ABAG housing projections split PA City Council
Original post made
on Oct 16, 2007
Pitting the preservation of Palo Alto -- as we know it -- against the need to combat greenhouse gas emissions and crowded freeways, the city's assignment to add at least 2,860 new housing units by 2014 divided the City Council Monday night.
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posted Tuesday, October 16, 2007, 1:15 AM
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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 16, 2007 at 1:17 pm
In this, I disagree with most members of the City Council.
Larry Klein's argument is especially puzzling, because he'sm always prresented himself as a large-scenario environmentalist, but ends up creating an abstract assumption (the worry that growth will continue elsewhere, no matter what we do) to support his prior conclusion. It's a politically astute move, but not at all forward-looking, and absent anything that one might label as visionary. I could say "said just like a lawyer", (Klein is an attorney) but I won't, because I have a lot of attorney friends. :)
Beecham's authenticity is appreciated. Yes,, we have a problem, a vexing problem - and, it's very frustrating - but at least he leaves the door open to possibilities, and correctly states the case that we must try to *lead* the fight against pollution.
Cordell and Morton? What can I say, other than these two otherwise intelligent people are too "short-term-pragmatic" on this issue. That's often the case with these two.
Morton's argument, that ""The whole thing seems designed to punish those who succeed economically" is just cynical, and out of character of the intent for ABAG's numbers. Mr. Morton's statement might be construed as pandering to citizens in a way that divides relative "haves" from "have nots". Why can't this be seenn as helping *everyone*, instead of punishing those who have the economic power to comfortably agree with Council member Morton's convenient cynicism on this issue.
Judy Kelinberg's statements was also disappointing. Ms. Kleinberg is a sterling member (and employee) of a regional development group (Joint Venture Silicon Valley). Yet she "worries" that we don't have sufficient public transport to deal with housing growth, and conveniently moves away from committments necessary to deal with growth *that will happen anyway!*. Council member Kleinberg shuold be talking to he peer, our Mayor (who sits on a public transportation board - the VTA) about LEADING a DETERMINED fight to get this region moving toward more and better public and mass transportation - that, instead of using "worries" as a safe haven for coping out on the housing issue. I'm disappointed.
Mayor Kishimoto, another intelligent and thoughtful person, regrettably continues to deploy her penchant for wringing every last concession from Stanford University, uses the ABAG conflict to reinforce her argument that Stanford (the engine that drives a lot of our region's economy) should underwrite housing costs for their medical expansion. And then we wonder why Stanford only looks at Palo Alto as "that neighbor down the road", instead of a true partner in co-development.
Among the firm dissenters (medtioned above), I heard not one iota of vision, or leadership on this issue.
Yes, Palo Allto should be concerned about housing growth - and yes, Palo Altans should rightfully be concerned about the quality of future life in our city.
That said, we also MUST come to realize that we are not going to stop growth in Silicon Valley. We MUST also realize that we cannot solve this housing problem all by ourselves.
So why aren't our policy makers going out AGGRESSIVELY after regional solutions that *compliment* the ABAG requirements. SOMEONE has to lead this effort. Why not Palo Alto?
This is a perfect opportunity for the policy makers in neighboring cities to be brought together o *publicly* wrestle with this issue. We have to frame the conversation about housing growth and mass trasport as a *shared* responsibility (Palo Alto has been doing it's part, compared to some of its neighbors), and forcing that frame into the conversation.
We need LEADERSHIP and VISION to tackle this issue, not backpedaling.
Instead, what we are getting is short-term tactical preferences that pander to parocial interests, and that will do NOTHING to help lead this city, and our region, out of the housing, transportation, and associated growth challenges that we're facing.
As for the "family jewels". Please, spare us metaphors that make it seem as if we somehow aren't part of something larger than ourselves. Right now, we may be - relative to some of our neighbors - somewhat more gifted, and "jewel-like", but we sit in a tarnished setting.
The fact is that growth WILL continue to happen in Silicon Valley. It is a fact that growth will present enormous challenges. So, rather than backpedaling away from those challenges in fear, perhaps we should consider meeting fear head-on, and coming through that with a regional bond that makes us stronger, instead of trying to deny reality and closing ourselves off to a diminished future, where we have lost *regional hegemony*, because the parts of the Silicon valley whole couldn't find a way to make themselves bigger than they are.