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About this blog: I grew up in Los Angeles and moved to the area in 1963 when I started graduate school at Stanford. Nancy and I were married in 1977 and we lived for nearly 30 years in the Duveneck school area. Our children went to Paly. We moved ...  (More)

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How Can We Fund Below Market Rate Housing for Low and Moderate Income Residents in the Region?

Uploaded: May 13, 2019

Most residents agree that the greatest housing shortages are with below market rate housing reserved for low and low/moderate income residents. This is true even among residents who have differing views on other aspects of housing supply and affordability.

But throughout the region, not just on the peninsula, these subsidized housing units are expensive to build and as a region we face a huge funding shortage. As a result many eligible residents have waited and are waiting several years for housing assistance that they qualify for in terms of their income.

The Committee to House the Bay Area (CASA) has a proposal for an “everyone should chip in” set of funding sources. The proposal would be for a set of funding sources that would be voted on and applied across the region.

The rationale for a shared or collective funding solution is that we all “hire” low wage workers through our spending. I will share my example, which I am pretty sure applies to most residents.
--we eat out and buy food at places that all employ low wage workers
--we shop at places that employ low wage workers
--We and most residents in our building shop online and indirectly “hire” low wage workers.
--Our condo building and many residents employ folks to clean
--I suspect that many if not most residents use commercial car wash facilities
--An increasing number of households need the services of in home care workers
--And there are many more examples
Our public and non-profit agencies employ low wage workers
And companies employ low wage workers both directly and indirectly

So here from CASA is what a shared/collective funding solution might look like to raise $1.5 billion a year.
--Part from property owners through either a vacant home or parcel tax
--Part from philanthropy
--Part from new development through some form of a linkage fee
--Part from employers through a gross receipts tax or head tax
--Part from local governments through sharing in property tax growth
--Part from residents through a regionwide sales tax and from a new regionwide bond

There will be ongoing negotiations about the shares funded by employers and property owners versus the share from residents. A number of philanthropic organizations have already pledged funds and this may be the easiest part though it will come through voluntary initiatives on the part of companies and philanthropies.

I like the CASA funding framework because it establishes key principles:
--there is a really large funding need
--we all use the services of low wage workers
--we all should share in the funding

I hope regional decision makers and residents can reach a shared funding solution that can get approved by voters throughout the region so we can begin to reduce the human distress caused by our failure to fund enough housing for eligible low and moderate income residents.

I hope this is one area in the many housing issues facing the region where people can come together so we can move forward.
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Comments

 +   9 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North,
on May 13, 2019 at 2:53 pm

Levy a 100% mitigation fee on all non-retail commercial developments. Double that for any upzoning.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Marc, a resident of Midtown,
on May 13, 2019 at 4:14 pm

Since "We" (collectively) are the cause of the problem, isn't the solution that "We" have to pay more for the services and not try to find some small minority that we can force to pay for our "cheapness".

All these solutions focus on having "we" absolve ourselves for causing the problem in the first place because we don't want to pay more for many services, thereby creating large groups of people that earn less.

Then we blame the problem on other groups that do not have significant representation at the polls and the majority votes to have the minority bear the burden of fixing the problem.

How about a tax on all single family home sales to reclaim some of the windfall gains that people are making after owning their home for 40 years. They certainly never expected their homes to appreciate as much as they have.

/marc


 +   14 people like this
Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on May 13, 2019 at 7:00 pm

Posted by Marc, a resident of Midtown,

>> Since "We" (collectively) are the cause of the problem, isn't the solution that "We" have to pay more for the services and not try to find some small minority that we can force to pay for our "cheapness".

>> How about a tax on all single family home sales

"We" didn't cause the problem. When this all started, there was affordable housing in Palo Alto. How do I know? Because I lived in it! The problem has been caused by the continual over-development of office space. Office space should be taxed until the number of space/jobs drops and the tax revenue increases until we reach equilibrium.

Economics-wise, your post is missing something important. Try reading this: Web Link

The massive growth of office space has had massive externalities which, for some reason, pro-growth folks on the CC don't seem to mind at all.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North,
on May 14, 2019 at 5:17 pm

"SL: the blog post and comments should address the regional BMR funding solutions and not address specific city policies."

Fine. Levy a housing fee covering 100% of the costs on all non-retail commercial development throughout the region. Fund the solution at the source of the problem.


 +   7 people like this
Posted by Dan, a resident of Midtown,
on May 15, 2019 at 12:37 am

I disagree with the CASA funding framework because in my view it establishes erroneous key principles:

--there is a really large funding need : Yes, the funding need is practically unbounded, but subsidized housing is not going to solve the problem unless you want to cultivate a permanent underclass. i.e. build public housing high rises on abandoned landfills ... cheaper construction on cheaper land for second class citizens? Higher density raises the economic value of land, not lowers it. All forms of rent control create perverse economic incentives for both renters and landlords.

--we all use the services of low wage workers : Then pay the low wage workers higher wages. The more you use their services the more you pay your "fair share". I can choose as I wish to wash my own car, clean my own house, cook my own meals rather than exploiting low wage "service" workers for many everyday things I can profit from by doing myself. You want the extra convenience of these services then you pay via higher wages/costs. You want to use uber/lyft low wage labor rather than driving yourself or taking public transit, then you should tip generously, not ask the public to subsidize the real costs of your convenience.

--we all should share in the funding : Who says so? On what basis do you conclude that public funding of subsidized housing is a realistic solution to the fundamental economic problem(s) created by high differential in value assigned to different types of labor? paper pusher vs plumber vs taxi driver...

I agree with the comment above "Fund the solution at the source of the problem". Putting much of the cost burden on future commercial development would

#1. Raise some funds that could be thrown into the hole

but, more importantly:

#2. Slow down digging the hole deeper
#3. Reinforce common sense understanding that perpetual hyper growth, like perpetual motion is not possible (or desirable on a planet or region with limited resources) ... market price signals do serve some purpose moderating excesses.

The biggest problem is "race to the bottom" ... if you moderate the commercial growth here you are terrified that somewhere else will offer tax incentives, take on the externality costs and lure away economic $$$$, until they eventually face the same problems and the cycle is repeated in a different location. US->Japan->China-> Vietnam->?.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by stephen levy, a resident of University South,
on May 15, 2019 at 4:59 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.

We are starting over.

The blog is about funding BMR housing in the region.

It is not about Palo Alto. It is not about other housing issues relating to market rate development. The online has many blogs on these topics for those who want to weigh in.

Re "massive commercial over development"

The Bay Area had 3,860,000 jobs in 2000 and 4,333,000 in 2018.

Bay Area job growth since 2000 is not massive by any stretch of imagination as the average annual job growth rate since 2000 is 0.6% a year.

Yes the growth rate is triple that in recent years and has put pressure on housing prices and traffic but the shortage of funding for subsidized housing and the long waiting lists started far before the recent job surge and reflect long-term challenges in many parts of the state and country.

I have heard no reason why the spending of residents on low wage workers does not create a nexus/responsibility in solving the funding challenge the same as businesses should share in the funding.

The CASA principles above do have business impact fees as well as a general tax on businesses and I support these as part of the funding package.

But there are other parts as well reflecting the responsibility and concern of the full community not just businesses.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on May 15, 2019 at 8:59 pm

Posted by stephen levy, a resident of University South

>> The blog is about funding BMR housing in the region.

No argument.

>> It is not about Palo Alto. It is not about other housing issues relating to market rate development. The online has many blogs on these topics for those who want to weigh in.

Argument. The problem here is that while "it is not about Palo Alto" or any other Peninsula city, -the problem- is the massive job growth in the San_Jose - San_Francisco corridor. To see that, consider if "we", as regional planners, decide to put all the housing in and beyond Tracy. Oh wait! We did! And, I know people and have known many people who did and do commute from over Altamont Pass. There is plenty of affordable housing over there, and, there could be a lot more. To address this problem, you have to start by asking yourself why a tech company that wants to hire a bunch of programmers wants to be "over here" on the SJ-SF corridor, rather than "over there" beyond Altamont.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by stephen levy, a resident of University South,
on May 15, 2019 at 10:36 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.

@anon

both of your points are wrong

the issue is not "less expensive market rate housing". It is about subsidized housing primarily for residents who earn less than 80% of the area median and that kind of housing is short everywhere--as a result of funding, zoning and local opposition in some cases. This blog is about the funding challenge.

Second only in the recent five years has there been high job growth rates.

As I showed above the average job growth rates since 2000 is 0.6%. So called "massive job growth" is a myth as it relates to the shortage of below market rate housing for low income residents.

Those shortages and long waiting lists have been around long before the recent job surge.

I thinking providing and funding such housing is difficult and my position is not about blame but about who should participate in raising the funds to alleviate the shortage, which to me includes businesses but also residents.

The tech companies want to be here primarily to be close to their labor marker and each other. I see people in the region and on the PA online that argue vehemently that no one should tell them what to do but have no problem telling companies where to locate.


 +   10 people like this
Posted by mauricio, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on May 16, 2019 at 6:18 am

mauricio is a registered user.

If the tech companies moved to more affordable areas that actually need them, they would be next to each other and the workers that would follow would create their labor market. Tech companies bring in workers from abroad and from other regions in the country and to suggest the Bay Area is their only available labor market is just not true.

Being a longtime advocate of hyper growth then claiming that it has little bearing on the BMR is profoundly untrue. The funding for BMR should absolutely not come from Bay area residents but from those who caused the mess..


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North,
on May 16, 2019 at 1:08 pm

"The tech companies want to be here primarily to be close to their labor marker and each other."

A myth debunked by the tech companies' own behavior. Tech companies hide everything from one another behind NDAs and proprietary IP strictures, so they might as well be 1000 miles apart. And, what's the benefit of locating within a labor market that isn't there because the tech companies don't pay their workers enough to enable them to live here?

Solutions:
1) Disperse
2) Boost paychecks


 +   10 people like this
Posted by implementation, a resident of Downtown North,
on May 16, 2019 at 11:10 pm

I completely agree with Steve that our community needs service workers, and such workers likely need BMR housing. I do have some concerns about implementation:
-How is priority for BMR units established give that the need likely vastly exceeds the supply?
-How do we define "low income"? This matters because if the purpose of the housing is for low-wage workers, not underpaid tech workers with stock options.
-How do we promote turnover of BMR units? My sense is that public housing units rarely, if ever, are vacated, reducing the possibility that other needy families can access these housing units and increasing the need for additional units.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on May 17, 2019 at 4:43 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

SL: my bad I thought I had deleted all references to "ill gotten gains". I now deleted that reference but and there should be no more comments on that topic.

Interesting that a position is laid out with logic but the conclusion is a snarky opinion. Growth in the cost of housing and gain in the eventual sale of the property is referred to as "ill-gotten gains". That snarky comment somehow off-sets the previous comments laid out in a logical manner. No home owner that bought a house when they were young - and are now old - could have ever imagined that the bay area would end up the way it is now. And said homeowner has worked here and paid to have all of the normal maintenance performed on the homes. And to prepare for sale will have the whole house upgraded from bottom to top with the help of a realtor. Said homeowner has used multiple services of low-income help provided by companies that sell those services. So maybe the companies that provide maintenance services should be tasked to provide better employee benefits. A city that is benefiting from increased home values and resulting property taxes should be looking to buy apartment houses to locate people with lower tax status.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by stephen levy, a resident of University South,
on May 17, 2019 at 8:49 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.

Hi Busienss Man

Let me try and summarize your position so other posters have a chance to weigh in and we can move on.

You do not support the options I referenced for funding bMR housing or any other measures because you believe developers including non profit developers who build BMR housing are inflating costs or otherwise getting unjustifiable profits.

If I have misrepresented your views please clarify in 3-4 sentences and also pleas stop the repetitive posting.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by The Business Man, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on May 17, 2019 at 8:59 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

Simply put, You brought up the Terner Center.

I just did only 15 min of reading and found that the cost of housing is NOT $600,000 or $700,000 a unit like many like to claim.

It is only $386,625. Only a little more than half the claimed cost.

Please address that this inflation prevents affordable housing.

You have control over your blog, but I have posted the same information on many new articles in the Town Square, where they will not be touched by you


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by stephen levy, a resident of University South,
on May 17, 2019 at 9:30 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.

Hey Business Man

We are making small progress--you posted 8 times claiming the cost was $86,000 a unit before adding land costs, fees and financing. Gosh I hope you are not posting that $86,000 a unit rant that you posted here. I am certain there are no 100% BMR projects being built here that cost under $500,000 a unit, more in expensive area like the peninsula.

But I do not get your point. BMR housing rents are set by law in relation to occupants income, which has to be verified and under state limits. If the costs were lower, we could build more units for the same funding but the rents would not change.

So I will give you one more chance. This blog is about funding BMR housing. Did I misstate your position re that funding?

And Palo Alto is approving a BMR project developed by our non profit developer Palo Alto Housing. The city will contribute a large amount, perhaps $10 million. I think the costs are above $700,000 a unit.

Do you think Palo Alto Housing is inflating costs and my council members are fools?

Other respondents have been mostly in favor of such funding if someone else pays for it, not them.

What is your position? Do you have a position on my blog question--how can we fund below market rate housing?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by The Business Man, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on May 17, 2019 at 9:38 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

Stephen,

I actually agree, that the City Governments are foolish.

They simply take anyones word regarding cost. They have no one independently validate the cost analysis.

Why?

Because they want inflated property taxes. They have a DIRECT conflict of interest, and you really know this.

I was reporting a cost per unit from the Fixr website, so don't claim I was not being honest, I am willing to admit errors, but the costs ytou describe simply are not justified based on oyur own Terner Center.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Marc, a resident of Meadow Park,
on May 18, 2019 at 9:14 am

If you are in favor of BMR housing are you also in favor of not building ghettos and/or locating all the BMR housing south of Oregon expressway?

Are you willing to have BMR housing in the Duveneck neighborhood? Addison? Can you get Mark Zuckerberg to build BMR housing on some of the lots he bought to surround his home?

What about getting Marissa Mayer to use the Roller & Hapgood & Tinney property for BMR housing?

One of my complaints is that most of the people that claim they want to have BMR housing, want is somewhere else, not near their homes.

A discussion of funding also has to include discussions of locations.


/marc


 +  Like this comment
Posted by stephen levy, a resident of University South,
on May 18, 2019 at 10:48 am

stephen levy is a registered user.

@ Marc

I live near BMR projects. The city council just approved a BMR project south or Oregon with strong neighborhood support.

If you think BMR projects are ghettos, we disagree and so does our council which regularly says they prioritize these projects.

I infer from your comments that you do not support funding BMR projects since you think they are ghettos.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by stephen levy, a resident of University South,
on May 18, 2019 at 10:51 am

stephen levy is a registered user.

@ Business Man

I think you are in the market rate housing mode.

We are talking BMR projects. They do not pay property taxes so it is unlikely that councils approve them for the property taxes as you claim.

IN the BMR funding and approval world most of your comments make no sense.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on May 18, 2019 at 11:10 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Comment deleted

SL: the blog is about how to fund BMR projects.

If you do not want to do so, just say that.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Steve Levy, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on May 18, 2019 at 12:55 pm

Steve Levy is a registered user.

@ Business Man

You wrote

In response to Stephen you said: “I think you are in the market rate housing mode.” Yes I am because as of yet, there are extremely little non-profit housing projects underway.

SL: But this blog is about 100% BMR projects so please stop posting as you are obviously not interested in that topic.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by First, stop patronizing us, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on May 18, 2019 at 2:20 pm

@Stephen Levy,

Although I am reticent to chime in because all the pundits (sorry, including yourself) seem to really have no understanding of what it is to be middle or low income in this area and straining to get by. The way you buy a house (because renting for too long means certain destitution and having so little control of one's life it's destructive) is by basically dedicating your life to finding, doing creative things to get, fixing up on nothing and enduring seriously substandard housing and moving up over decades. This is how everyone I know did it. Now the recent tax changes have just devastated people on the bottom rungs, who saw their taxes increased by more than they actually live on every year by just losing the SALT deduction. This is a high cost area, and all high cost areas should have had a X5 multiple on the cap, because the result without acknowledging cost of living differences is seriously unequal treatment under the law. (Just saw how poor students are now being taxed on their scholarships like trust fund babies.)

Point is, people who are ignorant about the lives of other people make poor policy. (By the way, we don't have money to employ people for most of what you describe above, and all these extra taxes are going to force us out of our home.)

Policies should be compassionate, but they should not lock lower-income people into a permanent underclass.

I think we should create a significant head tax on tech companies that is progressive based on the number of employees (and subsidiaries count as one company, no cheaters). The money should be used to buy up all the retail areas in town over time, so the city owns the land the way Stanford owns all the land under its neighborhoods.

Then Palo Alto can stabilize the cost of retail in this area and make it possible to keep resident-service retail, the way it's only possible to keep schools and community centers because we own the land as a city. Palo Alto should proactively restore vibrant retail to the area because it is more convenient and environmentally friendly for people to find things nearby than to get tons of cardboard boxes and packaging individually, plus delivery trucks. If the city owns the land, it can stabilize costs in a way that serves residents pocketbooks (over online), AND allow the city to leverage higher wages for workers employed by anyone purchasing or renting the buildings.

The great thing about doing this is that the value of this to the City only grows over time but the cost to the City remains the same (this is the way owning property here works). So eventually, the City can leverage reasonable wages for anyone who works for or contracts with retail establishments in our city, and the city can also choose (in a public process hopefully) retail that residents need. Instead of being segregated in fishbowl housing, poor people can earn better wages and go through the same horrendous decades-long process the rest of us do living in unsafe neighorhoods and gross fixer uppers and spending all their time mitigating the health hazards while fixing it up so they can be abused as richy riches by pundits who know nothing about it when they finally get stable by owning. But at least they develop some equity they can borrow (some) against to stay in their homes over the years when there are bumps.

The very first thing anyone could do is just stabilize the situation for people who live here. Those who rent should not see precipitous rent increases. Those who own currently need our legislators to stand up against the unequal treatment of the recent tax changes that raised taxes for millions of homeowners at the bottom rungs in expensive states, and advantaged investment groups. In case anyone hadn't noticed, the lower end entry-level housing market was hit hardest coincident with these tax changes. Yet the media and pundits just don't get it. (I saw the housing crisis coming a mile away, by the way -- 8 years before, and I pegged the timing to witnesses -- but that's because we're at the bottom and had to spend practically every waking moment trying to keep a roof over our heads.)

The only way to create BMR housing that doesn't lock poorer people in a permanent underclass or break people who can't afford even more taxes, is for the City to buy up land the way Stanford owns land (not just for retail), while also progressively taxing large companies based on head count, so we discourage overcrowding of employees here. Creating BMR housing on the Stanford model will become more and more valuable to the City over time while never costing more.

Another thing that would help is to please stop bashing people who are hanging on by our fingernails/punishing us for doing what it takes to get beyond the rental market. It does not make us gazillionaires or even wealthy -- again, people who think that make a lot of assumptions because they just don't know.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by stephen levy, a resident of University South,
on May 18, 2019 at 2:42 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.

@ First Stop

okay a couple of business taxes are part of the package described in the blog along with impact fees on new development.

But they are not the only part of the needed funding.

No one else has so maybe you can explain why for example

in home care services (the fastest growing low wage sector and almost exclusively for people not working) is the responsibility of businesses to house

or our resident spending at restaurants (the second fastest low wage sector) or retail stores is the responsibility of business

or for people who use car washes or have help cleaning their homes

I have no trouble making the contributions according to income but cannot grasp why this is a business only responsibility.

And yes people who are low/middle income and not eligible for subsidized housing ar e struggling with high rents


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on May 18, 2019 at 3:34 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

OK Steve - what I will simply say is that I grew up in Los Angeles and can tell you that it is one of the biggest Cities in the nation and has housing of every type and cost and jobs of every type. If someone needs housing and a job then that is where they need to head to. Palo Alto is a relatively small patch of land that is built out. So why are you all trying to remake this small patch of land into something it is not? What is the compulsion to do that? This is a goal of ABAG - bless their hearts. They have done a fine job on San Francisco. The goal of making every city in the state into a welfare provider is misplaced. It has nothing to do with compassion. It has to do with common sense.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Cmon, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park,
on May 18, 2019 at 5:35 pm

Steve: I think your commentary would benefit by real numbers that get to your annual figure. Decide on a reasonable proportion but I'd suggest you do the math. Just categories does not make for a compelling argument.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by The Business Man, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on May 18, 2019 at 10:19 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

Thank you Cmon,

Everytime I try to produce some real numbers into the discussion, Stephen deletes my posts.

He only permits information that does not contradict with his premise.

THe purpose of a blog is to allow sharing of ideas, not censor them.

The standard code of conduct can be found here (Web Link) and one provision states:

"1. The Role of the Bloggers and Online Content Creators in Society
1.1. Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Information and Freedom of Content Creation, Publication and Expression, whether in print, in hypertext, in audio or video are basic elements of a democracy. The ability to produce and distribute independent content is among the most important rights in a democratic society.

1.2. Content Creators have important functions in that they carry information, debate and critical commentary on current affairs. Content Creators are particularly responsible for allowing different and independent views to be expressed.

1.3. Content Creators shall protect the freedom of speech, the freedom of Content Creation and the principle of access to any and all information that pertains to the public. They cannot yield to any pressure from anybody who might want to prevent open debates, the free flow of information and free access to sources. Agreements concerning exclusive event reporting shall not preclude independent news reporting.

1.4. It is the right of any Content Creator to carry information on what goes on in society and to uncover and disclose matters, which ought to be subjected to criticism. It is a Content Creator obligation to shed critical light on how Content Creators including individuals, the established press, media in general and themselves exercise their role.

1.5. As citizens and members of a free and democratic society Content Creators have an obligation to to protect individuals and groups against injustices or neglect, committed by public authorities and institutions, private concerns, or others.

If you cannot do this, I see no reason not to file a complaint to the Mountain View Voice for your violations of the standards described. It may result in you losing your blog on the website.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on May 19, 2019 at 1:12 pm

In California, the mechanisms to address such issues, through taxation, are done by city/county/state. There is no MSA/CSMA/PSMA "governments" as such. Santa Clara County has slightly less than 2M people, and slightly more than 1M jobs. If you want to collect something like $400M for the Santa Clara County part of paying for below-market rental housing, then, fund it through a $400/year head business tax on every FTE. Of course, like anything, it has a downside. That money will inevitably reduce wages, but, for someone earning over $100K/year, it wouldn't be a big deal. For someone earning $20K/year, it is a much bigger deal. What would make more sense to me is only taxing the high end, but, I don't know how that can legally be done at the city/county level. That would require a major change to state taxes.


 +   6 people like this
Posted by MVresident2003, a resident of Mountain View,
on May 19, 2019 at 1:37 pm

MVresident2003 is a registered user.

That is classic coming from you BM. You're allowed to post repetitively, annoyingly and passive-aggressively with no censoring. I, on the other hand, have been banned from posting on MV Voice with no reasonable explanation other than my comments weren't in the “spirit of the publication". When I questioned Bill Johnson and asked for a specific example he was unable to provide however I have a feeling it was because I commented negatively about his best bud, Lenny Siegel.

It's really interesting to me to see how much his page views have declined on the site over recent months. Wonder if Lenny's really worth losing the business/advertisers with people leaving due to censorship.

......now everyone, back to your regularly scheduled programming ;)


 +  Like this comment
Posted by The Business Man, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on May 19, 2019 at 2:42 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

In response to MVresident2003, a resident of Mountain View, you said:

“That is classic coming from you BM. You're allowed to post repetitively, annoyingly and passive-aggressively with no censoring. I, on the other hand, have been banned from posting on MV Voice with no reasonable explanation other than my comments weren't in the “spirit of the publication"."

I am concerned that you claim your postings are banned. Did you receive any correspondence to document that you violated the term and conditions of the website so severe that you are in fact banned? Remember these terms are published and so if you are repeatedly violating them, that is grounds to prevent you from posting. You said:

“ When I questioned Bill Johnson and asked for a specific example he was unable to provide however I have a feeling it was because I commented negatively about his best bud, Lenny Siegel. “

Please provide some evidence of this claim? If you are being mistreated in this way and you can prove it, I got your 6. I will be very vigilant in securing your rights to contribute. Please show us this evidence? You said:

“It's really interesting to me to see how much his page views have declined on the site over recent months. Wonder if Lenny's really worth losing the business/advertisers with people leaving due to censorship."

That is an interesting statement. Whose page views are you talking about? But so far we are not getting any information of any problems regarding the health of the Mountain View Voice.

So far in the 4 plus years of posts, I have only had 6 posts removed by the Mountain View Voice itself. However this blogger has altered, deleted, or removed my messages without any explanation other than it was “not on topic".

By the way, I have lived in Mountain View since July 2007.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by The Business Man, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on May 19, 2019 at 2:46 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

I just find it rediculous where corporations want and are given public money to get them to move their operations to other cities.

Google made a profit of about $40 Billion dollars in 2018. Why should any public funds be used to encourage them opening a new location?

Facebook made a profit of about $22 Billion dollars in 2018, Why should any public funds be used to encourage them opening a new location?

Apple made a profit of about nearly $60 Billion, Why should any public funds be used to encourage them opening a new location?

Intel made a profit of about $20 Billion. Why should any public funds be used to encourage them opening a new location?

The sum total profit of these alone are $142 Billion dollars. THIS IS PROFIT. AFTER TAXES.

If these groups are good coporate citizens, why not take 5% of that profit and donate it to build the housing that is lacking in the area? That would be an annual $7.1 Billion. Now lets say it costs $360,000 to build an apartment unit in the area based on the TERNER CENTER report, that would fund 19,722 units of housing annually.

It is reported that there is a shortage of housing in Santa Clara County of 58,870 units.

If that was done the economic equilibrium could be safely accomplished in 5 years.

Such an increase would result in the rent reductions becasue of the greatly increased inventory. This is not even "Rent Control"

Why can't this happen?


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Posted by Marc, a resident of Midtown,
on May 19, 2019 at 7:10 pm

No I don't think BMR are ghetto's in and of themselves. But you just reinforced my point. What are none of the BMR projects in the "richer" part of Palo Alto? Why are the all south of Oregon or west of Alma.

Why don't you walk the talk? Put some BMR projects along University or Embarcadero. Talk the land next to the Art Center along Embarcadero and put in 30 BMR units. Then run a free shuttle along Embarcadero from the airport to the train station running every 20 minutes. This will solve two problems. People living in the BMR will be able to get from Edgewood to downtown without cars and commuters will be able to park on the other side of 101 and get to their downtown place of work.

This will take the parking pressure off the neighborhoods adjacent to downtown.

I'd be a much bigger supporter of BMR if some of them started getting located in Old Palo Alto, Professorville, Crescent Park and other areas. Take the property near Alma and California Ave near Santa Rita and convert some of the single family plots into BMR apartments.

/marc




 +   3 people like this
Posted by MVresident2003, a resident of Mountain View,
on May 20, 2019 at 8:05 am

MVresident2003 is a registered user.

BM, this is the response I have cut and pasted from the email I received from Bill:

“We're providing a free service enabling people to engage in respectful dialogue on local issues. The tone of your comments is not respectful of others or constructive and we therefore aren't interested in facilitating your expression. It has nothing to do with the positions you take, as is evidenced by the wide diversity of viewpoints in Town Square. The terms of use clearly state that we reserve the right to edit or remove any comments, and that's what we're doing...after many warnings."

I've asked several times to provide me with a specific example, never have I been offered one. My response to him was that his censorship is shameful. What happened to journalistic integrity?


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Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on May 20, 2019 at 10:00 am

Posted by Marc, a resident of Midtown,

>> Talk the land next to the Art Center along Embarcadero and put in 30 BMR units.

>> I'd be a much bigger supporter of BMR if some of them started getting located in Old Palo Alto, Professorville, Crescent Park and other areas. Take the property near Alma and California Ave near Santa Rita and convert some of the single family plots into BMR apartments.

Marc, I agree with some of your sentiment, but, in some cases, if I understand you correctly, the "land" you are referring to is community center or park land. That is a non-starter for me and everybody I know.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Marc, a resident of Midtown,
on May 20, 2019 at 10:20 am

Re: Anon, Why is housing using community center space a non-starter when it is off of Embarcadero, but no one has a problem with the idea of housing in the Cubberly Community Center re-design?

I'm sorry but this is what really annoys me. The people pushing all this affordable housing want to create ghettos by forcing all of it south of Oregon, along El Camino, along San Antonio.

But as soon as you start talking about housing in the older/richer parts of Palo Alto, everything comes to a stop. Can't have it there, it would upset their privileged neighborhoods. Can't let any of "those" people live there.

/marc



 +  Like this comment
Posted by The Business Man, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Jun 13, 2019 at 8:16 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

In respponse to MVresident2003 you said:

““We're providing a free service enabling people to engage in respectful dialogue on local issues. The tone of your comments is not respectful of others or constructive and we therefore aren't interested in facilitating your expression."

That is correct, it is a services not related in fact to journalism. It is public participation. BUT any conduct that crosses lines regarding disrespect, or confrontation and not disussing the topic is a violation. You went on to say:

“It has nothing to do with the positions you take, as is evidenced by the wide diversity of viewpoints in Town Square. The terms of use clearly state that we reserve the right to edit or remove any comments, and that's what we're doing...after many warnings."

Now if they can in fact show that they sent you warnings, then their conduct was not in violation of the terms and conditions defined by the website. You make the following claim:

“I've asked several times to provide me with a specific example, never have I been offered one. My response to him was that his censorship is shameful. What happened to journalistic integrity?"

This has nothing to do with “journalistic integrity" because it is a discussion forum. The fact is that it is a privilege to post on the website. You can make any claim you want regarding any “specific example" not being presented. But that does not mean that you have proven you haven't violated the terms and conditions. In fact you have to prove you did not violate the terms and conditions. Given that you are using their property to post your opinion.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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