News

Regional group exploring housing solutions

Metropolitan Transportation Commission forms CASA group to gain legislative traction, develop a regional policy compact

A new regional group exploring ways to build more affordable and low-income housing throughout the Bay Area is preparing to present its findings at a meeting this Wednesday following a four-city workshop series that ended in East Palo Alto last week.

The group, CASA -- the Committee to House the Bay Area -- is a blue-ribbon task force convened by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, a regional land use, housing and transportation agency. The task force is seeking consensus from tenant, housing and environmental advocates; market rate and affordable-housing developers; labor groups; transportation officials; representatives from the business and technology communities; and public officials to develop a package of housing strategies and legislation.

They are focusing on three core strategies: to protect vulnerable populations from housing displacement, preserve existing affordable housing and create additional housing at all levels of affordability.

The MTC created the task force after the agency released its draft Plan Bay Area 2040, the region's long-range transportation and land use plan. The plan projects the region will see 2.4 million more people, 820,000 new households and 1.3 million additional jobs by the year 2040.

The CASA task force wants to have the region produce 35,000 housing units per year in that time period -- 14,000 of which are affordable to lower-income households and 7,000 for moderate-income households. They want to preserve 30,000 affordable units -- 28,000 market-rate affordable and 4,000 that are at-risk -- in the next five years. The group also seeks to protect 300,000 lower-income units for residents who are extremely rent-burdened, meaning they spend more than 50 percent of their income on housing.

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East Palo Alto, once a bastion of low-income and affordable housing, is now experiencing rapid displacement of its traditional community. Median housing prices in the city went up 21.7 percent in the past year and are expected to rise another 13.4 percent in the next year, according to real estate website Zillow's estimates. A median single-family home is now $949,000. Newer developments, such as Montage by Edenbridge Homes, now list homes at $1.4 million. The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in East Palo Alto is $2,973, according to the rental listings website RentCafe.

"It's clear that gentrification is running rampant," said Tameeka Bennett, executive director for Youth United for Community Action, which hosted the July 11 event in East Palo Alto.

Vikrant Sood, manager of the CASA program, said that the task force is a compact between often-competing forces to negotiate among themselves and develop policies and solutions to the housing crisis. This approach comes on the heels of a defeat on April 17 of Senate Bill 827, California's ambitious Transit Zoning Bill, which would have removed local control of some building restrictions for new construction near transit hubs, including parking, height and density under certain conditions. Cities were opposed to the bill, which died in its first legislative committee meeting.

Having a wide range of players at the table hammering out a joint approach would hopefully avoid the pitfalls that doomed SB 827.

"CASA is looking at something similar but more palatable. We may not be able to come up with solutions that everyone loves, but if everyone hates it a little, that is what we want to have," he said.

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It's about the right mix of carrots and sticks and filling the needs of each community in ways that are still equitable, he said. For example, San Francisco is interested in more housing and can raise the money, but the city can't build fast enough.

"But how about giving some money to Oakland and near transit? We need to find some combination to do your fair bit," Sood said. San Jose has built housing but it needs more jobs, while other cities might not want to build the housing but can contribute money, he said.

"Can we rebalance that and get (them) compensation for more housing?" Sood asked.

About 50 residents from East Palo Alto, unincorporated North Fair Oaks, San Jose and Redwood City attended the July 11 meeting. They said cities should have funds exclusively dedicated to relocation and first- to last-month rental assistance. Residents also need new models for building credit. Paying rent on time could count as a way to build credit among many immigrants who don't have normal credit-building mechanisms, they said.

Other priorities include policies to better balance the jobs-to-housing ratio; finding or creating fees for cities to create more housing; placing a total moratorium on jobs until they build enough housing or requiring companies and cities that bring more jobs to create more housing; repealing the Costa--Hawkins Rental Housing Act, enacted in 1995, which limits municipal rent-control ordinances; replacing homes that are under rent control if they are demolished one by one and allowing the same families the first rights to move in; and having legal and other services related to housing, specifically for non-English speakers who need help with affordable-housing applications. Many programs require applying online but because of the digital divide, some don't have access to computers or know how to navigate the websites.

The workshop was the last in a series that included similar meetings San Jose, Concord and Santa Rosa. Staff will share information from the brainstorming sessions with the CASA technical committee, which will vet and vote on policy solutions. They will return for additional public meetings in the four cities in the fall for feedback on the strategies the CASA technical and steering committees develop. An additional four "listening sessions" will take place in Oakland, San Jose, Santa Rosa and San Francisco, Sood said.

A final compact would be negotiated by key stakeholders, adopted by the technical committee and then passed to the steering committee for final adoption. The compact would likely have three components: a package of Bay Area-specific legislation to be introduced in Sacramento; solutions for MTC and the Association of Bay Area Governments; and solutions to raise funding for protection, preservation and production of affordable housing, according to MTC staff.

The compact is likely to pursue provisions to:

• Protect renters through rent-stabilization and an anti-gouging rent cap; stronger just-cause evictions; tenant services and right to legal counsel; short-term rental and relocation assistance and protection incentives for landlords.

• Preserve housing by developing a regional tracking and notification system for expiring deed-restricted and market-rate affordable units; creating a flexible housing preservation fund, including incentives for code compliance; establishing local preservation protocols that include a one-to-one unit replacement requirement and first right of refusal to nonprofit organizations and tenants; and a tax on vacant and underutilized units and parcels, especially in transit-oriented development areas.

• Boosting housing production by building more types of housing in different neighborhoods, including accessory-dwelling units, affordable housing in higher income neighborhoods and higher density housing; lowering net cost for new construction through use of technology and innovation, limiting impact fees and flexible green-building requirements; streamlining permits; and financial incentives and using public and surplus land for affordable housing production.

At the technical committee's June 18 meeting, representatives who hosted the workshops said many immigrants desperately need tenant protections. Landlords have been threatening to turn immigrants in to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for deportation and are making many retaliatory evictions.

The representatives told the committee that at their workshops, residents listed as top priorities legal assistance to prevent evictions, subsidized housing, area-wide rent control and just-cause evictions ordinances, and repealing the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which was enacted in 1995 and limits municipal rent-control ordinances. They also cited a need to prevent construction on land that is unsafe, such as high-fire areas, and to protect public land from being sold to private developers. Such lands should be used to build housing, they said.

In addition, Mary Murtagh, a member of the technical committee, suggested the group should add punishment as another tool of the CASA strategy against those who intimidate tenants or engage in questionable practices.

Susan Shaw of the North Bay Organizing Project, which hosted the Santa Rosa meeting, said renters comprise 41 percent of residents. Many have experienced huge rent increases since last fall's devastating wildfires. The city lost 5 percent of its housing in the disaster and there has been much price gouging.

Tameeka Bennett noted that 80 percent of the East Palo Alto's residents are renters and are primarily undocumented families. The city also has the largest population of Pacific Islands immigrants in San Mateo County.

"A lot of people wanted education. There were 16 housing laws in 2016. How do we get the information from the Capitol" to the communities? she asked.

More information about CASA's efforts, including meeting times, can be found at mtc.ca.gov.

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Regional group exploring housing solutions

Metropolitan Transportation Commission forms CASA group to gain legislative traction, develop a regional policy compact

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Jul 17, 2018, 9:11 am
Updated: Wed, Jul 18, 2018, 5:37 pm

A new regional group exploring ways to build more affordable and low-income housing throughout the Bay Area is preparing to present its findings at a meeting this Wednesday following a four-city workshop series that ended in East Palo Alto last week.

The group, CASA -- the Committee to House the Bay Area -- is a blue-ribbon task force convened by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, a regional land use, housing and transportation agency. The task force is seeking consensus from tenant, housing and environmental advocates; market rate and affordable-housing developers; labor groups; transportation officials; representatives from the business and technology communities; and public officials to develop a package of housing strategies and legislation.

They are focusing on three core strategies: to protect vulnerable populations from housing displacement, preserve existing affordable housing and create additional housing at all levels of affordability.

The MTC created the task force after the agency released its draft Plan Bay Area 2040, the region's long-range transportation and land use plan. The plan projects the region will see 2.4 million more people, 820,000 new households and 1.3 million additional jobs by the year 2040.

The CASA task force wants to have the region produce 35,000 housing units per year in that time period -- 14,000 of which are affordable to lower-income households and 7,000 for moderate-income households. They want to preserve 30,000 affordable units -- 28,000 market-rate affordable and 4,000 that are at-risk -- in the next five years. The group also seeks to protect 300,000 lower-income units for residents who are extremely rent-burdened, meaning they spend more than 50 percent of their income on housing.

East Palo Alto, once a bastion of low-income and affordable housing, is now experiencing rapid displacement of its traditional community. Median housing prices in the city went up 21.7 percent in the past year and are expected to rise another 13.4 percent in the next year, according to real estate website Zillow's estimates. A median single-family home is now $949,000. Newer developments, such as Montage by Edenbridge Homes, now list homes at $1.4 million. The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in East Palo Alto is $2,973, according to the rental listings website RentCafe.

"It's clear that gentrification is running rampant," said Tameeka Bennett, executive director for Youth United for Community Action, which hosted the July 11 event in East Palo Alto.

Vikrant Sood, manager of the CASA program, said that the task force is a compact between often-competing forces to negotiate among themselves and develop policies and solutions to the housing crisis. This approach comes on the heels of a defeat on April 17 of Senate Bill 827, California's ambitious Transit Zoning Bill, which would have removed local control of some building restrictions for new construction near transit hubs, including parking, height and density under certain conditions. Cities were opposed to the bill, which died in its first legislative committee meeting.

Having a wide range of players at the table hammering out a joint approach would hopefully avoid the pitfalls that doomed SB 827.

"CASA is looking at something similar but more palatable. We may not be able to come up with solutions that everyone loves, but if everyone hates it a little, that is what we want to have," he said.

It's about the right mix of carrots and sticks and filling the needs of each community in ways that are still equitable, he said. For example, San Francisco is interested in more housing and can raise the money, but the city can't build fast enough.

"But how about giving some money to Oakland and near transit? We need to find some combination to do your fair bit," Sood said. San Jose has built housing but it needs more jobs, while other cities might not want to build the housing but can contribute money, he said.

"Can we rebalance that and get (them) compensation for more housing?" Sood asked.

About 50 residents from East Palo Alto, unincorporated North Fair Oaks, San Jose and Redwood City attended the July 11 meeting. They said cities should have funds exclusively dedicated to relocation and first- to last-month rental assistance. Residents also need new models for building credit. Paying rent on time could count as a way to build credit among many immigrants who don't have normal credit-building mechanisms, they said.

Other priorities include policies to better balance the jobs-to-housing ratio; finding or creating fees for cities to create more housing; placing a total moratorium on jobs until they build enough housing or requiring companies and cities that bring more jobs to create more housing; repealing the Costa--Hawkins Rental Housing Act, enacted in 1995, which limits municipal rent-control ordinances; replacing homes that are under rent control if they are demolished one by one and allowing the same families the first rights to move in; and having legal and other services related to housing, specifically for non-English speakers who need help with affordable-housing applications. Many programs require applying online but because of the digital divide, some don't have access to computers or know how to navigate the websites.

The workshop was the last in a series that included similar meetings San Jose, Concord and Santa Rosa. Staff will share information from the brainstorming sessions with the CASA technical committee, which will vet and vote on policy solutions. They will return for additional public meetings in the four cities in the fall for feedback on the strategies the CASA technical and steering committees develop. An additional four "listening sessions" will take place in Oakland, San Jose, Santa Rosa and San Francisco, Sood said.

A final compact would be negotiated by key stakeholders, adopted by the technical committee and then passed to the steering committee for final adoption. The compact would likely have three components: a package of Bay Area-specific legislation to be introduced in Sacramento; solutions for MTC and the Association of Bay Area Governments; and solutions to raise funding for protection, preservation and production of affordable housing, according to MTC staff.

The compact is likely to pursue provisions to:

• Protect renters through rent-stabilization and an anti-gouging rent cap; stronger just-cause evictions; tenant services and right to legal counsel; short-term rental and relocation assistance and protection incentives for landlords.

• Preserve housing by developing a regional tracking and notification system for expiring deed-restricted and market-rate affordable units; creating a flexible housing preservation fund, including incentives for code compliance; establishing local preservation protocols that include a one-to-one unit replacement requirement and first right of refusal to nonprofit organizations and tenants; and a tax on vacant and underutilized units and parcels, especially in transit-oriented development areas.

• Boosting housing production by building more types of housing in different neighborhoods, including accessory-dwelling units, affordable housing in higher income neighborhoods and higher density housing; lowering net cost for new construction through use of technology and innovation, limiting impact fees and flexible green-building requirements; streamlining permits; and financial incentives and using public and surplus land for affordable housing production.

At the technical committee's June 18 meeting, representatives who hosted the workshops said many immigrants desperately need tenant protections. Landlords have been threatening to turn immigrants in to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for deportation and are making many retaliatory evictions.

The representatives told the committee that at their workshops, residents listed as top priorities legal assistance to prevent evictions, subsidized housing, area-wide rent control and just-cause evictions ordinances, and repealing the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which was enacted in 1995 and limits municipal rent-control ordinances. They also cited a need to prevent construction on land that is unsafe, such as high-fire areas, and to protect public land from being sold to private developers. Such lands should be used to build housing, they said.

In addition, Mary Murtagh, a member of the technical committee, suggested the group should add punishment as another tool of the CASA strategy against those who intimidate tenants or engage in questionable practices.

Susan Shaw of the North Bay Organizing Project, which hosted the Santa Rosa meeting, said renters comprise 41 percent of residents. Many have experienced huge rent increases since last fall's devastating wildfires. The city lost 5 percent of its housing in the disaster and there has been much price gouging.

Tameeka Bennett noted that 80 percent of the East Palo Alto's residents are renters and are primarily undocumented families. The city also has the largest population of Pacific Islands immigrants in San Mateo County.

"A lot of people wanted education. There were 16 housing laws in 2016. How do we get the information from the Capitol" to the communities? she asked.

More information about CASA's efforts, including meeting times, can be found at mtc.ca.gov.

Comments

Housing or Jobs?
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 17, 2018 at 11:39 am
Housing or Jobs?, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 17, 2018 at 11:39 am
70 people like this

We can't build enough housing to meeting the onslaught of jobs. We need to limit the growth of office space as the most effective way to reduce the demand for housing. Start with voting for Palo Alto's citizen initiative to limit the growth of office space to historical rates of growth through 2030. And do not support the fake proposal that the City Council pro-growth majority will propose, maybe one exempting the Stanford Research Park.


Chuck
Menlo Park
on Jul 17, 2018 at 12:39 pm
Chuck, Menlo Park
on Jul 17, 2018 at 12:39 pm
9 people like this

Combine parking and housing on existing parking lots in many of our downtown existing parking lots as was done with the "Abitare" project in downtown Palo Alto in the 1990's. Traffic is terrible today and will only get worse by continuing the existing development ideas.


ABC
East Palo Alto
on Jul 17, 2018 at 12:45 pm
ABC, East Palo Alto
on Jul 17, 2018 at 12:45 pm
3 people like this

Forget it.
Too many ppl from all over the World want to be in Bay Area and Peninsula in particular. Very desirable area for everyone
And stop whining about FB, google etc. They paying taxes. A lots ot taxes. They paying to the city forany crazy programs.

Check how much city wants to charge you if you want to build ADU... and rent control... No wonder developers don't want to build.

New normal is here. Guess why zhiraf stiil alive ? Coz in order to survive he ..... you know the story....


EPA for now
East Palo Alto
on Jul 17, 2018 at 1:59 pm
EPA for now, East Palo Alto
on Jul 17, 2018 at 1:59 pm
9 people like this

The jobs to housing gap is real. Allowing any further job development that does not include two-to-one ration of housing to jobs (two homes for every one job created), is the proposal I have for remedying this over time, until such a time that there is an equal number of housing units per job. If you look around us, you will see there are homeless living in the cracks of our neighborhoods, in garages, in sheds, in cars, in RVs. The impact of this is real. We are taking ourselves back to a time before we had basic housing requirements like heating, water, solid waste services and sewage services available to the average person. I don't care who you are--if you live on the Peninsula you have been exposed to the real time issues this is causing. It must be resolved.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 17, 2018 at 2:05 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 17, 2018 at 2:05 pm
18 people like this

Land is very expensive in Palo Alto. No matter what is built it will cost more to live here because of the cost of the land that is underneath the property. If lower cost housing is to be built it should be built in areas where the underlying land is cheaper than it is here.

Then, to counter that, we need to improve public transportation to enable those who live in cheaper areas, the coast, the East Bay, even EPA, to get to where they work in an efficient and affordable fashion.

Looking at similar areas in Europe, it is public transportation that runs efficiently, often, reliable, and affordable, that makes a person able to live in one area and work in another.


Resident
Palo Alto High School
on Jul 17, 2018 at 2:54 pm
Resident, Palo Alto High School
on Jul 17, 2018 at 2:54 pm
30 people like this

No reason why spread-out San Jose cannot be re-developed in an entirely reasonable way to accommodate many thousands. It isn’t far. It has warm weather. A multitude of varieties of housing and price ranges can be accommodated. Builders should be encouraged there. People can take cars, bikes, light rail, Caltrain in northern San Jose. They can travel in several directions to work, spread out.


Maxed out
College Terrace
on Jul 17, 2018 at 3:21 pm
Maxed out, College Terrace
on Jul 17, 2018 at 3:21 pm
46 people like this

I think most residence agree that Palo Alto and our sister cities are bursting at the seams with people and jobs. While I applaud the energy and efforts to increase housing stock, I don't align with it. There is greater benefit in promoting and building out at the periphery of the Bay Area. Peninsula cities should make it harder (more painful) for businesses to come here and grow here, and cities like Tracy and Morgan Hill and the like, should be given help and aid to attract tech companies to move there, or at least create satellite offices. The are loads of people who currently live in these communities who are wasting hours a day sitting in traffic. Bring the offices to them. Let's not promote more housing/densification and jobs in Palo Alto. We have enough, thank you very much.


Madias
College Terrace
on Jul 17, 2018 at 3:31 pm
Madias, College Terrace
on Jul 17, 2018 at 3:31 pm
18 people like this

Water rationing (already happening) and its eventual depletion will cap growth and that cap will send prices to the moon. Only the extremely wealthy will be able to live here - power walking, eating, drinking and bathing nightly in Fiji Water. The pro building folks are destroying the planet and all our children will pay for their shortsightedness, as this area becomes just one more unsustainable resource hog.

I dread the day Palo Alto must renege on its "gift" of water units to its poorer neighbor to the east. But it will greedily do so - allowing the poorest East Palo Alto residents to suffer without water, as Palo Alto turns Hetch Hetchy into a dry rock pit.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 17, 2018 at 3:33 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Jul 17, 2018 at 3:33 pm
18 people like this

So who's backing them? How do they relate to ABAG? To the tech-funded [portion removed] lobbyists?


MyOpinion
Registered user
Community Center
on Jul 17, 2018 at 4:49 pm
MyOpinion, Community Center
Registered user
on Jul 17, 2018 at 4:49 pm
30 people like this

The senior execs at these tech firms (who are residents of Atherton, PA, Menlo LAH etc) need to acknowledge that they must increase expansion beyond the bay area. Moving out to East Bay/San Jose, is just re-arranging the deck chairs so to speak. It's not like Silicon Valley has huge manufacturing factilites that are costly to move. These are knowledge workers,moving operations is easy. Tech companies need to create tech hubs in places like Boise ID, Lowell MA, Salt Lake City and other locations across the USA. There is nothing sacrosanct about this area. Many of the young Google families we know are paying huge rents, with very little hope of buying a house despite their high income. They would jump at the chance to move to a nice community without the gridlock and the inflated housing prices.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 17, 2018 at 4:57 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Jul 17, 2018 at 4:57 pm
22 people like this

Just a few articles from the New York Times, the Merc, the Guardian on who's backing the YIMBY movement. Feel free to Google the question yourselves to get the complete picture.


Web Link

Web Link

Web Link


Dan
Midtown
on Jul 17, 2018 at 5:02 pm
Dan, Midtown
on Jul 17, 2018 at 5:02 pm
Like this comment

It is interesting that two out of the three items mentioned as provisions the final compact is "likely to pursue" will actually further constrain and discourage housing development.


Stop allowing businesses to dump too many people in the area.
Downtown North
on Jul 17, 2018 at 11:45 pm
Stop allowing businesses to dump too many people in the area., Downtown North
on Jul 17, 2018 at 11:45 pm
39 people like this

It makes no sense to destroy the quality of life in the bay area by continuing to allow office development. Instead of trying to cram more housing into an area where the environment can no longer handle it - too many cars on the road, too many people for the parks, pools, community areas, too many kids for the schools, too little water, too much pollution - how about no more office development.

Let's see Sacramento and local politicians get it right and stop supporting all the developers who are paying them off and support the residents who elected them by stopping massive development and working to fix the degraded quality of life they are allowed to take place.

Send the jobs to other areas or even other states. Stop being so greedy in this area. Stop letting large corporations do what they want to the detriment of the population. We are suffering from a new form of corporate pollution. They no longer dump toxins in the rivers, or carcinogens in the air but they attract and "dump" too many people in the area who crowd out and destroy the local community.

Time to stop adding to the mess.


mauricio
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 18, 2018 at 8:06 am
mauricio, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Jul 18, 2018 at 8:06 am
24 people like this

This is just as senseless as having a regional group exploring how to ensure that California experiences more wildfires.

The Bay area cannot absorb any more jobs, and cannot afford to add anymore housing for a myriad of reasons, and environmental and water supply concerns are only the tip of the iceberg. The same applies to Palo Alto politicians. Any plans on their part to add offices and housing to Palo Alto amount to civic, envrionemtal and quality of life suicide.

Other regions need high paying jobs., and they have the space for offices and housing. That is whee jobs and people, especially young people should go.


Riding a Swing at Peers Park
Southgate
on Jul 19, 2018 at 8:42 am
Riding a Swing at Peers Park, Southgate
on Jul 19, 2018 at 8:42 am
4 people like this

> The senior execs at these tech firms (who are residents of Atherton, PA, Menlo LAH etc) need to acknowledge that they must increase expansion beyond the bay area.... Tech companies need to create tech hubs in places like Boise ID, Lowell MA, Salt Lake City and other locations across the USA. There is nothing sacrosanct about this area...


Absolutely. On the other hand, there are other reasons why many so folks prefer to reside in the 'prime' areas of the midpeninsula...seasonal weather, good public school districts, quality recreational programs, ease of accessibility to both routine & 'high-end' shopping, various dining/culinary options, the overall moderate to liberal 'vibe' etc.

Try finding this sort of scenario at Clear Lake, San Benito County & most of the other undeveloped/under-developed areas in CA or the USA for that matter. To get the 'complete package' costs $$$$ and the only ones who come out ahead in this 'game' are the RE agents.

To a certain extent I will live & die in PA...Southgate for the time being & then Alta Mesa Cemetary later down the road (although being a lifelong conservationist, I am seriously considering having my ashes scattered at the PA/Baylands dumpyard as cemetaries & golf courses are the biggest waste of land & water resources).

Using the older SF city model (where they eventually moved all of the deceased to Colma), maybe its time to consider getting rid of wasted open space like the Alta Mesa Cemetary & the PA Muni golf course. There's plenty of acreage in these areas for additional housing...a developer's & RE agent's dream.















Trees too
Barron Park
on Jul 19, 2018 at 9:24 am
Trees too, Barron Park
on Jul 19, 2018 at 9:24 am
2 people like this

@mauricio ; " This is just as senseless as having a regional group exploring how to ensure that California experiences more wildfires. "

I disagree.
Take Yosemite. Wildfires are necessary to ensure that the young trees have an opportunity to a spot to grow just like the older trees did. The older trees just sit in their spot and occupy a useful location and thanks to the government pograms, they are protected from logging and removal. Meanwhile, the Millennial, Gen X and Y trees are shut out of the opportunity to have a place. Why should established trees benefit while new trees are shut out ? You can fit way more trees in Yosemite. Sure. there will be more crowding, competition for sunlight and water, more disease and sickness, but the young trees deserve a chance to live in Yosemite just as much as the old established trees. Cutting down one large tree can make room for several smaller trees to. We can establish micro tree and dwarf forrests to increase density near the hotels and lofges. We must end the unfair government protections of the large old trees and forrests. They've had their chance and need to make way for the next generation.


Humans vs trees
Old Palo Alto
on Jul 19, 2018 at 11:28 am
Humans vs trees, Old Palo Alto
on Jul 19, 2018 at 11:28 am
16 people like this

My young sapling -

You are welcome to my spot. Simply pay me enough so that I can buy a better one for my needs and keep or increase my net worth. That is what I did for my house’s previous owner when I bought my house.

What? You want the government to force my quality of life down so that I’ll take a lower price? Because you don’t want to pay that much for my house? You will have to sacrifice too much or wait too long?

You are in a tough spot, but I don’t think it is the moral high ground.


resident
Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 19, 2018 at 7:36 pm
resident, Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 19, 2018 at 7:36 pm
12 people like this

I was just in the Long Beach area for an event. The city is spectacular - clean and well managed. And when you go out to the smaller towns - Belmont Shore - very classy and cute. CLEAN. Lots of young people. SOCAL has the space for companies going down the coast. No reason to be stuck here with all of the aggravation. We are over built now - quit trying to force it. Push the companies down the coast to SOCAL where there is space that is clean and well managed. SF better watch out - conferences are pulling out due to filth in the city. Conferences can go to a really spectacular cities and not put up with the SF filth.


RUSH much?
Mountain View
on Jul 19, 2018 at 9:29 pm
RUSH much?, Mountain View
on Jul 19, 2018 at 9:29 pm
5 people like this

you tree people ever hear this song by Rush? Question is which side is which?


There is unrest in the forest
There is trouble with the trees
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their pleas
The trouble with the maples
And they're quite convinced they're right
They say the oaks are just too lofty
And they grab up all the light
But the oaks can't help their feelings
If they like the way they're made
And they wonder why the maples
Can't be happy in their shade?
There is trouble in the forest
And the creatures all have fled
As the maples scream 'oppression!'
And the oaks, just shake their heads
So the maples formed a union
And demanded equal rights
'The oaks are just too greedy
We will make them give us light'
Now there's no more oak oppression
For they passed a noble law
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet,
Axe,
And saw


Resident
Palo Alto High School
on Jul 19, 2018 at 10:38 pm
Resident, Palo Alto High School
on Jul 19, 2018 at 10:38 pm
15 people like this

San Francisco a poorly run, filthy city?! Yep.
Let’s not turn into San Francisco.


mauricio
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 20, 2018 at 8:38 am
mauricio, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Jul 20, 2018 at 8:38 am
14 people like this

Trees Too, guess what-long time residents are not just going to abandon their houses and sell them to you for a pittance. I have recently found out that I could put my home up for six million dollars, but that multiple offers by foreign investors would easily push the selling price up to 7 million or more. Should I ever decide to sell my home, you are more than welcome to get in line and compete with them. If you thought you could get it for 10 cents on the dollar, you and your friends were badly mistaken.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 20, 2018 at 10:11 am
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 20, 2018 at 10:11 am
11 people like this

I was watching a tv news report yesterday which showed that the most new jobs in the Bay Area are now in the TriValley area which includes Dublin, Livermore, and surrounds. There are lots of big high tech businesses building out there and lots of housing being built. There is also a lot of space to build more.

This is likely to be a much better place to build both housing and business parks and along with the service industries to support the workers and residents it makes sense to concentrate efforts in this area. The one thing that was mentioned as being poor was transportation, join the club.

What really is needed is a complete overhaul of Bay Area public transportation with emphasis on providing a reliable, affordable, efficient service alternative to solo driving. Other countries do this as a matter of course. It needs to be made a top priority in the Bay Area and not done City by City piecemeal or even Agency by Agency piecemeal. The overhaul has to be from the point of view of the region as a whole.


resident
Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 21, 2018 at 12:08 pm
resident, Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 21, 2018 at 12:08 pm
7 people like this

Article in the SFC today concerning the building of a new transit village up in San Mateo County along the Caltrain tracks. When you ride the train you can see the amount of vacant land owned by the RR's, cities, county, state that is not being used and is filled with weeds. If transit is the criteria for additional homes then why not on area next to tracks that is already owned by the transit people. We are over built in this area but there is space up the tracks that is just sitting there. Sorry - do not waste every one's time by trying to manipulate existing residential areas when there is vacant land next to tracks. There are also unused old buildings up in South SF and SF that are not being used. Why not? Waiting for the next BIG DEAL? The next big deal is here now - ABAG etc go after existing sites that are sitting there empty and falling apart. Focusing on the single person ownership and trying to convert to developer ownership is a political game. We got that and are not buying it.


East Bay Expatriate
another community
on Jul 21, 2018 at 3:38 pm
East Bay Expatriate, another community
on Jul 21, 2018 at 3:38 pm
1 person likes this

>>>>I was watching a tv news report yesterday which showed that the most new jobs in the Bay Area are now in the TriValley area which includes Dublin, Livermore, and surrounds. There are lots of big high tech businesses building out there and lots of housing being built. There is also a lot of space to build more.

Have you ever driven through Pleasanton during the day? It's a traffic/gridlock hell-hole.

The same can be said of upscale Danville (especially downtown).

Add 680 into the mix and you've got hell on wheels.

No thank you.


R. Davis
Crescent Park
on Jul 22, 2018 at 9:29 am
R. Davis, Crescent Park
on Jul 22, 2018 at 9:29 am
10 people like this

QUOTE: They've had their chance and need to make way for the next generation.

This perspective has become the mantra & anthem of the Millennial generation.

Overpampering by their babyboomer parents has led to this misguided sense of entitlement. It began with 'participation trophies', no-score youth soccer games, an overall reluctance towards an occasional spanking + the elimination of basic family chores...when was the last time you saw a kid cutting the front lawn?

Allowances have given way to 'expense accounts' & every kid in HS seems to either want (or demand) a late-model SUV for 'tooling around'. Minimum wage/entry level jobs are now reserved for the elderly supplementing their monthly SS or for minorities who have immigrated from 3rd world/developing countries.

Kids from upper-middle class backgrounds really have it tough these days.




Nayeli
Midtown
on Jul 22, 2018 at 3:29 pm
Nayeli, Midtown
on Jul 22, 2018 at 3:29 pm
25 people like this

Residents of Palo Alto should pause and think about what Palo Alto could look like in 10, 20 or 30 years. Do current residents really want this place to be part of the massive and heavily-congested urban sprawl that connects San Francisco with San Jose?

There is a reason why this city is one of the few desirable communities that most people deem worth living in along the peninsula.

When we first explored the Bay Area immediately following the completion of grad school, we were hit with something of an urban and price shock. My husband and I both had several job interviews in and around the area. Upon first exploration, we dreaded moving here. The city, East Bay and much of the peninsula was just a traffic and density nightmare for people accustomed to the low cost of living and wide open spaces of most places in America.

On the last day of our trip, we decided to visit Stanford (given the fact that my sister would be attending as an incoming freshman). As soon as we drove into Palo Alto, we noticed and "felt" the difference. We met and interacted with people who were "neighborly." Palo Alto didn't feel "built up" like many other towns (particularly up the peninsula). Despite the daytime traffic, it didn't feel quite so "overpopulated."

If the city isn't careful, Palo Alto can quickly lose all of the things that made it into what it is. The big corporations around the area really don't care about the issues affecting residents. They just want access to housing, labor and the accessibility thereof (particularly as they are pushing for more H-1B visas and consequentially lower labor costs).

Yet, there isn't (or, at least, shouldn't be) a legal mandate for the city to grow in terms of population density, traffic and building congestion. Residents should safeguard the city from going the way of other towns and cities along the peninsula.


R. Davis
Crescent Park
on Jul 22, 2018 at 5:28 pm
R. Davis, Crescent Park
on Jul 22, 2018 at 5:28 pm
Like this comment

QUOTE: Do current residents really want this place to be part of the massive and heavily-congested urban sprawl that connects San Francisco with San Jose?

We're already there & cannot turn back the clock.

QUOTE: There is a reason why this city is one of the few desirable communities that most people deem worth living in along the peninsula.

Only to some...primarily the 'newbies' from overseas who are unfamiliar with the 'old PA' vibe. They are accustomed to population density where they come from.


QUOTE: If the city isn't careful, Palo Alto can quickly lose all of the things that made it into what it is.

As Carole King wrote/sang, "It's too late baby, now it's too late..."

Meanwhile back to the ambient concert noise emanating from another growing municipailty.


Red
Downtown North
on Jul 22, 2018 at 8:15 pm
Red, Downtown North
on Jul 22, 2018 at 8:15 pm
23 people like this

Until office space grown halts, there will never be enough housing, period. Why do housing 'advocates' ignore that? Restricting office space development is so much less expensive than building more housing. Forcing residents to pay via taxation and reduced quality of life so Google, Apple, etc can reap billions in profits, unencumbered by the trivial details of the tremendous housing problem they spearheaded, is absurd.


Annette
Registered user
College Terrace
on Jul 23, 2018 at 1:13 pm
Annette, College Terrace
Registered user
on Jul 23, 2018 at 1:13 pm
11 people like this

@Nayeli and Red: well said.

@R. Davis - I don't think it is too late yet, but we are inching perilously close to that point. My hopes rest with the Citizen's Initiative; we need what it proposes.

The problems associated with over-building are eroding our community in all sorts of way. I thought of this last night as I watched the 60 Minutes segment on civility. Did you know that Palo Alto has a mission statement? It is this: "To proudly serve and protect the public with respect and integrity". Despite that, both last year under Scharff and this year under Kniss, when controversial development-related issues are on the CC agenda, public comment is often limited to 60 Seconds. How does that square with our mission statement?

This weekend I happened to read Lafayette's 50th Anniversary Special Edition Newsletter. That city's mission statement provides an interesting contrast to ours. It specifically states that the city "was incorporated for the preservation and enhancement of the semi-rural character of the community".

I wonder, what is it that we are trying to do to Palo Alto? What is the end game? How much bigger? And will that growth be measured by people in houses or people at desks? If it is the latter, we are in trouble b/c those people will also be commuters. And that leads to that troublesome four letter word: CARS.


Annette
Registered user
College Terrace
on Jul 23, 2018 at 8:41 pm
Annette, College Terrace
Registered user
on Jul 23, 2018 at 8:41 pm
8 people like this

Apologies. I must clarify/correct myself: the mission statement I quoted is from PAPD, not the City in general. Nonetheless, I stand by my comment about the way CC meetings have been conducted this year and last. Maybe things would be different if PAPD ran the meetings . . .


resident
Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 24, 2018 at 6:16 pm
resident, Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 24, 2018 at 6:16 pm
10 people like this

I was coming down El Camino from Redwood City today around midday and is was totally locked up by earth moving trucks in Menlo Park. We were totally stopped and unable to move on with any luck so moved over to Middlefield which everyone else was doing. My feeling was that we have maxed out our ability to get from point a to point b on the peninsula. At some point here there has to be a recognition that we are totally saturated with people and cars. The extreme heat did not help here. Time wasted sitting waiting for a signal to change and then when it did we still did not go anywhere. I sincerely hope that when these projects are completed that everyone stops and figures out that enough projects have been accomplished and we can stop.


Reorg And Transportation transformation needed.
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 25, 2018 at 12:34 pm
Reorg And Transportation transformation needed., Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Jul 25, 2018 at 12:34 pm
7 people like this

I agree with this statement, but I'd go further, "What really is needed is a complete overhaul of Bay Area public transportation with emphasis on providing a reliable, affordable, efficient service alternative to solo driving. Other countries do this as a matter of course. It needs to be made a top priority in the Bay Area and not done City by City piecemeal or even Agency by Agency piecemeal. The overhaul has to be from the point of view of the region as a whole."

Regional transit agencies, VTA, MTC, Caltrain need to be completely disrupted and reorganized into one agency. The current system is entirely dysfunctional. Multiple byzantine bureaucracies that compete with each other do not collaborate and so will never serve us well.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 25, 2018 at 1:08 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Jul 25, 2018 at 1:08 pm
9 people like this

Until the transit bureaucracies get straightened, stop building more offices that exacerbate the jobs/housing imbalance.

And tear out all the "traffic diet" barriers and other "improvements" designed to impede through traffic at a time when so many more vehicles are being added. To do otherwise is a huge waste of tens of millions of our dollars and a waste of our time.


More, please.
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 25, 2018 at 3:56 pm
More, please., Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Jul 25, 2018 at 3:56 pm
Like this comment

I appreciate the work the city has done to improve safety for people on bikes and on foot. I find that using my bike and transit is a convenient to get around town and exercise my aging body. Thank you, City of Palo Alto.


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