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Demonization: Single-family homeowners are deplorables, especially Palo Altans

Uploaded: May 26, 2019
I have been attempting to produce a summary of the positions and arguments on the collection of bills in the California State Legislature advertised as responses to the "housing shortage". However, many of the arguments of the advocates of the bills demonize the opponents as being "racist", "immoral", ... In regional and national media stories, we Palo Altans are frequently cited as prime examples of this.

In the Public Comment section of the May 6th Joint Councils Study Session (^video (@22:56)^) these smears were used and objected to. I found that my draft blog was taking too many detours in response to the demonization and decided that this needed to be separated out and addressed first. And then it broadened to be more general.

Although the most prominent of these bills-- SB 50 -- was just taken off the table for this year, others are still moving forward. Regardless of what happens, the public debate is likely to continue uninterrupted. Hence my decision to publish this now.

Demonization is obstructionism: If you decide to demonize the opposition -- and often the undecided -- you announce that questions and criticism will be met with denunciations. That you will not hear of flaws in your proposal, of situations you neglected to consider nor serious impacts on others. You announce that you aren't interested in a good solution, only in your solution. Debate is irrelevant -- it is only a matter of raw power.

For those targeted by demonization, it is inadvisable to enter into any agreement that doesn't have a strong guarantor, and sometimes not even then. The other party will act in bad faith whenever they can -- they hold you in contempt and their sense of moral superiority over you enables them to justify immoral actions against you.

Not trickle-down from national politics, although that and the local situation may have a "common ancestor". Palo Alto saw this demonization in the 2012-2013 conflict over the Maybell rezoning, and as a significant part of both the 2014 and 2016 City Council election campaigns. The decision of the housing advocates to try to bully their way to approval for Maybell generated so much grassroots opposition that they lost a referendum, contrary to all expectations of the local political establishment. For examples and details, see my 2016-09-22 blog "^The 'You're despicable' style of politics^".

Please, no finger-pointing: If you follow national news, you may see parallels to current events. While reflecting on that may be valuable to yourself, avoid the temptation to comment on it here. The national situation is so polarized and partisan that any such comments are likely to only trigger finger-pointing by the various "tribes", followed by shouting back and forth at each other. So please think carefully about whether a comment involving such a point is likely to be a productive addition to the discussion.

Wealthy Homeowners are cited by the housing advocates as the primary force obstructing the massive amounts of new housing they want. And just who are these selfish, immoral obstructionists? Here in Palo Alto they include the owners of Eichlers and similar single-family homes who have large mortgages and high property tax bills. These same advocates strongly support measures that have been pointed out as providing large indirect subsidies to big developers and large-scale property owners. So ... the middle class has too much wealth, and the wealthy not enough??

Suburbs and single-family zoning are inherently racist?? People who pay attention to politics may wave off accusations of "racism" as the current go-to generic invective by Progressives and the Far Left -- employed when they don't have a competent argument for their position, don't care about others' perspectives and situations, or simply for bullying others. However, for some, this is not a tactic but an ideological belief that racism was responsible for the creation of suburbs and that single-family zoning is "exclusionary", that is, designed to exclude all non-Whites because (supposedly) only Whites are able to afford single-family homes. Really, that is their argument! There are movements in multiple states to outlaw R1 zoning (term "R1" = Residential, one house per property). Several speakers during the Public Comments of the City Council Study Session seemed to voice this position. (foot#1) My experience is that this belief is resistant to facts and replicated scientific studies. (foot#2) (foot#3) (foot#4) Ideology provides a "safe space" for those that are unwilling or unable to engage with the complexity of the real world.

Working backward from the dogma that suburbs and R1 are racist ... allows advocates to dismiss very real concerns about their proposals as simply being excuses meant as cover for the underlying racism of their opponents. Parents can't truly be concerned about the quality of the schools or of the safety of their children bicycling to and from school. Community members can't possibly be worried about
- traffic congestion and parking,
- over-loaded public facilities and infrastructure,
- open space, such as parks, being converted to housing (more likely some housing over offices).
Nah. It must be racism.

----My background/journey----

For people my age -- over-60s -- this may provoke memories to pass on to the next generation. For younger adults, these events may nothing more than dry words in a history book, or not even part of the school curriculum. For those who immigrated here for college or after, this may help you connect the experiences of your previous country to the teachings and experiences of those who grew up in the US. Recognize that you may have been desensitized by the nastiness of social media, online discussion groups and comment sections on videos and news articles.

^McCarthyism^ was still a recent memory when I started paying attention to politics during high school in the latter 1960s. Accounts of that period would come up during discussions of its multiple remnants, such as the characterization of the Civil Rights movement as Communist subversion and the "America! Love it or leave it!" attitude toward Vietnam War opponents. And the resulting violence from both sides.

In college, I saw the other extreme: The Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist-Maoist. That experience confirmed and reinforced what I had read about the inevitable evils of such ideologies. During one long gap between speakers during a rally, I lucked upon someone who was explaining the trivial, but essential, differences between the 5-10 Marxist groups present, including two very different ^Rosa Luxemburg^ factions, both of which saw themselves as providing the ^vanguard^ of the "Revolution" -- rejecting Luxemburg's rejection of the importance of such a vanguard. While those details might make for a difficult version of the game ^Trivial Pursuit^ aimed at academic political scientists, the lesson for me from this fracturing was a demonstration of how intolerant the Far Left was of minor deviations from orthodoxy -- on the scale of their orthodoxy being effectively a non-theistic religion. This lesson has been reinforced repeatedly over the years, especially during the last decade.

McCarthyism and ...: My high school curriculum included civic indoctrination on the evils of McCarthyism, with the play ^The Crucible^ being a common drama production for high schools.
Note: "Indoctrination" is not a negative term.(foot#5)
For students on the academic track, books about the Stalinist terror were on the suggested reading lists. And Mao's ^Red Guards^ (1966-1967) were current events.

The novel ^1984^ is a must-read for the concepts and terminology of its dystopian world, but the actual story is at best mediocre. Its vocabulary is increasingly appearing in what I read.

Civic indoctrination about the potential of great evil from false accusations began earlier. The most memorable for me was James Thurber's fable "The Very Proper Gander" (1939). (foot#6) The fable is about the phrase "Proper Gander" being misheard by an "old hen" as the word "propaganda", triggering a string of false accusations, culminating in a mob driving the gander and his family out of town ("#BelieveAllChickens").

Today's common definition of McCarthyism is of the form "McCarthyism was the practice of investigating and accusing persons in positions of power or influence of disloyalty, subversion (working secretly to undermine or overthrow the government), or treason. Reckless accusations that the government was full of communists were pursued by Republican-led committees with subpoena power and without proper regard for evidence."(foot#7) This is much too restrictive. For example, it covers only those directly investigated by a Congressional Committee, with Hollywood writers receiving the most attention in popular culture (no surprise there). But the conduct of the committees spread much wider by creating norms elsewhere, creating a climate of anxiety, an inclination to keep your head down and to stay out of political activism, labor activism, pushing back at corporations, ...

Aside: Some of the seemingly falsely accused were, in fact, guilty of being Soviet agents, but the evidence was from decrypted messages and the US was trying to conceal that they had broken an extremely important Soviet code (see ^Venona Project^).

Fears of guilt by association -- being declared a "fellow traveler" -- was one of the tools to persuade people to shun those who challenged the elites.
Aside: China's developing Social Credit System updates this using social networking to cloud-source the repression of dissidents.

Becoming a suspect took very little (Aside: this arbitrariness is a key component of authoritarianism). For example, attending a Communist Party USA rally in the mid-1930s to hear about the rise of Fascism and Nazism in Europe or simply to impress a girl.

The press largely collaborated with McCarthy and his ilk: The journalist ^Edward R. Murrow^'s broadcast about McCarthy is widely cited as being a turning point, and most people assume that the rest of the press was similarly opposing McCarthyism. Wrong. Much of the press actively promoted McCarthyism and the false accusations. Why not, it sold newspapers and news magazines. Reportedly, members of the press corps covering Congress would gather in McCarthy's office at the end of the day for whiskey, cigars and the next day's headlines.

Corporate collaboration: When faced with an accusation against an employee, customer or supplier too many corporations took the easy route and summarily terminated the relationship. Although some corporations stood up to the pressure, that didn't matter: The uncertainty pushed people to avoid risks.

Regrets: In my speaking to parents and others who were adults during the peak years of McCarthyism, most saw it as very bad times. And there often seemed to be a sense of regret, although I don't know what they could have done to change what happened.

But there was also a lesson from those that defended McCarthyism: Their overblown fear of Communist subversion allowed them to justify ignoring fundamental American principles.

----Moderating Community Discussion Groups----

Participating in online discussion group where most of the participants were techies only partially prepared me for participating in and moderating general-community groups, such as my neighborhood's email lists and the Weekly's Town Square Forums. My biggest surprise came when I tried to encourage neighbors and other community members to participate. Most were unwilling to do so. Their reasons? They expected that their posting would be attacked unfairly. A shield of anonymity was not enough. Some worried that others might guess that they were the commenter, but the overwhelming reason was that although others would not know that they were the authors of the posts being attacked, they would know. And this was in the late 1990s and early 2000s when things weren't as vicious as today.

People who would have attended a physical town hall meeting and pushed back against bullies can be highly susceptible to bullying in online forums, both as participants and as merely readers.

----Being too fair can be unfair to everyone----

The most important lessons I learned in college courses were not in the course materials, but in the asides and other little stories from the professors. One such came from my Computer Operating Systems course in 1970. The professor (John J. Donovan) told the story of being called in as a consultant by a university computing center in response to its users complaining that their bills were much higher than at similar facilities. He found that the billing/accounting program was consuming roughly half of the CPU resources. He then found the program was tracking resource usage at a very fine scale, for example, a print job would be billed for the paper used and also the number of characters printed (ink ribbon usage and print chain wear). He recommended that they have a much simpler algorithm for billing, estimating from only a few measurements. The result was that all users were now being charged less, although different users saw different percentages less. Or at least that is the story he told.

The first lesson I took away was to pay attention to overheads, because they can dominate everything else. The second was that the facility had used the wrong version of fairness, defining it as relative to other users' jobs, rather than relative to the service provided.


Prior to Internet search engines and social media, accusations and demonization of people tended to spread slowly and not far, except for the special cases of the already famous or of very unusual events. Now, false accusations and reporting that gets the facts wrong or reversed persist. If the social media gods want you banned, someone can dig up a comment from 3-10 years ago and put a different spin on it.
"Show me the man and I'll find you the crime." - Lavrentiy Beria, head of the secret police under Stalin.

Censorship is not a solution to false accusations because the techniques are so unreliable: Too many false positives (legitimate accusations censored) and too many false negatives (false accusations classified as legitimate).

Mocking the person making the false accusation may be a marginal help, except that the people engaged in this behavior tend to exist in a filter bubble that protects them from such disdain. But I guess it is better than doing nothing, and doesn't leave you regretting that you didn't at least try.


1. Belief that suburbs are racist: Example from Council Study Session:
^@50:30^: "... Local control of housing and land-use has a century-long history of being used for exclusion: exclusion of the poor, exclusion of African Americans, exclusion of many other groups...."

2. Evidence contrary to suburbs having racist origins:
This belief seems based on suburbs being ^Levittown^-likedevelopments. The original Levittown (late 1940s) had 6000 houses in a planned community and Whites-only deed restrictions. However, suburbs came about in many other ways. Some grew in small increments, for example, a farmer subdividing his property and selling the undeveloped lots. Other suburbs started out as rural communities that transformed as cities expanded toward them. Housing further from the city -- especially unincorporated areas -- was typically less expensive. Current day Palo Alto is the result of many annexations of communities that were unincorporated areas(governed by the County). The current Ventura neighborhood had a large African-American population. Barron Park -- my neighborhood -- had many residents who were blue- and pink-collar workers, and still has some of those families.
Joseph Eichler -- the developer of large portions of Palo Alto -- was famously non-discriminatory(see section "Exclusionary Zoning" in my blog ^The "You're despicable" style of politics^ of 2016-09-22.

3. My childhood's purportedly "Lily White" suburb(somewhat self-indulgent):
My childhood home was in a semi-rural village (pop. 2500) in upstate New York, centered on a heavy manufacturing plant, with hamlets as its suburbs. It was also itself a suburb for a small city (pop. 20K) down the valley, which was also centered on heavy manufacturing, but had a research facility.
My neighborhood was a post-WW2 neighborhood expansion on the village's periphery, in sub-divided lots on previously marginal land(very steep hill, poisonous snakes). My parents were late arrivals and we wound up near the "big houses"of the General Manager of the local factory and some others. From kindergarten onward, my schools, classes and friends were multi-racial, mixed-race (Japanese and Pacific Islander war brides), from the rural poor and from a large -- for us -- trailer park. At least one of my teachers was Black: memorable because he taught French despite speaking it with a Deep South (Alabama?) accent.
At least one of the churches had a missionary activity in Latin American that included sponsoring families. My elementary school class (20-25 students?) and onward had a brother and sister from Honduras.
There were prominent Lebanese, one of whom was the longest serving mayor of the neighboring city and the area's top trial lawyer.
My father worked for the company down the valley (Corning Glass Works, now Corning). It was expanding into India, and was training the Indian managers and tech leads by cycling them through various US facilities. They socializing with the families of people in the hosting groups(such as my family). Later, Indian families moved into town, including the Hathwar family that produced two ^Joint Champions of the Scripps National Spell Bee in 2014 (Sriram) and 2016 (Jairam)^.
Growing up, none of this seemed unusual to me, only interesting. Then I went off to college and started encountering academics and what was then the "New Left".To them, my experiences were a delusion. I have encountered many others from similar environments suffering from the same delusions.
Meanwhile, students arriving from diverse, inclusive big cities came from such cocoons that they were unaware of the basics of multiculturalism beyond food. For example, many were unaware that different cultural groups have different interpersonal distance, and would persist in imposing theirs on others who were clearly uncomfortable with it.
This is not to say that racism didn't exist in these environments -- it most definitely did, but nowhere near the level academic papers and theory would have you believe.

4. Supposedly racist suburbs vs. scientific studies:
The conventional narrative of the post-WW2 movement from urban areas to suburbs is that many families now had the income to escape the dirt, noise and crime -- and accompanying stresses -- for a somewhat larger house with a small yard for the children to play in and more privacy.
The suburbs-are-racist narrative dismisses these reasons as a cover for racism. The cities that these new suburbanites were leaving are widely described as being very segregated, often not only racially, but ethnically (Irish, Italians, Jews, Poles, ...).So how can a desire for segregation be the cause for leaving segregated neighborhoods??
Multiple studies have found that mental health problems are sharply higher in cities than in suburbs. But that is only correlation, not evidence of causation. Noise is a major stressor -- people talk of immense relief upon exiting noisy environments -- and long-term stress has been found to have a significant impact on mental and physical health. Air pollution has been found to affect not just physical health, but mental.
There are a wide range of studies finding positive effects of exposure to nature on physical and mental health. This subfield took off with research credited to Roger Ulrich, and especially his research on outcomes for hospital patients (1972-1981) that found that those patients who had a view of greenery instead of a wall had faster recovery time and fewer complications. There had been numerous earlier studies involving animal proxies that had been highly suggestive of these results.
There are multiple studies finding that a break from work involving a walk in nature has mentally restorative effects, more so than simple exercise, such as walking on sidewalks in a parking lot. Aside:I haven't seen anything that tries to quantify "nature", such as is a lawn with traditional border flowers enough? What role does size and configuration play?
Housing prices have been used as a measure of how much people value a view of nature. One starting place is "^New market for developers: homebuyers want view of woods, not large lawns^", The University of Michigan press release, 2004-06-28. Note: Links to the research articles are broken -- the researcher moved to another university -- but this press release provides web search terms that produce related and subsequent work on this topic.
Note: Some of this was discussed in an earlier blog "^Housing Policy: It's community, not generational^" (2015-10-20).

5. Indoctrination is not a negative term:
"Indoctrination" is simply the teaching of doctrine, although it is often used as a euphemism for forcibly changing people's beliefs. When "doctrine" is mentioned,many people think of religious doctrine:The set of beliefs of a religion. But for civic indoctrination, the relevant analogue is military doctrine. For example, the US Army's Training and Doctrine Command develops the curriculum and training materials. This consolidation of lessons-learned and theories for handling of evolving situations not only makes units more effective in their own operations, but creates a base of shared expectations to facilitate cooperation and coordination. Units learn what they should expect of other units and what other units should be able to expect of them (their duty to the larger operation).
Similarly, civic indoctrination is the difference between a crowd of independent actors and a society whose members can leverage off each other to create something that is better for themselves and for the whole society.

6. The Very Proper Gander: In the 1939-02-04 issue of The New Yorker and republished in Fables for Our Time and Famous Poems Illustrated (1940).

7. McCarthyism definition source:
"^The Cold War Home Front: McCarthyism^" by Michael Burns.
I chose this definition because it is the cited source of the ^definition used in Wikipedia^and thus likely to be representative of definitions used by others.

An ^abbreviated index by topic and chronologically^ is available.

----Boilerplate on Commenting----
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.

I am particularly strict about misrepresenting what others have said (me or other commenters). If I judge your comment as likely to provoke a response of "That is not what was said", do not be surprised to have it deleted. My primary goal is to avoid unnecessary and undesirable back-and-forth, but such misrepresentations also indicate that the author is unwilling/unable to participate in a meaningful, respectful conversation on the topic.
A slur is not an argument. Neither are other forms of vilification of other participants.

If you behave like a ^Troll^, do not waste your time protesting when you get treated like one.
Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on May 26, 2019 at 8:21 am

I welcome your discussion on this and hope that we can discuss this without being labeled as anything other than independent thinkers who are thinking beyond the noise from those screaming for the ability to live where they can't afford to live and believe, quite unrealistically, that they deserve what others have worked hard for many years to acquire. It reminds me of the dangers of participation trophies in kids' sports where everyone gets a trophy or gets a star for just showing up. The sense of entitlement is, in my opinion, the natural result of being rewarded in their childhood for no effort whatsoever.

However, my real point that I want to make is that people are willing to call racism just to get a reaction. I thought from my early readings of Town Square, that such calls were done anonymously and a rational person would not dream to do that in such a public domain with their real name attached. Unfortunately, both on Facebook and Twitter, people now don't appear to hide behind anonymity anymore, even if they subsequently have to retract their tweet or comment, or suffer the consequences of being proved wrong or losing their credibility.

Point in question over this in our own Palo Alto sphere has been the recent discussion on whether it is a racist policy to keep Foothills Park as a residents only park. All the well thought out reasons and posts were ignored by those who ignored such rational posts and still agreed that the park is exclusionary and racist in its rules. The fact that this was started by a former Council member who I would have thought should have known better shows that making a noise, any noise, is keeping themselves in the limelight for any reason.

Housing, Foothills Park, may seem like two very separate issues. But as soon as somebody starts using the racist label, the ability for sound discussion and debate is gone.

Posted by Norman Beamer, a resident of Crescent Park,
on May 26, 2019 at 8:57 am

The deeds to my house in Crescent Park go back to 1902, and the early deeds have a covenant not to have liquor, but nothing about race. I have read in recent articles that some neighborhoods had such covenants, but certainly not in this area.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on May 26, 2019 at 9:59 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

In the SFC today 5/26 - editorial "State Legislature's sorry session" talks to the failure of SB50 - Weiner and his intent that that bill will be passed and his promise that hard decisions will have to be made to solve the "crises".
1. The major home builders are building all over the state and they are building large homes with community centers with pools, etc. Those large housing developments are being put up all over the state. They are the big money builders and want to sell those homes and will sell those homes.
2. Tech business and other business is locating all over the state - note article about San Luis Obispo. As to Palo Alto you may have a start-up here but if it grows into a company on the stock exchange it will move out to a location where it can expand. Other companies are enjoying the LA - Santa Monica area and LAX area. The theory that we have to tear ourselves apart because of a "crisis" then who ever is using that strategy may not be re-elected. We don't need little Hitlers running around Sacramento dictating drivel that in reality does not apply.
3. We have too many people in this area but many are leaving. Companies are putting up divisions in other areas to build new locations to solve this problem. Apple is putting many people in Texas.
4. A company needs to make money to survive and part of that is reducing cost. Facility cost in particular. Moving to new buildings, locations with new houses, new schools is a very attractive way for companies to increase productivity and the bottom line.
5. The sooner everyone in Sacramento and local politics realizes that manufacturing a crises to change the demographics of an area needs some logical thought as opposed to hurling pejoratives around.
6. Weiner lives in SF. Clean up your city Weiner before you try and ruin our city. And worry that you are not re-elected. Think up your next job.

Posted by A Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on May 26, 2019 at 10:09 am

It all comes down to power, who decides. The current demonization of single-family homeowners is the lever by which moneyed interests want to make more money, and not just here.

Look at the new tax rules and how they disadvantaged anyone (not coincidentally in higher cost-of-living states where the most money in real estate is to be made) for whom their only investment is the home they live in (probably without the financial resources to weather the changes), but kept the advantages for anyone who could afford to be a major real estate investor.

In that way, the Right demonized single-family homeowners to take advantage of them, too. Not letting the Left off the hook, they have been completely silent in CA and NY, to avoid having to face the truth (that they are going after the very people at the bottom of homeownership who would otherwise be among those who need subsidized housing, i.e., will be displaced, too) to advantage developers.

This is a power dynamic issue, and it will not go away unless homeowners band together and realize it's not about this bill or that bill, but about defending their whole lives and existence, and push back until they both win and create solutions everyone can live with (because the companies and wealthy investors creating the problems will not).

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on May 26, 2019 at 11:26 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

On the news last night they remarked on the number of billionaires that live in the bay area with their business in the city of SF. Huge number of billionaires. Then they remarked that the city of SF as well as other large cities in the state are filthy in a degree that did not exist when most of us were growing up. It used to be a special treat to go to "the city". And China Town used to be a fun place to go. How about Mr. Chiu, the SF assembly person who is pushing housing 'regional" reform. He needs to check into China town and figure out what is going wrong there.

It appears that the will and desire to fix the city has become undoable so now they are trying to push their problems down the peninsula - are we such an easy target? Does "guilt' throwing get good results? Guess what - people are becoming less docile in the running of cities and the state. Guilt is not going to work - "crises" is not going to work. Can't wait for the D's to come for their convention so they can see what a truly "progressive' city looks like. How to un-sell your philosophy. And they will beat their chest and say that CA is one of the richest states in the world. But one of the dirtiest.

Posted by It's not racism, a resident of Palo Verde,
on May 26, 2019 at 12:28 pm

It's not racism is a registered user.

"Suburbs and single-family zoning are inherently racist?"

No, it's not racism. It's that people trying to protect the suburbs and single-family zoning are fearful of change. And "vibrancy".

Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on May 26, 2019 at 2:17 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

> "fearful of change. And 'vibrancy'"

While not demonization, this is a false characterization that both expresses the speaker's contempt for people with opposing opinions and declares their stated concerns to be illegitimate (the result of fear).

A related false characterization that goes back to at least 2014 is that the balanced growth supports want to return Palo Alto to the 1950s.

Posted by Marc, a resident of Midtown,
on May 26, 2019 at 2:18 pm


Douglas, Can I ask what is/was the point of your posting? It wandered through a lot of territory but I can't seem to find a focal point except you feel put out and vilified. Could you post a short, concise summary of what you were trying to say?



Posted by Former PA resident, a resident of Mountain View,
on May 26, 2019 at 3:39 pm

Doug: Please ignore the comment above from Marc.

Unwillingness to invest the (modest) time needed to read through a nuanced blog post on an important current topic is poor grounds for asking its author to indulge you.

Not every idea reduces meaningfully to sound bites.

Posted by mauricio, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on May 26, 2019 at 3:39 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

Those who claim that single family residences are racist and exclusionary are really anti choice people, and I'm saying it as a politically progressive person. This sort of mindset suggests that unless one moves far into the countryside, hundreds of miles from large urban centers, one has no right to live a relatively low density, small town/suburban lifestyle but must choose an urban living or leave. Who gave those people the right to force urban lifestyle on people who deliberately chose not to live in large cities and saved and scarified to live a non urban existence? Why should those who can't afford to live in a suburban environment force those who can to dramatically change their existence and provide them with housing their salaries can afford? It's amusing to learn that those who can't afford to live in palo Alto generally refuse to save and sacrifices, and build up equity, but want housing in Palo Alto without any serious sacrifice on their part.

Posted by jh, a resident of Evergreen Park,
on May 26, 2019 at 3:52 pm

jh is a registered user.

The above reader asks what is the point of the article and asks for a brief explanation. However, I found the article a thought-provoking and well reasoned discussion concerning the downside of complex subjects being oversimplified. Especially when catchy phrases and buzzwords are substituted for well informed arguments intended to persuade rather than mislead and belittle.

Posted by Curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North,
on May 26, 2019 at 4:28 pm

"The other party will act in bad faith whenever they can -- they hold you in contempt and their sense of moral superiority over you enables them to justify immoral actions against you."

Morality may have some meaning for their naive stooges, but it has none for the powers behind the curtain who are motivated only by -- who would have guessed it -- money.

Ironclad law: When you put yourself between amoral greed and a pile of money, you will get slimed. So damn the labels, full resistance ahead.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on May 26, 2019 at 5:53 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Cur - Resistance? I have lived in this state my whole life and worked in major defense companies where everyone works as a team and produces a product - whatever the specific program is at the time. And security clearances. We all know the rules. And when we see a Secretary of State with a server in the house sending classified government business then we all know that is wrong. And that person will never get to be President. Talk about greed - any "talking point" you put out there is all about what you all have done - getting payback to the Clinton Foundation and speaking money for Bill. It is like you all read your talking points and blame it elsewhere - but it is exactly what you have done. So we are expected to pay people to sit around and pay people to "resist"? NO - do not expect to have a wave of blue coming up here - your candidates cannot think about what they were hired to do - only take in money and ramble around resisting.

Posted by mauricio, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on May 26, 2019 at 6:06 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

Obviously, using a personal server, which secretaries of states and national security advisors from both parties have used is much worse than consorting nd scheming with agents of a hostile country to influence domestic elections, treason in all but name. Makes sense in an upside world in which we have a president with the intellectual capacity, and language skills of a second grader who is the new Idi Amin in all but name.

Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on May 26, 2019 at 7:30 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

From the blogger:

The previous two comments and the last sentence of the one before that are unwelcome digressions into partisan national politics, and are very stale talking points. I left them because I couldn't easily decide what should be deleted.

Note in the Mauricio comment (immediately above) there is an unsupported accusation of treason - a staple of McCarthyism - and a statement of contempt that is virtue signaling for those within his "tribe" but a declaration of irrationality on that topic.

And with that, enough of this.

Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on May 26, 2019 at 10:04 pm

Original Blog Post:
>> Community members can't possibly be worried about
>> - traffic congestion and parking,

This is the one that I find most infuriating. I have personally -measured- rush hour 6 MPH on congested sections of ECR/Page Mill/Oregon Expressway, with a typical 14 MPH end-to-end anywhere in town during many busy hours. It is bad or worse almost everywhere in the region. It has taken me 3 hours to get 48 miles away from here. "Well, what do you expect?" Exactly.

I take Caltrain whenever I can because if I am going anywhere near a Caltrain station, it is less stressful, faster and cheaper. But, that is the only major public transportation that I use regularly, and, not everything is near a Caltrain station. ("Obviously.") If THEY want us to use public transportation, up and down ECR at rush hour for example, THEY need to figure out how to make it faster than 6 MPH at rush hour. Difficult for a bus to do, stuck in 6 MPH traffic.

Then, there is the parking issue. Duplex/ADU/fourplex everything? I like lots of neighbors, but... We all know that most of any extra new neighbors are going to be driving. That is the actual reality. Driving, and, parking. It is one thing for 10 people to live next door, another to find 8 more parking spaces in front of a typical 50 foot lot. Where are all the cars going to go? And don't tell me they are going to Uber/Lyft: that's causes even more traffic congestion: Web Link

If I find myself at the top of Page Mill with bumper-to-bumper traffic all the way down, I have no idea what the "race" of all the drivers ahead of me is/are. I don't know and I don't care. What I care about is that I'm going to waste 30 minutes going a few miles.

Traffic congestion/parking are the #1/#2 issues we all face with CASA/SB50/etc. I find it infuriating that these issues are basically being ignored. What WE need to do is to stop building more office space here. We don't need more tech jobs or tech worker's cars. Build that office space elsewhere.

Posted by Curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North,
on May 26, 2019 at 10:24 pm

"Duplex/ADU/fourplex everything?"

Don't worry about ADUs. All the ones I know of are used as residence add-ons or Airbnb rentouts. Apparently the guerrilla hospitality industry now has its tentacles into our government.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on May 27, 2019 at 9:04 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

The first problem with this blog is the choice of title - using political terms - deplorables and demonization.
1. Did author pick that title or did the Weekly pick that title? The Weekly of late uses extreme words in their lead-in titles. Imagine people looking through their thesaurus trying to find the most extreme adjectives possible. Then proudly loading in the results of their endeavors with no applicability to actual, real life.
2. Since "deplorables" is a Hilary term applied to middle America then it is a lightening rod.
3. Demonization - who picks these words? You are eliciting extreme responses.
4. Can always depend on Cur to come up with a political rant. However most of his rants look like something out of a political play book. Does the D party send out emails on what the word of the day is? Constitutional Crises? NO however CNN will repeat it no matter what - no legal brains in that bunch.
5. Putting political terms into a subject then telling people that they can't respond with political terms is a problem.
6. But back to the supposed topic here - paper says that Dublin in the fastest growing town in CA. That says it all - houses with well defined neighborhoods but near BART so have proof of transportation availability. But major companies are locating in the east bay moving out to Livermore, San Ramon heading to Sacramento.
No one wants to talk about how companies are moving to less congested areas. Not good for local business.

Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on May 27, 2019 at 1:15 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

RE: Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
From the blogger

I pick the titles. The Weekly gives me a very free hand in what I write (expecting me to be responsible).

On the use of the word "deplorables": In the 2016 Council election, the pro-growth advocates paralleled outgoing mayor Pat Burt and Council candidate Lydia Kou to Donald Trump, both in name and in characterization. For details, see the blog "The 'You're despicable' style of politics" cited in this blog. "Deplorables" may have gained prominence with Hillary Clinton's use, but it was used by Democrats during the 2016 election and since. It was not "applied to middle America" but a large portion of those that opposed her agenda.

On use of "demonization": What would you call accusations of racism, fear of outsiders, fear-mongering, acting out of fear, immorality, ... ?

> "Putting political terms into a subject then telling people that they can't respond with political terms is a problem."
Not what I said. This blog is about local politics. I asked people to try to avoid dragging national politics into this discussion. If people want to see two groups of screaming monkeys hurling feces at each other, there are plenty of other places for that.

> "No one wants to talk about how companies are moving to less congested areas. Not good for local business."
This is also an established talking point of the pro-growth contingent. They pose the choice as being one between companies being allowed unlimited growth here and many companies leaving Palo Alto entirely and that triggering a cascade of yet more companies leaving Palo Alto. Those descriptions had me visualizing tumbleweeds blowing down University Avenue unobstructed.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on May 27, 2019 at 5:49 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Local politics is a response to national and state politics. All PA is doing is following along "regional plans" cooked up by SF assembly people. We are not originating any thing new here except response to how tracks are laid.

My choice on local politics is to have an elected mayor as opposed to people on the PACC passing around the job. I already know who is going to sell us down the river.

Taxation - most companies will leave when they reach a majority and get on the stock market. They need to expand. That is a fact. The major companies which have buildings at Stanford Research Park have corporate offices elsewhere. They can pick up and leave when their programs are completed.

You all keep saying that more people are coming so we have to build apartments in R-1 neighborhoods. Tear down the whole city as we know it. Not my vision of PA. We have apartments and condos - but we need residential neighborhoods. That is part of what the city is selling. We are on an earthquake fault and have ground water directly underneath us.

Taxation is the biggest problem and that is a state issue that you can do nothing about. I already know that companies are moving to low tax states.
Many arguments about lack of housing but are cooked up - housing is being built everywhere - it is all listed in the papers.

Creating scenarios about Palo Alto in itself are not useful since everyone is reacting to state and national issues. Palo Alto is not driving the train in the state. We have a group of people that think heir current "job" is going to led to some great political career - do not see that. Mr. Berman is not front and center on issues. enough said - I am out.
Deplorables is a Hilary trademark - major issue as to why she lost. She created her mess. Can't blame it on any one else.

Posted by margaret heath, a resident of Evergreen Park,
on May 27, 2019 at 5:53 pm

margaret heath is a registered user.

Unfortunately, the push by Palo Alto Council majorities to encourage ever increasing commercial development has resulted in a “jobs/housing imbalance" now being used to leverage a campaign to change R-1 neighborhood zoning from single family homes to dense multi-residential buildings. Also to justify the use of divisive and demonizing rhetoric directed toward those who do not support this goal. Or as somewhat more "politely" described by a current member of the Planning Commission who appears to support this goal, “The typical participant in the planning process is a well to do homeowner, strongly averse to changes in their surroundings, time-rich, opinionated, and articulate." (February 14, 2018)

It is always interesting when proponents of commercial development imply offices are a financial plus for Palo Alto. In fact, commercial property taxes account for only about 25% of the total. A number that steadily decreases every year. In addition, unless a business produces a product for which the city can charge a sales tax, no other revenue is generated.

Posted by Curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North,
on May 27, 2019 at 10:05 pm

[[Blogger: Irrelevant snark deleted.]]

First, our j/h imbalance originates primarily in the Stanford Research Park (easy solution: de-annex it) and the Downtown Office Park, with new augmentations from recent growth in the California Avenue Office Park. We are putatively supposed to cure it by building massive housing projects near the transit hubs to enable the inhabitants to easily leave town to jobs located elsewhere (don't get me started on the cuckoo logic of that proposal), which areas are already fully built up to office developments.

In the unlikely event we could convince the property owners to clearcut their lucrative commercial developments to make way for apartments, condos, etc., there would be no need to build that housing because removing the office projects would mitigate the jobs/housing problem by removing the jobs. Unless, that is, the objective is to transform Palo Alto into a bedroom community for jobs located elsewhere. But if everything near transit is to be built up to housing, where would the jobs be that the commuters using that transit to commute to commute to? Oops. Sorry but I must cut this short while I take some Dramamine.

Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on May 28, 2019 at 9:53 am

I've posted recently in this and several other threads, and, one issue that the "proponents" continually sidestep is ==density==. Unlike some folks here, I'm not necessarily automatically opposed to increased density in some cases. But, I am frustrated by the "proponents" refusal to articulate what the density goal is that they seek and how they plan to get there.

Let's talk about New York City for a second. NYC overall has about 28,000 residents per square mile overall. But, the five Boroughs are vastly different. Staten Island has lots of single family homes and parks like Palo Alto and the density is about 8,000 per square mile. Manhattan is 72,000 per square mile with a few districts over 100,000 per square mile. So, within NYC there are extreme density differences. New York is the only major city in the US where the majority of households don't own and car and most people -don't- drive to work. (Not surprisingly, in Staten Island most people do.)

For cost-effective mass transit, you need a population density of around 30,000 people per square mile in the vicinity (1/4 mile walk) of stations. And, jobs near stations on the other side. Such densities can be achieved within a 50' building height. With townhouses, in fact. But, you can't just will it into existence-- if you want people to use mass transit, you have to build mass transit, and, then, it takes time to build up ridership. In the meantime, most people will drive. That is why the "proponents" need to tell us what it is they are proposing with respect to density, how they plan to get there, and what it will mean regionally. Because, even if someone lives a block from a Caltrain station, they still probably have to drive to work in Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, San Jose...

Oh By The Way-- none of this has anything to do with any kind of discrimination-- race, religion, national origin, gender, ... It has to do with density. The density required for most people to walk to mass transit, ride, and then walk to their job.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on May 28, 2019 at 10:47 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Every city has a main business activity - MP has FB - which flows into EPA; MV has Google which is flowing into San Jose. RWC has Oracle. Did you all forget that we have SU across the street from our high School? And that is where a lot of our students want to go? And that most of the people that work at SU live in the direct vicinity of the campus - in our neighborhoods? I know those people and they live in our city. And they live in residential areas with homes that have a backyard. People who have worked their way up the ranks of that "company" are not interested in living in a cockroach size apartment. So if the PACC focuses on any thing but SU then that is their attempt to "sell" an idea that is totally removed from reality.

SU is who brings the people in on the weekends for events. Whole families for events - in our hotels, restaurants. Teams that come for competition - whole teams with coaches and support staff at our hotels, restaurants. And major music events coming up. And a group of medical facilities which are top notch. Those people live in the residential areas in homes. They do not want to live in cockroach size apartments.

Meanwhile we have a Cubberely site that is part of a center for the community that you want to convert into housing. If you want a community center than convert the theatre which has seen better days into a major auditorium for local events and visiting road shows. Our Lucie Stern Theatre is over extended size wise with everyone parking in the residential community. You can make that into an income generating event center with fields for children and adult sports - which it already is. It is also a location for the library overflow, children dance schools, band practice. Once you convert part of that to housing you will forever lose the other marketable capabilities for that site. And the housing you create will not be in the "marketable" category. It will be controlled by the PAUSD.

So we have a group of people with conflicting goals at each end of the spectrum and they have magically reduced the number of PACC members so they can collectively move forward a scheme which is satisfying the SF roadrunners. We have to fix that. I was in SF this weekend and the Marina District is doing just fine thank you - they do not need our help. The other end of the town needs to fix themselves - they have a lot of billionaires there who should be doing that.

I was hoping the current SSL site on Fabien could be the location for a major police station and fire station coordination point. But no - sold to Google? Did the city give them concessions on taxes? Make any promises to reduce the proximity to that location into further condos? So if you are making an argument on city taxes then we all need too understand what trade-offs the city is making to attract companies. Those trade-off are critical to the arguments you all are making here at the residents expense.

In todays paper it reported that a major portion of people at Google are not actual employees - they are outside contractors - gig employees. So if we are converting our city into a cockroach haven for non-employees who can and will leave whenever they want then forget - not going to happen. And those non-employees are not paying any payroll taxes which the company has to also pay so we are facilitating the take-down of the protective tax issues that were built into our system to protect people.

Posted by Online Name, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on May 28, 2019 at 10:49 am

Here's a great satirical video on the demonization of NIMBY's and the level of discussion of Bay Area housing. Web Link

Wish I knew who created it!

Posted by Mil, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on May 28, 2019 at 11:16 am

"Not in my backyard." Does that sound familiar? This is the typical answer of the same liberals who are crying out about global warming but who won't allow housing near public transportation. This dichotomy and hypocrisy are sickening. They seem to have a panacea for everyone else in the state, but our dear Palo Alto.

Posted by chris, a resident of University South,
on May 28, 2019 at 11:19 am

Douglas Moran,

Racism is a straw man - there are plenty of suburbs that have flipped to "predominantly minority", for example Cupertino and East Cleveland.

Palo Alto can hold on to almost all of its single-family homes. What it cannot credibly do is deny housing to seniors, service workers, and younger people.

Please stop writing these negative posts and start writing about how Palo Alto can increase its commitment to housing. Without a credible plan, Palo Alto will be overtaken by outside forces, whether it is SB50, Stanford, the tech industry.

Posted by Former PA resident, a resident of Mountain View,
on May 28, 2019 at 11:42 am

chris: When people pushing a policy agenda demonstrate willingness to opportunistically demonize anyone raising well-supported issues as merely "racist" or various other name-calling labels, whose absence of actual basis is well illustrated in this and the earlier (cited) blog post by Douglas Moran -- you yourself acknowledged "straw-man" rhetoric in your first sentence -- then that is a local issue in its own right, deserving illumination.

How is it "negative" to call out people who substitute name-calling or demonization for persuasive well-grounded factual argument?

Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on May 28, 2019 at 11:55 am

Posted by Mil, a resident of Old Palo Alto

>> "Not in my backyard." Does that sound familiar? This is the typical answer of the same liberals

I'm a liberal. At its core, liberalism is about personal freedom and the rule of law. The optimal combination of personal liberty and rational government.

And, I don't want high-rises in my backyard. So, I'm listening.

>> who are crying out about global warming but who won't allow housing near public transportation.

Wait. I thought it was liberals who wanted to destroy single-family homes? Better get your story straight. For the record, I am in favor of dense, multi-unit housing near true public transportation. e.g. Caltrain, ECR w/ 22 bus sort-of, but, not half-hourly feeder routes like the 35 bus on Middlefield, which, while useful as part of an overall system, don't constitute a "transportation corridor" that will displace commuter cars. I'm opposed to wiping out existing single-family home neighborhoods that are far from Caltrain with high-density housing or offices. That just means more traffic and more parked cars.

>> This dichotomy and hypocrisy are sickening. They seem to have a panacea for everyone else in the state, but our dear Palo Alto.

I have no idea what you are talking about, but, are you "demonizing" "our dear Palo Alto"? Sorry, but, I like Palo Alto. One reason that I like it is that there are so many liberals here. And trees, bike paths, decent schools. And a wildland reserve.

Regarding density-- densification will take place naturally near public transit like Caltrain stations. It happens naturally through local zoning changes as denser zones build out from existing denser areas. SB50 and similar are attempting to bypass rational local zoning and allow high-density anywhere and everywhere. We know that if that happens in random locations far from public transit, everyone will drive everywhere. It is not rational to build masses of high-density housing, -or offices-, far from public transit, if the goal is to reduce auto use. It isn't "racist" to use zoning to prevent the construction of high density projects in the middle of neighborhoods of single-family homes. It is extremely rational from a transportation perspective.

Posted by PA Resident, a resident of Community Center,
on May 28, 2019 at 12:00 pm

Hmmm . . . Racist? How do you define that?

An analysis of the population demographics from 2017 (clearly out of date)
Web Link

shows the following:
White: 61.18%
Asian: 31.27%
Two or more races: 4.57%
Other race: 1.38%
Black or African American: 1.20%
Native American: 0.23%
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.17%

If I count the number of different races on my street, the number of Asian or other races is at least 50%. How is that racist? They are all affluent enough to buy homes on the street and some have subsequently remodeled the house. And my children and grandchildren have a wide variety of friends of all races.

It is irresponsible to tar Palo Altans who live in single family houses with the "rasist" brush. I'd like to point out that Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley, Woodside, Los Altos Hills have many more highly affluent residents who reside on huge plots of land in houses that cost more than those in Palo Alto. How about making an attempt to add some multiple family housing to those cities? I don't know what their demographics are, but I'm betting far more than 50% white.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on May 28, 2019 at 12:08 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Note that the PA Weekly published a recent article on Foothill Park which inserted claims of racism - attributed to a former PACC member. Note that a large majority of residents in this city are attached to Stanford University. And since they are residents then they can go when ever they want. And to say that the SU employees are white only is a red flag - we know they are a mixed bunch of people who have ascended to a knowledgeable rank within their "company". So who ever brings up these weird topics is oblivious as to what the residential mix is in the city.
Those type of comments are not welcome - have no relation to reality.

As to NIMBY issues - Palo Alto was built out to it's borders due too it's relationship to SU. Other areas in the valley were blank fields waiting to be built on. The fact that we are built out to the borders makes us "aware of our environment" and it's capabilities far superior to other cities in the area that are still filling out their space. That is a logistical fact - it is not open to people screaming that we hypocritical. Typical political arguments do not deal with facts - only what ever is being sold on any day to make money. That also goes for cockroach size living units. We won't be Palo Alto anymore.

Posted by Curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North,
on May 28, 2019 at 12:51 pm

"Regarding density-- densification will take place naturally near public transit like Caltrain stations."

No it won't. What takes place naturally is what has taken place: dense office parks.

The vast majority of transit riders ride transit to get to a destination. If every transit hub is boxed in by housing projects, what's the point of riding transit, unless you're visiting someone?

Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on May 28, 2019 at 1:53 pm

Posted by Curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North

>> >> densification will take place naturally

>> No it won't. What takes place naturally is what has taken place: dense office parks.

A bad choice of words on my part. Perhaps I should have said "organically"-- the way city development used to take place before the massive public subsidies directed towards auto-based transportation, with gradual density increases along the density boundaries.

Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on May 28, 2019 at 2:09 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

RE: Mil
> "'Not in my backyard.' Does that sound familiar? This is the typical answer of the same liberals who are crying out about global warming but who won't allow housing near public transportation."

SB50 would have classified all of Palo Alto for high density.
Several years ago, there was a City Council member who took the position that all of Palo Alto was "near transit" because relative to Tracy it was.

By SB50, massive amounts of single family homes near El Camino would have been classified as "near transit" because of the 22 and 522 bus lines. I had neighbors who moved here from Europe and expected to be able to use transit, but quickly gave up because it was practically unusable. And that was before the County severely cut back transit in the North County.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on May 28, 2019 at 2:45 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Next time any elected person makes comment concerning racism that person is OUT. Not Welcome. Next time any one wants to make a comment consider that the people living in this city are doctors, surgeons, lawyers, nurses, PHD teachers, etc. If they work at SU they may hold back on comments but they are residents. However - you try and take away homes you will find out who the residents are and they will not tolerate their existence that they have spent many years creating be destroyed by some person in Sacramento who has a grudge to solve. I heard Mr. Chiu at the Presidio Memorial Service. He talked about how his relatives were mistreated when they came to the US.
Sorry for that but were not going to pay for that. He needs to go fix up Chinatown in SF to feel good.

Posted by Curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North,
on May 28, 2019 at 5:57 pm

"SB50 would have classified all of Palo Alto for high density."

There's nothing wrong with that. My own neighborhood is arguably the densest in town and I'll vouch it's vibrant, diverse, and very livable.

The only places where land use efficiency is worse than our R-1 zones is in the R-0.1 to R-0.00001 areas of Atherton, Woodside, Portola Valley, Los Altos Hills, etc., ... . Eminent domain that egregiously underused real estate, build it to proper utilization, sell the result, compensate the original NIMBY owners out of the proceeds, solve world hunger with the residuals, and build some Caltrain spurs to serve the new densities.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on May 28, 2019 at 6:24 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

SB 50 Assumes that Mr. Weiner still has a job. He is busy now trying to pass a change in bar hours so they can close at 4:00AM vs 2:00AM. Since he is not in the bar business he may not realize that there is a cost to extending the hours, including providing food in bars. Also police safety, street safety, neighborhood safety. Is it possible that the Uber people are egging him on so they have more trips in that time zone - 2AM to 4AM? Also bars in hotels. Creating a huge cost swing. He can just keep up with his legislative ventures in disruption and people will not vote for him.
Don't think the people in SF are thrilled to have someone come in and legislate housing disruption. He is not reading the public thought that voted for him.

Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on May 29, 2019 at 1:44 pm

Posted by Curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North

>> >> "SB50 would have classified all of Palo Alto for high density."

>> There's nothing wrong with that. My own neighborhood is arguably the densest in town and I'll vouch it's vibrant, diverse, and very livable.

I disagree. I think that densification should proceed in an orderly way, not intruding into the middle of 1-2 story 40-foot single-family neighborhoods with 4-story 50-foot multifamily. Downtown, along ECR and other major arteries, etc. Gradual height limit changes allow solar houses/installations that depend on the daylight plane to function, as well as to allow people with backyards to have some level of privacy.

>> The only places where land use efficiency is worse than our R-1 zones is in the R-0.1 to R-0.00001 areas of Atherton, Woodside, Portola Valley, Los Altos Hills, etc., ... .

Overall, the developed area of Palo Alto (that is, leaving Foothills, the dedicated parks, and the -water- out of the area) appears to have a density of about 4000 people/square mile. Far, far more than the density of Houston, TX, but, less than some nearby towns with a lot of apartments. e.g. Sunnyvale is ~6200 people/square mile.

What population density would you like Palo Alto to end up with?

>> Eminent domain that egregiously underused real estate, build it to proper utilization, sell the result, compensate the original NIMBY owners out of the proceeds,

To what end, other than enriching the pushiest, nastiest real estate developers?

Posted by Renters galore, a resident of Greenmeadow,
on May 30, 2019 at 9:10 am

Watch what happens when renters tip the scale of homeowners in this city - full blown revolutionary riots. Action speaks louder
It's only a matter of when..

Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on May 30, 2019 at 2:59 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

RE: Renters galore

A good illustration of what I was talking about: Absolute intolerance for people who don't agree with him.

Over 40% of households in Palo Alto are renters. They may even be a majority of adults. Many of them live in single-family houses. So those renters are likely to vote to protect R1 neighborhoods.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on May 30, 2019 at 4:34 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

I agree - many people here with their children in school while they are at SU doing some type work. They are paying through the nose to have their children in these schools. They are not paying to have their area torn apart and disrupted. They came with a very specific purpose. They expect to get what they paid for.

Posted by Dole fruit, a resident of Greenmeadow,
on Jun 1, 2019 at 3:50 pm

Pot accused kettle off bringing up random politics?

Doug - good read. thanks...

Posted by Foreigner in the US, a resident of Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto),
on Jun 3, 2019 at 1:08 pm

"Posted by It's not racism, a resident of Palo Verde,
on May 26, 2019 at 12:28 pm
It's not racism is a registered user.
"Suburbs and single-family zoning are inherently racist?"

No, it's not racism. It's that people trying to protect the suburbs and single-family zoning are fearful of change. And "vibrancy"."



This (empty) argument is used again and again, the most mind-boggling part of it being, when used by people here in East Palo Alto it's in some way admirable, however, people on the other side of 101 are accused of being "fearful of change"?
- I hear it all the time, just read the local newspaper:
"Save our community", "Protect from gentrification", "I grew up in EPA, I'm proud of being from EPA, I want to keep it the way it is."

Lots more to say about the emptiness of the argument, but I think it speaks for itself.

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