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Lawmaker behind SB 50 makes case for zoning reforms to address state housing crisis

Original post made on Jun 7, 2019

Scott Wiener, whose housing bill has energized housing advocates and galvanized local officials, came to Palo Alto on Friday to push back against local critics and assure a receptive crowd that Senate Bill 50 remains on track to pass.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, June 7, 2019, 10:20 PM

Comments (105)

89 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 7, 2019 at 11:27 pm

The supporters of SB 50 who invited Senator Wiener to speak were not about to ask him any tough questions. Wiener claimed that SB 50 would lead to apartments with some "affordable" units. In fact, the bill would empower developers to choose whether to build luxury condos for sale or expensive apartments for rent. Wiener said nothing about condos. A written question on the subject was not asked by the moderator. SB 50 is like Wiener's SB 827 last year - but gives more special interests a piece of the action. The high tech corporations behind SB 827 are behind the scenes this year. Wiener assured attendees that SB 50 "is not dead" but alive and well. Alive and bad. Very bad.


54 people like this
Posted by friendly crowd
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 7, 2019 at 11:30 pm

Weiner's visit was promoted by PAF to its members in an email last week. Sounds like they were indeed able to "rally the troops" to show up after the happy hour get-together.


48 people like this
Posted by Absolute Power...
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2019 at 12:55 am

Every horror movie monster has to be killed twice, don't ya know.

Let's add lots more arms and legs to Frankenstein without any new arteries. When he's ruined, then we'll move our company somewhere else and leave irreparable damage behind.

We need a stiff business head tax immediately, $4,000/employee (it's $2,000 in SF?,) And higher in downtown areas.plus fines for anyone paying for puppet city councilors.

Eric, you promised us a systems review. Our infrastructure is maxed to unhealthy levels already.

Democrats are so blowing their ascendancy in CA.


56 people like this
Posted by Michael Harbour, MD, MPH
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 8, 2019 at 1:40 am

Senator Wiener is an articulate and thoughtful speaker who mainly spoke to a friendly crowd that was in agreement that California needs to build more housing to make up for years of underdevelopment. He gave poignant stories of homeless folks and their need for housing, rent control measures and stricter tenant's rights. He also said that we must curtail urban sprawl in order to mitigate climate change. All of these things are true. However, he did not convince me that he has "the" solution to fix these issues by his SB50 legislation. He advocated for rewriting statewide zoning laws. He says we must build larger and denser housing in job-rich communities that already have transportation hubs. He obviously thinks that Palo Alto is one such community that fits this description. However, Palo Alto is already being choked with excessive traffic congestion, inadequate and non-exexist public transportation, outdated infrastructure and insufficient parking. Palo Alto isn't even able to plan how Stanford University will impact housing, transportation and school needs for the future. How can this community trust that the state will do it better? With the information that Senator Wiener gave us, I just don't see how his plan will work in this community. Until the state can properly address, fund and construct real public transportation options including convenient rail options, then I don't feel we can accept additional growth. I want to see comprehensive public-private solutions that can address the community's local needs including housing, transportation, and infrastructure before we grow the pie.


72 people like this
Posted by Wishful thinking
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 8, 2019 at 7:10 am

SB 50 is an untried and unproven "solution," that encourages the building of luxury condos in single family home neighborhoods and elsewhere, with little to no parking, and no required affordable housing included, claiming this will trickle benefits down to middle or low income wage earners looking for more affordable housing. Absurd.

In the meantime wiener and proponents hope to displace single family homeowners because they are "greedy" and "racist."


60 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2019 at 7:15 am

I wish that those politicians who like to make a lot of noise about housing would turn their energies into making equal amounts of noise into doing a better job with public transportation.

Our area is geographically challenged and surrounded by high mountains and water. Building more housing into an already packed area is not going to help since people move around a great deal both for work and for other reasons. People move jobs more often than they move house. Two people in a couple rarely work close together.

There has to be better solutions to getting people where they need to go. It has taken nearly 20 years and BART is still not yet in San Jose? Why not? And why should money from taxes on the Peninsula be taking away public transportation that is local to pay for something that will not help the Peninsula commute?

We need politicians to step in and get a regional public transportation policy. We need to get trains from Gilroy on a regular basis to centers of employment. We need to get express bus services from the Coast and East Bay that can be used by anyone. We need to get park and ride (commuter) lots at freeway off ramps with dedicated shuttles for everyone, and we need incentives to get people to use them. Although of course if the shuttles are fast, reliable and affordable, that would be incentive enough.

We need to have real alternatives to driving solo, not just talk about bikes.

How about taxing those perks which are employer paid parking spots outside many of our office buildings all over the Valley? How about getting rid of agencies that too numerous and costing too much in administration duplicating (or triplicating) administration costs by whittling them down with one overall agency that works to combine transportation rather than competes? How about some decent public transportation that uses highways to and from airports? How about some innovative transportation ideas that help everyone, not just the big tech?

How about some common sense?


62 people like this
Posted by HMM
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 8, 2019 at 7:22 am

Can we talk about the "polls" for a second. Lake Research are not pollsters, they are political consultants. They develop strategy and message. This poll was commissioned by California YIMBY. Here's a link to CA YIMBY's summary. Web Link. And, the Change Research poll was, shall we say, even less unbiased. Change Research is founded by Elaine Uang's husband, Mike Greenfield. The "poll" was a couple of misleading questions stuck in a broader questionnaire.


47 people like this
Posted by Allen Akin
a resident of Professorville
on Jun 8, 2019 at 9:33 am

Allen Akin is a registered user.

The monster isn't dead yet, but it's hurting.

Back in May, when it became clear to the politicians that SB 50 wouldn't make it out of the Senate, Wiener cut a deal with Marin's Senator Mike McGuire to carve off a chunk of the opposition by exempting counties with fewer than 600K residents. Web Link

But the leadership realized that SB 50 still didn't have enough support to pass, so Sen. Portantino put the bill into suspense until next year. That's a favor to Wiener; it gives him time to shore up support and maybe find another way to carve off a little more opposition. That's what he was doing with his visit to Palo Alto.

SB 50 is a lot closer to defeat than Wiener will admit in public. Increasing the pressure on the legislature could put it down for the count.


64 people like this
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 8, 2019 at 9:36 am

SB 50, SB 330, AB 1279 and other bills all seek to dismantle single family home neighborhoods, and will generate big profits for developers, rich commissions for realtors, and forced use of building construction trades union labor for an untested and destructive "solution."

Yet they call us greedy.


40 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 8, 2019 at 9:44 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Mr. Weiner has bit off more than he can chew. I wish I knew he was going to be speaking - I would have been there. Despite his claims the SF area he lives in is not interested in having their lives further intruded upon by all of the San Francisco "progressive" ideas which just role out in competition with each other. All of those are competing for attention to bolster their political aspirations at the expense of the people who voted for them. Killing cities unique identity has been accomplished in San Francisco -a once beautiful city where I was born is no longer a lovely place.
And you can see those on the peninsula who want to eliminate any unique features of our cities and spread the whole place like peanut butter. Mr. Weiner is done - he is not going to win another time around.


21 people like this
Posted by Norman Beamer
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 8, 2019 at 10:52 am

Regarding the assurances that SB50 will not lead to demolitions of single family houses to make room for more dense units, the following excerpt from a report by the SF Planning Commission throws doubt on that:

Interaction [of SB50] with the Housing Accountability Act (HAA)
The Housing Accountability Act (HAA) is a state law that has been in effect since 1982. The general purpose of the law is to require cities to approve code complying housing projects, and generally prevent them from rejecting such projects for arbitrary reasons. Recent concerns have been raised that the HAA would prohibit localities from rejecting a code-compliant project that would involve demolition of an existing residential unit. A recent court case (SFBARF vs. City of Berkeley 2017) involved a situation where a developer proposed demolishing an existing single family home and constructing three code-complying units on the parcel. Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustments Board initially approved the project, but on appeal the Berkeley City Council reversed that decision. SFBARF sued the city, arguing the denial was a violation of the HAA, and a court agreed and required the City Council to reconsider the project. The City Council then voted to approve the project, but deny the demolition permit on the existing single family home, arguing that the HAA did not require them to approve the demolition. SFBARF sued the city again, arguing the HAA did require the city to approve any discretionary permits necessary to enable the code complying project to move forward. Additionally, the appellants argued that Berkeley did not apply objective standards when disapproving the demolition permit, and instead made the decision based on subjective criteria. A court agreed again, and the Berkeley City Council eventually approved the demolition and new construction permits on the code complying project in September 2017.7. After this case, the HAA itself was amended to clarify that “disapprove a housing development project” includes any instance in which a local agency votes on an application and the application is disapproved, including any required land use approvals or entitlements necessary for the issuance of a building permit. Additionally, one of the deciding factors in the court case appears to have been that Berkeley did not have clear, objective standards for approving or denying a demolition permit, and acted in a subjective manner when denying the demolition permit.
SB 50 would not, on its own, broaden the HAA, but it could increase the number of cases where HAA may become applicable to a proposed development project. Presently, demolitions or alterations on lower density properties in lower density zoning districts do not typically propose new buildings at higher densities, because of strict density limits imposed by current zoning. Denying demolitions or alterations in cases like these do not conflict with the HAA because they are not denying a development project that would increase density to code-complying levels. By increasing zoning capacity on parcels that previously only allowed 1 or 2 units, SB 50 is likely to result in a rise in applications to make additions to existing owner occupied properties to add units, or to demolish the existing building entirely and redevelop the property at higher density. In cases like this, the HAA could limit the Commission’s ability to reject the alteration or demolition of the existing building, unless it did so by applying clear, objective standards.


78 people like this
Posted by Dismantle Segregationist Zoning
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 8, 2019 at 12:04 pm

When the price for entry to your neighborhood is several million dollars, your neighborhood excludes anyone who isn’t very wealthy. Single family only zoning needs to go.


80 people like this
Posted by Darwin
a resident of another community
on Jun 8, 2019 at 12:46 pm

"I personally think we all caused this problem," Wiener said. "Tech didn't create the land use rules, tech didn't ban apartment buildings in 75% of California, tech didn't say it should take five to 10 years to approve a project. Tech didn't do any of those things. We did those things."

Very well said by Senator Weiner.

Also, to those of you who are complaining that it's only going to be luxury housing....that's fine. We're so short on any kind of housing that any kind is okay. Furthermore, if we EVER get to the point that the luxury apartment market is too large that will just mean that the market will eventually balance out with people who were previously priced out of those having the ability to move up into them which allows those in a lower economic bracket to move into THAT recently vacated unit.

ALL HOUSING NEAR TRANSPORTATION IS GOOD!! Luxury, middle income, and lower income....IT'S ALL GOOD!


23 people like this
Posted by John B
a resident of another community
on Jun 8, 2019 at 1:08 pm

Pass the right to construct up to fourplex up to a max of FAR + 15% defined by city, with reduced (say 20%) setbacks as needed. This is not a surgical fix to housing but increases housing dramatically all over CA. Measure the increase and amend as we go. SB50 is very bold and has many things to win the support across the board.


52 people like this
Posted by Kenny
a resident of University South
on Jun 8, 2019 at 3:24 pm

I disagree with Scott Wiener on some issues, but wholeheartedly support him on SB50. Why should the Bay Area be held hostage by a minority of cranky zero-growthers? They have done enough damage to the region, and Sen. Wiener is preventing them from causing further harm and disruption. For that he is to be commended.


22 people like this
Posted by Przemek Gardias
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 8, 2019 at 3:51 pm

It has been a lost opportunity. As Palo Alto hosted the leading proponent of a housing expansion, Senator Scott Wiener, the ‘A Conversation with Scott Wiener’ was a monologue with questions controlled by the Palo Alto Forward/PAF moderator. Despite the full room, a prevailing absence of town elders was notable. The effort fell flat.
We in Palo Alto, if I may say so, pride ourselves with being close to the burning topics of local and state importance. That includes housing needs discussed and acted upon here constantly. For that reason, the thirst in this subject lies elsewhere. There are doubts about proposed shifts of zoning rights to the state level, an absence of related efforts to restructure housing demand, like reduce high tech concentration and local impact, and many others.
The media frequently characterizes Palo Alto as “a hotbed of opposition to the bill.” Very, very few, if any in Palo Alto, oppose the premise and strategic importance of the bill. Contrary to the publicized opinions, the difference is not in ‘what’ but in ‘how’. The stiff mechanics and prescriptive character of the bill undermine its cause. The bill includes no flexible solution for housing/job imbalanced towns like Palo Alto, which could have been offered with a performance clause.
That night, the Warriors lost to Raptors, yet I did not see the game. That night I was at the ‘Conversation’ event with my daughter, ashamed, that such an important topic had not win simple conversation it deserved.


56 people like this
Posted by Haters Gonna Hate
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 8, 2019 at 4:37 pm

Despite the Palo Altans for Segregationist Zoning trying to pack the house of a Palo Alto Forward event, hundreds of real people who want to see systemic change in housing policy showed up on a Friday night during a Warriors game.

Not enough "town elders" in the audience? Are you kidding me? As opposed to the typical city council meet that consists almost exclusively of elders? Because that's a good way to make decisions about the future of your community--only listen to senior citizens with ample time on their hands to show up to every meeting? Believe it or not, having a friendly and diverse crowd of various ages and backgrounds is good thing and a strong show of support for Wiener. The audience actually included a large number of young people, a group underrepresented at local meetings. Once Gardias' daughter starts paying rent and wants to have a home and a family of her own, she'll be a YIMBY too.

I'm curious what slow-growthers who left disappointed were hoping would happen last night. That you'd convince Wiener that his legislation will destroy your neighborhood and he should just give up? Honestly people, get a life. If you've already dug in your heels and are showing up to an event to hate, I'm not sorry that you left disappointed.


31 people like this
Posted by Cpk
a resident of Southgate
on Jun 8, 2019 at 4:38 pm

Guess what? We have a private market economy! It's not like some small cabal of us just decided to put up the prices of single family homes to make sure we could exclude certain other people...how ridiculous these arguments are .. anyone, anyone can gain admission, you just have to pay the price of admission. How about working on the root causes of wage and wealth inequality, like poor public schools, etc, instead of casting untrue aspersions. No, that's so much simpler.


48 people like this
Posted by Lil sis
a resident of Southgate
on Jun 8, 2019 at 4:45 pm

You do not have any right to dismantle our neighborhood or others by accusing us of things we never did.

Why not work on true solutions? Like transit. Like skills training? Like boosting educational achievement to translate to High paying jobs. Instead, shortcuts and adding high priced luxury condos thinking this will somehow trickle down to affordable housing. So ridiculous. Show some evidence! Just because you're good at false propaganda doesn't mean your "solution" will make anything better.


43 people like this
Posted by Haters Gonna Hate
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 8, 2019 at 4:53 pm

ANY multimillionaire is welcome to live in my town! We have a totally free market where supply homes is strangled by a gerentocracy with little regard for the long-term health of the community or the planet. Apartments should remain illegal. Plenty of homes for the poors were built in the 50's before us good residents got together and made the rigged the game. Can't afford the peninsula? Drive from Modesto. I got mine.


41 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2019 at 4:56 pm

@Kenny “Why should the Bay Area be held hostage by a minority of cranky zero-growthers?”

It depends on what you think caused the problem. If you think the problem is caused by cranky zero-growthers who have somehow stolen city elections against the will of the majority, then you opt for SB50. If you think the problem is caused by Facebook adding 10,000 jobs in Menlo Park but only 1,500 housing units, and that Belle Haven and East Palo Alto should subsidize Facebook’s expansion, and the majority knows all this and is disgusted, then you opt for something else.

Wiener’s remark about housing expertise is a joke. Developers build whatever their contract says. If Facebook can order 1,500 units, why not 6,000? Wiener knows this, he’s just weaselling.

San Francisco is one of the worst jobs-housing offenders in the state. Wiener is out telling suburbs, “I’m not building enough housing for the workers I want to import next year, so you should do it instead.” The suburbs are saying, “what do we get in return?” Since there is no answer to that, Wiener is working Sacramento to make them do it for free instead.


32 people like this
Posted by Kenny
a resident of University South
on Jun 8, 2019 at 5:07 pm

"It's not like some small cabal of us just decided to put up the prices of single family homes to make sure we could exclude certain other people."

No, but it is like a small cabal decided to stifle housing development to boost their home values. That is what this debate is really all about. A minority profited greatly at the expense of the region as a whole. The people have now had quite enough of their nonsense. The Bay Area is for all its residents, not just a small, provincial special interest group.


24 people like this
Posted by Kenny
a resident of University South
on Jun 8, 2019 at 5:30 pm

@Resident, Facebook was not the one imposing unworkable height limits and dragging their feet on new development. They also did not force Palo Alto to stick it's head in the sand. Jobs might not be important to the the independently wealthy or retirees, but they are very important to everyone else. Increased population, diversity, and urbanization are what happens when one lives in the world's largest scientific-industrial complex.

What is ironic is that many of those here complaining the loudest about growth were the vanguard of that population influx. Did any of you ever consider the impact you would have by moving here? No? Yet you expect others to do so, and even tell them to go away. That is hypocritical at best, and increasingly irrelevant.


18 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 8, 2019 at 5:33 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

I don't live in a luxury home - it is just a home built way back when that needs a lot of improvements. IF any one would take a tour around town they would note that we have a lot of apartments going up - there is no lack of building of new housing of every type.

And I believe that the new apartments should go on El Camino where all of the other new apartments are. The city right now thinks a R-1 single family home owner is the low hanging fruit. However all of those shabby businesses on El Camino are owned by someone they don't want to deal with. That is where your glitch is. They would rather fight an individual as opposed to a corporation.

But Mr. Weiner has a problem here. I believe that he is going to be termed out. That means that he has to find another job. And the people who live in his district are not happy with his new fervent busyness. And he then has to run for some office that we would vote on? So that is his problem - his political life. And he is not going to get any votes.


29 people like this
Posted by Haters Gonna Hate
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 8, 2019 at 6:05 pm

Uh, young people actually like Wiener and YIMBY politicians like him. Check out the positions of young dem clubs throughout the state. Young people are mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore. The politicians with no political future are the ones who back policies that harm youth and keep us out of secure livelihoods and homes for our families.

2018 was the first election that younger generations outvoted boomers and older generations nationally. This switch will happen later on the peninsula, but there will, at some point be a dramatic shift in power. Wiener will term out in 2024. Consider how the demographics of the electorate will have further shifted by then.

He could also just go back to being a lawyer. Or maybe he'll go cash in and be a developer shill for real. lol


20 people like this
Posted by Wishful thinking
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 8, 2019 at 6:07 pm

You're the haters. Look in the mirror.


26 people like this
Posted by Wishful thinking
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 8, 2019 at 6:16 pm

@Kenny - you don't know what you're talking about. Econ 101 might help. The price of housing in an area is a function of the level of income earned. Those who earn more bid up the price of housing. The bay area has lots of high earners, hence the high cost of housing. Your specious and incorrect argument may be being made all over the country, but it isn't true.

So, in rural areas, by your argument, a separate and strangely opposite cabal then worked to oversupply the market w homes, thanks to an absence/low level of local zoning regulations, and that's why housing prices are so low in some rural areas compared to metropolitan areas. Completely laughable argument. Wonder why these cabals act so differently...hmmm....


22 people like this
Posted by Haters Gonna Hate
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 8, 2019 at 6:33 pm

Ah yes, the old "I know you are, but what am I?" argument...compelling stuff. Change lovers are indeed haters of the status quo. I'm an apartment ban hater. Busted.

But we weren't the ones hanging out on the street corners with "NO" signs this morning. We had a damn good time at the event last night. Going to go out and have a good time tonight too so I won't respond further to the lovely people on this hellsite. Good day.


34 people like this
Posted by Allen Akin
a resident of Professorville
on Jun 8, 2019 at 6:42 pm

Allen Akin is a registered user.

The Google Village proposed for San Jose has a jobs/housing ratio of 2:1.

The Vallco development has a jobs/housing ratio of about 3:1.

The Santa Clara "mega village" has a jobs/housing ratio of about 6.5:1.

The Jay Paul "mega campus" in San Jose has an infinite jobs/housing ratio; 3.4M sq ft for 20K workers and no housing at all.

Single-family zoning is not holding back housing in any of these developments. Nor is it holding back housing in the areas already designated by Palo Alto Planning and City Council.

The reality is that offices are more profitable than housing, and luxury housing is profitable while affordable housing is not. Developers and financiers build what's most profitable.

Consider the scale of the problem and explore a few of the numbers. So long as demand is high and unconstrained, and land and construction are hyper-expensive, destroying a few single-family neighborhoods to build luxury apartments/condos without transit is not going to move the needle on either affordability or traffic.

If you're really concerned about fixing the housing problem around here, the single most important thing to do is stop digging the hole.


20 people like this
Posted by Dishonest
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 8, 2019 at 6:45 pm

@Kenny - So, what, in a lower-priced housing community, won't people expect and demand that people will have to pay the price of admission to either buy or rent the housing in that community? Just as is done in any other community, whether higher priced or lower priced? But that's ok in that community?

Just because of your need or want or some strange notion the game is rigged, it somehow means that you/others shouldn't have to pay the price of admission to gain housing in a community?

Is the game rigged in lower-priced communities then? Do people still have to pay the price of admission for housing there, at the market rate? Or do they all get it for free just when someone calls out that the game is "rigged" against them? Don't they want a return on their investment as well?

You may not want to have a private market economy, but that is what we have.


8 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 8, 2019 at 7:06 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

I don't get some of these arguments. If a person is campaigning for more apartments and already lives in an apartment then you on personal level have reached your goal. So what are you arguing about? You want more apartments and you have an apartment. So what is the goal here?

Oh - you want a house? that is a different goal. Hater lives in Crescent Park! So there is no specific goal stated as to what you want or how you plan on obtaining that goal. Like saving money for a down payment. Arguing just to argue gets no where.


60 people like this
Posted by translation
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 8, 2019 at 7:46 pm

Please let me translate the attraction of SB50:
-Tech companies like Palantir don't want to pay their workers high wages.
–Millenial tech workers want to buy condos but can't afford the downpayment. They hope that with more supply, prices will drop.
-Developers want to make money building denser luxury developments and include as few non-lucrative BMRs as possible.
-Weiner wants to run for higher office.
-Quality-of-life for current residents is just collateral damage.


19 people like this
Posted by Why, oh why
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 8, 2019 at 8:03 pm

Weiner arrived in SF in 1997, 22 years ago. He should have bought a house back then. A Harvard law degree? He lagged; he lost.
At age 26 I bought my fist house in 1968 and the mortgage was ½ of my husbands take home pay as a teacher. Get in the market and stay put. The speed with which people change jobs, move and take another job is a different model.
The growth tech companies bring to small towns is not sustainable. Schools, playing fields, parks, libraries, water, garbage, sewer lines and street repairs all need ongoing revenue. This is what we’ve been doing for the last 50 years. This is why Zuckerburg wants his compound here. Go tell him you want affordable housing. And so now you want to live here too. What’s your contribution?


27 people like this
Posted by Titus
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 8, 2019 at 8:27 pm


Wiener says Local control is alive! He really means; you can maybe suggest an exterior paint color.

Wiener seems to agree that high tech is a huge contributor to the housing crisis, but should not be responsible for fixing, ie spend a dime to mitigate a problem they created and enlarge every day, it because it's not their "area of expertise". What he means is; those forms are donating millions (guess) to me and my co-sponsors, and millions spent on me is less than the billions they might have to spend to fix this problem.

Who wants affordable housing? Workers.

Who created the problem? Unmitigated High Tech growth.

Who should pay for that housing? Residents or Silicon Valley Tech Giants?

Who has the leverage, campaign contributions, to put a thumb on the scale?


26 people like this
Posted by Xiao Ping
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 8, 2019 at 8:33 pm

Palo Alto is crowded enough. We pay $6M CASH for nice private home. Too many people want to live in Palo Alto but cannot afford to. Sunnyvale and Santa Clara OK places to live. Go there or across bay to Fremont.

If I cannot afford to own my Mercedes, I have to drive Honda. Simple.


34 people like this
Posted by sophie
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 8, 2019 at 9:15 pm

sophie is a registered user.

I want to live in Atherton and Los Altos Hills houses, but I can’t afford it. I want the politicians to create some laws there so that I can afford to have a home there.


14 people like this
Posted by m2grs
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 8, 2019 at 9:33 pm

Why didn't PAF and Scot Wiener endorse Prop 5 last year?

Allowing seniors to transfer tax base to next purchase is the fastest way to restock cities like Palo Alto with younger generations.

I know several seniors living alone in Palo Alto in SFHs but have no other options because of property tax. If they are allowed to carry tax base they will definitely move out. Their houses in Palo Alto will be replaced with younger families. The housing stock will see much higher utilization.

I hope PAF and Scott Wiener can work together and bring back Prop 5. It is really a rational and win-win measure that provides immediate relief to the housing crisis.




18 people like this
Posted by Jeff Grafton
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 8, 2019 at 10:10 pm

SB 50 **does** mandate that affordable housing be included in projects, though. Source: the bill itself. Web Link

"Project Size Inclusionary Requirement
21– 200 units 15% lower income; or 8% very low income; or 6% extremely low income
201–350 units 17% lower income; or 10% very low income; or 8% extremely low income
351 or more units 25% lower income; or 15% very low income; or 11% extremely low income"

What about smaller projects?
"(i) If the project has 10 or fewer units, no affordability contribution is imposed.
(ii) If the project has 11 to 20 residential units, the development proponent may pay an in-lieu fee to the local government for affordable housing, where feasible, pursuant to subparagraph (C)."

OK, so for 10 or fewer units, there's no affordability requirement in SB 50, but local cities can use their **local control** to impose a stricter requirement.

And Palo Alto does exactly that. Web Link
"When development of three or more residential units is built in the City of Palo Alto, the developer is required to contribute at least 15% of those units at below market rates (projects of seven or more units must provide one or more BMR units within the development)."

(Regarding in-lieu fee payments, which inevitably someone will bring up: yes, it's best to include BMR homes within the project itself, but SB 50 now mandates that any off-site BMR homes funded by the in-lieu fee must be built within 1/2 a mile of the project, and the BMR homes must have obtained a building permit before the market-rate SB 50 project can be occupied.)

tl;dr SB 50 sets a baseline for affordability requirements, and a pretty good one at that, especially for larger projects, the ones "most profitable" to developers. Localities can impose even stronger requirements.

It's also worth noting that the most expensive kind of housing you can build is a detached single family house. A duplex, triplex, or fourplex in the same exact form and shape as that SFH would allow you to house more families for less.

The only way we are going to meet California's climate goals is if we give families the opportunity to live near where they learn, work, and play. Much of the traffic in Palo Alto is from people who don't (or can't) live in Palo Alto. If they lived closer, they'd have the option to walk or bike, but that becomes harder the farther away you live.


24 people like this
Posted by m2grs
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 8, 2019 at 10:31 pm

@Jeff Grafton, your premise that people should live close to where they work, learn and play is completely wrong.

Look at NYC, Tokyo, Shanghai or London. Most people don't work, learn or play close to where they live.

The key is a robust public transportation system such as subway.

Therefore SB50 is based on a wrong idea. It will not achieve what it wants even if implemented.


18 people like this
Posted by Jeff Grafton
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 8, 2019 at 10:40 pm

We can do both. That's why most of SB 50's impacts are near existing high-quality transit like our Caltrain stations, in which we've already invested public money.


28 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 9, 2019 at 7:43 am

Many domestic workers such as nannies, cooks, gardeners, etc ,who work in Pebble Beach would like affordable housing there. Would Mr Weiner make it possible for them to live in Pebble Beach, replacing 50 million dollar home neighborhood with high rise apartment buildings, or do only well paid tech workers who insist on living in Palo Alto count?


16 people like this
Posted by Free Housing Should Be Mandatory For Domestic Workers
a resident of another community
on Jun 9, 2019 at 9:14 am

> Many domestic workers such as nannies, cooks, gardeners, etc ,who work in Pebble Beach would like affordable housing there.

In the old days, housing was often provided for domestic workers (i.e. cottage, small room near kitchen, above garage etc.)

Today the majority of wealthy people employing domestic help do not provide these amenities because most of them are either too cheap to do so or hung-up on their privacy.

At my grandmother's house in Hillsborough she has a cook, housemaid, butler & a gardener/chauffeur. The cook & butler are married and reside in a guest cottage on the property. The housemaid has a room near the kitchen and the gardener/chauffeur has a bedroom behind the garage. They also dine in the kitchen and share the same menu that is prepared for my grandmother.

The nouveau-riche techie people today have no class or concern for others. They think of themselves as elite but are sadly mistaken. The key to being wealthy is taking care of your household help & in addition to room/board, my grandmother also covers health insurance, vacation time and salaries for her in-home help. It is expensive but well worth the financial outlay.

As far as tech workers clamoring for additional housing in Palo Alto, go reside somewhere else & stop trying to destroy what's left of PA with even more of those tacky-looking Lego Land mixed-used dwellings.

Or become a domestic worker on an estate.


30 people like this
Posted by Tech caused housing bubble
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 9, 2019 at 9:37 am

Tech caused housing bubble is a registered user.

The increased housing prices is because companies like Google, Facebook and Palantir have situated their headquarters nearby and because tech has made many folks rich and Palo Alto is one of the more desirable places to live and so they are willing to pay a premium. Thus to fix the root cause of high housing prices is to stop office growth. Building housing is just treating the symptoms.

A general rule is you should not spend more than 1/3 of your income on housing so if lots of 600 square foot luxury apartments are built in Palo Alto for $4000 - $6000 per month (the going rate) then they will rent to folks who make no less than $144K to $216K. Is this who we're trying to "save"? Coincidentally, you can easily rent a decent house in Palo Alto for $6000 per month.


46 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 9, 2019 at 10:14 am

mauricio is a registered user.

Politicians like Weiner and mega growth lobbying groups like PAF don't care at all about those who really need housing help. They care and work only for the entitled and privileged, in other words well educated, well paid tech workers. They claim that since Palo Alto decided to be a job center, it must change its character and quality of life and densify and urbanize in order to house, what would be almost exclusively tech workers who feel they have a divine right to live in Palo Alto, even those who actually don't work in Palo Alto or would change job location several times during their career.

Notice how they don't consider domestics as workers who, if we adopt the notion that people should live near their work place, deserve at least the same rights and support as tech workers. Has anyone ever heard Weiner, Steve Levy or any PAF member and supporter advocate for nannies, cooks, gardeners or handymen to receive affordable housing in Palo Alto or any other wealthy town in the Bay Area they serve? The destruction of what's left of Palo Alto is for the benefit of the entitled and privileged, not those who actually deserve their help and support.


14 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 9, 2019 at 10:46 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Reading Mr. Weiner's bio on Wikipedia he grew up in New Jersey. So in his mind's eye and his comfort zone he must be trying to duplicate his New Jersey neighborhood in CA. And all of the PAF's did you come here from some other place and are now trying to duplicate what ever place you grew up in? I grew up in LA in a higher end neighborhood and brought my family in PA in a okay location due to work. But I know what the state of CA is suppose to look like and I know that many came here to escape the neighborhoods they grew up in.
So we all know what PA looks like - how it has looked in the past and have no desire to make it look like somebody else's childhood home. And the resident's on Mr. Weiner's district have no interest in making their areas look like New Jersey. So people who are in crises mode should read the real Estate Section of the weekend papers and go find what you are looking for - it is out there. And complaining about the lack of homes you can see that the sales are raging on - it is all in the newspapers. Better hurry over to EPA - it is going fast at high prices. And it does not look like New Jersey.


18 people like this
Posted by george drysdale
a resident of Professorville
on Jun 9, 2019 at 11:14 am

Wiener comes from soviet style rent controlled San Francisco where centralized planning is the norm. Whether in the production of bananas or rentals it's the same principle: production won't occur unless you first meet the usually higher cost or production or no production. High school economics. I suggest Wiener continue with his education and get his high school diploma or is he another San Francisco cynic. Doing away with the Costa-Hawkins law would thwart production of new units.

George Drysdale social science teacher


12 people like this
Posted by stephen levy
a resident of University South
on Jun 9, 2019 at 11:27 am

stephen levy is a registered user.

hey Mauricio

I spend a good deal of time as do my friends advocating for BMR housing for low income workers of all kinds in PA and throughout the region.We advocated stongly for the Wilton Court project and for housing for low income seniors in Palo Alto.

We do probably disagree about how this should be paid for as I believe it is my spending that creates much of the demand for low wage workers.

So I think paying for this housing is a shared responsibility among all those who spend money on low wage workers including both businesses and residents.


23 people like this
Posted by Wiener = Left Wing Redevelopment
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 9, 2019 at 11:34 am

Scott Wiener as some others have implied is a left-wing idealist whose concepts have no practicality or bearing in the real world of the SF Bay Area.

He is just stirring up the nest to disrupt an established way of life on the peninsula.

Weiner & Ocasio-Cortez would make for a nightmare presidential ticket but no big deal...as they would lose the election big time.


21 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 9, 2019 at 12:31 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

So Mr. Levy - you have a role of advocacy. As to senior housing you are a senior. And if you live in a "senior" home than you already know that a corporation that is specific to that industry is running your senior home and has lot of tax and insurance liability issues related to that specific industry. You are in the receiver mode. The problem the city is facing is not one of advocacy but one being in the provider role with all of the tax and insurance requirements that go with that. And carving out a piece of Cubbereley will forever prevent that location from being a high school again.

So next we go to the increase of population in the city, presumably a lot in the South PA area. So where are those children suppose to go to School? Answer that one.


18 people like this
Posted by Wishful thinking
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 9, 2019 at 1:39 pm

@jeff Grafton ,- where's the guarantee that those workers who commute long distances would be the ones to actually own or live in these expensive luxury condos? Or any trickle down housing that "supposedly" would get produced? There is none. Foreign investors or local families can buy them. So this is not climate policy.
Untested. Unproven. Destructive.


24 people like this
Posted by From Russia With Love
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 9, 2019 at 1:48 pm

> Wiener comes from soviet style rent controlled San Francisco where centralized planning is the norm...
> Scott Wiener as some others have implied is a left-wing idealist...

Using a Bolshevik model of a centralized steering committee, would it be possible for these mega giant corporations to purchase land & develop exclusive company housing for their employees?

The rent could then be deducted directly from their paychecks along with utilities and all three daily meals provided for in the company dining halls.

Since many immigrant employees seem to pride themselves in working for Google & Facebook, company uniforms might also be provided to add a sense of visual continuity while they are at work.

Apple could take similar steps as well.


15 people like this
Posted by Allen Akin
a resident of Professorville
on Jun 9, 2019 at 2:45 pm

Allen Akin is a registered user.

@Jeff Grafton:

I appreciated your comments on SB 50. You seem to understand the subject well; would you mind answering some questions?

From your summary it looks like SB 50 requires 0-25% low-income units, 0-15% very low-income, or 0-11% extremely low-income (all depending on project size). What are the percentages of the Bay Area population that fall into those income categories?

Yes, you can house more people at lower cost if you put them into smaller spaces. That's one of the reasons often given for supporting SB 50 and for eliminating single-family zoning. However, that argument doesn't end with four-plexes; it ends with something like this: Web Link . At what point do you feel the argument for requiring people to live in smaller spaces reaches a limit? Why?

Regarding the traffic advantages of local housing, the County's EIR for Stanford's development concluded that building housing locally rather than farther away actually increases local traffic congestion. Web Link As reported in the Weekly, Catherine Palter of Stanford recently used the same reasoning to object to the County's requirement for more housing on campus. Doesn't it apply to new local housing created by SB 50 as well?

By the way, I presume you're posting under your real name. Public discussions are more civil and more valuable if a significant number of people are willing to do that. Thanks!


Like this comment
Posted by Kenny
a resident of University South
on Jun 9, 2019 at 3:23 pm

"@Kenny - you don't know what you're talking about. Econ 101 might help."

Absolutely! Here is a refresher as pertains to housing:

Web Link

Web Link

To moderate housing costs, more housing needs to be built. It's supply and demand, one of the things taught in Econ 101. Building up, way up, is the only viable solution, unless you want to build out and redevelop the areas surrounding Downtown.

As for the people in Palo Alto calling Scott Wiener a Communist, that is the pot calling the kettle black.

"Scott Wiener as some others have implied is a left-wing idealist whose concepts have no practicality or bearing in the real world of the SF Bay Area."

See what I mean?


22 people like this
Posted by Absolute Power...
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2019 at 6:36 pm

Isn't there a state law/proposition that makes the state on the hook for the costs of unfunded mandates? Why aren't we already tallying and suing them for them for the costs of foisting overdevelopment on areas that already have maxed infrastructure?

We should start a proposition that funds renewal in California in cities that want the jobs and growth, so that they are attractive places for companies to move. And then we should make those companies pay the real cost of what their laissez-faire overgrowth has done locally. You can have too much of a good thing.


28 people like this
Posted by Truly stunned
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 9, 2019 at 8:40 pm

I am stunned at the incredible and outrageous attempted power grabs by our state politicians, in particular Scott Winer of San Francisco. Close to leaving this state (upper middle class taxed to the extreme by these politicians).


13 people like this
Posted by paloverdeman
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 9, 2019 at 8:46 pm

paloverdeman is a registered user.

>> Using a Bolshevik model of a centralized steering committee...develop exclusive company housing for their employees...all three daily meals provided for in the company dining halls...uniforms might also be provided to add a sense of visual continuity while they are at work.

^^^ Just call me Comrade.


11 people like this
Posted by george drysdale
a resident of Professorville
on Jun 10, 2019 at 11:07 am

Two thousand applicants for 28 placements for "affordable housing" in Oakland. How many placements in Palo Alto can be made for "affordable housing" in Palo Alto where land prices are twice as high? In Palo Alto you have to be contortionist is build units. Better to go elsewhere to build meat and potatoes apartments for the workers. Inclusionary zoning is a Palo Alto joke, too much risk. Read on the internet why money is leaving Portland Oregon because the risk is too high with
"set aside" tokenism (inclusinary zoning). Look at the numbers. Economics 101 ultimately, hopefully succeeds. But not in California with its looming "unaffordable
budget." Stay tuned.

George Drysdale land economist and intiator


5 people like this
Posted by Ray
a resident of Professorville
on Jun 10, 2019 at 11:18 am

No government system is perfect, I think we can all agree on THAT and there are a multitude of reasons why we have our different choices, not all of which fall into NIMBY or draconian polarity. Russian and Chinese governments prefer Central Planning; most of the Constitutional governments prefer local planning, "warts and all."

By the way, for the record, our moon is not part of Mars.

Ray


22 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 10, 2019 at 11:21 am

mauricio is a registered user.

The Mega growths know very well that not one domestic worker, or low income workers as they like refer to them would be able to get into any of the "affordable" housing schemes they have in mind. What they have in mind is really subsidized housing for high income tech workers, in a nation already being destroyed by socialism for the rich.


23 people like this
Posted by Lennie
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 10, 2019 at 11:31 am

I am worn out by reading all the previous comments so i will be brief. I live near an apartment complex. When i enter my neighborhood and try to turn onto my street, my vision is obscured by a number of cars parked not only on the streets but also on the street corners (isn't this illegal?). I haven't had an accident yet, but who knows when this may happen. I don't know whether SB 50 will ever be passed but it should be an absolute requirement that any new apartment or condo complex have adequate parking for all the residents without spilling over into the adjacent neighborhoods that have been there for decades.


22 people like this
Posted by Pied Piper
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jun 10, 2019 at 12:14 pm

Pied Piper is a registered user.

Of the roughly 7 billion people on the planet, what percentage of them would love to live in the Bay Area? If we keep providing more low cost housing, more of the 7 billion will want to move here. Then we'll hear complaints about traffic, school capacity, parking, infrastructure and goodness knows what else.

There's really not a solution that will provide "enough" housing for the area.


17 people like this
Posted by Midtown Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 10, 2019 at 1:13 pm

Midtown Resident is a registered user.

Around this part of Palo Alto, most new houses are sold in cash to overseas owners as investments. They are often left empty.


17 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 10, 2019 at 1:20 pm

Annette is a registered user.

Said the senator: "These zones, he said, have the effect of banning multifamily housing. They also constitute a ban on affordable housing and on income diversity."

That's an attention-grabbing statement, to be sure. But SB50 is not going to have a favorable impact on affordability for the vast number of people who wish to acquire housing here or those with modest incomes who seek to stay here. Unless the value of land here goes down significantly, other than the very limited amount of affordable housing that the bill requires the new housing in Palo Alto will be very expensive. I think the young supporters who are in favor of this bill are being sold a bill of goods.

Friday's meeting was a disappointment. I went hoping to hear the senator address the opposition and concerns with facts and reason. That didn't happen. Ms. Uang controlled the questioning and this severely limited the learning opportunity. Exerting that control was wholly unnecessary b/c the moderate-sized crowd was polite and respectful. There was no wild energy or rudeness. PAF wasted a golden opportunity.

The best thing we can do is continue to oppose the very flawed SB50, also oppose SB330, require adequate mitigation vis-à-vis housing from commercial developers who seek to add jobs here, and get our local act together regarding housing, particularly below market housing. Once we add some inventory in the below market and moderate housing categories we can reassess and see what's possible for market rate housing. Frankly, people on the higher end of the income spectrum already have options that others do not and we cannot afford to make high cost housing a priority. To do so would be a ban on income diversity, ironically one of the senator's concerns.

Too much government is NEVER a good thing; there's no reason to believe that this issue is the exception to that.


8 people like this
Posted by Art
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 10, 2019 at 1:30 pm

Art is a registered user.

Scott Weiner pushed back against the idea that tech companies, who have created the jobs that have attracted so many more people to the area, should build housing. However, Joe Simitian & Santa Clara County says Stanford should build housing for the increased number of people it anticipates having on site under its next General Use Permit. Someone is playing a game - "what's good for the goose is good for the gander"


16 people like this
Posted by Stu Beattie
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 10, 2019 at 1:32 pm

Stu Beattie is a registered user.

It’s hard to repeal the laws of supply and demand which continue to dictate the price of Palo Alto real estate at their intersection.
Two major reasons why supply and demand have caused Palo Alto housing prices to escalate relate to factors influencing supply:
1. California State income taxes which treat capital gains as ordinary income provide property owners with a dis-incentive to sell; and
2. Federal income tax changes which now allow for only very little deductibility of state income taxes only enhance that dis-incentive.
Result for us: rather than sell our two-story Palo Alto house and move to a retirement facility, we instead added a downstairs bedroom in case climbing stairs should become a challenge.
Bottom Line: Available houses added to the already meager housing stock – zero.


20 people like this
Posted by Just Ignore Him
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 10, 2019 at 2:03 pm

Who is this Scott Wiener to tell us what to do in Palo Alto?

> Wiener comes from soviet style rent controlled San Francisco where centralized planning is the norm...
> Scott Wiener as some others have implied is a left-wing idealist...

Palo Altans don't answer to Bolsheviks with their 'one size fits all' mentalities.


4 people like this
Posted by Jeff Grafton
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 10, 2019 at 2:21 pm

@Allen Akin
Thanks for your thoughtful questions.

Those income categories are defined in the California code and by the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. These are defined based on area median income (AMI). From Web Link, we can get the percentages defined for each of these categories:

Extremely low income: 0-30% of AMI
Very low income: 30% to 50% of AMI
Lower income: 50% to 80% of AMI; the term may also be used to mean 0% to 80% of AMI
Moderate income: 80% to 120% of AMI

The current exact dollar amounts for Santa Clara county are given on Web Link.

I wasn't able to immediately find a statistic for household income levels for Santa Clara County for 2019, but Web Link provides numbers for 2017. Based on the median household income of $119,035 given there, I came up with these rough percentages based on the data provided (though the buckets don't line up exactly):

Assuming AMI of $119,035:
Extremely low limit: $35,710.50; $0 to $34,999 is ~15%
Very low limit: $59,517.50; $35,000 to $59,999 is ~11%
Low limit: $95228; $60,000 though $99,999 is ~17%
Everyone else ($100k and above): ~57%


Regarding the size of homes built: the simplest answer is that codes and ordinances prevent anything like what you linked from happening. The California Residential Code requires housing units to have at least 150 square feet of living space, which does not account for the kitchen, bathroom, or closet - it'd be 220 square feet with those included (Web Link).

Nothing prevents an owner or developer from continuing to build larger units if that's what they or the market want. SB 50 provides the opportunity to build a variety of housing types at a variety of levels. You or I may not want to live in one of these "micro-efficiencies", but there might be others who would. Many folks right now who are struggling to get by find themselves living on a friend's extra couch or in an RV or other vehicle parked on our neighborhood streets. Certainly it'd be better for them to have a real place to live?

Additionally, cities can exert their local control and increase these minimum unit sizes with local ordinances; SB 50 wouldn't override that. For example, Palo Alto and many other cities already set a minimum unit size for ADUs. SF also set a limit on the number of these micro-efficiencies that could be built.

[I've hit URL limits, continuing this in another comment]


6 people like this
Posted by Jeff Grafton
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 10, 2019 at 2:22 pm

[continued]

Regarding traffic: I haven't yet had a chance to digest that EIR. I'd also like to point to two other articles on this website which suggest this is a complicated issue.

Part of Web Link discusses the notion of "peak spreading", where Stanford commuters are commuting later, outside of the peak hours, causing increased traffic at non-peak times. This is a classic example of what happens when we continue to add jobs and other opportunities far away from housing: people have to drive from other communities, and thus they'll add to the local traffic.

There's a paragraph in Web Link which also piques my curiosity:

"The proposal, which the county released on Tuesday and which board President Joe Simitian discussed in a Town Hall meeting Thursday at Palo Alto's City Council Chambers, also includes a 99-year prohibition on developing in the foothills (which can only be overturned with approval of four of five board members) and a revised methodology for tallying Stanford's traffic impacts, with more consideration of reverse commutes and a new emphasis on limiting the growth of average daily traffic."

I haven't yet been able to find this proposal, but I wonder what the "revised methodology" for traffic impacts entails.

The fact remains that building more housing near jobs, schools, and good transit gives people the opportunity to use alternate methods of travel, particularly in places that have already invested in improving bike and pedestrian infrastructure like Mountain View and Palo Alto. Sure, not everyone will walk or bike, but if we force them to live far away, then they don't even have the option of not driving.

Another reason folks drive is because we make it so easy. The real costs of driving, both in terms of ongoing maintenance costs to infrastructure, and more importantly, climate impact, are largely externalized. By lessening parking requirements, SB 50 might actually make residents reconsider whether they even need a car, especially if they're able to live close enough to walk or bike.

There's a lot cities can do to encourage alternate modes of transportation as well. One common tool is to employ a transportation demand management (TDM) program, such as what Palo Alto has done downtown. Palo Alto's Transportation Management Association has even seen early successes shifting commuters away from driving alone. (Web Link)

Expanding transit also becomes easier as you increase density. Low-density single-family neighborhoods are the most likely to require driving, since everything ends up being so far away.

By allowing a variety of housing types accessible to a wide diversity of people, we can build friendly, accessible neighborhoods where you can walk to the store to buy your groceries, bike to school, or take the train or bus to work.


8 people like this
Posted by Jeff Grafton
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 10, 2019 at 2:33 pm

@Wishful thinking

I'm not exactly sure what you're asking. The affordable homes that would be produced through SB 50 have explicit income limits, which would allow lower-income families to live closer to where they work, learn, and play. They largely don't even have that option right now.

Currently, all that is allowed in most of Palo Alto (and many cities throughout California) is luxury housing: it just happens to be called a single-family home.

SB 50 permits a variety of housing types to be developed instead. Some will be market rate, some must be affordable. And almost certainly many luxury single-family homes will continue be built as well.


15 people like this
Posted by Goody
a resident of Los Altos
on Jun 10, 2019 at 2:56 pm

There is ample evidence that those who can afford to live here, do live here.
Stuffing more people into a tight geographic area will make it worse FOR ALL.
Then the goose with the golden egg will leave.

Liberty of choice.


16 people like this
Posted by Wishful thinking
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 10, 2019 at 3:55 pm

Our single family neighborhood has south East Asian Indian families, asian and Asian American families, an African American family, along w white families. Segregationist? Racist? I don't think so.


22 people like this
Posted by Couple of Facts
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 10, 2019 at 4:12 pm

1 The overflow of people here is caused by the obscene expansion of the tech giants and Stanford. They do not produce enough housing for their people.
But the overwhelming number of homes are sold to Asian investors.

2 PAForward misrepresents itself as being in favor of housing. They are in favor of all construction. Its leadership almost all earn a living off development. SEVEN of their leaders are:

Designer and owner of construction business
Urban Architect
Palantir employee
Consultant to ABAG
Chamber of Commerce member
Managing Partner in Chinese venture capital co.,advisor to several Chinese development companies, former Palantir executive
Real estate agent


4 people like this
Posted by Jeff Grafton
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 10, 2019 at 4:24 pm

@Wishful thinking

Diversity comes in many forms. How many families in your neighborhood earn less than $50k/year? Or even $125k/year? Where are teachers or firefighters supposed to live?

Real wishful thinking is expecting to alleviate the housing emergency by maintaining the status quo.


10 people like this
Posted by Allen Akin
a resident of Professorville
on Jun 10, 2019 at 4:27 pm

Allen Akin is a registered user.

@Jeff Grafton:

Your post was timely -- I've been looking at the percentages this afternoon, and was in the process of writing them up.

As I read the text of SB 50 and the referenced sections of the California Code, the percentages are all supposed to be cumulative. See the definitive levels and notes on methodology for 2017 at Web Link .

Like you, I wasn't able to find an income breakdown corresponding closely to the limits specified by the Code, or complete data for years more recent than 2017. I used the Census FactFinder and linear interpolation within categories to get these numbers for Santa Clara County households in 2017:

Extremely Low: Below $35800; 17% of households
Very Low: $59700; 28%
Low: $84900; 40%

So the SB 50 targets are 0-25% units for lower income, vs. 40% of households; 0-15% for very low income, vs. 28% of households; and 0-11% for extremely low income, vs. 17% of households. That gives us a rough sense of how gentrification and displacement would continue if SB 50 is passed. (I'm aware that the reality is a lot more complex, but my research so far suggests the numbers above are optimistic. In the meantime, back-of-the-envelope calculations give us a good way of sanity-checking the political claims.)

Regarding size of homes built, I was asking a different question. Wiener and other supporters of SB 50 have made clear that they believe single-family housing should be eliminated; see the quotes in the article and comments for examples. So what are the limits to the amount of living space you want to allow people to have, and what's the reasoning behind those limits? Justifying a limit on the basis of economic optimization alone leads to absurdity.

It's been a while since I read the GUP EIR, but my recollection is that the County planners observed that there are more vehicle trips closer to home than to work, and when you run the simulations, you find that there's a net increase in congestion at the destination when you move home closer to work. In our area this is exacerbated by frequent job changes and multiple-worker households. Having been through the development of an EIR myself, I'm inclined to give the EIR's analysis a lot more weight than aspirations for more walking and cycling and less car ownership.

The crux of the matter isn't distance from housing to work; it's lack of availability of viable alternative transit systems. SB 50 does nothing to address this, and isn't conditioned on other efforts to address this. It puts the cart before the horse, increasing transportation demand before there are plans and funding to implement it when it's needed. This might seem inconsequential to you if you're not affected by it personally.

There are better approaches. Balancing the economic incentives for expanding here and building housing here is the essential first step. I would say SB 50 is neither necessary nor sufficient for that.


17 people like this
Posted by Paula
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 10, 2019 at 4:32 pm

So we build build build. Apartments, condos, low income, luxury, BUILD so more people can move here. But What about the WATER? Mother Nature only gives us so much each year. She is not going to change our semi-arid climate to accommodate the thousands or hundreds of thousands who want to live here. Those people need to go to places where there are resources to support them. The jobs should go there too. Thirty years ago there was enough water for residents, even during drought years. Now we have millions more and we DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH WATER! I say, stop building!


4 people like this
Posted by Jeff Grafton
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 10, 2019 at 4:35 pm

@Wishful thinking

In my previous comment, I did not intend to downplay the importance of racial diversity. This country has had a notorious history of segregation (through policies such as redlining) and that legacy continues to this day, though less explicitly; typically now it is through exclusionary zoning, which prices out lower-income families, many of whom tend to be people of color (as a result of other discriminatory practices in society).

I'll note for example that you didn't highlight any Latinx families living in your neighborhood, and only a single African American family.


6 people like this
Posted by Jeff Grafton
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 10, 2019 at 5:11 pm

@Allen Akin

Thank you for this discussion.

Regarding affordable housing, I'd suggest comparing against what we have right now.

Currently, the Palo Alto BMR ordinance requires 15% of units to be offered at below-market rates. Web Link

It's not clear to me exactly what income levels this 15% applies to; the best I can find is this chart, Web Link, which suggests that BMR targets 35-70% of AMI for rentals or 80-120% for ownership units.

Roughly speaking, SB 50 would either match the existing Palo Alto BMR requirements (but apply them statewide), or it'd increase the requirements, resulting in more affordable housing being built.

To your point, this won't match the need, but if we do nothing, we're guaranteed to not match the need.

It'd be great to increase the number of affordable units, but it's hard for this to pencil out in projects, given the high costs of construction. The high cost of construction is what makes options like duplexes or triplexes great - for roughly the same cost, we can house more families!

SB 50 also includes strong tenant protections designed to combat displacement:
- any housing that was rented out in the previous 7 years is ineligible for SB 50 incentives
- any housing with an Ellis Act eviction in the previous 15 years is similarly ineligible
- sensitive communities (those most likely to be affected by displacement) would be exempt from SB 50 for 5 years, while they develop a community-led planning process

Regarding size: are you asking if I think there's a maximum size of home we should allow? I don't have a strong opinion on this, but cities like Palo Alto already have limits on how large a single unit can be (6000 sq feet).

I should also clarify that I don't believe that all single family homes should be eliminated. I do believe we should allow people to build other kinds of homes.

We need to do more to improve transit, yes. I'd love to see more bills that improve funding of our transit infrastructure; Senator Wiener also mentioned this as the event last Friday. We can start by allowing the development of more homes near the transit stations we've already built.

Regarding incentives in particular (I really don't want to open this can of worms right now), we need to revisit prop 13, which strongly incentivizes building offices instead of homes, and which robs counties and cities of the revenue needed to improve their transportation networks. The Schools and Communities First ballot measure (Web Link) would be a great first step here.


12 people like this
Posted by Allen Akin
a resident of Professorville
on Jun 10, 2019 at 8:51 pm

Allen Akin is a registered user.

@Jeff Grafton:

If the goal is to solve the problem, we need to compare against what's required to solve the problem. If solving the problem is not the goal, then that needs to be stated explicitly. We're talking about this in the context of affordable housing, but it also applies to the jobs/housing imbalance in general.

It's a false dichotomy to imply "we do SB 50, or we do nothing"; other approaches have been proposed. Require development balance, as Mountain View is testing in East Whisman and absolutely should be applied to the sort of development projects I mentioned in another message above. Require long-term transportation demand management that's enforceable and objectively measurable. Impose impact fees for housing that are commensurate with the cost to the community of corporate growth here. Collect head taxes (my least favorite of the bunch, but probably appropriate for operating expenses and infrastructure debt service).

Regarding unit size, what prompted that question was the minimum density requirements in recent zoning changes. As long as demand is unconstrained by the cost of supply, we're going to see more of these. I was curious as to whether you'd thought through the economic and social issues. It sounds like you haven't, so no need to pursue it here any longer.

Your mention of development near transit stations raises two issues. First, the lack of capacity in the Caltrain 2040 plan for present and already-anticipated demands, even before the growth envisioned by SB 50. Second, the choice of SB 50's authors to impose higher density at arbitrary distances from transit and jobs in "high-opportunity" areas. The latter makes it clear that characterizing SB 50 as "transit-oriented" is disingenuous.

I haven't spent any time thinking seriously about Prop 13, so I'm happy to leave those worms undisturbed. :-)


13 people like this
Posted by Wishful thinking
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 10, 2019 at 10:05 pm

@jeff Grafton
Single family home owners are being called racist and greedy. No, they're not.

Now you keep moving the ball. Now this is about where teachers, nurses and public sector workers should live? That's apparently the real issue here. Teachers, nurses, etc should live where they can afford and where they choose. They aren't low income.

And diversity isn't enough. Now we are required to have diversity of income in our neighborhoods. Well, are lower cost neighborhoods supposed to allow people to enter and buy or rent their housing stock w o paying market rate? Should rich people get a special deal to buy or rent housing in a lower cost neighborhood to provide economic diversity then? Great - where's my special deal to buy under the market there? Can't wait to get that deal.

We have a free market economy whether you like it or not.


18 people like this
Posted by Wishful thinking
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 10, 2019 at 10:11 pm

@ Jeff Grafton - African Americans only represent 2% of the population here, so one family is representative of the area I am speaking about. I don't know everyone in my neighborhood, but I did forget one Latino family.

And so what if it isn't representative? Again, anyone can and has buy in. We have three homes turning over soon. Older white folks leaving. Lots of opportunities.

Why not work on the real problems, like wage inequality? Transit? Why not work on why commercial real estate is cheaper to build and profit from than housing? No, just a destructive solution that isn't tested or proven and is based on smearing people and bullying others and reeks of anti free market sentiment.


5 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 11, 2019 at 8:11 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Each state assembly member - or senate member - comes from specific area. That person has to be voted on by that specific congressional area. Once the people get to Sacramento then they are busy trying to generate spin so that they can then proceed to the next political position. It's too bad that some forget who brought them to the dance. In Mr. Weiner's case his congressional district members have paid a lot for their homes and neighborhoods. And they have no enthusiasm for having their neighborhoods torn apart. Mr. Weiner's date at the prom is going to leave with some other date who can better read the congressional district. The city of SF has no shortage of people who want to come to the prom.
And Mr.Chiu is also going to come up short of a date because his "social justice" parking rules will litter the streets with autos and no recourse for the residents.
So talk on about SB50 - the rest of the state congressional members can read their districts very well. And do not use SB50 as some type of hammer to make things happen. Not going to work.


9 people like this
Posted by george drysdale
a resident of Professorville
on Jun 11, 2019 at 9:23 am

I keep telling you Wiener's deal is dead on arrival. That's because it is stupid to those who are literate in economics. No price controls like price fixed rents, required sizes for development etc. Even through students of economics are in the minority (working memories fail after you leave Econ 1 in high school) those who remember have the last word. Except in California. Well, we'll see. I'm trying to knock all those mobile home parks in San Jose and California into development of much needed denser (apartment houses) housing. Teaching social studies involves the ability to explain. People have their build in biases (mostly selfish). Palo alto flunks out of basic economics classes by having inclusionary zoning and the disaster of the Buena Vista boondoggle.

George Drysdale land economist and not quite cynic, yet.


19 people like this
Posted by Wishful thinking
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 11, 2019 at 12:38 pm

San Francisco construction costs are up more than 50 percent since 2015, and recently edged out New York City as the highest in the country. A unit of affordable housing costs between $600,000 and $800,000 to build, depending on building type and materials.

Too expensive to build affordable housing for developers. SB 50 Luxury condos will get built. Then they think these luxury condo musical chairs being added in single family home neighborhoods will trickle down to eventually make housing more affordable for all, somehow, somewhere. Sure.


17 people like this
Posted by Another Giveaway
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2019 at 12:55 pm

Wiener's deal is dead on arrival because developer-friendly politicians are not going to let Wiener sell in bulk the zoning they have been selling off piecemeal to real-estate developers for decades.


17 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 11, 2019 at 4:32 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

"SB 50 Luxury condos will get built". That's the irony, isn't it? The SF Bay area construction costs are now the highest in the world, surpassing those of London. All the units will be very expensive. They will push prices even higher. Not one low income family would be able to afford them under any circumstances. In SF/Silicon Valley they would be a giveaway to well paid tech workers and the companies they work for, and of course a huge bonanza to the developers who push for SB 50, and SB 50 already is an invitation to millions of people abroad who desperately want to live in the area and can afford those units to move to the Bay area. SB 50 will not only be the end of Palo Alto as a suburban college town, it will absolutely destroy the Bay area environmentally and otherwise.


16 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 12, 2019 at 9:37 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

I watched the Menlo Park City Council which was on TV. Check them out some time - they have a different style of doing things. They were dealing with the topic of over-development and impact on the city residents. All were well spoken and made good points, asked good question which were answered. A city planning person described the process for new development, how many projects were in process, how many on the dock waiting for approval. I think the residents at least have a good understanding of what is going on across all of the regions of the city. And the city council is ware of the residents feelings on the increased development in the city and the work / housing balance.


9 people like this
Posted by Leonardo Leal Guerrero
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jun 12, 2019 at 3:32 pm

Let's remember that we live in Palo Alto = high value houses in coveted real state. If you look at the houses on the edge of Alma Corridor vs the houses in the secluded neighborhoods, you will notice a relative peace that many love, but few want to sacrifice. For many Palo Alto residents it is better to feign diversity/equity/whatnot, when it does not improve their wellbeing.

However, if they looked at the housing need and potential crisis ruining the state of California, they would recognize that poorer residents need housing that they simply cannot offer. We NEED taller housing to accomodate more people/lesser restrictions on construction/credits for house owners open to expanding their houses or add new rooms.

I strongly believe that developers get turned away because residents in Palo Alto would rather die than sacrifice their relative peace and the coterie of their wealthy community, than risk the noise pollution of poorer residents. Having lived in New York, I would be happy to have higher density housing if it means that my community as a whole benefits from lower rents and affordable housing. We can tough this out, California and its beauty will not dissapear because we finally learn to share like good human beings.

However, this is not New York. In New York, we recognize needs and we work on them, even when our own self-gain needs to decrease to increase the community gain. Continue living on your Tesla delivered dreams, continue sipping our $8 coffees, while you can clearly suffer the plight of the squalor generated from the lack of available housing.

Can we even say that Palo Alto truly embodies the ethos of the democratic party anymore?


30 people like this
Posted by Another Giveaway
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2019 at 8:40 pm

Leonardo,

The only affordable housing in NYC is old, run down, and located in dangerous crime infested neighborhoods. Well maintained housing in dense but desirable NYC neighborhoods is even more expensive than Palo Alto.

The most affordable housing Palo Alto will ever have is the housing it already has. New real-estate developments only increase the price of real-estate. Any new housing will be even more expensive that the housing it replaced.

It would take decades of landlord neglect, blight, and deterioration of a neighborhood's quality of life before any new Palo Alto housing would be affordable.

Don't believable you ever lived in New York. Sounds like you just went there on vacation.


21 people like this
Posted by Wishful thinking
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 12, 2019 at 11:00 pm

The reason there is an affordability problem is due to low income earned by many families. Ditching local zoning regulations and forcing luxury condos into single family home neighborhoods does NOTHING to address the low income earned by the working poor. These housing bills are a big head fake, and we spin our wheels while nothing productive gets done to actually help solve the low income problem.


15 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 14, 2019 at 8:56 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

My son grew up in PA. After college he and DIL lived in a number of apartments in the SF area where they could walk to good restaurants. They lived the post-college, young, hip, techie life. However there comes a point when they needed to think about starting a family and for them that is a house with grass, room for a big dog, and close to very good schools and parks. So they moved to suburbia. Eventually, or maybe all of the PAF people will move on to think about a family and homes - that means a suburban neighborhood with great amenities. So for those of us that have moved on we have no patience with the younger generation raging to tear apart what we have constructed to educate and protect our family life. And we want good schools to remain as good schools. We do not want schools that are crammed with people and no room to function. So get a grip - move to San Jose or San Francisco where you can cram in together and live the high life.


1 person likes this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 14, 2019 at 10:57 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

The City of Palo Alto has an extensive website for the planning department. I was going through trying to figure out the Palo Alto Business Park which is a at 101 and San Antonio - east side of freeway. I can find a lot about the Embarcadero side but not much on the San Antonio side. This is the Ewell Court section. Notice that there are a number of buildings now indicated with Goggle pick-up signs. There are changes in process here. This is a prime location for housing units. There is a huge amount of land just sitting there.

Think it is time for "the City" to provide a community meeting on the overall changes for the city - both short and long term. We are arguing about housing and commercial upgrade. Notice there is activity on El Camino in the works. Rather then everyone thumbing through extensive material time for the city to lay out what is in process, what is planned. Note that all requires approval.
We are being pushed into decisions on certain current activities with no comprehensive overview of what is available, where it is available, and who is looking at major changes.
Thank you.


Like this comment
Posted by Kenny
a resident of University South
on Jun 14, 2019 at 11:48 am

"So for those of us that have moved on we have no patience with the younger generation raging to tear apart what we have constructed to educate and protect our family life."

And those who are negatively impacted by severe growth restrictions have no patience for the NIMBYs. The two sides are seemingly irreconcilable, which means the issue will be decided at the ballot box, either directly or indirectly. So far, the baby boomers have held the majority, and so we're able to stifle progress. They maintained their standard of living by hobbling the progress of others. Those "others" are now in the majority, so they will hold sway in future elections. The anti-growth crowd made it a my-way-or-the-highway kind of thing, and are now reaping what they have sown. Turning any issue into a generational conflict guarantees failure. Just look at what happened in the 1960s.


24 people like this
Posted by Steve Dabrowski
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 14, 2019 at 12:28 pm

Steve Dabrowski is a registered user.

Comments by Wiener gave poignant stories of homeless folks and their need for housing. Right, pass SB50 and those homeless people are going to flock to move into all those new luxury apartments! What planet do these legislators live on-sure not on earth as I know it.


5 people like this
Posted by Paly Grad
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jun 15, 2019 at 12:04 pm


SB 50 has been molded into an amended SB 592 with some changes:

Web Link


34 people like this
Posted by gut-and-amend
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 15, 2019 at 2:19 pm

>SB 50 has been molded into an amended SB 592 with some changes
Yup Weiner is once again trying his sleazy gut-and-amend tactic (Web Link) to pass an unpopular bill


13 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 16, 2019 at 7:59 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

In the San Francisco Chronicle today was a large article about the areas of the city which have empty store fronts. Those are the store fronts of small businesses that are no longer there. So the city has strangled the small businesses to create blight on the one hand then complain about homelessness on the other hand. And SB50 is suppose to fix this? How did SF get so wrong headed? What a sad bunch of people.


6 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 18, 2019 at 11:53 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

SFC's 06.18 Editorial is "Supes must step up on housing". The SF city is struggling to argue the ins and outs of the Plan. Meanwhile Mr. Weiner is touring the peninsula trying to explain how he is high-jacking the bill not passed (SB 50) and slicing it into other bills. What a guy! Meanwhile the city of Cupertino is still struggling what to do with the Vallco Shopping Center - that is a San Hill Road venture. Threats on-going.

And the city of Palo Alto has been discussing the location where FRY's is located for how many years now. Now that is a whole gigantic area where you could put your senior housing, low cost housing, a major food store, and at the back end possibly a stop for the Caltrain. Move it off California Ave. You could make this site into a giant living and transportation center. The city could meet all of it's goals right at this location. And Fry's could build a new store over in the PA Business Park - they could still be here in a brand new store. Yes - they can have a Palo Alto address.

See that is key now - if you bring your friends to town and you go Fry's and it is old and tacky then god forbid - how embarrassing. That embarrassment can readily be solved by tearing the whole place up so you can impress your friends. And that is a commercial location so all of the commercial elements can be located there - that includes old people homes and low cost. And we know how important that is. And then the PACC can say to Mr. Weiner - hey look at us - we are on top of this.


20 people like this
Posted by Another Giveaway
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2019 at 3:34 pm

@Resident 1-Adobe Meadows,

The Palo Alto city council can do everything Mr. Weiner wants to increase housing but it will never be enough because Mr. Weiner's real goal is to partner with the real-estate industry to use the plight of the drug-addicted and mentally-ill homeless as a pretext to justify the destruction of racist/homophobic suburban R1 housing.


2 people like this
Posted by A trend
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 18, 2019 at 3:39 pm

A trend is a registered user.

For better or for worse, the NY Times claims this is part of a nationwide trend: Web Link


20 people like this
Posted by Another Giveaway
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2019 at 6:39 pm

It's a trend. In cities across the country local politicians are running out of ways to repay their benefactors in the real-estate industry and have turned to down-zoning R1 neighborhoods as a way to reward their friends in the real-estate industry for their generous campaign contributions.

The sleazy business underlying this trend is shrouded in a smoke-screen of concern for the drug-addicted and mentally-ill homeless who's problems run much deeper than housing affordability.

The real goal is to keep the pay-for-play business model functioning by opening up new opportunities for the real-estate industry to exploit the assets built into desirable R1 neighborhoods through down-zoning.




10 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 18, 2019 at 8:21 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

The housing industry is busy building homes all over. If you look in the SJM there is a half page advertisement for Los Banos and all of the new housing that starts in the $300K range. There is no lack of housing - it is going up all over the place. The problem is blight - when there are blank store fronts and boarded up buildings. We have that on El Camino. The major businesses just have to provide satellite divisions where the housing is. Not that hard to do.


26 people like this
Posted by gut-and-amend
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 18, 2019 at 10:13 pm

Weiner took an uncontroversial bill about cosmetology licenses and turned it into a complex and detailed piece of housing legislation that would undermine a long list of local controls over residential development:
Web Link


21 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 19, 2019 at 1:55 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Mr. Weiner is getting a lot of press for all of his convoluted attempts to control housing. If he thinks this is leading to some grander job he can think again. He is single minded in his approach and appears unwilling to figure out what the citizens want. And he is underhanded in his slicing and dicing of legislative actions to suit his purpose. Hope our other legislative members are not slaves to this activity.


7 people like this
Posted by eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 20, 2019 at 8:04 pm

eileen is a registered user.

@translation summed it up exactly! Nothing more to say.


4 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 23, 2019 at 10:46 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

In the Sunday SJM editorial opinion "What state's school bond lobby wants hidden from voters". Mr. Weiner is busy again trying to modify a requirement that tells voters what a school bond will cost the taxpayers - SB268. His partner in this activity is Jim Beall - San Jose area. Mr. Beall's congressional district includes the Alum Rock School District which is in massive legal contention with a construction company from SOCAL regarding lack of performance on contract for rehabilitation of the school system. Company getting paid but not performing on the job. All of costs are bond funds voted by the residents. So the cost to the residents is increased but they are not getting an upgraded school. It is a money laundering scheme. The SOCAL company has numerous law suits in process for lack of performance.

This is an important piece of information regarding the bond lobby for school systems. As to Palo Alto if CUB has huge construction costs, including housing, then a bond would be requested from the voters. That would require an increase in property taxes.

Since PAUSD is the owner of the major portion of the site then they need to address what ever upgrades they want to make possibly within existing funds. That would exclude housing and only upgrade to the existing buildings. If PAUSD makes CUB into a profit center for now then they can fund the upgrades based on income for use of the facilities.

If the housing requirements are moved to a commercial site - such as Fry's then the cost would be driven by the builder outside of a bond issue paid for by the taxpayers against their property taxes.

Our local developer Sand Hill Properties is busy getting beat up by the city of Cupertino regarding a massive development at the Vallco Shopping Mall now closed to business. All of these transactions are problematical and complicated.

There is a bottom line here - PAUSD needs to take the lead on any improvements to the CUB site. The City of Palo Alto needs to redirect it's requirements for housing of all types to other locations in which a school bond is not required. That means a developer will have to head up the activity and provide the funding. It is a win-win situation - the PAUSD and the city get back a needed third high school in south PA. And the city can meet it's requirements for providing all types of housing next to a transportation site - Caltrain tracks. You could put up to four four-story buildings on the Fry's site to address all of the needs for low-cost, senior people, hi=tech people.

It is obvious that Mr. Weiner has irritated the news media and they are now tracking what he is up to. Lets hope that Mr. Berman is noting that bad publicity is not helpful in political situations. Especially now when all actions can be tracked.


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