STRONG WORDS ... With no noticeable hint of irony, the Palo Alto City Council approved on Monday a special proclamation honoring "Affordable Housing Week." Read by Mayor Eric Filseth, the proclamation calls affordable housing "one of the cornerstones of democracy." It also calls upon the entire community to "recognize the successful efforts of the City of Palo Alto and its dedicated partners who seek to improve access to affordable housing opportunities in Palo Alto and our neighboring communities." The resolution does not mention the city's consistent failure to meet regional housing allocations for affordable housing, the council's staunch opposition to Senate Bill 50, which would loosen development standards for housing near jobs and transit, or the city's 2013 referendum that shot down a housing development that included 60 apartments for low-income seniors as 12 single-family homes — a referendum that was supported by Filseth, Tom DuBois and Lydia Kou (all of whom subsequently joined the council). It also makes no allusions to the city's current goal of building about 300 housing units annually, a target that the city came nowhere close to meeting last year. That said, the city has some modest victories. In January, the City Council approved a 59-unit apartment complex for low-income and disabled residents at 3705 El Camino Real — the city's first affordable-housing project in seven years. Next month, the council is scheduled to also approve $10 million for this project. Sheryl Klein, board chair at the nonprofit Palo Alto Housing, highlighted on Monday the magnitude of the problem. "Too many of our friends, neighbors and residents have been left behind in this economic boon and lost their housing. ... So I encourage you to do all you can to help expedite the creation of affordable housing," she said.
EMBRACING HISTORY ... Palo Alto found itself in the spotlight through C-SPAN, which televised a special feature on the famous city on May 4-5 as part of its Cities Tour. Producers recorded the local segments on March 7-13. They had a plethora of people and places to focus on, given the city's impact on academia, technology, architecture and more. In the end, they conducted interviews on architect Joseph Eichler's signature homes, the city's rock 'n' roll connections, Hewlett-Packard Garage, the giant redwood El Palo Alto that gave the city its name, Stanford University's Hoover Tower, Stanford Stock Farm, the Leland and Jane Stanford Collection, Silicon Valley archives and the Hoover Institution Library and Archives. They also sat down with several authors, some with Stanford connections, who focused on either Silicon Valley icons or explained how the university's archives helped them produce their book. To view the network's videos on Palo Alto, visit https://cs.pn/2vYMLGk.
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