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Berman expects big legislative push on boosting housing supply

Original post made on Oct 29, 2019

For Assemblyman Marc Berman, the magnitude of the state's housing crisis hit close to home last week, when he walked out of a CVS pharmacy in downtown Palo Alto and nearly walked into a homeless person using a plastic bag as a toilet.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, October 29, 2019, 3:40 PM

Comments (35)

Posted by Family Friendly
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 29, 2019 at 4:42 pm

A mentally ill person panhandling and defecating in public in Palo Alto has nothing to do with jobs in Palo Alto or rents in Fresno. We need more funding for programs to get addicts and the mentally ill off the streets and into mental health facilities. We also need our police and courts to start doing their jobs and preventing these petty crimes.

Posted by State is Making Things Worse
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 29, 2019 at 5:57 pm

If Berman actually cared about people with low incomes, he would stop supporting all the Sacramento bills that aim to create more high-priced condominiums rather than true below-market rate housing, which is what we need.

Posted by Misguided
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 29, 2019 at 10:40 pm

I’m concerned about the willfully ignorant, hyper busy, shrugging, naive California taxpayers as many of our misguided, virtue signaling elected officials focus on the wrong things, cater to big interests, virtue signal and hand over control of our residential zoning to state control, oh, with exception for Marin County. Way to go, local representatives.
An example is Palo Alto is targeted by SF politicians now in power at the state level.
We are blamed for providing jobs that supply huge dollars for them to spend.
How weird is that.
We single family homeowners “deserve” to have our zoning drastically altered for the worse and lose tremendous value, with oddball complicated “housing” schemes that make nonsense but damage us.
Palo Alto is NOT responsible for thousands of persons moving to SF to defecate on the streets and take over blocks, refuse to work or make meaningful improvements in their lives while on hard drugs.
We haven’t had factories close, throwing the unemployed out onto the streets.Street people are coming here in droves for the Public handouts- SF keeps increasing the draw and the homeless industrial complex at taxpayer expense.
Wake up.

Posted by Good Sam
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 30, 2019 at 10:31 am

"in downtown Palo Alto and nearly walked into a homeless person using a plastic bag as a toilet"

Palo Alto has free public toilets nearby, in obvious kiosks right on the street. The business has a toilet. The opportunity center is nearby. This is clearly related to mental illness. I am disgusted that our elected official would use it as a way to grandstand for more developer profits at the expense of our communities. The state is losing middle and low income people and gaining, frankly, a lot of rich people. Densification in high-demand job centers INCREASES prices and is RESPONSIBLE FOR displacements. When will our elected officials stop using the negative consequences of the developer giveaways to keep inflicting more of it on us? (Answer: they won’t. Concerned citizens will have to find a way to MAKE the state increase the number of desirable job centers or this place will keep endlessly densifying — San Francisco already a poster child for what other cities don’t want to happen to them.)

Affordable housing advocates have long needed to ask for increased densities for their projects in order to make them work. But developers have realized they can use this to their own advantage, throwing advocates some bones on the one hand while wholesale displacing people and ratcheting up costs through densification and redevelopment on the other. Developers are not doing what they do to bring down prices -- who is the genius who thought THAT was a good argument? (The one laughing all the way to the bank as housing advocates continue to carry water for developers against their own interests.)

I am disgusted that this article covers only that and says nothing about whether our elected official did something to get this man AND the downtown business help, and if the man is better off for it. Cory Booker was known for running into a house and saving someone from a fire when he was mayor. Did Berman contact his staff or any public agencies to get the man help or did he just turn away and use it to help make it easier for developers to get what they want?

Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 30, 2019 at 10:58 am

I will vote for any non-Republican who is:

1) Rational. Logical. Capable of doing arithmetic.
2) Not in the pocket of real estate developers.

Marc Berman makes irrational arguments rationalizing legislation that will help real estate speculators. I felt trapped into voting for him last time because of his opponent. Please, won't a rational Democrat challenge him this time?

Posted by Don't do anything extra
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 30, 2019 at 11:53 am

Did Marc Berman know there were fires burning everywhere? Great idea to pack in more housing, one on top of the other. When really it's to help developers, union construction workers, Realtors, other unions and the politicians they support profit off of us. No more.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 30, 2019 at 11:56 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

First - there is no rational Democrat. They work on the theory that the end justifies the means. [Portion removed.]

It turns out that every one we end up with has an agenda that has financial support from groups which do not live in this town but still want a piece of the pie. We need to flesh out this type activity better before elections and quit getting surprised.
And that Scott Weiner - even people in his congressional district now hate him. He wants to spread SF like crunchy peanut butter.

Posted by Paula
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 30, 2019 at 12:15 pm

Resident 1 - Adobe Meadows, you make excellent points. I agree 100%

Posted by Developers are big donors.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 30, 2019 at 1:05 pm

Developers are big donors. is a registered user.

I'm sure he will be duly rewarded by developers or voters. You pick.

If you fail to vote, you forfeit your voice.

Posted by Real estate interests
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 30, 2019 at 1:32 pm

My understanding is that Marc Berman's extended family have long held considerable interests in the real estate business in California, of which Mr. Berman may be or will be a beneficiary. While not necessarily a direct conflict within his constituency, he may be predisposed to support California real estate and developer interests.

Posted by adobe liar above
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 30, 2019 at 2:34 pm

> Money Laundering of US tax payer dollars provided funds? Hello Hunter and Pelosi son. Also called Extortion. Much less using a foreign country to accomplish this trick.

Zero evidence of his false claims against Dems, yet we have convicted FELONS from the Trump party on money laundering (Manafort, Michael Cohen, to Stormy Daniels, etc..)

Extortion, foreign countries? "Hey Ukraine, make up some stories about my opposition or you don't get congressional approved funds to defend yourself from my Russian buddy, Vladimir!"

That kind of extortion? That kind of laundering?

Posted by Politics!
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 30, 2019 at 4:25 pm

Politics is an interesting game. Berman is just as vapid and long winded and just as beholden to developer interests as the infamous Cory Wolbach, but he's polite, personable and smart enough to not act like a condescending jerk. On that purely stylistic difference, one is in Sacramento and one is moping around his Mom's house!

Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 30, 2019 at 5:48 pm

Politicians at the local and state level need to repay the real-estate developers that contributed so generously to their campaign coffers.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 30, 2019 at 6:51 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

In case you have not noticed Hunter did get the funds. It was tax payer money fed into the Ukraine and then funneled out to Hunter. Same story for China. Hunter has admitted to getting the money. In the response above in the DT scenario no one except the Ukraine is getting any money - they got it - and no need to funnel it out to any US citizen. The payback has been canceled.
Note that the Executive Branch of the Government is the one deciding what foreign aid should be provided, and for what purpose. It is the job of the Executive Branch to insure that any foreign aid provided is used for specific purposes. And it is their right to insure that those funds are used for the intended purposes. Foreign aid is not a give-away - it is to solve specific problems.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 30, 2019 at 7:02 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

So back to the article above - I voted for Lydia Kou because she brought certified real estate knowledge to the job here at hand. But possible back-play now is cropping up in the Fry's debacle. Was Fry's on the table way back when she ran? Was there a strategy in play back then?

And Adrian Fine is in the SB50 camp. Destroy the individual history of each city and make it all look the same.

It is time that we as a city vote on our mayor. The mayor should be a person that the city can trust with specific goals and clearly projected outcomes. It is tiring to vote for people then find that they are now busy fulfilling a personal agenda or trying to satisfy the goals of people who are funding the campaigns that do not live here.

Posted by Does he read?
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 30, 2019 at 7:57 pm

Does Berman even read the bills he votes on? Plenty were passed that will drastically increase supply - not the least being sb330. In fact most of them were about supply. Very few were about renter protection.

It is embarrassing that he does not understand that. Who is this seat warmer??

Posted by Tom
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 30, 2019 at 9:02 pm

It won’t hurt the NIMBYs one bit to build out East Embarcadero and a flip couple of large industrial properties in the Stanford Industrial Park into high density housing.

It’d be a win for everyone and would stop Palo Alto’s humiliation as the poster child for why our kids need SB50 to work in the same town in which they grew up.

SB50 will come one way or the other... better to simply do the moral thing to get ahead of it. It pills very well as a potential ballot initiative and I promise you, some of its supporters will be our own kids.

Posted by Don't do anything extra
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 30, 2019 at 9:13 pm

@Tom - forget it. No SB 50. Host your own bunkhouse somewhere else, with all your developer, politician and union friends.

Posted by adobe liar above
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 30, 2019 at 11:00 pm

"Hunter has admitted to getting the money."

Cool. Then paste the quote of his admitting it.

Because when Trump fibs about it, he gets four Pinocchio's.

Posted by Good Sam
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 30, 2019 at 11:52 pm

Moral thing? What's moral about making lying specious arguments to get developers their way to run roughshod over ordinary people like the tenants of President Hotel who got booted from their affordable housing?

Developers are not going to be building anything that will lower costs. Ever noticed that all those large projects going up don't even release all the units at the same time so they stagger the vacancies into the future and don't have any local distortions in the market? And even if prices drop here during recessions, it's never what you would call affordable -- and will be less so now, now that all this luxury housing is getting built for rich people by displacing ordinary people, and companies keep bringing in more and more workers, the more housing that gets built.

What's moral about making false justifications so you can lie to yourself and sleep at night, when you are carrying water for developers and ruining a lot of people's lives?

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 31, 2019 at 4:42 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Amazing - in this world if you want to participate then the first requirement is to read the major newspapers, and look at the major news shows. Hunter is all over the place now making money on talk shows. He is being interviewed by everyone. One of the joys -if you can call it that - is watching the news all day and following the stories as they unfold. It helps if you have the right educational background to put all of the events in their historic timeline. And that includes Wall Street Journal that writes articles about China zeroing in on Palo Alto with their venture capital and other investment opportunities. And the government's attention to those activities. Scrutiny is in process.

As to SB50 - no - we are not going to be spread all over the peninsula like chunky peanut butter. We are going to enjoy some unique identity for each town and city. Otherwise - what is the point? We could all move to Henderson, Nevada. But the people who think this type of stuff up came from somewhere else - maybe they are trying to duplicate where they grew up so this all looks familiar to them. SB50's originator grew up in New Jersey.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 31, 2019 at 12:10 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Just want to point out: Foreign Aid is dispensed by the Executive branch of the government. It is the job of the Executive Branch to insure that the tax payer provided funds are used for the specific purposes for which it was provided. Review of how funds provided to Ukraine / All are totally appropriate. It is time to review all Foreign Aid for all countries to fully understand what those funds are being provided for and evaluate the performance of the foreign countries relative to that foreign aid. That is the JOB. That is what we pay people for. That is what we would expect in any company out there. It is what we are now questioning about PG&E. The job performance - good or bad is a requirement in any financial matter.

Posted by @ Tom
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 31, 2019 at 1:37 pm

This idea that thou shalt be able to live and work in the same town where thoust grew up, just sounds like yet another entitlement. It's like Mayberry or perhaps something out of 'to the manor born'.

You should be advising your kids to move outside the bubble, have a few alternative experiences, work hard and see if they can't create a life of their own rather than reliving yours. Nowhere in the bill of rights does it say that we're entitled to live down the street from our parents. Honestly, as a country we have far bigger problems to focus on - climate change, universal health care, immigration ...........

Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 31, 2019 at 2:30 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

Whew! There must have been a track failure somewhere along the line because the real topic got derailed many posts ago. How did what's happening at the national level ever get into the discussion?

Marc is just being Marc, the same guy who served on CC. I met him and talked with him on several occasions. It was friendly discussion...chit chat and kidding around about him bailing out of Palo Alto to run for the Assembly seat. He came across as a fun guy to have as a friend, except for some of his political views. I watched many CC meetings during his term. He would often ignore the speaker at the podium while whispering asides into Liz Kniss's ear. That was rude. He's trying hard to make a mark...that would be a Marc mark... for himself on what's happening in Sacramento. In the end I think all this push for dense housing will leave a scar on him and those others who are forsaking us NIMBY's because of our love of our city and the neighborhoods that we moved into.

Another thought...let's hear from every CC member on how they would feel if all those things they vote 'for' re affordable housing, affected them in their neighborhood. ADU's, multifamily housing units, et al. I think they are so shielded from those things ever happening to them that it doesn't enter into their thinking.


Shame on you! That was so bad of you to say that about my friend Cory. He and his family have been my friends for many years. I voted for him the first time, but I didn't the last time...only because I wanted to make sure Tom and Eric got re-elected, and who was this upstart Allison who entered the fray? Nothing to worry about there I thought. I was wrong. I disagreed with several things Cory supported but I felt comfortable about talking it out with him and he reciprocated. It's okay for young wannabe career politicians to be overzealous for causes they support. I still claim Cory as a friend.

Going back to the national debate. In the end, if the younger generations, millennials, and the far left progressives become the majority and have their way and say, it will be a new chapter and a life experiment and experience that us older, more conservative folks will have to live with! Let our democratic representative form of governing prevail even if it doesn't match with our personal beliefs.

Posted by Steve Dabrowski
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 31, 2019 at 5:07 pm

As for Mr. Berman, we got what we saw. His performance on the council said it all-growth, silly comments when caught out on one of his votes as was seen with 800 Alma after it was universally panned, saying something like he could have banged his head against a wall after he saw the project completed. Too bad he didn't.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 31, 2019 at 7:46 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

What are we voting for? So today saw a large RV parked on Middlefield and Maybell - across from Michell Park. It had people in it. It had no license plates either in front or in back. Having just taken the DMV tests I know that is illegal. So I called up the police to report a vehicle with no license plates and in an inappropriate area. Hey - they did not care. The PACC city council says that RV's can park any where they want. We are suppose to be a welcoming city to all.

Hey - is that what the Guv is doing with people in camps all over the state? That is not what MV is doing. That is not what MP is doing. That is not what RWC is doing.

Time to find out who on the PACC decided this. We - the residents need to vote on these type of quality of life issues. The PACC groups is too all over the place and cannot be trusted to make good decisions for the tax paying residents. They are sucking up to some other group out there. Hey - your political agenda is going down the drain and you will not be voted in for any other term.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 1, 2019 at 1:54 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

So let's crack this case. Please go to US Foreign Aid on your search - Wikipedia version. It will tell you the history of foreign aid - the various programs instituted to provide funding to foreign countries. It provides a chart of which countries are getting foreign aid and of course Ukraine is on the list. There is a separate section for Central America. It also breaks down the various organizations within the government that are specific to types of aid. Aid is big business - a big business that not many taxpayers are tracking or understand. So that is the current threat to those groups that are directly employed in the foreign aid camp. And we have already seen the evidence of money skimming in that arena. Someone got caught - but we also know that the Clinton Foundation received many gifts from foreign countries that HRC visited.

Another money skimming category is bond funds for schools - our own local Santa Clara county folks in Alum Rock school district. Long drawn out legal battle regarding the proposed upgrade for construction in the school system that gets paid out but improvements just don't happen. Most taxpayers are not following bond funds.
In this day and age all of these activities which previously saw no light are now popping out. How embarrassing.

Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 1, 2019 at 3:25 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

Please, please, let's get back to local issues. We Palo Altons shouldn't get caught up in solving national or world problems. We've got enough of our own problems to deal with.

@Resident 1 Adobe Meadows...
Check your map. Those streets don't intersect. Maybe you meant Mayview.

@Steve Dabrowski...well said!

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 3, 2019 at 8:02 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

The crux of the matter with Silicon Valley is foreign aid, employment (HB-1), and misinformation concerning who is involved with who. Countries now in the news have been the recipients of US foreign Aid for years. Interaction with those countries has been going on for years. And our local legislators are one generation away from former soviet countries. The fact that tax payer money is going out the door and coming back in the door for all of the wrong reasons has been going on for years. And our state is the focal point for people who are from the former US Aid countries. The economy of our city and state is in the middle of it all.
Mr. Schiff's congressional district in LA has the highest percentage of inhabitants from former soviet countries. I grew up in that congressional district. And Palo Alto is a stones throw away. The fact that major companies in the world now are here is affecting the local problems we are looking at: housing, over-population, etc. Every problem we are discussing is a signature to the overall problems we are discussing affecting the state and US government - where it is putting it's money. What happens in Sacramento directly affects us through legislation. What happens in the technology field directly affects us and how the companies are interacting with world countries.
No -we are not solving anything - we are just shining a light on the fact that it all is happening. You can also put immigration status into that bucket -does that get it closer to home for you all?

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 6, 2019 at 7:24 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Please note the article by Carl Guardino in the SJM 11-06. "Californians can collectively combat housing crises". He is discussing the recent legislation and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group response. A great listing of all of the groups that are providing funds for housing. He at least concedes that housing in 1989 met all of the needs and went downhill from there. Suspect that all of the companies since 1989 that are active now in the valley are the main contributors to the housing crises. So success has it's price - uncontrolled success has now produced a basket of issues that are now fouling the nest. So now busy trying to clean up the end results of unmitigated success. Thank you Carl - so appreciate your guidance in these matters.
So send some money to PA so we can get our housing taken care of.

Posted by @ @Tom
a resident of another community
on Nov 6, 2019 at 12:40 pm

Ok boomer

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 8, 2019 at 9:28 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

"OK Boomer" - did not know what that meant until I read the opinion piece in the SJM 11-08 - Leonard Pitts, Jr. " The kids may "OK Boomer" me to their heart's content". Explains one approach. While you are at it read Victor Davis Hanson's article - "History has clearly shown us that socialism isn't the cure." The two articles complement each other on what the approach today is on solving the many problems we are discussing which have generational disagreements. The comments we see are mostly a generational approach to problem solving. While you are at it read the opinion piece "25th anniversary of Prop 187 raises perennial issue".

Have to say that I am a 4th generation Californian and my relatives help build the water distribution system that created the bountiful state we live in. James Michener in his books focuses on water systems as being part of the answer for development - Hawaii moving water distribution for further growth. Other world locations in which the transfer of water is key to human and animal survival. We are grappling with that issue in state, and other countries are not advancing opportunities for water distribution which then puts their citizens at risk. All of these people migrating because their country has not advanced to the point of managing water distribution. If we can get Mexico and other countries to change up how they manage water distribution then they can create a better economy for their citizens. The rest of the world can work if it can implement what we figured out in the past generations in this state.

Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 8, 2019 at 9:44 am

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, a resident of Adobe-Meadow

>> While you are at it read Victor Davis Hanson's article - "History has clearly shown us that socialism isn't the cure."

A seriously wrongheaded article based on strawman argument. If you look at the actual examples, what history has clearly shown is that pure socialism isn't the cure. It has also shown that pure capitalism isn't the cure, either. Amusingly, the family history that you give is a perfect illustration:

>> Have to say that I am a 4th generation Californian and my relatives help build the water distribution system that created the bountiful state we live in.

I'm not in agreement with California did, but, I can't help but notice that it was effective, and, it was done by state and local government with public money. And, later, federal money. A lot of taxpayer money funded government built, owned, and operated water projects. And, it was very, very effective, even if some of it was also very unwise. See the reference to "Cadillac Desert".

>> Other world locations in which the transfer of water is key to human and animal survival.

Water is going to get more and more important over the coming decades. Pure capitalism and pure socialism will not be "the cure".

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 8, 2019 at 12:50 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Note that in Africa today animals are dying because of "climate change". I would argue that the main rivers in the second biggest continent on the planet have been dammed up and diverted so that what was once bountiful continent is now hamstrung by limiting the amount of water that travels to the southern locations where national parks are located. We are having that same argument relative to how much water is dammed up or diverted so that there is a limited amount that travels down what was once a flourishing bay area. And that argument is very specific to our location. Climate change is not always the correct response. Man made diversions which address only a portion of the continent and state are part of the problem.

That same set of circumstances is relevant to developing countries that are mismanaging the water supply relative to food production, human consumption, and monetary growth of a country. People migrating is not the answer. The answer lies in figuring out how to maximize countries attributes so that the citizens have the same opportunities around the world.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 10, 2019 at 4:09 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Like to point out here that we discuss the specific problems on the table, then go around in circles with no result and no impact of the outcome. We have a housing problem we have been discussing for years with obvious locations for improvement.

Obvious locations are FRY's, and El Camino in the area of Page Mill though East Meadow. That whole commercial set of blocks of single level, old buildings with questionable businesses that must hang on by a thread. And what do we get? Our legislative rep selling us out so he can schmooze with the SB50 group. And that requires some interference with R-1 residential areas with established homeowners. So the obvious locations that need improvement have been disregarded and the R-1 home owner is the target.

Or you can look at the attempt to put RV's on community college parking lots. Be clear that the education system and all of it's components are in a budgetary category with the state. Support of indigent people is in a different budgetary category. So go over and muddy the budget waters and steal budget funds from the educational category to fund a different category of expense and liability. that is a Guv Newsome trick in motion. Garbage the state budget. Do not count on progressing up the political chain.

If you are in the business of running a city, county, or state then understand where money comes from and how it is budgeted. People who think their personality and cuteness will get them by is not going to work.

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