyway, (which is the very incentive to densify the neighborhood in the first place). The very validity of the ordinance itself may be challengeable just on those grounds.

Voting AGAINST is the only way forward to get the housing and work together. Against is the best choice for everyone and is the healing choice. Please vote Against D.




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