Posted by Resident, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Aug 2, 2007 at 10:29 am
Great post that sums it up pretty well. I would add:
15. City employees trolls on Town Square attack you as a "naysayer" if you dare to question the next unnecessary expensive bond measure, city employee benefit increase, or pie in the sky city council project.
Posted by An Observer, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 2, 2007 at 11:19 am
To add to the list: You arn't told that a large area of the city is subject to flooding like New Orlenes and when the really big flood comes you may be paying the cost of rebuilding those houses flooded.
The city is and has ignored this issue since the '98 flood. They have taken no steps to protect those who don't live in the flood zone from lawsuits from those who do live in the flood zone.
These steps could cost the city almost nothing in $$$.
Posted by Not so fast, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Aug 2, 2007 at 1:44 pm
Climate change is the only thing our city is interested in. Our intrepid mayor has her rose-colored glasses on and sees no problems in our fair city (also just check out the new city website to see how perfect and wonderful things are here).
Plus she is too busy with photo-ops to actually deal with infrastructure issues.
Posted by Observer, a resident of the Evergreen Park neighborhood, on Aug 3, 2007 at 1:09 pm
I see Not so fast is still stalking the mayor. He just doesn't give up. I think she should consider talking to the police about some protection. Apparently she voted against him once, and he won't let go. He is also one who repeats the accusation about "naysayers."
Posted by logical, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 3, 2007 at 6:21 pm
Joanna, People will continue to pay 10X the value of their PA houses as long as there are fools with money. Remember, this is the community that thinks Eichlers should be preserved. All those yuppie Gen-X'ers who weren't alive when they were being built. Eichlers are the worst and cheapest of all post-war construction. Fortunately for the rest of the country, Joe Eichler never succeeded outside of California.
As for the Police, you might want to ask Albert Hopkins about them. He passed away recently, but googling `Albert Hopkins Police Beating` will show the true nature of the PAPD.
Sorry, but I have to agree with the original poster. I've been here 42 years and have watched Palo Alto slowly swirl down the toilet.
Posted by 14k/yr, a member of the Jordan Middle School community, on Aug 3, 2007 at 8:29 pm
My God, evil Gen-Xers and yuppies threatening to destroy Palo Alto buy overpaying for housing! Donít forget to attack the foreigners!
I find Logical's and Joanna's comments representative of a truly offensive mindset that I have occasionally seen voiced, complete contempt for people who have been able to buy a house in the past 10 years or so. Logical just doesnít get it. Most people pay huge sums of money for third rate Palo Alto housing because of the perception that the school system is superior. Most new residents who buy Eichlerís buy them because itís the best they can afford. God save anyone from the wrath of their elderly neighbors if they try to tear down an Eichler.
Prop 13 gutted school funding in California and left PA schools an island of mild competence is a sea of the abysmal. Also, Logical donít forget, that Prop 13 drove up housing prices by reducing the amount of housing on the market. Isnít fascinating that the many of the major capital improvements to Palo Alto were funded by bonds votes in the 1950ís when the average population was younger and a simple majority was all that was required.
So logical, rather than hold your new neighbors in contempt for being able to purchase a home, you might to thank them for inflating the value of your home (your mortgage paid with inflated dollars), funding local government, paying your Social Security, paying your Medicare, paying high state taxes, any paying local sales tax. Logical, Palo Alto may be going down the toilet, but donít forget you helped pull the lever.
Posted by Citizen, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Aug 3, 2007 at 9:56 pm
14K a year - excellent point. The horrible people who bought houses here within the last 10 years are the ones who are actually paying the meaningful property taxes that fund this city. Renters and the elderly love to complain, but apparently they don't believe in paying a reasonable amount of taxes.
FYI - I am about 9K/YR, but this will massively jump when I tear down my old shack and put up a livable house.
Posted by logical, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 3, 2007 at 10:08 pm
14K/yr, Actually, I think you missed most of what I said, and I do agree with 90+% of what you have said. Yes, I have benefited financially from the yuppie influx and tax law changes. More than anything, my posting is to illustrate how new residents have been taken advantage of.
Contempt for new buyers - no. just sadness that they are so gullible, but then I don't drive a Volvo either.....
Tearing down Eichlers, well on that we agree 100% Do you own one? Best of luck getting a permit to demo and rebuild!
Oh, and one more thing. I'm not getting Social Security or Medicare. In fact, I'm one of those foriegners you assume I'm attacking.
Posted by bob, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Aug 6, 2007 at 5:23 pm
How did the police get into this thread? But to put the Hopkins case into perspective, for the last 5 years (see the city auditor's Service Issues and Accomplishments reports) the police have responded to over 55,000 calls each year with the average number of complaints less than 20 per year - only 8 last year. One serious error should not cancel the many, many thousands of responses of excellent service to our community.
The poster, The City is Godly, has some good thoughts. How does one correct some of the points raised? Perhaps even if ignored or slapped down, you should just keep trying.
Posted by Anne, a member of the Addison School community, on Aug 12, 2007 at 8:49 pm
I am new to the area and am glad to have this forum to share and learn about Palo Alto. We moved here not only because of the lovely area and great reputation, but also because of the proximity to work.
Coming from a small town, I am interested to learn how city government works here. I had heard so much about the vocal and involved Palo Altoans and was looking forward to the great discussions and debates - but am surprised at some of the decisions of the city council. They seem to be simplistic and selfish rather than thinking wisely of the greater good and future of the city. I am sure it is difficult balancing the needs of the few with the many - but couldn't they do better?
So how does this year's potential candidates to City Council stack up? Will they be more of the same or bring in a new order?
Posted by Peter, a resident of the Southgate neighborhood, on Aug 12, 2007 at 9:04 pm
Citizen, please don't perpetuate the canard that renter's don't pay taxes. They do. The simple facts are: Renters pay rent to property owners. From that rental income, the property owners pay property taxes. Strictly speaking, you could say that those property owners don't actually pay those taxes, the renters do.
Posted by pays taxes, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Aug 13, 2007 at 12:02 am
Owners pay taxes. They pay them whether their rental property is empty or not; whether rents are high or low.
Property taxes impact rents when owners can charge what they want for rent, but that hasn't happened in Palo Alto for awhile now. The ratios involved in buying (and financing) property for rent in Palo Alto are among the worst in the nation (e.g. you can only service a loan for a small amount of the cost of a single family home based on its rental income and other expenses such as property tax). This shows owners cannot charge what they want. They cannot add the cost of property tax to the rent; the rent would be too high to successfully find tenants.
In many cases, tenants allow the property tax to be paid by their current owners, who would otherwise sell and cause the next owner to pay higher taxes.
I don't know exactly what the point of this discussion is, but owners pay taxes, not tenants. Tenants do and should benefit from all the location aspects of the community, including weather, schools, parks, etc. They live here. Absentee owners do not (except financially) and should not expect to.
Posted by paying attention, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 13, 2007 at 7:10 am
to pays taxes: You wrote "Owners pay taxes. They pay them whether their rental property is empty or not; whether rents are high or low"
Your point is to somehow say that therefore renters don't pay taxes? If there were no renters, there would be no owners, thus no taxes.
We must always remember cause and effect. Every time Prop 13 comes up, I say..go ahead, tear it down, and watch all the current owners scream and cry and city income drop as housing prices plummet.
People who think this way also believe the canard that raising federal or state taxes will raise federal or state income. It is the opposite. Raising taxes kills innovation, productivity and employment..which lowers federal income. Note the largest federal income, ever, in real dollars, this last year. Note the excess state income this last year.
I agree with Peter, we all need to face the reality of how our govt is financed, and the real effects of our laws, not the illusory.
Posted by Concerned., a resident of East Palo Alto, on Aug 13, 2007 at 1:32 pm
I would like to add that the Police do a great job. They are under a lot of pressure and risk any time they are out there looking out for all residents.
They are doing a job that many would not want. They respond to all sorts of issues and they have to protect themselves. I firmly believe that in a hostile environment they have every right to to use force as ""they"" see fit. They have been trained to do a job, but, no one can know every situation out there.
Residents could be of help by being good citizens of the city.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Aug 13, 2007 at 2:13 pm
Thomas Sowell? Ha ha ha...
You mean the keep-blacks-down black economist (widely quoted by those with racist leanings) who doesn't understand ethnography?
Ha ha ha....
About Palo Alto: this cit is due for a BIG face change: hold on to your seats; the next five-seven years will see serious changes in the structure of government operations, the structure of policy making, and the growth of our city.
Posted by Duddy, a resident of Stanford, on Aug 13, 2007 at 2:21 pm
Isn't it possible to write about this topic without suggesting those you disagree with are racist? Really, that kind of tactic should be off limits here.
While Sowell does write about race-related issues from time to time, his Economics books (with which I am familiar) are technical in nature and to accuse those who cite them of racism is beyond the pale and dishonest in the extreme.
Posted by Duddy, a resident of Stanford, on Aug 13, 2007 at 3:04 pm
To make allusions to racism and racists in a discussion that has nothing to do with race is a disgusting tactic. It halts discussion on the issue at hand because of its shock value - which likely is its intent.
It is disingenuous to say that a citation used by your debate opposite is "widely quoted by those with racist leanings", and then to say that the person targeted "has not been accused of racism." Pure sophistry. Puerile nonsense.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Aug 13, 2007 at 3:30 pm
Duddy, Pete, Why the fuss? Why are you getting all defensive? Sowell is YOUR guy, not mine; his record stands out there for all to see. His lack of ethnographic understandinng in his well-researched, but blind-to-histiry analyses are out there, for all to see. His social analyses are laughable, period. That you think I called you a racist is your problem; I'm sorry that you are both projecting your imaginings into the argument, and discussion.
Posted by Laura, a resident of the The Greenhouse neighborhood, on Aug 13, 2007 at 6:40 pm
Hey Bob, guess what?! In our system we get to try to change things we don't like. If we're against the war, we can try to elect people who will stop it - as likely will happen by the next election. We don't have to move to Canada if we don't like it here. If we think we have a Governor who's on the take for special interests, we can recall him and try someone else. We don't have to move to Nevada if we don't like it. And here in Palo Alto, if we think the people are running the place are screwing things up, we get to try to change that. We don't have to move to Mountain View.
Maybe if you're unhappy with the system we have here, you should move someone where citizens don't have the right to complain and participate in the governing process. There still are a few places like that left (like Cuba, Iran and N. Korea).
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Aug 13, 2007 at 6:49 pm
Laura, you have a right to complain and to seek redress. However, you need to defend your views with real arguments, the kind that can be defended when put under the microscope. Otherwise, you will be ignored; worse, ridiculed.
Posted by Laura, a resident of the The Greenhouse neighborhood, on Aug 13, 2007 at 6:54 pm
I'm not complaining. I like it here, and have only a few quibbles about how things are done.
What raised my ire, and what I'm commenting on is the "Love it or Leave it" attitude of many in town. I'm glad that we have so many participants in our political and civic dialogue. It makes us a better place to live.
Posted by Carney, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Aug 13, 2007 at 7:10 pm
If you guys want to debate Tom Sowell, why don't you start another thread "KKK vs. Communists" or something. This was supposed to be about the Palo Alto process and citizen input into it...or something like that.
Posted by Bob Davis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Aug 13, 2007 at 7:16 pm
I've got Tom Sowell's "Economics" - the book that started this ranting - right her in front of me. It is almost entirely technical - if dumbed down from a college text level. It has zip, nada, nothing to do with Sowells social commentary or his views on race and poverty.
Posted by pays taxes, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Aug 13, 2007 at 8:56 pm
Paying Attention -
I agree that prop 13 is a good thing.
I agree that raising taxes does not in general simply provide the government more money in the long term.
But that doesn't mean renters pay property tax. They pay rent, and rent is determined by rental market forces. Property taxes are not. Housing prices have a very weak link to rents, except over decades, but most owners do not own for decades. Property taxes have a far tighter link to housing prices.
Sure, everything in the universe is connected to everything else at some level. But the link between rents and property tax isn't very strong. Renters don't pay property tax.
You are saying something like, "employers pay property taxes because the employees who pay them directly get their money from employers."