News

Housing Corporation fends off 'whispers of suspicion' over director's living arrangement

Leaders of nonprofit developer say they've done nothing wrong in renting Maybell home to its top executive

The Palo Alto Housing Corporation, a nonprofit that in 2013 tried to develop a housing complex on Maybell Avenue, on Monday fended off criticisms from residents who questioned its decision to rent one of the houses on the Maybell site to its executive director.

Several members of the Housing Corporations's board of directors attended the meeting of the City Council to defend Executive Director Candice Gonzalez from accusations that her use of the Maybell home constitutes a possible conflict of interest. Her renting of the home and her husband's involvement in the sale of the property by the Housing Corporation to Golden Gate Homes in April 2014 were both subjects of speculation last week, with dozens of readers questioning the arrangements on the Weekly's online forum, Town Square, and one vocal opponent of the Maybell development summarizing his concerns in an open letter to the council.

In his letter, former City Council candidate Tim Gray called for more information about both Gonzalez' housing situation and her involvement in the sale of the property in April 2014. This included information about how much she's paying to rent the house, whether Golden Gate Homes offered the highest bid and "all contracts that are related to staff, managers, and board members, in the operations of PAHC," the letter reads.

"In light of the recent disclosures that presented at least the appearance of conflicts of interest around the subsequent sale of the Maybell property and the use of the property for the personal benefit of PAHC employees, it would seem wise to deliver a report to the citizens that provided factual answers to both the issues that have come to light in recent reports, and some additional questions that have only been the subject of community whispers of suspicion," Gray wrote.

Officials from the Housing Corporations addressed these questions by asserting that they've done nothing improper. In an interview with the Weekly, Gonzalez stressed that she had nothing to do with the property sale, having recused herself from all discussions and decisions as soon as her husband, real estate broker Ted O'Hanlon, submitted a bid on behalf of Golden Gate Homes.

The board ultimately chose Golden Gate over others buyers even though one or two other bids were higher. Gonzalez said the board chose Golden Gate Homes because the higher offers all included contingencies and longer timelines for closing the deal.

"This really was the best offer in terms of price and terms," Gonzalez said.

In one case, she said, a bidder stipulated that the Housing Corporation get the city's approval to have the Maybell property subdivided into 34 fee-simple lots before the deal is closed, she said. That approval would have been next to impossible to secure given the intense battle that the Housing Corporation endured in 2013 over its proposed housing development. That development would have included 12 single-family homes and a 60-unit building. It fizzled when voters overturned in a referendum a zone change that would have enabled its construction.

Bonnie Packer, president of the Housing Corporation's board of directors, elaborated on these points in a letter that she read to the City Council during Monday's meeting. Packer wrote in her letter that the Housing Corporation chose "the best offer based on price, contingencies and the closing timeline" and noted that it paid no commissions on the sale. She also pointed out that all of the loans that the Housing Corporation acquired to develop the housing development in 2013 were "paid off with interest," including the one it received from the city.

Gonzalez also emphasized during the interview that the home on the Maybell site that she has been occupying since September 2013 was never designated for affordable housing. The Housing Corporation's board of directors agreed to rent it to her because it had a hard time finding a tenant for a building that was earmarked for demolition before the November 2013 referendum. Gonzalez said that the Housing Corporation's board of directors agreed to rent the house to her after it stood vacant for six months, with no takers.

"It was hard to find a tenant," Gonzalez said. "Everyone knew there was a possibility of redevelopment and we weren't going to provide anything more than a month-to-month lease."

Under the conditions, the tenant would be given a 30-day notice to relocate once the properties are ready to be demolished. Furthermore, she noted that these homes are not part of the Housing Corporation inventory of affordable housing. Each of its developments, Gonzalez said, has its own waiting list of residents seeking affordable housing.

The four homes on the Maybell site had no such waiting lists associated with them. And it would run counter to the organization's mission to provide "stable, long-term housing" to offer a month-to-month lease to a low-income family for a property that was expected to be demolished in the near future, Gonzalez said.

According to Packer's letter, the Housing Corporation's board approved the rental of the house to Gonzalez' family at a fair market rate "after considering comparable rents and ensuring that this was an 'arms-length' transaction." Gonzalez declined to say how much she is paying in rent, citing privacy concerns, but she said her rent is higher than what the home was advertised for. She also noted that as part of the deal, the organization filled out all the required conflict-of-interest disclosure.

"Everything we did was professionally and legally done," Gonzalez told the Weekly. "The board stands by its decisions 100 percent. They know everything we've done has been ethical and legal."

Comments

14 people like this
Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 3, 2015 at 5:47 am

Bonnie Packer states "... and noted that it paid no commissions on the sale. "

This raises more questions - Did everyone work for free? how were the people involved compensated?

A broker representing the seller has the job of marketing the property as widely as possible, to get as many interested parties to make offers to so that the seller can get the best price with the best terms.

And if no broker were involved, how much was the property marketed to get the most competitive bid? How many potential buyers were approached? What timeline was given for due diligence for the buyer? Were all potential buyers told what the timeline was for submitting an offer?

Were there counter offers to those with the higher prices to try and remove the contingencies?

Packer also states "She also pointed out that all of the loans that the Housing Corporation acquired to develop the housing development in 2013 were "paid off with interest," including the one it received from the city."

That's not issue; the issue is: was the best price with the best terms achieved?

I think Tim Gray's request for disclosure would be most helpful in verifying Packer's assertions.

As to Gonzalez renting one of the homes slated to be demolished, she leaves the impression that the unit might get demolished any month. In my neighborhood, a house was purchased and the buyer ended up renting the house out for 2 years before draft plans were drawn up by the architect, reviews by the city, reviews by the neighbors, scheduling of a contracter. Only then was the house torn down.


41 people like this
Posted by Friendly
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 3, 2015 at 7:03 am

Hey common sense. If PAHC won the election, demo and construction would have started immediately (remember the project was already approved). People don't seem to understand real estate ...the buyer paid $22mm and closed in a few short months without city approvals. Sounds like an offer other developers could not beat. A higher price that would take years to close, if they close at all, with so many conditions is not a higher price after all. Simple. As one PAHC board member said, let them move forward from the loss of their senior project.


49 people like this
Posted by Palo Altan
a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 3, 2015 at 7:20 am

PAHC did their homework at the time, disclosed what they needed to. They owned it, rented it, and sold it for the best terms that fits their mission. Yawn.


50 people like this
Posted by Reasonable Citizen
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 3, 2015 at 7:22 am

This seems to be much to do about nothing. It seems that Mr. Gray who lost the election handily, is trying to keep his name in the press. Why is a guy who fought tooth and nail to stop the construction of affordable housing for seniors now complaining about the rental of ONE house to woman and her family for market rent. This seems totally disingenuous to me. If it is true that the loan to the City was paid back by the Housing Corp. WITH INTEREST, then there is absolutely no loss to the taxpayers. So, why is Mr. Gray now making an issue about this. Seems very strange. The City itself provides rental assistance to key employees, and so does Stanford and many churches in the area. So, why is this particular case newsworthy? Especially if this woman and her family are paying MARKET RENT. Our news should be focusing on the terrible drought we are experiencing or something that really matters!


27 people like this
Posted by Anna
a resident of Ventura
on Mar 3, 2015 at 8:08 am

If PAHC is as clean as they claim they need to disclose 2 pieces of data: the other offer terms received and the rent paid by Ms Gonzalez. If the husbands offer was clearly the best the public will reach the same conclusion.

When a publicly funded entity closes an 8 figure deal with the directors husband, [portion removed] people will and should ask questions. PAHC owes the public more than a simple "take my word for it ".


38 people like this
Posted by PA realtor
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 3, 2015 at 8:29 am

An off-market deal in Palo Alto? These are happening around us everyday, we call them pocket listings as agents.

PAHC is a real estate company, I think they could do a more than adequate job representing themselves and their concerns. Based on those terms, $22mm without any City approvals or entitlements sounds like they did just that. The alternatives, for more money, would likely have contained time and risk as a buyer engages City Planning. We all know that as a Seller, a faster close and the least amount of conditions is a stronger offer. This works for selling a small condo or a chunk of land.

This whole rental issue is a non-issue. PAHC looked for a tenant for months before leasing to an employee at market rate. No one wanted a month-to-month, can't blame them.

Let's all move on.


31 people like this
Posted by Reasonable Citizen
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 3, 2015 at 8:32 am

Anna do you want to see all of the bids on the expansion of Avenidas? How about every change order for the Mitchell Park Library? That last one cost the taxpayers over $8,000,000 in cost overruns. So, while you are trying to stir the pot on a deal where the City was repaid in full with interest, you are missing $8,000,000 in cost overruns that DID cost the taxpayers. Why don't you join a board, volunteer for a non-profit, get on a citizens committee, or do something other that sit back and hurl comments like "reeks of corruption." [Portion removed.]


42 people like this
Posted by Get Over It
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 3, 2015 at 9:46 am

This article is the most truthful, transparent, and objective article I've read regarding this non issue. It's clear that the Daily Post reporter did not check her facts before reporting. How is it our business how a company runs their business? Everything was disclosed appropriately. Do real estate brokers disclose all the offers on a home they're selling before they choose the buyer? Bottom line is the city was repaid with interest, no harm to PA taxpayers. Senior housing development was defeated knowing that PAHC was going to sell. Now that they want to develop it into single family homes, people are still not satisfied. Get over it! Doesn't make sense to have a park across a park. Come on people! The orchard is dry!

How is it our business what Gonzalez pays for rent? This is ridiculous and petty! Do you disclose to a bunch of strangers how much you pay? Why would you care? They said she pays market rate. Take it for what it is instead of creating a non issue. She is a person with a family trying to do good for a community. She works for affordable housing for goodness sake. No good deed goes unpunished. Focus on bigger issues.


13 people like this
Posted by commonsense
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 3, 2015 at 11:18 am

Many of you seriously need to get a life - spend your time on actual issues. To sit here and attack this wonderful nonprofit over a nothing issue is absurd and embarrassing. [Portion removed.]


20 people like this
Posted by Timothy Gray
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 3, 2015 at 11:22 am

A natural part of Civil Discourse is asking questions, and transparency requires that the questions be welcomed with enthusiasm, as it presents an opportunity to unify the community around the full disclosure of truth -- unless "thou doth protest too much..." and that does not a unifying action.

Have a robust community discussion without pre-judgement, and when it is over, we will all have 20-20 hindsight. To paraphrase Pat Burt, "Questions are just question -- not conclusions."

Let the facts speak for themselves. Unveil the truth. How can you object to that sentiment.

Tim Gray
By the way, I was NOT a candidate for City Council in the last election


12 people like this
Posted by commonsense
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 3, 2015 at 11:28 am

I'm all for unifying the community and civil discourse around relevant, interesting topics. How much a nonprofit board member pays in rent for a few months is neither relevant nor interesting, nor will it unify.


22 people like this
Posted by Susan
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 3, 2015 at 11:53 am

The most serious action by PAHC is that of its Executive Director who married to the very person who fronted for the new developer when buying the place. Is it sufficient that the ED recused herself? How about private conversations between she and her broker husband? That will never be known which is why this should never have happened.

Are we to take the word of PAHC on all this? Hardly. That's not acceptable. At the least, there is a serious appearance of a conflict of interest, if not an actual conflict of interest which may be illegal. And there is remarkably bad judgement by the ED AND the Board of Directors who apparently condoned all this. Is the city that awards contracts to PAHC going to investigate? There's a lot of money involved. [Portion removed.]

I support affordable housing and think PAHC does it well. But that gives them no liberty to conduct business this way. I was shocked to watch that young woman from its Board say that this was all happening because enemies of PAHC are out to get it. There was absolutely NO taking of any responsibility by PAHC last night - it was all put off on people doing bad things to PAHC. Yes - some don't like PAHC, but they sure didn't have anything to do with PAHC's bad decisions and bad judgement. Not good.


21 people like this
Posted by Timothy Gray
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 3, 2015 at 12:06 pm

For reference, the following is the full content of the letter.

It is fair, even-handed, and consistent with Council's call for positive community discourse.

Those who can't address the content, attack the writer. These are the robust community discussions that need to be supported.

The model for community discussion is to enthusiastically welcome questions and provide factual answers, not attack the merits of the questions or the author of the questions. Again, questions are not suggested conclusions. No matter what side of this particular issue you might take, the format for positive community discussion has to be supported. We cannot be "that town" where issues are settled with mean words and private whispers.

Here is the request to the City Attorney Molly Stump and is dedicated to transparency. [Portion removed.] This is where transparency begins -- with robust community discussions.

Dear Molly,

I am writing as a concerned citizen of Palo Alto about the recent disclosures about the Palo Alto Housing Corporation.

I originally voiced my concern about the PAHC using its tax exempt status in pursuing private luxury home development and competing with private developers while using City of Palo Alto Low Income Funding in pursing commercial profits.

Without reciting history, in voting down Measure D, the citizens of Palo Alto agreed that upzoning of residential neighborhoods in pursuing commercial profits should not be done at the expense of the residents who bear the burden of increased traffic or the safety of school children.

Then, when it was documented that the City of Palo Alto signed an affidavit of zoning that was false, residents also raised concerns, but no answer was given.

In light of the recent disclosures that presented at least the appearance of conflicts of interest around the subsequent sale of the Maybell property and the use of the property for the personal benefit of PAHC employees, it would seem wise to deliver a report to the citizens that provided factual answers to both the issues that have come to light in recent reports, and some additional questions that have only been the subject of communinty whispers of suspicion. As Council member Pat Burt was recently quoted as saying, "It's important for us to differentiate between questions and conclusions...", and that is an important sentiment to respect.

To go along with the mandate that agencies associated with Palo Alto are free from conflict of interest, both in fact and in appearance," it would be a noble service to answer the following inquiries:

1. Was the sale to Golden Gate Homes the highest bid?

2. Since the Executive DIrector's husband was listed as providing real estate services to PAHC in prior IRS filings, when did he start working for the purchaser of the propertery, Golden Gate Homes?

3. Assuming the market rate rent of a Palo Alto home in that area is at least $6,000, what was the rental rate paid the Executive Director. If there was a significant subsidy, was this listed on her earnings reported to the IRS?

4. How many residents of the PAHC affordable housing units are related to the staff, management and Board of Directors? (There have been long-standing community rumors that board members and staff have gained preferred access to the below-market rental units, and have been placed at the top of the list, at the detriment of other citizens who had been waiting. These rumors have been too loud and too persistent not to at least warrant some review.

5. List all contracts that are related to staff, managers, and Board Members, in the operations of PAHC. This would include grounds maintenance, property management, real estate brokerage or consulting, architecture, contruction, or any fee related to the planning and development of PAHC properties.

6. When the loan from the City of Palo Alto was repaid, was interest on the amount properly calculated and paid?

7. What was the State Attorney General's response to Palo Alto submitting a false claim on the zoning of the property to the California Tax Allocation Committee.?

This is only a partial list, and my hope that PAHC board members would welcome these questions with great care and respect, and answer all nuances with complete transparency. With these actions, the Council and the PAHC can return to finding the best strategy to meeting the affordable housing needs of Palo Alto. My own analysis is that the City of Palo Alto could more effectively solicit community support of affordable housing by creating an ownership structure that kept the properties within the City control and made sure that the properties stayed in service in meeting affordable housing goals beyond the 20 year life of some properties. With the possible creation of a Buena Vista ownership, this could facilitate a need for a brand-new city-sponsored not-for-profit organization that could put a fresh face on affordable housing. This could include soliciting public and private partneships, and working with neighborhoods to blend affordable housing into our community, and have it done in a style that solicits enthusiastic cooperation from those neighborhoods. It goes without saying, this is in contrast to Palo Alto's current situation.

Submitted with great respect for the need for civil discourse. Asking hard questions, and digging for the truth, are essential parts of positive civil discourse.

Best regards,

Timothy Gray

Palo Alto Resident


18 people like this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 3, 2015 at 12:10 pm

So the house was advertised for 6 months, with no takers, right? Where and how was it advertised? What was the market rate at the time Gonzalez starting renting? How much is she paying?

When was this made known to the public? Is it in Board minutes? Are the PAHC minutes available to the public?

These are all relevant questions, when a sweetheart deal is offered.

Just put some sunlight on it. It is a public agency, and the public has a right to know.


20 people like this
Posted by Cassandra
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2015 at 12:26 pm

This doesn't really pass the smell test. Rentals, even short-term rentals, especially of single-family homes larger than 2,000 sq ft, are in high demand in this neighborhood. I know people who have taken homes for just 6 months and glad to get them. Are they making an excuse, or did they advertise the homes, especially at the price Gonzales is paying? Why is this article so short on details? The Weekly is usually better than that.

Has the Weekly bothered to look into Golden Gate Homes? [Portion removed.] The other thing that is laughable is saying she recused herself from something her husband and by extension, she benefited financially from. Does this mean that when a board member of an organization benefits from insider trading knowledge, it's ok as long as they recuse themselves from a vote? If Gonzales and O'Hanlon can keep things so separate, how is it that O'Hanlon can claim to be such an expert on this property?

I also want council to please pay attention to the fact that the current Maybell bike "improvements" come on the heals of Maybell already being improved, and happened in the context of PAHC wanting to sell this property. If you actually talk to neighbors [portion removed], many are galled by what is being proposed, it's like a lot of garish window dressing that won't actually improve safety but will make the neighborhood seem less residential and will be an excuse for GGH to avoid liability or being subject to safety reviews for developments with such a significant impact on the only safe routes to all those schools.


18 people like this
Posted by CW
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 3, 2015 at 12:38 pm

If PAHC was behaving in an above-board manner, why didn't they disclose that the husband was the broker for the winning bid at the time they announced the sale? If this was all so above board, why didn't PAHC reveal that its executive director had moved into a house they had bought? Why did we have to find out about these things in the Daily Post?

PAHC figured they could slip these things by the public, and nobody would ever find out. That's the only explanation I can see for their lack of public disclosure.


9 people like this
Posted by Reasonable Citizen
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 3, 2015 at 1:43 pm

[Post removed.]


18 people like this
Posted by Voter
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Mar 3, 2015 at 1:55 pm

I strongly disagree with your [portion removed] characterization of Tim Gray. Mr. Gray is to be commended. All of the points in his letter are legitimate taxpayer concerns, and I thank him for raising them. [Portion removed.]

PAHC crossed a dangerous line when they married their senior housing proposal to a for-market development that was going to enrich a private developer. When they lost the peoples support and were forced to sell, the winning bid happened to be the executive director's husband's firm. If this is all one giant coincidence, then PAHC stands to gain from some openness. From the looks of it, though, they look intent on concealing as much detail as they can from the public eye.


17 people like this
Posted by RCS
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 3, 2015 at 2:40 pm

If there ever was a NON-story, it has to be this one. Much ado about nada....can we all please just MOVE ON??


16 people like this
Posted by Reasonable Citizen
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 3, 2015 at 2:55 pm

Tim Gray, Voter, CW, Cassandra etc. It seems that you all refuse to face the facts. This a private non-profit. It repaid the loan from the City with interest. This has NOTHING to do with taxpayer money. NOTHING. The housing corporation is NOT A PUBLIC ENTITY.

I saw some Boy Scouts with a table at Safeway trying to sell cookies and some of the scouts were eating cookies! Yes I saw crumbs on their mouth! Yes, real crumbs hanging from their lips and I did not see them pay for the cookies. The Boy Scouts get to use the Community Room at Lucy Stern for free! Mr. Gray should write a 3 page letter to the City Council, ask a lot of questions, make sure he gets his name in the paper, and ask for "community discourse" on this.


10 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2015 at 2:58 pm

Anyone know where this home was advertised, and if the rental price were included in the advertisement?

BTW--PAHC is not really a public agency. So, public disclosure laws don't apply. The PAHC could agree to honor requests for information, as if it were a public agency, however.

The POST reported that the PAHC 1099s did not include salaries for a couple of years. The PAHC could release the salary data that they unlawfully omitted in their tax returns.


14 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2015 at 3:03 pm

> The housing corporation is NOT A PUBLIC ENTITY

While this is true, the PAHC receives a lot of public money for supposedly performing certain work managing properties in which the City has donated money (or possibly owns).

There has always been a cozy relationship between the PAHC and the City, which most people would recognize as not transparent, and needing more disclosure than those involved want to disclose to the public.

So--maybe it's time to discontinue all transfers of local/Federal money to this group, since they don't seem to believe that the public has a right to know just how the money is being spent.


12 people like this
Posted by Friendly
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 3, 2015 at 3:37 pm

Hey Craig. Do some research. PAHC is NOT a public agency. It is a private, nonprofit. While they sometimes apply for grants and loans from cities and counties, they are not considered publicly funded and are not paid by taxpayer dollars.


5 people like this
Posted by Reasonable Citizen
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 3, 2015 at 3:44 pm

I bet you that Joe is against affordable housing. He wants only rich people to be able to live in Palo Alto. I found this list in an old Weekly regarding non-profits that received Block Grants through the City. I wonder if Joe or Tim Gray have ever looked into these entities. My guess is they have not, because they have an axe to grind with the housing corp. Here is the list:

Long-term care ombudsman program

Emergency Housing Consortium $10,900

Homeless services in Santa Clara County

Innovative Housing $13,500

Shared housing services

Palo Alto Housing Corporation $29,300

Affordable housing services

Urban Ministry $58,000

Homeless services in Palo Alto

Outreach and Escort $6,000

Paratransit services

Mid-Peninsula Citizens for Fair Housing $19,600

Fair housing services

City of Palo Alto $180,000

CDBG administration and delivery

Senior Coordinating Council $12,000

Senior home repair subsidies

Innovative Housing of East Palo Alto $21,000

Renovation of shared/transitional house

Palo Alto Housing Corporation $286,380

Replacement of Arastradero Park Apartments water supply system

Palo Alto Housing Corporation $69,300

Emerson North Apartment rehabilitation

City of Palo Alto $363,832

Housing Development Fund Total $1,083,212


19 people like this
Posted by Robert Smith
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 3, 2015 at 3:52 pm

When a non-profit enters the public arena, seek and get considerations from the city (such as a $5M loan), almost obtain very favorable zoning for a project that you otherwise could not afford to build, you need to expect that your affairs will be scrutinized.

The overall story so far raises serious questions about the PAHC and the integrity of its actions. It also raises questions about the judgment of the city council and its oversight of organizations that it favors. Using the taxpayers' money to loan it to a non-profit is not an everyday event, not something that most non-profits can achieve, and requires great care and oversight on the part of the city.


8 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2015 at 3:56 pm

> I bet you that Joe is against affordable housing

Is this the best you can do? Do you want to bet if I am against bank robbery, illegal immigration, and prostitution too?

Access to public information has nothing to do with "affordable housing".

And by the way, just what is a "rich person"? Do you have any idea how much money it takes to be a "rich person"?

Bet this person is against public access to government use of its funds. That much is pretty clear.


16 people like this
Posted by CW
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 3, 2015 at 4:01 pm

Dear "Reasonable Citizen," the fact that the PAHC receives federal community block grant money is the reason why the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will probably investigate these allegations of self-dealing by Gonzalez and her board. It's likely that while HUD conducts its investigation, it will cut off all community block grant money to Palo Alto. So you may want to argue that PAHC is a "private" nonprofit, but it is required to meet a number of HUD rules, and HUD has every right to investigate whether PAHC is in compliance.


13 people like this
Posted by PAHC Resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 3, 2015 at 5:06 pm

I am only just reading this article (Thank you PA Weekly for an article based on unbiasedfacts). I am APALLED by some of the remarks and hate expressed by some of the people here and most of all that the comments were largely in response to a newspaper (Daily Post) known for being nothing more than a gossip rag. I am a resident at one of the properties managed by Palo Alto Housing; I love it! Staff is professional, caring and helpful. If it weren't for PAHC my children and I would still be living in a friend's garage in Palo Alto. Do you, as rich PA residents, have nothing better to do than to pick on and attack this organization? Who cares whether they sold a piece of land or gave it away so long as they paid back the City. Nobody cares what you do with your home, why should you have the right to care of pass judgement on what they did with their land. Get a life and move on!


14 people like this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 3, 2015 at 5:30 pm

As I recall, PAHC was and is a creation of the Palo Alto city council. Our CC gives over Federal Community Block Grants (CBG)to it, but that is a not a requirement of CBGs...it is just a habit. CBGs are a federal grant for the betterment of the community...not necessarily for subsidized housing. It is public tax money than be used for other betterments, like improved sidewalks.

Since our CC sponsors PAHC, directly and indirectly, PAHC IS a public entity...and it needs to be open to the public scrutiny. This recent demonstration at the CC meeting is just more evidence that it feels it is protected by our CC...a very cozy deal, indeed.

It is time for our CC to get tough with PAHC, and demand a full audit. It is also time for our CC to stop being a reflexive rubber stamp for PAHC. One place to start is to do a full accounting of the actual costs of PAHC projects: Lost property tax revenues, disproportionate dumping of projects in the non-elite neighborhoods, policing costs, zoning changes in favor of these projects, sweetheart deals (e.g. the Gonzalez rental), the magnet effect of drawing in renters who are NOT essential workers in PA (as originally promised...a real bait-and-switch), the relative depression of property values close to these projects, and much more.


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Palo Alto Hills

on Mar 3, 2015 at 5:31 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


16 people like this
Posted by Cassandra
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2015 at 5:49 pm

@ UNreasonable Citizen,

I heard Tim Gray has worked on affordable housing in the past, and is a proponent. I think he is being very brave. There were many, many problems with the Maybell proposal. People in neighborhood put effort into trying to work with PAHC so the affordable housing could be possible. They tried to get a working group like the very same people did when they saved the Terman School site from development and got the Terman affordable apts built.

The City Council said PAHC was being inflexible (Councilmember Klein said he had never seen so much stonewalling in a development application from anyone.) It was PAHC, not the neighborhood, that was being unreasonable. [Portion removed.]

Using nonprofits as cover for for-profit development in cities is nothing new. It has been a big problem in New York, for example.

The potential serious issue at stake as reported here: "One recurring issue,... has been the use of nonprofit groups to direct state money to friends and family."
Web Link

Here's a report about how lawmaker ties to nonprofit groups can result in corruption.
Web Link

For-profit development with very little detail divulged to the public was such a major part of that Maybell proposal, if there were personal conflicts of interest causing it, the public deserves to know. It ABSOLUTELY has to do with taxpayer money, starting with the $600,000 to $700,000 extra the City paid for an election that had to be held sooner rather than later at the lower cost in order for PAHC to get the rezoning in time for no one to notice they had provided improper verification of rezoning in order to qualify their application against other affordable projects -- Why are YOU so against affordable housing that you think only the most expensive units in the world are worthy of support but poor people elsewhere are beneath your notice if an organization in Palo Alto causes them to lose their affordable housing?

PAHC had influence on staff and the City decline to purchase the Maybell property on behalf of the taxpayers. We could have had a cheap and maybe free park in a very good location. The kids at Gunn High School, Terman Middle School, Juana Briones Elementary School, the OH at Juana Briones Elementary School, don't have any community space in the neighborhood. That neighborhood is completely underserved for community space. The kids go hang out by the drug store. [Portion removed.] Right now, there is nothing in that whole area.

Gonzales had influence on the board through personal relationships. PAHC had huge influence in the City. If Golden Gate Homes is their first development and related to O'Hanlon, the public has many interests in this.

@PAHC resident,
I am glad you are in good housing. [Portion removed.]


12 people like this
Posted by Marie
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 3, 2015 at 6:06 pm

Marie is a registered user.

i support low income housing and the concept of the PAHC. However, all nonprofit corporations are required to file a 990 tax form with the IRS and those forms are supposed to be available to the public. They can be purchased on the Guidestar (a nonprofit that provides access to those 990's and reviews) for #125, which I cannot afford. The highest rated nonprofits by Charity Navigator, generally publish their financial reports and their 990's on their websites. The PAHC does not.

I would hope that the PAHC will join other highly rated nonprofits by giving easy access to the public to financial data that is required to be public by the IRS.


20 people like this
Posted by Know Weigh
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 3, 2015 at 7:00 pm

It is totally unbelievable that in the housing rental market of the last five years, this house was advertised for six straight months with no takers until Candice Gonzales.

Something smells rotten on the city of Palo Alto.


11 people like this
Posted by Jenny
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 3, 2015 at 7:51 pm

I agree with Craig Laughton. He is crisp, honest and to the point...and fearless. PAHC needs to be subject to very tough scrutiny by our city council. I also support his call for secret ballot votes on major projects.


24 people like this
Posted by Local Realtor
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 3, 2015 at 8:17 pm


It was laughable that the housing corporation stated they couldn't find a short term renter for the unit. There are tons of people looking for short term rentals in Palo Alto. Examples of people needing short term rentals are people remodeling their homes and visiting scholars at Stanford. How stupid does PAHC think we are? Also laughable is saying that the listing agent for the property didn't get a commission for handling the transaction. Really? I don't know many realtors that work for free. The commission for that large transaction was probably 2%, at a minimum. At 2%, that comes out to be a $440,000 commission for Gonzalez's husband. Investigators should ask to see a copy of the listing agreement, check to see if the listing agreement was submitted to the Multiple Listing Service, if the property was advertised on Craig's List, Trulia, Zillow, the newspaper, the Multiple Listing Service, etc. Even pocket listings need to be submitted to the Multiple Listing Service. You should be able to see the listing through the MLS. Make PAHC show the settlement sheet from the title company that handled the transaction. That would show the commissions paid to the realtor/s. I suspect the property was not properly advertised, and that since Gonzalez's husband might have "double ended" the sale, he didn't select the highest and best offer. He chose his offer as the winning bid. Thus, he double ended the transaction. Did Gonzalez disclose to the other buyers that he, himself, had a buyer for the property? He is supposed to disclose that. If Gonzalez double ended the transaction, that might suggest he received a 4% commission for representing both the buyer and seller. That commission might be upwards of $880,000. Gonzalez's husband should never have been the listing agent for this sale. It looks suspicious. All of this should be relatively easy to investigate.


4 people like this
Posted by Cassandra
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2015 at 10:21 pm

@Marie,
There are other sites with 990s of nonprofits that don't charge anything.

@Craig Laughton,
Audits are not the same as investigations. If nonprofits have a problem an audit won't be enough.


13 people like this
Posted by Know Weigh
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 4, 2015 at 8:06 am

With Gonzales' income, and that of her husband, their is no way that she could possibly qualify for BMR housing.

This was a very dishonest, immoral thing for Gonzales and PAHC to do. It reeks of favoritism.


9 people like this
Posted by Cassandra
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 4, 2015 at 9:21 am

Who is living in the other houses? I don't remember seeing them empty. There are many, many cars parked out front on Maybell always. One house has a giant expensive boat parked in the front yard right in front of the house.


4 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 4, 2015 at 2:39 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@cassandra

Who is living in the other houses?

Probably people paying month to month although one of the houses appeared on Trulia as a rental available for a one-year lease a few months ago.

Why should we care who's living there now? I live a block away and have never known who the renters were. These are not BMR houses belonging to PAHC but left-over rentals owned by the private Golden Gate company

By the way, we were informed at the well-publicized and -attended public meeting a couple months ago that the parent company is a big-time international developer for whom this is an entry project in this area.


10 people like this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 4, 2015 at 3:00 pm

The Post, on another front page story, today, says that the City is investigating PAHC. This is what happens when the CC is not paying attention to one of its favorites.


6 people like this
Posted by Friendly
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 4, 2015 at 3:39 pm

Know Weigh and Cassandra, please read the facts before commenting. The 4 houses were market rate, always meant to be, and not part of the BMR stock. Who cares who is living there??

Realtor ...for a realtor, you sure do not understand real estate. They got like 20 offers on the site, closed with a high price in a couple of months ...sounds like a clean, great offer. Sounds like they marketed it pretty well; it was a high exposure site that didn't need much marketing. Most (almost all) developers have long closing timelines. Also, the Board Pres clearly stated that PAHC paid no commissions. Why would they need a realtor when they have a board full of real estate experts?

[Portion removed.]


3 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 4, 2015 at 3:56 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

Craig,

I'm out of town for a few days so I'll have to catch up on the Daily Post's coverage later. My hope is that the city's look at PAHC will put an to wild rumors and identify the weaknesses that must be addressed for PAHC and other organizations to continue to keep Palo Alto at least a little bit economically diverse.

I've always been puzzled and distressed by the outrage at PAHC and personal attacks directed at its key personnel. Is the goal to kill or reform PAHC. If it's the latter we need a clear explanation of why. And I would like to see a solid defense mounted by affordable housing advocates of PAHC's mission and methods.


Like this comment
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 4, 2015 at 4:23 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

Oops! Former or latter, we need an explanation.


3 people like this
Posted by Sew and Sew
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 4, 2015 at 6:28 pm

So, the City Council should evict Gonzales and her husband , and give her a thirty-day notice NOW!


Like this comment
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 4, 2015 at 6:56 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@Sew and sew,


"So, the City Council should evict Gonzales and her husband , and give her a thirty-day notice NOW!"

And what facts in the preceding posts have convinced you that the wife and husband (kids too, I assume) should be kicked off property that the city doesn't own by a city council vote. I worry about the precedent.


10 people like this
Posted by Cassandra
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 4, 2015 at 7:10 pm

I don't think it's a good idea to confuse wanting to keep PAHC away from being hurt by being used or corrupted with against PAHC.

[Portion removed.]

Who is living next door matters if they are insider dealing, too. But I don't think the house is the most important issue. I don't think the City should be investigating especially by Jim Keene. Someone without conflicts should be investigating the whole thing. Noprofits don't really get oversight like everyone thinks.


2 people like this
Posted by Lots of questions
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 4, 2015 at 7:16 pm

@Underdal
What is your connection with PAHC?


9 people like this
Posted by Timothy Gray
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 4, 2015 at 7:35 pm

The State Attorney Geeneral considers the residents of California as the "stockholders" of not-for-profit corporations. That is why non-profits are held to a higher standard that regular corporations, and the actions taken by PAHC IS the business of Palo Alto Residents. As the "stockholders" of PAHC, all residents have a fiduciary responsibility to assure that correct decisions are made.

The IRS has an oversight role as well. Please don't be surprised that either party imposes fines or penalties on the organization. That will be the ultimate authority, if the organization has strayed from its stated mission of service to the people to improper actions. "The jury is out." Let the deliberations begin. No pre-judgement.

Offered in full respect .


Like this comment
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 4, 2015 at 8:37 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@Lots of Questions

"What is your connection with PAHC?"

Good question to ask if you are just getting engaged with this subject. I recommend the lengthy exchange I had with Craig Laughton and another poster on the recent thread "PAHC Chief Decides to live in PAHC Property." If you want more, you can look at threads in March-April 2013 dealing with Maybell. It's easy to find what I've said because I always use my name when posting.


7 people like this
Posted by Timothy Gray
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 4, 2015 at 9:43 pm

Jerry,

From the points of reference you offered, it appears you are a representative of PACH. Are you an employee or a retained representative? Clarity of communication is best preserved when there is full disclosure of your pre-determined biases.


8 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 4, 2015 at 11:00 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

Timothy Gray,

Here are my answers to your questions: No, I am not an employee of PAHC. No, I am not a retained representative of PAHC.

I have a question in return. Were you aware before the POST ran its supposed "expose" on Candice Gonzalez's rental of one of the soon-to-be destroyed rentals at Maybell that she and her family had been living there since before the referendum?

I assumed the full leadership and members of the Maybell Action Group and its successors were aware of this because it was my understanding that there was contact during the campaign between members of the the No on D campaign and the Gonzalez household at the Maybell property. I also had one of the leaders comment to me that Candice Gonzalez and family were living at the Maybell property.

When we speak of pre-determined biases, I have felt since early on that there was a strongly ideological property rights position espoused by some, not all, leaders of Palo Altans for Neighborhood Zoning and its successor PASZ. Was I incorrect in drawing this conclusion? By the way, I'm pleased to see Tom Dubois, Eric Filseth and Cory Wolbach working hard along with the other council members to address important issues in a thoughtful fashion. Good luck to them all.



4 people like this
Posted by Friend of PAHC
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 5, 2015 at 7:19 am

I am a supporter of PAHC, its staff and board. I am delighted to see many reasonable voices here. Of course, it amazes me to hear the unreasonable, irrational voices. Gonzalez is not a public official, her family was temporarily renting one market rate house ...why would she "publicly announce" where she lived? Did you guys expect a press release? That's beyond ridiculous. She has a right to privacy. But Jerry is correct, it was not a secret by any means. In the real world, conflicts of interest exist all the time, the Board here made the final decisions. PAHC was able to sell in a short period and pay back all their loans ...sounds like they made a great decision for the org. Hew this is even being questioned is beyond me. Ask any local developer (I'm sure they all went after the site) if they could have done better than the chosen buyer. It will be a resounding NO.


3 people like this
Posted by board at fault
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 5, 2015 at 7:35 am

I think the problem is the board.

What a mess.


6 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 5, 2015 at 1:14 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

Timothy Gray,

Some complaints I have about PAHC:
* the board left Candice Gonzalez virtually defenseless against the onslaught of attacks on her competence and character.

* no one seems to have taken Town Square communications seriously. An attitude of "ignore the noise and it will go away" left PAHC vulnerable at a time when national, regional and local opposition to urban planning was becoming louder and better organized.

*the organization relied on polls showing that Palo Altans overwhelmingly supported affordable housing to justify an anemic feel-good campaign over Measure D.

I believe that PAHC is a fine organization doing important work. It will get through this rough patch if its supporters educate the public about the need for it. It's 2015, not 1970, time to persuade a new generation about the need for affordable housing in P.A.


4 people like this
Posted by Sarah Wright
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 5, 2015 at 2:22 pm

First of all thank you PA Weekly for publishing an unbiased article based on fact rather than uneducated gossip and lies. Now, I understand why the Daily Post is, rightfully, considered the gossip rag. With that said, fellow, for the most part, educated Paloaltans...you won the battle of preventing vs housing low income seniors in Palo Alto. Let it go! Get a life and move on! If you are retired, unemployed and looking for something productive and positive to spend your time on, there are many volunteering opportunities in Palo Alto. In fact, call PAHC, I'm sure they can find you a volunteering opportunity within their organization. ANYTHING will be better (and healthier) than spending negative energy and time on this non issue. MOVE ON, BE HAPPY!


3 people like this
Posted by Jenny Almeida
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 5, 2015 at 7:49 pm

@Sarah Wright -- some of the most reasonable and positive comments/advice...LET IT GO! MOVE ON! ENJOY YOUR VICTORY!

All the 'jump-on-the-band-wagon' posters -- Do YOU disclose how much you, your wife/husband or partner earn? Have your children/sister/brother/partner ever worked in the organization that you worked in during summer/spring/winter break? Is this illegal? Do you make your address public knowledge? In fact, if you feel so strongly about the activities of this organization why would you feel the need to hide behind names that assist with being anonymous? [Portion removed.] I am retired and have four grandchildren and I truly hope that they have an organization like the Housing Corporation to help them find housing in the area, one day. [Portion removed.]


9 people like this
Posted by Cassandra
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 5, 2015 at 8:23 pm

"you won the battle of preventing vs housing low income seniors in Palo Alto"

It seems Jerry Underdal and PAHC won making that battle of a for-profit development getting high-density giveaways by using seniors as cover. Unfortunately, keeping the battle going is only going to hurt the people at Buena Vista because it is turning people off.

The house is a small issue. Be careful hurting PAHC's reputation by putting it on the line with Gonzales if she used her position to

A lot of people do have to put their salaries to the public. The City Council pay is public. The governor, and all the judges have to make their salaries public. I thought nonprofits had to do that, but maybe it's just some, I don't know.


Like this comment
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 5, 2015 at 11:30 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

Cassandra,

You and many others on Town Square choose to be anonymous for a number of reasons. Privacy and safety from harassment are among them.

Those same concerns would weigh on the mind of a person who was temporarily living in a neighborhood in which many residents blamed him/her over some work-related issue. Would keeping a low profile be reasonable? Would concerns about possible harassment at your very home be warranted.

It would be interesting to know if there is a record of any problematic incidents during the Measure D that would indicate that concerns about privacy and security were justified.




1 person likes this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 6, 2015 at 12:07 am

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

Timothy Gray,

It's true that you were not a city council candidate this time around, but that possibility was open at the time of the official launch of the Maybell Action Group. [Portion removed.]

I was in the council chambers when you delivered a [portion removed] speech that warned the council that as a unit and as individuals they could be sanctioned for breaking the law if they approved the Maybell project.

Readers will recall that they did approve it and took it to a city-wide vote in April rather than let it drag on as campaign noise until the General Election in November. A number of council members now considered to be "residentialists" backed the project all the way.

In contrast to your council speech, which startled me by its extreme language, your recent letter to the council was quite reasonable in tone and had some ideas that I'd like to understand better.


1 person likes this
Posted by Enough
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 6, 2015 at 12:20 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


6 people like this
Posted by Anonymous22
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2015 at 1:36 am

Anonymous22 is a registered user.

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


2 people like this
Posted by Anonymous22
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2015 at 1:53 am

Anonymous22 is a registered user.

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Like this comment
Posted by Cassandra
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2015 at 8:51 am

[Post removed.]


9 people like this
Posted by Cassandra
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2015 at 9:05 am

PAHC competed for funds against other housing proposals. When they applied with wrong information, other housing lost. The state didn't fix it, it was too late. People above who supposedly care about affordable housing should care.


9 people like this
Posted by Sarah
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 6, 2015 at 9:19 am

I think it seems reasonable for the City and citizens to ask questions to PAHC. The facts seem to reveal the appearance of impropriety. What I glean from all the articles is that seller PAHC awarded a $22million deal to the buyer, who had hired the executive director's husband, and it wasn't the highest offer. The broker husband is set to gain lucrative commissions from selling 24 homes on the property. This financially benefits the broker and his wife the executive director of PAHC. PAHC's mission is to provide low-income housing, yet it's executive director rents a home from PAHC. On the surface, this arrangement doesn't seem right either. If the home rents for below market, then it's a shame that a low-income family wouldn't be able to rent it instead. [Portion removed.] (I rent out for $6K a small 3 bdrm in BP and had over 25 inquiries on it). So, from my perspective, I think PAHC could be a bit more forthcoming with its evidence (not just words) to help remove the cloud of improprieties circling around its charter.


7 people like this
Posted by Cassandra
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2015 at 10:07 am

The Measure D election was not April, it was November. If City Council had done April, it would have cost less less less.

Do you know what this is "stereotype threat"? If people accuse other people of a stereotype, it causes people to act that way. A self-fulling prophesy.
Web Link

People in that neighborhood tried to put the energy to fix that and create affordable housing. Did conflicts of interest in the for-profit development then make PAHC not work with people but instead use stereotypes. I think it hurt affordable housing in Palo Alto and it keeps getting worse. We should care about that.

Jerry Underdal, I cannot find where you say your relationship with PAHC. You didn't say. When you do that, it makes you look bad. You didn't say in the ones you referred to. You should be clear, because this is what I heard:

You lived there a long time, but never got involved in politics at all except relating to PAHC. You only claim to care about about other things related to PAHC building near you, including building over BV which would still mean the residents lose their homes. They don't want that. [Portion removed.] When people asked you about your relationship to PAHC, you didn't answer. Why don't you just answer? Tim Gray asked specific, but you don't answer the main question.


1 person likes this
Posted by Friendly
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 6, 2015 at 10:24 am

@ Sarah, you and others make a lot of wrong assumptions. Was it not clear in this article that the ED was renting a MARKET rate home and paying market rate for a home that was NOT part of its low income inventory? Homes intended to be demolished if not for Measure D? Not for low income families who need stability. The husband helped the buyer buy the property after the board considered this to be the highest and best offer. Ask any other developer if their terms were even close (I'm sure the answer is NO). How do you even know if he was hired to sell the new homes? A lot of assumptions with no facts.


7 people like this
Posted by Cassandra
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2015 at 10:51 am

Friendly,
A director of the housing corporation should not be involved at all in making money from a piece of land PAHC only purchased using public money. The buyer is a new corporation, never developed anything before. That's risky. How can a lower offer by a new company with no development experience win? Selling a house with problems usually a safer buyer is experienced, same here.

An investigation would reveal facts. The City was tied up in the purchase and influence, someone else should do it.


Like this comment
Posted by Friendly
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 6, 2015 at 10:58 am

@ Cassandra, I know people on the PAHC staff and board and heard that the state wanted PAHC to keep its app even with the referendum bc they wanted to fight the NIMBYs.

People, just read the facts! This org is a real estate firm with many real estate professionals in its board. ...I'm sure they know how to pick the best offer.

@ Jerry, I agree with respecting a person's right to privacy. The ED is not a public official so why should she publicly announce where she lives? [Portion removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by Friendly
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 6, 2015 at 11:08 am

@ Cassandra, [Portion removed.] Conflicts on interest are NOT illegal if done properly ...she recused herself and the board made the decisions. [Portion removed.] Who are you to tell a private entity how to run a business. They received funding from the city for a small portion (the city was just a lender) plus county plus private lenders. The board said they accepted the BEST offer which allowed them to pay back all their loans before they quickly became due. They were lucky to find a buyer that closed so quickly without city approvals. I know lots of developers who would NOT do that. [Portion removed.]


7 people like this
Posted by Cassandra
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2015 at 1:35 pm

@Friendly,
Stereotype threats using NIMBYism is low if someone uses it instead of working with people who were not NIMBYs and had worked out affordable housing in the same neighborhood before.

PAHC exists for the City's goal of affordable housing and gets tax exemptions and much privilege, is a nonprofit, and is accountable. PAHC had huge influence.

The City pitched in almost $6million. The county pitched in $8 million (same money going for BV now, thankfully). The public basically bought the property. The City was a party on the contracts. The City had the option to buy the property first when PAHC sold it. PAHC had influence on whether the City got the property for the benefit of Palo Alto children. [Portion removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by Cassandra
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2015 at 1:42 pm

@Tim Gray,
If people campaign online or at City Hall for promises like special housing privileges (I don't mean Gonzales), do they or the one promising have to report?


4 people like this
Posted by Cassandra
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2015 at 1:46 pm

@Friendly,

I heard the state made decisions from what City employees put on applications that were wrong. If they believed the reason was NIMBYism, who told them? That is bad enough.


Like this comment
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 6, 2015 at 5:45 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

Cassandra,

I have answered your question in several ways, none of them to your satisfaction. Tim Gray gave me a hint of what information he was looking for when he asked if I was an employee (answer-no) or registered agent (answer-also no) of PAHC. I was glad to clear that up.

Could you ask me some similar yes/no questions addressing possibilities that trouble you so my response can be equally clear and to the point? I've explained that I am a critical supporter of PAHC and given examples of my criticisms, but that appears not to be what you're looNoking for. Thanks.


3 people like this
Posted by Cassandra
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2015 at 7:09 pm

Right. You answered Lots of Questions with
" I recommend the lengthy exchange I had with Craig Laughton and another poster on the recent thread "PAHC Chief Decides to live in PAHC Property." If you want more, you can look at threads in March-April 2013 dealing with Maybell. It's easy to find what I've said because I always use my name when posting."

You didn't answer there either. You just referred to other things you didn't answer the question. I am do not speak for Timothy Gray or ask his questions. What is your relationship with PAHC? You have criticized other posters, not PAHC. You said you watched Candace Gonzales house or were there enough to know people coming and going. You spoke for her many times. Seriously, what is your relationship?


Like this comment
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 6, 2015 at 8:13 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 6, 2015 at 11:46 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

Cassandra,

Relationship to PAHC: wariness on both sides, I think, though I can't speak for PAHC. Our small neighborhood group declined to become part of PAHC's campaign out of wariness of losing our autonomy and being tied to whatever strategy and arguments the political consultants PAHC hired to do their campaign came up with. We did have liaisons to PAHC and participated in the Yes on D campaign.

I got the impression that I was seen as a bit of a loose canon by PAHC since I did things like participate vigorously on Town Square and try to bring more facts into a discussion that I believe the board members declined to take seriously. Many people told me they never look at Town Square. They were blindsided by the outcome of the election. I got confirmation, on election day, that the reading I had gotten from my neighborhood and from Town Square was a better predictor of the outcome than the San Francisco-based campaign consultants' survey results showing overwhelming support for affordable housing in Palo Alto, which resulted in a gauzy, ineffective campaign. There was lots of money but little energy on the Yes side, not much money but vibrant energy on the winning No side.

I found out that Candice Gonzalez was living on the Maybell property upon hearing that No on D supporters were surprised to find out that fact while leafleting in the neighborhood. Yes on D supporters more familiar with PAHC than myself didn't seem surprised, so I guess it was known to active PAHC supporters. Later, I was made aware through a Town Square posting that Ted O'Hanlon, project developer for Golden Gate's project at Maybell/Clemo was married to Candice Gonzalez.

That should give you an idea about how close my relationship has been to PAHC and to its executive director. I support their work and hope it will again become a symbol in people's minds of what's right about Palo Alto, a caring city that looks out for the entire community.

But this is all old stuff. Why the burst of interest in a project that was voted down more than a year ago? I'm surprised at the level of mistrust and anger at PAHC shown by many posts even though it still has the support of most political players in the community. Why the disconnect?


Like this comment
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 7, 2015 at 12:14 am

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@Cassandra

"You lived there a long time, but never got involved in politics at all except relating to PAHC."

Pretty close, except my involvement came about primarily because of concerns about bicycle safety for students on Maybell. When I first engaged, it was to fight for improvements to Maybell that would make student bicycle commuting safer and more popular. Later, I came to see that there was a great deal of opposition within the Maybell Action Group to making Maybell more of a bicycle boulevard. That may be "relating to PAHC" but it was more being repelled by MAG than than being associated with PAHC. I supported letting the Maybell project go through, not because I was a strong PAHC supporter but because I thought the revised plan approved by the city council would be better for the neighborhood than what a commercial developer would put in if it owned the property.


3 people like this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 7, 2015 at 11:04 am

>I know people on the PAHC staff and board and heard that the state wanted PAHC to keep its app even with the referendum bc they wanted to fight the NIMBYs.

NIMBYs are very honorable and honest, because they want to protect their own neighborhoods. If the state wants to fight them, then this means that the state is against neighborhoods. It is good to get this out on the table.

Neighbors, beware of the state. Thanks for the internal insight, Friendly.

I am a proud NIMBY.


5 people like this
Posted by Cassandra
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 7, 2015 at 5:06 pm

@Jerry Underdal,

You got your history wrong like saying the election was in April instead of November.

Maybell had a bike improvement. Lots of people worked on it, months or maybe years. I heard you didn't. You posted nothing online about it. That was the biggest improvement of Maybell. I look online, you start posting first on pushing upzoning at Maybell for PAHC. The No people started because of bike safety, but you were on the opposite side. The second Maybell bicycle program started after the election.

City Council said a lot during the upzoning which could cause liability. They didn't do studies to prove anything, they didn't fix the big problems the previous safety improvement couldn't solve. They didn't fix problems from the site that they could have. To me it didn't seem very honest. [Portion removed.]


5 people like this
Posted by Cassandra
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 7, 2015 at 5:24 pm

@Jerry Underdal,

"survey results showing overwhelming support for affordable housing in Palo Alto"

You should have listened to people saying they supported affordable housing in Palo Alto, not doing by upzoning and orchard. Working with people. Do you know about "stereotype threats"? Keep accusing people it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.


2 people like this
Posted by Cassandra
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 7, 2015 at 5:27 pm

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 7, 2015 at 7:53 pm

>You should have listened to people saying they supported affordable housing in Palo Alto, not doing by upzoning and orchard.

I completely oppose subsidized housing in Palo Alto. We already have plenty of affordable housing (just pay for it). If you want even more subsidized housing, what neighborhood should it be dumped into...yours? BTW, what neighborhood do you live in?


Like this comment
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 7, 2015 at 11:01 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@cassandra

I take it back. I did get involved in local school politics over the Mandarin immersion program when the district almost wound up with a charter Mandarin immersion school due to opposition to Ohline's offer to host the program as a choice option. The campaign against PAHC's project reminded me, not in a good way, of the anonymous poster driven campaign against Mandarin immersion.


Like this comment
Posted by Sandra
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 8, 2015 at 10:55 am

"NIMBYs are very honorable and honest, because they want to protect their own neighborhoods. If the state wants to fight them, then this means that the state is against neighborhoods."

Thank you, Craig. Right on!

NIMBY is a very good thing.


4 people like this
Posted by Weary
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 8, 2015 at 1:13 pm

There are two people dominating the discussion and I for one am tired of their unstoppable, predictable, and unrelenting messages.
Can you take it offline, guys? It's too much. I've stopped reading them.


5 people like this
Posted by Sandra
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 8, 2015 at 2:06 pm

"There are two people dominating the discussion and I for one am tired of their unstoppable, predictable, and unrelenting messages."

Weary, if you want to stop being weary, then produce your arguments, and stand up for them. Your current argument is a cop out. The basic nature of free discussion is to get engaged in it. Please stop criticizing those who do.


7 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 8, 2015 at 3:53 pm

PAHC always maintained that selling off half of the property for private development was the only way that their Maybell Senior Housing project could work. But now that Buena Vista is near closing, both the City of Palo Alto and the County of Santa Clara magically have $16 million dollars available for affordable housing!

Somehow, these funds weren't available to lessen the impact on the neighborhood when PAHC was going to gift them to their development partner, but they are now. Certainly makes you wonder how accurate any of the story PAHC and the City told was true.


Like this comment
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 8, 2015 at 9:32 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal's metal helmet
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 8, 2015 at 11:59 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Like this comment
Posted by Jerry Underdal's Metal Helmet
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 9, 2015 at 12:03 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Like this comment
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 9, 2015 at 12:57 am

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

[Post removed.]



Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

He said – she said – who is lying? Justice Brett Kavanaugh or PA resident Christine Ford
By Diana Diamond | 69 comments | 5,988 views

Let's Talk Internships
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 0 comments | 908 views

Couples: Sex and Connection (Chicken or Egg?)
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 723 views

Zucchini Takeover
By Laura Stec | 1 comment | 658 views