News

Bay Area's new growth plan eyes massive housing influx in Silicon Valley

Palo Alto, Mountain View would each have to plan for over 10K new housing units by 2031 under proposal

Santa Clara County jurisdictions would have to accommodate roughly a third of the Bay Area's total housing allocations under a methodology that the Association of Bay Area Governments endorsed on Oct. 15. Pictured above is the Oak Court Apartments development in Palo Alto. Embarcadero Media file photo.

Sometime in early 2021, city planners throughout the Bay Area will receive a daunting assignment: a mandate to accommodate their cities' "fair share" of the region's projected housing growth.

Each of the 101 cities and nine counties that make up the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) will receive a portion of the 441,176 housing units that the California Department of Housing and Community Development has assigned to the Bay Area for the next cycle of the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA), which will run from 2023 to 2031. The state agency had also determined that 114,442 of these units — or 25.9% of the total — should be designated for those in the "very low" income category.

While the numbers for each city and county won't be formally adopted until early next year, the Association of Bay Area Governments offered a preview of what's to come on Oct. 15, when its Executive Board adopted a methodology for doling out the allocations, completing a complex and contentious exercise that began in fall 2019.

The committee, which consists of elected leaders from various ABAG jurisdictions, endorsed by a 24-9 vote the methodology developed by its Housing Methodology Committee. That committee, which is chaired by Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín, concluded its year of deliberations on Sept. 18 by adopting what's known as Alternative 8A. Its decision was subsequently affirmed on Oct. 1 by ABAG's Regional Planning Committee and on Oct. 15 by the Executive Board.

The approved alternative tries to spread the responsibility for new housing throughout the Bay Area, though it does so unevenly. It directs most of the housing toward cities that have plenty of jobs and transportation services and that are deemed "high opportunity" areas based on economic, educational and environmental factors. It also looks to place additional obligations on cities that exhibit economic and racial exclusion. An outsized share of the obligation will go to the area's three largest cities — San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland. San Francisco would have to plan for 72,080 housing units, San Jose for 66,522 and Oakland for 27,286.

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Silicon Valley would see dramatic growth under the proposed scenario. Jurisdictions in Santa Clara County account for 143,550 of the units between 2023 and 2031, a third of the nine-county region's total allocation. Alameda County is a very distant second, with a 19% share and 85,689 total units.

Alternative 8A creates two different methods for determining how many housing units each jurisdiction should build: one for low-income housing and another for market-rate housing. Allocation for housing units in the "very low" and "low" income categories would be primarily based on the existence of "high opportunity areas" in a given jurisdiction. That factor alone accounts for 70% of the allocation. The remaining 30% is split evenly between two factors: the ability to reach a job by car within 30 minutes and the ability to reach a job by transit within 45 minutes.

For "moderate" and "above moderate" units, 60% of the allocation is based on job proximity by an automobile, while the other 40% is based on access to "high opportunity areas."

The housing numbers are particularly eye-popping in Palo Alto and in Mountain View, two cities that enjoy a wealth of jobs, quality schools, Caltrain access and a broad swath of census tracts listed as "highest opportunity" on the state housing department's "opportunity map." Alternative 8A assigns 10,058 housing units to Palo Alto, which includes 4,055 units in the "very low" and "low" income categories, between 2023 and 2031 — a reach for a city that has consistently failed to meet its own target of 300 new units per year. If the city were to actually build this housing, the new units would represent a growth rate of 36%, higher than any other city in the county.

Mountain View is expecting an assignment of 11,380 units, with 4,532 of them in the two lowest income categories. Its growth rate would be 33%, according to ABAG.

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The cities of Santa Clara and Sunnyvale would be asked to plan for 12,047 and 12,998 housing units, respectively, though because they have larger populations the additional housing represents growth rates of 26% and 23%, respectively.

The Oct. 15 decision is not yet final. Residents and cities will have a chance to offer comments to ABAG before final housing allocations are released. Even so, the Executive Board's vote represented a major milestone for a yearlong process that featured dozens of meetings involving housing advocates, builders, county supervisors and council members from ABAG's region. Even after Alternative 8A emerged as the favored consensus of the majority, many members expressed all sorts of concerns about the adopted approach.

Officials from Napa and Sonoma counties warned about the perils of requiring heavy growth in environmentally sensitive areas that may be vulnerable to wildfires. Their counterparts from San Francisco and East Palo Alto advocated for more equity and greater obligations for historically exclusive communities.

Representatives from Contra Costa County warned that methodology that allocates too many units into "high opportunity" areas places an impossible burden on small communities that will not be able to accommodate the growth. A coalition of cities from Contra Costa County proposed an alternative that would shift additional allocations to the south bay, saddling the region with 44% of the Bay Area's total housing allocation, compared to 42% under Alternative 8A.

"Many in the surrounding regions are concerned that they are set up to fail under this option 8A, since none of the allocations will actually result in actual housing creation," Matt Rodriguez, city manager of San Pablo, told the Executive Board at its Oct. 15 meeting.

David Hudson, a council member in San Ramon who sits on the Executive Board, also opposed Alternative 8A, arguing that it does not place a heavy enough housing obligation on the jobs-heavy south bay. The region, he said, is projected to receive about two-thirds of the Bay Area's new jobs and its housing obligations should match that. Requiring any less housing, he said, would merely "continue the pattern we have in the last quarter of a century," with south bay cities producing far more jobs than housing.

Palo Alto leaders worry about Alternative 8A for the exact opposite reason. The regional mandate, they have argued in a series of letters to ABAG, represents an impossible task.

"It is fundamentally not reasonable to accept that some jurisdictions will bear the burden of increasing its housing stock upwards of 25% to 40% over the next eight years," Palo Alto City Manager Ed Shikada wrote to the ABAG Executive Board last month. "Not since the end of World War II have established Bay Area communities seen such unprecedented growth.

"Beyond that, consider the actual feasibility of adding 10,000 new housing units in a small to medium size jurisdiction. Higher property values, less land, less federal and state funding to subsidize housing, and known limitations on existing infrastructure all conspire against the ambitious and unachievable housing goals being contemplated by the Committee."

On the other side of the debate are those who believe that wealthy communities have an obligation to go even further in creating low-income housing. East Palo Alto Vice Mayor Carlos Romero, who serves as vice chair of ABAG's Regional Planning Committee, and Oakland Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas, a member of the ABAG's Executive Board, both supported adding an "equity adjustment" to the housing methodology. This adjustment would be applied to 49 jurisdictions that are "exhibiting above average racial and socioeconomic exclusion," a list that includes Menlo Park and Palo Alto.

'Not since the end of World War II have established Bay Area communities seen such unprecedented growth.'

-Ed Shikada, city manager, Palo Alto

The adjustment, Romero explained, "essentially ensures that every exclusive city or county receives a fair share of the region's very low and income and low income RHNA." Their alternative, known as 6A, would have created a "floor" for the number of "low income" and "very low income" units these jurisdictions have to accommodate.

"This helps eliminate segregated living patterns and opens communities so that Bay Area residents can choose where to live based on needs and preferences, not their racial and economic background," Romero said at the Oct. 15 meeting.

Romero ultimately voted with a majority of the Regional Planning Committee on Oct. 1 to support Alternative 8A. Greg Scharff, a former Palo Alto mayor who also serves on the committee, voted against the proposed methodology. The regional plan, he said, should factor in recent changes in commuting patterns, including the recent push by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to shift 60% of employees to telecommuting.

Scharff also suggested that focusing housing allocation on expensive areas will make the housing more difficult to build.

"I do worry we're going to create less housing than if we look at it in other ways," Scharff said. "One of the goals should be to create as much housing as possible."

Despite the conflicting reservations, all three of the committees that reviewed Alternative 8A ultimately voted to approve it. Mountain View Council member Chris Clark, who sits on ABAG's Executive Board, spoke for many when he called it a suitable compromise.

"I believe that with option 8A we have arrived at what is a hallmark of a compromise where no one is 100% satisfied with something but no one is 100% dissatisfied with the outcome," Clark said.

The debate over housing methodology is expected to continue over the next month, as ABAG moves ahead with the comment period on its proposed methodology. After receiving and responding to comments in November, the agency plans to vote on a draft methodology in December. After the appeal period, the agency would formally release each city's allocations in 2021.

"It's fair to say, we're at the beginning of the home stretch," Matt Maloney, director of regional planning at ABAG said at the Oct. 15 meeting.

Regional Housing Needs Allocation, he told the Board, is a "tough process."

"The number we received from the state, 441,000, is much bigger than last time, when it was 187,000. So there is sticker shock and it's also a zero-sum game, so any change that results in a jurisdiction getting less means someone else gets more," he said.

In Palo Alto, city leaders are pursuing a two-pronged strategy: protesting the allocations and planning for their adoption. In a memo last week, Planning Director Jonathan Lait called ABAG's allocation of more than 10,000 units to Palo Alto "unreasonable."

"It is practically infeasible for a jurisdiction the size of Palo Alto to drastically increase the number of housing units in a short period of time," the report states.

'One of the goals should be to create as much housing as possible.'

-Greg Scharff, Regional Planning Committee member, Association of Bay Area Governments

While the city is not required to actually build all the housing in the allocation, it is required to update its Housing Element to identify the sites that can accommodate the units, as well as the strategies that the city is pursuing to enable development. This could include rezoning commercial sites to residential use and relaxing development standards to allow more housing units.

Some members of the City Council believe the entire RHNA process is critically flawed and reject the notion that the city could — or should — try to meet the regionally adopted targets. In July, shortly after the state housing department determined that the Bay Area region needs to plan for 441,000 new units, Vice Mayor Tom DuBois and council members Eric Filseth and Lydia Kou co-authored a letter to Shikada, City Attorney Molly Stump and Lait expressing their objections to the agency's growth figures.

The numbers, they argued in the July 9 letter, are based on "an aggressive and unrealistic job growth projection for the Bay Area and Silicon Valley in particular — even before COVID-19."

"These jobs growth numbers have been translated into unachievable housing growth rates, especially affordable housing growth rates, that simply cannot be met under any zoning without massive outside investments — subsidies which have never been forthcoming in the past, and are unlikely to appear in the future," the letter states. "The HCD plan represents a gigantic unfunded mandate."

At the same time, council members and planners recognize that the RHNA, which was once relatively easy to ignore, is starting to grow some teeth. Under Senate Bill 35, cities that fall well short of their targets in particular income categories will lose some of their power to say no to new developments in these categories. The 2017 law creates a streamlined approval process in these communities, requiring approval of housing developments within either 60 days or 90 days, depending on the number of units. In addition, these developments would be allowed to dedicate 10% of their units to below-market-rate housing, below the city's normal standard of 15%.

During an Oct. 5 discussion of the city's newly created "planned housing zone," Lait told the council that the city has an interest in meeting the SB 35 thresholds to "maintain local control." Otherwise, housing developments would be approved by right, with no design review and, in some instances, with substantial breaks on parking, Lait said.

Others welcome the RHNA process as an opportunity to implement some much-needed changes. During the council's Sept. 21 discussion of affordable housing, Mayor Adrian Fine observed that while some dismiss the city's allocation of more than 10,000 units as "crazy," the process also creates an opportunity for the city to "exercise local control."

"I think it's good for our community to create new neighborhoods and places for new families," Fine said. "It's also good in terms of our diversity and, frankly, it begins to fulfill a small part of the regional obligations, which I know some of us have issues with, but that hammer isn't getting any softer."

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Bay Area's new growth plan eyes massive housing influx in Silicon Valley

Palo Alto, Mountain View would each have to plan for over 10K new housing units by 2031 under proposal

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Thu, Oct 22, 2020, 9:46 am

Sometime in early 2021, city planners throughout the Bay Area will receive a daunting assignment: a mandate to accommodate their cities' "fair share" of the region's projected housing growth.

Each of the 101 cities and nine counties that make up the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) will receive a portion of the 441,176 housing units that the California Department of Housing and Community Development has assigned to the Bay Area for the next cycle of the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA), which will run from 2023 to 2031. The state agency had also determined that 114,442 of these units — or 25.9% of the total — should be designated for those in the "very low" income category.

While the numbers for each city and county won't be formally adopted until early next year, the Association of Bay Area Governments offered a preview of what's to come on Oct. 15, when its Executive Board adopted a methodology for doling out the allocations, completing a complex and contentious exercise that began in fall 2019.

The committee, which consists of elected leaders from various ABAG jurisdictions, endorsed by a 24-9 vote the methodology developed by its Housing Methodology Committee. That committee, which is chaired by Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín, concluded its year of deliberations on Sept. 18 by adopting what's known as Alternative 8A. Its decision was subsequently affirmed on Oct. 1 by ABAG's Regional Planning Committee and on Oct. 15 by the Executive Board.

The approved alternative tries to spread the responsibility for new housing throughout the Bay Area, though it does so unevenly. It directs most of the housing toward cities that have plenty of jobs and transportation services and that are deemed "high opportunity" areas based on economic, educational and environmental factors. It also looks to place additional obligations on cities that exhibit economic and racial exclusion. An outsized share of the obligation will go to the area's three largest cities — San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland. San Francisco would have to plan for 72,080 housing units, San Jose for 66,522 and Oakland for 27,286.

Silicon Valley would see dramatic growth under the proposed scenario. Jurisdictions in Santa Clara County account for 143,550 of the units between 2023 and 2031, a third of the nine-county region's total allocation. Alameda County is a very distant second, with a 19% share and 85,689 total units.

Alternative 8A creates two different methods for determining how many housing units each jurisdiction should build: one for low-income housing and another for market-rate housing. Allocation for housing units in the "very low" and "low" income categories would be primarily based on the existence of "high opportunity areas" in a given jurisdiction. That factor alone accounts for 70% of the allocation. The remaining 30% is split evenly between two factors: the ability to reach a job by car within 30 minutes and the ability to reach a job by transit within 45 minutes.

For "moderate" and "above moderate" units, 60% of the allocation is based on job proximity by an automobile, while the other 40% is based on access to "high opportunity areas."

The housing numbers are particularly eye-popping in Palo Alto and in Mountain View, two cities that enjoy a wealth of jobs, quality schools, Caltrain access and a broad swath of census tracts listed as "highest opportunity" on the state housing department's "opportunity map." Alternative 8A assigns 10,058 housing units to Palo Alto, which includes 4,055 units in the "very low" and "low" income categories, between 2023 and 2031 — a reach for a city that has consistently failed to meet its own target of 300 new units per year. If the city were to actually build this housing, the new units would represent a growth rate of 36%, higher than any other city in the county.

Mountain View is expecting an assignment of 11,380 units, with 4,532 of them in the two lowest income categories. Its growth rate would be 33%, according to ABAG.

The cities of Santa Clara and Sunnyvale would be asked to plan for 12,047 and 12,998 housing units, respectively, though because they have larger populations the additional housing represents growth rates of 26% and 23%, respectively.

The Oct. 15 decision is not yet final. Residents and cities will have a chance to offer comments to ABAG before final housing allocations are released. Even so, the Executive Board's vote represented a major milestone for a yearlong process that featured dozens of meetings involving housing advocates, builders, county supervisors and council members from ABAG's region. Even after Alternative 8A emerged as the favored consensus of the majority, many members expressed all sorts of concerns about the adopted approach.

Officials from Napa and Sonoma counties warned about the perils of requiring heavy growth in environmentally sensitive areas that may be vulnerable to wildfires. Their counterparts from San Francisco and East Palo Alto advocated for more equity and greater obligations for historically exclusive communities.

Representatives from Contra Costa County warned that methodology that allocates too many units into "high opportunity" areas places an impossible burden on small communities that will not be able to accommodate the growth. A coalition of cities from Contra Costa County proposed an alternative that would shift additional allocations to the south bay, saddling the region with 44% of the Bay Area's total housing allocation, compared to 42% under Alternative 8A.

"Many in the surrounding regions are concerned that they are set up to fail under this option 8A, since none of the allocations will actually result in actual housing creation," Matt Rodriguez, city manager of San Pablo, told the Executive Board at its Oct. 15 meeting.

David Hudson, a council member in San Ramon who sits on the Executive Board, also opposed Alternative 8A, arguing that it does not place a heavy enough housing obligation on the jobs-heavy south bay. The region, he said, is projected to receive about two-thirds of the Bay Area's new jobs and its housing obligations should match that. Requiring any less housing, he said, would merely "continue the pattern we have in the last quarter of a century," with south bay cities producing far more jobs than housing.

Palo Alto leaders worry about Alternative 8A for the exact opposite reason. The regional mandate, they have argued in a series of letters to ABAG, represents an impossible task.

"It is fundamentally not reasonable to accept that some jurisdictions will bear the burden of increasing its housing stock upwards of 25% to 40% over the next eight years," Palo Alto City Manager Ed Shikada wrote to the ABAG Executive Board last month. "Not since the end of World War II have established Bay Area communities seen such unprecedented growth.

"Beyond that, consider the actual feasibility of adding 10,000 new housing units in a small to medium size jurisdiction. Higher property values, less land, less federal and state funding to subsidize housing, and known limitations on existing infrastructure all conspire against the ambitious and unachievable housing goals being contemplated by the Committee."

On the other side of the debate are those who believe that wealthy communities have an obligation to go even further in creating low-income housing. East Palo Alto Vice Mayor Carlos Romero, who serves as vice chair of ABAG's Regional Planning Committee, and Oakland Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas, a member of the ABAG's Executive Board, both supported adding an "equity adjustment" to the housing methodology. This adjustment would be applied to 49 jurisdictions that are "exhibiting above average racial and socioeconomic exclusion," a list that includes Menlo Park and Palo Alto.

The adjustment, Romero explained, "essentially ensures that every exclusive city or county receives a fair share of the region's very low and income and low income RHNA." Their alternative, known as 6A, would have created a "floor" for the number of "low income" and "very low income" units these jurisdictions have to accommodate.

"This helps eliminate segregated living patterns and opens communities so that Bay Area residents can choose where to live based on needs and preferences, not their racial and economic background," Romero said at the Oct. 15 meeting.

Romero ultimately voted with a majority of the Regional Planning Committee on Oct. 1 to support Alternative 8A. Greg Scharff, a former Palo Alto mayor who also serves on the committee, voted against the proposed methodology. The regional plan, he said, should factor in recent changes in commuting patterns, including the recent push by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to shift 60% of employees to telecommuting.

Scharff also suggested that focusing housing allocation on expensive areas will make the housing more difficult to build.

"I do worry we're going to create less housing than if we look at it in other ways," Scharff said. "One of the goals should be to create as much housing as possible."

Despite the conflicting reservations, all three of the committees that reviewed Alternative 8A ultimately voted to approve it. Mountain View Council member Chris Clark, who sits on ABAG's Executive Board, spoke for many when he called it a suitable compromise.

"I believe that with option 8A we have arrived at what is a hallmark of a compromise where no one is 100% satisfied with something but no one is 100% dissatisfied with the outcome," Clark said.

The debate over housing methodology is expected to continue over the next month, as ABAG moves ahead with the comment period on its proposed methodology. After receiving and responding to comments in November, the agency plans to vote on a draft methodology in December. After the appeal period, the agency would formally release each city's allocations in 2021.

"It's fair to say, we're at the beginning of the home stretch," Matt Maloney, director of regional planning at ABAG said at the Oct. 15 meeting.

Regional Housing Needs Allocation, he told the Board, is a "tough process."

"The number we received from the state, 441,000, is much bigger than last time, when it was 187,000. So there is sticker shock and it's also a zero-sum game, so any change that results in a jurisdiction getting less means someone else gets more," he said.

In Palo Alto, city leaders are pursuing a two-pronged strategy: protesting the allocations and planning for their adoption. In a memo last week, Planning Director Jonathan Lait called ABAG's allocation of more than 10,000 units to Palo Alto "unreasonable."

"It is practically infeasible for a jurisdiction the size of Palo Alto to drastically increase the number of housing units in a short period of time," the report states.

While the city is not required to actually build all the housing in the allocation, it is required to update its Housing Element to identify the sites that can accommodate the units, as well as the strategies that the city is pursuing to enable development. This could include rezoning commercial sites to residential use and relaxing development standards to allow more housing units.

Some members of the City Council believe the entire RHNA process is critically flawed and reject the notion that the city could — or should — try to meet the regionally adopted targets. In July, shortly after the state housing department determined that the Bay Area region needs to plan for 441,000 new units, Vice Mayor Tom DuBois and council members Eric Filseth and Lydia Kou co-authored a letter to Shikada, City Attorney Molly Stump and Lait expressing their objections to the agency's growth figures.

The numbers, they argued in the July 9 letter, are based on "an aggressive and unrealistic job growth projection for the Bay Area and Silicon Valley in particular — even before COVID-19."

"These jobs growth numbers have been translated into unachievable housing growth rates, especially affordable housing growth rates, that simply cannot be met under any zoning without massive outside investments — subsidies which have never been forthcoming in the past, and are unlikely to appear in the future," the letter states. "The HCD plan represents a gigantic unfunded mandate."

At the same time, council members and planners recognize that the RHNA, which was once relatively easy to ignore, is starting to grow some teeth. Under Senate Bill 35, cities that fall well short of their targets in particular income categories will lose some of their power to say no to new developments in these categories. The 2017 law creates a streamlined approval process in these communities, requiring approval of housing developments within either 60 days or 90 days, depending on the number of units. In addition, these developments would be allowed to dedicate 10% of their units to below-market-rate housing, below the city's normal standard of 15%.

During an Oct. 5 discussion of the city's newly created "planned housing zone," Lait told the council that the city has an interest in meeting the SB 35 thresholds to "maintain local control." Otherwise, housing developments would be approved by right, with no design review and, in some instances, with substantial breaks on parking, Lait said.

Others welcome the RHNA process as an opportunity to implement some much-needed changes. During the council's Sept. 21 discussion of affordable housing, Mayor Adrian Fine observed that while some dismiss the city's allocation of more than 10,000 units as "crazy," the process also creates an opportunity for the city to "exercise local control."

"I think it's good for our community to create new neighborhoods and places for new families," Fine said. "It's also good in terms of our diversity and, frankly, it begins to fulfill a small part of the regional obligations, which I know some of us have issues with, but that hammer isn't getting any softer."

Comments

Anne
Registered user
Midtown
on Oct 22, 2020 at 11:47 am
Anne, Midtown
Registered user
on Oct 22, 2020 at 11:47 am
133 people like this

This is insane and unrealistic.

Taking away local control is undemocratic.

Has anyone noticed how outside entities just love to pile on Palo Alto?


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 22, 2020 at 12:01 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Oct 22, 2020 at 12:01 pm
77 people like this

The numbers they are providing are "fake news". Who concocted the numbers? They are purposely overblown for the purpose of pushing an unachievable goal and squelch any feedback.
We want names, rank, and position with the state. Who is the head of the Association Bay Area Governments? Do they live in Atherton? Who ever is pushing this is living in an untouchable location.


Native to the Bay
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Oct 22, 2020 at 12:26 pm
Native to the Bay, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Oct 22, 2020 at 12:26 pm
20 people like this

Palo Alto: Much ADU about nothing! This is a war about the haves and have nots. A high stakes game of social value over “home” price values. PA from what I understand, is the only city of the 101 that has no biz tax. So yes the the percentage of housing weight is enormous. Result of almost half a Century of neglect, denial of the true needs of people, not profits.


chris
Registered user
University South
on Oct 22, 2020 at 12:44 pm
chris, University South
Registered user
on Oct 22, 2020 at 12:44 pm
28 people like this

The residentialists of Palo Alto led by Lydia Kuo are going to lead the city into a lawsuit costing millions of $ (possibly $10 of millions), leaving the city worse off with still no benefit for those who can’t afford housing.

Palo Alto doesn’t have to build all the housing. It needs to make it possible for private developers along with some nonprofits to have zoning to bypuild the housing.

Vote Lydia off the council before she bankrupts the city.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 22, 2020 at 1:34 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Oct 22, 2020 at 1:34 pm
82 people like this

YEAH for Lydia Kou - she sees this for what it is. The people in the north end want to dump the houses on the south end. And if we do build all of the houses then we need Cubberley as a back-up high school - or combined middle and high school.

And I think it was Chris that wanted a Target at the FRY's site. Right Chris? Suspect he has a business interest in this all when he lives near a Target but wants another in the city.

Fry's is the logical place to put additional housing. It is dead square in the middle of the city and has the El Camino and Oregon transit locations with proximity to Caltrain at the California station. The current owner has a ridiculously low property tax.

And where is Mr. Levy in all of this - our famous ABAG proponent behind the scenes. So everyone who wants or needs a job has thrown us to the wolves to push their own involvement.

And there doesn't need to be a law suite - just ABAG disclosing how they arrive at the numbers. They can't. They make this stuff up with the help of their enablers.


Resident
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 22, 2020 at 2:11 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Oct 22, 2020 at 2:11 pm
60 people like this

This is some of the lowest quality work that ABAG and also HCD have yet done. The numbers are obviously preposterous for nearly all these cities. As a region we could have got equally realistic results with a dart board, and at vastly lower cost. It’s not as though Greg Scharff was the only one to see this, they all know the Emperor is naked. Scharff was the only one responsible enough to say it in public. Kudos to him, disgrace for the rest.

For those who would defund ABAG in favor of, say, community policing, here is your evidence. Government has many reputations, and this work strongly reinforces one of them.


Granted, ABAG should have initially pushed back on HCD’s poorly-calculated and unrealistic numbers, which probably make ABAG’s task impossible under any scenario, rather than meekly accepting and “whatever, I just work here” passing them on to cities. But ABAG, and Sacramento’s, ongoing denial of what it would REALLY take to deal with the region’s woes – real investment, proactive balancing of commercial and housing growth, rethinking the geography of future jobs, and more explicit responsibility placed on the tech sector – has led to the de facto “solution” of people leaving the Bay Area as fast as they arrive. This alone invalidates HCD/ABAG’s pipe-dream population projections, even without the pandemic.

For once the most intelligent response was actually MTC’s: if we as a region aren’t yet willing to make the investments needed to stop pretending and really address the problem, then alternatively we can keep on working from home. That’s actually true. But predictably, the status-quo partisans didn’t like that either – Scott Wiener tweeted it was a terrible idea since it would reduce commuting, and therefore lessen the local housing shortage and consequent need for new construction. Thanks, Scotto.

As is, the ABAG plan and really the whole statewide RHND plan are designed to fail, which means Sacramento and cities across California will likely end up in court - a lot of courts - in a full-scale war over municipal land use, wasting an immense amount of everybody’s time and treasure, and still not solving the problem (no, SB35 will not solve the problem). Good for lawyers, and a collapse by Government at many levels. Tell me again what we pay these people for?

What ABAG and HCD have now can’t easily be fixed; better to simply start over from realistic assumptions. As it is, the whole initiative is headed for a fiasco of epic proportions. Grim.


Mrs. Hypocrisy
Professorville

Registered user
on Oct 22, 2020 at 2:30 pm
Name hidden, Professorville

Registered user
on Oct 22, 2020 at 2:30 pm

Due to violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are only visible to registered users who are logged in. Use the links at the top of the page to Register or Login.


stephen levy
Registered user
University South
on Oct 22, 2020 at 3:01 pm
stephen levy, University South
Registered user
on Oct 22, 2020 at 3:01 pm
23 people like this

Gennady's post is clear and accurate.

The claim that no one knows where the allocation numbers came from is FALSE.

An overview is in his post and anyone interested can go to the ABAG site and look at the methodology committee documents.

The claim that HCD or ABAB or both based the RHNA on ABAG job projections is FALSE.

If HCD had used the ABAG growth forecast the regional RHNA would have been 100,000 housing units higher.

Anyone interested can also go to the HCD site and read their determination letter that does not mention job growth as a factor and is clear that they used the DOF population forecast (not based on job growth) and not the ABAG population forecast.

Each cities obligation is to identify sites and policies to meet the RHNA target

The claim that blatant disregard of the allocation target can bring lawsuits and that cities will lose is TRUE.

Note that about half of the regional allocation has nothing to do with growth. It is about catching up to past shortages and reducing the number of households who are overcrowded or cost-burdened, most of which are low income households.

The claim that meeting these targets will be hard to achieve is TRUE.

The local control argument is a distraction.

I do not believe any of the posters believe cities should have the right to block African Americans, Jews, gays and others (all of which is a part of American history) from living in their city.

Any more than I think posters back local control to allow children to drink, smoke or take drugs.

And Palo Alto does have local control as to how and where to meet th4e RHNA target. The only local control we do not have is the right to disregard the target and our obligations.

I get that some residents do not like the results of the RHNA process. [Portion removed.]

I think that the criteria of locating more housing in high opportunity areas and where access to jobs i8s better are good criteria.


Time to go to court!
Registered user
Downtown North
on Oct 22, 2020 at 3:42 pm
Time to go to court!, Downtown North
Registered user
on Oct 22, 2020 at 3:42 pm
96 people like this

The people producing these number are unelected, appointed, growth focused shills for developers and their "hired" governement representatives (think Weiner).

There was no voice for the environment to prevent more pollution - look at global warming and sea level rise, loss of habitat and the massive extinction crisis that is here now.

There was no voice for quality of life in the Bay Area - dirty air, too many people, spread of disease, lack of good education for the children that are here now, overcrowded roads (now slightly ameliorated by Covid).

All cities in California should ban together to fight for local control and how much their cities can be built out and developed. No state organization should be able to tell local governments how crowded to become.

If the state truly cared about housing people who are here now they could pass a simple bill that doesn't allow any new job/office development in cities that have a negative jobs to housing ratio. Problem solved. Cities would either make employers build a house for every job or they would not allow new jobs in their cities until they caught up with housing.

Allowing developers to come in and demand that they be given sweetheart deals for developing high rise housing with no parking, no fees for schools or roads or city infrastructure and no plan for everything else that is used by people as millions are added to an area is mind-boggling or possibly insane.

Time to go to court and remind elected and appointed representative that they work for the people who voted for them. Put these bills and changes on a ballot and see how far they get.


stephen levy
Registered user
University South
on Oct 22, 2020 at 4:56 pm
stephen levy, University South
Registered user
on Oct 22, 2020 at 4:56 pm
19 people like this

More noise in the post above

The new RHNA criteria were the result of legislative votes. The last tine I checked legislators and the Governor are elected so the non elected claim re the regional RHNA is FALSE. Moreover, in two key areas HCD chose the methodology that would produce lower numbers.

The ABAG board members are elected council members and supervisors. It is true that are appointed to the ABAG board but those appointments are done by local ELECTED LEADERS.

Large majorities of committee and ABAG board members approve of the final methodology and approach.

I suggest that the Palo Alto council invite HCD and ABAG folk and people who have followed the recent lawsuits (opponents of housing losing regularly) to inform themselves and the community of the likely result of flaunting the RHNA obligations.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 22, 2020 at 5:09 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Oct 22, 2020 at 5:09 pm
54 people like this

"It is true that are appointed to the ABAG board but those appointments are done by local ELECTED LEADERS."

Unfortunately true. And just look who has and is funding the "leaders" who are creating 3 to 5 times more jobs than housing units, fighting against paying their fair share by opposing all business taxes while shifting the costs to the residents in dollar terms and in "quality" of life.

It's so crowded now we can no longer avail ourselves of all the great things the Bay Area had to offer because we can't get there from here.


mjh
Registered user
College Terrace
on Oct 22, 2020 at 6:26 pm
mjh, College Terrace
Registered user
on Oct 22, 2020 at 6:26 pm
58 people like this

Palo Alto's current zoning map dates back many decades when office density was calculated as one employee per 250 sq ft. During the last couple of decades office density has tripled. It's past time to rebalance how much of Palo Alto is zoned commercial vs residential to bring back a better balance between our current jobs to housing ratio.

In particular, it would be interesting to know what percentage of the jobs in Palo Alto are located in the Stanford Research Park and which may account for a considerable number of the additional housing units ABAG is now demanding Palo Alto must provide.

Perhaps it is time to carve out a portion of the Stanford Research Park and rezone to residential to permit building housing units proportionate with the number jobs located there.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 22, 2020 at 6:50 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Oct 22, 2020 at 6:50 pm
53 people like this

Good point.

Lots of room up in the Stanford Research Park. Two office buildings on Hillview up there recent sold for something like $851,000 -- almost a billion dollars.

How about sticking all our housing quota up there?? Then we wouldn't have to worry about congestion in our residential areas and downtowns that we have to fund in various ways.

Seems only fair since Stanford keeps buying up properties in our neighborhoods and pushing up prices while claiming they haven't added anything to the congestion. Ignore the massive expansion Stanford and Stanford Health and Stanford Research Park keep growing. It's a miracle.


greg schmid
Registered user
Palo Verde
on Oct 22, 2020 at 7:57 pm
greg schmid, Palo Verde
Registered user
on Oct 22, 2020 at 7:57 pm
57 people like this

This is an important story Gennady has written about--it concerns our future and raises the question of who has control over critical decisions. Any one who has followed the ABAG/HCD Plan Bay Area process closely over the last year knows clearly that the RHNA numbers for Palo Alto come directly from very aggressive local job projections. The current ABAG methodology starts with projected job growth in their newly defined 'super district' of Silicon Valley, job growth numbers that clearly diverts job growth from other Bay Area centers like San Francisco, Oakland and East Bay cities to a narrow band of Silicon Valley. These new jobs are then translated into "housing needs" in these areas which have been passively accepted by HCD and the DOF. These in-house staff modeling processes are then approved by various unelected ABAG Boards and Committees and turned into mandates to local cities. (It is important to note that the Board Members of these regional agencies are appointed not elected).

The same California Code that these Boards use to mandate "housing requirements for each city" explicitly calls on them to search for alternative ways of dealing with troublesome "intraregional jobs-housing imbalances". The most obvious alternative is to create incentives for the dispersion of jobs. Yet despite local groups calling for a healthy examination of dispersion, ABAG stated that they had no interest in examining either job caps in areas of job density or the longer-term impact of Covid-induced work at home strategies.

What kind of planning process is that? Especially when it concludes that future jobs growth in jobs-rich area is best even if is producing the highest office and housing prices in the country and growing income inequality among Bay Areas communities. And using un-elected bodies subject to developers taking away the essential planning process of locally-elected governments. That is surely something that each candidate for local office should be talking about in upcoming elections.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 22, 2020 at 8:20 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Oct 22, 2020 at 8:20 pm
25 people like this

The SU property and business is specific to SU - they are the benefactors of business that is occurring on their property. Any business that is sitting in that location may own their buildings but they don't own any property - SU owns that property. That is why we have arguments with them over school support which comes from property taxes. So they are in fact responsible for the housing allocations relative to the business on their property. We do not need to get sucked into their housing issues. And we should not allow it from any government agency. Since no one is paying a business tax no one can attribute any responsibility for the business on SU property. There is no financial link.

Next question comes with the supposed numbers. CA has the highest tax rate and people are leaving. Who are the supposed number of people and where are they coming from? Where is the water? Where is the electricity? No one is connecting the dots here. We are already behind the 8 ball on water, electricity, etc. WE cannot absorb all of these supposed people. Someone made up those numbers. Don't buy it. Are people volunteering to come here with no work prospects to sit on the street?

People talk about Tesla - they are building a new facility in Austin, Texas. I have neighbors working for named drug companies that have moved to Texas. One friend who works for a large local company has moved to New Mexico where she is working from home. When she calls she is using a local number so people do not know she is not in the state.

The ABAG people sit in SF? What a treat that must be. What is SF doing about their housing? That whole city is turning into a wreck. No one wants to live there if they can get away. This is a giant hoax and the ABAG people are a hoax. We need to get Ms. Hough - the state auditor over there to check them out. One person was stealing money and buying houses on his own. He got caught. Follow the money - there is no money - it is leaving the state and going elsewhere.
Quit buying all of this nonsense.


Native to the BAY
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Oct 22, 2020 at 8:43 pm
Native to the BAY, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Oct 22, 2020 at 8:43 pm
22 people like this

To rent a less than mediocre, 850 sq ft 2/b1b apartment costs $3.60 a sq ft to rent. Palo Alto Landlords get to deny S8 Guaranteed Federally backed rent by charging 1000-2000 over market rate. They also require proof of income 3 x asking rent and proof of as much in the bank. Plus a deposit: last month’s rent cleaning deposit kept until move out. Most don’t allow a small family pet or bike storage. Soon, little or no parking either. If the mediocre tiny weather worn, 50/60 year-old dwelling happens to have AC or a D/W wash/dryr add another $1000 onto the already outrageous $3000 a month charge. It goes up another thousand for an additional 1/2 bath and another $1500 for a third tiny bedroom w/out a closet. A Head of Household would have to make about $50 an hour to cover the $3000 a month. This type of wage excludes essential workers like grocery store clerks, USPS mail sorters, or janitors for Stanford and it’s hospital. This wage is even beyond that of a college graduate w a four year degree just starting in a para professional field. I wonder. Is this a zip code where only software engineers can live and not normal wage earners exist behind counters and with mops in their hands — minimum wage is $15. A wage that affords a human being rent a space the size of a single mattress or the back seat of a car that gets them to their under respected job. It’s a scandalous crime that Palo Alto turns its back on the services that keep their incomes churning. Discrimination in the highest form of disgrace. For a stand alone home with similar specs, $4500 !!!


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 22, 2020 at 9:39 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
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on Oct 22, 2020 at 9:39 pm
35 people like this

Mr. Levy now has made this a into a race issue. When logic and math fail then bring in the race issue. Mr. Levy - you should be better than that. We are looking for a reasonable explanation as to how numbers are derived - and those are specific to JOBS. Palantir has left the scene. The SSL site has been bought and is programmed to become a business park. Fact is that the supposed people who run this ponzy scheme cannot keep up with the continual change that is going on. Business keeps leaving as it should - our residents "cancel" anyone who works for the government. Who needs that type of nonsense? Why would anyone want to grow a business here?


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 22, 2020 at 10:25 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Oct 22, 2020 at 10:25 pm
31 people like this

Check out the real estate section of the paper. Look at those large estates that are sitting on "valuable" property that is isolated and surrounded by trees. Then look at what the sales price is.

People are leaving in droves due to lack of fire protections and lack of police services. Also lack of water to put out a fire should it occur in the hills. The state has stripped out the services that people want and need. I circled the freeways when we had the orange sky and you could see that the smoke was backed up on the hills. Scary, scary, scary.

Government people like to "sell" ideas but there has to be actual facts, services, water, electricity to back it all up. And that is a different type of person who works in these functions where they are "selling" an area. So people are busy selling but have no money for building, police, fire protection. Hot air creates fires.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 23, 2020 at 5:09 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Oct 23, 2020 at 5:09 am
22 people like this

[Portion removed.] Let's get a reality check here. Your Governor has made "hairy, audacious" goals for housing which by any one's standards cannot be met. Your governor only operates from half his brain. Mr. Weiner - SF and Ms. Atkins - San Diego are diligently working to destruct the R-1 zones in cities. The LA Times- Cal Matters - Dan Walters recognizes that there is a large gap between what the governor announces in his speeches and what is attainable.

The local government people are like the swamp - operating in their own bubble and producing requirements which are supported by some of the local population. Note - the local elected legislators are going to get voted out because they are not supporting the quality of life that we all bought into. And we, collectively all cities - need to challenge the basis for any mandates. The state cannot at this time provide water, electricity, police and fire services. That is due to poor management in this state. And the Governor will not allow Disneyland to open despite the fact that it is open in Florida. I am not a fan of Disneyland but it appears to be a bell weather of the state of the state. [Portion removed.]


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 23, 2020 at 9:32 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
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on Oct 23, 2020 at 9:32 am
27 people like this

In the Friday edition of the BAN/SJM is the section - The Daily News, Columnist Tom Elias has a full page opinion on the Housing Bill SB1120, which did not pass in this legislature period but Weiner and Atkins will be pushing for it again in the new period coming up. This allows up to 4-plexes in single family areas. The goal is to eliminate urban sprawl.

I was in the Ventura neighborhood yesterday and you can see the end result of this type of building - apartment buildings in the middle of housing areas.

This is your governor, your legislature. It is sure to be followed by a referendum bill to reverse it.


Giraffe
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 23, 2020 at 9:58 am
Giraffe, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Oct 23, 2020 at 9:58 am
29 people like this

What happens if a city just says No, and ignores such mandates?
And what if a city has a jobs/housing balance that shows not enough jobs for the amount of housing (eg, maybe someplace like Atherton)? Would that city be required to create more jobs?

This kind of reminds me of a novel I read, in which the state decided what housing unit you lived in. Also, all furnishings had serial numbers. At any time, the state could reassign you to a different unit, or could reassign pieces of your furniture to other , more "special" people.


stephen levy
Registered user
University South
on Oct 23, 2020 at 11:14 am
stephen levy, University South
Registered user
on Oct 23, 2020 at 11:14 am
6 people like this

Palo Altans are not racists. Many, however, do not want to follow the law with regard to the RHNA process. They are equal opportunity NO people with a variety of excuses that were discussed by the ABAG methodology committee, which disagreed with these residents.

The poster above or anyone can see how the numbers were developed by reading Gennady's article or going to the ABAG site. This was a completely transparent process with several public meetings.

Remember that the increase in housing units required is not the result of higher growth but it nearly completely the result of reducing housing burdens on EXISTING RESIDENTS and mostly for low income families. This is a challenging task but is not the result of job growth projections.

Our city and our neighbors got an above average share of the regional total as we are considered high opportunity areas (does anyone disagree) and areas with good access to existing jobs.

Some posters above have suggested places where more housing can go and that is the task before us.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 23, 2020 at 12:02 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Oct 23, 2020 at 12:02 pm
22 people like this

As stated above, people are leaving in droves and rents are dropping by 34%. There's no reason to push these huge numbers NOW until we see what shakes out.

Here's today's article from Vanity Fair re the rush away from here to places like Palm Springs etc. ttps://www.vanityfair.com/news/2020/10/the-pandemic-housing-market-explosion-could-upend-silicon-valley?utm_source=nl&utm_brand=vf&utm_mailing=VF_Hive_102320&utm_medium=email&bxid=5be9eaa024c17c6adf09bb15&cndid=19734703&hasha=6c4d178fba68999471f847058ff07cec&hashb=460c408f6fc317a5bd21607f5f96b2b06f4227c8&hashc=d4e82c61e5f622b8fbb9b40b771cc94c84a36b9aebeeb5f07806238bb2d9d831&esrc=AUTO_MERGE&mbid=mbid%3DCRMVYF012019&utm_campaign=VF_Hive_102320&utm_term=VYF_Hive


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 23, 2020 at 12:04 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Oct 23, 2020 at 12:04 pm
37 people like this

Apologies for the long link above.

The Palo Alto attorney's ONLY reason for PA remaining part of ABAG is the "fear" the city might get sued for withdrawing. NOT a good reason in my book.


stephen levy
Registered user
University South
on Oct 23, 2020 at 12:51 pm
stephen levy, University South
Registered user
on Oct 23, 2020 at 12:51 pm
5 people like this

@ Online Name

Learn the rules

If PA drops out of ABAG, HCD will determine our allocation--it and the legal obligations do not disappear.

I repeat my call for the council to get informed from HCD about the city's obligations and HCD's legal rights if a city is blatantly disregarding the RHNA in its new Housing Element.

Perhaps also the council could invite an ABAG rep to explain the allocation process although anyone interested can find that out for themselves.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 23, 2020 at 1:04 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Oct 23, 2020 at 1:04 pm
43 people like this

Here's a better link to the Vanity Fair article.
Web Link

Stephen Levy, that's what lawyers are for: to challenge the rules.

Regardless of the rules, you still haven't explained in COMMON SENSE terms why the huge rush to impose these targets when there's daily coverage of the mass exodus from here with residential rents dropping, people unable to book movers to leave the Bay Area and with empty offices all over.


jc
Registered user
College Terrace
on Oct 23, 2020 at 1:26 pm
jc, College Terrace
Registered user
on Oct 23, 2020 at 1:26 pm
50 people like this

Follow the money. Developer backed ABAG doesn't care about the current exodus. Their eye is firmly fixed on facilitating the future expansion of jobs here so they can continue to build hugely profitable office developments, and then less profitable housing to justify the expansion of the office boom.
Apparently ABAG backers do not believe the high cost of doing business in California and also being located in the bay area will be a deterrent to continuing to expand the bay area's business footprint and turning single family home neighborhoods into high rise apartment buildings.


stephen levy
Registered user
University South
on Oct 23, 2020 at 2:33 pm
stephen levy, University South
Registered user
on Oct 23, 2020 at 2:33 pm
5 people like this

All the more reason for council to invite HCD and ABAG to present at council.

The RHNA period is mid 2022 to 2030--not tomorrow.

2021 is a planning year to develop a updated and compliant Housing Element.

One thing council will learn is that recent no/slow growth law suits are losing.

To spend taxpayer money in a certain losing cause without even trying to develop a housing element seems an invitation to embarrassment and loss.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 23, 2020 at 3:43 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Oct 23, 2020 at 3:43 pm
50 people like this

Still no common sense answer on why the rush in the face of all the vacancies, declining rents, etc.?

It seems disingenuous to worry about wasting taxpayers' money on lawsuits when it's chump change vs say, the $200,000 the big-money realtors, land developers, San Jose/Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce, CA Association of Realtors, CA Apartment Association, Sobrato, etc.just spent to smear a Mountain View city council candidate who favors rent control (as reported today by one of the other papers.) "The Silicone Valley Organization PAC declined to comment."

What's ABAG doing to push rent control and to keep low-cost housing from being converted to office and luxury housing and creating many more marginal workers and homeless people?? Have they taken a position on the gig workers where more than $200,000,000 million was spent to deny them employee benefits?

Or are we just supposed to keep spending hundreds of millions of dollars to house the homeless in motels/hotels while creating more unaffordable market-rate housing, ADUs and congestion??


Allen Akin
Registered user
Professorville
on Oct 23, 2020 at 8:54 pm
Allen Akin, Professorville
Registered user
on Oct 23, 2020 at 8:54 pm
49 people like this

@Online Name wrote: "Still no common sense answer on why the rush in the face of all the vacancies, declining rents, etc.?"

I think of this as a mining operation. As a highly-desirable place to live and work, Palo Alto has excess value that a lot of people would like to extract.

By overbuilding, some of that value flows to the financial industry (banks, hedge funds, REITs, etc.) that lends money for construction. Some of that value flows to the developers that propose and manage the construction. Some of that value flows to the unions and construction workers who actually do the construction. Some of that value flows to the property owners as density increases and the income generated from their land increases. Some of that value flows to the tech companies, who can increase their pool of at-will workers without bearing any of the added cost of housing or infrastructure to support them. Some of that value flows to City management in the form of career advancement. Some of that value flows to the politicians who made the extraction possible, and receive the support and/or donations of everyone previously mentioned.

The end result is that after the excess value is extracted, Palo Alto becomes a sea of midrise concrete, expensive, crowded, resource-limited, short of parking, and traffic-congested. As do the other cities around the Bay, as the distinction between cities essentially disappears. Wealth gets concentrated beyond today's levels. And regressive taxes (measure RR?) are imposed on all residents, current and future, in order to fight a rear-guard action to keep the whole thing functioning because it wasn't intelligently planned or funded in the first place.

The people who have the unenviable job of selling this outcome have to present it as a done deal, unavoidable, even ethically mandatory. I'm not politically knowledgeable enough to talk about all the alternatives, though I have heard about efforts to create a statewide referendum on zoning, and some local actions for better planning have been discussed as well. It seems to me that we still have opportunities to do better.

Whatever your preferences about small-town or suburban or urban character for Palo Alto, I think you have to acknowledge that the RHNA goals we're talking about here are unachievable. There's simply not enough funding available to build that many below-market-rate units, and land and construction here are so expensive that even meeting the goal for units that are affordable at the current market rate is unlikely. (Just to head off the typical objection: Per-unit costs for high-rise are *higher* than per-unit costs for mid-rise, so high-rise construction is not a panacea. And high-rise density by itself does nothing to solve the transportation, resource, and public-service problems.)

I believe it's very much worthwhile to insist on a better solution.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 24, 2020 at 10:56 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
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on Oct 24, 2020 at 10:56 am
26 people like this

Who ever made up "the rules" represents the farthest depths of the blue state that is trying to make this city look like where ever people escaped from. Let's start with the rule makers. Many of your local legislators are the first generation Americans in the family. Their relatives are all escapees of foreign wars and have no semblance of a "normal" country existence. That is your local legislators.

Mr. Weiner escaped from New Jersey. He is now busy in SF writing state legislation which changes the policies regarding children and underage sex. A topic near and dear to San Francisco. Note child trafficking an issue here. That while he is not busy trying to trash the CA model of single family residential housing.

Our current mayor is from South Africa. Are all of the transplants trying to make this city look like where they came from? Why do people come here and then complain why they cannot change our housing models?

The current head of Google is from India and the business model of the Silicon Valley companies is to increase the H1B visas so they can bank millions by reducing the payroll taxes which would be due on US citizen employees. And we are suppose to buy into making our city look like a congealed bunch of living arrangements to help them build up their millions of corporate dollars?

Your local ABAG reps are in the bag for the corporate dollars associated with the Silicon Valley business model of bringing in H1B Visa workers. Given the fact that we have a high number of colleges here that our children go to and are fully able to do those jobs then why not hire our CHILDREN who are now looking for JOBS? And the covid has children of all ages busy on their computers so any argument that those "other' workers are more talented then forget it - they cannot sell that story. This is all about corporate greed.

And that could result in a law suit and audit of the various organizations that attempt to use the judicial process to mandate policies which are counter to the best interests of the cities and their tax-paying residents. We live here for the schools and want our children to succeed where they live. And get jobs here.


Renters Unite
Registered user
Midtown
on Oct 24, 2020 at 3:32 pm
Renters Unite, Midtown
Registered user
on Oct 24, 2020 at 3:32 pm
10 people like this

Even moving out is a luxury not afforded to most. 46% of PA residents are renters dependent on the whim of what ever the owner(s) feels like charging . Most live in substandard Mid-Century tiny apartments without basic amenities like on-site storage, laundry, parking. Most sit along freeways, expressways, and highways — The ECR. Wages AGAIN have not kept up w yearly rent increases in a 1% vacancy rate environment. Corporate property real estate holdings lord over much of the unavailable rental stock and charge thousands over “market rate”. Its not normal. Near no-one earns the $65-200 an hour high tech execs earn. How are average, normal hourly earners supposed to live? PA Weekly journalist please do an REAL expose of residents, living ammenities, parking, open-space, traffic to housing. The piece meal approach just adds to anger and confusion. What is the true cost of housing? Include waste water, taxes burdens (slumped on old people and renters), transit, school funding.

Those now coveted Eichlers and likelers were cheaply built, temporary post WWll family housing.

Which ever poster said rents are diving better go get their temp checked.

Renters UNITE whether paying 3000 (the minimum charged for 850 sq ft, running water and funky plumbing and 40 year-old appliances). Or paying $15,000 for blah granite counter tops and Stainless steel and a second or third working toilet.




Native to the BAY
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Oct 24, 2020 at 4:31 pm
Native to the BAY, Old Palo Alto
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on Oct 24, 2020 at 4:31 pm
8 people like this

Excuse me Mr/Ms 1-Adobe Meadows. I was born and raised in the Bay Area. For resins that don’t include the massive tech, war, DC or Hollywood industries, I happen to be educated, but live like a poor monk. Why should the cost of housing and lack of housing force me out? Both myself, my parents and grandparents were God loving and saintly giving. Giving to their community and loving their children were more important than any amount of money. Self -centered self rightness, smugness is why this town is in the housing predicament it is in regards to making life livable for all.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 24, 2020 at 6:34 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Oct 24, 2020 at 6:34 pm
18 people like this

@Native, figure out which candidates and which parties oppose rent control and vote accordingly. Organized lobbyists are spending $200,000 against a single candidate who supports rent control; others have already spent more than $220,000,000 to ensure THEY don't have to pay gig workers a living wage.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 25, 2020 at 4:16 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
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on Oct 25, 2020 at 4:16 pm
35 people like this

Native - sounds like your family members spent a lot of time and energy making sure that you had a good education and good childhood experience. And they picked this place to do it. As it was and is. That is what we want for our families and their children. That is what this city is selling - a suburban, family oriented city.
We do not want it torn up. California is the biggest state in the union. There is something for everyone here. Any group of any persuasion can find the location that most matches their particular set of requirements. It is all out there. And it all does not have to be here.


stephen levy
Registered user
University South
on Oct 25, 2020 at 7:46 pm
stephen levy, University South
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on Oct 25, 2020 at 7:46 pm
4 people like this

Resident hit on the exact reason why ABAG allocated a high share of housing for low income residents in places like Palo Alto.

It is to give those families a chance to live in what the committee called high opportunity areas.

Research documents that low income families and their children do better if they are able to live in communities with great schools and amenities.

Posters may not like the implications of this finding and the ABAG allocation but it is hard to argue with the reasoning and intent and it will not be overturned in a lawsuit.

Remember that a large share of the added housing is for existing residents to overcome their housing challenges.

It will take a lot of money and in combination with mixed use projects but it is a worthy goal.


chris
Registered user
University South
on Oct 25, 2020 at 11:04 pm
chris, University South
Registered user
on Oct 25, 2020 at 11:04 pm
6 people like this

Compared to Palo Alto, Redwood City and Mountain View are building housing like gangbusters. Palo Alto attitudes will prevent it from matching them, but it is not as difficult as Palo Alto makes it out to be to step up its paltry performance.


Allen Akin
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Professorville
on Oct 26, 2020 at 10:18 am
Allen Akin, Professorville
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on Oct 26, 2020 at 10:18 am
29 people like this

@chris: Just as a sanity check, I looked at Redwood City's webpage for current development projects, which you can find here: Web Link

Counting everything in the "Proposed", "Approved", "Under Construction", and "Completed" categories, there are 3670 units of housing and 5.5M sq ft of office space. (I ignored retail.) Under the rules-of-thumb that I normally use, 2.3 workers/unit and 150 sq ft of office space per worker, that's a jobs/housing imbalance of about 4.3 to 1. Redwood City is making its housing situation worse, very rapidly. This is one of the reasons people object to mixed-use developments in Palo Alto that include housing, but also include more office space.

If you could do the same exercise for Mountain View, I imagine most people reading here would be interested in seeing the results.


Anneke
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Professorville
on Oct 26, 2020 at 10:52 am
Anneke, Professorville
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on Oct 26, 2020 at 10:52 am
38 people like this

We do not have enough water!


chris
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University South
on Oct 26, 2020 at 11:20 am
chris, University South
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on Oct 26, 2020 at 11:20 am
4 people like this

Allen,

Redwood City is approving lots of housing developments in addition to a number of commercial developments.

From what I see, mixed use is a red herring. What portion of commercial development in Redwood City is true mixed use.

Palo Alto can approve housing with little or no commercial space, whether in mixed use or stand-alone commercial.

Palo Altans are intent on coming up with any excuse to hold housing to a trickle.


Allen Akin
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Professorville
on Oct 26, 2020 at 11:38 am
Allen Akin, Professorville
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on Oct 26, 2020 at 11:38 am
32 people like this

@chris wrote: "Palo Alto can approve housing with little or no commercial space, whether in mixed use or stand-alone commercial."

Yes, it can. But the developers aren't proposing it, even when it would be easy to approve. (See Ventura for a good example.) Which is why anger toward the city is mostly misdirected. (And yet another illustration of how the RHNA targets are disconnected from reality.)

Developers like mixed-use because highly-profitable offices offset the loss from low-profit or loss-generating housing, while the housing smooths away legal and public-relations issues. Particularly in areas where land and construction costs are exceptionally high, like the Bay Area. That, plus the jobs/housing imbalance that invariably accompanies it, is why mixed-use is not a red herring.

Still hoping you'll work the numbers for Mountain View. I'll bet they're instructive.


Bill Bucy
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Barron Park
on Oct 26, 2020 at 11:58 am
Bill Bucy, Barron Park
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on Oct 26, 2020 at 11:58 am
19 people like this

Ten thousand new homes? No big deal.

In addition to densely packed high rises all over Fry's and the Stanford Research Park, Castilleja could alter its plans to include several stories of housing. At least that way the school would contribute something to the city.


StarSpring
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Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 26, 2020 at 12:41 pm
StarSpring, Adobe-Meadow
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on Oct 26, 2020 at 12:41 pm
20 people like this

Curious. What authority does ABAG have to enforce their demands?


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
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Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 26, 2020 at 1:10 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
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on Oct 26, 2020 at 1:10 pm
22 people like this

Sunnyvale is the second biggest city in the county. And it has the lowest crime rate. It is next to Moffett which has a mixed bag of commercial and tech. Why isn't that an opportunity zone?

Why do the ABAG people think this city is an opportunity zone? It is an opportunity zone for people with a tech education. That is what we do here. We are a company town. We are not doing crops, commercial activity, or any other activity which takes advantage of low income people.

Redwood City has a mixed bag of economy types with it's port and commercial entities. That is your opportunity zone. And the building they are doing is in the downtown next to the shopping center and train. Because the way that city is set up lends itself to that type of development. Check out a new development that is going to go is at Woodside Road and Industrial. That is about the same size as Fry's.

What those cities do not have is a proponent of ABAG who wants to be in charge of the show. SU is it's own entity and is not an opportunity for the city of PA. Does SU have any requirements for housing imposed by the state? They own their land. Has the great state of CA somehow imposed a requirement for housing relative to SU which we have no control over? How did that happen? Because it changes up the algorithm that produces these strange numbers.
Every time I hear a "reason" as to what ABAG is and how they function it gets to sound like a set-up, a con.

We are not an opportunity zone. And you cannot make us into one when the other surrounding cities have more going on then we do.


Jerry Underdal
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Barron Park
on Oct 26, 2020 at 2:54 pm
Jerry Underdal, Barron Park
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on Oct 26, 2020 at 2:54 pm
5 people like this

I strongly agree with Steve Levy's comment: "All the more reason for council to invite HCD and ABAG to present at council." There is a legitimate discussion to have about the extent to which housing projections remain valid for the post-Covid_19 Bay Area. Surely we want to be as well-informed as possible about the basis for ABAG's housing numbers during the debate over Palo Alto’s allotment.

I wonder how Palo Alto would respond to a successful intervention with ABAG. What if the result of the RHNA formula debate was a reduction to 5,000 from 10,000 units? Would we see a unified effort to make the adjustments necessary to build that housing by 2031— a heavy lift since the city has for years failed to meet its own target of 300 units per year.

Results of the referendum in 2013 that killed the Maybell project showed that scolding over not meeting the city’s RHNA targets for different categories of housing has no effect. SB35, however, has real consequences, positive and negative, that depend on whether cities cooperate to address the regional housing shortage. With four seats on the city council yet to be determined, we can only conjecture what the Palo Alto’s response will be.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
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Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 26, 2020 at 3:29 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
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on Oct 26, 2020 at 3:29 pm
22 people like this

So now the key word is "opportunity zone". That is a legal term that you can review in Google look=up. An Opportunity zone is a distressed area that qualifies for government subsidy to increase low-cost housing.

The so-called experts here need to define how this city became an "opportunity zone". It is part of Trumps 2017 move to remove blight and increase jobs in distressed areas - think Chicago. Think east coast cities in which there are no jobs. Think Baltimore.

We need an explanation as to:
1.Why are we classified as an Opportunity Zone.
2.What qualifies this city as an Opportunity Zone? Enumerate the reasons.
3.Have the SU numbers been folded into this cities numbers for housing requirements? They own their land and are specifically responsible for the businesses that occur on their property and the housing for those businesses.
4. Santa Clara County is a big county with a lot of cities that are not dependent on a university for it's existence. They all have industry, manufacturing, and a wide range of business types which would serve a low-cost wage earner.
5. All cities in the Santa Clara county have excellent schools. All cities in the San Mateo County have excellent schools.
6. Most cities in Santa Clara County have more available land for low-cost housing. PA was built out before the other cities - except San Jose - and they were crops. The other cities were built out much later and still have available land.

Any reason ABAG has for developing their numbers has to be based on legal definition. It is their job to define their legal definitions.

Bottom line is we are not going to be thrown under the bus by any person or agency without a thorough definition of the rationale of the requirements. This is not a banana republic.


Steve Dabrowski
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Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 26, 2020 at 4:20 pm
Steve Dabrowski, Duveneck/St. Francis
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on Oct 26, 2020 at 4:20 pm
30 people like this

The remaining clear solution to the continued problem of un-elected (and elected ones) forcing unreasonable housing demands on our communities is a statewide proposition clearly establishing local authority for decisions on land use and housing. With so many communities adversely affected by this kind of assault from agencies and associations beyond our control it would seem a no brainer to get together and put a strong proposition on the 2022 ballot.

If Lyft and Uber can put up a strong ballot measure to extract themselves from compliance with a new state law, California cities should be able to do the same. Maybe Palo Alto should lead the way.


chris
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University South
on Oct 26, 2020 at 7:02 pm
chris, University South
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on Oct 26, 2020 at 7:02 pm
5 people like this

Steve,

Most people do not live in cities/areas that have Palo Alto’s concerns. Uber and Lyft are spending huge amounts of money to convince people to vote in their business interest. Who is going to put up the money to the limited number of cities that are similar to Palo Alto?


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
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Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 26, 2020 at 7:59 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
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on Oct 26, 2020 at 7:59 pm
21 people like this

Chris - do you watch Fox News" DT has called out the specific legislation that is being pushed to put duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes in the middle of R-1 residential locations. This is not a Palo Alto Concern. First it is a state-wide concern, then a national concern. The intent of this action is not to increase housing for the poor - it is to break down the status of the US neighborhood model of living. It is taking everything that we have worked for and trashing it.

And we need to understand who has thrown us under the bus here. This is not a city matter - it is a county matter? The county had to set us up?
Mr. Levy - what say you?


Allen Akin
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Professorville
on Oct 26, 2020 at 9:40 pm
Allen Akin, Professorville
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on Oct 26, 2020 at 9:40 pm
21 people like this

There's already substantial activity in SoCal opposing the State's takeover of zoning. Some of it is based on opposition to gentrification. The forced-zoning rules overwhelmingly favor market-rate units, and don't provide funding for below-market-rate units, so building the maximum number of high-priced market-rate units is encouraged. Those units tend to displace people in existing affordable units. This is another value-extraction process.

The RHNA system is distinct, but it shares a lot of the characteristics of the recent State legislation, and also shares a lot of the side-effects. So there is motivation for alliances. And a fair number of cities in the Bay Area have the same issues as Palo Alto, perhaps to a lesser extent, so there is opportunity locally, too.


Steve Dabrowski
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Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 27, 2020 at 12:10 pm
Steve Dabrowski, Duveneck/St. Francis
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on Oct 27, 2020 at 12:10 pm
29 people like this

I agree that there are less people and communities that share Palo Altos situation of being the target for the housing zealots, but I believe most people in California resent the fact that a very vocal minority of commissions, associations and regional groups can run roughshod over any communities. The basic democratic nature of our country resists these types of centralized control. People can see and sense the unreasonable nature of such a system-King George learned this at considerable expense in life and treasure. When abuse of eminent domain became an issue several years ago, and a possible proposition seemed likely to abolish it, the legislature was quick to try to correct the laws before they lost control. Even a good scare like that might help, but a real proposition is the only way to put an end to most of these agency/association abuses of power.


Online Name
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Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 27, 2020 at 12:51 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
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on Oct 27, 2020 at 12:51 pm
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"Written comments on the RHNA methodology may be sent to [email protected] The deadline for comments is noon on Nov. 24."

Write and tell them enough already. Housing targets shouldn't be set until we see how the effects of the pandemic and increase in telecommuting shake out.


chris
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University South
on Oct 27, 2020 at 8:59 pm
chris, University South
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on Oct 27, 2020 at 8:59 pm
4 people like this

Palo Alto is likely to get relief but the proposed total, but it is not going away entirely. Lydia Kou and her band of followers would build essentially no housing.
If Palo Alto has a serious plan, it may get a hearing. A Kou type plan will be laughed out of court. The type of plan she supports will result in legal fees that could have provided housing for 1000 people.

Palo Alto will not be taken seriously until it comes up with a serious plan.
Which cities are going to bat for Palo Alto?


Online Name
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Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 27, 2020 at 10:33 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
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on Oct 27, 2020 at 10:33 pm
26 people like this

Laugh away and stop trying to push kore unaffordable housing on us? Where's the rent control and the BMR units? Why is ABAG STILL keep pushing 3 or 4 more jobs than housing units? All that does is make housing more costly for all.

Love how the big-money interests spent $200,000+ on a single smear campaign for a single MV candidate who favors rent control? Love your continued slams at Lydia who also favors rent control.


What was Atherton's target? Portola Valley?

Why the rush when SF rents are down 30+ and so many people are leaving the area they can't find moving vans? How many of us know friends who've moved out very recently?


Allen Akin
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Professorville
on Oct 27, 2020 at 10:45 pm
Allen Akin, Professorville
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on Oct 27, 2020 at 10:45 pm
31 people like this

@chris: The most recent version of the Palo Alto Comprehensive Plan (which you can find here Web Link) was adopted three years ago. It includes housing policies intended to meet the previous round of RHNA requirements, 1988 units, and in fact Council adopted a more aggressive goal of 3545 to 4420 housing units. The Housing Work Plan developed by Staff and Council defined the zoning changes and process changes that needed to be made to meet this goal, and those changes were adopted in Ordinance 5460 (which you can find here Web Link).

Palo Alto has had a serious plan for years. The zoning is *already there* to build another 3500+ units. Zoning isn't the problem; the economics of development is the problem. Simply forcing a higher target won't solve it, anymore than it did the last time around.


Anonymous
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Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 28, 2020 at 1:13 am
Anonymous, Duveneck/St. Francis
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on Oct 28, 2020 at 1:13 am
34 people like this

Illogical, unjust power grab by ABAG and Weiner. Wake up, homeowners. Email your state representatives. Please join Livable California. I respect this important organization. Support city council members who represent Palo Alto to the state. Some understand the kooky unfair targeting of Palo Alto.
Meanwhile: Weiner et al. reward big developers while doing deceptive, pretend virtue-signaling. Such persistency in their intent to destroy local residential zoning. We are in a Covid crisis, but this state and entities like ABAG persist in concocting damaging schemes based on inaccurate concocted info.! It’s misguided.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
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Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 28, 2020 at 9:36 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
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on Oct 28, 2020 at 9:36 am
32 people like this

On my street today is the city utility crew who works the underground swamp - the sewer drains. Water was coming down the street. They were on this block about two months ago. The residents call them to come. People are adding ADU's, additional rooms, and anything on top of the ground. Below the ground is a mystery to the people who are building and approving ADU's. People in political mode are hiking up the housing numbers with no comprehension of the capability of our systems to handle all of the activity. Our underground is broken and our power system is overhead in the trees. WOW - aren't we the progressive ones?

And worse - from the note above - our PACC increased the number of required homes. So "staff and council" threw their own city under the bus to do what? Score some political points to advance their own political clout outside of the city? Up their reputation in the "Party"?

We already know that we cannot legislate what SU does on their property - have we somehow assumed responsibility for what happens on their property? That did not work well when the city was negotiating for more money for the school system which their children go to. Did we increase our housing to assume responsibility for what goes on at SU?

The ABAG people in SF have the same problem. Everyone is fleeing the city and their underground sewer systems are broken. They have flooding during big rains. So they are suppose to be increasing the numbers in the city but how is that working?

Brainless people - we hade a stable situation and then people trying to promote their political clout started messing with a bunch of broken down systems. Unbelievable.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
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Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 28, 2020 at 9:46 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
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on Oct 28, 2020 at 9:46 am
20 people like this

An Activists has a very narrow view of any situation. They have a specific goal to do something but most likely no theory of what to do with any outcome of their actions.

It is our job to make sure that whatever they are up to connects all of the dots required. And that we do not allow our city, county, state politics to get carried away in what ends up to be a total mess. If disruption is their game then recognize it and do not get swept up in it.


chris
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University South
on Oct 28, 2020 at 12:33 pm
chris, University South
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on Oct 28, 2020 at 12:33 pm
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Allen,

Palo Alto has made no serious effort to meet even its current goal. With the changing economics going forward, it has even less excuse. You can’t just say that your excuse is economics when Mountain View and Redwood City are able to build housing.

Has City Council talked to MV and RC to get educated? PA is extremely provincial.


jc
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College Terrace
on Oct 28, 2020 at 1:25 pm
jc, College Terrace
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on Oct 28, 2020 at 1:25 pm
29 people like this

Chris,
Given that the city itself isn't in the housing construction industry and land in Palo Alto in such high demand the price keeps being pushed up, developers are appear to be only interested in investing in more profitable office space, unfortunately.


Allen Akin
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Professorville
on Oct 28, 2020 at 1:36 pm
Allen Akin, Professorville
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on Oct 28, 2020 at 1:36 pm
33 people like this

@chris: Sorry, I guess I wasn't clear enough. I'll try again.

Cities don't build housing; investors and developers do. Saying "Palo Alto doesn't build housing, but Redwood City and Mountain View do" is neither meaningful nor true.

Developers in Redwood City* are building offices so fast and housing so slowly that the city is suffering a dramatic net loss of housing relative to jobs. In short, just what happened in Palo Alto over the past few decades. Are you sure that you're justified in damning Palo Alto and applauding Redwood City when exactly the same thing is happening in both cities?

With respect to the RHNA process, which is what this discussion is nominally about, Palo Alto not only did what it was obligated to do, it did more. The fact that developers and investors have higher profit opportunities elsewhere, and therefore choose to do most of their building elsewhere, is one of the simple economic facts that causes the RHNA process to fail.

* Have you checked Mountain View yet?


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
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Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 28, 2020 at 1:38 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
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on Oct 28, 2020 at 1:38 pm
16 people like this

Chris - When we talked about Fry's you wanted that to be a Target instead of housing. Yet that is exactly where housing belongs. We don't need a Target. There are all new apartments on Park across from the Fry's site. There are new buildings going up on San Antonio.

I am up in Redwood City every week. They are doing a great job. All of their new building is concentrated between El Camino and Veteran. That was commercial property. Their city is set up differently. We are next to SU which blocks off a major area that we have no control over. One of the biggest apartments now in RWC is owned by SU - it is on Jefferson across from the shopping center. SU is going to build on a plot at Woodside and Industrial because their new campus is down the street. RWC has the last deep water port on the bay. They are now working on the port and are going to put in a ferry service.

MV is a different story - they are also set up differently. They have a new section going up in Moffatt.

PA had the original new building with the land south of Oregon Expressway. We were the first to build why everyone else was fields and orchards.

The new building we need to do is El Camino where all of those one story ancient buildings are. That is the section that needs redevelopment.

And no the city cannot take out Eichler neighborhoods - those are heritage residential locations.

Actually Chris's area is the most logical for new building if you are using RWC as an example. His area is concentrated next to the inner city.
So Chris - are you up for new building in your neighborhood? You keep attacking Lydia who is in South PA . Is that where you want to put the new housing?

Where is the new housing suppose to go? If the people on the north side keep pointing to the south side then you have a problem. Your examples are building in the center of the city.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
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Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 29, 2020 at 9:44 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
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on Oct 29, 2020 at 9:44 am
12 people like this

YEAH to Lydia - great job. Put all of that new building in the north section of the city. Right in the middle of the downtown. You have to see the total picture here and the total picture starts in the downtown section of the city.


chris
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University South
on Oct 29, 2020 at 1:27 pm
chris, University South
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on Oct 29, 2020 at 1:27 pm
6 people like this

There are already a number of housing developments near downtown that have 30 or more units per acre. That includes at least 3 that are affordable or low-income housing. More could be built in that area, near California, near El Camino, and near San Antonio. Palo Alto is far from overbuilt and school enrollments are plunging.

Several thousand Palo Alto residents live on Stanford owned land (Oak Creek, Stanford West, Vi, University Terrace, etc). Stanford has indicated they would consider building more housing in the Research Park, but has any city official or council member pursued that option?


Allen Akin
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Professorville
on Oct 29, 2020 at 1:50 pm
Allen Akin, Professorville
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on Oct 29, 2020 at 1:50 pm
19 people like this

@chris: "Stanford has indicated they would consider building more housing in the Research Park, but has any city official or council member pursued that option?"

I think that's an excellent idea -- a decent amount of land is available, the opportunities for living close to work are better there than in Downtown, existing neighborhoods don't have to be disrupted, and there are more transportation options than in many other areas of the City. You can also argue that most of Palo Alto's jobs/housing imbalance is due to the existence of the Research Park, so as a matter of fairness it might make sense to solve more of the problem there.

To the best of my knowledge, housing is permitted only in a tiny portion of the Park. I've talked to several Council members about it over the past few years. Adrian Fine told me that he was interested in pursuing housing in more areas of the Park, but (at that time) Stanford wasn't supportive.

Several candidates for Council have expressed enthusiasm for more housing in SRP, so maybe more progress is possible this time.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
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Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 29, 2020 at 3:31 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
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on Oct 29, 2020 at 3:31 pm
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I have relatives that lived on campus. SU owns that property. When they reached retirement age the U "encouraged' them to sell their house so new, young, incoming teachers with children could have a house on campus. That is where Webster House had it's origination. It was set up to absorb SU professors who were no longer teaching. Webster House was later sold. It turns out that retirement homes are very complicated regarding insurance liability.

SU manages their properties make no mistake about that. And if you think retired people will be using any housing on campus at this point in time then you are mistaken.

SU has built a huge apartment building in Redwood City on Jefferson - across from the shopping center. They have a whole complex starting construction on Woodside Road at Industrial. And they now have a hospital in RWC next to 101.

SU has land management skills - make no mistake. And if any one assumed SU should be included in any ABAG calculation for PA then that is another big mistake.


Dick D.
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Crescent Park
on Oct 29, 2020 at 8:18 pm
Dick D., Crescent Park
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on Oct 29, 2020 at 8:18 pm
4 people like this

All the raging about more housing required and it being unfair, does remind me of some easy arithmetic. We love more commercial / business development ($$$ more tax income $$$ and more for the town to spend). BUT where do you think the workers and executives in these new business developments are going to live? Right now we do are doing our darnedest to get more businesses here but balk at housing the people that go to work there. So we don't have enough housing 'cause people don't want higher density and all kinds of other reasons. One result is that we have the ridiculously high housing costs – the worst in the nation -- demand & supply keeps it high.

But my central point is that like other Bay area communities we have to provide more housing . . . and the "freedom" we've had in responding to that in our own way has resulted in Palo Alto lagging grossly behind in providing a fair share of needed housing. So a group, including Palo Alto representation has done FOR us what, given the opportunity for too long, what we have failed to do.

Many don't like facing the reality, and don't like the way it is being done. It has a terrible parallel in the "freedom" gang protesting masking!


Dick D.
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Crescent Park
on Oct 29, 2020 at 8:19 pm
Dick D., Crescent Park
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on Oct 29, 2020 at 8:19 pm
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All the raging about more housing required and it being unfair, does remind me of some easy arithmetic. We love more commercial / business development ($$$ more tax income $$$ and more for the town to spend). BUT where do you think the workers and executives in these new business developments are going to live? Right now we do are doing our darnedest to get more businesses here but balk at housing the people that go to work there. So we don't have enough housing 'cause people don't want higher density and all kinds of other reasons. One result is that we have the ridiculously high housing costs – the worst in the nation -- demand & supply keeps it high.

But my central point is that like other Bay area communities we have to provide more housing . . . and the "freedom" we've had in responding to that in our own way has resulted in Palo Alto lagging grossly behind in providing a fair share of needed housing. So a group, including Palo Alto representation has done FOR us what, given the opportunity for too long, what we have failed to do.


Online Name
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Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 29, 2020 at 8:45 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
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on Oct 29, 2020 at 8:45 pm
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"Right now we do are doing our darnedest to get more businesses here but balk at housing the people that go to work there"

Who's "we"? There've been petitions to stop the office development that have qualified for the ballot but that gamed with non-binding promises from the pro-development majority on the PA City Council, one of whom now sits on ABAG where he can continue to push unrealistic targets on us.

As for housing "the workers and executives," we know many of the executives will locate in Atherton, Los Altos Hills, Woodside, Portola Valley etc. where they won't have to cope with the density because they've proudly resisted the commercial development that our well-funded pro-density council members and commissioners have long espoused. As for the "workers," what happens when they get married, have kids, change jobs? Have the YIMBY's explained to them that housing will still be unaffordable because land still hasn't gotten cheaper and that there'll be more competition for housing at all levels?


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
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Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 29, 2020 at 9:51 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
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on Oct 29, 2020 at 9:51 pm
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Dick D - should we start with Crescent Park for the building of low cost housing? Watch it - your neighbors will not appreciate your postings. Why do you - or any other person - think that PA is suppose to be the answer for everyone's problems?

We are surrounded by other cites that have very nice housing and the people who live do not suffer "guilt" for being there. Do people in Los Altos, Los Altos hills, Portola Valley, Woodside, Menlo Park canoodle over the guilt of living where they do?

Maybe some of the residents of PA need to go to counseling to figure out why the guilt factor is used to make things happen in this city. That is getting very old.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
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Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 30, 2020 at 10:00 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
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on Oct 30, 2020 at 10:00 am
4 people like this

Another "guilt' factor. When the Mitchell Park rebuild was done I attended a city sponsored meeting regarding how the facilities would be rented out for events. A fuzzy haired young lady gave a whole rant that only non-profits could rent space. The topic of Palantir came up and you knew she was projecting the death wish on them because they had a contract with the government and they were not a non-profit.

Do you all wonder as I do as to how a "city" can run if it only conducts business with non-profits? That flies in the face as lack of knowledge regarding civic activities and people who rant feel comfortable doing that. So let's recognize that we have an element in this city that is going side-ways and decisions based on their rants is counter-productive to good city management.

And since we have another segment on the SU School of Business we would hope that they are not promoting the group think demonstrated by this young (?) lady. It is in conflict with the presence of FB in MP and Google in MV.

And this segment is for increasing housing? How do you promote the increase in housing when you have whole segments in the city that are trying to manipulate the city management.


Steve Dabrowski
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 30, 2020 at 4:08 pm
Steve Dabrowski, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Oct 30, 2020 at 4:08 pm
14 people like this

I have probably gone well over the line in cynicism, but as for writing my representatives or appealing to ABAG about my concerns, I figure that would be about as effective as waiting for the second coming. These people represent no one beyond themselves and their interests. Anyone actually think that Newsmen, Weiner, Burman or Skinner would entertain the idea that building thousands of housing units in Palo Alto might not be such a good idea? Ha ha ha.

These people only entertain their own notions-no one else allowed. Once every four years they give some lip service to civic discourse and being polite, etc., but looking out for non paying constituents-forget it. Get a proposition going and forget these fools who we elected to do anything for us.


Steve Dabrowski
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 30, 2020 at 4:20 pm
Steve Dabrowski, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Oct 30, 2020 at 4:20 pm
14 people like this

One more thing. Who is it that awarded so many commentators the vision to decide what anyone's "fair share" is? I see red every time I see some self righteous clown's declaration that someone needs to pay their fare share. You tell me what that is when it comes to housing or anything else so I can laugh in your face. Your Fair Share-what nonsense!!


Allen Akin
Registered user
Professorville
on Oct 30, 2020 at 4:22 pm
Allen Akin, Professorville
Registered user
on Oct 30, 2020 at 4:22 pm
23 people like this

@Steve Dabrowski wrote: "...as for writing my representatives or appealing to ABAG about my concerns, I figure that would be about as effective as waiting for the second coming."

I hear you. I got a particularly patronizing reply from Marc Berman after I wrote to ask him not to support SB 1120. "Try reading more", he said.


jc
Registered user
College Terrace
on Oct 30, 2020 at 4:43 pm
jc, College Terrace
Registered user
on Oct 30, 2020 at 4:43 pm
24 people like this

@Dick Durbin
"We love more commercial / business development ($$$ more tax income $$$ and more for the town to spend)."

I don't know to whom the "we" in your sentence refers to. Commercial property pays only about 25% of our property tax revenue, down from around 50% at the time of Prop 13. On a steady and continual downward trajectory unless the loopholes that allow commercial property to change hands without triggering a tax assessment based on the sales price (as with residential) is closed.

Businesses only contribute revenue if they produce a product for which sales tax in Palo Alto can be charged. There used to be quite a lot of manufacturing in the research park, but as that use has changed to software development, lawyers, investors, etc. it is likely the percentage of revenue from that source has decreased considerably.

So we are left with a lot of employees in Palo Alto who patronize the restaurants, that is if their employer doesn't provide them their own food service, as there certainly isn't much retail left for employees to patronize.

Some years ago during a council meeting, then city manager James Keene, a staunch business advocate, on being asked a direct question admitted to the council that revenue from businesses no longer covered their cost to the city!

Commercial developers and those who own commercial property leased to businesses (not retail) and many of whom pay very low property taxes but can charge the going rates to tenants, have been laughing all the way to the bank. Not so residents who have to deal with the result of years of council majorities supported by this sector continually approving more office development.


Online Name
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Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 30, 2020 at 6:53 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Oct 30, 2020 at 6:53 pm
29 people like this

"I got a particularly patronizing reply from Marc Berman after I wrote to ask him not to support SB 1120. "Try reading more", he said."

Berman's attitudes are enough to make me vote for his opponent. Which in this political climate says a lot!

Most of these units will be unaffordable market-rate housing which will create more competition for housing by making it more expensive and more create more homelessness.

Have you been following what it's costing San Francisco to house the homeless in hotels/motels? $260 a day (as reported this week)!

You're bright people. Do the math: $260 X 30 days a month = ??????


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 31, 2020 at 4:40 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
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on Oct 31, 2020 at 4:40 pm
2 people like this

I am reading all of the comments above on SU housing. If you go on campus there is a ton of housing. SU is managing their housing very well thank you. And they are the ones paying the property taxes on that housing. And then they are off-loading housing onto PA. And now they are creating new housing in RWC.

The first problem you have is that you think Stanford Research Park is somehow the responsibility of the city of PA. If the SU issues have crept into the city of PA ABAG numbers then you have assumed a responsibility that you have no control over.
So look at your comprehensive plan and figure out what those numbers mean.

Next you need to analyze what other numbers are included in there. The adults in the family have to be in a place where they can get jobs. This specific area is limited in the number of businesses that would use lower income people. Those families need to be in a city that has manufacturing jobs.


mjc
Registered user
College Terrace
on Oct 31, 2020 at 5:19 pm
mjc, College Terrace
Registered user
on Oct 31, 2020 at 5:19 pm
15 people like this

Stanford Research Park was annexed to Palo Alto so we have control over the zoning, just as we do with all the rest of Palo Alto's commercial zoning.

Since the Stanford Research Park is in Palo Alto, those employees count toward our huge jobs-housing imbalance, ABAG is asking Palo Alto to provide housing for these employees.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 31, 2020 at 6:18 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
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on Oct 31, 2020 at 6:18 pm
7 people like this

If you look at any map the SU property is called out as separate from PA. What has zoning have to do with it? EPA is in 94303 but it is in San Mateo County. Zoning has nothing to do with land ownership.

Is College terrace the property of SU? Sorry - do not buy the story that the City of PA has to include SU in it's ABAG numbers. I think we have been finessed. Need the city legal department to make a statement concerning ABAG numbers.

As you all recall we just went through a unsuccessful negotiation concerning how SU contributes to the Palo Alto Unified School District. People were drawing the lines on that topic.

The Stanford Research Park is on SU property. There was a real estate transaction reported on Hillyer where the company could buy the building but not the land. I have family history on the the SU land ownership and believe that you are incorrect.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 31, 2020 at 7:05 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
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on Oct 31, 2020 at 7:05 pm
11 people like this

Interesting point about SU and College Terrace. For the last few years there've been articles about SU buying up houses IN College Terrace and what that means.

During the office cap ballot initiative petition drive, much was said about how Stanford Research Park counted town the office cap. A telephone poll commissioned by our pro-development CC majority specifically asked if capping offices would jeopardize education here as we know it.

Deceptive fear-mongering paid for by our tax dollars.


Allen Akin
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Professorville
on Oct 31, 2020 at 10:52 pm
Allen Akin, Professorville
Registered user
on Oct 31, 2020 at 10:52 pm
12 people like this

@Resident 1-Adobe Meadows: As @mjc said, Stanford Research Park is in Palo Alto (zone RP). Here's what the SRP website has to say about it: "In the 1950s, leaders within the City of Palo Alto and Stanford University forged a seminal partnership by creating Stanford Research Park, agreeing to annex SRP lands into the City of Palo Alto to generate significant tax revenues for the County, City, and Palo Alto Unified School District."

You can find a good overview zoning map here: Web Link .
You can find the definition of the RP zone here: Web Link


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 1, 2020 at 8:58 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
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on Nov 1, 2020 at 8:58 am
2 people like this

Thank you - we need facts and figures to support any contentions on who owns what.

As to SU buying houses in College Terrace you will find homes that go back to the original campus. These are historical treasures. They represent the history of the campus, the history of the city, and history of the original families that built the university. Thank you to the U for saving those homes. Many have relatives that lived and grew up on campus. So much history there.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
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Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 1, 2020 at 9:52 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
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on Nov 1, 2020 at 9:52 am
9 people like this

I keep seeing references to the legal system to reinforce compliance with ABAG numbers. That is one of the big political issues today. The use of the legal system to force conformance with actions which are contrary to the best interests of any city, county, etc. We see that in the FHP activity - a local judge is part of the momentum in use of the legal system. And now threats concerning the ABAG numbers.

The legal system is a two edge sword. The first action is for the initiator to delineate a position based on provable facts specific to the case. That is money spent by the initiator. And once they have committed to a position then they are all in. From our perspective the City Attorney is already on the payroll - a sunk cost - so all that is required on our part is for said attorney to do the job they are already being paid for. But there is the rub - is the city attorney capable of a response? If not then time for a new city attorney. A sunk cost is just that - make it work for us.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 2, 2020 at 9:02 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
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on Nov 2, 2020 at 9:02 am
11 people like this

Yesterday on TV the League of Women Voters had a Meeting featuring Mr. Marc Berman and Mr. Peter Ohtaki. Mr. Ohtaki is the former Mayor of Menlo Park and a long time city council member. Check out Menlo Park now - they have their Caltrain issues under control / in-process, major construction of both commercial and residential housing on El Camino, experience in dealing with FB and it's growth in their city, future planning for a Dumbarton rail improvement between Fremont and peninsula. All systems go in that city as well as RWC. All programs initiated and in-process.

The question was posed to Mr. Berman concerning the current housing bills which break-down the R1 neighborhoods. Mr. Berman reported that he is very PROUD of those bills and will be working for their continued process in the legislature. Clear choices here.


Be accurate
Registered user
Charleston Meadows
on Nov 2, 2020 at 12:55 pm
Be accurate, Charleston Meadows
Registered user
on Nov 2, 2020 at 12:55 pm
24 people like this

"I got a particularly patronizing reply from Marc Berman after I wrote to ask him not to support SB 1120. "Try reading more", he said."

"Berman's attitudes are enough to make me vote for his opponent. Which in this political climate says a lot!"

Berman was a smug condescending individual when on PA City Council - to his council colleagues, too - and remains that way now.
I got the same automated reply from him. Did not vote for him this time.


Much ADU
Registered user
Midtown
on Nov 2, 2020 at 2:24 pm
Much ADU, Midtown
Registered user
on Nov 2, 2020 at 2:24 pm
2 people like this

Renters UNITE !!! No transient tax needed for future hotels that will never get built. Multi family housing renters all along the Bayshore, Middlefield, ALMA and ECR are paying massive rents to offset private property owners tax loopholes. Check again if those who believe that humans that can't afford to live here just move. They are supporting your tax break!!!! Yes on 15 not on 19 overturn prop 13 breaks for billionaires.


YeahBermanGo!
Registered user
Midtown
on Nov 2, 2020 at 2:33 pm
YeahBermanGo!, Midtown
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on Nov 2, 2020 at 2:33 pm
2 people like this

Marc Berman is a leader of dreams! He speaks truth to power. PA has become a virual gated community with a mote of wealth around it. It's like a Monarch's Kingdom of the very rich and the underlings of the very poor and desperate live along the "outskirts" of town but the wealthy collect high rents, or else. Ching, ching. Yet. Both can't exist without the other and now they are eating each other livlihoods alive. Real change does not happen without controversy and conflict. I am flabbergasted that the very rich think that if you can't afford it here, "just move" Is that what we said to African Americans who migrated here to join our fight to win WWII. No. We just waited until 30 years hence, passage of Prop 13 and redlining for their massive flight from their homes in San Francisco, Vallejo, Richmond, Oakland, East Palo Alto and Palo Alto.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 3, 2020 at 9:00 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Nov 3, 2020 at 9:00 am
14 people like this

Of Puleeze - the biggest problem we have in PA and Silicon Valley is that the manufacturing jobs that provide for the lively hood of all residents have disappeared because the state has taxed them out. They are all now in Texas, Nevada, etc. Our closest military base is Moffatt which has been turned in to a Google holding pen for their planes. The STATE has gutted the manufacturing base on this state. Oakland is doing just fine thank you - they have a healthy port and manufacturing base.

Reading a really good book now - "Doesn't Hurt to Ask". Trey Gowdy. Learn to communicate with facts. If you don't have facts then you will not persuade anyone of what you are saying. Just spouting the party line does not work.

And I did not vote for Marc Berman - from end to end in his career he is a "weiner". Like the SF Supervisor who is working to ruin this state.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 3, 2020 at 9:31 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Nov 3, 2020 at 9:31 am
11 people like this

Silicon Valley companies are trying to sue the Government for cutting back the H1b Visas. That is who your local companies want to hire. And they are donating big bucks to make that happen.

People who do low income jobs are not in the SV company hiring plan. That is reality. This location in the state is the hub of technical jobs. If you have no training in technical jobs then you would do better in a location that has a lot of manufacturing. Amazon is building distribution centers so check that out.

Mr. Berman is working for the SV companies. That is a fact. What we know in "politics" is that people will say anything to get votes. If anyone is trying to portray Silicon Valley as the fruit bowl for low income jobs then you are not reading any papers.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 3, 2020 at 10:37 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Nov 3, 2020 at 10:37 am
23 people like this

Of course Mr. Berman is working for the Silicon Valley companies and real estate developers and apartment owners and Chambers of Commerce who just shut down their PAC due to racist and deceptive smear campaigns that were too repugnant even for those lobbyists. 80 companies and "non-profits" pulled out, the CEO was forced etc.

Web Link

No doubt they'll be back under some bland new name so Mr. Berman and his pro-density buddies need not despair at the loss of the biggest, wealthiest lobbying group in Silicon Valley.


Berman
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 4, 2020 at 3:03 pm
Berman, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Nov 4, 2020 at 3:03 pm
20 people like this

Berman was a follower on Council. I can't think of one original idea he ever brought forward. Now he's a follower of Scott Weiner.

If we want big tech in control of our government, he's your guy.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 5, 2020 at 10:42 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Nov 5, 2020 at 10:42 am
7 people like this

Like to note here that a proposition for Alameda to add extensive housing FAILED. I like Alameda and it has a lot of characteristics similar to PA. And they have people who spout the same progressive dribble to sanctify letting developers come in and ruin their location. What no one discussed is the aging sewer lines, water creep underlying the island, and increased traffic going over those bridges.
The progressive line of jive does not have any one who is proficient in those skill sets. Good - it FAILED. That is the problem with activists - their brain is limited in the number of issues and granularity required to look at what ever it is they are pushing. Usually big buck issues.


Sunshine
Registered user
Barron Park
on Nov 5, 2020 at 1:17 pm
Sunshine, Barron Park
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on Nov 5, 2020 at 1:17 pm
6 people like this

The cities in this area--Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos, Redwood City, Atherton, Menlo Park,, Sunnyvale are all part of one geographic area of businesses and housing. The housing should be shared over the whole area. Atherton could certainly contribute to the housing that is supposedly needed.
The City of Palo Alto recently sold the units of lower income housing in the President Hotel to a developer. Why was this allowed? The President Hotel should be housing for lower income people. Stanford should provide all the housing needed for their students and employees.
There is also room for more housing in Portola Valley.
Why are some of the other places not providing more of the housing.
When do we get a chance to vote on those who form ABAG? Then we could vote out all the ABAG fans who have such unrealistic plans for housing.


mjh
Registered user
College Terrace
on Nov 5, 2020 at 1:22 pm
mjh, College Terrace
Registered user
on Nov 5, 2020 at 1:22 pm
4 people like this

"The City of Palo Alto recently sold the units of lower income housing in the President Hotel"

Where on earth did you get that idea?


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 5, 2020 at 4:49 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Nov 5, 2020 at 4:49 pm
5 people like this

Sunshine - each city mentioned has a different tax base. A different set of tax paying businesses. A different school system with elected people who run those school systems. Each city has defined neighborhoods which people have bought into. Each city has elected people who are specific to the issues of their city - we hope. And we have Santa Clara County and San Mateo County. Two different tax revenue entities.
But do agree that we should vote on the ABAG people - accountability is of prime concern.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 18, 2020 at 11:07 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Nov 18, 2020 at 11:07 am
6 people like this

In the City Council Meeting this topic again has come up. Thank you Tom for heading up the opposition to this State initiative to ruin cities.

One of the problems here is that the actual people who are ABAG reside in anonymity to the general public. We need to know who they are and their qualifications to be on this government agency. Are they political appointees that are being reimbursed for their loyalty to the PARTY? Time to focus on this group and try and understand why they are exercising this strange set of requirements that has no logic.

Our current mayor noted that we build heavily after WW2 and can do it again. Really? If we built out the city at that time as did other peninsula cities then where are the houses suppose to go? There is no logic here. All we see now is a group of people trying to defy logic and common sense.


Online Name
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Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 18, 2020 at 11:45 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
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on Nov 18, 2020 at 11:45 am
9 people like this

Greg Scharff currently serves on ABAG as well as the Palo Alto Utilities Commission. He's a former city council member and mayor and a self-described real estate attorney. Web Link


Lee Forrest
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Nov 18, 2020 at 12:34 pm
Lee Forrest, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Nov 18, 2020 at 12:34 pm
21 people like this

>"Atherton could certainly contribute to the housing that is supposedly needed."
>"There is also room for more housing in Portola Valley."

^ Why would the current residents of Atherton & Portola Valley even consider destroying the nature of their towns...just to provide 'affordable' housing for those who ordinarily could not afford to live there? Might add well Los Altos Hills & Saratoga to your master plan as well.

>"The City of Palo Alto recently sold the units of lower income housing in the President Hotel to a developer. Why was this allowed? The President Hotel should be housing for lower income people.

^ The hotel was privately owned & sold to a hotel developer. The scenario is no different than when a new landlord displaces former tenants & then rents or leases the premises to newer residents who can afford to pay a higher price...it happens all the time.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 18, 2020 at 5:39 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
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on Nov 18, 2020 at 5:39 pm
1 person likes this

I am all for the President Hotel being a HOTEL. It has the history of the city. I think this being HOTEL is good move.


Lee Forrest
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Nov 19, 2020 at 11:11 am
Lee Forrest, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Nov 19, 2020 at 11:11 am
15 people like this

>"I am flabbergasted that the very rich think that if you can't afford it here, "just move"."

^ Don't be 'flabbergasted as the issue is not so much about 'moving out' but rather 'moving in'...especially if one cannot afford to do so.

If one cannot afford to buy a Mercedes, sometimes a lesser make must suffice.
The key is to live within one's means.

>"Is that what we said to African Americans who migrated here to join our fight to win WWII."

^ More revisionist history? African Americans (any of whom were domestic workers & laborers 'back on the day'), did not settle in & around Palo Alto in anticipation of the Second World War.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
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Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 20, 2020 at 7:57 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Nov 20, 2020 at 7:57 am
Like this comment

WE keep going back to WW2 - 1945. Half the people out there think the US is suppose to run the world, including our state department of old. Run into a location and throw money at it.

In WW2 people went to the locations where there are military bases and major port and RR systems. Moffett Field, Hunter's Point, Oakland, Travis AFB, etc.

In todays world there is the European Union which controls the major Western European countries as a block relative to the economy. That includes climate change projects. Read up on Wikipedia so you all understand that EU block of countries does its own thing and the US is not running their show. That includes the Paris Accord.
We were an ATM card for their projects. Meanwhile Germany is buying oil from Russia. Running the world at this point in time as a goal does not make sense. What makes sense is not being taken advantage of relative to throwing money at other countries that will do their own thing.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 20, 2020 at 8:56 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
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on Nov 20, 2020 at 8:56 am
2 people like this

Back to CA - as a side note extended family works for the CA government agencies. State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF) had a facility in downtown SF. As the employee age group shifted to younger people who came in from the suburbs they were given tokens for BART. Then the balance shifted. The aging building needed earthquake upgrade and the cost of subsidizing employee travel started adding up. Now SCIF leases buildings in the east bay cities - Pleasanton, Vallejo, etc. Family member was now going in the opposite direction eastward where the software systems were housed.

Lockheed in Sunnyvale was providing assistance in commute costs and people came in on the Amtrak Capitol Corridor train. As the age group changes with more living outside the immediate area then a decision as to where you place the business needs to be reevaluated.

The theory that a business needs to be in a specific location when a majority of the employees are commuting in then time to reevaluate the cost of the commute transportation. Also in the specific bay area - Google is built on bay land. At some point that is not going to work. Large computer systems need to be in a more protected area from major earthquake faults and flooding issues. Many finance companies have their computer facilities in Rancho Cordova - great place for younger people. It is inland and not on a major fault line.

So the demand to add housing HERE when a number of major companies will need to reevaluate and move inland where their employee base lives then the whole picture is not being addressed.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 21, 2020 at 9:07 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
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on Nov 21, 2020 at 9:07 am
6 people like this

Note that Chevron headquarters is in San Ramon. PGE has moved from SF to Oakland on Lake Merritt. These people may not be your employer but they do represent a major tax entity and employer for the state. Google is looking south ward - new housing going up in Gilroy.

The State of CA is a major employer in the state and is looking to sell older buildings which are now not up to spec and are leasing new buildings in the east bay cities. The point being that focusing on Silicon Valley as the rationale for building horrendous new housing is backwards. We are on a peninsula that has it's own problems. We need to challenge the people who are trying to envelope this specific area because their numbers do not tell the real story.

And low income people need to look at where their job opportunities are - the parents of those families. Areas where new building is going in are their best opportunity zone.


Lee Forrest
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Nov 21, 2020 at 10:24 am
Lee Forrest, Crescent Park
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on Nov 21, 2020 at 10:24 am
17 people like this

Plastering the southernmost area of Palo Alto with 'affordable' housing is currently all that's left & in time, this section of Palo Alto will reach a saturation point if it hasn't already.

And extending this 'progressive' housing approach to other Palo Alto neighborhoods will only serve to lower quality of life in Palo Alto.

Why can't those individuals who essentially cannot afford to reside in Palo Alto just opt to live in other more affordable areas rather than forcibly attempting to alter the current (and deteriorating) landscape of Palo Alto?

I would like to live in Malibu but cannot afford to at present...in the meantime, I am not pressuring the current Zuma Beach residents to accommodate me with 'boo-hoo' tales of housing inequality.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 22, 2020 at 7:28 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
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on Nov 22, 2020 at 7:28 am
3 people like this

I have extended family in the San Diego Area - the development in housing in that area is exceptionally well done. Many co-workers are moving south to the beach cities or now Hawaii - life on the beach. I lived in Manhattan Beach - proximity to the salt air does bad things to your car and the outside of the house - high maintenance if you are close to the water.

Many people from work are looking right now to move out of this county and many are heading to SOCAL which has a different economic picture. The ski bums are moving to Nevada - Reno area, also Utah - Park City.

A friend who has a Real Estate agency drops off a listing of homes listed and it is a long list. I am barraged with mailings from agencies that want to buy my home or list it.

Moving out of this county is easy to do right now with exception of covid. People on the move have to look at the county/location they are going to move to. A number of people stay because we have a lot of hospitals and health care. They are looking at what the other areas have in the way of health care. Also school rankings.

Why the people who run this city and county insist that we are suppose to house all types of people who do not have the skills to meet the type business that this county depends on makes no sense. San Jose is being stripped of small family business to upgrade to huge controlled developments. SU runs their own show and hiring and are not of the mood to be pressured into any actions which they see as counter-productive to their goal and financial structure.

Bottom line is that both the city and county are driving the train and we need to address both in this war. the ABAG people are more in SF but the zoning people are city and county. Hey County people - quit trying to up your position in the "party" structure by throwing us under the bus. Not good for any ones careers or ability to move up the political ladder. Help those state people to move more industry into the east bay areas close to the BART and Train.


Lee Forrest
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Nov 22, 2020 at 9:19 am
Lee Forrest, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Nov 22, 2020 at 9:19 am
13 people like this

@Resident 1-Adobe Meadows

>"...the San Diego Area - the development in housing in that area is exceptionally well done."

^ To a certain extent but there are now serious concerns about 'urban sprawl' (actually suburban sprawl) vs additional housing needs & advocacies. And as in the SF Bay Area, enterprising developers in SD County are naturally pro-housing.

>"...many are heading to SOCAL which has a different economic picture...Moving out of this county is easy to do right now with exception of covid."

^ As you already know...parts of SOCAL have some serious population densities of their own & Covid-19 rates are running high in LA/OC/San Diego counties depending on where one resides.

>"The ski bums are moving to Nevada - Reno area, also Utah - Park City."

^ True ski bums (at least the younger ones) are somewhat transient by nature as many tend to gravitate to where the dry powder is plentiful (i.e. the Rockies, Sawtooths, Sangre de Cristo etc.)...unless one enjoys skiing on Tahoe 'Sierra Cement'.

Been there, done that...in Telluride (back in the 70s) before getting bogged down with job, wife, family, house & all of the encumbrances of everyday life.

Used to reside in Manhattan Beach as well...off Highland Avenue.

Summers at the beach & winters at the higher elevations...and then the boom was lowered.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 22, 2020 at 10:02 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
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on Nov 22, 2020 at 10:02 am
5 people like this

I grew up in SOCAL, went to college there, and am back and forth all of the time. College mates are all down south. Report on the goings on in their areas. Stayed on the Queen Mary recently. Long Beach used to be a Navy town. Now the whole shoreline is being turned into marinas - well done. Lived in Marina Del Rey for a while.

This county is consumed by Silicon Valley and their supposed need for H1b people. No -not true. All an H1b person does is help the bottom line of a company by eliminating the employee taxes which does no good to the state agencies or federal government. And our County employees facilitate that charade by legislating housing which further screws up the whole area. Relative is a Microsoft Tech expert who goes into companies and fixes the messes they create. They smile - say okay, then go on doing what ever they do and continue to create messes. They view that as job protection, if everything works then there is no need for their services.

This is a giant hoax that does no good for the state that depends on employees taxes to pay for the state agencies, and federal government that depends on taxes for all of the services that are required. Your SSN, Medicare, Medicaid, state and federal insurance protection all depend on employee deductions from paychecks. FICA is matched by the EMPLOYER. Eliminate the US employee and look at how much you have saved. So the hoax all adds to the bottom line of these companies.


Lee Forrest
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Nov 22, 2020 at 10:29 am
Lee Forrest, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Nov 22, 2020 at 10:29 am
19 people like this

>"This county is consumed by Silicon Valley and their supposed need for H1b people. No -not true. All an H1b person does is help the bottom line of a company by eliminating the employee taxes which does no good to the state agencies or federal government."

^ So the corporate explanation(s) that it is EXTREMELY difficult to procure skilled high-tech workers from within the United States is essentially a bunch of malarkey?

This may explain why so many skilled software engineers are currently being imported from outside countries (i.e. India) by large companies such as Google...corporate frugalities.

If this viable labor pool is truly a 'hoax' on the the part of low-balling high-tech companies, then something must be done to curtail the influx of outside workers...the Trump administration placed limits on H-1Bs but the incoming Biden administration is expected to expand their accessibilty once again.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 22, 2020 at 12:08 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Nov 22, 2020 at 12:08 pm
3 people like this

Biden lives in a post 1945 world and is very naïve about the world as it is today. To say that we have no highly skilled people who are US citizens makes no sense. All of our children are on computers as they are learning how to walk. That is what our colleges are teaching.

People come to the US to go to school. Foreign students pay a very high price to come here. That is why our local colleges want them to come.

Europe today is run by the European Union. Look it up on Wikipedia. They run their show, manage what projects they work on, and control the immigration to the countries. However that is falling apart. The do as I say - not what I do philosophy breaks down very quickly.

The Paris Accord as agreed to was the US being an ATM card for the EU to pay for their country projects - which never got done. Worse - China and Iran were designated at "emerging countries" which had no goals or Financial responsibility.
That allowed Romney in Utah to sell coal to China, and Busch in Texas to sell oil to whoever (Tesoro). So everyone has a hand in the game to sell their products and use the US taxpayer as the financier for the whole scam. And buy a bunch of political breast beating while doing it.



Lee Forrest
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Nov 23, 2020 at 8:13 am
Lee Forrest, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Nov 23, 2020 at 8:13 am
20 people like this

>"Europe today is run by the European Union...They run their show, manage what projects they work on, and control the immigration to the countries. However that is falling apart."

^ Not controlling immigration is probably why they are 'falling apart' internally...a lack of assimilation in countries such as France & Germany has led to ongoing social conflicts where a sizable number of the more recent arrivals have rejected adjustment to a more western way of life & instead many have opted to embrace & promote their cultural dogmas from abroad...sometimes violently.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 25, 2020 at 8:25 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Nov 25, 2020 at 8:25 am
1 person likes this

As noted in other blogs concerning the Planning Commission we have people moving here from Cupertino. Mr. Lee who ran for City Council grew up in Cupertino. Now that is an APPLE town. A major population center. Much like MV which is a GOOGLE town. Much like RWC/Menlo Park which is a FB town. People are escaping those cities to come here - we are a University / SU town. The difference being that SU is on it's own property while the other commercial entities are on former city property.

They are busy eliminating small business, existing housing, open land, and eliminating existing competition which is then going to North San Jose. That whole area is growing very fast. AS it should - that was empty land - an agricultural area now transformed with new buildings. Samsung, Hitachi, etc. Now that is your "Opportunity Zone".

If we are looking at the county open land is a major consideration for new growth and housing. Also proximity to the bay which is partially built on FILL. Back in the day Ford Aerospace had buildings east of 101 on Charleston. Also East Meadow Circle. There was flooding in the East Meadow building as well as the Charleston buildings. When they built the Shoreline area on fill you could lite a match and a blue flame would come up - methane gas. Yes Methane Gas is an end product of poor planning.

Our job is to help ABAG and it's other agencies to build in the open areas of North San Jose on solid ground - not fill.


Lee Forrest
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Nov 25, 2020 at 9:11 am
Lee Forrest, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Nov 25, 2020 at 9:11 am
30 people like this

>"This is a war about the haves and have nots."

^ It is the history of mankind.


>"Many of your local legislators are the first generation Americans in the family. Their relatives are all escapees of foreign wars and have no semblance of a "normal" country existence."

^ The Statue of Liberty & the Golden Gate Bridge welcomes all newcomers from abroad...except for maybe 'The Wall'.


>"Mr. Weiner escaped from New Jersey."

^ Can't rightly blame him for that.


>"Our current mayor is from South Africa. Are all of the transplants trying to make this city look like where they came from?

^ Attributable to their cultural frame of reference?


>"The current head of Google is from India and the business model of the Silicon Valley companies is to increase the H1B visas...And we are suppose to buy into making our city look like a congealed bunch of living arrangements..."

^ Hopefully not...but again citing cultural (as well as a business oriented) frame of reference, India is very densely populated & characterized by countless compressed residential dwellings. To many of them, there is still a LOT of available land in the midpenisula suitable for potential housing needs & the same can be said of those arriving from the PRC except that the Mandarin Chinese tend to prefer larger, upper story homes with minimal front & back yards...the logic being less grounds maintenance & more bedrooms.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 25, 2020 at 12:20 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Nov 25, 2020 at 12:20 pm
2 people like this

The Statue of liberty was a gift to the US from France. Because we went in and helped theme in WW1 and WW2. And we needed people to help with the large operations we hade at that time = manufacturing lines. Under the Marshall Plan we were helping to rebuild Europe. The Golden Gate Bridge is to connect the two sides of the bay.

That was then - 1945 - this is now - 2020.

Europe is REBUILT. They now have the European Union - check that out on Wikipedia. They are now a solid block that controls all of their politics and economy - and CULTURAL issues. When the Associated Press reports on a country in that block it forgets to mention that it is a member of the EU. The EU is directly responsible for it's countries and it's residents / immigration.

Meanwhile the United African Countries is an organization set up to coordinate activities for all of the African states / countries. The Associated Press keeps forgetting to mention that. They are suppose to coordinate internally.

If we assume that the brain power is in India then they need to apply their brain power to fixing what ever their problems are. If they keep using the excuse that they are smarter then why coming here? The smarter ones need to put their country together and make it work.

Africa is the origin of the human race. That is where it all started. They have been on earth the longest and need to make it work. It is the second biggest continent on the planet with the richest supply of natural resources.

You make it sound like they are all starting from scratch. They all have been there forever - we are the ones that come last. China has been there forever and has a huge continent size. They are now down in Australia trying to take over the Pacific region.

So what is your point? the size of the US is smaller that the EU block. Smaller that China.

And where is all of this open land on the peninsula? It is in the North San Jose Area. That is where it is at. And that is technically not on the peninsula - but is edging back to solid land. Gilroy is now selling farm land and it is going to be developed - that is where the open land is.


Lee Forrest
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Nov 25, 2020 at 2:50 pm
Lee Forrest, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Nov 25, 2020 at 2:50 pm
28 people like this

>"The Statue of liberty was a gift to the US from France. Because we went in and helped theme in WW1 and WW2...That was then - 1945 - this is now - 2020."

^ The Statue of Liberty was a gift from France but it arrived in the United States in 1886...several decades prior to both WW1 & WW2.

>"The Golden Gate Bridge is to connect the two sides of the bay."

^ Concurring...it replaced the older ferry system between Marin County & San Francisco. Nevertheless, many immigrants & tourists arriving from overseas view the bridge as a welcoming symbol to California & the USA.

>"If we assume that the brain power is in India then they need to apply their brain power to fixing what ever their problems are. If they keep using the excuse that they are smarter then why coming here? The smarter ones need to put their country together and make it work."

^ Only the brightest East Indians in high-tech & the health professions tend to immigrate to the United States & while there are many inherent problems in their native country, the allure of residing in America often supercedes those priorities.

>"Africa is the origin of the human race. That is where it all started. They have been on earth the longest and need to make it work. It is the second biggest continent on the planet with the richest supply of natural resources."

^ Africa was exploited by European colonialism for centuries & its modern day independence is still marred by unstable governments, mass starvation/epidemics & continued societal unrest...thus many seek political & humanitarian asylum in the United States.

And as far as natural resources go, many of these countries still rely on western engineering expertise to extract & process those resources.

>"They all have been there forever - we are the ones that come last. China has been there forever and has a huge continent size. They are now down in Australia trying to take over the Pacific region."

^ Yes...China has been around for a long time. Fire was discovered in China...by Beijing Man many thousands of years ago.

>"So what is your point?

^ Now we know how the Native Americans felt when they witnessed wagon trains, the 'iron horse' & clipper ships bearing hordes of newcomers who would forever alter the landscape that they once knew & worshipped.

Times change & Palo Alto is changing...not an endorsement by any means but maybe it's time to move on to another locale.

We've got our eyes on some nice SoCal beachfront property & selling this CP property won't pose a problem when the time comes.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 28, 2020 at 8:08 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Nov 28, 2020 at 8:08 am
Like this comment

The title of this blog is "Silicon Valley". The company I worked for moved their PA location to north San Jose - Montague-Zanker-Tasman area. WE watched whole groves of trees turned into office buildings and apartment complexes. WE watched Cisco build a huge number of buildings, Samsung with their complex, Moffett Park area turned into new buildings. That whole area has a mixture of business types and owners, vs this area that is dominated by single companies - Apple, Google, FB. That is Silicon Valley. That is the "Opportunity Zone".

The fact that some ABAG members are located in this specific area must give them chills that the area they live in is not experiencing the same type of diversity in business types as the north San Jose area. They have AT&T Park. The difference is that they have open land. And older buildings of companies that are moving elsewhere. The complex we worked in has been rebuilt due to earthquake spec issues.

We have SU who just won back the trophy. We need to protect the mission of this location which is to help start new businesses and not get overloaded with large existing businesses who are extending their reach.


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