News

Palo Alto lowers the cap on office development

City Council adopts citizen initiative to revise Comprehensive Plan

Weekly journalists discuss this story on an episode of "Behind the Headlines." Watch the webcast here.

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Opting to avert an expected Election Day showdown, a divided Palo Alto City Council moved on Monday to adopt a citizen initiative that slashes in half the amount of office space that the city will allow between now and 2030.

By a 5-4 vote, with Mayor Liz Kniss and council members Adrian Fine, Greg Scharff and Greg Tanaka dissenting, the council moved to revise a key policy in its recently adopted Comprehensive Plan in accordance with an initiative measure launched by the citizens group Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning. The initiative, which had received more than enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot, reduces the citywide cap on office and research-and-development space from the 1.7-million-square-foot level in the city's newly adopted Comprehensive Plan to 850,000 square feet.

The swing vote was Councilman Cory Wolbach, who on Monday sided with the council's slow-growth "residentialist" wing -- Vice Mayor Eric Filseth, Tom DuBois, Karen Holman and Lydia Kou -- and supported adopting the new limit rather than placing the issue on the ballot. Though Wolbach did not speak during the council's discussion, he told the Weekly after the vote that he believes the reduction in the office cap is the right policy for addressing the city's jobs-to-housing imbalance.

"It brings us closer to balance," Wolbach said in a text message. "Now we need to actually do the housing we all committed to."

The vote followed a robust council debate over what effect, if any, the new cap would have on office growth. A fiscal analysis that the City Council commissioned last month concluded that because the city had averaged only about 14,000 square feet in new office and research-and-development space per year between 2001 and 2017 (and 45,000 between 2015 and 2017), the city is unlikely to reach the threshold any time soon, even if the cap is halved.

Yet the study also noted that the historic numbers are low because the new construction was offset by the conversion of Sun Microsystems into Oshman Family Jewish Community Center (which led to a net loss of 390,000 square feet of office space) and by the demolition of the former Facebook headquarters (a 323,000-square-foot decrease).

If conversions and demolitions are taken out of equation, "it is conceivable that the Initiative Measure cap of 850,000 square feet could become a binding constraint more quickly," the study says.

The study also pointed to concerns from some stakeholders, particularly those at Stanford Research Park, who said in interviews that the tighter cap would have a chilling effect on the business climate because it will make companies less certain of their expansion potential. While the city currently has an annual 50,000-square-foot cap that applies to new office space in downtown, around California Avenue and along El Camino Real, the Research Park is exempt from the annual limit.

The new ordinance will effectively change that. By reducing the cap, the ordinance that the council approved would effectively restrict citywide development to 50,000 square feet.

The new 850,000-square-foot limit considers new construction after January 2015. Since then, the city has already added about 145,000 square feet; another 106,000 square feet are now in the pipeline, City Manager James Keene said. That this only leaves a cap of about 600,000 square feet for the next 12 years -- or 50,000 square feet a year.

The cap, he said, effectively takes the existing 50,000-square-foot annual cap and "pulls the Research Park into the issue." Given that the Research Park is a place where the city and the school district collect property taxes, the new cap could put a dent in the city's bottom line.

The city's analysis estimated that -- assuming a full build-out -- the initiative could cost the city about $1 million annually.

Not everyone was convinced that this is a problem. Holman noted that the impact fees that the city collects from commercial projects fall far short of what's needed to mitigate their impacts. And the study explicitly stated that it is not taking into account factors such as traffic impacts, environmental conditions and other "quality of life" factors -- factors that were central to the proponents' argument about the need to limit office growth.

Council members also sparred Monday over whether adopting the citizen initiative would respect the will of the people or effectively thwart it.

Scharff and Kniss, who on June 12 supported delaying the placement of the issue on the ballot pending a fiscal analysis (they prevailed then by a 5-4 vote, with Wolbach, Fine and Tanaka's support), both argued Monday that sending it to the voters is the more democratic path than simply adopting their proposal as an ordinance.

"This is really about democracy," Scharff said. "We as a council pride ourselves on community engagement. To vote not to put this on the ballot but to adopt it is to stifle community engagement."

Meanwhile, the residentialist council members who in June supported placing the measure on the ballot, now favored simply adopting it. With Wolbach joining them, they carried the day by a 5-4 majority.

Before the vote, the council heard from about two dozen speakers, the vast majority of whom supported the petition and asked that the proposal be adopted outright. Residents repeatedly pointed to city's housing shortage and traffic congestion, problems that they argued are aggravated by commercial growth.

"If you all decide to adopt the initiative this evening, it would show that you have listened to the thousands of residents of Palo Alto and that you truly represent them," said Suzanne Keehn, a member of the Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning steering committee.

Former Vice Mayor Greg Schmid, who spearheaded the citizen measure, told the council on Monday that the goal of the initiative is to address Palo Alto's jobs-to-housing imbalance (the city's 3-to-1 ratio of jobs to employed residents is by far the highest in Santa Clara County) and the impacts it brings when it comes to traffic congestion and housing prices.

"By limiting office growth, we are effectively doing the one thing we can do for affordable housing -- not just low-income housing, but middle-class housing -- in our community," Schmid said during the meeting. "The goal of this initiative is to have a public debate about economic issues of land, congestion, pricing and what we can do about it. And limiting office growth is the most effective tool."

That sought-for debate concluded shortly after it began. Kniss and Fine made the motion to place the initiative on the ballot, though their motion was pre-empted by Kou, who made a substitute proposal to adopt the new limit in accordance with the measure. Her motion prevailed by a 5-4 vote.

Kou argued that the impacts of commercial growth are particularly severe given the growing number of employees per square foot of office. Holman agreed and emphasized that this initiative would not stop office development, just limit it for the next 12 years.

"It is to rein it in for a period of time so that when it gets to 850,000 square feet, we can take another look at it and see where we are. It's a rational approach," Holman said.

Not everyone favored this approach. Judy Kleinberg, president and CEO of the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce, was one of the few speakers who opposed the new cap. She warned the council of unintended consequences for the city's business community, including a negative impact on the city's "economic competitiveness and productivity."

"If we want to solve the traffic congestion problem, we should start by funding and expanding our free shuttle and our TMA throughout the community," Kleinberg said.

After the council agreed to simply adopt the initiative and revise the new Comprehensive Plan, Schmid said he was satisfied with the action.

"I am happy it passed," Schmid told the Weekly. "I still think it would have been nice to have a debate."

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Comments

90 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 30, 2018 at 10:15 pm

It's a bit surprising that pro-development CC member Wolbach voted with the residentialist faction of the CC on this one. Perhaps he could see the writing on the wall RE: not being re-elected once voters realized his true colors.


23 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 30, 2018 at 10:43 pm

[Post removed.]


90 people like this
Posted by Election season reversal?.
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 30, 2018 at 10:57 pm

Election season reversal?. is a registered user.

@PA online
Perhaps the most newsworthy thing about the Council vote tonight is that Cory Wolbach did a complete about face with no explanation. It was Mr Wolbach himself who made the motion to set the office cap at 1.7 million in the first place (back in January 2017) and also Wolbach who, (as you reported when the grassroots initiative was first announced) cunningly implied that the citizens' proposal to reduce the cap by half (as passed tonight) would lead to ominous cuts in city services.

Hopefully you will update your article to reflect Mr. Wolbach's reversal. His off- the-dais comment to reporters that the lower cap is "the right policy" offers no explanation for his change of heart. Folks who have followed Mr Wolbach's tenure might conclude it was cynical election-year politics, but for those just tuning in your coverage offers woefully little context regarding this major shift in policy view on the part of Mr. Wolbach, a candidate for re-election in few short months.


5 people like this
Posted by NIMBYs win
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 30, 2018 at 11:05 pm

[Post removed.]


97 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 30, 2018 at 11:11 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

“If we want to solve the traffic congestion problem, *we* should start by funding and expanding our free shuttle and our TMA throughout the community,” Kleinberg said.

"We" presumably means PA residents whose share of the tax bill keeps rising while business's share keeps declining (as per Greg Schmidt's excellent presentation tonight).

Incredibly, Mayor Kniss denied we even had a transportation / congestion problem and but that if we ever did encounter congestion to just take another route.

(Weekly, please make available Greg Schmidt's slide presentation; the numbers on traffic, taxes, jobs:housing imbalance where PA has by far the highest vs Mountain View, Menlo Park etc. are well worth further discussion.)


83 people like this
Posted by Fair Weather Friend
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 30, 2018 at 11:17 pm

Yes, Wolbach is a fair weather friend to unaware voters. He never would have supported adoption if he was not up for re-election. He is all about unfettered growth, not limits.
If re- elected, he will cast aside concern for office caps just as he will with renter protection that he now says he embraces [portion removed.]


46 people like this
Posted by densely
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 31, 2018 at 12:19 am

The Rule of Holes says "When you're in one, stop digging." Palo Alto is in a deep hole with regard to affordable housing. Accelerating development of new workplaces, as the Comprehensive Plan did, is digging harder.


80 people like this
Posted by Watcher
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 31, 2018 at 12:24 am

“This is really about democracy,” Scharff said. “We as a council pride ourselves on community engagement. To vote not to put this on the ballot but to adopt it is to stifle community engagement.”

Scharff also say he does not believe there is a code enforcement issue when he was mayor. He basically said this to the community after they spoke at the 2017 Council retreat saying there is large code compliance problem.

Scharff also said developers who paid into the parking assessment and don't have to build parking at their developments are getting to phantom parking spaces.

How about the community questioning the public benefit at the gateway building at the corner of Lytton and Alma, Scharff says the building itself is a public benefit.

How about the community having worked on the Comp Plan for hundreds and hundreds of hours on it only to have Cory Wolbach move and Scharff second the complete gutting of all the Land Use programs in 1 hour. That is complete removal/elimination/deletion of all the programs necessary to achieve the policy.

[Portion removed.]

Right, community is engaged and know Liz Kniss, Greg Scharff, Adrian Fine, Greg Tanaka and running for re-election Cory Wolbach do NOT listen to residents. Engaging community is just to check the to-do box and no, they don't stifle, they just ignore you, if you are a resident and do not support their high growth policies.




98 people like this
Posted by densely
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 31, 2018 at 12:36 am

Mayor Kniss says she doesn't think traffic congestion is really a problem . She said tonight that if there's too much traffic on the obvious routes to where you're going, try a different street.

I guess she hasn't noticed that the City Council on which she sits has approved installation of barriers to block off some streets that people use to avoid congestion, and are installing speed bumps on others. Or that some people live on the congested streets and can't choose to avoid them.


17 people like this
Posted by traffic, no problem
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 31, 2018 at 1:30 am

[Post removed.]


95 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 31, 2018 at 6:48 am

mauricio is a registered user.

Liz Kniss must move around in a hellicopter if she thinks there is no traffic congestion problem, a severe problem she is responsible for more than any living Palo Alto politician.

Cory Wolbach voted the way the did for one, and only one reason:he was afraid of losing his council seat in November as one of the most vocal unfettered growth advocate. If he is er-elected, bet the farm that he will pivot a 180 degrees and work to remove the office cap limit.


104 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 31, 2018 at 6:58 am

Annette is a registered user.

There were some astounding comments from the dais last night, including lectures about democracy from people who fiddle with long established rules of democracy. And inferences that the problems we face are caused not by anything we are doing (oh no, not us!) but by the development going on around us thanks to Apple and Google and Facebook.

And Wolbach's shift is political, pure and simple. What he said to the reporter is a good but silly sound bite; last night's vote doesn't bring us even one bed closer to balance. It will, hopefully, help us to not make matters worse. As is, our little city has the worst jobs:housing imbalance in this area and, if I heard correctly, the 4th worst in the nation (not our fault, of course - it's all our neighbor's fault - or so we heard last night.)

As for the Kniss comments about traffic and parking spaces - those are worth a listen. Surely she cannot think the rest of us are imagining the traffic and parking issues. Last night's meeting was incredible is so many, many ways.


46 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 31, 2018 at 7:08 am

Mr. Scharff and probably other council members, are in fact owners of office buildings. You can't make this stuff up.


101 people like this
Posted by The People, United
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 31, 2018 at 7:22 am

Last night's vote is part of an encouraging trend.

Last fall, the Planning Commission voted to oppose the plan backed by large businesses to put parking meters in Downtown, which would have pushed hundreds of cars into neighborhoods and killed off retail. Last week, that commission voted to oppose the pro-growth Council's quest to remove the long-standing cap on commercial development Downtown. And then last night, Cory flipped to supporting the slow-growth position on commercial development citywide.

Why? Because we, the public, have made it clear we're no longer putting up with the ridiculous claim that "all growth is good." Our streets are jammed with cars. Our schools have no money to expand. Businesses refuse to pay to solve the problems they create. And every new office takes away a spot where housing could go. We are shouting this loud enough that even Cory can hear us.

We are the majority. Let's vote down Council candidates this fall who say they are pro-resident before the election but then we know will side with developers afterwards. We can save Palo Alto. We are Palo Alto.


66 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 31, 2018 at 8:06 am

Although I was inclined to vote in favor of the initiative, I thought the most appropriate action would have been to place it on the ballot. That is a separate issue from how I feel about the shockingly cynical and disingenuous comments and actions by several of the council members last night.
A month ago Scharff accused the initiative of being “pure populism”. He clearly meant to slander legitimate and thoughtful grassroots democracy as being Trumpian. He then led the charge, along with Wolbach, to rush a study aimed to prove that the initiative would result in severe economic impacts on the city. The study failed to do that. To try to prevent its adoption last night, he argued that placing it on the ballot would be highly democratic. Will he say just about anything to further his flip flopping positions? [Portion removed.]


25 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2018 at 8:10 am

As to discuss further Kniss' point about traffic and finding alternate routes, isn't that what Waze does for all the commuters and why we are getting so much traffic on residential streets. In fact, Waze takes traffic on 101 off when there has been an accident in commute hour and puts them on our streets.

Is that what she is talking about?


49 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2018 at 8:40 am

Gamesmanship on full display, starting with Scharff/Kniss/etc delaying the vote a month in order to build a competing measure against the Citizen Initiative, then arguing for Citizen Democracy when the competing measure didn’t come together.

But it went both ways, with DuBois then faking out Wolbach by suggesting he might vote against adoption, letting Wolbach think he could vote in favor and still have it fail. Wolbach bit, and it passed.

Sausage making indeed.


86 people like this
Posted by Vote the bums out
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 31, 2018 at 8:40 am

Liz Kniss says there are available parking spaces downtown. [Portion removed.] I’m sure the people living on Channing Ave didn’t appreciate her saying that if there is traffic congestion downtown, cut through on Channing Ave. I’m glad Cory Wolbach voted to cap commercial development, but he only voted that way so he will have a better chance to get re-elected in the fall. If re-elected he will work hard to overturn the growth cap. He believes in “build, baby build.”
I hope the citizens of PA vote the developer loving council members out of office. Wolbach, Fine, Tanaka, Kniss and Scharff don’t listen to their constituents. They only butter up their constituents at election time.


27 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 31, 2018 at 9:03 am

mauricio is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


45 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 31, 2018 at 9:16 am

Online Name is a registered user.

"Former Mayor Greg Schmidt and others argued before the vote that new office space is directly tied to the jobs/housing imbalance in the city, along with rising housing prices and traffic delays. Residents are paying 75 percent of the city’s property taxes, despite the fact that three jobs are being added in the city per employed resident, Schmidt added."
Web Link


57 people like this
Posted by Tom Peshton
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2018 at 9:16 am

Cory Wolbach is running for re-election. If placed on the ballot, this initiative would have won in a landslide, and Wolbach would likely have lost his re-election bid.


12 people like this
Posted by Stupid Stupid Stupid
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 31, 2018 at 9:22 am

This has to be one of the most STUPID things thCcouncil has ever approved.

The problem is the noisy opposition to new housing [portion removed.]

By limiting office development, you are NOT fixing the underlying housing problem. You are driving the SF rents for office space UP. (supply and demand here people). Thus, encouraging the type of Gucci tenants [portion removed.]

Existing property owners are cheering this as rents will go from high to stratospheric. Unfortunately, this will push the start ups that Palo Alto is so famous for out of the town. Thus, resulting in more of the cultural up market trends [portion removed.]


1. Restricting office construction results in higher rents (supply and demand)
2. High office rents entice high pay renters.
3. High pay renters want to work close to expensive office space.
4. More demand for local housing by deep pockets
5. Law of supply and demand.
6. Developers see demand for high cost housing.
7. Increased pressure to develop high cost rental and for sale housing.
8. Percentage reduction in affordable housing in Palo Alto.

Class over.

Housing shortage gets worse.

CPA City Council FAILS FINAL EXAM.


42 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 31, 2018 at 9:40 am

[Portion removed.]

Wolbach will just do and say whatever it takes to be re-elected. It's sad to see a relatively young person so cynical and manipulative. Fine, while wrong-headed, is at least genuine and idealistic.


18 people like this
Posted by R. Davis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 31, 2018 at 9:41 am

Uh SSS...so you think/believe that by increasing office developments in PA that office rental prices will be more reasonable due to the additional square footage?

In reality, office rental pricing will be just as high as it is today (or more) because of the 'zip code' allure + it will create more traffic congestion and parking problems.

QUOTE: Unfortunately, this will push the start ups that Palo Alto is so famous for out of the town.

HP started in a garage. Others can do the same (space permitting).


7 people like this
Posted by Stupid Stupid Stupid
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 31, 2018 at 9:51 am

Uh...R.Davis of Crescent Park. Housing costs are unlikely an issue for you, most likely traffic. Understandable.

But, retail and office rents should be of concern. Between 2000 and 2018 the number and diversity of retail on University Avenue and elsewhere, has crashed. We are left with empty storefronts, storefronts converted into office and a just stupid number of exercise studios occupying former retail locations (see Athropology site) and to a much greater extent on CA Avenue (Keeble & Shuchat, Town Stationary, ect.).

Street level retail in Palo Alto is a disaster...all due to high rents.


51 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 31, 2018 at 9:55 am

Online Name is a registered user.

Don't forget "fake retail" like the expanded Institute for the Future which first replaced Diddam's and whose offices now run all the way to Emerson.


35 people like this
Posted by Beginning of new conversation
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2018 at 10:04 am

Beginning of new conversation is a registered user.

@Stupid,

Your supply and demand class completely loses the fact that there are millions of square feet of office space being built in nearby cities.

Weekly,

Can you please publish Greg Schmid's slide deck

This needs to be the beginning of real conversations with some facts, and numbers and real economists giving the lectures.


53 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 31, 2018 at 10:43 am

mauricio is a registered user.

Of course, 850,000 square feet office development is 850,000 square feet too many in a town that dose not need even one additional square feet of office development.


36 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 31, 2018 at 10:48 am

Annette is a registered user.

There's some assuming going on here. This comment, for example: "The problem is the noisy opposition to new housing."

The discussion at CC last night was not anti-housing. Far from it.


33 people like this
Posted by Beginning of new conversation
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2018 at 11:25 am

Beginning of new conversation is a registered user.


Last night there was a lot of support for the President Hotel residents and for protecting existing housing

Most everyone asked Council for an emergency measure to protect the residents,

They need to put an emergency measure in place ASAP

Where is Council on this?








25 people like this
Posted by Cory Wolbach
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 31, 2018 at 11:26 am

Cory Wolbach is a registered user.

Some people claimed this measure would devastate the city's finances. So we asked the staff and consultant to check. It doesn't. The supposedly strongest argument against the measure turned out to be a minor issue, if that.

On big-picture land use vision, I think most Palo Altans are pro-housing and moderate on office growth. We don't need a million new homes, but we do need quite a few. We don't want zero new businesses in Palo Alto, but we want balance. If you look at the totality of my comments and votes over the past four years, you'll find I've been pretty consistent with that overall vision.

Over the last few weeks, and especially last night, I was really encouraged by all the people who argued for the reduced office cap, protecting renters, AND for building more housing - especially affordable and workforce housing. I'm cautiously optimistic we can unite around a new community consensus that's pro-housing, pro-renter, and slow on offices.


54 people like this
Posted by Beginning of new conversation
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2018 at 11:45 am

Beginning of new conversation is a registered user.



My question is if the majority Council never had a clue (about what you just learned now) and if the citizen's initiative had not been put forth, we wouldn't know half the things being fleshed out now.

Mr. Wolbach - you may see this as a way to shape your campaign slogans but the scary thing is how misinformed or hit or miss things are played. That you had to get educated by the citizen's initiative.

We are long on talk and short on numbers and facts which Karen Holman, Lydia Kou, Tom DuBois and Eric Filseth have been more responsible about.

This conversation is just beginning.


9 people like this
Posted by Future City Government
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 31, 2018 at 11:45 am

We now have a good view on the next generation of PA city government via this defining vote and issue.


44 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 31, 2018 at 12:08 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Thanks, Cory.

So what are you going to do to help the President Hotel tenants keep their affordable housing and to stop constricting traffic with all the costly road diets, bollards, giant Botts dots, etc?


28 people like this
Posted by Novelera
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 31, 2018 at 12:44 pm

Novelera is a registered user.

@Future City Government: We have a good view at how Cory Wolbach votes when he's up for re-election.


17 people like this
Posted by reduce that footprint
a resident of Escondido School
on Jul 31, 2018 at 12:45 pm

reduce that footprint is a registered user.

Hmmm... How interesting that within minutes of the Council decision, the meme of accusing Councilmember Wolbach of doing an "election season reversal" on the growth cap issue was being propagated by an organized group of PASZ leaders and their followers. These folks were clearly prepared to attack Wolbach regardless of how he voted. And in point of fact, an unbiased observer would not claim that voting yes was a reversal. His comment quoted in the article actually directly addresses the jobs/housing imbalance issue, and is not a reversal at all: "It brings us closer to balance. Now we need to actually do the housing we all committed to."

So what's actually happening? Fact-challenged ideologues are organized to echo each other when what actually happened is that (1) Wolbach voted in June to support a motion requiring City staff to evaluate the fiscal impact of the proposed ballot measure -- why is this a bad thing, given that the measure changed a key element in our recently adopted Comprehensive Plan? (2) The staff report released on the proposed ballot measure last week turned out _not_ to showed that the dire impacts alleged by what the Chamber of Commerce or some of the council members labeled as the pro-growth faction -- see Web Link (3) Then last night, Wolbach considered the staff report, letters and speakers and made the decision to vote to adopt the PASZ measure. Isn't that what we want our elected officials to do -- to consider the evidence before them and not base their vote on pre-determined ideological stances? Why the personal attacks?


24 people like this
Posted by Another Giveaway
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2018 at 12:55 pm

SSS,

There is more to economics than "supply and demand".

There are large glass office towers all over Sunnyvale and Santa Clara that are over two years old and still less than 50% occupied, and yet more are still being built. In a mania or bubble the basic laws of economics do not work because investors do not behave rationally or have created new business models that allow them to profit from "failure". Have we seen this anywhere before?

We are currently in a mania driven mad orgy of office development, but the bubble is eventually going to burst.


35 people like this
Posted by Voter
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 31, 2018 at 12:57 pm

[Post removed.]


53 people like this
Posted by Beginning of new conversation
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2018 at 1:09 pm

Beginning of new conversation is a registered user.



Can we stop talking about the soap operas of who is on what side of the isle?

**How about the Weekly starting first.** Instead of making the articles about how Wolbach voted, publish Greg Schmid's presentation.

Instead of reporting on who is getting more or less money for the elections. How about doing a spread on Karen Holman's comments last night. That the "numbers" (accounting?) of office development is always changing, that it's unclear that the City has a handle on this.

What are the numbers?

Or how about Tod Collin's public comments last night about how Stanford needs to pay their fair share?

Or how about that the 1 body that should have known impact numbers (without any consultants) is City STAFF.

The City Manager could only say "my personal opinion" when we actually don't need opinions.

Now, where is the urgency and support for President Hotel residents? Can we expect a Weekly report on that?


33 people like this
Posted by Beginning of new conversation
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2018 at 1:12 pm

Beginning of new conversation is a registered user.





How the famous "impact fees" are *woefully* inadequate.

Who knew?


57 people like this
Posted by CeCi Kettendorf
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 31, 2018 at 1:17 pm

Mayor Liz Kniss doesn't see the traffic problem?!

Correct me if I am misinformed, but is it not true that Stanford will ALSO be building 3.1 million square feet of development? So, that is 3.1 million square feet, PLUS the 865,000 or so square feet within Palo Alto. Correct?
I'm afraid.
Stanford expansion plus Palo Alto's office expansion will beget an avalanche of commuter traffic entering Palo Alto over the next ten years. There has been little planning to date even to absorb Stanford's impact on the city, (parking, schools, housing, triple shifts of workers 24/7 commuting to an ever expanding Hospital complex), let ALONE the ensuing problems the city's expansion will beget.
I see traffic as the Monster looming on our horizon. Stanford University's housing expansion will house professors, students and the upper echelon, not bottom dwellers. The thousands of workers at the expanding University and the expanding Hospital complex (groundskeepers, engineering, nurses, housekeepers, kitchen help, RT's, on and on....) will continue to commute to our city, times two to three shifts a day, 24/7. Palo Alto's office expansion will add to the gridlock.

The CC acted correctly last night. Now they need to get to work addressing the Monster we have begotten.

Liz Kniss doesn't see the traffic problem? Did I hear her tell me to take residential side streets?! Did she said she took Channing?! [Portion removed.]


48 people like this
Posted by traffic, no problem
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 31, 2018 at 1:36 pm

Someone above wondered whether Scharff owns office buildings. Yes he does.

616 University Ave 94301
2211 Park Blvd.94306 -his law office
Santa Clara Vision Center, Scott Blvd."Property ownership and Management"
Frederick Street Partners:"Owns a Medical office building"

and a number of LLCs and Partnerships that may own office buildings.

and from his online biography:
"Mr. Scharff has acted as in house counsel for several large real estate developers and has served on the National Board of Directors for the National Association of Office and Industrial Park developers and owners. Mr. Scharff has appeared on national television and has lectured on legal issues throughout the United States."


57 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 31, 2018 at 2:01 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

Even this so called lowering of the cap is a huge giveaway to developers. Palo Alto has already far too much office space. And I will eat my hat if, assuming he is reelected, Wolbacj doesn't rejoin his unfettered growth fellow travelers on the CC and goes full steam on raising the cap again to 1.5 million and beyond. He would probably say that after further review, he thinks Palo Alto needs a much higher cap in order to avoid cutting services to residents. [Portion removed.]


44 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 31, 2018 at 2:15 pm

Annette is a registered user.

An issue that is percolating: counting methodology. One would think counting sf would be a pretty straightforward exercise, but apparently there are some complexities. I guess it is acceptable to leave some things out of the count. I find this confusing and wonder if that is purposeful. The phrase "massaging statistics" comes to mind.

Question that I hope will be answered by a knowledgeable person: when the City adds up what counts towards the cap, what exactly is included in the count? What can be excluded? If a building is repurposed into a new use that increases occupancy but not building size, how is that counted?

Palo Alto land is hugely valuable, making land use policy and growth policy hugely important. Given the inevitable public debate it will be helpful if key definitions and methods are clearly defined and not open to interpretation. I think counting is one such method.


91 people like this
Posted by Abitarian
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 31, 2018 at 2:18 pm

Special thanks to Council Member Lydia Kou for her courage in making the substitute motion to adopt the citizen's initiative. When Lydia speaks, her passion for our city and compassion for our residents is obviously genuine.


24 people like this
Posted by Madias
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 31, 2018 at 2:30 pm

We want NO NEW BUSINESS in Palo Alto.
let all new business go esewhere !
We need NOW NEW NOUSING.
We DO NOT need to provide a housing unit for every job in Paol Alto.
We DO NOT need to provide a housing unit for everybody who wants one.
We need fewer people and fewer cars in this town.
Let them go elsewhere !

No new business development in palo alto!
No new jobs in palo alto!
No more people in palo alto !
No more cars in Palo Alto!



59 people like this
Posted by CeCi Kettendorf
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 31, 2018 at 2:39 pm

Per Gregg Scharff owning real estate in Palo Alto:

It was very telling at the city council session discussing the apartment house to be built in the Ventura neighborhood. The issue of the Overlay was at hand for a vote as part of it. Gregg Scharff asked three times to have Town and Country, Midtown, and Charleston Shopping Center removed from the Overlay. He didn't even give a reason. He reiterated thrice that he wanted those developments removed from the Overlay. Shouldn't he at least have made up some lame excuse as to why it was reasonable to do so? Did he think we wouldn't wonder?!

[Portion removed.]

He should be recusing himself from voting on many land use issues since he owns so much real estate in Palo Alto. [Portion removed.]
I will pound the pavement for any honest man or woman who steps up.


22 people like this
Posted by Election season reversal?.
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 31, 2018 at 2:50 pm

Election season reversal?. is a registered user.

@ Reduce that footprint
Sadly, yes, local politics is eminently meme-worthy on either side of the land use debate. Indeed you propagated your own meme that only "an organized group of PASZ leaders and their followers" would deem Wolbach's vote a "reversal."

You then assert that somehow, as a matter of FACT, an unbiased observer could not possibly conclude that Wolbach's vote last night was a reversal.

Given the FACT that Wolbach made the Jan 2017 motion (and voted) to set the cap at 1.7 m sf of office in the first place, how is voting to cut that target in half not a reversal? If an 850,000 sf cap (as adopted last night) is "the right policy" now, why was it not back in January when he pushed for (and won) 1.7m sf instead?


54 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 31, 2018 at 3:29 pm

"As to discuss further Kniss' point about traffic and finding alternate routes, isn't that what Waze does for all the commuters and why we are getting so much traffic on residential streets. ... Is that what she is talking about?"

I got Kniss's message thusly: Some of our streets are still not gridlocked all of the time, therefore we can and should encourage more office development.


35 people like this
Posted by traffic, no problem
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 31, 2018 at 4:24 pm

Scharff expressed a half-truth at the Council discussion.
He misstated the number of signatures the Initiative gatherers had collected. He mentioned a much lower number than the correct number which is _over 3,000._

[Portion removed.]


47 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 31, 2018 at 4:37 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

@CeCi wrote, "Mayor Liz Kniss doesn't see the traffic problem?!

Correct me if I am misinformed, but is it not true that Stanford will ALSO be building 3.1 million square feet of development? So, that is 3.1 million square feet, PLUS the 865,000 or so square feet within Palo Alto. Correct?"

To put a human face on those numbers, Stanford plans to add 9,600 new students, faculty and employees, not counting their family members, It plans to provide 200 low-income housing units both on and OFF campus. Only 100 are slated for its low-income employees.

Anyone got an estimate for how many new car trips and how many new people will be competing for housing, esp. the few affordable housing units?

We know that Mr. Scharff, Ms. Kniss and their hand-picked consultant don't see a relationship between offices, jobs, traffic and housing but the rest of us sure do.


6 people like this
Posted by Unnecessary hijack of democracy
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 31, 2018 at 5:48 pm

I am not sure why City Council needed to vote on something which is best left to the voters. Seems like a hijack of the democratic process by a minority of the citizens. If indeed the majority of Palo Altans would have supported this, we would have found out anyway in a few months. What do we gain in these 3 months?

It may be worth it to investigate what these five city council members are gaining with this. This is politics, so there is always more than meets the eye.


39 people like this
Posted by MyOpinion
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 31, 2018 at 6:17 pm

MyOpinion is a registered user.

If they think a free shuttle is going to elminate traffic conjestion they are delusional, Google's free shuttle has not done anything to relieve gridlock in Mountain View.


49 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 31, 2018 at 6:19 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

"It may be worth it to investigate what these five city council members are gaining with this. This is politics, so there is always more than meets the eye."

But apparently, it's not worth investigating what the four council members who support a much higher office development cap would have gained.


8 people like this
Posted by Chris
a resident of University South
on Jul 31, 2018 at 7:13 pm

MyOpinion,

If you think shuttles are worthless, why don’t use propose that Google not be allowed to orovide them? Just like Facebook won’t be allowed to feed it’s employees in Mountain View at San Antonio.


31 people like this
Posted by CeCi Kettendorf
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 31, 2018 at 7:51 pm

[Post removed.]


20 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 31, 2018 at 8:21 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

[Post removed.]



31 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 31, 2018 at 8:57 pm

Gosh moderater, you are brutal. Can you explain the ground rules here? I don't get what is fair game to say about elected officials.


58 people like this
Posted by CeCi Kettendorf
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 31, 2018 at 9:25 pm

[Portion removed.] I challenge the ethics of Gregg Scharff voting on zoning near property he owns. I question the push by the council majority for every project that come before them as influenced by their financial backers.
And I do believe candidates who lost by slim margins may have simply been outspent by tainted money. I question their vote last night; I was there to hear them.
[Portion removed.]


22 people like this
Posted by Red
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 31, 2018 at 9:25 pm

[Post removed.]


41 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 31, 2018 at 9:31 pm

"I am not sure why City Council needed to vote on something which is best left to the voters. Seems like a hijack of the democratic process by a minority of the citizens."

Hasn't the council--nine people--voted on lots of items in the past? That's called legislating, and legislating is what city councils do. Besides, how many of those unsung items came to the council bearing 3100 citizen signatures? The council simply did its job.


57 people like this
Posted by Oldster
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 1, 2018 at 12:24 am

I am still laughing 24 hours later at the Council member who said traffic is not so serious in town perhaps because she can avoid all major intersections during rush hours such as for Council meetings between her home and a reserved parking spot at City Hall.

Kudos to Council Member Holman who gave a brilliant killer reply to the City Manager when he argued for no office caps of any kind.

Plenty of time before November for us to watch young Mr. "Swing Voter" Wolbach to see if he will continue to spread his independent wings. Until yesterday, the only big sign he was different which I noticed was the fact he consistently rides a bicycle to Council meetings. He was never involved in that campaign donation reporting mess, right?


4 people like this
Posted by Blah blah blah blah
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 1, 2018 at 9:23 am

[Post removed.]


29 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 1, 2018 at 9:40 am

Online Name is a registered user.

@Blah blah, I disagree. We the voters deserve to hear what all the candidates are saying so we can vote intelligently. We deserve to know their backgrounds, political causes, business ties, campaign contributors, etc. -- anything that might influence their votes -- so we can make informed decisions.l


38 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 1, 2018 at 10:13 pm

Perhaps pro-developer councilman Wolbach wanted to take the measure off the ballot to avoid such a strong incentive for residentialists to turn out in large numbers for the November election. I doubt this will be effective.


28 people like this
Posted by Connie Kettendorf
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 2, 2018 at 12:36 pm

The vote on Monday was a shocker because the majority did not, as usual, prevail. Liz Kniss put up the article for a vote thinking it would fail, I am sure. She never expected what occurred.
Per the ethics of CC: Arthur Keller ran his campaign with modest campaign funds and 12 helpers. He was up against the abundant improper outside developer money, which funded the opposition. This very newspaper printed the story of the three candidates who took money in violation of campaign finance laws and are under investigation by the state. Nonetheless, Arthur Keller only lost by less than 900 votes. Had he not been a David fighting vast tainted money, he would be in office today. I continue to protest the dirty money campaigns the three CC candidates ran, the conflict of interest in Gregg Scharff protecting his real estate holdings by his votes, developer money which continues to influence the majority's vote, and Mr. Alcheck's position on the PTC. He exhibits behavior from the bizarre to intimidating to illegal but he is still there on the PTC, despite complaints, because he votes as the majority hopes: progrowth...... (except when voting for his own neighborhood, which he protects.)


10 people like this
Posted by CeCi Kettendorf
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 2, 2018 at 1:02 pm

If Cory has Seen the Light,he should be celebrated!
I truly believe in the Redemption of the individual. With age comes wisdom; everyone can grow, change, evolve and fine tune their views. He must have been listening to the citizens; he has taken it all to heart and is now acting in the interest of his constituency.
We should embrace Corey for his new found Insight. I will take his yard sign if he continues as an Enlightened One!


14 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 2, 2018 at 3:17 pm

"Nonetheless, Arthur Keller only lost by less than 900 votes. Had he not been a David fighting vast tainted money, he would be in office today."

Um, I believe Keller had the biggest war chest in 2016. Please check this. He lost after Liz Kniss got the local Dem Party brass to endorse lifelong-Repubs-freshly-retreaded-as-Democrats-for-the-election Fine and Tanaka, and to diss lifelong Dem Keller.


"We should embrace Corey for his new found Insight. I will take his yard sign if he continues as an Enlightened One!"

Gotta love that sarcasm.


27 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 2, 2018 at 4:18 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

@CeCi Kettendorf, I would curb my enthisiasm. Wolbach hasn't seen any light and hasn't change a scintilla of his views. This so called change of heart was his fear of losing his council seat, aka pure opportunism. If he is reelected, he will rejoin his mega development buddies and I can just about guarantee that one of his first targets will be the office cap, or rather, how to increase or eliminate it.


32 people like this
Posted by CeCi Kettendorf
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 3, 2018 at 9:12 am

@ Curmudgeon.

Um, I believe Keller had the biggest war chest in 2016."

I don't know. I don't remember being overwhelmed at my doorstep or in the media by a lavishh campaign. I do know all his helpers were volunteers, unlike the opposition.
I attended his launch party, held in someone's beautiful yard. The coolers, decorations, tables and chairs were borrowed. The mismatched table linens were charming. People came donating single bottles of wine. It was down-home, lovely.
Arthur Keller was just one of several candidates who lost. The losers lost to candidates who successfully ran campaigns with illegal money they received from developers. They received their tainted money after the election, when they thought the coast was clear and they wouldn't be found out. They should still be under the bed curled up crying, in shame for their dishonor. If they have no shame, they should at least be embarrassed and humiliated by having been found out. Instead, they are running/ruining the city we call home.


2 people like this
Posted by Andrew Lucky
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 3, 2018 at 1:06 pm

It's weird. Every region in the United States and across the world wants to have startups and smart people in their community.

Not Palo Alto.

We oppose housing, office, Stanford and common sense.

The future and fabric of this community will be destroyed by NIMBY policies like this.

The only people who remain will be ultra-wealthy.

Who will shop at the small business? Not startups since we are driving them away.

Who will work on the landscape of fancy homes when we drive away everyone?

It's such short sighted thinking.

I hope everyone in Palo Alto who supports anti-growth, anti-housing, anti-startup, anti-progress policies realize they are destroying this community's future.


4 people like this
Posted by Andrew Lucky
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 3, 2018 at 1:17 pm

Those who oppose new office space fail to realize they are destroying small business from existing in Palo Alto.

Restricting supply WHILE there is massive demand will make the skryrocketing prices worse.

What small business can afford to locate here going forward?

It's not just startups that NIMBY's hate so much, but ANY small business that will be impacted.

And, this will only further complicate the housing crisis.

All of this could be resolved by INCREASING office space and housing.

Yes, that means more traffic, but what makes YOUR traffic today okay compared to the traffic of 50 years ago that many of the current NIMBY's disrupted?

Life changes, things evolve and we MUST adjust.

Telling everyone to "go somewhere else" is so incredibly stupid. If every community said the same thing, who decides which community should build and which should not?

Anyone think Palo Alto is special is fooling themselves.

Its reputation is developing as a bunch of snobby, arrogant NIMBY's who discriminate against anyone else.


8 people like this
Posted by CeCi Kettendorf
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 5, 2018 at 9:22 am

To those of you who slam Corey:

Corey is so very young. His experience is limited. Do you not believe he can gain insight along his way?

Didn't you grow and change as your life experience was fed over the years?

Why berate a council member who actually voted as we hoped? Why not celebrate him and thank him; he saved us from a tough campaign this fall. Pull him in closer.

Only time will tell if Corey has truly had a change of heart.


18 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 5, 2018 at 9:36 am

Online Name is a registered user.

CeCi, interesting points.

Maybe before the November election, Cory can a) do something for the 75 President Hotel tenants before they're evicted and b) lead to charge to stop the city from spending millions more on road furniture to impede traffic flow when population's growing and c) get the city to start responding to specific resident complaints about traffic issues which are going to get lots worse when school starts.

Cory? Thoughts?


27 people like this
Posted by Old Person
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 5, 2018 at 9:45 am

The chief beneficiary of Cory's vote is ... Cory. He's running for re-election. This measure was going to pass no matter what, and opposing it was going to look bad. None of the others who voted against are on the ballot. So, like any cynical politician, Cory ran around to the front of the parade so he can claim to be "leading."

Don't fall for this BS. This is the worst kind of cynicism. We deserve better local leaders, esp. since the council size is shrinking.


24 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 5, 2018 at 10:48 am

@Ceci
Just because Cory often acts immaturely, is unemployed and still lives at his parents home does not make him young. He is 37 years old. Does he have the life experience or maturity that we should expect from elected officials who represent such a prominent small city?
As for whether he is capable of reversing his positions, we already know that. He ran on one platform and then reversed his positions once in office. Now he wants the electorate to believe he will return to his original platform if we would only re elect him.
Fool me once...


23 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 5, 2018 at 11:42 am

mauricio is a registered user.

Except it doesn't seem as if Cory is interested in growing and maturing. He is 37, but never held a job in his life, beside working as a legislative assistant in the state assembly for a couple of years. He still lives with his mom, yes, at 37 years old, so he doesn't really know what it means to own a house or rent a place to live. What kind of life experience did he have which qualified him to be a council member?


17 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 5, 2018 at 12:06 pm

@Mauricio
Your claim is not accurate about Cory’s professional experience. His primary work experience has been as a security guard or in “private security” as he describes it, before returning to school in his late 20’s. He apparently rose to a supervisory role in that sector which is the “management” experience he claimed when he first ran. Perhaps Cory can clarify his professional positions and length of time in those roles since we know little about his actual work or personal history.


13 people like this
Posted by crisis situation
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 5, 2018 at 1:11 pm

@Online Name is right. To persuade voters that he
actually is starting to get it right, Cory needs to forcefully address the traffic "engineering" debacle, a crisis situation in Palo Alto which is ruining the city intersection by intersection, street by street,neighborhood by neighborhood.What the City is doing has nothing to do with safety - it is the opposite.The City is violating basic principles regarding the adverse effects of sign clutter, inconsistent treatment along street corridors, visual distractions, lane narrowing, etc.For example in the last few days I saw two instances of cars traveling southbound on Middlefield come to a complete stop at the Seale intersection,with the new crosswalk sign and markings,bollards and dots, with no pedestrians present,but a car on Seale seeking to cross Middlefield creating total chaos and confusion. It
has been turned into a very dangerous intersection for everybody with the visual distractions and lane narrowing and sharp turns.






18 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 5, 2018 at 1:18 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

We know very little about his actual work experience because he doesn't really have any. We certainly know about his housing situation-he has always lived in mom's house.


13 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 5, 2018 at 1:48 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

@crisis situation, thank you! I'm near there and live the "chaos" daily. I shouldn't have to worry about getting rammed whenever I try to enter my drive due to bollards and lane reductions blocking through traffic.

WE shouldn't have to worry getting backed up INTO major intersections with oncoming traffic zooming at us.

We sure shouldn't have to tolerate the city's long-standing refusal to respond to our calls, emails and petitions. Or their "advice" to take alternate routes when there are none. Maybe Mayor Kniss would like to stop by my house during prime time? Maybe Cory could teach Mr. Mello's dept. to answer their emails?


9 people like this
Posted by Find An Alternative
a resident of another community
on Aug 5, 2018 at 1:55 pm

>>>There are large glass office towers all over Sunnyvale and Santa Clara that are over two years old and still less than 50% occupied, and yet more are still being built.

Until they can be rented out, house the homeless in them & let the homeless RVs use the parking lot.

That will eventually lower the rental prices & attract more businesses.


5 people like this
Posted by crisis situation
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 6, 2018 at 7:37 am

@Online Name. Regarding the traffic "engineering",
due to the City's long-standing refusal to respond to our calls, emails,and petitions,as you say, the
residents must immediately seek court ordered injunctive relief against the City to protect the public safety and the character of residential areas with an immediate halt to further actions by the City and roll-back of what has been done on Ross Rd,Cal Ave,and throughout the City.



2 people like this
Posted by Andrew Lucky
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 6, 2018 at 10:34 am

There is a simple solution to the office space question in Palo Alto.

Remove all caps, height limits and other anti-future restrictions as long as the project will have 50% space dedicated to startups.

If you are against startups, then you are against the future, small business, entrepreneurs and the American way.


10 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 6, 2018 at 11:40 am

Annette is a registered user.

Andrew Lucky - I think you have made some broad assumptions as well as some broad assertions.

First, the cap is not a no-growth position. The change to the Comp Plan simply returns us to the heretofore allowable growth rate. What has sufficed since 1986 will continue to suffice. Particularly since no one has yet figured out how to make more land.

Second, supporting the cap does not equate to being anti anything.

I particularly challenge the assertion that it is anti-housing. It is indisputable that office development is the single biggest driver of housing demand. Palo Alto is seriously under-housed and many in this community feel that we have to tee things up so that we can at least make some progress on that front. Continuing to weigh down the jobs side of the equation is irresponsible to our present and our future. I harbor the feeling that the Hotel President situation stands as the proverbial last straw for many in this community. We do not want be a community that loses dozens of residents in one fell swoop b/c of a home-grown housing shortage.

Third, it is pure supposition to conclude that preferring a Comp Plan that allows for a continuation of the previous allowable growth rate will have all manner of negative unintended consequences including an end to progress.

Stanford isn't going anywhere; its very presence assures that this community will be vibrant and creative and entrepreneurial. The trick is to be all that but not be one dimensional. If anything threatens our future I think it is policies that erode our diversity by pushing out or keeping out all but the most highly compensated professionals and businesses.

The task before us now is to grow in such a way that is sustainable, inclusive, and, at least for a while, focused more on housing than offices.



2 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 6, 2018 at 1:28 pm

"If you are against startups, then you are against the future, small business, entrepreneurs and the American way."

It is by their fruits you will know them. So let's examine the three most common outcomes of startups.

(1) They crash immediately, impoverishing their backers. The future, small business, entrepreneurs and the American way?

(2) They rise spectacularly on smoke mirrors and hype, then crash with great ignominy, like Theranos. The future, small business, entrepreneurs and the American way?

(3) They rise and succeed spectacularly, generating huge ROI by spying on us to serve the hucksters and politicians who want to bend us to their purposes, like Facebook and Google. The future, small business, entrepreneurs and the American way?

Righttt.


2 people like this
Posted by Andrew Lucky
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 6, 2018 at 1:37 pm

Startups, both current and past, are THE engine for the local, regional, national and world economy.

Startups fail?

Google
Apple
Cisco
Salesforce
Intel
Facebook
PayPal
Uber
Fitbit

The list goes on and on.

If you are against startups (and you clearly seem to be), you should consider living in another part of the world, like North Korea, which has no startups.

And, more importantly, every person who works for a current or former startup, should STOP spending a single penny at the business of anyone who hates growth, change, startups, housing, office or common sense.

If startups and tech started boycotting the businesses of NIMBY's, we would see just who really fuels this economy and who exploits it.


Like this comment
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 6, 2018 at 2:03 pm

[Post removed.]


6 people like this
Posted by Start-Ups = BFD
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 6, 2018 at 2:08 pm

Funny how so many hair-brained Millennials refer to their oftentimes impractical ideas as a start-up.


6 people like this
Posted by jh
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Aug 6, 2018 at 3:19 pm

jh is a registered user.

Don't forget, it has to be a "disruptive" startup to have credibility


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