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East Palo Alto to discuss controversial housing purchase policy

Original post made on Dec 22, 2021

A proposed policy that would give tenants, affordable housing nonprofits and East Palo Alto first dibs to buy property is attracting the attention -- and vitriol -- of homeowners and landlords.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, December 21, 2021, 10:22 PM

Comments (15)

Posted by John Carter
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 22, 2021 at 12:01 pm

John Carter is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by We Are The People
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 22, 2021 at 2:45 pm

We Are The People is a registered user.

This Argument about OPA, began with Dinan. To fully understand What is truly happening. You MUST have background info. [Portion removed.] Dinan see's OPA against his Agenda for "Rebranding" of EPA. Meaning that the Tenants that he wants removed, will remain, if given the "1st Right of Refusal".
Dinan's Agenda is to remove The "Traditional Citizens" to detached them from EPA. He's made this NO Secret. He's posted remarks on Other Social Media Sites. In EPA's real World, he is known as "The Mayor of East Palo Alto NEIGHBORS". [Portion removed.] Dinan fines a "Boogie Man" and gives Him a name. All in getting others involved. Using them as a "Cats Paw". Dinan even tried to get Woodland Parks/Sandhill involved & Other Corporations. They told Him that they didn't have a "Dog in the Fight". Dinan was seeking Big Names with Deep pockets. The Bottom-line of this matter is that the Proposal isn't even completed? The other Bottom-line is that this is NOT the 1st time that this Ordinance appeared. Brought to our attention by Elizabeth Jackson, the Founder of the Law Project, at last Night CC Meeting. In the Mid-1980's.


Posted by Neal
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 22, 2021 at 2:47 pm

Neal is a registered user.

There's only one thing wrong with this proposed policy...It WON'T WORK.


Posted by Optimist Pessimist Realist
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 22, 2021 at 4:37 pm

Optimist Pessimist Realist is a registered user.

It’s clear from the facts laid out by Lloyd Lee that opponents of T/C/OPA have been misled or lied to. It’s sad that the result is so many people are needlessly stressed out.


Posted by EPA resident
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 22, 2021 at 4:51 pm

EPA resident is a registered user.

This ordinance does not increase housing supply at all. If it passes, here are some possible scenarios
1.owners might just move in to be exempt from this ordinance and causing move-in eviction on existing tenant.
2. Owners might sell before it goes into effect in summer 2022 and non profit/city/tenant will get nothing.
3. Owners might try their best not to sell after it goes into effect, futher reducing house supply.

This ordinance simply does not work, not to mention it might very well cause costly litigations against city. It's never a good look that city spend taxpayer's monty to fight the same taxpayer while, not to mention those legal fees are totally avoidable, and can be spending on the real solution, like actually building more affordable housing.


Posted by M
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 23, 2021 at 9:54 am

M is a registered user.


All sales will be conditional and uncertain. That has a cost. Mayor Romero is not correct studies do not exist that show that a sale with conditions is of less value than a clean sale.

What isn't studied is whether this policy will produce more housing, how it will affect the mix of housing (owned or rented), and who will own it. There is a risk it will simply adjust the value of housing in East Palo Alto. It seems a lot like Prop 13, which was sold on emotions and has had serious negative consequences.

Mayor Romero's temperament also seems to be a red flag. He seems to be lashing out at others who are upset at what they legitimately perceive as lost value in their homes and properties, similar to way he lashed out at Palo Alto during the ABAG new housing quota discussions. This issue is for residents of East Palo Alto to decide, but given the close relationship and dependencies between our communities, I would urge full deliberation and caution before proceeding too quickly with this policy.


Posted by Optimist Pessimist Realist
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 23, 2021 at 4:04 pm

Optimist Pessimist Realist is a registered user.

Interestingly when Mr Dinan is included there’s a sudden focus on councilman Romero but Dinan isn’t called out for
straight up lying repeatedly targeting this possible law.


Posted by James
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 23, 2021 at 9:15 pm

James is a registered user.

To increase affordability you can do either of these things: Increase Supply, or Decrease Demand. Obviously there is no practical way to decrease the demand. So the only option is to increase supply.

To increase supply you encourage high density housing, you encourage land owners to build more and more, higher and higher.

But OPA does not seem to be able to achieve that objective.

First of all, it discourages home owners to build ADUs. SB9 paves the way for home owners to build large ADUs, with the intention to list the units on the market for renters. But with OPA home owners will be discourage to this. No one wants to have the ADU renters claim that they will be first in line to buy the house, should the owner wants to sell. This simply does not make any sense.

Secondly, since SB9 I've heard many investors are preparing plans to buy R1 houses with the aim of turning them into multi-unit houses. They are willing to pay higher prices, with the expectation that it will be profitable to sell the multi-units, even though the selling price for each unit will be lower than a comparable R1 house. These investors will increase the supply of units in EPA housing market. However OPA will put such investors at a disadvantage.

OPA itself does not increase supply at all. No matter what the intention is, the ordinance will inevitably make the housing market more complex then it should be, and add extra overhead to transactions, in terms of lawyer fees, consultations, delay of sales, etc.

My guess is that the real hidden intention of OPA is to give renters a way to get some money out of selling landlords. A renter, while typically won't be able to afford buying the house, will have a tool to milk the landlord some extra bucks for waiving his/her rights. In essence it is a reverse "droit du seigneur" tax, charged by the renter to the landlord.



Posted by Optimist Pessimist Realist
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 24, 2021 at 4:42 pm

Optimist Pessimist Realist is a registered user.

James needs to catch up, T/C/OPA does not discourage adus at all. The intent isn’t to increase housing or get money from landlords. The intent is give tenants additional chances to buy or lessen displacement if another organization buys it. There are already laws saying when landlords have to pay out renters and there’s nothing in the T/C/OPA from what I saw to get money from the owner for the renter. Renters don’t move just because a house is on the market or gets sold.


Posted by James
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 25, 2021 at 12:52 pm

James is a registered user.

@Optimist Pessimist Realist, you did not provide any explanation. Just a broad statement, which is certainly not convincing at all. My reasoning, on the other hand, is quite straightforward.

Yes there are already state laws that makes it difficult for homeowners to force an eviction of ADU renters. OPA makes the situation even worse.

OPA is just another way for renters to milk landlords, in addition to whatever existing laws and ordinances. It is not going to increase housing stock, or lower housing prices.



Posted by Optimist Pessimist Realist
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 3, 2022 at 3:10 pm

Optimist Pessimist Realist is a registered user.

Explanation for what, James? You can visit the city’s T/C/OPA page and the pro-T/C/OPA website. ADUs aren’t discouraged by this ordinance. It’s not intended to lower prices or increase housing, but nice try with misleading info. The ordinance can’t milk anyone. It’s a right of first refusal law. You’re obviously not familiar with East Palo Alto housing laws. Go familiarize yourself and then we can continue.


Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 13, 2022 at 4:44 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

“If pure density ensured affordability, Manhattan would be the most affordable place to live.”

Also Singapore, Tokyo, London etc etc.


Posted by EPA resident
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 25, 2022 at 11:05 pm

EPA resident is a registered user.

Some questions:
1. If OPA will let the tenant to buy at the current market price as city claimed.
Why can't the tenant, maybe partner with nonprofits to do so now without the OPA? California law says owners must give tenants 60 days notice if they want to sell, so tenants and non profits can have 2 months to get pre-approval before it hits the market. These logically contradicting claims that city pushed so hard are the reason why people think this will bring down home values, not the flyers from BAHN or Mr.Danin)

2. Nora the RE economist said: Because funds are limited, non profits will only be able to buy very limited number of housing at market price, so the city's property tax loss would be immaterial.
So this economist that speak for the city is admitting OPA won't convert much existing housing into affordable housing, not to mention it will create 0 new affordable housing? What's the point then?

3. absentees owners or not, all landlord are paying city property tax as well as providing rental housing supply to EPA, they should be a stakeholder and be part of the discussion too.
But city choose to villianfy these tax payers that are funding the city and just call them lying Trumpian ? So their punishment from the OPA is justified ???

4.Corporate landlord like woodland park that owns thousands of units are not impacted by OPA at all but mom and pop landlord that own 1 house are subjected to it. How is it fair???


Posted by Optimist Pessimist Realist
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 28, 2022 at 11:49 am

Optimist Pessimist Realist is a registered user.

EPA’s #4 isn’t true. From what I read Woodland Park is not exempt from T/C/OPA. I’ve seen their attorney’s letters to the city about it.


Posted by Optimist Pessimist Realist
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 10, 2022 at 7:38 pm

Optimist Pessimist Realist is a registered user.

Editor, is there an update to this T/C/OPA?


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