News

Guest Opinion: SB 50 undermines single-family neighborhoods and diversity

Proposed bill seeks to override local laws for more housing projects

You can't make this stuff up.

Would you believe there is a plan in Sacramento to usurp local democracy and eliminate single-family neighborhoods in Palo Alto and throughout much of the state? Most would say, "Nah, that's nuts. It'll never happen."


Greer Stone.

Pat Burt.
Well, think again. State Senator Scott Wiener's SB 50 is moving through legislation to do just that, and it has strong support from the most powerful forces in Sacramento.

Implications for Palo Alto

Under SB 50, any neighborhood within one-half mile of a Caltrain station (University Avenue, California Avenue, San Antonio) or one-quarter mile from a regular bus route (including El Camino Real and University Avenue) would be required by state law to allow four- or five-story apartment buildings, potentially built curb to curb, and with no on-site parking. The building square footage could be 2.5 or 3.25 times the lot size (FAR) — six to eight times the density currently allowed in single-family (R1) neighborhoods.

Cities would also be prevented from requiring parking for those developments. A 10,000-square-foot lot could have 20 plus units of average-size apartments with zero parking. Worse, it encourages the redevelopment of what little more-affordable housing we have with new, high-end units, displacing current residents and diminishing diversity.

For Palo Alto, there is another provision with greater implications. Communities that are "jobs rich" with higher-than-median income and "high quality schools" must eliminate single-family zoning in all neighborhoods.

Fear of displacement

Our greatest concern is the implications SB 50 will have for low- and modest-income residents. There is a myth that upzoning (changing zoning to allow increased building density) will lower the price of housing. Supporters argue housing is just an issue of supply and demand. However, according to two recent Chicago and New York City studies, upzoning has the inverse effect and actually leads to increased housing costs. They concluded that when land is rezoned for increased density, it becomes more valuable, and the price of housing and rents rise.

Urban Research found that housing prices are not based on the housing market but instead rely on the land market. By mandating increased density, the already expensive land in Palo Alto will increase, and prices of housing and rents will follow.

New market-rate housing does not create affordable housing for low- or moderate-income people, and building dense, luxury apartments in single-family neighborhoods will not have trickle-down benefits for those most in need. Rather than being a panacea for our housing crisis, it is a Trojan horse for big developers' profits.

This can be seen across the Peninsula. Mountain View and Redwood City have built housing at prolific rates over the last couple years. However, the vast majority of that housing is not accessible for low- or moderate-income people. New one-bedroom apartments at the San Antonio Center cost $3,750 to $6,675 a month. If SB 50 logic was sound, we should be seeing prices dropping in these communities, but the opposite is true. Over the past couple of years, Mountain View has built thousands of housing units, but the median home price there increased by 15 percent in 2018, according to Trulia.com.

SB 50 will gentrify the Peninsula faster. According to a recent U.C. Berkeley study, rising housing costs have reintroduced segregation to Silicon Valley. With housing prices disproportionately impacting communities of color, SB 50 threatens to further isolate these communities and re-segregate groups of people who historically have been targeted by inequitable housing laws.

SB 50 allows the state to take over local zoning rather than allow recent actions by cities to take effect. SB 50 refuses to recognize how the negative disruption of concentrated, unrestrained and unsustainable growth in big-tech jobs is the primary cause of our housing problems, especially the harmful gentrification impacts on low- and moderate-income workers who are the backbone of any society — the teachers, nurses, public safety workers, retailers and others who have seen their real incomes decline in recent years.

What we can do

Palo Alto has recently taken ambitious steps to increase housing and improve affordability. Rather than reap the benefits of those locally driven solutions, SB 50 pulls the rug from under them with radical, one-size-fits-all state mandates. The city significantly reduced the rate of office growth through our annual and cumulative caps to bring housing demand in line with growth in supply. We created incentives for accessory dwelling units (ADUs) that exceeded state mandates, then created an affordable-housing and workforce-housing zoning overlay. More recently, the city adopted significant upzoning to encourage denser housing in the areas identified in our state-approved Housing Plan.

There's still more we can do. We can re-establish our downtown office cap (and add California Avenue), so market-rate housing will be competitive with office development. Next, we can adopt higher affordable-housing impact fees on commercial development, which were rejected by the council majority in 2017. We can strengthen renter protections and create a managed location for RV dwellers. Lastly, we can adopt a business tax focused on big business that, at just one-third the rate of San Francisco's tax, can pay for a citywide Transportation Management Association to significantly reduce commuter car trips and parking impacts, pay for affordable housing, and help cover our Caltrain grade-separations funding gap.

SB 50 and the related "CASA" state measure will be the most contentious public policy debate of 2019. It's already polarizing our elected leaders. Mayor Eric Filseth described the bill as "horrible" and "a state takeover of local zoning." Vice Mayor Adrian Fine, an adviser to Senator Wiener on SB 50, supports the bill saying, "We need the state to step in and help solve the housing crisis. Local councils and the idolatry around local control are not going to solve our housing crisis."

This is not an occasion when simply deferring to our elected officials will overcome the momentum in Sacramento. Our elected leaders need our active support. Attend upcoming public meetings — such as the SB 50 community discussion this Sunday, March 17, from 4 to 6 p.m., at the Lucie Stern Community Center — write your elected leaders, speak up and get involved!

Greer Stone is vice-chair of the Santa Clara County Human Rights Commission, chair of the Palo Alto Midtown Residents Association, and secretary of the board of the Embarcadero Institute. Pat Burt is a former mayor of Palo Alto and president at TheraDep Technologies, Inc. They can be reached at gstone22@gmail.com and patburt11@gmail.com, respectively.

Listen to the March 8 episode of "Behind the Headlines," where Palo Alto Mayor Eric Filseth explains his opposition to Senate Bill 50, now available on YouTube and our podcast.

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Comments

13 people like this
Posted by seems reasonable
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 15, 2019 at 7:43 am

Well, on the west side of University avenue by the Palo Alto train station, there's an awful lot of unused available space.


42 people like this
Posted by Misleading at best
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 15, 2019 at 8:19 am

The authors fail to mention that SB50 and CASA both include provisions for 1 renter prtotevtions 2 increased affordable housing per building. SB50 does not allow redevelopment of a building that has had renter tenants in the past 7 years. It also requires these 3 to 4 story apartment buildings to have 25% affordable housing - higher than Palo Alto’s 15%. As for their argument that density and more housing make the crisis worse; those are two cherry picked studies which focused on what happens when you increase density but *do not* building housing (of course land value goes up!). Look to Seattle and Portland; build thousands of units and prices come down. The Bay Area is in such a hole that hundreds of units don’t make a difference.

What a bunch of nimby do nothing rabble rousing.

Build more housing!


85 people like this
Posted by Profiles in Cowardice
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 15, 2019 at 8:43 am

This op-ed is spot on, and accurately depicts the fears that have caused many pro-housing people to come out against SB50. Even the Los Angeles Democratic Party just announced their opposition to SB50, because it fuels displacement and will likely increase housing costs.

Ironic that the post above is titled Misleading at Best...SB50 does not require inclusionary zoning to be 25% in all, or most cases. The bill ONLY requires 25% affordable housing for units of 351 units or more. It does not require any affordable units for housing with less than 20 units, and housing with 21-200 units only require 15%. Also, saying this article cherry picked their studies, when @Misleading at Best @ then goes and cherry picks their own two case studies, is rich.

It is unfortunate our local rhetoric matches that of the national rhetoric. Name calling immediately, no rational or respectful discussions. We should consider whether increased zoning will actually lead to displacement of vulnerable communities before jumping in and forcing it upon our cities.


51 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 15, 2019 at 8:45 am

The renter protections proposed have already been denounced by big real estate groups who have stated they will withdraw support if the bill preceeds with renter protections in place.
The renter protections were cynically inserterted in the bill to confuse and give false hope to many who struggle to stay in the area despite the astronomical costs because of ties to family, community and children in school ect....

It might likely fail without the backing if the real estate and development interests backing it but only if all of the right thinking true progressives in the state expose the deep hypocrisy behind its promoters.

thank you to the authors for exposing this!


37 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2019 at 8:46 am

"They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot"

At least that's what developers want to do. And those who object are called Nimbies and too old to understand.

I think those of us who are a little older and wiser, understand a lot better than the young think. Hopefully they will get a little more wise as they mature.


27 people like this
Posted by dbaron
a resident of University South
on Mar 15, 2019 at 9:29 am

dbaron is a registered user.

Two direct rebuttals:

First, the claim that upzoning causes increases in prices may be true for tiny pieces of upzoning within a large expensive housing market, but that has little to do with what would happen with upzoning large parts of a metropolitan area, which would have very different effects. Further, there's evidence from other places (e.g., SoMa in San Francisco) that large amounts of high-rise construction does reduce rent increases.

Second, SB 50 does and has never changed height limits or FAR limits along bus lines. That was part of the SB 827 proposal last year, but it's never been in SB 50.

As to the bigger picture:

Fundamentally, this article is a defense of local control. But what does local control represent? It represents some of the biggest failures of American democracy: the idea that the quality of a child's education should be a function of how rich their parents are, the idea that the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink should be a function of how rich we are, the idea that rich neighborhoods have a right to keep poor people out to prevent them from having access to the good government services that the rich people are keeping for themselves. The degree of local control seems like one of the key things that separates the US from other western democracies on equality and income mobility, and we need the state to reduce local control to fix our society.

We also need the state to step in in big ways because it's clear that local governments are going to obstruct any movement towards fixing the crisis-level housing shortage in the region, and the only thing that has a chance of fixing it is state intervention.


43 people like this
Posted by SB50 & CASA
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2019 at 9:30 am

“Misleading” doesn’t understand that the 7 year rule is unenforceable. Palo Alto doesn’t and won’t keep records of length of private tenancies and hasn’t the budget to hire the number of added employees needed to monitor and enforce this rule or even the space to put put their desks. This won’t protect renters from mass displacement at all.

What would really make sense to do to increase affordable housing in town without displacing renters is to actively demand City Council: 1. Increase the Impact Fees that all for-profit developers must pay into our Affordable Housing Fund. Look to the proposed Santa Clara Co fee for the Stanford GUP for guidance. Lots more money for housing in town!
2.Pass an ordinance finally applying inclusionary zoning to our rental housing. Also raise the percentage of units required for all housing to at least 20% including for sale housing so more affordable units are required in market-rate housing developments.

Any person or organization such as the Palo Alto Forward or the League of Women Voters and others should work for both of these to get passed by Council so that we get us more affordable housing without massively displacing renters such as caused by SB50 and CASA (a set of 10 bills sold as a wolf in sheep’s clothing).


37 people like this
Posted by Really??
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 15, 2019 at 9:36 am

"Our greatest concern is the implications SB 50 will have for low- and modest-income residents."

Seriously, Greer and Pat? Everyone who actually tries to build low income housing is strongly in favor of upzoning. I get that residents are concerned that their quiet leafy streets (that happen to be near a train line) might end up saddled with an apartment building (horrors!). Pat Burt has stated many times that he believes that "residents have the right to the Palo Alto that they moved to". However, even though this sentiment is understandable, it is completely incompatible with building housing for a diverse range of citizens.

So... feel free to oppose SB50. But please don't pretend that you are doing to it _protect_ the vulnerable.


42 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2019 at 9:49 am

Funny all the attacks on people who feel "entitled" to green, leafy streets, Yes, that, and the bike paths, and all those other apparently unimportant factors, certainly were big factors in why I've stayed here.

But, sure, I'm more "entitled" to that. More than some developer is, who wants to get rich building high-rises. As I've pointed out before, you can get all the density you need with a 50' height limit. High-rises are destructive to the -urban- environment, and, you don't need them to get rather high density. Once again-- do the arithmetic.

Something else I have to mention-- older Palo Altans know a lot of their neighbors. Neighborliness was also a big factor in my staying here. Seems like younger folks who move here don't get that, at least at first. A little advice from an older person to younger people-- get to know your the people on your street. :-)


38 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 15, 2019 at 9:58 am

It is obvious that dBaron does not know about the great lengths Palo Alto government has gone to in the last couple of years to responsibly enable residential development:

We exceeded the state mandates for ADUs
We saved Buena Vista Mobile home park ( with county help)
We passed the Affordable housing Combining district
we approved Wilton Court BMR project with the affordable housing law
We approved the Public facilities zone residential combining district
we approved the VTA project with the public facilities law
we approved "mikes bikes" which has 50 plus residential units
we approved "compadres" with significant residential units
we all proved "footlocker" with residential units
we approved "the Olive garden" project with residential units
we approved phase 1 of the housing workplace to relax development standards to attract developers

I've probably missed some projects. As another poster mentioned we also need to increase the developer fees that
are contributions to our affordable housing fund to more realistic amounts. we need to up the % of required inclusionary units ( deed restricted Below market rate units) and apply that to rental units since state law now allows it

We can tailor theses changes to our specific needs so as to maintain a diverse palo alto, that nutures and educates our children, maintains parks and open space, maintains habitat , and hopefully improves not worsens the environment....
and have orderly streets where people are not fighting over parking spots and the more vulnerable among us are not struggling just to do normal daily things without cars on a rich mass transit system that simply does not exist, and will likely ge worse ( VTA trends of diminishing service in the north county )

One size fits all doesn't work - representational Democracy is based on the electorate at every level of government
having a say on local issues. Local neighborhood zoning should not be a function of the state.


25 people like this
Posted by @Resident
a resident of another community
on Mar 15, 2019 at 11:09 am

"At least that's what developers want to do. And those who object are called Nimbies and too old to understand.

I think those of us who are a little older and wiser, understand a lot better than the young think. Hopefully they will get a little more wise as they mature."

You're willing to pull the ladder up and shut the generation behind you out because you don't want anything to change and face no repercussions for doing so (and your property values go up all the while). You bring up developer profits and parking lots because those sound like more palatable enemies to be against rather than saying you don't want millennials to have housing because an apartment building will ruin the neighborhood character. [Portion removed.]


30 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2019 at 11:26 am

To the previous commenter [portion removed], I would like to tell you a few facts of my life.

I worked many years and so did my spouse before we were married. When we married, we lived in another part of the country, but to buy a modest, small home we sold one car and shared an old (20 year old if I remember correctly) small car to help put a deposit on our home. We did have a bed we could move in with and we bought plastic garden chairs to sit on in our living room. We ate out once a week in a chain restaurant and only went to the movies or a nicer restaurant for special occasions. Our vacations were camping trips or staying with family. As the years went by, we saved to buy furniture and a better car. We moved to Palo Alto area for a job with better career prospects with our first child and rented, first in Mountain View and then in Palo Alto because it was close to said job. We had one car until child in kindergarten and new baby made it very difficult to live with only one car and bought a second car. Eventually by continuing to live modestly we were able to buy a house that was still in its original 1950s condition and took several years of continued frugal living to remodel and upgrade. These upgrades were done over a period of years.

[Portion removed] You seem to think that your lifestyle ambition means you deserve to have what it took us over 20 years to attain. I don't complain about it being unfair that we were not able to afford to have fancy cars, lots of nice furniture, or meals out every day. We did what we needed to do to enable us to attain the things in life we wanted.

If working hard and being frugal for 20 years is selfish, then selfish I am.

If you can't understand that saving and doing without is what got most of us our homes then that is something I find sad. If you are not prepared to do something similar so that in 20 years time you will be a little better off financially including some great memories of how you managed to live a happy life without all the luxuries, then giving you what you want without the time and effort it takes to save and experience frugality in your life, I think makes you more selfish and entitled than me.


42 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2019 at 11:27 am

Posted by @Resident, a resident of another community

>> You're willing to pull the ladder up and shut the generation behind you out because you don't want anything to change and face no repercussions for doing so (and your property values go up all the while).

Or, it could be that in this case, your elders actually do know something that you don't know. Consider that it -could- be true. It -might- be. Possibly.

>> You bring up developer profits and parking lots because those sound like more palatable enemies to be against

Since there are a new mid-rise condos in Redwood City very close to the RC Caltrain station, can you afford one now? If you can't, do you think that new high-rises in Palo Alto would be any more affordable?


7 people like this
Posted by @Resident
a resident of another community
on Mar 15, 2019 at 11:38 am

Yes yes, you pulled yourself up by your bootstraps during the most prosperous decades this country has ever seen and earned everything through hard work and frugality.


30 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2019 at 11:49 am

Well we certainly didn't do it by demanding help and living on credit. We also did it without expecting anything from the previous generations already living in the area we moved into.


16 people like this
Posted by george drysdale
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 15, 2019 at 11:55 am

Displacement? Historically there's always been displacement in cities. Price fixing rents (rent control) chokes off development. Welcome to California where history and economics are a taboo subject. SB50 as I said before would be laughed out of any real estate economics class as would San Francisco leadership. You can't separate economics from politics (Aristotle).

George Drysdale the forthright social studies teacher


13 people like this
Posted by dbaron
a resident of University South
on Mar 15, 2019 at 12:03 pm

dbaron is a registered user.

In response to: "It is obvious that dBaron does not know about the great lengths Palo Alto government has gone to in the last couple of years to responsibly enable residential development:"

I'm aware of most of those; I gave public comment in support at the city council meetings that did two of them.

The problem is that that list isn't a picture of responsibility. It's a picture of falling far short of what is needed. Palo Alto permitted the construction of 54 housing units in 2018. (See page 117 of Web Link , from the agenda of the March 4 city council meeting.) The numbers needed to get us out of the housing crisis, to reach 3.5 million units statewide by 2025, would involve Palo Alto permitting about 2500-3000 housing units per year (which is more than the RHNA targets, which were produced through a poor process that has hopefully been fixed for the next cycle, during an economic downtown when the expectations of job growth were unrealistically low). Doing 2% of what's needed isn't responsibility.


50 people like this
Posted by myths
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 15, 2019 at 12:28 pm

Re
"You're willing to pull the ladder up and shut the generation behind you out because you don't want anything to change and face no repercussions for doing so (and your property values go up all the while). "

Fact: Palo Alto is changing as we speak. The bad part of that change is that due to the lapsed judgement of prior city councils they focused on adding jobs rather than housing. So now we have a jobs-housing ratio that is out of whack and we are paying for their office development centric perspective. Palo Alto had undergone significant change in the past 5 years and there have been associated repercussions - largely traffic, traffic accidents and commute times.

Fact: No-one realizes the value of their property until they sell their home. If they stay in the area, they don't get to take advantage in any upside. It just becomes the price to stay in the market. So essentially, if they want to benefit from the rise in property values they have to sell up and move far away. How does that actually benefit someone who has lived here for 20 years and created a community of family and friends here? The vast majority of Palo Altans are house-poor. They don't realize any benefit from escalating housing prices. This silly meme is not based in any rational argument.

Instead of vilifying the residents why don't you focus your ire on big tech who have grown without regard for impact, and have not compensated anyone for their impact. They are slowly decimating the startup culture of the valley, using up all the oxygen, and then laying blame on the residents. Very machiavellian of them.

Or why don't you also focus your ire on past city-councils who did the developers' bidding and enabled this job-housing ratio to come about. People like Liz Kniss. You really should spend more time thinking about the real causes of these issues instead of sprouting memes that have no basis in truth or fact.


13 people like this
Posted by AllAreWelcome
a resident of another community
on Mar 15, 2019 at 12:33 pm

Right now I don't think Palo Alto is taking the housing crisis seriously. Yes, some progress has been made, but its not nearly enough.

There is still time, before SB50 goes up for a vote, for local control to show its benefits. If local towns like Palo Alto got their act together right now, I'm sure Sen. Weiner would consider dropping the bill since there would no longer be a need for it.

Does anyone want to place bets on whether that happens? Surely a small town can move faster than state legislation?


16 people like this
Posted by @dbaron
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 15, 2019 at 12:58 pm

We are a city of 70,000 people out of state of 40 Million people. I'm not sure how they arrive at the number 3.5 million, but since most of our planning for the past decade has been driven off work done by ABAG, let's work with their numbers. They forecasted that between 2010 and 20140 santa clara county would need to add around 200,000 households. Between 2010 and 2017 Santa Clara County added 44,000 housing units. That leaves 156,000 units to be added in the next 23 years, roughly 7000 units a year for the county.
Palo alto represents 4 percent of the population of santa clara county. That suggests we need to build about 280 units of housing a year. Yes, we're behind our taget (largely because we have been busy building office!!) But we're not that crazy behind. The problem with the 3.5 million number is that housing demand is spread across the entire state of california. We can't build housing for jobs in los angeles so we need to focus on our local challenge.
Either we believe the ABAG projections or we get some new ones, but I'm pretty sure that's what we've all been relying on.


21 people like this
Posted by Old Timers Should Move Out Rather Than Complain
a resident of another community
on Mar 15, 2019 at 1:18 pm

Kudos to Scott Wiener & SB 50.

Time to ramp up the housing so more residents can be accommodated. Local area offices & businesses aren't gong anywhere & their employees need a place to live. Extended commute times are unreasonable & add to traffic gridlock.

Palo Alto has already been destroyed to a certain extent with development & there's no going back to the old days. Might as well implement the housing additions & move on with one's life...or move out.

Millennials don't have a problem with compressed housing...only the old timers do & most are essentially concerned about having their 'space'.

Well space is an outdated concept in a semi-metropolitan locale.

My advice...sell your overpriced house to someone who is willing to pay CASH for its over-inflated value & move to the country...Sonoma, Mendocino, Trinity, Humboldt etc. and enjoy the bucolic setting of a red county!


44 people like this
Posted by millenial
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 15, 2019 at 1:50 pm

1. Actually some analytical millenials do have a problem with building housing where transit is non-existent. Like why ask someone to move out because they're complaining, only to move in and have to whine about how much you paid for so few amenities.

2. Wiener is backed by the construction and real estate industry. He deserves no kudos. He's just doing the company bidding like everyone-else.

3. All of this is moot, because when all those IPOs happen this month there won't be any amount of housing built that will make it accessible to millenials unless you happen to be one of the millenials in one of those companies. And try and tell anyone that those guys want dense cramped housing. The real estate market is slathering at the idea they all want a 10million dollar home and a private jet. They want space and lots of it, so everyone can tell they made it!


40 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 15, 2019 at 2:19 pm

Annette is a registered user.

Two thumbs up to this Guest Opinion.

dbaron of University South countered with this comment: "First, the claim that upzoning causes increases in prices may be true for tiny pieces of upzoning within a large expensive housing market, but that has little to do with what would happen with upzoning large parts of a metropolitan area, which would have very different effects"

Dbaron is, apparently, overlooking the fact that Palo Alto is NOT a "metropolitan area" and it does NOT have the infrastructure to become one.

People who think SB50 is the elixir for our housing woes have been sold a bill of goods by politicians. Pure and simple. Once upon a time such charlatans were called snake oil salesmen.


42 people like this
Posted by Sesh B
a resident of Los Altos
on Mar 15, 2019 at 3:19 pm

Sacramento politicians gone rogue and going in bed with developers to get campaign contributions , they pulled all the youngsters to sing chorus that single family home owners are Nimbys. 650 sq feet stacked cages going for $3000 and above is not affordable housing - lunatics.


61 people like this
Posted by SB50 & CASA
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2019 at 3:22 pm

The point isn’t older and younger people lecturing lecturing each other and each group feeling entitled. The point is that SB50 is a disaster for not just for the city of Palo Alto but for all who live here - old, young, owners and renters. It’s a rip-off with the main beneficiary being private for-profit developers.

All the time, attention and money now going into planning by Ventura neighborhood residents, consultants and staff is obliterated, as is this most diverse neighborhood. Just look where it is, sandwiched between RR tracks and El Camino - train station and bus routes. Up to 75 foot tall residential buildings can be built I/4 mile from the RR station if density bonuses are used. And 45 foot can be built anywhere in the neighborhood. Little or no parking may be required. Almost all will be market rate housing - ie, not affordable.

When one looks at a map into Old Palo Alto, even as far as Cowper will have 45 foot buildings on as many lots as developers can buy - and they will offer more than any individual buyer can. So fasten your seatbelt - smaller towns are about to be no more unless we start opposing SB50 now. Our town surely willl join most other towns in the area and likely in the state and oppose this takeover of our town.

And please don’t embarrass yourself by thinking trickle down market rate housing will save you. That’s as laughable as the long ago hoax, trickle down economics was exposed.


31 people like this
Posted by Any name
a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 15, 2019 at 3:30 pm

How about taking the funding for the myriad of complicated housing bills to build a train to Tracy and on to Manteca where there are new homes being built for $500k?

We don’t have a housing shortage, we have a cheap housing close to certain tech jobs shortage. If you want people to afford actual houses, to build equity, we can build quality transit out to where those houses are.


47 people like this
Posted by JR
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 15, 2019 at 3:47 pm

SB50 is a disaster for small cities and communities. Who should decide what gets built? If you think residents should decide then you should oppose SB50. If you think billion dollar corporations and developers should decide then you should support SB50.

If you support affordable housing then SB50 is your worst enemy. Cities will lose the ability to mandate affordable housing, so developers will look to make the most money possible with more offices and more luxury apartments with astronomical rents.


23 people like this
Posted by Jeremy Hoffman
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 15, 2019 at 5:12 pm

Think about all the people you encounter in Palo Alto. The teacher at your school. The wait staff at your favorite restaurant. The police officer patrolling the streets. Chances are, the housing shortage is crippling them financially and making them doubt that they have a future here. If they're going to keep their job here, the best they might hope for is to drive into work for over an hour.

You've probably heard the rule of thumb is that housing should be at most a third of your income. Did you know that one in four renters in our area is paying more than HALF their income in rent? Imagine how hard that would be. That's the reality for hundreds of thousands of our neighbors.

That's why SB 50 -- the More Housing, Opportunity, Mobility, Equity, and Stability (More HOMES) Act -- is racking up endorsements up and down the state. Check out the wide range of this list, which includes non-profits, environmental groups, labor, students, retirees, and local leaders:

AARP
BART Board of Directors
Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California
Habitat for Humanity
Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
California PIRG
Environment California
California League of Conservation Voters
SPUR
Bay Area Housing Advocacy Coalition
AFL-CIO
CalAsian Chamber of Commerce
Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
City Council Member for Culver City Alex Fisch
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg
Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf
San Francisco Mayor London Breed
Fifteen sponsors in the state senate: Scott Wiener (D), Autumn Burke (D), Anna Caballero (D), Tyler Diep (R), Vince Fong (R), Ben Hueso (D), Ash Kalra (D), Kevin Kiley (R), Evan Low (D), John Moorlach (R), Robert Rivas (D), Nancy Skinner (D), Jeff Stone (R), Phil Ting (D), Buffy Wicks (D).

All of these groups and individuals understand that cities can't solve every problem on their own. Some problems, like the historic housing shortage and affordability crisis, are best solved by all of us coming together and committing to the same standards and best practices. Best practices like putting more homes on mass transit lines, which gets us the best return on public investment in mass transit, and reduces traffic, car exhaust pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions.

I'm excited about the opportunity to our teachers, our police offers, and our children when they grow up -- to be welcome in our communities. I'm excited about building a more sustainable future for California. I hope I and of all the above supporters of SB 50 can convince you to be excited about it too.


23 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 15, 2019 at 5:28 pm

Palo Alto is quick to approve commercial projects with thousand of employees (Hillsdale, Deer Creek, etc.), but shifts the need for housing to others. Perhaps SB50 should be amended to revoke commercial land use for cities that don't have housing multiples to match the need they generate in the Bay Area.


4 people like this
Posted by Easy For You To Say
a resident of another community
on Mar 15, 2019 at 7:42 pm

"How about taking the funding for the myriad of complicated housing bills to build a train to Tracy and on to Manteca where there are new homes being built for $500k?"

Train or no train, who the heck would want to live in Tracy or Manteca?

Funny how so many of these Central Valley housing advocates have never lived or even been there.

While we're at it...why not a high-speed train from King City as well?


15 people like this
Posted by @Resident
a resident of another community
on Mar 15, 2019 at 8:10 pm

"Well we certainly didn't do it by demanding help and living on credit. We also did it without expecting anything from the previous generations already living in the area we moved into."

Of course not, you just benefitted from a post WW2 economy and a prior generation that didn't block housing development. Then once you guys were in power you voted yourselves Prop 13 and more local control over housing, oversaw a massive drop in housing production, and now the later generations get to deal with the fallout while you get a nice retirement asset.


13 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2019 at 9:19 pm

Posted by @Resident, a resident of another community

>> Then once you guys were in power you voted yourselves Prop 13 and more local control over housing,

I would vote against Prop 13 in a heartbeat. The business sector, and, therefore, the super-rich, are the main beneficiaries of Prop 13, and, they have succeeded in avoiding both political and legal challenges to it for 40 years.


2 people like this
Posted by @SB50 & CASA
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2019 at 9:48 am

"What would really make sense to do to increase affordable housing in town without displacing renters..."

In order to build more housing SOMEONE has to be displaced, no?


15 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2019 at 10:25 am

Posted by @SB50 & CASA, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

>> >> "What would really make sense to do to increase affordable housing in town without displacing renters..."

>> In order to build more housing SOMEONE has to be displaced, no?

SOMEONE or SOMETHING. We clearly have a large excess of office space in this town. Time to start converting it to housing.


20 people like this
Posted by Pat Markevitch
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 16, 2019 at 11:00 am

Posted by @Resident, a resident of another community

>> Then once you guys were in power you voted yourselves Prop 13 and more local control over housing,

I believe Palo Alto was one of the few cities in the State to vote against Prop 13.


7 people like this
Posted by dbaron
a resident of University South
on Mar 16, 2019 at 1:00 pm

dbaron is a registered user.

In response to Annette: Palo Alto is part of the San Francisco - Oakland - San Jose metropolitan area. Metropolitan areas are generally defined by commuting patterns, i.e., regions where many people who live in one part of the metropolitan area commute to another part of it. Many of the people who work in Palo Alto live in other places along the Peninsula from San Francisco to San Jose, in the East Bay, or elsewhere, and many who live here work elsewhere in the metropolitan area as well. That makes us a part of the larger metro area.


10 people like this
Posted by NIMBY Revisionist
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 16, 2019 at 1:53 pm

The area of San Antonio Road between Alma Street & El Camino Real in PA represents the best use of available land. It is like a mini-metropolis & accommodates many residents + commercial businesses.

Palo Alto should consider this building arrangement all along ECR from San Antonio Road to Page Mill Road as this area does not represent the best part of Palo Alto.
If anything, it is a section that could use the most improvement.

Redevelop South PA & leave the nicer parts of the city alone. That is the key to this problem.


26 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 16, 2019 at 2:09 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

If pro density groups like the majority in the CC and PAF are so concerned about job/housing imbalance and rising housing costs, why do they so enthusiastically approve every single commercial development that increases the imbalance and pushes housing prices up? They wanted Palo Alto to become an office park, and they are to blame for the consequences. As far as the millennials who earn good salaries but demand housing without any sacrifice or even an attempt to save up and build equity, while going on expensive trips and vacations, eating out in expensive restaurants, wearing the newest Apple watches and spending fortunes on other every expensive electronic gadgets-look for sympathy elsewhere.


10 people like this
Posted by Failed policies
a resident of Los Altos
on Mar 16, 2019 at 3:52 pm

NIMBYs have had their shot. These policies have been abject failures. The data is clear. How do you explain yourselves? Why should residents believe that you can fix this problem with the same protectionist mindset you have had for decades? You know what they say about doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. It’s embarrassing.


44 people like this
Posted by Seriously
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 16, 2019 at 4:05 pm

The developers' shills and those consumed with envy are pathetically trying to hide their agendas under the banner of "diversity." Palo Alto is one of the most diverse communities in the nation, made of people from all over the world. Anyone who doubts this should just try walking down University Avenue at dinner time on any day of the week.

The Bay Area has plenty of much less expensive housing available. But these people don't actually want a house. They want *your* house.


6 people like this
Posted by @Seriously
a resident of another community
on Mar 16, 2019 at 5:30 pm

"Anyone who doubts this should just try walking down University Avenue at dinner time on any day of the week."

You do realize that people drive to University Ave to have dinner, right? It's not some secluded local haunt.

"The Bay Area has plenty of much less expensive housing available. But these people don't actually want a house. They want *your* house"

Oh there it is, the ooga booga. Not only have we come for your backyard views and neighborhood character, now we've come for your house! [Portion removed.]


10 people like this
Posted by @mauricio
a resident of another community
on Mar 16, 2019 at 5:50 pm

"As far as the millennials who earn good salaries but demand housing without any sacrifice or even an attempt to save up and build equity, while going on expensive trips and vacations, eating out in expensive restaurants, wearing the newest Apple watches and spending fortunes on other every expensive electronic gadgets-look for sympathy elsewhere."

Don't forget all of that avocado toast!


24 people like this
Posted by Sally
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 16, 2019 at 11:56 pm

Why is it PAs responsibility to provide housing? How about Hillsborogh and Menli Park? By the way I had to move out of the town I grew up in because I couldn’t afford to buy a home there. Not everyone is able to live everywhere they want.


10 people like this
Posted by @Sally
a resident of another community
on Mar 17, 2019 at 1:46 am

Because Palo Alto added a ton of jobs without the requisite housing to go with it. That's why.


19 people like this
Posted by Pat Burt
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 17, 2019 at 11:03 am

Pat Burt is a registered user.

Just a reminder to all who are interested in the implications of SB50 on our communities, there will be an informative public meeting today from 4-6PM at the Lucie Stern Community Room.


16 people like this
Posted by AnthroMan
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 17, 2019 at 12:33 pm

> As far as the millennials who earn good salaries but demand housing without any sacrifice or even an attempt to save up and build equity, while going on expensive trips and vacations, eating out in expensive restaurants, wearing the newest Apple watches and spending fortunes on other every expensive electronic gadgets-look for sympathy elsewhere.

Millennials are the now generation & they have exceeded their parents (the Baby Boomers) in terms of unrealistic expectations & instant gratification.

Blame the parents for this development as many are now being held accountable as NIMBYs who practice one thing & expound another.

The disgruntled Millennials are simply products of their upbringing & now they are turning on an earlier generation for their discontent.

Hilarious!


19 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2019 at 12:47 pm

Posted by @Sally, a resident of another community

>> Because Palo Alto added a ton of jobs without the requisite housing to go with it. That's why.

Well, "Palo Alto" didn't do it, a bunch of companies did it. But, if "Palo Alto" actually has control over it, then -- sure, convert Stanford Research Park to housing. 700 acres @ 35 units/acre = 24,500 units. (Palo Alto currently has about 26,000.)

-Problem solved.-


Like this comment
Posted by @Anon
a resident of another community
on Mar 17, 2019 at 1:31 pm

It's too late to turn back time and take the path that Atherton took. You're not going to drag your heels for another decade throwing out meaningless and absurd solutions like tearing down every corporate HQ in your city while skirting around housing obligations.


23 people like this
Posted by Garry
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 17, 2019 at 1:49 pm

@aonon:

You said PA was "skirting around housing obligations", problem for you is there is no such thing. Cities and towns have no obligations except to their residents. Funny how the YIMBYs just make things up. Democracy is more important than some white tech bro"s luxury condo.

Save local control; defeat SB50!


8 people like this
Posted by @Garry
a resident of another community
on Mar 17, 2019 at 2:45 pm

You're not a sovereign city-state. You're under Santa Clara County, which is under the State of California. You have obligations, and when you're not working well with the cities around you, the county and the state can come in to ensure that you do.


7 people like this
Posted by Bankrupt bill
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 17, 2019 at 3:20 pm

Just got this email from the weekly begging for money. Is the weekly in such bad financial shape that they are constantly appealing for donations? Or is just another company trying to fatten their wallets with money from the public?

"This week is “Sunshine Week,” a national campaign to highlight why transparency in government is important and how secrecy erodes citizens’ faith in democracy. News organizations like ours are on the front lines of this effort. We seek to hold city governments, school districts and elected officials accountable for following California laws that grant access to public documents and require open public meetings so decisions aren’t made behind closed doors. But the economic challenges local newspapers face are making it harder to stay in business, let alone spend money on attorneys to enforce the law and pry loose information.

That's why we ask for your help. Becoming a member is more than access to unlimited online content, free events and giveaways. Your support is vital to sustaining quality local journalism...and to uncovering these redacted documents in court, if necessary."


31 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 17, 2019 at 5:24 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

It wasn't Palo Alto that added jobs, it was companies enabled by politicians who deceived their voters by claiming to be for preserving the town's residential and suburban character while they were being backed by real estate developers, most of whom were not Palo Alto residents. Once elected, these politicians ignored their campaign promises and enabled the developers and the companies that kept bring in workers regardless of the housing situation. I fail to see the difference between politicians who intentionally deceive the voters and fraudsters.

Palo Alto didn't have to become a job center and office park, it was dishonest politicians who forced it in that direction. The state should go after them, not force Palo Alto become what hit shouldn't and can't become. Palo Alto can and should be like Los Altos Hills and Portola Valley.


2 people like this
Posted by @mauricio
a resident of another community
on Mar 17, 2019 at 5:33 pm

Oh man, if only you guys had done something 30 years ago! Bit too late now though.


20 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2019 at 5:47 pm

Posted by @mauricio, a resident of another community

>> Oh man, if only you guys had done something 30 years ago! Bit too late now though.

Because somebody wants to make money on the Palo Alto "brand"? How about we rename the city "Fred"?

I have to ask again, sorry, but-- can you afford a new condo in Redwood City? Because, if you can't, then, why do you think you will be able to afford a new one here? And, if you can, why not buy an RC condo? Redwood City is more fun than Palo Alto anyway-- there is a lot going on in downtown these days.

Or, to ask the same question a different way: Do you think that I am "entitled" to a nice condo in Manhattan - you know, somewhere within easy walking distance of 5th Ave and 82nd St.? If not, who is "entitled" to buy a condo in Palo Alto?


35 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 17, 2019 at 6:03 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

"Oh man, if only you guys had done something 30 years ago! Bit too late now though."

What power do you think ordinary citizens have against well financed dishonest politicians who are so skilled at deceiving the public? We are all victims. How could we stop politicians so skilled in deceiving the voters while in the pockets of the very rich and powerful. It's just about impossible to stop them, especially when most voters are so uninformed about local politics and so easily deceived.


21 people like this
Posted by JR
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 17, 2019 at 6:40 pm

The way to solve the "job/housing imbalance" is to say no to every new commercial project that comes along. If companies can't get a permit to change a lightbulb, let alone build a new multi-story underparked office, they will get the picture they they are not wanted and they will move on to other sucker towns they can take advantage of.


4 people like this
Posted by @Anon
a resident of another community
on Mar 17, 2019 at 6:44 pm

That's not how regional housing markets work. When Palo Alto added jobs with no extra housing, it pushed up housing demand (and prices) for housing in Palo Alto AND in surrounding cities. This trend continued, with more jobs that housing being produced, until people started commuting in from Gilroy and Livermore. Building more housing in Palo Alto and Redwood City doesn't mean that housing will be affordable, but it will help reign in prices that have risen in cities further out, making it more affordable to move closer.


41 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 17, 2019 at 8:40 pm

The meeting today at Lucie Stern to discuss California Senate Bill 50 was very informative. It’s a good idea to learn more about the details of what would be massive dictates and state control of development in our local cities and municipalities. I don’t believe SB 50 correctly and fairly addresses the state’s need for more housing. Instead, it is astonishingly comprehensive as a power grab over all our lives here in CA. Please read about it and contact your state assembly member and state senator to oppose SB 50. It’s important.


3 people like this
Posted by Tax big biz
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 18, 2019 at 6:46 am

Where’s the housing for this proposed monster of proposed office development?

Web Link


22 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 18, 2019 at 7:00 am

Annette is a registered user.

I highly recommend that everyone read Lab Rats by Dan Lyons and How to Kill a City by Peter Moskowitz. I predict you will emerge from the reads wondering what the he** we are doing to ourselves. And what the he** we are allowing our elected officials to do to us and the world around us.

SB50 is at least as wrong as SB827 was and if we are smart enough to recognize the perils we will all do what we can to assure that it suffers the same fate. Even the least politically inclined among us needs to sit up and pay attention here. And write letters. And place calls. Apathy and inaction hand opportunity to Weiner and those who support him.

I am not saying we do not need to add housing. I am saying that SB50 is a very wrong approach. And we should not look to our CC Majority for answers as they pretty much ushered us into this mess.



4 people like this
Posted by @Annette
a resident of another community
on Mar 18, 2019 at 9:07 am

Yeah, it's the wrong approach because it forces you to actually build housing instead of endlessly discussing the problem for years and pushing it off as not your concern.


22 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 18, 2019 at 9:20 am

Posted by @Annette, a resident of another community

>> Yeah, it's the wrong approach because it forces you to actually build housing instead of endlessly discussing the problem for years and pushing it off as not your concern.

I would love to build more housing. Stanford Research Park is 700 acres and has 10+ million square feet of office space: Web Link By converting SRP to housing, Palo Alto would become a net exporter of commuters instead of a huge importer. OBTW, residents of Palo Alto have been fighting against excess job creation for 60 years. Web Link So, please stop telling us that we long-time homeowners are "guilty" of bringing in too many jobs. Many of us have been voting against this for a long time. Which is why some CC members continue to promise to balance jobs/housing, and then break their promises.

Your true message isn't "housing", it is "resistance is futile". But, we continue to resist.


17 people like this
Posted by AnthroMan
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 18, 2019 at 9:50 am

It's the sign of the times...no escape from development (aka overdevelopment) in certain areas.

People need to live within reasonable proximity of their workplace. To commute from the Central Valley or the outskirts of Sacramento to Palo Alto is absurd.

Palo Alto is not Carmel By the Sea & never will be...never was.

For those old enough to recall, Carmel Valley was once wide open land & now it's pretty much paved over by newer office buildings, residential dwellings & shopping malls.

Best advice (if totally disgruntled by recent overdevelopment) is to simply move away. Why bother fighting City Hall as the old adage goes? Big money always wins.

For those who had the pleasure of enjoying a 'small town' Palo Alto experience, be grateful for it & reminisce at your convenience...somewhere else.

Displacement of human communities & their original environment is an ongoing phenomena.

The Ohlones, Spanish, Mexicans, American westward settlors & founding city fathers would certainly not recognize the areas they were once accustomed to.

Many have moved away or were replaced in kind by other groups of individuals.
It is my understanding that Palo Alto is now 40% Asian & growing, primarily from overseas & these new residents have their own visions of residential dwellings & community.

Perhaps they are the new Palo Altans. Every dog has had its day & to cling to the past is pointless as there is no going back in time.

As far as the proliferation of high-rise/mixed use developments are concerned...yes, they are hideous to a certain extent but they do serve a viable function & if more is needed, so be it. Historically we have now gone from tule huts & adobe dwellings to a plethora of Lego-Land inspired apartment complexes to meet the needs of a growing workforce population.

To the chronic complainers & NIMBYs...your residential properties are now worth a small fortune. Since you cannot go back in time or fight City Hall, why not simply sell & move elswhere? Others have.

When you finally begin to realize that your 'old world' priorities are being replaced in mindset by an entirely new generation as well as state/municipal policy, only then will you be able to accept life for what it is an move onwards.

This is not an endorsement of overdevelopment but simply stating reality as fact.


7 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 18, 2019 at 10:18 am

For many of you who tell us long time residents to move out to let you in and move somewhere else, don't forget, we are like you. Our jobs are here within a few miles radius of where we live. And remember, we are quite possibly your managers and others more senior to you where you work. Or, we are the ones who enable your lifestyle by providing you with medical, financial and other services that you depend on. If we go, you will miss us!


11 people like this
Posted by Local
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 18, 2019 at 10:33 am

There is the assumption that everyone who lives here *wants* a suburban / leafy environment. Obviously many do, perhaps the majority of Palo Alto residents. But many live here - I have been here for twenty years - not because they particularly like the atmosphere of the place but simply because this is where our job is. Many of us would welcome a more urban experience. The issue is not a simple dichotomy between social justice on the one hand, and local preferences on the other hand; different local people have different preferences.

As for the social justice argument, the claim in this article that more building will give rise to higher housing costs is risible and obviously in bad faith.


2 people like this
Posted by @Anon
a resident of another community
on Mar 18, 2019 at 10:47 am

"Your true message isn't "housing", it is "resistance is futile". But, we continue to resist."

Yeah man, keep up the good fight to prevent the Millennial generation from having housing unless you get to put a bullet into the economy.


16 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 18, 2019 at 11:09 am

Posted by AnthroMan, a resident of Stanford:

>> It's the sign of the times...no escape from development (aka overdevelopment) in certain areas.

[...]

>> When you finally begin to realize that your 'old world' priorities are being replaced in mindset by an entirely new generation as well as state/municipal policy, only then will you be able to accept life for what it is an move onwards.

>> This is not an endorsement of overdevelopment but simply stating reality as fact.

At least we understand each other. It is all about money and power, and not the kind of proven-false "injustice" arguments we see from developers and their apologists.

Posted by Local, a resident of Stanford

>> There is the assumption that everyone who lives here *wants* a suburban / leafy environment. [...] Many of us would welcome a more urban experience. The issue is not a simple dichotomy between social justice on the one hand, and local preferences on the other hand; different local people have different preferences.

Agreed. And, I'm not asking you to leave, but, with an easy Caltrain ride in, why haven't you been living in a less-leafy less bicycle-y environment? BTW, I like dense cities also, for what they are. Palo Alto has a history and environment worth saving. And, I'm serious about Redwood City. Bustling downtown at night for people who like bustle.

>> As for the social justice argument, the claim in this article that more building will give rise to higher housing costs is risible and obviously in bad faith.

Gotta disagree there. Annette above gave some more recent references, but, Lewis Mumford and Jane Jacobs are past authors that understood much. Jane Jacobs, for example, understood that cities need older, less expensive, buildings, because newer means more expensive. People who can't afford to live in an old Palo Alto unit won't be able to afford a new one, either.

Posted by @Anon, a resident of another community

>> Yeah man, keep up the good fight to prevent the Millennial generation from having housing unless you get to put a bullet into the economy.

Are you a Millennial? Why do you think that "we" are trying to keep you from having housing? Actually, "we" are trying to keep you from believing developers and their minions.


21 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 18, 2019 at 11:09 am

Annette is a registered user.

The core argument right now is not urban v suburban or growth v no-growth or anything other than who is in the driver's seat. The key argument is more philosophical.

SB50 demolishes local control and that is a dangerous precedent. Should SB50 pass, developers will be behind the wheel and enabling politicians will be riding shotgun. It is clearly difficult to fight the trend b/c big money is hard to fight. But it is not impossible. Those of use who want truly diverse, sustainable communities that include affordable housing and at lease some semblance of planning and balance must support two things: the defeat of SB50 and the development of additional housing, particularly affordable housing. I think that is what is being called Smart Growth. The result of SB50 will be obtuse growth. Because it will not deliver what it promises and it will increase infrastructure deficits.

One would think that a city that prides itself on being smart would at least follow the principles of Smart Growth.


6 people like this
Posted by @Anon
a resident of another community
on Mar 18, 2019 at 11:36 am

"Are you a Millennial? Why do you think that "we" are trying to keep you from having housing? Actually, "we" are trying to keep you from believing developers and their minions."

That's your easy villain to put up and hiss at because it's more palatable than having to acknowledge you're directly responsible for the housing crisis that we're in. It's the fault of corporations adding new jobs, it's the fault of developers over-building, but it couldn't possibly be your fault for refusing to accept that Palo Alto is dead-center in the middle of Silicon Valley and that the year isn't 1970 anymore. It's the same in every other coastal city, "oh we're just a small town and those mundane apartment buildings will just ruin the neighborhood character!", even in San Francisco it's the same song and dance to prevent new housing from being built.


6 people like this
Posted by @Annette
a resident of another community
on Mar 18, 2019 at 11:39 am

"SB50 demolishes local control and that is a dangerous precedent" We're in this mess because cities have refused to wield that local control responsibly. You've had years to build housing on your own terms and it's obstruction left and right, so now it's not on your terms anymore.


27 people like this
Posted by Pat Burt
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 18, 2019 at 11:49 am

Pat Burt is a registered user.

The debate about the causes of the current housing problem seems to be divided between two opposing sides who would each benefit front deeper, fact based analysis.
On one side are those who argue that the problem is simply one of supply and demand, "Econ 101". On the other side are those who cite anecdotes and references who assert that increasing market rate housing will not solve our problems.
I see two basic fallacies to the YIMBY arguments. First, oddly, they either omit the demand side of the equation or treat it not as a variable. They also see zoning as the primary tool to address supply, but resist the ability of zoning to moderate demand to make it more sustainable and better aligned with supply.
Second, they do not recognize that housing economics is more complex than simple Econ 101. Housing economics is highly segmented. This informative article by a leading housing densification advocate is very informative,Web Link. It a bit long, but a must read for anyone who wants to have a serious discussion on the subject. Basically, it explains that there is a wide body of research that explains the segmentation of the housing market and how adding high end housing will moderate prices on the high end (provided that demand does not continue to outstrip increased supply) does not have trickle down impacts to the middle and lower ends of the market. On the other hand, subsidized housing not only benefits those who get those units, but it also drives down prices for that market segment. The public intuitively understands that the problem is not principally one of needing more high end supply. This fascinating article and poll in the LA Times shows the public understanding of the problem,
Web Link.


7 people like this
Posted by Campbell guy
a resident of another community
on Mar 18, 2019 at 12:26 pm

Pat Burt seems to somewhat understand the problem more than other people, many of whom I suspect don't actually believe in their supposed economic arguments against more housing and are just coming up with excuses to keep their neighborhoods racially homogeneous. Or some people are just deluding themselves. I don't know which it is and while nobody likes to argue that other people aren't being up front I really get strong vibes of this sort. I used to live in Cupertino and there in a council meeting the public is talking about anti-development as well. Even at a city council meeting people mentioned how they thought their city is being overrun by less educated folk and how this is bad. It was a kid though so maybe he can't keep his mouth shut like the adults. How many times have you heard about "destroying the feel of the community"? The mayor of Cupertino even denied that there WAS a housing problem and Lydia Kou of Palo Alto is a literal realtor who profits off of high prices. More people will want to live in a city whether you want to or not and planning for it by building housing is the only thing you can do to prevent gentrification. Ironically, saying the problem is with high end development directly contradicts fears of lower land value. People aren't consistent in their arguments because it's all fake. And Yes, while high end development doesn't serve the working class, when you build enough the developers have to lower their prices. Or you can just build affordable housing. But that last one is what made people fear the uneducated. Screw all this, I just want a safe community with decent facilities. Build more housing.


5 people like this
Posted by KB
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 18, 2019 at 12:38 pm

Pat - your argument makes a lot of sense near the equilibrium points - that is, when there's close to enough supply at the various segments of the housing stock. In that case, you high end housing doesn't really affect low end housing, etc.

However, here things are so distorted that it really does. As an examples -- a 3 bedroom house with 6 highly paid Palantir software engineers sharing the space...so the family with 2 earners who would have lived there is now in an outskirts of town having displaced where a single earner household may have lived, who now are living in a blue collar neighborhood, who have displaced lower income folks into what were formerly projects...

So now, you can solve the problem at the bottom end and give immediate relief, or at the top end (move the SW engineers out of the house and into high end condos) and reduce the downward pressure. Actually, you need to do both - immediate (band aid) and long term (surgery/rehab).


15 people like this
Posted by Krauss
a resident of another community
on Mar 18, 2019 at 1:06 pm

The oft quoted 3.5 million units needed is a fabrication. That study made the conclusion that, "If more housing had been built, 3.5 million people more might have moved to California."

That does NOT mean the state needs 3.5 million units of more housing. Induced demand... not only applies to traffic and highways!


7 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 18, 2019 at 1:43 pm

Posted by Tax big biz, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis

>> Where’s the housing for this proposed monster of proposed office development?
>> Web Link [this is at the Candlestick site]

Right here in Palo Alto, of course. (And Redwood City, and San Carlos, and ...)

There are other views of the Candlestick developments (there are a bunch, inc related projects) Web Link

But, 7200 housing units with 2.x Million SF of office? A lot of people commuting in. Developer looking at up to 6M SF total including other nearby parcels. Getting closer to SRP. Talk about jobs/housing imbalance.

Let's look at this differently. Stanford is somewhat of a "company town" already, directly or indirectly supplying quite a bit of the housing for faculty and staff, and, most of it directly for students.

Google, Facebook, et al., are starting to participate in the housing market as well. Those of you who are taking what may be a "Millenial" view -- blaming older people for the high cost of housing -- ought to be making access to affordable housing part of your negotiated employment contracts. Instead of considering housing a "perk" like nice subsidized lunches, make it an essential part of your contract. The fact is: these large companies are causing the jobs/housing problem. Let them solve it by supplying their own housing.

Here is another take on one of the drivers for high housing costs. I've actually seen a specific location (not here) where this is taking place. Web Link Overall effect on area prices -- well, estimates are all over the place. I'm not sure how much of this takes place in Palo Alto-- very difficult to measure. But, if the State of California wanted to address this, I like the idea of a property tax surcharge deductible from State Income Tax.

"The elegance of that idea is that it doesn’t require local governments to figure out who is foreign and who is not, or which homes are vacant and which are occupied. And it recognizes that the real problem isn’t foreigners; it’s speculation in the housing market" (NYTimes article above).


18 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 18, 2019 at 2:11 pm

Annette is a registered user.

Jeremy Hoffman wrote: "I'm excited about the opportunity to our teachers, our police offers, and our children when they grow up -- to be welcome in our communities. I'm excited about building a more sustainable future for California. I hope I and of all the above supporters of SB 50 can convince you to be excited about it too."

In reply I wish to say that you don't need to convince me or anyone I know to be excited about the opportunity for our teachers, our police officers, etc. to be fully welcome in this community. Frankly, that perfectly describes how Palo Alto was until we started to feel the impact of unmitigated commercial growth.

What I am not excited about is SB50 b/c I don't believe it will achieve what it purports. Worse, I think Weiner, Fine et al (and, no doubt, a well funded team of consultants and marketing experts) are using sympathy for that argument to garner support for a deeply flawed bill. I can easily imagine the slick flyers that will arrive by mail and the ads that will appear on television. All propaganda. And a lot of people will fall for it.

Should SB50 pass, I doubt it will be long before we fully rue that day. It's kinda like the high speed rail vote - great idea in theory, but the devil is always in the details.


4 people like this
Posted by @Annette
a resident of another community
on Mar 18, 2019 at 3:57 pm

That's quite a lot of vague fear-mongering you've got going on there. Was it too simplistic to just say "I fear that SB50 will mean more housing in Palo Alto"?


19 people like this
Posted by Pat Burt
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 18, 2019 at 4:40 pm

Pat Burt is a registered user.

@Campbell Guy
Contrary to suppositions, but consistent with many urban communities, Palo Alto residents generally support expansion of lower income housing more than market rate housing. Here are a few examples in the last few years. The community as a whole and adjacent Barron park neighborhood strongly supported preservation of the low income, predominately hispanic Buena Vista mobile home park, Web Link. More recently, the Ventura neighborhood strongly supported a new, high density 100% affordable housing project in their neighborhood. And last month the same neighborhood supported affordable housing more than market rate housing for the soon to be redeveloped Fry's site.
While no value is unanimous in a community, the loss of social and economic diversity is a concern of most residents in Palo Alto and communities throughout the region.


6 people like this
Posted by AllAreWelcome
a resident of another community
on Mar 18, 2019 at 5:00 pm

Just want to re-iterate my point from earlier. If folks in Palo Alto are legitimately concerned about housing and don't want to give up local control, there is still plenty of time to take action on those wishes before SB50 goes up for a vote. I'm not talking about shovels in the ground, but at least major policy and zoning changes. "Smart Growth", as someone called it above.

This applies to all towns that are concerned about the state stepping in. Start building lots of housing, for various income levels. Stop approving more office space.

But right now, the opposite is happening. Towns are claiming that they are taking housing seriously, but I don't think that's true at all. I don't think anyone realizes just how bad the situation has gotten from a regional perspective. For example, Menlo Park has approved more office space for more Facebook workers than there are residents of Menlo Park. Where are those folks going to live? And if Menlo Park won't do anything about it, is Palo Alto? Are we expecting a small town one county over to handle the burden of another town? And if the answer is yes, why has nothing happened up until this point?

Even with that situation alone, it seems that state-level intervention is inevitable unless residents immediately push their council members for drastic actions and solutions.

If it was a choice between SB50 and "Proposed Palo Alto drastic ordinance ABC to deal w/ housing crisis" or "Proposed Santa Clara County drastic zoning change XYZ to deal w/ housing crisis", then we'd have a debate. But right now, it's a choice between SB50 and status quo.

Any rational person who believes a housing crisis exists and is severe would have to reject the status quo.


22 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 18, 2019 at 5:46 pm

Annette is a registered user.

@AllAreWelcome - I think you make some very good points. Palo Alto badly needs a moratorium on commercial space so that some progress can be made on the jobs:housing imbalance. The sky will not fall on the incubator state if that is done; indeed, it would be a good faith action showing that CC is serious about housing. This morning I fantasized that the Planning Department put up a sign that said: UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE, WE ARE APPROVING ONLY HOUSING PERMITS. I know that is unlikely given the cost of land here, the ROI on commercial space, and the Council majority's relentless habit of approving commercial development, but it is what we need.

Pat Burt's observation that Palo Alto residents generally support expansion of lower income housing more than market rate housing reflects my understanding of this community. If you heard any of the comments made to CC in support of the residents of the Hotel President and not losing that housing inventory you would know that there is great concern in this community about the displacement of those who cannot afford workforce housing and those with community-serving jobs.


8 people like this
Posted by What Do You Mean By Diversity?
a resident of another community
on Mar 18, 2019 at 7:37 pm

Diversity? I work for a landscape contractor doing garden maintenance. My wife is a maid at one of the PA motels. We have five children.

Our family would like to live in Palo Alto. That is why we buy Scratchers.

I think diversity in this housing conversation is for a chosen few. Not hardworking Chicanos. Palo Alto is still very racist about who they want to be a part of the community.

It is good to see so many wealthy Chinese moving into town and they are becoming a significant part of the population percentage. Soon they will have more say about how Palo Alto is run.


14 people like this
Posted by Seriously
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 18, 2019 at 8:01 pm

@What Do You Mean:

You should try having conversations with some of those wealthy Chinese. You might find that subsidizing apartments for new low income residents is not high on their priority list for their new home town.

In any event, Palo Alto is already minority caucasian. The more racially diverse it's become, the more economically exclusive it's become.


8 people like this
Posted by What Do You Mean By Diversity?
a resident of another community
on Mar 18, 2019 at 8:15 pm

"You should try having conversations with some of those wealthy Chinese."

My Chinese is very poor as I am not acquainted with the various dialects & very few of them speak Oaxacan Spanish (Mexican) very well.

On the other hand, I suspect that they have no problem with revenue-generating high-rise dwellings that are very compressed because they have many of them in China to house the millions of people.

One of the Chinese companies we service is a real estate developer that maintains ownership of these buildings upon completion. They are developer and landlord.

The principle told my boss (a white guy) that their goal is to provide housing for at least 4 million new residents in the SF Bay Area.


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Posted by @Pat Burt
a resident of another community
on Mar 18, 2019 at 10:10 pm

When you talk about how much Palo Alto likes low-income housing, why aren’t you talking about Maybell? (Notably this paper endorsed voting *against* allowing that development, as did many of the leading lights who call themselves “residentialists”.)

- an ex-Palo Altan


6 people like this
Posted by Stephen
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 18, 2019 at 11:30 pm

Various public officials and ex public officials have chimed in on the importance of Stanford picking up the tab for PAUSD students who might live in Stanford residences that don't generate as much property tax per unit of housing as do very expensive houses in Palo Alto. This calculation looks pretty challenging for affordable housing: $20,000/year per student means $40,000/year per student of property taxes. That means a two bedroom apartment with one PAUSD child would need to have a rent of ca. $3300/month just to cover the property tax. So, I wonder what our public officials are thinking on this issue. Pat Burt?


2 people like this
Posted by TheGrouch
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 19, 2019 at 3:21 am

TheGrouch is a registered user.


17 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 19, 2019 at 7:45 am

mauricio is a registered user.

" The fact is: these large companies are causing the jobs/housing problem. Let them solve it by supplying their own housing."

Yes, but companies should supply the housing in other areas that have more space and need economic development. It would require companies to move entirely, or some operations to other areas, which is a good thing. It is up to local politicians and the public to put pressure on companies to move. They will not move unless pressured and made aware that residents will not solve the housing crisis they have created.


12 people like this
Posted by geroge drysdale
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 19, 2019 at 9:12 am

Racism? The Buena Vista trailor park could have provided housing for those who could afford to live in Palo Alto. Luxury condos with very expensive penthouses, a dozen or so with a clear view of the Hoover tower and wonderful Silicon Valley. Inestead all this value is going into the price of the inappropriate trailers (The Catastrophe in Capitola etc. internet.) I can easily place a billion dollars into Palo Altos housing right now except for the F grade Palo Alto's government receives. Inclusionarly zoning (Palo Alto) also cuts production period. I'm thinking of letting San Jose State with it's good real estate department do the study of the Buena Vista. The factors of production: land, labor and captial. Palo Alto housing policy has nixed captial. Thank Zeus for a new Palo Alto mayor.

Geroge Drysdale social studies teacher and land economist


11 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 19, 2019 at 9:28 am

Posted by mauricio, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland

>> " The fact is: these large companies are causing the jobs/housing problem. Let them solve it by supplying their own housing."

>> Yes, but companies should supply the housing in other areas that have more space and need economic development. It would require companies to move entirely, or some operations to other areas, which is a good thing.

When HP was a market leader, it very successfully implemented this policy. But, I have been informed that today's MBA-driven companies want to be in Silicon Valley because it is much easier to hire and fire people on a much shorter time frame. A company located further afield has to have a longer time horizon, something MBAs have been taught to hate.

That is why I think a stopgap solution may be to require big new offices to provision their own housing nearby. Of course, they may take a "monastic" view and assume that their micro-serfs are all single young men willing to live alone in 160 square feet micro-units. Web Link


14 people like this
Posted by Pat Burt
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 19, 2019 at 9:57 am

Pat Burt is a registered user.

@Stephen
The school district's negotiation with Stanford is regarding additional PAUSD students who will live on campus in Stanford rental housing. Stanford does not pay any property tax in that circumstance, unlike longtime faculty owned homes on campus. This past week Stanford announced that they are entering negotiations with PAUSD on their fair share obligation for the cost of educating their K-12 students.
As far as the impact of students from subsidized affordable housing, those properties are exempt from property tax. PAUSD has long accepted that cost as part of its responsibility. When the Buena Vista mobile home park students were in jeopardy of displacement, the PTA Council was a strong and important supporter of protecting BV despite the financial impact of doing so.


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Posted by @mauricio
a resident of another community
on Mar 19, 2019 at 10:11 am

"Yes, but companies should supply the housing in other areas that have more space and need economic development. It would require companies to move entirely, or some operations to other areas, which is a good thing. It is up to local politicians and the public to put pressure on companies to move. They will not move unless pressured and made aware that residents will not solve the housing crisis they have created."

Lol I can't believe you actually wrote this. This is some Grade A Palo Alto Fan Fiction.


17 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 19, 2019 at 10:20 am

Posted by @mauricio, a resident of another community

>> Lol I can't believe you actually wrote this. This is some Grade A Palo Alto Fan Fiction.

A form of "ad hominem fallacy" in which you attack "Palo Alto" (and mauricio), rather than presenting a logical argument. Make some calculations. Show your work. Present some facts. Identify your assumptions. Then make your logical argument.


8 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Is A Good Place To Work
a resident of University South
on Mar 19, 2019 at 1:39 pm

I work in Palo Alto.

I drive to Palo Alto from Milpitas daily.

I plan to buy a small condo in Palo Alto.

Commute traffic is BAD but have you ever lived in the San Fernando Valley & commuted to greater LA? Local Bay Area gridlock is nothing.

People will complain about anything. Life is brutal. Accept it.


7 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 19, 2019 at 2:45 pm

Posted by Palo Alto Is A Good Place To Work:

>> I drive to Palo Alto from Milpitas daily.
>> I plan to buy a small condo in Palo Alto.

If that doesn't work out, would you be willing to ride a rebuilt Dumbarton Rail commuter train? I'm hoping they restart that project: Web Link

>> Life is brutal. Accept it.

"Accepting it" is not the same thing as "It is acceptable."


1 person likes this
Posted by Stephen
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 19, 2019 at 8:36 pm

Pat Burt:
Ok - first, I agree with the it's Palo Alto's responsibility argument. Any suggestion as to how many of such subsidized housing units PAUSD could "afford"?

As to Stanford, it would be good to note that Stanford West is subject to property tax but like other apartment complexes under Prop 13, those taxes have not kept up with increased costs of schools and local government. So what would happen if Stanford agreed for rental housing, at least ones likely to have children (i.e., not undergraduate dorms), to have the county assessor include them on the property tax roll, recognizing that Prop. 13 would mean that eventually that the property tax paid on those units might not cover the costs of the students living there?


15 people like this
Posted by An Even Longer Commute
a resident of another community
on Mar 19, 2019 at 9:14 pm

> If that doesn't work out, would you be willing to ride a rebuilt Dumbarton Rail commuter train? I'm hoping they restart that project:

Why would he drive from Milpitas (Santa Clara County) to Newark (Alameda County) just to take the train across the Dumbarton Bridge to Menlo Park (San Mateo County) with a final destination in Palo Alto (Santa Clara County)?

That is ludicrous...


4 people like this
Posted by KB
a resident of another community
on Mar 20, 2019 at 3:43 pm

"An even longer commute" - no one cares about county borders when commuting (except when our transit agencies refuse to work together and make these arbitrary borders real). We only care about total time. So, if the train ends up being net faster...or even the same time, but more predictable...it'll be a win.

More importantly, plenty of folks who come from Milpitas to Menlo today along 237 might instead find it better to take the train. That frees up road capacity for the cases where transit doesn't work.


6 people like this
Posted by Vijay
a resident of another community
on Mar 20, 2019 at 9:03 pm

I live in Fremont & commute to Google. Traffic is oftentimes bad but I have a Tesla and enjoy driving. Even though Fremont is closer to Newark than Milpitas, I would still rather drive as my emissions are 0 & I am not adding to the air pollution.

To a ride bus across an old RR bridge to Menlo Park would be unthinkable. Besides, bus seats are dirty & I wear nice clothes to work.

I also like to go out to lunch & so I need a car.


6 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 21, 2019 at 9:08 am

Posted by An Even Longer Commute, a resident of another community

>> Why would he drive from Milpitas (Santa Clara County) to Newark (Alameda County) just to take the train across the Dumbarton Bridge to Menlo Park (San Mateo County) with a final destination in Palo Alto (Santa Clara County)?

>> That is ludicrous...

It isn't "ludicrous" to take 1-1.5 hrs to drive 19-27 miles depending on what route you take? It isn't "ludicrous" to drive 27 miles through Alameda and San Mateo Counties to take the Dumbarton Bridge when that route is faster than 237? Or loop down to take Central Expressway because that is faster? Even right now, at 9 AM, Google Maps is telling me that the Dumbarton Bridge route is faster than the shortest 19 mi route on 237. Actually, at the moment, the direct route is slower than about 5 different alternative routes, including driving south on 85 for a distance.

Why do people fantasize that it only takes 20 minutes to drive something that takes 60-90 minutes? Talk about ludicrous. In reality, all the people I have known who have had to make this drive either arrived early, e.g., 6:00-7:00 AM, and leave early, 2:00-2:30 PM, or, arrived late, 10:00 AM, and leave late, after 7:00 PM.


2 people like this
Posted by Vijay
a resident of another community
on Mar 21, 2019 at 9:22 am

Depending on the direction and time of day, the Dumbarton Bridge can be a bottleneck especially going east in the late afternoon. Why bother?

To eliminate my commute to MV from Fremont, we are hoping to buy a house in Los Altos & to date, we are qualified as our down payment will be more than sufficient.

Thus I can continue to drive to Google/MV & as aforementioned, my Tesla does not pollute the environment + I enjoy driving.

For me to somehow get to ECR & then take the bus to Google from Los Altos would be ludicrous. Again, why bother?

The congestion people complain about here in quite minimal. I suggest a trip to Mumbai to experience real gridlock. No thank you.


8 people like this
Posted by george drysdale
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 21, 2019 at 11:09 am

The most successful urban area in history perhaps is Silicon Valley. Everyone wants to take part in this bonanza while there are few actual jobs in tech available. Bitcoin energy usage driving communities into bankruptcy. After California Oregon is the best for land economics study. The most land regulation by far in America with more regulations always on the way (rent control). Prop 10 stopped development in San Jose because numbers count more than words: no profit no development. There will be an investors strike against Oregon for sure. Who was it who guaranteed this? The same problem children who did it in California. Anon - of course the non profits and others who do not put up their own money want "affordable" housing. Anon - thought question in economics: Is there really such a thing as a non profit organization?

George Drysdale the tireless social studies (history is not regarded as a science as such) teacher and benefactor of Silicon Valley


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Posted by Deng Zhao
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 21, 2019 at 3:40 pm

> It is good to see so many wealthy Chinese moving into town and they are becoming a significant part of the population percentage. Soon they will have more say about how Palo Alto is run.

> You should try having conversations with some of those wealthy Chinese. You might find that subsidizing apartments for new low income residents is not high on their priority list for their new home town.

> One of the Chinese companies we service is a real estate developer that maintains ownership of these buildings upon completion. They are developer and landlord.


Rental housing is good investment given high-cost of local rent. My cousin is commercial developer from China. Silicon Valley prime real estate for such endeavor.


The Buena Vista trailor park could have provided housing for those who could afford to live in Palo Alto. Luxury condos with very expensive penthouses, a dozen or so with a clear view of the Hoover tower and wonderful Silicon Valley. Inestead all this value is going into the price of the inappropriate trailers

Balance is important or you have disgruntled population. Buena Vista trailer park serves purpose. Eliminates need for other trailer parks by showing that one is already here & no need for more. That makes remaining available land go up in value.


17 people like this
Posted by Corporate Take-Over
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 21, 2019 at 9:05 pm

California corporate CEOs have launched a multi-faceted invasion aimed at using every neighborhood they fancy to house (in new highrises) millions of additional employees to be imported. These employees promise the corporations MORE PROFIT they will keep and off-shore. Existing residents are just in the way. The invasion involves more than just SB 50 and the regional package discussed above. The San Diego City Council just voted 8-1 to rezone that city for corporate residential highrises. Money talks. A lot of politicians listen to that money. If your city is not yet "job-rich" or "transit-rich," rest assured the corporations will ensure that a frequent bus stop is added to whatever streets they want to overrun next. Since the cars of highrise dwellers parked in front of your driveways will stop you from entering or backing out, plan to start riding those buses all day long. Or feel FREE to get out of the area. Maybe even sell your house to be replaced by a residential highrise.


14 people like this
Posted by george drysdale
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 22, 2019 at 9:15 am

The Buena Vista is a disaster pure and simple. You just can't subsidize virtually any "affordable housing" in Palo Alto at around 600k a unit. The Buena Vista is already becoming a classic in real estate economics. George Drysdale on the Buena Vista internet. Palo Alto has been robbed as virtually anybody who can count has already seen. "The Catastrophe in Capitola and the Great Santa Cruz land swindle . . " internet. Numbers count louder than words. Revolution? This is America with it's constitution.

George Drysdale social studies teacher


27 people like this
Posted by Deng Zhao
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 22, 2019 at 9:57 am

> George Drysdale the tireless social studies (history is not regarded as a science as such) teacher and benefactor of Silicon Valley

Behavioral sciences not true science because results are oftentimes different.

History definitely not science...just dates with subjective analysis.

Old joke...'Social sciences (i.e. sociology & psychology) = science of the obvious. Economics = the same but with charts & graphs.


I agree Mr. Drysdale. Buena Vista trailer park = waste of valuable land as it is not reaping its economic value.

Does not take science to figure that one out.


7 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 22, 2019 at 11:31 am

One major problem here is that the Gov is using the gas tax we voted on to manipulate the housing market. The gas tax was voted on as a singular tax to repair the roads. The LA papers are now on the attach regarding the Gov's positions which are a direct contradiction of what the voting citizens have approved. The gas tax is not a leverage against the housing market. So our whole system of voting for a position can be thrown out when expedient. Where is Mr. Berman - our state representative in all of this. He is not going to succeed in the political endeavors unless he is publicly responsive to what the people who voted for him want. We are not going to be bounced around to satisfy someone else's political overreach.


6 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 22, 2019 at 12:48 pm

Posted by resident, a resident of Adobe-Meadow

>> One major problem here is that the Gov is using the gas tax we voted on to manipulate the housing market. The gas tax was voted on as a singular tax to repair the roads. [...] We are not going to be bounced around to satisfy someone else's political overreach.

Jerry Brown was governor 16 years out of the last 44, or more than 1/3 of the time. (And, Secretary of State and Attorney General.) I guess he liked politics and voters liked him. While he had a unique spin on things, generally, he was socially liberal with respect to individual rights, and fiscally conservative. California politics is dominated by urban areas, and California voters seemed to like Brown's fiscally-conservative socially-liberal stance.

That doesn't seem to align very well with national politics, because of the weird state-wise urban/rural split the US has, where 40% of voters in rural-dominated states get to impose their fiscally liberal (borrow money to pay for national defense), right-wing-authoritarian social views, dominate due to the urban/rural split in the (very roughly speaking) Mississippi drainage.

I generally agree with you that road repair should be priority spending for fuel taxes (the Prius really doesn't like those huge potholes), you should be aware that most of the damage to ECR etc has been and is being done by those massive construction trucks. Heavy trucks are responsible for most road wear and damage. (I've posted detailed references on this previously. See Google Scholar.) So, I'm not in favor of raising gas taxes to repair the roads-- we should tax heavy trucks directly for the wear and tear they cause.

How does this relate to SB50? Well, if trucks were taxed correctly, a lot more heavy hauling would be done by rail. Some connection there, since SB50 ostensibly is supporting rail (people) transit-- though, it isn't really, it is about making money for high-rise office developers.


12 people like this
Posted by Nasser/On Buena Vista
a resident of another community
on Mar 23, 2019 at 8:51 am

[Post removed due to unverifiable factual assertions.]


6 people like this
Posted by In Support Of Mr. Drysdale
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 23, 2019 at 9:33 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


4 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 23, 2019 at 10:23 am

We have heavy dirt hauling trucks on San Antonio and ECR relative to new construction in this area. I think the gas tax we voted on is for the streets that are typically used by commuters. Mr. Roadshow articles in the SJM show where people have a lot of concerns. I have noted large trucks in the SU area for construction on that side of the city. So we have housing going up which helps in the statistical drive to housing. MP is also adding housing on the ECR section next to the tracks. So lots of work going on - why not included in the statistics which satisfy receipt of state funding? We can only go so fast here - it takes time to maneuver the resources required for housing. I think we are doing a good job but resent Sacramento and SF calling the shots when they have not cleaned up their area.


8 people like this
Posted by george drysdale
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 23, 2019 at 12:16 pm

Den Zhao: the final word in physics (exact science): The Heisenberg theory of indeterminancy. Most important science: Politics of course (Aristotle). The Buena Vista disgrace: Washington state law says you can build to the highest and best use - the law in a non-barbaric state. Before our present mayor Palo Alto's government had (has) the mind of a idealistic school girl (men test much higher in economics). I'm waiting to see the prices charged for a 5k trailer in the Buena Vista 100k, 200k? The disgrace of Palo Alto will help bring down rent control in California along with Mountain View and it's "idealistic" bent of rent control.

George Drysdale the initator willing to doze his house and others in fire trap Professorville


5 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 23, 2019 at 1:05 pm

Posted by george drysdale, a resident of Professorville :

>> Washington state law says you can build to the highest and best use - the law in a non-barbaric state.

"LMGTFY" "images homeless people I-5 seattle"


10 people like this
Posted by Outdoor Entertainment Gal
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 23, 2019 at 1:20 pm

Dear Mr. Drysdale,

Would a more upscale trailer park (with more upscale residents & amenities) have been feasible?

In other words, a privately owned/managed 'boutique' trailer court that exemplified the Palo Alto lifestyle & raised the bar on typical trailer court residencies & the residents themselves?

Maybe something along the lines of 'an experience in modern living' as per a Sunset magazine theme with ideas for interior design modifications, landscaping tips & outdoor dining gathering ideas among friends?

It appears that PA's only trailer court may have taken the wrong direction.




7 people like this
Posted by Winter
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 23, 2019 at 2:23 pm

Let me clarify the many misstatements and inaccuracies here about Buena Vista , here in my neiborhooghb since 1927.

1. Palo Alto and the County of Santa Clara each put in $14.5 million of developers money required to be paid into respective Affordable Housing Funds. No taxpayer money from either was used to buy BV’s 4.5 acres and the amt from each is capped - so no more money will be paid from either for BV. This was a great deal for our city. 4.5 acres of feed restricted land for below market rate housing on a transportation corridor! Nearly 400 residents saved from displacement, 95% low income. The kids staying in our good schools and graduating. We just gave $10m to Wilton Ct. fo 59 units for abt 60 people, no kids, on abt half an acre on El Camino for comparison.

2. The person who claims they once lived at BV is factually inaccurate on enough points that his entire screed becomes incredible. There are too many to address. I know BV and residents very well and know the onsite management which is highly competent, engaged and experienced in managing mobile home parks.

The number of households and number of residents in each and their ages are absolutely known. There is not an unusual number of minor age children there. And yes - sometimes they do play outside as all kids do.

The kindness of the community is greater there than commonly found some places, perhaps because they have been through a great struggle that united them in common cause - saving BV. The Board of Directors of their residents Assoc now works with Management - the Board just wrote new Rules to govern BV that was accepted by owner and management.

Think again before you put down my neighbors at BV. Instead we can look forward to the big infrastructure and housing upgrade there that is being planned as I write this.





4 people like this
Posted by JR
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 23, 2019 at 2:31 pm

BV was money well-spent. You cannot build or buy low-income housing for less than the price that was paid for BV. I suspect the real reason some are angry about the BV purchase is that developers made ZERO on the deal. Imagine creating dozens of new low-incoming housing units without giving a dime to developers. It's not only possible, it was just done. Now developers are fighting back.


17 people like this
Posted by No Room At The Inn
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 23, 2019 at 3:53 pm

I have passed by Buena Vista on countless occasions as I also reside in Barron Park & can vouch for the poster who contributed a less than stellar review.

The site is ramshackle & in disarray...some might call it visual blight.

Buena Vista needs some sort of homeowner's (or tenant) association to work together & make the place more presentable.

It's not about resident concerns over their property values going down due to Buena Vista's presence...it's about the residents at Buena Vista having & showing some pride in the overall appearance of their trailer park.

As far as developers bemoaning a lost opportunity, that's their problem.

Buena Vista sans any 'cleanup' or beautification process on its own gives some trailer parks their less than savory reputation as dumps.


11 people like this
Posted by Pat Burt
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 23, 2019 at 6:36 pm

Pat Burt is a registered user.

I'm not sure how this thread shifted to Buena Vista, but I'll try to offer some information on BV. Caritas, Web Link, the non-profit that is now managing BV, is in the first stages of a multi-million dollar upgrade to the facilities at their expense. My understanding is that Caritas has already begun some upgrades such as the utilities and an after school study lab. In the next two years or so they will be replacing most of the old trailers with ones in much better condition, as well as other common space improvements.
Those in Barron Park, the PTA and others of us who worked to preserve this community know many of the families who reside there. They are hard working families doing the jobs that play vital roles in a balanced and healthy society which is steadily harder for us to maintain in our region. And they work hard so that their children can have opportunities that they did not have.
Yes, it is not easy to find room at the inn anymore around here, but I did not think the lesson of that story was to disparage the condition of the humble manger. Fortunately, most of our community is compassionate towards those less fortunate and we value retaining as much social and economic diversity as we can.


11 people like this
Posted by Adrian Watch
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 24, 2019 at 6:44 am

This is where vice mayor Fine stands (he is joining in on an attack on Lydia Kou on Twitter). Fine has cast his lot with Wiener, not Palo Alto voters.

" All of which shows why #SB50 is needed - because us local electeds are not going to solve this problem."

[Portion removed.]


10 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 24, 2019 at 8:03 am

We have young people on the PACC which are obvious in their political goals to assume higher positions in the CA political scene. So they are hanging with those people in the CA legislator which are hitting the newspapers. That is where they want to be. However the people they are supporting are not doing the job for the SF city areas they are coming from. The city of SF is increasingly unmanageable relative to cost of living, transportation which is failing, homelessness, drug use. So people like to be in the newspaper but are really not effective in their own district and are just shoving the problems down the peninsula. Weiner and Chiu hope to increase their political profile but in reality they are just digging a bigger hole their districts cannot get out of. No vote for them in the future elections. Does that message come across loud and clear? Maybe developers should be providing more help in SF the city to clean up their act to bolster everyone in the area.


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

on Mar 24, 2019 at 8:52 am

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


7 people like this
Posted by Seriously
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 24, 2019 at 9:53 am

“They are hard working families doing the jobs that play vital roles in a balanced and healthy society which is steadily harder for us to maintain in our region.”

That’s the platitude which no one is permitted to question. would be interesting to know what the actual workforce participation rate is there, compared to the rest of Palo Alto. It would also be interesting to revisit that number ten years from now, after another huge chunk of low-skilled jobs have been replaced with automation.

We keep being told that we need unskilled workers in the most knowledge-intensive region on the planet, while at the same time there are other regions that actually have infilled jobs for them.


10 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto RV Dwellers Association
a resident of another community
on Mar 24, 2019 at 1:24 pm

As per Mr. Pat Burt...

"Fortunately, most of our community is compassionate towards those less fortunate and we value retaining as much social and economic diversity as we can."

Very admirable but what about community compassion towards the transient RVs parked along ECR & in various shopping center parking lots in Palo Alto?

Shouldn't they be afforded the same compassion & residential opportunities as the current residents of the Buena Vista trailer park?

As the informal chairperson of the Palo Alto RV Dwellers Association, I propose that Palo Alto along with Santa Clara County source & produce an area in Palo Alto where transient RVs & their families can park for an extended period of time. It could be either on municipal-owned land or provided by private parties who are also willing to install basic public utilities (i.e. electricity, sewage disposal and running water). Rental/usage fees could then be established based on one's ability to pay with exceptions mandated for the disabled and/or elderly.

This would be a step in the right direction as Palo Alto apparently prides itself as being a progressive & socially-conscious community.

The RV site should be convenient to meet basic shopping needs & within close proximity of public transportation as many of these RVs are disabled or inoperable in a regular basis.


15 people like this
Posted by Pat Burt
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 24, 2019 at 1:44 pm

Pat Burt is a registered user.

It's interesting to see that concern over SB50 is not limited to the bay area and that some of the strongest opposition comes from renter advocates, Web Link.
These advocates have experienced first hand what housing economists have long understood, that housing economics are not as simple as a supply and demand refrain (that tends to omit the demand aspect), Web Link. Housing is a very stratified market where new high end housing may mitigate prices very modestly in the high end market, but it has no impact on rates for moderate and low income units. On the other hand, adding subsidized supply to the lower market segment not only benefits the direct beneficiaries, it has also some benefit in prices more broadly in that market segment.
Lastly, the YIMBY activists and their supporters in the state legislature and development industry should reflect on the polling in this LA Times article, Web Link. Not only does the electorate believe that the housing problem is not being caused by lack of new market rate supply, they also strongly disagree with a state takeover of local zoning. The background study actually showed that 75% of likely voters are opposed to greater state control of local zoning.


Like this comment
Posted by @Pat Burt
a resident of another community
on Mar 24, 2019 at 2:08 pm

I like how you completely washed over how that article said that Experts are saying we need to build more housing and went straight for what Joe Public thinks. Turns out that the average person doesn't understand how the housing market works, shocking!


6 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto RV Dwellers Association
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 24, 2019 at 2:19 pm

> I like how you completely washed over how that article said that Experts are saying we need to build more housing and went straight for what Joe Public thinks.

It is called covering one's bases using a vaguely stated position that will appeal to the masses while remaining uncontroversial. Used frequently in politics.

Example...the establishment of a county subsidized trailer parks illustrates the compassion of a community towards the downtrodden while further addressing the 'compassionate' accommodation of transient RVs is a topic to be ignored because an admirable one case scenario apparently solves the problem at large.


9 people like this
Posted by Pat Burt
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 24, 2019 at 2:56 pm

Pat Burt is a registered user.

I agree that we also need to address the needs of RV dwellers. Several years ago, Karen Holman and I attempted to get the city to explore a more long term site with adequate amenities. The Downtown Streets Team non-profit organization offered to consider running it. It did not receive majority support on the council at that time, but the support may be greater today. A particular location worth considering is the city owned former Los Altos Wastewater Treatment site near the east end of San Antonio Rd. Two acres of it are currently used for temporary construction equipment storage.
Several of us have been discussing inclusion of such a project within a set of local housing initiatives. County funding is possible, in addition to city and non-profit resources. As noted at the end of the op-ed, my email is patburt11@gmail.com, if you or anyone else would like to discuss that or other related issues.


10 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto RV Dwellers Association
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 24, 2019 at 6:35 pm

> A particular location worth considering is the city owned former Los Altos Wastewater Treatment site near the east end of San Antonio Rd. Two acres of it are currently used for temporary construction equipment storage.

How magnanimous...just stick the RVs and their owners in some remote area away from sight & shopping convenience. At a former sewage treatment site no less.

Buena Vista is conveniently located. The same consideration should be applied towards an RV site.

Palo Alto is not a compassionate city towards those less fortunate. Surprise!


2 people like this
Posted by pmarca
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 25, 2019 at 2:04 am

SB50 is a positive step to address a large crisis, although it doesn't go far enough and it's really disappointing to see the NIMBY's continue to resist the necessary change for the future.

The goals of SB50, specifically to allow more-than-tiny 4 or 5 story buildings near transit, are okay, but we need much taller, mixed use structures (tall means 10, 15, 20, 30, 40 story) across Palo Alto and the region, not just by transit areas.

For some NIMBY's, there is a legitimate concern about traffic, but the irony is that if you build high-rise, mixed-use structures, you would REDUCE traffic because people don't need to drive as much between points and by having more housing, you also REDUCE the need for people driving to and from Palo Alto.

As a reality check, most of the traffic in Palo Alto is from people forced to drive here for their job (or Stanford). The actual percentage of traffic in Palo Alto that is purely Palo Alto residents is likely less than 50%.

If you want to kill traffic, BUILD MORE HOUSING, but make it tall and mixed-use.

Palo Alto isn't ever going to solve this crisis unless it makes dramatic change. And, sorry to break the news, but as long as Stanford and tech companies exist, the problem will only get FAR worse unless it's solved.

It CAN be solved.


3 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 25, 2019 at 7:15 am

So a resident of Stanford is advising us all on our responsibilities regarding housing. People who live on Stanford land do not own the land - only the house. All living arrangements are under the control of the university land management. So they all have a safety net regarding the amount of housing and location. Webster House in PA was originally built for retired professors so that their homes could be bought by young professors with families. SU now has facilities in Redwood City which allows more stories for apartments. So SU is moving parts of it's operations to San Mateo County which has different rules regarding building height.


8 people like this
Posted by @Pmarca
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 25, 2019 at 8:21 am

As a member of the Stanford administration, I really think you should push for Stanford to contribute to the Bay Area infrastructure. Stanford can afford to make a substantial investment in improving mass transit for the area, not just Stanford. It can build dense housing for staff (not senior staff) on campus. It can build a school and playing fields. When Stanford has done that, then I will welcome your opinion on development in Palo Alto. Right now, Stanford is just trying to force as many of its costs out onto residents as it can.


3 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 25, 2019 at 10:19 am

SU is a non-profit organization. So above recommendation is welcome. I always thought that the BART which we paid taxes on in SC County should travel on the 280 side of the campus with a number of stops on campus and at the VA center. We could eliminate so many issues with transportation on that side of the campus. Reduce traffic on 280 and create link to SU in Redwood City instead of Caltrain which is overburdened. Also link to southern high-tech facilities in Cupertino - Apple.


15 people like this
Posted by How To Ban Transient RVs In Palo Alto
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 25, 2019 at 1:25 pm

@Palo Alto RV Dwellers Association

Another possibility depending on local funding appropriations & governing body approval....

(1) Simply pay the RV Dwellers to move, say $2500.00 per vehicle owner with a signed agreement that they are never to park again in Palo Alto.
(2) Upon breach of such an agreement, the PAPD reserves the right to have returning RVs (a) cited, (b) towed away, and (3) impounded until both a fine is paid along with a possible remuneration of the exit bonus/fee.

That should do the trick as private property owners of shopping center parking lots would also retain the right to contact the PAPD citing unauthorized trespassing.


2 people like this
Posted by @@Pmarca
a resident of another community
on Mar 25, 2019 at 2:51 pm

"Right now, Stanford is just trying to force as many of its costs out onto residents as it can."

It's always funny to hear someone in Palo Alto complain about others externalizing costs onto them.


23 people like this
Posted by Seriously
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 25, 2019 at 3:55 pm

@How To Ban Transient RVs:

I suspect that every vagrant in Northern California would make a bee-line for Palo Alto to get in on that deal.

What we really need is just that the police do their jobs, enforce the laws on the books, and stop pandering to wacky fringe special interest groups.


22 people like this
Posted by Anti RV PA Resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 25, 2019 at 5:04 pm

> I suspect that every vagrant in Northern California would make a bee-line for Palo Alto to get in on that deal.

Agreed. Why pay transient RV dwellers to leave Palo Alto?

(1) Cite them, (2) tow away the RVs & (3) charge an impoundment fee.

That would end any 'bee-line' for Palo Alto.

Nearly everyone has to pay rent or a mortgage. Why should squatters reside for free? A simple question.


1 person likes this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 26, 2019 at 6:32 am

I have noted that there are RV's on ECR that are propped up by all type of adjustments. Aren't they suppose to be moved every 72 hours? Go up to RWC - do not see any RV's on ECR = they are at the KMART parking lot and side streets in the commercial areas and they can move on all good wheels. But wait - we do not have any big box stores or much of a commercial area of an industrial nature. And EPA has them on the back shoreline road. Question to the city is who is making the calls on RV's which do not appear to be able to move anywhere? What non-profit group is working this issue to support the RV people vs the city citizens?

Just came back from Baltimore - the joys of a city which depends on a giant non-profit - John Hopkins to keep the city lights on plus churches which struggle to stay open. Whole blocks of degradation in buildings. The joys of a Blue City. Start naming names of organizations who are pressuring the city on these issues and who in the city keeps chucking up the citizens interests vs RV dwellers who work in other cities but live in RV's in our city. Enough already - those people ned to move their RV's to the cities they are working in.


10 people like this
Posted by RVs Are Here To Stay...Apparently
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 26, 2019 at 9:00 am

> Question to the city is who is making the calls on RV's which do not appear to be able to move anywhere?

* It is very difficult to tow an RV that is on blocks.

> Go up to RWC - do not see any RV's on ECR = they are at the KMART parking lot...

* Transient RVs parked in shopping center lots is also problematic for actual shoppers seeking parking spaces...especially during busy shopping hours. This is not a viable solution either.

> What non-profit group is working this issue to support the RV people vs the city citizens?

* Some churches allow RV parking but this is also problematic as many churches are in residential areas & the neighbors will complain + the RVs must move when services are being held to accommodate churchgoers.

> Enough already - those people need to move their RV's to the cities they are working in.

* Many RV dwellers are not employed unless you consider recycling a profession. As a result, there is no reason for them to move closer to their place of employment. Mountain View and Palo Alto are very attractive nesting sites for transient RV dwellers. It's a place called home for many.


8 people like this
Posted by george drysdale
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 26, 2019 at 9:04 am

I'm doing my best to build more "affordable housing" in San Jose with all those rent controlled mobile home parks. A vast acreage of price fixed land making the price fixed mobile homes sell for many times their actual value. A total rip off like the Buena Vista trailer park. Caritas is part of the racket: "The Catastrophe in Capitola and the great Santa Cruz land Swindle" internet. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Numbers speak louder than words if your I.Q. is high enough.

George Drysdale Mr. can do for the state of Californa.


2 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 26, 2019 at 9:18 am

Resident of Barron Park - just a shrug of the shoulders with no answer or level of responsibility. Just accept whatever level of degradation we are experiencing. I have been in the back roads of Barron Park - very inviting area with lots of tree and leafy areas. Don't see any RV's on your back roads. You are a hidden gem. Except for ECR you are apparently exempt from RV intrusions. [Portion removed.] Our concern is the major eyesore on ECR where we have a major university and high school. Why does the city allow this type of activity? What churches are supporting this type of activity? How is it concentrated in areas where our youth are?


10 people like this
Posted by RVs Are Here To Stay...Apparently
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 26, 2019 at 9:33 am

> A vast acreage of price fixed land making the price fixed mobile homes sell for many times their actual value. A total rip off like the Buena Vista trailer park. Caritas is part of the racket...The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

*With that in mind...since most of the Town & Country Villages (e.g. Sunnyvale & San Jose) are now gone due to commercial redevelopment, why not demolish the remaining Palo Alto Town & Country Village and develop it into a mass housing site for transient RV inhabitants?

This would both illustrate & confirm Palo Alto's ongoing commitment to people of all diversities & economic backgrounds while possibly creating a model for other cities to follow.

We should evolve past perceived property valuations & strive towards the betterment of humanity. There is also enough acreage at Town & Country Village for a recycling center, public restrooms & a moderately-sized north county social services complex to serve the needy (i.e. rent subsidies, food stamps, welfare program administration etc.).

This would also dispel Palo Alto's reputation as an upwardly-mobile snooty town.
Progressive steps have already been taken as SC County Criminal Court is now conducted in Palo Alto while the Civil proceedings take place in San Jose...a nice switch as PA Superior Court used to be Small Claims, Civil & Traffic division.

Moving the hard-core criminal cases to Palo Alto has shown that the city is fully capable of distancing itself from its reputation as a bedroom community and county jail busses filled with inmates roll into PA from SJ on a daily basis.

Let's look past ourselves Palo Altans...who cares about increased residential property values as many of us have already reaped the benefits of overvaluation & inflation. Another million or two won't make that much of a difference to our overall existence.

Let's apply those hypothetical losses to housing the downtrodden & make Palo Alto an open community.


4 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 26, 2019 at 10:02 am

So take yourself to Baltimore - a Blue City and see how your attempts at being an open city turns out - not good. Major businesses move out because their employees are subject to harassment and they have to charge a high tax to support their diminishing tax base - which is where we are going. Trying to dictate overall hypotheticals which do not pan out in reality serves no purpose. Dragging everyone into the abyss to prove a point? Sorry - this is a constitutional country = not a theocracy where every extreme available gets to move the overall rights of everyone else based on their local shaman's agenda.


5 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 26, 2019 at 11:20 am

Annette is a registered user.

Thank you, Winter D.

Jumping tracks: if T&C was gone, where would the PALY kids buy lunch? I ask that somewhat facetiously but the fact is, T&C is part of this community's fabric. When ideas and theories are bandied about, the ripple effects should be taken into consideration and addressed before irreversible action is taken. Retail is part of infrastructure and if it continues to be eroded by commercial development, people are going to need to use their CARS to shop or resort to services that use CARS for delivery. If car-free or car-light is the goal, retail has to be available in the vicinity of housing. Ditto services.


8 people like this
Posted by george drysdale
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 26, 2019 at 12:25 pm

Just checked. I believe I've crashed the mobile home market in San Jose. Economists have their ways. Diversity does not bring strength unless you're talking about the highly skilled worker who doesn't worry about his ethnic background but his work. Now, the city council has to worry about how to get the Buena Vista mobile trailer park back to the city otherwise the Buena Vista will become an icon for dumbness on the part of college towns. The crash heard around the world. Rent control in California is going out with a crash after the correction: Prop 10 soundly defeated. Mayor of Palo Alto become world famous by your next courageous moves. Palo Alto defrauded.

George Drysdale, in the kingdom of the blind the two eyed man is emporor


6 people like this
Posted by Den Zhao
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 26, 2019 at 12:47 pm

> Diversity does not bring strength unless you're talking about the highly skilled worker who doesn't worry about his ethnic background but his work. Now, the city council has to worry about how to get the Buena Vista mobile trailer park back to the city otherwise the Buena Vista will become an icon for dumbness on the part of college towns. The crash heard around the world.

Mr. George Drysdale a brilliant man & mind...should be governor of California.

Buena Vista = poor usage of available land resources. Bad economics & bad for Palo Alto housing concerns.


4 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2019 at 2:46 pm

Posted by Den Zhao, a resident of Charleston Gardens

>> Buena Vista = poor usage of available land resources.

I mostly agree. But, I think people wanted to do something to preserve some amount of low-income housing around here. New high rises will -never- be low-income unless the government pays for them. Builders can't make money building low-income housing: Web Link


10 people like this
Posted by RV Dweller/About Town
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 27, 2019 at 8:01 am

> Just accept whatever level of degradation we are experiencing.

You are 'personally' being degraded by seeing random RVs parked in Palo Alto?

Please explain this 'degradation' of your spirit & soul.

> Our concern is the major eyesore on ECR where we have a major university and high school.

So this is simply a matter of appearances for appearances sake?

Such an affront to one's sense & sensibilities.


4 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 27, 2019 at 10:59 am

Maybe the RV dweller can explain why parked on ECR - where they work - we already know some work as far as the SF airport. So a choice has been made by RV dwellers to stick out as much as possible, hopefully to get the city to pay them to leave? Sanitation is a real problem here which is not matter of "appearances" - is real problem. Some guy was parked on my street and got out to pee in the street. Didn't care who saw him. There are no electrical hookups or sanitation stations on ECR so bad choice. I think anyone would want a place with hookups for electric and sanitation as a minimum.


2 people like this
Posted by Another RV Dweller Chiming In
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 27, 2019 at 12:48 pm

"Maybe the RV dweller can explain why parked on ECR - where they work - we already know some work as far as the SF airport."

We don't work at a regular job so a commute to SFO is pointless & irrelevant.

"Sanitation is a real problem here which is not matter of "appearances" - is real problem. Some guy was parked on my street and got out to pee in the street. Didn't care who saw him."

We have a fully functioning toilet in our RV. Some do & some don't. Perhaps best to address public urination on a case-by-case basis....you be the watchdog.

"There are no electrical hookups or sanitation stations on ECR so bad choice. I think anyone would want a place with hookups for electric and sanitation as a minimum."

We have a small Honda AC generator & the traffic noise along ECR covers it up. Again, some do while others don't.

Next question/complaint?


6 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 28, 2019 at 6:53 am

It is recognized that some RV's are more self sustaining than others. Some actually can drive to someplace else. However the regulations are not a piece meal solution to who ever has a better RV. The quality of life for any small city has to be consistent regarding regulations as to who or what is parked where. Can I buy a small airplane and park it at my house? Individual RV owners do not make up the rules, and it is not the citizens job to regulate RV locations based on the quality of the RV attributes. WE are taxpayers who have a city staff that is paid to do that job. So city staff do that job - figure out a location for RV's, presumably east of 101 - and provide electrical and sanitation support. The county of San Mateo does not have RV's on ECR - MP, Atherton, RWC. So why do we? EPA has their RV's on the Bay Road. Is there some non-profit group pressuring the city to do otherwise? Is there a lack of budget in PA to set-up a location off the grid to support RV's? Is the police department being told to back off by some organization or county employee? Put some names out there. But do not tell people that the individual RV owners make up the rules here. No one RV owner is responsible for any other RV owner who lacks sanitation requirements.


4 people like this
Posted by george drysdale
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 28, 2019 at 9:42 am

Let's get practical. While rebuilding Palo Alto we need a construction force R.V.s are perfect for the rebuilding of Silicon Valley. You have to move around for job sites. Remember save your money when possible. Good wages are to be had when you have something to build. Palo Alto's housing is too old for the platinum valued land prices. Old house: more than 90 years old. Concrete separates from rebar. San Francisco is a disaster waiting to happen. The cause: rent control. The statewide housing crises is something of a myth. If you can keep your job you get free rent at one of the homeless centers. Check out San Diego. It gets difficult to move some out of such a cozy deal. The Buena Vista: is there a population explosion now going on there?

George Drysdale with Palo Alto as the spear point let's take rent control out of Silicon Valley and then the big prize San Francisco. At least a trillion dollar placement for foundation work alone.


3 people like this
Posted by The Last Of The Ohlones
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2019 at 10:04 am

Transient RVs are the conestogas (covered wagons) of the modern era. They arrive carrying weary travelers in search of a new home.

Palo Alto with its many streets & convenience to shopping, mass transit, and recycling centers provides an attractive area in which to settle in and in many ways, it is a 21st century extension of resettling as per Manifest Destiny.

The hostile and unfriendly Palo Alto residents who oppose these new settlors are symbolic of the Native American tribes who sought to prevent new people from establishing new homes on their native lands.

The only difference is that most established Palo Altans are not eco-friendly nor at one with their respective environment. They create traffic gridlock, argue over train crossings, municipal parking availabilty and old hotels while opting to congest the region even further with their self-serving presence and materialistic aspirations.




4 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 28, 2019 at 11:40 am

The last time I looked the US is a democratic, constitutional government. It is mot a Theocracy where every shaman supporting an agenda gets to push their individual take on the nation relative to existing sanitation laws. We have requirements on the books regarding sanitation, waste removal, etc. We should also have regulations - it is obvious the MP. Atherton, RWC have already worked this out. Does anyone have a problem with us being consistent with the other cities north of us? What is Santa Clara Counties problem with controlling sanitation laws and the use of city property to maintain same? This is 2019 and the knowledge bases concerning sanitation - or lack of same is voluminous.


2 people like this
Posted by Oh Really?
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 28, 2019 at 12:29 pm

> It is mot a Theocracy where every shaman supporting an agenda gets to push their individual take on the nation relative to existing sanitation laws

What does religion have to do with toiletry? Is there a High Priest of Sanitation?

I have never seen any RV dwellers defecating along ECR...then again, I've never stopped to notice as one must keep up with the flow of traffic.


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

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