News


Bills to encourage housing density near transit advance in Senate

Lawmakers seek compromise between competing visions for addressing housing shortage

Two state bills that would allow more housing density in transit corridors cleared their first legislative hurdles this week, though each proposal will likely see significant changes before it becomes law.

Senate Bill 50, a proposal by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, that would require cities to relax height, density and parking restrictions in "transit-rich" and "jobs-friendly" areas advanced on Tuesday when the Senate Housing Committee, which Wiener chairs, voted 9-1-1 to move the legislation forward.

Just after that vote, the committee voted to advance a different housing plan from Sens. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, and Jim Beall, D-San Jose. Known as Senate Bill 4, the legislation would increase height limits in cities with 50,000 or more residents and relax parking requirements within half a mile of rail stations and ferry terminals.

Under SB 4, housing developments near transit areas in these cities will be able to have one story of height beyond what is currently zoned, as well as density bonuses.

"For example, if you live in a community that allows for three stories, you'd automatically receive a fourth story by right and a maximum build-out on that lot, within half a mile of a passenger rail line or ferry terminal," McGuire said at the April 2 hearing.

Unlike with SB 50, which would apply to all jurisdictions, SB 4 would have different criteria for large and small cities. For those with populations of 100,000 or more, there would be no parking requirements within a quarter mile of rail and a ratio of 0.5 spaces per unit between a quarter mile and half a mile from the transit area. For cities with fewer than 100,000 residents, the parking requirement would be 0.5 spaces per unit within half a mile (there would be no total waiver of parking requirements within a quarter mile of transit stops).

Another difference between the two bills is that SB 4 would only apply to jurisdictions that have built fewer homes than jobs in the past decade, while SB 50 would cover all cities and towns. And while SB 50 also provides incentives for housing near "high-quality bus corridors," SB 4 only provides building incentives in areas near rail and ferry terminals and exempts site in architectural or historically significant historic districts, coastal zones, flood plains and "fire hazard severity zones."

Though it largely focuses on transit corridors, SB 4 has one provision that is not tied to transportation at all. If it passes, fourplexes would be allowed "by right" at vacant parcels in cities with populations greater than 50,000. In smaller cities, duplexes would be allowed by right.

The bill, which McGuire said covers "90 percent of the state" advanced on Tuesday by an 8-1 vote. Wiener and McGuire had abstained from voting on each other's bills and agreed to work together in the weeks to come to reach a compromise solution. Both bills are set to go to the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on April 24.

In introducing SB 4, McGuire said the legislation advances "thoughtful strategies" that will help address the state's housing shortage. Echoing an often-repeated criticism of SB 50, McGuire said that a "blanket one-size-fits-all approach" does not work when it comes to housing solutions.

Much like Wiener's bill, SB 4 would have an "inclusionary housing" provision, requiring new developments that receive height and density concessions to designate some of their units as below-market-rate housing.

The April 24 meeting will take place almost exactly a year after the Housing Committee voted to reject Wiener's prior proposal to encourage more housing near transit. Known as SB 827, that bill died in the committee by a 4-6 vote, with both McGuire and Beall voting against it. Now, the legislators are hoping to reach a compromise that each side can support and that can win over the rest of their colleagues in the Legislature as well as Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has made housing one of his top priorities identified during his "State of the State" address.

While the legislation is still set for revisions, Wiener called the Tuesday vote on SB 50 an "important step toward addressing California's severe housing crisis."

"We need bold ideas that will have a real impact on our 3.5 million home deficit," Wiener said in a statement after the vote. "SB 50, in combination with other strong housing proposals, will help move the dial.

"California's housing shortage is threatening our environment, economy, diversity and quality of life. We must reform how we approach housing and, once and for all, elevate housing to a top priority."

Related content:

Learn more about state bills on housing currently working their way through the Legislature by watching the April 5 episode of "Behind the Headlines," now available on our YouTube channel and podcast page.

---

Follow the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online on Twitter @PaloAltoWeekly and Facebook for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

What is community worth to you?
Support local journalism.

Comments

10 people like this
Posted by HousingIsaRight
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 5, 2019 at 7:51 pm

SB 4 seems like a NIMBY gambit to water down SB 50 to something the NIMBY cities could tolerate. Weiner is very likely to give into this small vs big city bifurcation, yet Palo Alto is preying he gives into nixing the 'jobs rich' areas upzoning and delaying application to 'sensitive poor communities', both of which the poor people want. There is going to be a lot of horse trading until the next hearing on the 24th. Hope Weiner doesn't water down SB 50 to the point of worthlessness like he did 827.


34 people like this
Posted by Buy and Upzone 335 Webster
a resident of another community
on Apr 5, 2019 at 9:36 pm

Fine and other members of the Scott Wiener's fan club have a chance to put money where their mouth is. Next Tuesday, buy the former City manager's share of a single family home. Use it for affordable housing/shelter now. Then use SB50 to upzone it into 4, 8 or more affordable units?


50 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 6, 2019 at 10:45 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Note that the City of San Francisco Board of Supervisors from where Mr. Weiner started his political life is opposed to SB50. They are already overloaded with people and infrastructure issues. So please do not play the NIMBY card here. The specifics of the bill do not make sense. PA and surrounding cities are already dealing with excess traffic, too many children in the classrooms, etc.


46 people like this
Posted by Trojan Horses
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 6, 2019 at 12:18 pm

California Constitution, Article XIII B, Section 6(a)
In 1979, California voters added Article XIII B, Section 6 to the
California Constitution. ... Article XIII B Section 6 was intended to prevent the state from imposing new programs or requirements on local governments unless
the state funds the cost of the program. Specifically, Article XIII B Section 6 requires the state to reimburse local agencies whenever the Legislature or a state agency mandates a new program or higher level of service and the
local government has no fee authority to pay for it."

All of these proposals are trojan horses that enable big developers to transform the peninsula into a NYC/Manhattan wannabee, because SF is already suffering from being a Hong Kong wannabee, and they want the rest of the Peninsula to be the same urban jungle nevermind who they displace.

These proposals will accelerate the displacement of ordinary people. The only answer is to reduce the demand side of the equation by incentivizing the creation of new job centers.

Cities should be tallying the costs of these to their localities and sending the state the bill -- for example, from recouping the cost of creating the magical Harry Potter-like expansion of the infrastructure, to the cost of new schools, to funds to restore ordinary people's gardens after drought restrictions that are applied without any regard for the burdens of new development (I still don't have a garden, by the way, since the last drought restrictions, the new development is a slap in the face). Cities should be able to recoup their portion of future water projects, healthcare because of increased pollution, etc etc.

Maybe we could get the state to pay for the cost of a tunnel and expanding Alma....

The only way to get these lawmakers to stop pushing these horribly damaging trojan horse proposals (that aren't even that well-hidden giveaways to big developers that only create problems for small cities), is to truly tally the costs and send them the bill.


5 people like this
Posted by Keep The Trojan Horse Outside Of The Gate
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 6, 2019 at 12:32 pm

^^^ The Trojans will be all of the new residents living in Palo Alto under SB50.


20 people like this
Posted by Trojan Horses
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 6, 2019 at 3:57 pm

If SB50 passes, I can see Palo Altans passing immediate citizen initiatives for large, progressive head taxes on large companies and restrictions on size.

I also agree with the recent editorial in the Weekly, that this sort of this is going to destroy the Democratic party in California, and squander the opportunity to provide universal healthcare. The left proves it is just as susceptible to being co-opted by the plutocrats as the right (only it will be harder to erase the evidence of overdevelopment than it will be for Republicans to stop being the party of lies and corruption).


36 people like this
Posted by Classics Scholar
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 6, 2019 at 5:42 pm

> The Trojans will be all of the new residents living in Palo Alto under SB50.

The Trjoan Horse was actually filled with Greek warriors who upon exiting the Trojan Horse ramsacked & destroyed Troy.

SB50 is the Trojan Horse & the newer residents will destroy Palo Alto as we once knew it.



12 people like this
Posted by george drysdale
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 7, 2019 at 10:46 am

What's wrong with Hong Kong, it's the richest city in China. If land valuation permits the construction of high rises then do it. What I object to in SB 50 is the imposition of one size fits all and the inclusion of rent controls including inclusionary zoning. This gets you kicked out of a college prep economics class in high school and a 101 class in college to say nothing of a real estate economics class. Displacement is the history of city building now it's a heartfelt no-no. Wiener is looking for votes in San Francisco the biggest haven for free loader renters in America. Very few of he rent controlled renters are poor, just part of the most liberal city in the U.S.A.


14 people like this
Posted by Xiang
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 7, 2019 at 1:13 pm

I am originally from Hong Kong. What is wrong with compressed housing?

It accommodates more residents by vertical design like modern parking garages.

More people coming to Palo Alto and they need place to live.

San Antonio Road good use of land and space management. Looks like more buildings of this type are coming.

Good for solving housing shortages in Palo Alto.

Older and nicer residential neighborhoods will stay the same so no problem for residents there.

Redevelopment of Ventura and Barron Park will improve appearance of city an make properties worth more. East Meadow area between Alma and El Camino could use major facelift.


12 people like this
Posted by Referendum - only hope
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 7, 2019 at 4:11 pm

Article II, section 9, California Constitution.


43 people like this
Posted by JR
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 7, 2019 at 7:40 pm

"Older and nicer residential neighborhoods will stay the same so no problem for residents there." - Wrong. I suggest you read the bill. No matter where you live in Palo Alto, your neighborhood is not safe from developers if this bill passes. All it would take is a single bus stop and then zoning would effectively no longer exist within a .25 mile radius. Also this radius applies across city / county boundaries. If Menlo Park adds a bus stop on the other side of the creek then the radius extends into Palo Alto.


28 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 7, 2019 at 9:42 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

XIANG - you live here now - is that because it is nicer and does not have compressed housing? So why did you pick this city instead of downtown SF? The fact that you are here vs some other compressed city says it all. We are okay with Hong Kong retaining the honor of being a compressed city.


1 person likes this
Posted by @Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of another community
on Apr 8, 2019 at 12:51 am

Have you not considered that he may have moved to Palo Alto because he's employed there?


2 people like this
Posted by Chris
a resident of University South
on Apr 8, 2019 at 1:37 pm

JR,

You are using your free speech right to rail against SB50, but if you are against it you have to propose how Palo Alto is going to meet its housing commitments. In recent years, Palo Alto has failed miserably in getting housing built. If not for SB50, I think you would continue to sit on your hands.


41 people like this
Posted by Sense
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2019 at 1:45 pm

@Chris,
Why should Palo Alto have to build more housing and all the attendant costs, when the infrastructure is maxed out? Why shouldn't Palo Alto encourage large companies to move where they can grow, as Facebook did? The trying to expand the already maxed out infrastructure is more costly and makes way less sense.

And why should Palo Alto have built more housing anyway? As if people could have seen this kind of crush of large companies. This area has always had boom and busts, and the bust times, when places end up empty, never make housing cheap because investors find it to be such an opportunity to scoop up a (somewhat, for them) bargain.

Encourage your employer to support spending the money to create civic amenities in cities around California that have actually been losing people and want the investment. I will move with you if they do.


26 people like this
Posted by Allen Akin
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 8, 2019 at 3:37 pm

Allen Akin is a registered user.

"...you have to propose how Palo Alto is going to meet its housing commitments."

Actually, the City of Palo Alto has already met its legal housing commitments. The main thing the City is required to do is establish plans for enough new housing to meet its Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA). It did this as part of the most recent Comprehensive Plan update.

I've read that developers have asked for, and received, entitlements to build the RHNA units. The property owners simply haven't gone ahead with permits and construction.

Right now there's no meaningful limit on commercial construction, and it's more lucrative than housing, so financing is probably flowing to commercial projects instead of housing. It's also possible some developers are waiting to see what happens to SB 50 and the other bills currently in the works. If they can get a financial windfall by waiting, then it makes sense for them to wait instead of building now.

Be aware that it isn't profitable to build affordable housing here. Even if SB 50 passes, you should expect new housing to be expensive. I'm looking for better analysis of this, but haven't found anything compelling yet. In the meantime, Michael Goldman's blog (Web Link) and this report from Berkeley (Web Link) are good places to start.


35 people like this
Posted by Agree with allen
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 8, 2019 at 4:13 pm

If we are behind on our overall number it’s a matter of a few hundred housing units. Meanwhile the region is underwater by almost 500,000 jobs.

Chris, you can’t just regurgitate what someone-else says without understanding the facts. Corrupt politicians like weiner want you to think it’s palo alto’s fault because we are an easy target. We are nothing in the scheme of this imbalance. He just wants to throw ‘wealthy white privilege’ into the mix because it is the phrase of the day. Meanwhile the Duke and Harvard educated white privileged boy that he is, has been bought by every real estate pac in the business and is just doing their bidding.


6 people like this
Posted by Chris
a resident of University South
on Apr 9, 2019 at 7:02 am

Palo Alto generates revenue from over 100,000 jobs. There is no way that Palo Alto will provide housing for for as many workers as it provides jobs, but the posters here are hypocritical in denying Palo Alto has a responsibility to significantly increase its housing commitment. The reason housing is not more affordable is because of density restrictions.

The posters here do not seem to see the irony in the fact that even San Francisco provides net housing for Pal Alto despite the fact that SF itself has a big surplus of jobs.

SB50 will not pas in its current form but the intransigence of Filseth and his cronies will not end well. It needs to show it can manage its resources responsibly if it wants to avoid detailed state regulation.


27 people like this
Posted by JR
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 9, 2019 at 7:32 am

Palo Alto has no legal or moral responsibility to build more housing. Building more developer-profit multi-story housing will not result in more affordable housing, it will only result in more developer windfalls. Palo Alto can and should build more affordable housing for existing residents, which is why SB 50 must be defeated.


7 people like this
Posted by george drysdale
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 9, 2019 at 8:57 am

Developers are the agents of demand. As such they are good people. Investment capital is the controlling factor. No profit no can do. Government oversight especially in California turns capital off. Look to Oregon with statewide rent control. Almost for certain this will lead to an investor strike. Money has better things to do than deal with Econ 101 flunkies. Resources are scarce. Government in California and Oregon is the problem. The big factor now in play: global warming.


18 people like this
Posted by Correction
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 9, 2019 at 11:37 am

Correction is a registered user.

@Chris

The city does NOT generate revenue from the 100,000 workers. Perhaps there's a small amount of sales tax attributable to them, but most of it is generated by residents. Same with property tax. The state captures the lion's share of revenue from the jobs through income tax.

I have to say that it's a little scary how much you don't understand.


20 people like this
Posted by Sunshine
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 9, 2019 at 12:30 pm

Palo Alto has always had a shortage of lower priced housing. Even when I moved to the area in 1960s, housing was expensive. Many who could afford Palo Alto CHOSE to live in Atherton, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Menlo Park. Those who could not afford Palo Alto went to Mt View and Sunnyvale.
Instead of insisting on a city by city housing requirement, it would be better to encourage an area-wide solution. Also cities should require builders to contribute to the needed infrastructure to go with the houses--increased public transportation that goes somewhere useful and on time, more schools, libraries, some good restaurants where the noise level isn't so high. If you want to pack people like sardines, then put it next door to those responsible for all the new housing--developers business developers.


5 people like this
Posted by Steve Dabrowski
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 9, 2019 at 2:11 pm

Steve Dabrowski is a registered user.

I wonder what the effect would be on global warming if all of the Bay Area and possibly Los Angeles area completely disappeared? My guess is that it would have no measurable effect on the present trajectory. I think the Yes In Your Backyard groups advocating dense housing in our area as a countermeasure to global warming are of course correct in saying it would help, but do not have any idea of the scale of the problem. Only major multinational actions have any hope of dealing in any meaningful way and even those are probably too late. SB50 and 4 are too late to save the world.


31 people like this
Posted by Don't do anything extra
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 9, 2019 at 2:24 pm

Do Palo Alto homeowners want a tall, multi-unit apt. or condo building built next door to their single family home --- with little parking? Yes, this will happen if these bills pass. And every part of Palo Alto would be affected by these bills, not just areas near transit, as Palo Alto is considered a "Jobs-Rich" zone. Not even one parking space is required per housing unit for these tall buildings. Meanwhile, neither bill guarantees that those who these bills purport to serve, people commuting to work in places like Palo Alto, will actually purchase and/or reside in these tall, multi-unit buildings, to be built next to single family homes.

Please send email to:
St. Sen Jerry Hill at: Web Link
Assm. Marc Berman at: Web Link
Palo Alto City Council: city.council@cityofpaloalto.org
Gov. Gavin Newsom: Web Link


9 people like this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 9, 2019 at 2:46 pm

Hong Kong has a well developed transit system. The Bay area does not. Palo Alto especially does not. Don't be trolled by posters saying that developers want what is best for the residents of our city or that Hong Kong is a good example for what this region needs. When those structures on San Antonio are completed and filled it will be clear that the debate over closing Churchill was a laughable distraction from the coming gridlock. What IS clear is that no one ever attempted to anticipate, plan, and build for the future. How is this for a desperate solution? Eliminate Prop 13 and normalize property taxes. Retirees (like me) will move out. Money will be available to build out transit (perhaps even a CalTrain Tunnel!)and Xiang and George can have their Hong Kong II.


26 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 9, 2019 at 3:42 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

Why is Palo Alto considered to be inflicted with a job/housing imbalance, but not Atherton, Los Altos Hills, Woodside, Portola Valley and Hillsborough? At least 5 days a week thousands of workers descend on those very wealthy towns: nannies, housekeepers, gardeners, maids, butlers, security people, chaufers, handymen, etc. Why isn't there no demand that those workers, who are mostly Hispanic, African American and Pacific Islanders be housed there? Is it because the housing "advocates" target only well paid tech workers to be provided with housing? This was a rhetorical question of course, since we know the answer.


9 people like this
Posted by george drysdale
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 10, 2019 at 11:49 am

Atherton, Woodside, etc. are too intelligent to accept government ignorance and its political agenda. The blue state where economics is the taboo science. If there is a housing shortage why are the school districts overflowing with students (those whose parents can afford the unaffordable). Government has no money except what it can tax. Thirty year bonds for "affordable housing" burdens the rest of real estate. Only one out of four who qualify receive government assistance in housing. Resources are scarce. Palo Alto, the peninsula can't provide subsidized housing to any extent. That's why I'm clearing rent control out of San Jose. First: mobile home parks make perfect land sources for much subsidized housing if this is wise. You don't want people to be married to the government.

Geroge Drysdale land economist and initiator


3 people like this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 10, 2019 at 1:41 pm

Economically illiterate Blue states are the economic powerhouses in this country.


9 people like this
Posted by george drysdale
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 11, 2019 at 12:29 pm

Even in blue states most people do not comprehend economics. Those largely white men do (Republicans with money). With Japan, South Korea, Taiwan coming aboard in development it is pale skinned men who set the agenda. Social studies is a wonderful subject. Get on the internet. All sorts of info at your finger tips. And yes, men are a lot smarter and a lot dumber than women. I.Q. tests, the pride and joy of the science of psychology. Politically correct Palo Alto. Inclusionary zoning in Palo Alto has to go. It gets you an F in economics (too much risk for the investors.

George Drysdale social studies teacher and initiator


15 people like this
Posted by Allen Akin
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 12, 2019 at 12:01 pm

Allen Akin is a registered user.

From this morning's (4/12) Merc: Web Link

3.65M sq ft office space, 6K residential units, 400K sq ft retail, 300 unit hotel. Assuming the usual (though overly-optimistic) 250 sq ft per employee for office space, and 2.3 people per unit for housing, this project has a jobs/housing imbalance of 1.1. Assuming a more realistic 150 sq ft per employee, the imbalance is 1.8. Including the employees needed for the retail areas and hotel would make the numbers worse in either case.

The lack of housing in Silicon Valley is all about development economics, not zoning restrictions. To fix the problem, we need to fix the economic incentives.


Like this comment
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 13, 2019 at 9:58 am

Why not the obvious choice? Let's just close the Cal Ave and Palo Alto Caltrain stations.

/s


5 people like this
Posted by george drysdale
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 13, 2019 at 10:34 am

Be real. Palo Alto is for the natural aristocracy. An aristocracy based on brain power. What Palo Alto can do is knock down all the old houses and create fire defensive housing under the 2008 building code. A house did survive in Paradise, a new house complying with the 2008 doctrine. Doze Palo Alto before gasoline bulldozers are banned because of climate change. We're not seeing fires anymore but fire storms.

I'm going to clear the way in the east side of Silicon for tens of thousands of new apartment houses. The problem in California is rent (price) controls. The number one grievance in economics. Look to Mountain View for the brutal demolition of price controlled "affordable housing". The long arm of economic law. Apartment houses a great investment until California's government gets involved. Votes to the Democrats are more important than the actual production of more housing at a cheaper price. "Liberals" are comparatively ignorant of economics and history as verified by Zogby and Pew testng. Very conservative people test at the top.

George Drysdale social studies teacher and initiator


4 people like this
Posted by HousingIsaRight
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on May 12, 2019 at 12:26 pm


NIMBYs like to cite how Weiner historically got big donation from developers, trying to imply that rich corporate executives and developers wrote SB 50 in their favor, which is a standard NIMBY scare tactic, to protect the high land/rent prices of the filthy rich NIMBY home owners who immorally ban apartments and renters from their backyards. While benefiting his developer donors arguably might have been what he was trying in his killed SB 827, that is certainly no longer true in the twice amended SB 50, which is now been amended to address all opposition issues, except, of course, the obstructionist NIMBYs who profit off of and caused this housing crisis. The current SB 50 is not clearly in anyone’s favor, except it was recently amended to let small city NIMBYs off the hook to get broader support.

That is, do we really believe that RE developers want 15-25% inclusionary affordability requirements, demolition protections, banning development if building has had any renter for past 7 years, excluding poor communities, etc., etc., all of which SB 50 requires/provides. It is ludicrous to think this was not a carefully negotiated approach by all equity, business, and developer stakeholders, except of course, the filthy land rich single family NIMBY home owners that caused this horrible housing/homelessness humanitarian disaster in LA and SF Bay Area.

SB 50, unlike the killed SB 827, was a product of extensive negotiations by all parties at the table. Just like the CASA compact, which rich old NIMBY single family homeowners (who created the CA housing/homelessness crisis) also are rabid against, but the young and renters (who are getting crushed and spit out of CA) strongly support it.


4 people like this
Posted by HousingIsaRight
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on May 12, 2019 at 12:28 pm

There is nothing progressive, pro-tenant, or pro-affordability about exclusionary zoning that says if you can't afford a whole building to yourself on a large lot inside a big urban city, you have to stay out of the neighborhood and effective stay out of the city, or or end up living on its streets, like what even happens to a high percentage of our college student that NIMBYs have disdain for by consistently blocking boarding housing and apartments in single family zoned 'hoods (i.e., they are banned in 50-70% of the city area, which is immorally reserved only for the NIMBYs).

The simple NIMBY truth is that they do not want any apartment (not even small or mid-sized 4-5 floor ones) next to them and they believe they have a GOD given right to zone 70% of urban cities to only allow single family homes, including along public mass transit corridors. Everything else they cite are just straw-man excuses and dissinformation hiding their only real issue: to block apartments being built next to them, trying to avoid automatically losing public support if the bad optics of their immoral position were explicitly stated as their primary issue and goal.

Obviously, no single bill can solve the affordable housing crisis. It took over 40 years of NIMBY down-zoning and gentrification to put us into this housing abyss. Yet, obviously, smart upzoning with a significant affordable housing percentage requirement and tenant protections is certain part of the solution, to counteract at least a little of the unbelievable amount of NIMBY down-zoning done.

So, no big surprise that the main opposition are NIMBY homeowner associations, city council/supervisors elected by the NIMBY homeowners, NIMBY special interest groups like the fake nonprofit AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and all their various proxies.

For example, see the Community Venture Partners who litigates against any supporting of SB 50 is simply a proxy of the city of Marin because their president is on the Marin Board of Supervisors, and Marin (esp. Mill Valley) is one of the most gentrified, racist exclusionary city/county in all of CA.

“Livable California” is another Marin County ultra NIMBY offshoot is another group of NIMBY elected officials suing to keep apartments out of their cutesy single family zoned urban ‘hoods.
Web Link
Web Link

The NIMBY Coalition to Preserve LA does similar disinformation against SB 50 too. If they had a legitimate, moral position they would not have to resort to such despicable Trump style “race bating”/disinformation tactics.

Notice how the main opposition to SB 50 are these ultra rich and ultra gentrified (racist?) homeowners backed groups, whereas that large majority of everyone else supports SB 50?

For example, NIMBYs like to cite how Weiner’s home town is even against SB 50, which is not true. In fact, the is opposite is true, because in SF, a recent poll found that 70+% of voters support SB 50. Yet, SF city supervisors made a near unanimous resolution against SB 50 , just like LA and long beach more recently did. More broadly in CA Bay Area, a recent poll found that 60% of renters support SB 50 to build apartments and more affordable housing, and 60% of homeowners (NIMBYs) are against SB 50. This is also true in LA where 64% of LA voters supported measure jjj transit oriented communities, which is pretty much like SB 50, and the high support in SF. Similarly, a recent poll also found ~60 percent of Californians support SB 50. So, we can safely say with multiple, strong lines of evidence that at least ~60 percent of Californians favor Wiener’s SB 50. Thus, the primary opposition is the vocal minority of NIMBY single family home owners who have near 100% control of their city council/supervisor elected officials because renters simply DO NOT VOTE.

So, do NIMBYs really think SF voters, LA voters, and CA voters are all heavily pro making developers rich, or maybe we, the majority, are pro getting more affordable apartments into (immorally) single family zoned areas by mass transit or job centers? NIMBYs clearly are voting to enrich their pockets and perpetuate the exclusionary/elitist stranglehold they wrongfully got over our big urban cities, while the rest of average, non-land rich, Californian’s got pushed out into the streets to die, into the fire zones to die, and into life crushing commutes to kill their and family’s quality of lives while destroying the environment w/ massive more GHG, all to preserve the NIMBY prissy ‘neighborhood character and quality of life”. NIMBYs are the height of selfishness and careless disregard for the wide-scale human suffering they caused and are causing….

Support for the polls I reference above:
Web Link (see this great program on how CASA compact was reached, at 5 min.)
Web Link
Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by Kenny
a resident of University South
on May 12, 2019 at 12:51 pm

"I am originally from Hong Kong. What is wrong with compressed housing?"

Nothing is wrong with it. Many pople who are opposed to new development are trying to create a housing and commercial space shortage. That inflates housing prices and rents. When people sell their houses, the reap a much larger profit because the shortage drives up prices.

"SB50 is the Trojan Horse & the newer residents will destroy Palo Alto as we once knew it."

Just as the people who already moved here destroyed the Palo Alto that existed before their arrival. And they have the nerve to criticize others who are doing the same thing? Hah! That didn't work before and it won't work now.

"The main thing the City is required to do is establish plans for enough new housing to meet its Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA)"

Planning is not building, thus SB50.


7 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on May 13, 2019 at 12:53 pm

Annette is a registered user.

1. It would be interesting to know how many posters have read SB50. Based on what I read in this forum, I'm guessing that many have not. I strongly suggest that everyone read it. I understand the goal of SB50, but after reading the bill I am 100% opposed. For starters, it is a mandate without funding. Translation: we pay. The bill, and the campaign promoting it, will not prove to be a panacea for this region's housing problem, Palo Alto's jobs:housing imbalance, below-market housing, or even reasonably priced housing. To claim that it will is a sham argument. And that sham is a shame if people believe it. Think twice and consider the source.

2. I wouldn't know Allen Akin if he was standing in front of me but when I see a post by him I read it carefully. Today he has again hit the nail on the head. Believe him, please, before accepting what the politicians promoting SB50 and other such bills have to say about this thorny issue. I doubt Mr. Akin is a developer and I'd bet my bottom dollar that he is not a politician. If you have questions about who is credible on this, just ask yourself how likely it is that a politician is doing something to benefit you or the public generally. It's been a long time since we've had politicians who act in the best interests of the constituents they represent and that most certainly isn't happening with SB50.


8 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on May 13, 2019 at 2:53 pm

Annette is a registered user.

@HousingIsaRight - your post suggests that you think NIMBYs are responsible for the housing shortage. You provide various data points to support your point of view (and sweeping and often disdainful generalizations about those who may see this issue differently) yet you omit entirely the ever-growing jobs side of the jobs:housing equation. The only residents who have directly contributed to that side of the equation (or abyss as you call it) are those residents who sit on City Council and vote in favor of unmitigated commercial development, time after time after time.

Also, building up is often mentioned as though vertical development doesn't have the impacts that horizontal development does. That's ridiculous of course. If the infrastructure is inadequate, it's inadequate whether we build out or we build up. Whichever way we add, we should do so only if the new development can be supported in all needed ways. YES in YOUR BACKYARD proponents object to pushback in the form of infrastructure concerns, but look around: our roads are a mess, circulation has become a misnomer, traffic is thoroughly congested. And those are just the most visually obvious deficiencies. At present we are not equipped to handle the growth that is proposed. Also, should SB50 pass, many (most?) home-hunting members of the workforce who have their sights set on Palo Alto are going to be sorely disappointed to learn that the asking price for a Palo Alto residence is not more attractive than it is today. I think Weiner and Fine et al should be forthcoming about that inconvenient truth.


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

All your news. All in one place. Every day.

Chick-fil-A quietly starts delivering out of DoorDash kitchen in Redwood City
By Elena Kadvany | 59 comments | 9,524 views

Palo Altans and their Virtue Signaling
By Sherry Listgarten | 24 comments | 2,765 views

Differentiating Grief from Clinical Depression
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 2,485 views

Halloween with grandma
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 726 views

A Voter Warning from a Wise Friend
By Diana Diamond | 14 comments | 709 views