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New housing laws pose challenges for city

Original post made on Oct 5, 2017

The housing crunch may be an official Palo Alto priority, but City Hall wasn't cheering last week when Gov. Jerry Brown signed 15 bills that aim to encourage residential development.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, October 5, 2017, 9:30 AM

Comments (54)

68 people like this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 5, 2017 at 10:39 am

Palo Alto - this is your Democrat governor and legislature that is going to ruin our city by requiring more housing than the city infrastructure (traffic, schools, etc.) can handle - you have abdicated local control to the State.
One day you will wake up and say "How did this happen'? Then just look in the mirror...


27 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 5, 2017 at 11:02 am

Online Name is a registered user.

Of course they oppose it since it doesn't help their big developer buddies and might actually help affordability, something pushing the jobs to housing ratio sure doesn't since it only increases competition for the limited housing stock.

It's so much easier to have "affordability" as a campaign talking point than to actually do something about it.

That being said, Rick is right about how dumb it is to push for more housing than the infrastructure can support but the same thing must also be said for jobs which are then used to justify more housing.


23 people like this
Posted by Ralph Cahn
a resident of The Greenhouse
on Oct 5, 2017 at 11:04 am

The City Council prefers hotels


20 people like this
Posted by Won't reduce housing costs
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 5, 2017 at 11:16 am

Won't reduce housing costs is a registered user.

Will make more money for the already rich

CAH LI PHONY A


50 people like this
Posted by Jonathan Brown
a resident of Ventura
on Oct 5, 2017 at 11:22 am

Ceding more control to Sacramento is a travesty. Or perhaps I should say "Travis-ty"? Travis Allen makes a lot of good points in today's SF Chronicle opinion piece, "Democratic policies have made California poorer." Web Link. While you may not agree with everything he advocates, we need to question whether our state is pursuing the best formula for success. Do we want to be taking away local control over community development and permanently entrenching poor people in BMR housing by design? In his words, "Misguided policies from Sacramento force us to pay more than our fellow Americans for the necessities of life: food, housing, energy, transportation. They’ve wiped out swaths of middle-class jobs and are rapidly transforming California into a state of haves and have-nots as the middle class flees to states where the cost of living is lower, and work and thrift are rewarded instead of punished."


15 people like this
Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 5, 2017 at 11:58 am

the_punnisher is a registered user.

Since cities will not do the job, your Democrat State government made it their business to make low cost housing happen. Squealing like a pig with it's tail caught in the door does not help. It is time to take some bitter medicine because you wasted your rime to find your solution.


40 people like this
Posted by Anke
a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 5, 2017 at 12:12 pm

@Jonathon Brown, I saw that article this morning, too, and the passage you quote particularly caught my eye. The middle class flees, or rather is pushed out as a result of our city governments allowing Big Tech to take over our cities, giving the high-paying jobs to outsiders that they bring in for that purpose. There's an oft-repeated stat flying around saying California would need 180,000 new housing units every year to keep up with demand. That's something like 400,000 new people entering the state, or about 1/2 of San Francisco. In other words, we're adding a San Francisco every two years. How is that sustainable when our resources are already way oversubscribed?


31 people like this
Posted by commonsense
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 5, 2017 at 12:12 pm

I'm not one to encourage more control over Palo Alto from Sacramento. However, based on the inaction for many years, it was inevitable. Burying ones head in the sand will not make the lack of housing problem go away. It's only getting worse. And to those who say we can't build our way out of this problem I say that this the ONLY way out of this problem. If your goal is to to prevent rich developers from becoming more rich at the expense of everyone else who cannot afford a home, you are winning. Hopefully these new policies will make a dent in our regional housing crisis. Any change is worth shot at this point. It truly is a crisis that is getting worse every day.


24 people like this
Posted by NeilsonBuchanan
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 5, 2017 at 12:16 pm

NeilsonBuchanan is a registered user.

On the evening of Oct 23 the City Council will start its adoption process for a new Comprehensive Plan. This is an ideal time for residents to get involved and urge higher level of leadership and stewardship for future growth.


37 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 5, 2017 at 12:19 pm

This is extremely serious. It means our G5 councilmembers might have to reneg on their commitments to the office developers who underwrote their campaigns.


16 people like this
Posted by Marlene Dietrich
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 5, 2017 at 12:39 pm



Instead Palo Alto, EPA, Mountain View, Redwood City, SF, etc, The Building Companies should go to Modesto, Sacramento, Los Baños and all thos cities that have a lot of free room for to build complex apartments and from there to here in Palo Alto area the transportation should be by Caltrain, Subways or Bus.
Here is completely full and traffic became a nightmare!


12 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 5, 2017 at 12:50 pm

Till these fiefdoms of small entities cease to exist we will never have balanced approaches to housing, traffic etc. Wake up and either smell the fumes in your yards or put up with more people living next to you. You simply cant have it both ways.


Posted by @Marlene
a resident of another community

on Oct 5, 2017 at 12:56 pm


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28 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 5, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Maybe the huge ever-expanding companies can move to some red states before the midterms? We can't support more traffic and gridlock where 1 traffic light outage paralyzes millions of people for hours.

Kill several problems in one fell swoop.


31 people like this
Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 5, 2017 at 1:22 pm

This isn't your grandfather's Democratic Party.

The idea that this legislation will be an impediment to the Party backed members of council serving their benefactors in the real-estate industry is absurd. On the contrary, real-estate developers and there friends in government are celebrating this legislation.

Control of local government by real-estate developers is not just a Palo Alto phenomenon. The whole California Democratic Party has been effectively captured and corrupted by the real-estate industry.

For over two decades now California's Democratic voters have marched to the polls and reflexively voted for the extinct Democratic Party of George McGovern, while the Party was captured by the real-estate industry and other corporate interests.

The only way to stop the corruption is to stop reflexively voting for establishment Democrats. Do your homework. Find an honest independent candidate or the rare California Democrat (Ro Khanna, 17th district) that refuses to take money from the real-estate industry.

Ro Khanna's wiki: Web Link


7 people like this
Posted by neighbor
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 5, 2017 at 1:33 pm

It's actually not as big a change as it seems. SB35 is the big one and it only says cities have to allow developers an expedited process if they follow the existing zoning laws. They also need to hire all union workers on the project. So, it may help developers a bit but not that much.


4 people like this
Posted by Green Building
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 5, 2017 at 1:40 pm

If people want to find the old Democratic party, they might want to look closely at today's Green party. It seems that the Green party is now home to the old Democratic values people mistakenly imagine the current Democratic party to still have.

Have no major problems with Michelle Obama, but she was recently mistaken when she said women who didn't vote for Clinton voted against their own interests. There was another educated female candidate (Harvard MD) running for president during the last election, Jill Stein of the Green party.

Sorry for seeming to go off topic. Just adding to comments of the poster above.


25 people like this
Posted by Terry Holzemer
a resident of Mayfield
on Oct 5, 2017 at 2:08 pm

SB 35 is bad for all Palo Altans. It means the state is involving itself in taking local control away from it own citizens. We need state representatives that can respect their citizens and the decisions they make on their own communities. Whether you are for or against more housing, it doesn't matter. This is nothing more than the state dictating on how cities can grow. This should be a local, community decision, not one decided by people (legislators) who don't even live here.


18 people like this
Posted by Abitarian
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 5, 2017 at 2:30 pm

Terry Holzemer wrote:

"This should be a local, community decision, not one decided by people (legislators) who don't even live here."

For the record, State Assembly member Marc Berman lives in Palo Alto and enthusiastically voted for this bill.


14 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 5, 2017 at 2:50 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

@Abitarian, and we all know who backed Marc Berman based on all the slick developer-funded daily mailings we got from him.

I sure do wish we had an alternative to the development-obsessed Democrats and the GOP who've never met a big business they didn't back at the expense of workers, women, seniors, children, families, etc.


13 people like this
Posted by Anke
a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 5, 2017 at 3:23 pm

"I sure do wish we had an alternative to the development-obsessed Democrats and the GOP who've never met a big business they didn't back at the expense of workers, women, seniors, children, families, etc."

Me too. Bernie Sanders was trying to be that, but we all know how it worked out (there's still a "political revolution" movement, but it's so quiet, only its participants and "mailing list orphans" know about it).

The real problem with this bill package is that it's based on the assumption that unbridled Big Tech growth, with the accompanying gobbling up of land for office space and the population explosion caused by jobs going to outsiders while locals are left languishing is an unstoppable God-given force that we can at best attempt to counteract by chipping away at the edges. Trying to build our way out of this is like trying to dig a hole with a shovel when a whole bevy of frontloaders keep piling up the dirt.


9 people like this
Posted by paradox
a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 5, 2017 at 4:12 pm

Housing can not be both affordable and a good investment.

A good investment, by definition grows faster than inflation. For housing to remain affordable, it must *not* grow faster than inflation.

To keep Palo Alto houses a good investment, building must be restricted and affordability sacrificed.

Alternatively, to make Palo Alto affordable, building must be encouraged and the investment aspect sacrificed.

SB35 says you must choose the latter!


3 people like this
Posted by Democracy is not a spectator sport.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 5, 2017 at 4:14 pm

Democracy is not a spectator sport. is a registered user.

Democracy is not a spectator sport. If you don't like what is going on in whatever party you are affiliated with, DO something about it. Get informed and get actively involved.

And, for goodness sakes, VOTE every time you have the opportunity. A lot of registered voters did not bother themselves to turn out in the last election. Imagine if they had.

We get what we vote for...including in the primaries. If you don't like the candidates and platforms you are being offered, NOW is the time to push for something better.


6 people like this
Posted by No more whining.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 5, 2017 at 4:19 pm

No more whining. is a registered user.

In the words of Bob Edgar, "We are the leaders we have been waiting for." If I hear one able-bodied person say, "Someone should do something," I will lose it. Yes. Someone should. That someone is us.

Stop whining and start working toward change. Government pays attention to an electorate that pays attention and ACTS on their interests.

Most Americans get their news on social media today. I wonder why we have a problem. Let's all start behaving like grown-ups and do the job that adults do in a democracy. Get informed, get active early in the process. Write letters, and VOTE.


31 people like this
Posted by Suzanne Keehn
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 5, 2017 at 4:20 pm

The only way to do anything about the housing imbalance is to stop creating more office space. We can never catch up. We are loosing any livable environment. If there was a way to manage traffic, congestion, pollution, etc. it should have been addressed long ago.

The proposed Comp Plan is just as bad, supposedly focuses on housing, but doesn't as it proposes to keep on building office at a greater pace than ever before.

We humans have bought into the false idea that more is better, meanwhile our residential tax dollars subsidize businesses. Making the Peninsula an extension of San Francisco, rather than a moderate city, with neighborhoods and services, schools , parks is not what the residents want.

It is time for groups in the various cities who are calling for moderation, to link up.


9 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 5, 2017 at 4:39 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Democracy's not a spectator sport and we should stop whining?

Read "Dark Money" by Janet Mayer. Check out the polls for how many people want to ban assault rifles while nothing except "thoughts and prayers" ever happens. Check out the number of CA residents (including here in PA) who voted to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes only to be over-ruled by city councils.

Check out whatever your favorite issue is -- election tampering, Russian troll farms, women's rights, gay rights, making businesses pay their fair share, preventing Nestle from SELLING CA water during a drought while residents are ordered to cut back .... and there's more than enough to whine about when we sit in the cheap seats.


16 people like this
Posted by Juan
a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 5, 2017 at 6:30 pm

There is no room left to build, Palo Alto and Mountain View are 99% built out. Where are the houses supposed to go? Maybe underwater in the Bay?


10 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 5, 2017 at 7:31 pm

Clear trend under Governor Brown: ever more statewide directives out of Sacramento, mostly to take our $ and impose their notions in a top-down fashion. Way concerned.


2 people like this
Posted by CC
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 5, 2017 at 8:27 pm

[Post removed.]


3 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 6, 2017 at 12:53 am

Well all we have to do is build vertically on areas that already needs the upgrades anyway.

SB35 is the big one and it only says cities have to allow developers an expedited process if they follow the existing zoning laws. They also need to hire all union workers on the project. So, it may help developers a bit but not that much. Also it only applies to urban infill projects.

The news report that the "alleged streamlining takes away local land use authority and bypass the CEQA and public hearings about burdensome and unworkable parking restrictions,doesn't make because SB540 covers that. SB35 requires the city use SB540 together to work on the devil in the details.


9 people like this
Posted by Democracy is not a spectator sport
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 6, 2017 at 9:57 am

Democracy is not a spectator sport is a registered user.

So you are worried about dark money? DO something about it.

Don't throw up your hands as though inaction is your only course. It is not.

Palo Alto Online is not where you need to write. Disengage from the choir of whiny voices and start working on effective problem-solving. Write to your representatives and let them know you think they are off-base. Encourage others to do the same. Turn out and vote. Engage in platform development with whatever political party you affiliate with. BE an active citizen, because active citizens make democracy work.

Spewing frustration on blogs and social media is NOT productive political action.


10 people like this
Posted by Darwin
a resident of another community
on Oct 6, 2017 at 1:39 pm

For all of you who always cried over the fact that housing was a "regional issue" and that Palo Alto couldn't fix it on their own...well here is your solution. It's a good solution. No longer can we stick our heads in the sand and ignore the problem. The solution is still well within our control, we'll just have to be faster about it. Build, build, build. 3.5k a month rental units are public enemy #1.


13 people like this
Posted by truth in housing
a resident of Menlo Park
on Oct 6, 2017 at 2:24 pm

No room to build? That's a lie. a lot can hold 3-4 apts that house 8-12 people by building up.

OR

one mega-mansion that holds 3 people and a daily cadre of staff that drive in to cook, clean, nanny, etc.

Which is better for the community, traffic, housing imbalance, etc.
Which sounds more like what we have today in the peninsula?

If all the local individual towns had acted in good conscience, then the state would not need to step in and force more housing.


6 people like this
Posted by Steve Dabrowski
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 6, 2017 at 2:59 pm

The proper action on this is for the city to file a law suit to have the law overruled by the courts. There seems to be ample disenfranchisement to have a chance of overturning or modifying this SB35 monstrosity. However I have little hope our spineless leaders will take any such action.

I guessed Marc Berman would vote for this one.


17 people like this
Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2017 at 3:15 pm

Dan,

Not sure who you are referring to when you talk about people calling for a regional solution, but the people calling for a regional solution are the same folks calling for urbanization and top-down instead of grass-roots democracy.

Unfortunate the so-called regional solution are not truly regional because they are structured to exempt certain privileged communities like Atherton, Hillsborough, Woodside, and Saratoga from participating in the "solution" and push the burden onto affluent working communities like Palo Alto, Mountain View, and Sunnyvale.

Guess where all the real-estate developers live?


Like this comment
Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2017 at 3:19 pm

Post above to "Dan" should have been addressed to Darwin. Whoops!


10 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 6, 2017 at 3:31 pm

"... real-estate developers and there friends in government are celebrating this legislation."

Not our local developers. Offices are much more profitable than housing. That's why we got so many many many of them.

Market responds to the market. Very Republican.


10 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 6, 2017 at 3:34 pm

"For the record, State Assembly member Marc Berman lives in Palo Alto and enthusiastically voted for this bill."

No surprise. Berman is the original Liz Kid.


16 people like this
Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2017 at 3:57 pm

Curmudgeon,

Real-estate developers can make plenty of money selling $1,000,000 micro-units and can use that residential construction to justify even more office construction. Everybody wins except the residential taxpayer who is stuck with the the overburdened infrastructure and the enormous cost of building additional transportation capacity.


5 people like this
Posted by Marie
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 6, 2017 at 4:03 pm

Marie is a registered user.

Why not consider rezoning land near Stanford Research Park for apartments? That is where most of the jobs are. High density housing near jobs, and away from the Bay makes so much sense that our city council will never consider it. If there is enough density, then private bus service, already growing, would reduce single car commuting. And bicycling might become more popular when the commute is only a mile or two.

Unfortunately, existing neighbors will never go for it and sadly, they have a lot of political power. They don't even want a light at the 280/Page Mill intersection that would reduce the mile long backup on 280. They want all the benefits of office development but none of the cost.


4 people like this
Posted by Anke
a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 6, 2017 at 4:14 pm

"exempt certain privileged communities like Atherton, Hillsborough, Woodside, and Saratoga from participating in the "solution" and push the burden onto affluent working communities like Palo Alto, Mountain View, and Sunnyvale."

Atherton et al haven't allowed huge office developments that bring in the hordes of outsiders that result in the jobs-housing imbalance. If Sacramento wants statewide jobs-housing balance then they should have simply legislated, or better incentivized, each city to provide enough housing for all the jobs in that city. People of course won't always live and work in the same city, but if the statewide total of jobs and housing is balanced, it evens out.


12 people like this
Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2017 at 4:43 pm

Marie,

Building residential near office is easy, Housing people near where they work is hard. The truth is very few people can arrange their lives to live near where they work and building housing near Stanford Research Park won't change that.

Believing that we can get people to live near their work by just smooshing residential and commercial together is just childlike magical thinking. Blaming the research Park's neighbors for questioning this kind of quixotic thinking is just virtue signaling.


17 people like this
Posted by margaret heath
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 6, 2017 at 7:52 pm

Now we know we are losing control of residential density, perhaps it is time to limit the pace of commercial development throughout Palo Alto to allow for this population growth bringing with it ever more pressure on traffic, parking, and other infrastructure. Especially as the council majority is now leaning toward doing away with the existing 50' height limit restriction in order to create a denser Palo Alto.

For years our council majority, together with the city manager and the planning staff, have declined to consider addressing the pre-high tech office occupancy assumption of 250 sq ft. per employee upon which the formula for calculating traffic impacts and parking requirements is still based. Allowing commercial developers to greatly under represent the true impacts on traffic and parking of each new development. No wonder our roads have become clogged, cut through traffic in some residential neighborhoods is an increasing problem, and residential neighborhoods inundated with commuter parking necessitating paying for expensive parking permit programs just to park near our homes.

Which is why residents should vote for council members who will support putting a hold on the pace of commercial development until we have an opportunity to see how well our infrastructure is absorbing the impacts of these newly mandated dense residential developments. And the degree to which the council's current predictions that traffic and parking will not be a future problem because commuters will be switching to walking, biking, taking public transportation, car sharing, and using Lyft/Uber/Zipcars to commute to their jobs in Palo Alto. As well as how fast the predicted future of driverless cars on demand rather than private car ownership is occurring.

Since there is little if any advantage to residents of increased commercial development (unless a company produces a product for which sales tax can be charged and given that commercial property tax is a much smaller proportion of our property tax base than is residential) and a great deal of concern is expressed by council members about the lack of accommodation in Palo Alto brought on by the jobs housing imbalance, embracing this mandated population expansion instead of and in place of commercial growth might be viewed as a positive outcome. Other than for our schools that is, but then it is currently illegal to consider any impacts on our schools when planning for population growth.


10 people like this
Posted by YIMBY Rising
a resident of University South
on Oct 7, 2017 at 9:56 am

"Palo Alto - this is your Democrat governor and legislature that is going to ruin our city by requiring more housing than the city infrastructure (traffic, schools, etc.) can handle - you have abdicated local control to the State."

I don't like Limousine Liberalism any more than the next guy, but the Democrats actually did the right thing here. Palo Alto did not abdicate control of any sort to the State. State laws take precedence over local ordinances, and there was nothing Palo Alto could have done to prevent the recent housing laws from passing. The only thing that was abdicated was Palo Alto's responsibility to provide sufficient housing and office space and not try to dump our problems onto the surrounding cities.

California as a whole has had it with the NIMBYs and their selfish, counterproductive nonsense. NIMBYism is now being swept aside by a new generation of young people, much as the Establishment was in the 1960s. It's about time! Backwards, elitist thinking and policies had no place in the 1960s, and have no place in modern Silicon Valley.


10 people like this
Posted by YIMBY Rising
a resident of University South
on Oct 7, 2017 at 10:04 am

"Building residential near office is easy, Housing people near where they work is hard."

Actually, it is not as hard as one might think. Nobody likes being stuck in traffic, and most people will go out of their way to avoid long commutes. Several people have left the company where I work to take jobs closer to home. Renters especially will move close to work whenever possible. Building housing, office space and retail in close proximity won't completely eliminate traffic, but it will reduce it.


28 people like this
Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2017 at 1:13 pm

YIMBY,

No, actually constantly rearranging a mobile workforce so they live near where they work is very difficult. If it was easy everybody would already live near where they work.

YIMBY there are people in the real world who's lives don't completely revolve around the workplace. The have girlfriends, and wives, and family and friends and children. And those children have schools and soccer teams and friends and music lessons and tutors and therapists. And maybe after work they play in a softball league or a jazz band.

And maybe, just maybe, these things are more for them to live near, than their workplace.


15 people like this
Posted by Anke
a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 7, 2017 at 1:22 pm

Adding to @Ahem's post, oftentimes their spouses work in a different city so at least one of them will be commuting no matter what.


2 people like this
Posted by Buzzcut
a resident of Menlo Park
on Oct 7, 2017 at 2:58 pm

"... to make Palo Alto affordable, building must be encouraged and the investment aspect sacrificed. SB35 says you must choose the latter!"

In that case, the Fifth Amendment says the government must make up the money lost.


5 people like this
Posted by Juan
a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 7, 2017 at 3:22 pm

If this ordinance turns out to have teeth, don't be surprised when communities come up with unique solutions to get around the law. Eg. if Atherton, Los Altos Hills, etc. aren't subject to this rule because they have no office space, don't be surprised when South Mountain View decides to succeed and form their own city, conveniently free of office space. Don't be surprised to see the City of Mayfield appear on the map again. People aren't going to stand by and watch their communities be destroyed.


9 people like this
Posted by Vast statem vast nation
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2017 at 8:20 pm

Isn't there a law or a proposition that requires the state to pay for costsfoisted on cities by state mandates? Someone pkease put together a suit on that.

Secondly, all kinds of state land use rules don't apply to Palo Alto because we are a charter city. Do any of these new rules fall under that category?

Lastly, it's time residents stood up and demanded the City and state stop foisting the costs and consequences of a completely laissez faire attitude toward corporate growth on residents. It is easier for the state to start a new town with new infrastructure and inexpensive nice housing in areas that are practically empty than it is to keep turning up the density in the Bay Area. Density doesn't create affordability, just ask Hong Kong. We will only reduce costs some if we reduce demand enough, which means laws to keep companies from overgrowing and taking over. There are limitarions to the infrastructure, which again, we shoukd just due the state for.

I am all for making it easier to build affordable housing, if the state were responsible about the rules being for that and not just pretense for unchecked overdevelopment that drives costs further won't help affordability at all in reality.

Did people not get enough of a wake up call after the last election, that it's a bad idea for the democratic party to continue letting itself be wholly co-opted by developers in this state and engendering just as much of a tendency for untrustworthiness and trojan horse politics as has dogged republicans the last three+ decades? We will not ever build ahead of demand unless the state allows cities some control over the supply side of the equation, the companies who want to overexpand rather than move where they can grow, like Facebook did.


10 people like this
Posted by Sanctimonious City
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 9, 2017 at 12:02 pm

Sanctimonious City is a registered user.

Well, well, well,

It looks like the communists have finally come home to roost. First, HUD takes over Buena Vista and now the State is going to collectivise the rest of Palo Alto in the name of Bypass-Market-Rate housing (BMR).

It worked so well in all those Central and South American places whose collapse motivated so many to flee here that it must be adopted by the non-history reading, economic oblivians in our esteemed state government.

Our ECR corridor is already taking on the depressing Brutalist architectural aesthetic of the most inspirational block houses and tower buildings of the grand Soviet era.

Of course, like any good Liberal Progressive elite they will wrap themselves in a blanket of privilege, exception and hypocrisy to insulate themselves from the disastrous consequences their policies create.

Occasionally, when they grow bored with Palo Alto politburo politics, the elites will peer down from their balconies of bosh talk to sneer at their subjects and exclaim,

"Let them eat Kale!"


9 people like this
Posted by Marie
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 9, 2017 at 1:45 pm

Marie is a registered user.

I love Kale. And I am far more interested in rental BMR housing than luxury dwellings with car elevators and densely populated commercial development. BMR housing means people commuting from hours away can live closer to where they work, reducing driving and are much more likely to use alternative transportation. Luxury and commercial space increases the demands on local infrastructure, especially roads. And people buying a house in Palo Alto are doing it for the schools and the prestigious address which leads to a longer commute. Renters are far more likely to live near where they work.

Why would someone who can afford a Tesla not want a car? Even if they take a private bus for work, as they get older, they have relationships, cook at home more, kids - all of which require the use of a car at least sometimes. What about when your kid awakes screaming in the night with an ear infection? Bicycles don't cut it and who wants to wait for Uber in an emergency? I did just fine without a car when I was a student but once I had a family, even when I took the train to work, I could not do without a car in Palo Alto. And once I had teenagers with summer jobs, we had two.


PS I'm not a communist, just a realist.


5 people like this
Posted by Sanctimonious City
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 9, 2017 at 4:13 pm

BMR is a blessing for those who get it and a burden for those who have to pay for it. A subsidy for one is an obligation for others.

Should there be a BMR bell curve which we use to force fit the population? How is it either democratic or fair for a small group of technocrats to make those decisions?

For the shrinking population that actually pays income or payroll taxes, Tax Freedom Day is currently April 23rd or 113 days the average person needs to work in order to pay their tax burden and keep something for themselves.

Maybe we could add a few more weeks to align it with the 4th of July and make a double independence day.

A realist perhaps but a
re-distributionist for certain.


3 people like this
Posted by Curmudgepn
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 9, 2017 at 5:11 pm

"Isn't there a law or a proposition that requires the state to pay for costsfoisted on cities by state mandates?"

It's much worse than that. How much more did you have to pay for your car because of those mandatory nanny state addons like brake lights, seat belts, air bags, and all that other stuff you never use, not to mention that little light on your rear license plate that you never see but which shows off those metal tags defacing your new Beemer that cost you hundreds more each year? And then there's those thousands for that insurance they make you buy.

"Someone pkease put together a suit on that."

Two buttons or three?


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