News

Facing tight housing market, tenants worry over uncertain future

New agreement at President Hotel gives some an extension through January

Dennis Backlund sits in his book-filled apartment at the President Hotel, where he has lived for over 37 years. Backlund, who has problems with his mobility, says he doesn't know where to go if he is forced to leave. Backlund says he depends on easy access to Pluto's restaurant downstairs for his meals since he isn't able to cook for himself anymore, and he has neighbors who frequently stop by to say hello. Photo by Veronica Weber.

Dennis Backlund spends most nights lying awake wondering where he's going to live. Soon the day will come when he must leave his longtime home at the President Hotel Apartments as part of a mass eviction of every tenant of the historic, 75-unit building in downtown Palo Alto.

"I don't know what I'm going to do. I never, ever dreamed that something like this could happen. This was going to be the place where I spent the rest of my life. That is what I thought," said the 76-year-old, who has lived in his 300-square-foot apartment at the President for the past 37 years. Now he faces leaving not only his home but possibly the community where he was born.

Backlund said he can't move just anywhere. He lives on a fixed income, doesn't drive and has to use a walker to get around, so he needs a place that's affordable and within short walking distance to food and other amenities.

He said Lytton Gardens, an affordable-housing development for seniors in downtown Palo Alto, looked promising until he learned that the complex doesn't have any openings.

"They weren't even taking any new names for their waiting list for three more years," he said.

Even East Palo Alto, a community once considered the last bastion of affordable housing in the Bay Area, is out of reach for many, he added.

"It just seems unbelievable, but that is the situation," Backlund said. "It's a rental crisis right now, particularly if you're elderly and disabled."

Backlund, a retired historic preservation planner for the city of Palo Alto, said his love of historic buildings is part of why he's stayed so long at the 1929 Spanish Colonial-style President Hotel, which he said is the city's largest historical resource.

"A few months ago, I would go to bed every night and just serenely go to sleep and look around the apartment at all my bookcases, with about 2,000 books of literature, art and philosophy, and feel so much at home," he said.

"It was just such a wonderful feeling, and then the announcement of the sale came, and it was just the feeling of desperation. I went into a state of depression and took medication for it," he said.

Backlund said he believes his most viable option right now is to reach out to the property owner and ask for a special exemption that will allow him to remain in the building, which is the only place he can find, at the moment, that addresses all of his special needs.

Backlund, along with the other tenants living at 488 University Ave., received notices under their doors on June 12 informing them that Chicago-based hotel developer Adventurous Journeys Capital Partners (AJ Capital) had purchased the building and intended to convert the six-story property back into a hotel by 2020. The tenants would have to vacate their apartments by Nov. 12, the notice stated.

Over the past five months, the plight of the President Hotel tenants has put a spotlight on the difficult, and sometimes hostile, rental market in Palo Alto. There's been public outcry over the loss of affordable rental options, heated debates over whether the city should do more — or if it's trying to do too much — to aid renters, and questions raised about the legality of converting the apartment building back into a hotel in the first place.

The proposed conversion has been on hold since July, when city planners reviewed the property and determined that a hotel at that location is impermissible based on a code provision that pertains to "grandfathered" buildings — those that do not comply with the zoning code but that are allowed to retain their current function because they were established before the code was developed.

Designed by Birge Clark, the President Hotel building was constructed in 1929 to be a hotel but was converted into an apartment building about 50 years ago and has served that function ever since, pre-dating the zoning code.

The determination prohibiting the conversion came one month after City Manager James Keene suggested at a City Council meeting that the new property owner could move ahead "by right" with a hotel conversion, forcing the eviction of residents.

AJ Capital is still in talks with the city. No applications, however, have been filed for the project at this time, according to interim Planning Director Jonathan Lait.

Despite the building's uncertain future, tenants still face eviction because there are no laws in place to protect them.

"I feel that this situation with the President Apartments has opened a can of worms," said Katja Priess, a long-time tenant who is moving out of the building this week following months of uncertainty over her future. She has been sharing a one-bedroom corner unit with her daughter, two birds and a dog.

In an effort to help tenants displaced from the President, the city passed an emergency law in August that requires landlords citywide to provide relocation assistance based on the size of the unit. Tenants who are moving out of the President after the law went into effect on Nov. 1 are legally entitled to between $7,000 and $9,000 in relocation assistance from the landlord. AJ Capital had initially offered tenants $3,000.

Some tenants have moved to Redwood City and other surrounding communities or relocated as far away as Napa. At least two have found other rental units in Palo Alto, according to tenants who spoke with the Weekly. Those who found rentals in Palo Alto said they are paying significantly more at their new apartments. One resident is paying $500 more a month for a two-bedroom apartment that's equivalent in square footage to the person's former apartment at the President. The other is paying $700 more a month for a studio apartment — $2,600 (not including utilities) compared to $1,900 a month at the President, which did include utilities.

One tenant said she looked at a 100-square-foot cottage that was offered to her for $2,000 a month. She didn't take it.

Others said they planned to stay with friends and bounce from one couch to another while trying to figure out how to stay close to Palo Alto so they don't lose their livelihoods along with their apartments.

But even given the lead time, 40 or so tenants still remained in the building in October, with only a few weeks remaining until the move-out deadline. They were hopeful at that time that they would be able to finalize weeks-long negotiations with AJ Capital to stay in their apartments longer since the company's plans have been delayed, a source close to the negotiations said.

Late last week, City Councilwoman Lydia Kou confirmed that AJ Capital has offered tenants a temporary extension allowing them to stay in their apartments through January.

The new lease agreement, offered on Oct. 23, provides rent reductions as well as financial incentives to those who choose to move out before January. Tenants also are eligible for a second extension that will allow them to remain in the building until June 16, but only if AJ Capital can resolve zoning issues with the city before the end of the year, allowing the developer's project to move forward, according to another source.

The agreement also includes a provision prohibiting tenants from contesting the application process as the developer negotiates with the city or from taking any other action that would potentially hinder or delay the project, the source said.

Kou said she had been keeping track of some of the tenants with special needs to make sure they were finding other housing, but now she is no longer able to do so. AJ Capital allegedly has placed a "gag order" on tenants, she said.

AJ Capital declined to comment for this story. The agency Autotemp, with which AJ Capital contracted to help tenants with the relocation process, also said it could not comment when asked how many tenants the agency has helped relocate.

Architect Iqbal Serang, who moved into the President 30 years ago and lives two floors below his former wife and his daughter, said most tenants signed the extension agreement, but a handful did not.

Serang confirmed that he and other tenants had been negotiating with AJ Capital to either stay in the building permanently if the company decided to move ahead with some sort of mixed-use project or at least have their leases extended until any kind of renovation work began.

"We were basically negotiating an extension with the hopes that we would all eventually be able to find a reasonably equivalent space in Palo Alto," Serang said. "Their deadline seemed kind of forced, and we felt pretty pressured."

Serang said the agreement that AJ Capital ultimately offered just two weeks before the move-out date contained contingencies that were very different from what the tenants had negotiated. He would not elaborate further.

Many of the tenants were in shock but felt that the deal came out so close to the move-out deadline that it would be better to sign it rather than face eviction, he said.

Serang said he is glad to be able to stay in the building longer but remains confused over having to leave at all.

"I am very conflicted as to why it's still possible for me to be uprooted from my home after living here for close to 30 years. This is my home. This is my neighborhood, and yet it's that easy to kick someone out," he said. "This issue is not just an issue for the President Hotel Apartments, it's an issue for all of Palo Alto. It's an issue that is going to occur again and again and again in different ways."

The forced relocation has pushed artists, teachers, Stanford University professors, former city employees, tech workers, retired seniors, entrepreneurs and dozens of others in the building into a market that's already grappling with a severe housing shortage.

Palo Alto continues to rank close to the bottom in Santa Clara County for housing production: The city is 14th out 15 cities in the county when it comes to meeting its state-mandated Regional Housing Needs Allocation, according to a report the Santa Clara County Civil Grand Jury issued in June. At the start of this year, the city adopted a plan to produce 300 housing units annually to address its housing shortage. So far, it has only approved one major development with 57 units. The loss of the 75 units at the President will more than offset that project.

While finding housing in Palo Alto and along the Midpeninsula is challenging, finding something equal to the units at the President is even tougher.

The former hotel includes six shops on the first floor — including the President Barbershop, several eateries and a clothing boutique — along with 70 studio apartments and five one-bedroom units ranging between 250 and 800 square feet on the upper five stories. The smaller floor plans mean lower rents — between $1,200 and $2,400 a month — which fall below the city's median rent, calculated by the real-estate website Zillow at $2,870 for a one-bedroom apartment in September. While the monthly rent is relatively low for Palo Alto, the units are not considered part of the city's affordable-housing inventory.

A quick search on Zillow on Nov. 5 showed the most comparable housing available in Palo Alto were 11 studio apartments. Of those, only two were under $2,500 a month and located downtown.

There's not really anything else similar in size, location and cost in the city, said tenants, who've been scouring the market.

The President actually represents the type of housing that the council has been trying to encourage in recent months: units that are smaller and thus, presumably, cheaper.

Besides location and price, tenants said the building has fostered a tight-knit, culturally oriented community within its walls that will be difficult to find elsewhere.

"The President never advertised apartments. They were rented by word of mouth, and so when people left, it was their friends who moved in, and it just kind of gradually evolved into a place where artists, musicians, writers, people like that lived here," said Backlund, the longest-remaining tenant.

"The culture here is passed on from person to person, and so, the character of the building here has remained remarkably constant even when the people have changed. ... And with the way the building is designed, with all these doors that face into inner corridors, and the common mailroom and lobby ... the building just physically encourages people to get together."

Serang said his life has been turned upside down since receiving the eviction notice under his door in June.

He said he's stressed out constantly, doesn't get regular sleep and recently contracted shingles.

The mood in the building has changed, too, he said. There are no more rooftop get-togethers, potlucks or any of the other regular activities that used to bring neighbors together in the halls.

The only activity is "the busting up of all sorts furniture being carted out" and shoved into junk trunks out back, he added.

"Nobody seems to have the time or the inclination to have any discussions," he said. "This thing has us almost falling apart."

Backlund said he checks the mail room to see who's still in the building.

"The mailbox labels get taken off, and that's how you know someone's gone," he said.

Serang said it's a huge fear and worry as to what is going to happen next.

"If you have enough money, perhaps you can afford to find another place in one of these bigger buildings that charge 50 percent or 75 percent more, but I don't have that luxury. ... I may be the first created homeless person from the President," he said.

Until last week, Priess, a language arts teacher who holds classes out of her apartment on the fifth floor, remained unsure of where she would be after Nov. 12.

"It's really complex for me," Priess said. "I have to find a place that allows pets. I have a daughter, and I have a business. I can't move just anywhere."

Priess said she had hoped that AJ Capital would extend her stay at the President.

"I was supposed to leave, then I started to really fight it and get an extension, and since nothing has ever really been confirmed, it's like this feeling of floating around and not really knowing when we really have to leave," she said last month. "I try to keep it as undramatic as possible, but it is definitely impacting me, especially in the back of my mind.

"I've sorted out some things I don't need, so if I have to move in a week, we can pack everything up and leave, but it feels a little bit like the calm before the storm."

Priess was pondering whether she would have to move back to Germany with her family if she couldn't find a new place close to her students.

"Germany is where I have my family, where I can stay for a while and build up my life, but it's something I really don't want to do. It's really hard," she said.

During the final weeks before the impending move-out day, Priess purchased fresh flowers and placed them around the apartment.

"I want to enjoy each and every moment that's left here," she said. "The first time I saw this apartment, my parents were visiting from Germany. We opened the door, came in and saw this view of the rooftops out of the window, and said, 'This looks just like Paris!' ... It felt like this was home."

After speaking with the Weekly, Priess found a vacant unit in a four-plex just four blocks away from the President and this week starting moving out.

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Comments

30 people like this
Posted by Outraged
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 9, 2018 at 3:56 am

It's despicable how AJ Capital is treating the tenants. Switching the agreement on them, never offering them the one-year leases required by law, and now forcing them to sign away their constitutional right to protest politically if they want to stay a bit longer.

AJ Capital should not get away with this. They should have to follow the law and keep the building as housing.


16 people like this
Posted by Just Say No
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 9, 2018 at 6:43 am

What is this about AJ Capital linking tenant’s being able to stay longer to the City rolling over to change the law to allow AJ to convert apartments to hotel use?
Is the City facilitating AJ Capital? It doesn’t take a formal application for deals to be made.
The City should not cooperate no be intimidated by AJ. It’s on the city council if we lose this work force housing. Stand up to AJ - in court if needed.
And it’s outrageous that AJ has had tenants sign a non disclosure agreement of some sort that prevents them from talking or protesting their situation.


36 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 9, 2018 at 7:44 am

Online Name is a registered user.

Shame on the city for this fiasco and good for Lydia Kuo for continuing to pay attention and work constructively on the tenants' behalf and not to just spout campaign promises about pro-affordable housing while really backing developers.


11 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Nov 9, 2018 at 7:54 am

Hard to really understand what’s going on between staff, council, AJ and the tenants .....we really need the City Council to publicaly address what went on here.
Specifically the timeline of meetings etc that lead to AJ thinking it could do this conversion in the first case since it is illegal under existing laws.
Very curious situation that puts the Council in an awkward position. Best to fully shine a light on what went on here!


25 people like this
Posted by An Eviction Lawyer Measure
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 9, 2018 at 7:58 am

> And it’s outrageous that AJ has had tenants sign a non disclosure agreement of some sort that prevents them from talking or protesting their situation.

It's 'legal-ease'. By extending their stay one month in exchange for no contest, AJ can proceed accordingly at the onset of the new year problem-free.

Delaying re-construction by one month (the Xmas holiday season) is no big deal to the developer. Very magnanimous of them as their lawyers can now proclaim that AJ did everything in their power to accommodate the soon-to-be displaced tenants...as a 'humanitarian gesture' on their part.

In signing the agreement, the tenants buy more time but have signed away their rights to challenge the eviction. A typical 'settlement' type arrangement that eviction lawyers specialize in.



52 people like this
Posted by Marc
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 9, 2018 at 9:04 am

I'm confused. The residents at the President Hotel were all renters. They did not/do not OWN any portion of the building. Being a renter does not grant the person any special rights to ownership of their space.

The comments "..."I am very conflicted as to why it's still possible for me to be uprooted from my home after living here for close to 30 years. This is my home. This is my neighborhood, and yet it's that easy to kick someone out,""

It was not his home. He was a renter. If he wanted to own, then he needed to buy a property.

/marc


10 people like this
Posted by hummingbird
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 9, 2018 at 10:19 am

hummingbird is a registered user.

"Gag order?" Placed on the tenants by AJ Capital. Is this legal?


22 people like this
Posted by commonsense
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 9, 2018 at 10:36 am

Shame on the city and the public for blaming AJ Capital for the lack of affordable housing. To blame them while at the same time limiting residential development throughout the city, maintaining the archaic 50' height limit and keeping Palo Alto a nightmare place to get entitlements, is extreme hypocrisy.


29 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 9, 2018 at 11:52 am

Annette is a registered user.

Palo Alto's development policies have been leading to this denouement. Our CC majority has avidly promoted a built environment in which office space is paramount to living space. Desks, not beds, even though we have long had a housing shortage not an office shortage. When a housing issue is on the CC agenda it is quite remarkable to listen to certain "friendly advocates" speaking in support of a position the Council Majority favors as though that Majority isn't responsible for laying the foundation for the impossible situation that exists! Anyone remember Twilight Zone?

FOUR office buildings in Palo Alto sold for more than $2,000/sf not too long ago. That underscores the fact that the market here is ripe for business development, not housing development. CC knows that. Again, the Majority has promoted this. Yet they claim to be dedicated to improving the housing situation. I question that and I wonder how in the world we are going to maneuver out of the bind it appears we are in due to that "by right" comment. Since our CM is leaving in less than two months the answer to that may be known sooner rather than later.

This is a huge and sad mess of our own making. I hope the new City Council will take at least a slightly different approach so that we don't see a repeat of this debacle.


20 people like this
Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 9, 2018 at 1:22 pm

rsmithjr is a registered user.

It is time for the residents (and their supporters) to be focusing on finding new housing.

The article doesn't say how many people have already found places, or how many have been looking and for how long.

The Weekly article reports one tenant who was thinking of moving back to Germany finally started looking for housing and found a place only four blocks from the President Hotel. When you take charge of your own problems instead of bemoaning your fate, things generally improve.

All of the residents at the President were on 30-day leases. This means that the landlord can require tenants to leave within a month, period. The landlord gave them 5 months starting last July, and is now apparently giving some further extensions. The landlord also offered relocation funds, which the city increased. While few may call this generous, it actually is.

For their own good, the tenants need to be leaving. Perhaps the city or housing nonprofits could help people in their search for new housing.




11 people like this
Posted by RV Homeless
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 9, 2018 at 1:38 pm

What's worse...getting a nice rebate and having to relocate or having to relocate every other evening?

There others who have it far harder than the President Hotel residents.


8 people like this
Posted by Chris
a resident of University South
on Nov 9, 2018 at 3:58 pm

The chickens are coming home to roost for the so-called residentialists.

The President was not built as low-income housing and it is not counted in the affordable housing stock.

In order to have affordable housing, it has to be built. However, the faux residentialists block all housing projects so PA ranks last in meeting housing needs. Regardless of what PA does with commercial development, it is a drop in the bucket compared to what Facebook and Google are doing a couple miles away. It is time for the residentialists to take their heads out of the sand. They should check who got the most votes by far int the city council election.


27 people like this
Posted by m2grs
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 9, 2018 at 4:59 pm

@Chris,

I'm curious why Atherton, Woodside, Los Altos Hills, Saratoga, or Hillsborough are not required to provide low-income and/or high-density housing?

Is it because Palo Alto has too much office space? If so then cut office space! If more office space binds PA to build more housing it becomes a vicious cycle. Perhaps we should demand PA to cap office space growth to zero!


7 people like this
Posted by R.Davis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 9, 2018 at 5:17 pm

R.Davis is a registered user.

QUOTE: I'm curious why Atherton, Woodside, Los Altos Hills, Saratoga, or Hillsborough are not required to provide low-income and/or high-density housing?

Check the zoning ordinances. Residents in these more exclusive communities like to have some 'space' around them...it ensures quiet and privacy. Low-income/high density housing developments would not exactly conform with their town's Master Plan.

Cities such as Palo Alto, Mountain View, Sunnyvale et al are more seemingly more conducive to the kind of mass housing/office developments that have some local PA residents alarmed.


2 people like this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 9, 2018 at 5:42 pm

"He said Lytton Gardens, an affordable-housing development for seniors in downtown Palo Alto, looked promising until he learned that the complex doesn't have any openings."

What about Maybell? Oh right....


18 people like this
Posted by PA
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 9, 2018 at 6:28 pm

Renters
Renters
Renters.....
Entitrled renters. If i can not afford Ferrary ... Im driving old cheap car.
To live in PA is not vital basic needs... they can live somewhere else - East Palo Alto.... why not ?
For those, who protecting entitled renters - why don't you let them live in your house?


3 people like this
Posted by @PA
a resident of another community
on Nov 9, 2018 at 6:43 pm

Any other Palo Alto homeowners going to come out against what's being stated here? Whenever the idea of repealing Prop 13 comes up, plenty of people come out to decry it, say how it's just a ploy to kick them out, despite the years they've lived in the community and all they've contributed to it in that time. Any of those people going to give the same defense to these renters? Is their time in the community worth anything? Or is it a selective outrage, a thin veneer to cover for how you only care about yourself and your property values?

Come on, someone step up and call this out. Show me I'm wrong.


22 people like this
Posted by Marc
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 9, 2018 at 7:09 pm

Re; @PA.

So you are saying that just by residing in Palo Alto for any period of time, without owning any property that you are "owed" the right to stay in Palo Alto regardless of whether you can afford to pay the rent. And in fact you feel that once you have resided in Palo Alto for any length of time the city "owes" it to you to make sure you stay in Palo Alto?

Time in the community does not bestow upon anyone the "right" or guarentee to stay in the community if you cannot afford it.


/marc


4 people like this
Posted by m2grs
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 9, 2018 at 8:58 pm

@R.Davis,

I don't think zoning ordinance is the issue. City can easily change its own zoning code. But my impression is that state government forces cities like Palo Alto to build more housing. That's why council has to find ways to fulfill the "quota".

What is the formula? Why Palo Alto and not Atherton? I don't know. My suspicion is that it is about office/commercial space. More commercial space obliges the city to provide more housing.


6 people like this
Posted by Quantum Bread
a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Nov 9, 2018 at 9:17 pm

Quantum Bread is a registered user.

What chickens have come home to roost? Living in a hotel seems plausible if you are willing to forego sq. footage. - Webster's Dictionary nor the Urban Dictionary have an entry for, residentialist. It's meaning connotes some type of 2nd-class resident. Being seniors, the city could have required a more carefully crafted relocation plan. Giving 6 months notice and an undisclosed sum of money doesn't go far enough for retirees. The elderly are not as self-sufficient as in their earlier days.


2 people like this
Posted by dido
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 9, 2018 at 9:53 pm

If I spend my life as a renter, and I don't learn to buy,
well I deserve nothing more than I get 'cause nothing I have is truly mine.


21 people like this
Posted by Downfall
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Nov 9, 2018 at 10:38 pm

"The President never advertised apartments. They were rented by word of mouth, and so when people left, it was their friends who moved in, and it just kind of gradually evolved into a place where artists, musicians, writers, people like that lived here," said Backlund, the longest-remaining tenant."

So basically these renters have been paying below market rent to live in their special privileged enclave for decades and now that they are being forced to move it seems many are acting like children. I agree that the situation is sad but they have had 5 months to prepare for this. Start acting like adults and take charge of your own destiny. Living in Palo Alto is not a right. If you cannot afford to live in Palo Alto it is time to find some place more affordable. There are cities all over the country that have walkable downtowns.


13 people like this
Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 10, 2018 at 12:01 am

rsmithjr is a registered user.

There are a lot of people that would like to live in Palo Alto but cannot afford it. This is also true of many other places in the US and world of course.

I have heard many stories about people not being able to live here. One major category is young people who grew up and went to school here. I know probably hundreds of such people who "can't go home again". They complain a bit, but they also are doing OK.

Of my four children, only one is able to live here, and she and her family are renting a house. They now have a 30-day lease, and are trying to find something else. I don't expect them to complain to the city about the situation, they will solve their own problem.

If having lived here before means you are guaranteed a place that you can afford or one at the same price as what you or your parents had, we would have thousands of people trying to exercise this "right".


7 people like this
Posted by @PA
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2018 at 3:23 am

This thread underlines exactly why Prop 13 needs to be abolished. It's caused you all to become completely callous and disconnected from the hardships everyone else is facing as the cost of living keeps rising. The history books are going to look back on the housing crisis and folks like you are going to feature prominently.


23 people like this
Posted by R.Davis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 10, 2018 at 8:31 am

R.Davis is a registered user.

QUOTE: This thread underlines exactly why Prop 13 needs to be abolished.

Proposition 13 (Jarvis-Gann) was enacted to protect homeowners from periodically increasing property taxes...especially by the time most of them reached their senior years as many would be living with fixed incomes. It prevented the displacement of elderly residents who would be unable to afford today's exorbitant property taxes. It was also designed to curb wasteful government spending by creating a limit on the amount of monetary resources local government could anticipate from this revenue source. A good concept IMO.

Unfortunately, this proposition also applied to commercial property as well and this is where the real problem lies as many established businesses and corporations have seen their profits skyrocket while still paying low property tax rates.

Abolishing Proposition 13 for successful businesses still in existence when Proposition 13 was enacted would not seem unreasonable. Abolishing it for older residential homeowners would face major opposition. Besides, residential Proposition 13 will gradually phase-out on its own as people pass on.


2 people like this
Posted by Terrence
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2018 at 8:55 am

In All Cities, they have allowed the High Tech Corporations in the Bay Area build over a Trillion Dollars in New Corporate Buildings, they have allowed Conglomerates to build close to a Million Units of Expensive Corporate Apartments. No where have they required, asked for, or even talked about affordable housing in 15 years. It is always a paltry 25 units here with big fan fair like they did something. There is close to 75 Thousand homeless spread across the bay area and the number is growing. Cities are seeing encampments near rivers up and down California. 20 years from now we will have a Walled Off Center where the Rich Live and a Mass of poor people living like Mad Max out in the middle of nowhere. This is the Republican Plan, take everything from the Poor, tax cigarettes for non-existent Healthcare costs, none of that money went anywhere. I quit smoking and the state never bought me patches, or ever paid for my Healthcare. Eventually the poor will start eating the Rich.


3 people like this
Posted by @R.Davis
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2018 at 10:52 am

"It prevented the displacement of elderly residents who would be unable to afford today's exorbitant property taxes."

If no one is entitled to continue living in their community when it's no longer affordable then that means that seniors that can no longer afford the property taxes on their homes don't get to stay in them. No more selective compassion and conditional outrage only when it impacts you personally and financially.


6 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 10, 2018 at 10:57 am

Posted by Downfall, a resident of Fairmeadow

>> Living in Palo Alto is not a right. If you cannot afford to live in Palo Alto it is time to find some place more affordable. There are cities all over the country that have walkable downtowns.

Living in Palo Alto is not a right, agreed. But, if I have to choose between long-time residents and newcomers with gobs of money, I'm picking the long-time residents.


10 people like this
Posted by Menlogal
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2018 at 11:29 am

This story makes me so sad. Of course he did not "own", he worked for the City for heaven's sake and unless he bought in the 50s, how would he afford it!!?This whole story smacks of corruption - I truly hope someone who can help reaches out to this man who needs a place. He can't get in to Lytton Gardens and he has mobility issues! Surely we can do better than this?? I wish I had the money or space to offer him help, but I am facing the same issues with rent too high for my own income..As are so many other hard-working people who deserve some consideration from this city and others like it. We clearly need more affordable housing units!!!


3 people like this
Posted by Find Somewhere Else to Live
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 10, 2018 at 1:22 pm

> I'm curious why Atherton, Woodside, Los Altos Hills, Saratoga, or Hillsborough are not required to provide low-income and/or high-density housing?

>> Low-income/high density housing developments would not exactly conform with their town's Master Plan.

>>> City can easily change its own zoning code.

Why should they accommodate new residents? The allure and expense of living in a higher-priced neighborhood/city is to prevent the housing issues Palo Alto is currently undergoing.

>>>> If no one is entitled to continue living in their community when it's no longer affordable then that means that seniors that can no longer afford the property taxes on their homes don't get to stay in them. No more selective compassion and conditional outrage only when it impacts you personally and financially.

Doesn't work that way. Who are you to say what's right or wrong other than your being entitled to your own personal opinion?


14 people like this
Posted by MVresident2003
a resident of Mountain View
on Nov 10, 2018 at 1:50 pm

MVresident2003 is a registered user.

What frightens me more than anything in all these conversations is this pervasive attitude of "they didn't help me" or "deserve consideration from the City". What kind of consideration exactly is a City supposed to give? Since when is it a City's responsibility to provide housing for its residents? It scares me that so many are not only expecting, but becoming reliant on, others to provide for them. What happened to pride. Self reliance? And before many of you say there isn't fair opportunity I will argue that many of those saying they need help are doing it on their Apple iPhones, wearing Nike tennis shoes and on their way to the movies. And no, this isn't an exaggeration, it is much more often the case than not.

Life is about choices. And a lot of the situations in these stories reek of not corruption but of people making really poor choices.


21 people like this
Posted by Tim
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Nov 10, 2018 at 2:48 pm

I leased (not bought) a Honda Civic and the term of my lease is up and the Honda dealership is telling me i have to return the car? You mean, i don’t get to keep it? I have no legal right to continue driving the car? I am not worried though. The city of Palo Alto and the tax payers have my back. I have no doubt they will sue the dealership and teach them a lesson or just lease me a new car. Why would i want to take accountability for my own actions when the city will do it for me?


14 people like this
Posted by Find Somewhere Else to Live
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 10, 2018 at 2:50 pm

^^^^ You will get a rebate. Now you can lease an Acura.


10 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 10, 2018 at 5:08 pm

Annette is a registered user.

I think it good that the hotel mess has focused our attention on our housing problem but it is sad to read posts that infer criticism on the tenants or what renters should and should not expect and what they "deserve". Seems to me the residents of the President Hotel were doing just fine, taking care of their own needs, etc., until they came up against a situation that requires them to find a new residence. What's missing in this city is housing inventory. We have an ever-growing demand for something which does not exist and will likely never exist in the quantity needed to make a difference. I think we simultaneously need to do what we can to stem the tide of demand and add some inventory. I say "some" b/c I don't think we should aim to re-make Palo Alto into some sort of high-rise quasi-metropolis; it's clear we cannot support that.

I hope the new CC will do all it can to look at this problem realistically and methodically so that sound decisions are made and problems are not made worse.


11 people like this
Posted by Thad
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Nov 11, 2018 at 7:19 am

Poor people aren't considered people in Palo Alto. They are just lazy scum who get in the way and make the city uglier.

Financial discrimination is the last widely accepted form of discrimination. The only thing separating the poor from the rich is luck. Working hard doesn't guarantee wealth, millions and millions of people work hard their entire lives and get nothing to show for it.


11 people like this
Posted by OakCreek
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 11, 2018 at 7:33 am

Thank you , Thad, you have hit the nail on the head. And especially for seniors who lack mobility or health, the response on this thread has been shocking in the lack of empathy shown. Of course young people can choose to go elsewhere But for those who have worked their whole lives and are living quietly within their means, and then given one month to move out ( or else sign a gag order! ) , it is very clear that they have done nothing wrong. The man featured in the article worked in Palo Alto, had a good job, asked for nothing but to try to get in to Lytton Gardens. And yet people on this thread have attacked him and the others evicted as if they were scum. I am truly shocked. Not everyone can work in tech! Nor should they. Who wants to live in a town where there is no compassion for people who worked their whole ives at jobs that don't pay six figures? or a town where seniors are turned out and there are no plans for another place like Lytton Gardens. This is not rocket science. We have an aging population here, and they need our help. The CC needs to develop some compassion and realize that they too will be old some day, and illness, bad luck, disasters can strike anyone even if you have worked and saved your whole life! This town should be better than this - with the amount of money and intelligence in this population, we should be able to figure out a solution not just for those in the President's Hotel but for so many others suffering in silence.


10 people like this
Posted by R.Davis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 11, 2018 at 7:59 am

R.Davis is a registered user.

QUOTE: The only thing separating the poor from the rich is luck. Working hard doesn't guarantee wealth, millions and millions of people work hard their entire lives and get nothing to show for it.

Absolutely. We can also add various acts of complicity (based on avarice) and inherited wealth to the 'luck' factor as well.

Depending on one's spiritual perspectives, some folks count their blessings while others thank their 'lucky stars'. Either way, someone else gets left out in the cold. It's a numbers game.


16 people like this
Posted by Madias
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 11, 2018 at 8:13 am

The good news (for some) is that housing prices are falling rapidly. A quick look at sites like Zillow shows PALO Alto houses listed for months and multiple price reductions from original listing. Prices are falling and rents will necessarily follow.


6 people like this
Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 11, 2018 at 10:25 am

rsmithjr is a registered user.

There are many ways to express empathy to people. Suggesting that people use their own abilities and resources to solve their problems is sometimes the most empowering and effective thing that you can do.

Much of this community has been, in effect, encouraging the residents to remain and see if something favorable will happen while they continued to trash the landlord. We would have been better off to encourage them to find solutions.

The very interesting gentleman profiled in this article now says that his best hope is for an extension to staying at the President. That is almost certainly not a good strategy. He also wants to cut a better deal than the other tenants.

We also don't know what the resources of these folks actually are. Many seem to assume that they are virtually indigent and cannot help themselves. I doubt that this is the case.

The above-mentioned gentleman says that he is living on a "fixed income"; on the other hand, the article says that he is a retired city planner. Palo Alto and other cities have amazing pension plans.

I am really sorry to hear about the people who are worried and cannot sleep. They will sleep better when they solve their problems.

I know plenty of people who were asked to leave their housing (including myself). The best approach is to just start looking. I was once asked to leave in the middle of a lease because the landlord had a new girl friend and wanted the place back. He was a nice guy, and we just left.


6 people like this
Posted by @Mvresident2003
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2018 at 2:25 pm

"And before many of you say there isn't fair opportunity I will argue that many of those saying they need help are doing it on their Apple iPhones, wearing Nike tennis shoes and on their way to the movies."

Nice dog whistle


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2018 at 2:37 pm

Posted by @Mvresident2003, a resident of another community

>> "And before many of you say there isn't fair opportunity I will argue that many of those saying they need help are doing it on their Apple iPhones, wearing Nike tennis shoes and on their way to the movies."
>> >> Nice dog whistle

The documentary (now on Netflix) about the Johnny Cash performance at the White House is illuminating in this regard. The "Welfare Cadillac" saga in particular.


20 people like this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 11, 2018 at 4:12 pm

Over development leads to increased high wage workers which leads to increased housing costs which leads to lower income residents being forced out of their homes. It also leads to local services like auto repair and restaurants having to pay their workers higher wages to stay in/commute to Palo Alto which results in higher prices to our residents, increased traffic and pollution.

Blame the greedy members of our City Council and the City Manager. At least we have ejected some of the pro-development council members and will have the opportunity to eject more next year.

VOTE!


4 people like this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 11, 2018 at 4:15 pm

@Madias: My 2.5 million dollar house dropped $30K. Not looking for a parachute to survive the drop.


15 people like this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 11, 2018 at 4:20 pm

@MVresident2003: See above. Our CC created the problem by sucking up to developers to the exclusion of residents of a previously livable city. They need to take steps to fix the mess they created. I'd start by imposing a significant negative office cap immediately.


23 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 11, 2018 at 4:36 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

@Rick, hear, hear. And don't forget big tech that continues to get away without paying their fair share or dealing with the consequences of their policies in so many areas. For just one fascinating take on this, see the New York Times article Web Link

"The futurist philosopher Yuval Noah Harari worries about a lot.

He worries that Silicon Valley is undermining democracy and ushering in a dystopian hellscape in which voting is obsolete.

He worries that by creating powerful influence machines to control billions of minds, the big tech companies are destroying the idea of a sovereign individual with free will.

He worries that because the technological revolution’s work requires so few laborers, Silicon Valley is creating a tiny ruling class and a teeming, furious “useless class.”

" Prices are falling and rents will necessarily follow."

@Madras, don't count on it. Big tech, Stanford et al have HUGE expansion plans and an increased number of poorly paid HIB visa contractors flooding into SV and SF. That will likely offset those sellers getting the jump on Trunp's tax plan limiting deductions to $10K and affecting only lucrative high-income, high-tax highly educated states like CA, CT, NY, etc.


24 people like this
Posted by R.Davis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 11, 2018 at 5:26 pm

R.Davis is a registered user.

QUOTE: Silicon Valley is creating a tiny ruling class and a teeming, furious “useless class.”

^^^^ Already in full bloom.


20 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 11, 2018 at 5:50 pm

Annette is a registered user.

To @Chris who wrote "The chickens are coming home to roost for the so-called residentialists."

How do you figure? Do you think the so-called residentialists caused the demand for housing and the lack of inventory? Or caused the cost of business space to sell for more than $2k/sf? Commercial space is the goose that lays the golden egg around here, not housing. Yes, people do object to developments, often for good reasons that can be remedied by CC and the Planning Dept if there is a willingness to require that impacts be mitigated. Building up and densely w/o sufficient infrastructure and impact mitigation is a solution that partially solves a sliver of one problem and makes other problems worse. I don't think that is what "planning" is supposed to mean. I think "planning" is supposed to mean smart, sustainable, well thought-out growth.

Should residents sit back and quietly let any and all development happen, regardless of how that changes the functionality of the city? My answer to that is no. Growth and change are inevitable, but that doesn't mean it must be destructive of the existing built environment or the community's culture.


4 people like this
Posted by george drysdale
a resident of Professorville
on Nov 12, 2018 at 9:30 am

Creative destruction. Make way for the newer and better. Silicon Valley is now becoming a Paris or London with underground transportation. If you can't afford to live in the most expensive metro (generally) in America you can't afford to live in Silicon Valley. Subsidies for housing just won't cover much as this is going to the truly down and out. However, do not impede development. If you want it way it was I suggest you invent a time machine.

Georg Drysdale land economist


25 people like this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 12, 2018 at 9:56 am

And where is this magical transportation system you speak of?

You may be an economist, but certainly not an engineer. Good luck living in an area with gridlock and no service workers.


5 people like this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 12, 2018 at 10:55 am

I invite people to Google “George Drysdale” for the various claims snd postings he has made over the years and across geographies. Quite enlightning.


2 people like this
Posted by george drysdale
a resident of Professorville
on Nov 12, 2018 at 6:28 pm

Elon Musk maybe has the answer for quick underground transportation systems. As for construction workers they're now living in their campers which is good idea considering the high rent. Construction will eventually ease congestion.
Service workers will be here because when they are needed the pay must be higher. If not, you'll have to cook your own meals.
Now, the big event: The Mountain View Declaration should reach Mt. View's government tomorrow and go up on the internet. It should take out rent control in California as a crash should develop. "The dirty duo", most residents of Palo Alto are members of one of the duo: the Democratic Party which favors rent control (flunking out of high school economics). Good grief, the teacher's union is also in favor of rent control. Always look at the numbers, at around $600,000 for a new unit on the peninsula you just can't build many "affordable" units in spite of what crazy Bernie says.


19 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 12, 2018 at 7:29 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

I'm frankly tired of hearing pipe dreams about all the marvelous transportation / transit systems that don't yet exist -- and won't for the forseable future -- while our congestion keeps getting worse.

And for those self-driving cars being "tested" on our streets, maybe our city officials can tell their inventors to gear up their customer service for feedback. They can start by telling to be aware of cars trying to back out of driveways and to program in some "common courtesy."


5 people like this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 12, 2018 at 8:20 pm

And I’m paying $40 for two hamburgers at Jeffery’s. The only people who win are the developers. Anyway, thank you, Palo Alto. Once I put an ADU on my property I’ll collect TWO rents from overpaid Google engineers with thousands of dollars in stident debt while I kick back on the beach in San Diego. Perhaps Belize. French Riviera? George is trolling you. I am serious.


13 people like this
Posted by Congestion
a resident of Southgate
on Nov 12, 2018 at 8:35 pm

“Construction will eventually ease congestion.”

No.

Construction will eventually cause congestion.

Let’s say 90% of the people who live in this new construction never use a car. They work in Palo Alto within walking distance from their home the rest of their working life. And don’t even use Uber to shop or for entertainment.

Even in this case the remaining 10% will increase congestion.




2 people like this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 12, 2018 at 8:37 pm

Just did the math. Rent from a house and ADU, plus I think I can afford five crapped out motor homes to rent out. I’ll be making more as a slumlord that I ever made in tech.


1 person likes this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 12, 2018 at 9:43 pm

Looking for franchisees...

Think there isn't vertical segmentation in the homeless market? Think again!

Forget those people living in tents who break up stolen bikes for a living. The enterprising homeless buy, perhaps on time, RVs to live in. City services pay for much, but not all, of their services. But still ratty, used RVs? Really? RVs were designed to appeal to people who wanted amenities while they drove from National Park to National Park ignoring every pullout. :rolleyes:.

I propose creating custom RVs. No amenities, just the basics that might serve your typical destitute college professor.

Basics like Shower, Microwave, Bed, and a contract to send a truck every 30 days to move the RV 50 ft. to make it legal to park for another 30 days. Sanitation is still the City's responsibility. We charge a premium for upscale parking spaces like those in front of the mayor's house or council members who created this great franchise opportunity. (Can we ALSO then charge them for the view that illustrates their success?) Politicians -ARE- vain, right? It is what they will be known for for all eternity, after all.

This is MY idea. Well, I'll give George .0052 of the franchisee fee for inspiring me. You can use "Report this post" to ask the moderators if you wish to contact me for franchise opportunities.. currently available in all blue states. Red states mastered this long ago. It will be $100 for a first consult. Moderators you will get $20 for every successful referral.



24 people like this
Posted by Greetings From Park City
a resident of another community
on Nov 13, 2018 at 8:45 am

People...the only way to RELIEVE (not solve or eliminate) the massive human/traffic congestion now plaguing Palo Alto and its surrounding communities IS:

(1) Cease any and all further residential development in the immediate area as the increased population naturally leads to more traffic gridlock and added consumer usage/demand of various services (both municipal and commercial). Counting on public mass transit to curtail or ease traffic gridlock is both unrealistic and idealistic at best.

(2) Since everyone desires as short a commute time as possible, cease any and all office/business development and encourage companies to locate their various divisions and expansions elsewhere. The PACC seems reluctant to do so because of the added tax revenue generated from these sources.

(3) This in turn will reduce the need to widen countless road arteries required to ease/accomodate the added flow of traffic.

BTW...I have sinced moved to Utah and certain areas are now beginning to get congested as well. Old acquaintances who have resided in Austin, TX for years also complain of the California influx that has been going on for over the past two decades.

While migration and population overflows often shift to other regions, Palo Alto and its surrounding communities have reached a saturation point. There is no more room to accomodate newer/aspiring residents...PERIOD.

I used to reside in Old Palo Alto and whenever I return to the Bay Area, I am amazed at the congestion that has now permeated the city and surrounding communities. Don't the various city councils realize that the 'quality of life' aspects of once living around here have totally gone down the tubes?

Whatever happened to the 'less is more' perspective? Have the various municipalities completely sold-out to developer interests? Is this evolution or simply poor decision-making on the part of those entrusted to ensure quality as well as safe living environments?



17 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 13, 2018 at 10:03 am

Annette is a registered user.

"Creative Destruction" is a great term. Imagine the development mayhem that could be justified under that umbrella. Please, no!

My answers to the questions asked at the end of the post by Greetings from Park City: 1) less is more eroded away 2) yes, developer interests are prevailing and 3) very poor decision making.

I don't blame the developers for what has happened and what is happening. If you are standing at a lovely door and someone opens it and welcomes you in, would you not enter? Developers develop. And they do it to make money. Commercial development is a profitable business. So, good for them. The people responsible for the jobs:housing imbalance and other development related problems are those who hold the door wide open, welcoming the developers to come in and do what they do. In Palo Alto, those people are our City Manager and the City Council majority. Sometimes it makes sense to approve a commercial project; the problem here is that we have used that justification too often, even though we have known about the housing shortage and infrastructure deficiencies for years. Thank goodness for the initiative that at least capped commercial development; it won't relieve the housing problem but it might slow down the rate at which things get worse.

City Council: it's time to close the door at least a little; this city needs to regroup and come up with a master plan that solves problems instead of creating them.


17 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 13, 2018 at 10:36 am

Online Name is a registered user.

Along with "creative destruction" is the gleeful "move fast and break things" mantra which makes as little sense as our mayor denying we've got traffic problems and CC members Scharff claiming there's no relationship between office development and congestion and other officials preaching their "car-light" magical thinking.

Imagine one of those huge fires here with people trying to evacuate.

Menlo Park's Fire Chief has been complaining eloquently for years about how congestion prevents his folks from reaching victims in a timely manner. His common sense warnings have been blithely ignored.

Do you think PA could even marshal the resources to bulldoze burned/ing cars out of the way to create escape routes???


8 people like this
Posted by Fire Marshall
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 13, 2018 at 3:52 pm

> Imagine one of those huge fires here with people trying to evacuate.

What would be the source of the fire? Flaming embers from Compadres, electrical wiring rubbing against trees, a gas-rig explosion?

>> Do you think PA could even marshal the resources to bulldoze burned/ing cars out of the way to create escape routes???

You would need a 'monster truck' in such a scenario...going over rather than around.


7 people like this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 13, 2018 at 4:48 pm

@Fire Marshall - The typical fire scenario on the Peninsula is a Magnitude 7.7 (moment) or 8+ (Richter) earthquake with ruptured gas lines, broken water mains, and possibly a high wind event. Loma Prieta happened on a particularly windless day or San Francisco might have lost the entire Marina District and that was a SMALL earthquake, far away. Palo Alto elected to go with a health-and-welfare oriented CERT team rather than attempt to train up a citizen corps that could actually be of assistance to the professional fire fighters - hence we'll just work with what we have today. Combine that with the congestion CPA is adding daily and we are staged for a real Cluster F*ck.


5 people like this
Posted by Denise Womback
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Nov 13, 2018 at 6:08 pm

The absolute lack of compassion and empathy in many of these comments is appalling. Guess what? Some people cannot afford to simply "move somewhere else". You'd think people in this part of the Bay Area would be more understanding of this crisis, but I guess not. Shameful!


12 people like this
Posted by Sure...Why Not?
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 13, 2018 at 6:22 pm

> I propose creating custom RVs. No amenities, just the basics that might serve your typical destitute college professor.

I fully support this measure as I could then sell my overvalued PA home to a deserving overseas Chinese family willing to pay CASH.

I could then buy a black Mercedes Sprinter van (only $53K + added features) and park it all over Palo Alto. It's stylish and wouldn't contribute to the visual blight ordinarily associated with those other rolling rat traps.

Stepping out for AM coffee, I'd be wearing a Ralph Lauren polo shirt, Patagonia fleece outerwear and perhaps even my Rolex (if time actually mattered anymore). No one would complain because everything would still have an appropriate 'Palo Alto' look.



3 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2018 at 10:08 am

Posted by Denise Womback, a resident of Palo Alto Hills

>> The absolute lack of compassion and empathy in many of these comments is appalling.

Some comments are about the President Hotel tenants, or, more broadly, displaced long-time Palo Alto residents. Other comments are about RVs as an alternative. Not sure which you are talking about?

>> Guess what? Some people cannot afford to simply "move somewhere else". You'd think people in this part of the Bay Area would be more understanding of this crisis, but I guess not. Shameful!

If the subject is RV occupants, then, guess what? RVs are terribly inefficient and wasteful. They take up a huge amount of expensive public street area and re-purpose it for private use. 100 RVs occupy a long stretch of El Camino that could be parking for businesses, or, a dedicated bus lane, or, a protected bicycle lane. The tenants of all those RVs could be housed in one medium-size multifamily rental building. OBTW, many/most of the RV residents that I see have an additional car, or even two (couples), to commute to work. (!)

-Just say no to RVs.-


4 people like this
Posted by george drysdale
a resident of Professorville
on Nov 14, 2018 at 10:21 am

Good morning class. When a city is fortunate enough to have explosive growth there will be a workforce needed. So you're inconvenienced, go live somewhere else if you can't take it. Stoicism. People in America aren't that broke. Our "poor" have a higher standard of living that most people around the world.
There really isn't a housing crises in spite of all the homeless, a very small percentage of the total population. Most of the homeless have mental or drug addiction problems. A simple and straightforward way to solve California's housing problem is to deport all the illegal aliens. Most immigrants from across the southern border are illegals in California. Harsh? Most illegal aliens end up on welfare of some sort. Trump for president who negotiates for California more than any other state.


8 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 14, 2018 at 10:52 am

Online Name is a registered user.

If companies are fortunate enough to enjoy explosive growth, they should pay their fair share of the costs to the community of their growth rather than fighting the head tax so strenuously.

And since you've raised the question of illegals, maybe those same companies should start reducing the numbers of poorly paid foreign contractors who displace US citizens instead of raising the number of $60K contractors and stp fighting legislation to raise the $60K to a piddling $90K fee.

Maybe those same companies should stop off-shoring so much cash to avoid paying taxes.

Have you been following the lawsuit about Google's San Jose expansion and the behind-closed-doors deals? If not. do. Web Link


6 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 14, 2018 at 10:53 am

Online Name is a registered user.

Also, just say no to the eviction of the President Hotel tenants.


2 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2018 at 11:24 am

Posted by george drysdale, a resident of Professorville

>> Good morning class.

Good morning, "teacher".

>> A simple and straightforward way to solve California's housing problem is to deport all the illegal aliens. Most immigrants from across the southern border are illegals in California. Harsh? Most illegal aliens end up on welfare of some sort. Trump for president who negotiates for California more than any other state.

So, teacher, I guess that you are referring to this "half true" (Politifact) statement:

Web Link

I've never been in favor of illegal immigration myself. But, I want -you- to be really clear on something. Are you OK if the price of fresh fruits, for example peaches, goes way up? Are you OK if the price of getting your suburban house re-roofed or fences replaced goes way up? Because, right now, most of the workers who do hot, dirty and/or seasonal jobs are not on "welfare" = "cash payments", but, many do depend on public Medical (Medicaid) for their medical needs. Legal or illegal, most are not on employee medical plans. We are subsidizing their healthcare either way, legal or illegal.

I don't -accept- the way 'conservatives' "accept" the low-cost goods and services that immigrants provide and "reject" the immigrants themselves.

You can't have it both ways.


39 people like this
Posted by Keep America American
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 14, 2018 at 1:32 pm

> Most of the homeless have mental or drug addiction problems. A simple and straightforward way to solve California's housing problem is to deport all the illegal aliens. Most immigrants from across the southern border are illegals in California. Harsh? Most illegal aliens end up on welfare of some sort.

Why should US taxpayers subsidize health care for illegal immigrants? Or give them public assistance and food stamps? If they weren't here, the lines at social services would be shorter...serving only true American citizens.

No Green Card...please return to original country. Children born in the USA of non-US citizens are not true American citizens just temporary visitors.


4 people like this
Posted by george drysdlae
a resident of Professorville
on Nov 15, 2018 at 10:18 am

Let's get back to the main topic. You just can't fight gentrification. Palo Alto's politically correct government set itself up for a major study with the Buena Vista trailer park. They turned a 500k potential apartment complex into a 3 million dollar trailer park for 30 years. It's like a small nuke going off in the middle of Palo Alto in it's destructiveness. Now, is somebody gong to do a study about it? No, it's too politically incorrect for Stanford to study. Funding for various project you see. I might have to do it. Meanwhile, I have to get to work which involves most of my time.
George Drysdale the benefactor


20 people like this
Posted by Keep America American
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
21 hours ago

> Palo Alto's politically correct government set itself up for a major study with the Buena Vista trailer park. They turned a 500k potential apartment complex into a 3 million dollar trailer park for 30 years. It's like a small nuke going off in the middle of Palo Alto in it's destructiveness. Now, is somebody gong to do a study about it? No, it's too politically incorrect for Stanford to study.

Can America ever go back to being perhaps a bit less PC? It seems like a scholarly-inspired overkill gesture to pacify hurt or misunderstood feelings that may not even exist.

Since everything runs in cycles, is it possible to ever return to a time when one could pretty much say whatever they wanted without being branded as this or that? What ever happened to the 1st Amendment and when did varying interpretations of rudeness and/or politeness become an addendum to it?

Besides, actions speak louder than words so what's the big deal?


20 people like this
Posted by PC Is Counterproductive
a resident of Old Palo Alto
19 hours ago

> Can America ever go back to being perhaps a bit less PC?

It's semantic cloud cover. Though it was designed and implemented to promote consideration towards others, all PC has really done is serve to make some people more meaner inside due to an enforced silence of sorts.

And we all know where repressed feelings lead...


2 people like this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
3 hours ago

"Since everything runs in cycles, is it possible to ever return to a time when one could pretty much say whatever they wanted without being branded as this or that? What ever happened to the 1st Amendment and when did varying interpretations of rudeness and/or politeness become an addendum to it?"

The First Amendment simply says the GOVERNMENT cannot abridge your right to speech. It doesn't guarantee you can say whatever you want without repercussions from your audience or that the press can be forced to repeat it.

You can SAY that you would be happy to sit in the front row at a lynching, but if it costs you an election than that's on you.

I would welcome hard working immigrants over ostensible Americans who don't understand the fundamentals of Democracy or the Constitution and who couldn't pass the citizenship test.

And what does this have to do with Palo Alto mismanaging our office/housing balance in the service of rich developers?


2 people like this
Posted by PC Is Counterproductive
a resident of Old Palo Alto
3 hours ago

> The First Amendment simply says the GOVERNMENT cannot abridge your right to speech. It doesn't guarantee you can say whatever you want without repercussions from your audience or that the press can be forced to repeat it.

Concurring. The key is not to be bothered or inundated by the repercussions if you are strictly expressing your opinion in a peaceful and lawful manner. The PC constraints have gotten out of hand and shouldn't be self-imposed. Say one's peace and then move on. If somebody else gets offended, that's their problem.

>> I would welcome hard working immigrants over ostensible Americans who don't understand the fundamentals of Democracy or the Constitution and who couldn't pass the citizenship test.

I will assume that you are referring to hard working LEGAL immigrants who have (or can pass) a citizenship test.

>>>...what does this have to do with Palo Alto mismanaging our office/housing balance in the service of rich developers?

It shouldn't. But PC has a way of popping into everything these days.

Just say NO to trivial PC considerations.


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