Town Square

Post a New Topic

Palo Alto's outgoing mayor has some choice words for the city's elected officials. 'Build' is one of them.

Original post made on Nov 28, 2020

Housing crusader Adrian Fine sounds off on lip service liberalism and how Palo Alto became "part of the problem."

Read the full story here Web Link posted Saturday, November 28, 2020, 8:47 AM

Comments (91)

89 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 28, 2020 at 9:34 am

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

From the PA Weekly...

>"Fine announced in August that he would not seek another term on Palo Alto's City Council, citing...concerns over the city's trajectory."

> "Residentialists are trying to freeze Palo Alto in amber," he said. "That is a really unhealthy strategy."

>"I think Palo Altans need to look in the mirror at times, and really question — are they nationally and globally liberal?"

^ Who cares what others (around the globe or country) perceive? Many PA residents are deeply concerned about preserving BASIC quality of life issues in this city...not curing the world or providing sanctuary for those who cannot afford to reside here.

>"...what does Palo Alto look like in ten years, 20 years, 50 years? The inevitable conclusion... yes it's going to be more dense, yes it's going to have more people."

^ And this is supposed to be good news?


36 people like this
Posted by John
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 28, 2020 at 10:16 am

John is a registered user.

On a local level, many in Palo Altans wish to protect their own interests by limiting inflow and residential density- which they correctly surmise will protect their quality of life. They vote exactly the opposite on the national level. Their hypocrisy, and lack of self awareness is illuminating.


33 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 28, 2020 at 11:01 am

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

>"...many in Palo Altans wish to protect their own interests by limiting inflow and residential density- which they correctly surmise will protect their quality of life. They vote exactly the opposite on the national level. Their hypocrisy, and lack of self awareness is illuminating."

^ Concurring and perhaps Bob Dylan conveyed this sentiment best in his song 'Positively 4th Street'...

"And tho I know you're dissatisfied with your position and your place
Don't you understand, its not my problem?"

Palo Alto is what it is...a 'blue' voting town with inherent preservationist self-interests.


110 people like this
Posted by Anne
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 28, 2020 at 11:57 am

Anne is a registered user.

Really glad to see Fine go. He did not represent my interests, he misrepresented Council on several occasions, and his combative style will not be missed.


68 people like this
Posted by Whatever
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 28, 2020 at 12:35 pm

Whatever is a registered user.

[Portion removed.] What makes Palo Alto is the schools and very educated residents. They worked hard, got educated. and want to live in a SAFE, tight knit community which is deserved. If anything their should be affordable housing for teachers, firemen, police who could then live modestly in community they serve.

People who have lived a little know what affordable housing brings with it and it will not fly in Palo Alto, absolutely not.

Mr. Fine grew up in the "everyone gets a trophy" generation and life is fair idea. Well, life is not fair and lots of people cannot afford to live in Palo Alto and just the way it is. Go live in Redwood City etc...you are now seeing the effects of the everyone gets a trophy generation. They cannot handle fact that life is not fair, they are waiting for their trophy, (affordable housing) in areas they want to live and that is just not realistic in a capitalist society.

Tech did a lot of good in terms of creativity but we are now seeing it has created so much BAD in terms of housing, jobs for uneducated etc...lots of left out people in U.S. today which has created lots of anger with millenials, hence the protesting, violence etc..

I do agree big time with above post: lots of people are all for affordable housing, JUST NOT IN THERE NEIGHBORHOOD, which I get. Problem is lots of these people should just maybe keep their mouths shut or the hypocrisy runs rampant.

If Trump was a nice guy with class that guy would have won in a landslide.


47 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 28, 2020 at 12:45 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

One of the qualities that a politico has to evolve into is a sense of where the public is going - what it thinks, and what it wants. The majority of people here are pretty clear that they want a Safe, Suburban, Family City. That does not include politico's continually railing about density to up their political goals. Any one politico's personnel goals are in-material to any one else who is raising a family, going to work coaching teams, helping at the kids schools. We all have our priorities and buy into a residential location that meets those priorities.

Major companies move out of here when their goals have been met to larger areas so they can spread out and grow. that says it all for me - go grow somewhere else that wants to rack and stack people and families.


81 people like this
Posted by Whatever
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 28, 2020 at 12:47 pm

Whatever is a registered user.

Where is the affordable housing in Atherton, Los Altos Hills, Beverly Hills etc... grow up and realize Palo Alto is first class city with a WORLD CLASS UNIVERSITY etc...Palo Alto is no different in relation to above mentioned cities.

Again, if you want to live in a place like Palo Alto, Atherton, etc...make more money! I would love to live in Palo Alto but I chose a profession which makes this not possible. Oh well, I live where I feel safe and can still afford a nice place. I don't feel victimized or less than, just he way it is.

I don't blame white privelage etc...it is all related to the tech movement and lots of people making big bucks which made Palo Alto houses skyrocket. Basic capitalism and USA still best place to live on earth!!!


12 people like this
Posted by Liz Gardner
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 28, 2020 at 12:55 pm

Liz Gardner is a registered user.

"Welcome to Palo Alto. Check your income equity at the door!" Contradictions to the ninth degree. The gate around the boundary of this town is as virtual as the Internet it created. BLM, just not here! Those with early IPO's could really support their exclusionary rules by off setting poverty elsewhere and provide a UBI, universal basic income to any American earning less than $75.000 a year. Then maybe the 2% here would not be bothered to their made up devices. Yes. Much like Trump Palo Alto 2% ers live in another reality who obsess about a lawless real estate markets .


4 people like this
Posted by Native to the Bay
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 28, 2020 at 12:59 pm

Native to the Bay is a registered user.

Oh yeah, and the American Industrial Military Complex wants to get Silicon Valley mega Tech Giants in on the deal for manufacturing wars, virtually. Watch your stocks rise, once again -- and still no housing. People. A loosing proposition. LOL.


7 people like this
Posted by Native to the Bay
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 28, 2020 at 1:02 pm

Native to the Bay is a registered user.

Comparing Atherton, Beverly Hills and Los Altos to Palo Alto is like comparing apples to oranges. [Portion removed.] Understand the World as it is, not as you wish it to be.


61 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 28, 2020 at 1:24 pm

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

>"...you are now seeing the effects of the everyone gets a trophy generation. They cannot handle fact that life is not fair, they are waiting for their trophy, (affordable housing) in areas they want to live and that is just not realistic in a capitalist society."

^ Wondering if some us as parents are to blame for this pervasive Millennial mindset/mantra...too much coddling, a preoccupation with adolescent 'self-esteem' issues, resentment from past childhood spankings & BASIC DISCIPLINARY measures that our parents initiated at times?

Many of us (i.e. baby boomer parents) have reaped what we have sown...entitlement mindsets (aka spoiled brats now masquerading as adults).


9 people like this
Posted by Whenever
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 28, 2020 at 1:59 pm

Whenever is a registered user.

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


68 people like this
Posted by Citizen PA
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 28, 2020 at 2:22 pm

Citizen PA is a registered user.

Fine, you are so full of it. "a generation of younger residents who find housing to be one of the great obstacles in their lives"

This has been exactly the situation for me since I came here as a young person — in the '80s, and remains so. Until you appreciate that fact, you are going to continue to say things that are essentially an ignorance but hurtful ASSAULT on the sacrifices others made for their whole lives, to just put a roof over their heads and you will continue to say egregious, false, damaging things about the situation here.

Our getting housing involved protracted sacrifices that you seem unwilling to make, including whether to have a family at your age. Except for a brief period of expansion after the war which is no longer possible, this place has ALWAYS been too expensive for ordinary people. You talk about living here as if it's a birthright and not a choice, or as if you are a company that wants to expand its workforce and not feel guilty for the horrendous damage you are doing to the lives of people who sacrificed so much to live here, including people of color who are being wholesale displaced because of employers like yours who have no sense of civic responsibility and feel entitled to crush in here and force everyone to build build build without any regard to safety or quality of life.

As far as anyone having a stake in living here, I would put my decades of extreme sacrifice up against your sense of privilege for having the good fortune to have been born and raised here any day. As far as “aging”, that’s the result of the fact that you ignore, which is that the average age of first child in the PAMP parents club is around 40, because it is so hard to get a toehold in housing here.

But building willy nilly MAKES THINGS MORE EXPENSIVE AND DISPLACES PEOPLE. The only thing that would make things more affordable for lots of low-income people would be for there to be ONLY development of low-income housing, and for companies to start distributing their workforces in a more rational way around the country and state. That has happened with the pandemic, and what happened? Housing prices and rents dropped suddenly. But did that make things affordable on an absolute scale? No. Building more will not make things more affordable, allowing more building only makes more competition among wealthy builders which jacks up the price of land and ends up displacing ordinary people. Your desired policies accelerate that.

[Portion removed] The actions you demand are based on what are demonstrable lies and fantasies, if you look at the actual consequences of those actions so far. Has all the building in San Francisco and RWC made it more affordable? No. But people deciding to work elsewhere has — but it didn’t make it affordable. It has made it decidedly less safe (our own emergency czar says the EXISTING density will result in loss of life in a foreseeable disaster) and less healthy to live there, though. Again, [portion removed] your desired unhealthy proposals for our area HARM others, cause real stress and HARM in their lives, and the solution is as simple as looking at the answer as distributing jobs and not treating this area as if it were some kind of clown car to fit all the workers in the world in this one spot.




38 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 28, 2020 at 2:29 pm

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

>"Whenever a person says "just move" that's the social exclusionary mindset dictators like Hitler used to build a regime in Germany and beyond!"

^ Bringing Hitler into the day-to-day residential affairs of Palo Alto is a tad on the extreme side.

>"And when that was not enough to relocate a population, what measures were invoked then?"

^ Who is being forcibly relocated? Isn't this housing issue more about those who wish to locate/settle in Palo Alto but cannot afford to?

>"Let's start fresh and forgive the past and move progressively forward."

^ Sounds reasonable...so who's paying the tab?

Or is this another unrealistic Bernie/Warren/AOC pipedream?


52 people like this
Posted by Citizen PA
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 28, 2020 at 2:36 pm

Citizen PA is a registered user.

Second boldfaced falsehood in your assumptions:

“But things have really changed. When my parents bought their homes in Palo Alto, a house cost three or four times your average income. Now it's like 40 or 50 times. There's a magnitude of difference there.”

I don’t know when your parents bought, but at least since the ’70’s and ‘80s, things have never been easy here. There was a very brief period around the earthquake/Reagan recession when prices dropped, but things were not affordable then either on an absolute scale, just more than they had been and would ever be again.

When I was a young engineer making less than $30,000/year in the ‘80s, the cost of the home nearest my apartment downtown was around $750,000. The cost of homes in less-desirable neighborhoods in Sunnyvale were still in the multi-six figure range. That’s orders of magnitude more than I made, not a few times as you fantasize it was to justify saying it was different for anyone who came before you. It’s actually EASIER for YOU now than it was for us then, because tech workers have never made more, and interest rates have been at historic lows your entirely life. They weren’t then.

Saying that it cost 10-30 times to buy a home what I made in salary doesn’t tell the whole picture. Interest rates were closer to 8 or 9% than the 2-3% they are now. My student loan interest rates were on the order of 8.5% or higher. Today, relative to your income (which is much higher than mine was relative to the population), you are in a far, far better position to buy a home than I or my peers were, by orders of magnitude. You are comparing the situation to what it’s like to buy a home in quiet markets in dozens of other states, not in high-demand places like here or Seattle.

I had peers who slept in their cars and pretended to be arriving at work and showering after a workout when people arrived — in the 80s. Friends who lived cheek by jowl in houses with other tech workers supposedly making good money. I know people who made a lot of money in startups that became some of the big companies today, who still moved away to afford a home big enough for the families they wanted.

Your fantasies, false justifications, and denigration of the people who live here are HARMFUL to others who you steadfastly refuse to understanding, including that your ageism borders on meanspirited. you do know that the average age of a successful startup founder is 45, and that the probability of extreme startup success increases as people age, at least into their 50’s? By your worldview, they’re ready to pasture and thus it’s okay for you to say nasty ageist things like “Palo Alto is increasingly an aging silver retirement community” — wake up Sherlock, homeowners have always skewed older here because it has been that hard to put down roots here.
Web Link


49 people like this
Posted by Citizen PA
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 28, 2020 at 2:46 pm

Citizen PA is a registered user.

[Portion removed.]
“If we don't build housing here in Palo Alto, we're effectively excluding people from the great opportunities here, whether it's jobs or education.”

No, it’s building more housing in expensive Palo Alto that is jacking up costs by increasing competition among builders for property, because they can increase density. Nowhere was this dynamic more in evidence than at Buena Visa, where a big developer planned to upzone and get dense apartments by displacing over 400 existing low-income Palo Altans. The owner would not sell the property to a non-profit to save the low-income housing/residents while there was a big developer behind it. That developer only dropped out because the residents were able to protect against overzoning at nearby Maybell (where, incidentally, if the for-profit developers hadn’t pushed so hard to bust the zoning, neighbors could have come together and saved the affordable housing portion as the same neighbors did at Terman 20 years earlier in a very similar development battle).

In fact, the big developer dropped out right after the second reading of the successful referendum to overturn the rezoning, and the BV owner tried unsuccessfully to get another big development partner. This only didn’t happen because of the successful Maybell referendum. But did people learn the lesson? No, and all the residents of the President Hotel paid for it. All the residents in the Maybell neighborhood who suffered the false attacks and to this day wish all the efforts could have gone to ensuring the housing went there was affordable and safe paid for it. You, Mr. Fine, and your push to loosen zoning, cost all those residents of Palo Alto at the President Hotel their housing, so that a rich company could put in another high-end hotel we do not need.

We do not need more housing. We need to convert the overglut of offices into housing, to the degree that the infrastructure supports it, and it’s pretty maxed out. Traffic along El Camino even during the pandemic is pretty bad, and this isn’t a Harry Potter novel where you can create circulation out of nothing (or out of false beliefs about what transit or rideshare — the latter INCREASING congestion in SF —does in a region like this).


47 people like this
Posted by Citizen PA
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 28, 2020 at 2:48 pm

Citizen PA is a registered user.

Every time an expensive property of mostly market rate or luxury units is built here, it creates demand for lower-wage work, but no place for lower-wage workers. The only housing we should be building now is for lower-wage workers.


57 people like this
Posted by Citizen PA
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 28, 2020 at 2:58 pm

Citizen PA is a registered user.

Cramming too many people in this area for the infrastructure and safety (and drought, etc) is a made up problem that has a simple solution. Don't cram so many people in here, big tech companies, develop a sense of civic responsibility. Cities need to start paying attention to the big picture of resource management, of things like pollution, noise, traffic circulation (with its negative impacts on pollution, noise, and people's time), open space, the environment, safety/ including fire safety, etc. We have Stanford here, and are going to have interest in startups and employees here. We need to start prioritizing holistic civic care again [portion removed.]


21 people like this
Posted by Liberal hypocrisy
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 28, 2020 at 3:26 pm

Liberal hypocrisy is a registered user.

I am happy to vote for Elizabeth Warren and her very progressive policies designed to combat inequality. Inequality as it exists today will kill this country.

But I am sad to see my peaceful, green community turned into a cityscape.

Is that hypocritical? Or does it reflect the value that I assign to my bank account vs the value that I assign to the community I chose to buy a house and grow a family in?

I guess some say yes, that is hypocrisy, you cannot be a liberal unless you want to live in a dense environment, with less open space, less park space, busier schools, more noise, more crowding, etc.

Maybe that is why Republicans did so well in the CA elections. Should Democrats think about this?


8 people like this
Posted by Liz Gardner
a resident of Mayfield
on Nov 28, 2020 at 4:01 pm

Liz Gardner is a registered user.

Apple and their beautiful things have created a high destructive and dangerously, illusionary oasis. Our devices and our addiction to them have sucked up so much physical and metaphoric energy (and give over to a few Mega stock options) that we have forgotten what it's like to really live. I'd venture to say we have created a worsening Climate Crisis not only with autos but with our electronics as well. As much as the A bomb instantly wiped away our innocence to a by-gone era so has Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon -- starting with Microsoft (though he's making up lost ground as we speak and it took him a great marriage partner and 20 years to do so). Yet its the Baby Boomers (of which I am one) who "complain, and complain and complain" Do we want what our parents had and we never did. Life before the atom was split. HaHa. LOL. But seriously folks. That day is over.


20 people like this
Posted by Jim
a resident of another community
on Nov 28, 2020 at 4:03 pm

Jim is a registered user.

One of my favorite sayings is "principles only mean something if you stick to them when it's inconvenient'.

So when Palo Altans rail against social injustice, while championing exclusionary housing practices and exclusionary public access within their own city, we notice, and we take note of just how hollow and hypocritical their "principles" truly are.

And when Palo Altans seek regional cooperations on issues that matter dearly to them - like partnering with the Sunnyvale SMaRT Station for solid waste services or asking for Measure B funds for railroad crossing grade separations, we remember. We remember how Palo Alto aggressively defends and expands its commercial and retail holdings (which profit the city hugely), while steadfastly refusing to carry its weight in regional housing responsibility (which doesn't). We remember how Palo Alto has among the worst jobs/housing ratio in the county, with no desire to remedy it and every desire to stick neighboring cities with the burdens that come with providing adequate regional housing.

When Palo Alto asks its neighbors for regional cooperation, we remember just how bad a neighbor Palo Alto really is.

You're welcome to try and live in a bubble to the greatest extent possible. It's your right as an incorporated city to manage your city as you desire. But you don't live in a bubble. And when you're forced to look outside of your bubble for help, we remember the extent to which you help those outside of your bubble - or don't.

And right now, there are many people outside of that bubble eager to remind decision-makers of this whenever the opportunity arises, because we're the ones who pay the price for Palo Alto's selfishness.


15 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 28, 2020 at 4:06 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

[Portion removed.] Please note that it is generational. Back in the day at Ford Aerospace and Lockheed Martin we had diversified personnel at every level of management and engineering departments. And our customer base also was totally diversified. And we did not think anything about it. That was the world back then. And we were, and are all friends.

The young generation today does not appear to have any role models in their arena of attention. It is like you all just thought this all up? But if you read a newspaper every country is disgruntled with it's government. That is 2020 for you - soon it will be over. And if you check out Africa they are fighting with each other. In China they are fighting each other. If it isn't one reason then it is another. WOW 2020.


56 people like this
Posted by Housing for whom?
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 28, 2020 at 4:30 pm

Housing for whom? is a registered user.

Long before serving on council, referring to young tech workers like himself in their late 20's early 30's like himself, Fine's opinion of current residents living in single family neighborhoods was they are, "standing in the way of my generation."

It has always appeared that Fine's attitude about increasing Palo Alto's housing opportunities has been somewhat self-serving, limited to supporting opportunities for well paid tech workers like himself plus the companies they work for.

During council discussions, Fine has a history of being consistently unenthusiastic about building below market rate housing. Even successfully advocating for raising the allowable income ceiling for below market rate housing to favor higher paid tech workers. Fine is also on record as supporting landlords raising rents in order to displace existing tenants for people who do not currently live in Palo Alto but want to.


4 people like this
Posted by Liz Gardner
a resident of Mayfield
on Nov 28, 2020 at 4:31 pm

Liz Gardner is a registered user.

At Citizen PA. Did you really mean to post the following? "The only thing that would make things more affordable for lots of low-income people would be for there to be ONLY development of low-income housing, and for companies to start distributing their workforces in a more rational way around the country and state." I am astounded This is to me speaks volumes and feels highly racist in its rendering. It begs me to want to ask: And what is your background. I am having a hard time coming up for air on this. I am thinking that maybe comments such as these have more to do with typing words per second than a deeper thought or maybe hand writing out your thoughts first before posting. Note: Hitler during his per and during War production. He did exactly as you proposed above. I am truly hoping that in the love of my heart that you did not exactly mean that? Please retract your statement or explain it out better. It sounds heinously against the very grain of what humanity is! Because at this point your are saying and I am getting with a paraphrase here is that City ghetto's are fine for human populations if there is a large enough constricted labor distribution provided in that structure (as low and hideous as it might be) which ultimately supports the whole objective or the dominate culture / paradigm? I have an idea. How about anyone earning 98% of the AMI support those earning 75,000 or less a year with a UBI, Universal Basic Income. Then those already living here would not be forced to have to go anywhere or if they did by choice go somewhere else, they would have something to start with in a less expensive area even though they'd be leaving thier homeland, thier families and thier heritage. Hello!?


41 people like this
Posted by jc
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 28, 2020 at 4:47 pm

jc is a registered user.

@Jim

"how Palo Alto aggressively defends and expands its commercial and retail holdings (which profit the city hugely)"

It's a fallacy. Palo Alto's revenue from commercial property tax is only 25%, decreasing year on year due to loopholes in Prop 13, and unless all those tech companies actually produce a product in Palo Alto for which a sales tax can be charged, their main contribution is to the restaurants. That is, if their company doesn't provide free food on site. The previous city manager, James Keene, and a huge proponent of business interests, on being asked by a council member some years ago, admitted that the city's revenue from commercial properties no longer covers the services provided them by the city.

Those with deep pockets and disproportionate influence within city hall, and council members whose campaigns they support, are those who push office development on Palo Alto.


7 people like this
Posted by Jim
a resident of another community
on Nov 28, 2020 at 5:26 pm

Jim is a registered user.

JC, you're looking only at revenue, rather than revenue vs. expenditures. Commercial/retail properties generally produce more revenue than they consume in required city services, as compared to residential properties, which produce less revenue than they consume in required city services. Residential property occupants require public safety services and use city services such as libraries and parks to a much greater extent than job-holders and commercial facilities do. This is particularly true when city amenities are reserved for only residential use, and out-of-city job holders are not even allowed to use them.

Jobs/housing is an indication of this, to a much greater extent than taxes looked at in isolation. The higher the city's jobs/housing ratio, the higher the income vs. expense ratio, even with Prop. 13 machinations. Sunnyvale and Mountain View have ratios somewhere around 1.5/1. What's Palo Alto's now - somewhere around 3.0/1? That's where it was last time I checked.

When you maintain twice the number of jobs per housing unit as your neighbors, you're producing quite a bit more revenue vs. expenses, compared to your neighbors, assuming the expense of services between cities are roughly comparable. And those neighboring cities are paying the cost of providing housing for your city, accordingly.

Palo Alto has artificially increased its expenses through its practices, which conceals this in some ways. For instance, by operating 4 smaller library branches instead of focusing on a main and one branch, PA's per capita library costs are considerably more than Mountain View and twice that of Sunnyvale (or were, the last time I checked). But that's a choice that PA can make with its increased revenue stream, and the other cities cannot, since they're paying for PA's excesses by providing a good chunk of its housing demands.


11 people like this
Posted by jc
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 28, 2020 at 5:38 pm

jc is a registered user.

"JC, you're looking only at revenue, rather than revenue vs. expenditures. Commercial/retail properties generally produce more revenue than they consume in required city services, as compared to residential properties, which produce less revenue than they consume in required city services."

Actually, that was exactly the question Jim Keene responded to, and his surprisingly honest if somewhat reluctant answer to that direct question.


2 people like this
Posted by Jim
a resident of another community
on Nov 28, 2020 at 5:44 pm

Jim is a registered user.

Yes, and it's true that "bedroom" communities can make do with their higher property tax revenues and defeat the general "commercial vs. residential" rule. But the more you densify land, the more you increase city service requirements disproportionately to the revenue increases. A family of 4 on a 1-acre lot requires much fewer services than 20 families of 4 on the same lot, while not generating 20 times the property taxes (in the long run, as Prop. 13 kicks in). When you refuse to densify, you refuse to whack your revenue/expenditures ratio the way your neighbors are forced to do.


5 people like this
Posted by YP
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 28, 2020 at 5:48 pm

YP is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


42 people like this
Posted by Citizen PA
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 28, 2020 at 6:25 pm

Citizen PA is a registered user.

@ Liz Gardner,
You are having trouble breathing because you are reading so much into what I am saying that you're in your own little scary made up landscape. I didn't say any of those things. Likening asking tech companies to be better citizens by not trying to cram all their workforces into one place, despite the damage to everyone else has nothing at all to do with Nazis. Holy cow. How is that racist? Especially when these very racist companies that hire very little diversity commit further racism by making up false justifications for overdevelopment that jacks ups prices and pushes out people of color and lower/middle income people? How is focusing on developing ONLY low-income housing racist, when what's happening is developing a lot of high-income housing that pushes out people of color and creates economic circumstances that disadvantage them? You do realize that current economic research has found that these concentrating tech economies, contrary to what happened in cities in the past, actually reduce opportunity and wages for low-to-middle skill/wage earners?

Companies should not be trying to shoehorn all their highly-paid (majority white young male) tech workers here, it's not necessary and it's having horrendously negative impacts. They come up with the lie that building more will somehow be better for prices, but all the facts go against that, and it's displacing people of color wholesale from this area and jacking up prices. The pandemic showed us that the highly paid (majority white young male) workers weren't all crowding in here for any compelling reason other than that they and their companies wanted to, and when it suited them better, they moved elsewhere and prices dropped suddenly (though they don't ever really get "affordable.") Companies can think about the negative impacts they are creating here and not succumb to the "black hole" effect of crowding everyone here. It's not necessary, it's making things very expensive and difficult here, and it's clear that when it suits them, they can change that on a dime. Whereas the negative impacts on existing residents, low-income people, etc, of continuing to blithely crowd in here and lying to demand overdevelopment are severe.

Your hyperbole about Nazis is grossly misplaced and rereading what I wrote, I can only think that you read so many of your own prejudices and biases into that statement that you aren't even touching on what it said. Read everything I wrote. I'm not talking about moving low income people, I'm talking about prioritizing low-income housing HERE, and getting companies to distribute their highly paid (mostly white, young, male) workforces better [portion removed.]



9 people like this
Posted by Citizen PA
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 28, 2020 at 6:30 pm

Citizen PA is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


18 people like this
Posted by Citizen PA
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 28, 2020 at 6:52 pm

Citizen PA is a registered user.

Now what I meant: Google and other large companies are rolling over what's here and developers are cashing in, ruining the environment, safety, and displacing people of color, for example, by making the false claim that being allowed to build lots more housing will somehow reduce prices. It will not, and has not.

Ask them to have satellites in, say, Boise Idaho, or Pittsburgh PA (where Carnegie Mellon and its great CS department are) to better distribute their highly paid (mostly white, young male) workforces is NOT akin to-- what was it you imagined? I can't even interpret this, something about ghettos here being fine WTF?


21 people like this
Posted by Citizen PA
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 28, 2020 at 6:57 pm

Citizen PA is a registered user.

We need affordable housing here. You can debate on whether housing that is subsidized in one form or another should be the duty of municipalities or not, but at some point, we are all paying because of Google et al's desire to concentrate their highly paid workforces here. They should either have to pay the true cost of higher wages for ALL work, or they should pay municipalities the true cost of having subsidized housing (which would be another way to do it), or they should better distribute their (highly paid, young, majority white) workforces better around the state and nation. They still need to pay the true cost of what their desires foist on the communities around here.


10 people like this
Posted by Liz Gardner
a resident of Mayfield
on Nov 28, 2020 at 7:16 pm

Liz Gardner is a registered user.

I profusely apologize Citizen PA. It was hearting to read a more thought filled explicit detailed, with example, comment of understanding. I am truly sorry for using the force of a Horrid Dictator referring to marginalized hateful world then and the fear it will take again. I do appreciate the comment you wrote above. I am sure glad you have further detailed your point. That is why I used the word "if felt like". I am sensitive to the housing having been discriminated the best part of my life. So many say "just move" if you can't afford it here. I was born in the Bay Area. And I can't. I really would if I had an extra 5 grand in the bank. It would be great if there were a progressive housing group. It is sorely needed. I attended one group during one evening, last year but it did not seem to go anywhere. Is this something you'd be interested in? I understand if you are not interested. It's an explosive housing atmosphere and tough going here. This sheltering in place is such a bummer. I wish I did not worry so much that those in our City with power are the ones making decisions about housing or there lack of. I am reading your follow up much more closely. I do thank you for making your point so I can understand. You see it's a tough road. I go in life with as much heart as I can, sometimes I am way too quick to judge without true knowledge or slowing down. And my brain works much faster than my heart and this keyboard. I hope you accept my apology. I wish I could delete here, but the online comment can't be undone. The words I put forward is already out there and now I have to own them. Peace out online Citizen person out there.


12 people like this
Posted by Liz Gardner
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 28, 2020 at 7:35 pm

Liz Gardner is a registered user.

@CitizenPA Love this idea ! Thank you for this. Re-purposing, rezoning what's already here is a wise, sage idea. More efficient and less costly. "We do not need more housing. We need to convert the overglut of offices into housing, to the degree that the infrastructure supports it, and it’s pretty maxed out. Traffic along El Camino even during the pandemic is pretty bad, and this isn’t a Harry Potter novel where you can create circulation out of nothing (or out of false beliefs about what transit or rideshare — the latter INCREASING congestion in SF —does in a region like this)." Gosh I wish prop 15 had passed in California ! Yet it's getting closer and closer each time one of these get on the ballot.


19 people like this
Posted by Citizen PA
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 28, 2020 at 8:45 pm

Citizen PA is a registered user.

Thank you, @Liz Gardner, it takes a big person to apologize for a mistake on these discussion forums. No hard feelings.

One thing I wish our city could do in midst of the recession, is to put forward a bond or business tax on very large wealthy businesses to buy up the retail areas in town, or at least the land under them. This would allow the City to stabilize the cost of retail in the area and afford to actually have resident-serving retail here. Kind of like the way Stanford owns all the land under the houses of its faculty. This allows them to have neighborhoods much more like the midwest and attract faculty that wouldn't live here otherwise. People can still buy and sell the homes, but there are below-market-rate rules and restrictions on who can buy (faculty and staff). Stanford owns the land, though.

If we did this as a city, we could stabilize the cost of retail in this town, especially during boom times. The only reason we can afford to have schools and city buildings is that the city owns the land and properties. Over time, the land will be more and more valuable, but the City would be able to allow positive resident-serving businesses to lease the land for affordable prices and/or restrict the sale of buildings to BMR. This could do many good things for local retail. For one, business owners would have lower costs, and could afford to stabilize their workforces in boom times by paying them more. The City could leverage higher wages for traditionally low wage work by deeply discounting the cost of renting the land to business owners, win-win. This benefit would become more valuable over time to the City and residents without it costing anything.

Having local retail is more environmentally friendly (recent studies of online delivery show it's actually worse for the environment especially with all the packaging). It's also incredibly useful in a pandemic, isn't it? There are other scenarios in which we'd want to protect local retail. A lot of businesses, like baby stores, just can't afford to compete here. If the City owned the land, businesses could apply for the low-rent spots, and the City could apply criteria based on what residents want and need, and residents and small business owners would again derive an increasing benefit over time. It would make it more feasible for non-wealthy entities to start businesses here again, too.


7 people like this
Posted by spectator
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 28, 2020 at 10:31 pm

spectator is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


27 people like this
Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 28, 2020 at 10:42 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

Lost in the endless posting here about housing and the endless posting and arguing by CitizenPA and Liz Gardner is that our city has now lost its finest mayor. Mr. Fine, I wanted to thank you for your service and congratulate you on becoming a new father. Your thoughts on housing, inclusivity, and the future of Palo Alto are all correct and visionary. Unfortunately, being in your shoes you have to argue with small minded council members and constituents who are absolutely incorrect about the future of our beloved Palo Alto. It had to be beyond frustrating and stressful not to be able to get the things done that you wanted to accomplish. You fought the good fight. Finally, I am sorry you had to deal with and put up with Vice Mayor Tom DuBois who basically backstabbed you and railed against you any chance he got to further his own political interests. That must have been exhausting. Again, thank you for your service.


63 people like this
Posted by Exit Right
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2020 at 7:05 am

Exit Right is a registered user.

The main attribute of your tenure, Adrian, has been immaturity and lack of judgement. It led you to repeatedly lash out at colleagues during council meetings, undermining ability to collaborate and lead. You embarrassed yourself and your Office.

You hit rock bottom with your recent baseless election-eve attack on Councilwoman and candidate Lydia Kou.

You use MV and RWC as examples that we are to follow? Oh come on. What you don’t say is both towns build more office space than housing, so both are making their housing situations worse not better as they hugely densify and increase traffic and carb for all of us.

You have been all about development - build baby, build - commercial and office, even though both demand more housing

By the way, the MV light rail line has been an abysmal failure according to MV Councilman John McAlister due to chronic low ridership. On El Camino it would be a failed money trap.

Lastly, that I went to art school doesn’t make me an Artist. That you went to planning school doesn’t make you a Planner. You work for a car company.

I’m glad you are moving on and with time, perhaps maturing and finding more happiness. I wish you well.


31 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 29, 2020 at 7:57 am

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

>"The main attribute of your tenure, Adrian, has been immaturity and lack of judgement."

>"The young generation today does not appear to have any role models in their arena of attention."

^ Interesting sociological perspective...add minimal attention spans & an overall lack of history.

I asked a Millennial once for a possible explanation & he replied, "there was less history for older people to learn/recall'.

As for possible role models, ALL of the ones he cited were in their mid 20s to early 30s...and primarily in the entertainment industry.


15 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 29, 2020 at 8:27 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

So everyone is in the "build" scenario - a pre-scripted speech to show you are WOKE? What are you building and for who? In this specific area the business is high tech. That is it. We don't have a of of room here. SU consumes a lot of the livable space and they are calling their own shots.

The first requirement is the job market. That is jobs for the adults in the family. Unfortunately the Google people, and now SU want to hire H1b people. And they are not directly hiring these people - they are provided by an agency. This allows them to eliminate the burden of paying the payroll taxes which would be applicable to US citizens - white, black, Asian. What that does to the state and federal government is to reduce the services that are available to the less fortunate people - like the ones in prison who are getting state payments for being out of work.

So the job of the unemployed is to figure out what type of job you can do and where to go to get those type jobs. That means heading up to SF or down to SJ - bigger cities that have a lot of alternative type economy. They need to be in a location that has a wider series of choices. And that means that the housing has to be in those locations if we assume that they are not driving around or taking buses.

So ABAG can publish weird numbers projecting opportunity zones but there are no jobs for those people in this specific location. The idea that if you build they will come is backwards. The job market comes first. And identifiable skills to participate in that job market. Scrambling the scenario is not going to work. And claiming discrimination in the job market is not going to work. You can scream your head off but if you are self aware then you will move yourself to a location where you - as an adult - can get a job.


42 people like this
Posted by Whatever
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 29, 2020 at 9:52 am

Whatever is a registered user.

At Wherever : here we go with the "you are racist card and that is a racist comment" go to.

What is so hard for everyone to understand: if you want to live in Palo Alto make more money, if you cannot afford Palo Alto find the safest and most affordable place to live.

This is a capitalist society not socialism where you are owed things. BTW, the race card, racist card is getting real old. I know lots of black families living in Palo Alto, 99 percent are well educated and make good money and worked hard to get where they are in life.


24 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 29, 2020 at 10:53 am

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

>"What is so hard for everyone to understand: if you want to live in Palo Alto make more money, if you cannot afford Palo Alto find the safest and most affordable place to live."

>"This is a capitalist society not socialism where you are owed things."

^ A good point and yes...the race card & income inequality arguments are getting older by the nanosecond.

Isn't it ironic that as quality of life continues to diminish in Palo Alto, even more people want to reside here?

What gives?




71 people like this
Posted by growing up
a resident of University South
on Nov 29, 2020 at 11:43 am

growing up is a registered user.

I wish Adrian Fine well but am also glad to see him leave office.

For one who reports he has a planning degree, his seems not to have an understanding that seldom are long or complex matters solved as simply as: we have a housing shortage so let's build housing.

His voting record does not support a logical understanding of cause and effect. Recall
• Adrian voted to significantly reduce housing impact fees which directly and severely damaged Palo Alto's ability to support affordable housing
• Adrian voted to eliminate the downtown office cap, thus exacerbating housing demand
• Adrian, while ignoring many studies reporting brick and mortar retail (while changing and challenged especially in these times of COVID) still far outperforms online sales, voted to change zoning to allow office in retail areas, thus making retail viability more difficult
• Adrian used the City letterhead without Council authority to indicate support for state control of local zoning... legislation that does nothing for diverse housing, increases land costs thus making affordable housing projects even more difficult, and that eliminates open space necessary for trees and other environmental benefits.

And Adrian's disrespect for colleagues and members of the public shows a
lack of either maturity or values or both. Add to that his frequent use of foul language (including in this article) and the f word in public missives is inappropriate for any public official. It is offensive and not the kind of example this or any community deserves.

I do wish Adrian well, but I also hope that his future does not include public service unless and until he matures and does not try to impose his unreasoned thinking on others.



18 people like this
Posted by Eichler Enthusiast
a resident of another community
on Nov 29, 2020 at 2:45 pm

Eichler Enthusiast is a registered user.

Some of the commentary here is very bad. It is an indisputable fact that Palo Alto is magnitudes more expensive than it was even in the 1990s, not to mention the 1980s.

For example, there is no need to post drivel about how expensive the downtown mansion you lived near in the 1980s was supposedly $750,000. The average home in Palo Alto isn’t down town. It is in Mid-town or South Palo Alto, on for example Ross Road or Louis Rd. Quote the 1980s price of these middle class homes along with your 1980s engineer salary. Don’t lay out this Tom foolery of quoting the cost of a very above average home.

Same thing for Sunnyvale housing prices; the vast majority of homes in Sunnyvale - and the vast majority are middle class homes - didn’t sell in the hundreds of thousands of dollars range in the 1980s. It sounds like the commenter went on a rant and was remembering Sunnyvale pricing from the early 2000s. Dementia perhaps? Zillow is an easy way to confirm what homes sold for.

Palo Alto continuing to permit office space while refusing to permit housing is a testimonial to how committed the city is to collecting taxes and keeping residential property values as high as possible.

Fine is right to point out that as a father he is concerned that Palo Alto school enrollment will drop as families cease to be able to afford Palo Alto, the excellent schools that we valued attending may have to be consolidated - which could forever alter Palo Alto. Looking forward 20 years is wise: The senior citizens will pay an arm and leg, maybe a few other body parts for the care-giving that many will need if they wish to continue aging in Palo Alto as affordable housing needs continue to go unmet and the elderly population continues to grow.

One would think that Palo Altan’s would embrace factual arguments avoid lying or making things up, and just state that they want to keep their property values as high as possible for their retirement or for their children’s inheritance, or because they don’t like change or whatever truthful reason they have for disliking higher density.

I don’t like high density either and would possibly even be on the side of residentialists - if their arguments were anywhere close to intelligent. Unfortunately, they are not and I find Fine’s points to be much more compelling and reasonable.


3 people like this
Posted by Much ADU about Nothing
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 29, 2020 at 3:15 pm

Much ADU about Nothing is a registered user.

@Lee Forrest. I will argue that it's a capitalist system when that system works for you. We, by Constitution, live in a Democracy. Capitalism is a devised system that we hope have democratic safeguards. Capitalism has run into now, out-of-control consequences. Each President since before WWII has a planned economic agenda that has either benefitted the wealthy or had disasterous (sp) affects on the working poor of America. Whether it be massive infrastructure plans like FDR's with building dams, roads and freeways (decimating communities like Oakland African American residents to move elsewhere in exchange for what? A passthrough for Chevron and the automobile KING) or Reagan / Bush Industrial Military Complex or Clinton's NAFTA. However capitalist you believe our USA to be, when it comes to reliance on Social means we have point to the Government . Is that capitalist? Calif cities put homeless on a bus with a one way ticket ... okay so that's not on a massive scale. California cities are relying on the government to take care of the homeless population in our state. And guess what ? Our capitalist system pushes back. Capitalism wants the "problem" gone, yet will not help on a private enterprise way to financially assist and then again, pushes it back onto the taxed based systems (socialism). It's a capitalist system when it works for you, but when your tax dollar might diminish poverty (turning back on and not want to look, and therefore live in nice places like Palo Alto) all of the sudden its left to the Government to step in. Don't even get me started about the "corporate welfare" that is paid for and supported by, a socialist docterine (sp) . The Silicon Valley software engineer has a strong hold on Libertarian (anti union, anti government intervention) values which again has had dire results for the have-nots -- Ridiculous. And now we are addicted to the algorythm (sp). Just as much as we are tied to "splitting of the Atom" 20th and 21st Century ideology jumped on capitalism economic boom with all of its idiotic and life threatening inventions. beg the question: Which came first, the engine or the 'er? We are truly living in a "Catch 22" moment.


24 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 29, 2020 at 3:26 pm

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

>"Palo Alto school enrollment will drop as families cease to be able to afford Palo Alto, the excellent schools that we valued attending may have to be consolidated - which could forever alter Palo Alto."

^ History repeats itself & Palo Alto residents somehow manage to survive. Decades ago & due to decreasing enrollment, the PASD closed several schools including Cubberley HS & Wilbur JHS and guess what? Palo Alto adjusted & it's public schools remained top notch.

>"Looking forward 20 years is wise: The senior citizens will pay an arm and leg, maybe a few other body parts for the care-giving that many will need if they wish to continue aging in Palo Alto as affordable housing needs continue to go unmet and the elderly population continues to grow."

^ The current & future senior citizens currently residing in Palo Alto as homeowners will have the option of procuring hefty re-fi's on their inflated/overvalued homes to meet long-term care expenses as/if needed.

Others will sell their costly homes at market value & relocate...because by then, everyday life in PA will have deteriorated even further. In other words, take the money & RUN.

>"...they want to keep their property values as high as possible for their retirement or for their children’s inheritance,"

^ Nobody in their right mind wants their property values to go DOWN as it is a long-term investment.

And as for collecting their inheritances, Millennial offspring would be wise not to count their chickens before they hatch. After all, they are the progeny of a Me/Woodstock generation...one that still refuses to acknowledge getting old.

>"or because they don’t like change or whatever truthful reason they have for disliking higher density."

^ No one thrives in 'higher density' environments...studies have shown that even rats start getting a tad edgy when their cages are a bit too crowded.

People are no different.




5 people like this
Posted by Much ADU about Nothing
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 29, 2020 at 3:44 pm

Much ADU about Nothing is a registered user.

@Eichler Enthusist . Eicher was part of the WWII nuclear family's "American Dream". He lured families to buy a suburban, low-cost "affordable" design on a subdivision scale. . He built housing that afforded a family to move up and out of. They were not then, in my opinion, a 'forever home'. Please, I am not insulting your choice for this type of Mid Century architectural digest home. I happen to like their simplicity in design and feel. However, if he had designed these single family housing with the future in mind: tighter floor space, better insulation, lowered ceilings using sustainable recycled materials with a pitch to the roof. Maybe if this housing was not registered as a historic landmark other housing now would not be so out of reach at an abnormal premium. I bet the upkeep alone for one of these, has far exceeded the initial cost to build one. Then again the return when selling must be 1000 times the original cost back in the late 40's / 50's. Lucky you, should you own one :)


16 people like this
Posted by Aleks
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 29, 2020 at 3:51 pm

Aleks is a registered user.

Thanks Eichler Enthusiast, I agree with all the points you've made. Thanks Adrian for fighting the good fight.

On the peninsula there were 19 YIMBY endorsed candidates. 10 won (Santa Clara, Campbell, San Jose, Mountain View..). 9 lost. All 3 pro-housing candidates in Palo Alto lost.

Personally, I am pro-growth, because my quality of life in Palo Alto has gone down since '96.

Stagnant housing, more jobs make traffic worse. The high cost of commercial real estate has driven out many businesses that made me happy: Diddiams, that toy store, University Art. Nearest gymnastic classes are in Mountain View, or Menlo Park. Laser tag, gone. Bowling, gone. High housing prices means more time working, less time volunteering, and volunteers for our schools are harder to recruit. My first nanny lived nearby, the last one in South San Jose, and she hated her commute. Hardest part about reopening Mike's Restaurant was finding employees. My kids head to Atom on San Antonio to go to the movies. The only reason our nearby liquor store is still there is because the landlord is an old-timer who refuses to maximize his profit. Once the old-timers are gone, much of the charm will be gone too. Where is my fiber to the home?

The reason why I liked Palo Alto was that it was not Beverly Hills. In Palo Alto, college vibe and ritzy mixed together. Most Stanford employees can no longer afford it.

Palo Alto has the worst balance of jobs vs housing on the peninsula. Palo Alto residents pay least taxes in proportion to their home values in California. Personally, I feel guilty about paying 50% less than our new neighbors. Our residents are rich, but our government is not. Rich government could have moved Caltrain underground.

I feel that the rest of the peninsula is slowly moving forward, and Palo Alto is standing still. Adrian tried hard to get us to move forward.


29 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2020 at 4:56 pm

Resident is a registered user.

Yes, thesixfifty.com, that paragon of objective journalism.

Odd to hear Adrian Fine, whose pro-growth majority has controlled council for four straight years, including three with strongly pro-development mayors, complaining about council policies. Let me guess: Fine’s majority fought hard but were thwarted at every turn, justifying his attacks on Lydia Kou?

Ancient history, but Maybell passed a citywide ballot, office caps were overwhelmingly supported in the community, and most Palo Altans don’t think Foothills Park is racist. It seems Fine likes Palo Alto but disdains Palo Altans.


30 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 29, 2020 at 5:11 pm

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

>"...and most Palo Altans don’t think Foothills Park is racist. It seems Fine likes Palo Alto but disdains Palo Altans."

^ Best case scenario...let the PA residents decide issues such as Foothills Park access & further development.

The PACC can address the municipal budget & conduct the hiring of top admin positions (i.e. city manager, public safety chiefs etc.) and be held ACCOUNTABLE for any questionable decisions later...come re-election time.


7 people like this
Posted by Eichler Enthusiast
a resident of another community
on Nov 29, 2020 at 9:55 pm

Eichler Enthusiast is a registered user.

@Much ADU about Nothing

Eichler stopped building homes when he felt that new laws for energy efficiency would make his homes out of reach to average middle class people. Apparently, selling to the wealthy went against his principals. He wanted to provide minimized Frank Lloyd Wright architecture to the every man. Original owners seem to own their Eichlers for many decades, but yes some Eichlers may be viewed as small starter homes. Some people feel they are dark, cramped, and the ceilings too low. There is some variety in the square footage and ceiling height of Eichlers.

In the 1950s people came to Palo Alto from the crowded less affordable New England suburbs. Lured by the promise of good weather and a cheaper cost of living, Eichler was just a bonus. I wouldn't say Eichler "lured" people to the suburbs. Families already knew they wanted to live in the suburbs.

During the time the Eichlers were built no one could have predicted how expensive Palo Alto would become. It is an exaggeration to suggest that putting Greenmeadow and Green Gables on a historic registrar may have significantly influenced the cost of these Eichlers as compared to cost of other homes in the rest of Palo Alto. It's not a significant difference to the vast majority of home buyers and it protects the unique qualities of these neighborhoods.

"I bet the upkeep alone for one of these, has far exceeded the initial cost to build one."
The cost of materials and labor has gone up exponentially since the 1950s. You can't just take inflation into account - you'd have to factor in the increase in cost of materials and labor too - which could not have been predicted when the homes were built.
Some people feel the need to re-do everything for style, other people just fix things when it's needed. Some people have a light touch, other people wreck their cabinets. Some people want AC or a foam roof, others don't feel they need it and maybe they have a generous shade tree. There are numerous factors in how much up-keep is required.

Global warming - another thing that people in the 1950s were unaware of - likely takes a larger toll on today's Eichler "unkeep" than could have been predicted when they were designed. Eichler likely had no knowledge of global warming. Imagine trying to talk to someone in the 1950s about global warming - would they care how much it will cost in 70 years to insulate a 50s home? Probably not.

I honestly don't understand the point of your comment. It's not bad like many of the comments on here, but it's off topic and picky. "If Eichler had designed for the future..." He did. Generations of people have appreciated the designs and lived in his homes. Many Eichlers do have a pitch to the roof. Why is a pitch important? It's not as if it rains or snows here. The higher the ceiling the more space you have to heat - oh... do you want to completely change the design by creating an insulated attic? That's funny and completely undermines the design. Solar panels can wear stilts, or do you think Eichler should have designed the pitch such that solar panels can be slapped right on? Maybe you should talk to Elon about housing design? I'm sure he'd be excited to start yet another business with your expertise.


1 person likes this
Posted by Eichler Enthusiast
a resident of another community
on Nov 29, 2020 at 10:15 pm

Eichler Enthusiast is a registered user.

@ Lee Forester

"take the money & RUN."
Thank you, Lee. I think that Steve Miller Band quote nicely sums up the attitudes of most anti-housing people.

One thing, which it seems maybe only commenter Aleks has pointed out, is that - it's not just Palo Alto - the surrounding areas are also becoming prohibitively expensive. Where will Palo Alto's working class and middle class workers come from? Palo Alto was able to hire new teachers after the 1970s lull in students, but will it be able to do so again in the future? Palo Alto is completely depending on other cities to keep housing affordable for teachers and unfortunately it may not work. That is clearly why some people are saying a change is needed.


44 people like this
Posted by Fred Balin
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 29, 2020 at 10:44 pm

Fred Balin is a registered user.

This is to provide corrections and additional context to Mayor’s Fine’s comments with regard to the Mayfield Development Agreement process as it related to the construction of housing adjacent to College Terrace.

[Note to the Editor: the web site accessible by clicking on the words "Mayfield housing development” in the interview above, leads to an article on the referendum of the 2013 Maybell Avenue project, a completely different matter, referred to, but not by name, later in the mayor’s comments.]



In response to the interviewer’s question as to what sparked Fine's entry into civic issues, he is quoted as follows:

"One thing that did stand out to me was the discussion of the Mayfield housing development, which is the old Facebook site in College Terrace. It was about two blocks from where my parents lived in College Terrace. And for five or eight years, there was just this big, muddy hole in the ground, with a big chain link fence.”

We were on the College Terrace Residents Association … and we saw some news blast go out, saying — "City Council is going to be reconsidering this, we all need to go and oppose for these reasons." And my dad and I were like — "we want housing here. We want new neighbors. We would rather have that than a hole in the ground.

So we went to the City Council hearing and we spoke in support of it. We said, "Hey, we live two blocks away, we walk our dogs here, there's an ugly hole in the ground and we would much rather see a neighborhood here."

And I think we had no clue what we were stepping into. Because I remember on the way out of the Council chambers, a bunch of neighbors accosted us. They were livid. I seem to remember being told that we'd betrayed the neighborhood, and we were like, "Holy s---, guys — what is this?"

----

A 17-acre site in Research Park adjacent to South California Avenue and across from College Terrace was, indeed, stipulated for conversion to housing as part of the Mayfield Development Agreement between Stanford and the City of Palo Alto, approved by the council after public hearings in 2005.

Half the total, 8.5 acres, had been the long-time home to HP and then, its spinoff, Agilent, at the time of the development agreement. In 2006 Agilent moved to Santa Clara. Two years later, the property was leased to rapidly-growing Facebook, consolidating its many small offices downtown. Facebook soon needed more space, first via a second location in Research Park off Page Mill Road, and then a complete move to a much larger site off of Bayfront Expressway in Menlo Park, vacating Palo Alto in 2011. The next year, a relatively unknown startup moved into the California Avenue site, Theranos, pending a subsequent move to a new, and what was expected to be, more permanent facility in Research Park off of Page Mill Road near Porter Drive.

Commercial tenants also came and went over these years on the two adjacent parcels on the 17-acre site.

Any chain link fences or muddy holes in the ground during this period were temporary and the by-product of normal turnover and vacancy of properties soon destined for another purpose.

It was up to Stanford to decide when to initiate the final steps to creating the housing they were required to build. With foresight and this certain future in mind, College Terrace Residents’ Association (CTRA) board members, President Brent Barker and Stanford Research Park Observer, Margit Aramburu, kept in close contact with the university with regard to its plans as well as to residents’ long-standing concerns.

When Stanford began to formalize its plans in 2012, CTRA was more than ready. Its focus on behalf of the neighborhood was on vehicular traffic on California Avenue, the sole route planned into or out of the project site. This included impacts from vehicles related to demolition and construction as well as the desire for a post-construction access road to and from the project via Hanover Street or Page Mill Road.

The CTRA liaisons with Stanford understood that their power, if any, in representing residents' interest was one of persuasion, and they worked respectfully and tirelessly in that regard.

As outlined in the development agreement, the housing plans only required limited review at the Architectural Review Board (ARB). In 2014, as part of their application submittal to the city, Stanford’s consultant released an internal traffic circulation analysis for the 17-acre site, which the ARB did not see as part of its purview as they recommended approval of the project.

At that point, my wife Ann and I hired a highly respected and independent traffic consultant to evaluate the circulation analysis, and his work returned a big surprise. Streets on one end of the project violated the fire code as they were too narrow for an engine to easily make a broken U-turn. We appealed the project, it achieved enough votes from the city council to come off the consent calendar and was scheduled for full review in front of the council.

This mid-2014 city council hearing on the appeal may be the one Fine is referring to, but it is possible he is confusing it with an earlier study session at the Planning & Transportation Commission (PTC), where the city provided background on what happened back in 2005. Fine and other members of his family spoke at each of those meetings.

While I am disappointed Fine and members of this family felt mistreated by some residents as they were leaving the council chambers, I am also disappointed that they did not grasp the larger picture.

Neither I nor the neighborhood association was against the housing, but rather trying to protect the community form construction and other future traffic impacts to the neighborhood.

For the appeal hearing at the council, Ed Schmitt produced compelling graphics for the 15 minutes I was allotted and College Terrace neighbor and attorney Bill Ross was able to bring in a highly-respected former California State Fire Marshall into the mix. He met at least twice with the city’s Fire Chief and Fire Marshall in forming his assessment of the situation. It was a high drama evening at the council, and in the end, the former State Fire Marshall stated that even though the fire code was in violation, the local fire chief had the ultimate discretion. A letdown for sure.

Fine was appointed to the Planning & Transportation Commission later in the year, but, unexpectedly, there was more work still to be done in the neighborhood with regard to the housing project.

With our eyes focused on traffic and amid the mass of papers and myriad of aspects in a project like this, it is, unfortunately, easy to miss something, and we did. Stanford had not filed a “Phase 2” Environmental Assessment for the 8.5 acre parcel, and we did not think to connect that with their decision to let Theranos extend its stay for another year, as demolition and construction began on the other half of the site.

After demolition finally began on the Theranos site, large quantities of two kinds of hazardous materials were uncovered. The first, Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), was a solid that clings to the surface. It can be removed and carted away, and fortunately CTRA had earned Stanford’s commitment to allow, for 1 year, that construction traffic be allowed to enter and exit out a path to Page Mill Road. So hundreds of truckloads containing hazardous soil could be removed without passing alongside the neighborhood and, expeditiously, without Stanford having to inform the neighbors. The second substance was more problematic. Trichloroethylene (TCE), which can pass from soil and groundwater and into the air and if trapped within an enclosed space, e.g., a home, can be dangerous. In this case, Stanford deemed that removing it was infeasible, and the regional EPA approved their plan to pad it, cover it, and move housing further away from the hot spot. Stanford had to inform, file revised plans, and come to the city council for its approval.

This time the residents' association brought in an expert in the field of hazardous material sites, Lenny Siegel, of the Center for Public Environmental Oversight as well drawing on its own resident environmental PhDs. When the matter came to the city council, thanks to council member Cory Wolbach and Mayor Pat Burt, the council voted to require that Stanford implement state of the art mitigation for each of the homes to be built on this parcel.

None of this, or course, helped us in College Terrace with our many older homes just on the other side of California Avenue, but it felt good to see a positive result for others.

Mr. Mayor, outside of how it is sometimes portrayed, it is not a residents-only game in College Terrace.


29 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 30, 2020 at 11:05 am

Nayeli is a registered user.

I'm glad to see Adrian Fine go. In fact, I hope that we no longer have mayors who "take sides" on divisive local issues.

I've always felt that in the most divisive of local issues (that aren't clear violations of law or issues involving clear violations of constitutional rights), it is best to err on the side of caution. There is nothing worse than rushing forward with, well, bad decisions.

Of course, there are people with bleeding hearts who think that EVERYTHING is "clear" to them. They have that "if you're not for us, you're siding with evil" mindset. Sadly, some of those individuals even apply this mindset to the most mundane local issues.

This is why Palo Alto cannot even have a nature preserve. Even if that park is open to ALL Palo Alto residents (and their guests) of EVERY race, color, creed, economic class, etc., someone will inevitably point the finger and cry foul. It's just a shame when local politicians board those types of Hysteria Trains.


30 people like this
Posted by Resident8
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 30, 2020 at 11:08 am

Resident8 is a registered user.

“But things have really changed. When my parents bought their homes in Palo Alto, a house cost three or four times your average income. Now it's like 40 or 50 times. There's a magnitude of difference there.”

The median income in Santa Clara is $120K so apparently Adrian thinks everyone should be entitled to easily buy a $4.8 million dollar house (at 40x)...choice. However, given Palo Alto is one of the most desirable places to live in Santa Clara it obviously is going to fetch a premium so its natural that it requires a much higher family income to afford.

Adrian's vision has always been luxury housing and more tech jobs for tech workers like him. If he really cared about affordable housing he would not trying to be expanding office, which dramatically drives up housing costs. He has not been a champion of below market housing.


36 people like this
Posted by rita vrhel
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 30, 2020 at 11:21 am

rita vrhel is a registered user.

great debate..... no simple answers but increasing developer fees and the % of a development which must have below market rate housing would help. Adrian voted against both.

Also let's eliminate the in lieu of fees and make developers include below market housing in EVERY development.

Also, please remember the Hotel President fiasco. Adrian voted against residents, and concede to AJ Capital. LOTS of affordable downtown housing lost to a luxury hotel.

There are so many ways to gather funds for below market rate housing; none were ever promoted by Adrian and the pro-growth CC ,as they appear to only want luxury housing; again leaving out our essential workers.

i believe Adrian's tenure will be seen as a boom for developers but short on affordable housing. He could have accomplished so much more.

I have heard many describe Adrian as a self centered, egotistical, immature, self serving little twit.

Personally i think he was in over his head and did not know how to compromise on important issues. Glad he is leaving. Nastiness never wears well.

EVERY 2020 city council candidate who associated themselves with Adrian LOST!!!!! Apparently voters saw past the platitudes and "fresh faces" and demanded substance and positions. Hopefully we have all learned to demand more from our candidates and council. Thank you.


19 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 30, 2020 at 11:36 am

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

>"However, given Palo Alto is one of the most desirable places to live..."

^ And for others, it may be time to consider getting out of Dodge before Palo Alto becomes a less desirable place to live.

At which point, property values may decline (albeit slightly) & aspiring, newer PA residents can have the PACC, traffic/parking gridlock, alleged racism, & 'people's park' issues all to themselves.


48 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 30, 2020 at 11:51 am

Online Name is a registered user.

"Adrian's vision has always been luxury housing and more tech jobs for tech workers like him. If he really cared about affordable housing he would not trying to be expanding office, which dramatically drives up housing costs. He has not been a champion of below market housing."

Absolutely. There's LOTS of money backing Adrian and the other YIMBY's who spin their car-light fairy tales and "freedom of choice" claims as they gleefully create more gig workers without benefits who can't even collect unemployment and destroy moderately priced apartment complexes to put in ugly "modular" housing to stack and pack their workers.

The selfishness and entitlement and elitism are blatantly obvious behind the nasty rhetoric. Big Tech spent more than $230,000,000 to protect their right to impoverish their gig workers and keep shifting the expenses to the drivers. DoorDash just got fined $2,500,000 for stealing tips from its gig workers. Will those workers share in the upside from the IPO? Of course not.

Sound familiar? It's the same playbook that lets businesses avoid a PA business tax and shift the costs to US.

And what do WE get? More congestion, more desperate people, more ugliness, more homeless. more rudeness, more immaturity and more egotistical rants from the divisive mayor and his ilk.


4 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 30, 2020 at 12:39 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Eichler Homes are all over the place - even on the cover page of the current Sunset magazine. Palm Springs, Marin, copied in style by many. If you own an Eichler you get the quarterly magazine with history and stories of neighborhoods. For the purposes of Palo Alto and other cities the neighborhoods are considered heritage locations. So no tear downs replaced with duplexes. Also on a list for tours of homes in other locations to see what other people are doing with their homes. It is a choice - as are all homes.


42 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 30, 2020 at 4:00 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

Adrian Fine has supported every policy that made housing in Palo Alto more expensive. He supported every policy that worsened the job/housing imbalance. it looks like he became a council member to make expensive housing for well paid tech workers affordable to them. Adrian Fine is a real contemporary conservative who wants us to subsidize the haves at the expense of others. He has done absoliutely nothing to create housing for low income people, only to people like him who are highly educated and have well paying jobs.

His behavior as mayor reminds of a certain soon to be former President. It was childish, contemptuous and petty. He was an embarrassment and the council will be much better without him.


15 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 30, 2020 at 4:44 pm

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

>"I also hope that his future does not include public service unless and until he matures and does not try to impose his unreasoned thinking on others."

^ If memory serves me well...some former PACC members make a run for county supervisor where they can convey their visions on a far larger scale.


25 people like this
Posted by Steve Dabrowski
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 30, 2020 at 5:37 pm

Steve Dabrowski is a registered user.

Adrian doesn't live in Palo Alto, Adrian lives in Absurdityville. The idea that there will ever be sufficient houses here to make it affordable to the people he wishes to serve is absurd. I do think if we continue to flood our community with monstrosities like "The Dean" on San Antonio Rd then prices may come down due to the devastation to our town's quality of life. So we build more and more housing-who gets it and who does not? The problem stays the same, there will continue to be demand beyond any possible supply.

The only real answer to this is to let natural forces work and as the community is filled, businesses must find other areas to grow. If we just let this process work itself out and quit trying to put 10 gallons of water in a 5 gallon bucket we will all be better off. When business establishes itself elsewhere these new locations can offer less cost and for those moving there the opportunity to build another nice community with some effort and dedication and own a home not just waste away renting a small packed in box when one gains a family.

Give it up Adrian, you are on a fool's errand.


5 people like this
Posted by Alex
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 30, 2020 at 10:11 pm

Alex is a registered user.

You people are disgusting. You’d rather let Palo Alto rot from the inside out that admit to yourself that you don’t live in Mayberry. Well guess what, you live in a major metropolitan area and you can’t have your cake and eat it too! Palo Alto is slowly becoming a retirement community because only the absurdly wealthy can afford to live here, and to “fix” that you’ve elected an entire circus to hem and haw about how they’d really *love* to build but only if it’s 100% affordable (which isn’t how reality works under capitalism, but go off I guess). No matter how much you try to ignore this issue, it isn’t going to go away! In fact, it’s going to get worse until people and jobs get fed up and start leaving, leaving our region to rot in obscurity. Hope it’s worth it!


27 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 1, 2020 at 7:21 am

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

>"Adrian lives in Absurdityville. The idea that there will ever be sufficient houses here to make it affordable to the people he wishes to serve is absurd."

>"...if we continue to flood our community with monstrosities like "The Dean" on San Antonio Rd then prices may come down due to the devastation to our town's quality of life."

^ If overdevelopment is left unchecked, there will be two distinct Palo Altos with very little in common...South Palo Alto & North Palo Alto.

Some say the differentiation already exists.

>"...you don’t live in Mayberry. Well guess what, you live in a major metropolitan area and you can’t have your cake and eat it too!"

^ Though Palo Alto is a part of Silicon Valley, it should in no way be perceived as a conceptual or current extension of a 'metropolis'...that urban description is best reserved for the likes of San Jose, the county seat & heart of Silicon Valley.

The residents of Monte Sereno, Saratoga & Los Altos Hills (though affluent communities) are not obligated to address or provide 'affordable housing' either as they have paid MORE for an added sense of privacy & space.

If one cannot afford a Mercedes, there's nothing wrong with owning a Toyota & the same applies to housing 'desires'...in other words, consider residing where it's more affordable.


10 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 1, 2020 at 8:28 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

If anyone reads the local papers - the real estate sections - then you should know that the people are fleeing to suburban locations - homes with yards. No one is fleeing to bee-hive size homes except the homeless. And that is on you - the taxpayer.

I have one friend who has re-located back to New Mexico - bought a home, and works with their massive RWC company from a remote location. If you get a call then it is one their company phones, local number, so you never know that person is not sitting in RWC, corner office - of large company. And the head of said large company has bought an island in Hawaii - Lanai - and in the papers Hawaii now wants to add techies to their economic picture since tourism is very down. You all have to connect the dots.

Another friend up and sold their large party house in Saratoga for a house on the beach - Rio Del Mar near Aptos. YEAH now rid of Santa Clara County politics and incessant political dirge. A person really gets tired of incessant, political, party positioning. Yes - there is more to the world then continual political push and pull.

Cousin in valley is now buying up homes for rentals in the hot market. Where is that train that is suppose to connect the valley with San Jose? AT LEAST GET THAT DONE. The state of CA has not figured out how to build a RR because they keep putting people in charge as payback for political support rather than actual skills at building RR's. Seems to be a problem with the current political going-on's - payback vs actual knowledge and skill. It is all about the OPTICS.

Homes directly in the city of SF are also doing well. So pay attention to what is going on around you and calibrate what is actually going on vs what your local politico is telling you = we do not want or need bee-hive homes in this city. Any attempt to buy into that scenario will be using tax-payer dollars to support the people who live in the bee-hive homes.

Lenny Siegel is noted above relative to clean-up of toxic material in College Terrace. Lenny -of Mountain View - is deeply involved in the clean-up of toxic material at Moffett, an on-going project with the Navy and the EPA. The Navy has a big job cleaning up toxic material - also Hunter's Point and other CA former military locations.

Is there a bottom line here? Circumstances have changed up the drum beat for bee-hive housing. Also the concentration of people's in locations where they do not qualify for any jobs in that location. Job markets are location specific or technical talent specific. This narrow strip of land on the peninsula is consumed by Su so what is left needs to be protected. Google, FB, Apple have already figured that out. Quit trying to sell an idea that has been exercised to death.

Yes to housing for teachers, fire and police, city staff. But they prefer a house with yard.


19 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Resident
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Dec 1, 2020 at 11:57 pm

Palo Alto Resident is a registered user.

Wow. Such bitterness and self-righteousness on the part of the outgoing mayor. He is so convinced that he, and only he, has the answers.

This, of course, is the problem. Mayor Fine never learned how to work with others to achieve a common goal. Rather than working with those who also would like to have more housing but have a different idea of what that housing should look like, Mayor Fine and his associates prefer to just shove ill-thought out projects down people's throats. He could have maybe actually accomplished something had he been willing to listen to and work with other people who just don't agree with 100% of his nonsense.

Other have noted that Mayor Fine voted for removing office caps, voted to approve the eviction of long-time residents from the affordable housing in the Hotel President, and to approve every exception that developers asked for in order to increase their profit and got nothing for the city in return. Mayor Fine says he is crusading for transportation improvements and more housing. In reality, he votes for concession to developers who are either building office space or luxury housing, and he has done nothing to improve transportation options in Palo Alto. I believe he voted in favor of cutting funding for the Palo Alto Shuttle, which many seniors and younger folks who do not yet drive, depended on. Nice work. Say one things, and do another.

I would prefer to have a mayor that can work with others to plot a course that everyone can buy into and support.

Where does Mayor Fine live? Does he live in the dense, tiny apartments that have no parking for residents? Ah, no . . . actually, he moved to Crescent Park to a single family home reportedly because his wife wanted a garden.


19 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 2, 2020 at 8:02 am

Annette is a registered user.

Says Adrian Fine in this article: "I'm a proponent of using local control to solve these issues . . ."

Really? I don't think this pal of Scott Weiner is being genuine when he says that.

Said he in a 12/5/2018 article about SB50: “Local councils and the idolatry around local control are not going to solve our housing issues.”

It's too bad that he will have a say in who gets appointed to the Planning Commission. We need commissioners and council members who assess proposals with an open mind and a grasp on reality, not zealots with a single focus.



14 people like this
Posted by Citizen PA
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 2, 2020 at 10:16 am

Citizen PA is a registered user.

“we're effectively excluding people from the great opportunities here, whether it's jobs or education. And then we're offloading our affordable housing demands to places like East Palo Alto. “

This has to be the lamest excuse for why you’re too good to find housing somewhere cheaper in the Bay Area than Crescent Park, and specifically, why you are too good for a home in East Palo Alto (where many friends got their first homes and/or still live, and which was less safe a few decades ago than it is now). Given your income, Mayor Fine, you could outright buy a home or condominium in many parts of the Bay Area, including mobile homes that are in some cases less than $200,000, some not far from our first home on a superfund site. I searched using a criteria of less than $400k in SJ and got 7 pages of listings. There are specials on conforming new home loans now of 2%. with no points and 97% loan to value ratio (When we were trying to get into housing, we spent all our time for YEARS, even learning about the foreclosure market.) You are in virtually an infinitely better position to BUY something here than I was. It's just false to claim that things were better in the past, they're actually better now for people like you than they were.

You just aren’t willing to make the sacrifices of your time and hardship made by those of us who are/were considerably LESS financially able to buy a home than you are (or, apparently, to face your own prejudices about who you will live among). And you clearly are willing to twist yourself into a pretzel to come up with a justification for why you personally can’t find housing you can afford in the next town over which is not as white as here.

Ever hear the song “All the gold in California is in a bank in the middle of Beverly Hills in someone else’s name”? It was written in 1979. Or “Here in California, the fruit hangs heavy on the vine, and there’s no gold, I thought I’d warn you…” (similar time frame)

It is the tech companies who are crowding people in here who are “excluding people from the great opportunities here.” They are hiring white white white male male male, and creating concentrated cities that for the first time in history are destroying opportunities for less- and middle-skilled workers to move up. Read “The Economic Advantages of Dense Cities are Disappearing for Low-Skilled Workers”

By contrast, tech workers with higher wages moving away in the midst of the pandemic brings those jobs to places around our nation that are interested in attracting some of those workers.

The problems you are so angry about were caused by tech companies all wanting to crowd in here and roll over everything that was here when they did. And the pandemic has showed quite clearly that they can solve those problems by being better neighbors and distributing their highly skilled laborforce in a more thoughtful way rather than trying to concentrate them here and using the lie that redevelopment for the sake of their highly paid workers, which pushes everyone else out and has no regard for safety, droughts, quality of life, pollution, the environment, people’s time, daylight plane, open space etc etc etc, is magically going to make things better. Your time in office and your words are an assault on all the people willing to make the sacrifices you have not.


16 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 2, 2020 at 3:41 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

I have so often heard a variation of the following reply from young people who demand housing in Palo Alto: 'Are you kidding? EPA, Redwood City, Fremont, no way! Those are not cool places, no way I'm going to live there. I want to live in Palo Alto'.

After all, why should they drive a Toyota Camry at age 24 when they would rather drive a Tesla?

It was Fine and those like him who entrenched that entitled attitude in young people who demand housing in one of the most expensive towns in the country without twilling to make the sacrifices that comes with living in a very expensive and desirable area, that and feel they are too good to live in less fashionable areas.


5 people like this
Posted by Citizen PA
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 2, 2020 at 8:23 pm

Citizen PA is a registered user.

@mauricio,
Let's be clear, it is very hard to get housing in the Bay Area, I think that's why there is so much support for affordable housing. I'm sure there are those expressing a sense of entitlement out there, not willing to make the truly hard sacrifices, like our mayor, but that doesn't mean that's the majority. I'm just pointing out that it's simply false that things are worse now than they were before, and it's certainly false that he can't afford housing. He just can't afford housing in the manner in which he would like to live.

But if we care about that, we're long past the time when we can afford to keep thinking that it's possible to have a laissez-faire attitude towards job growth when it foists so many expensive and damaging consequences on cities and the state. I think the state should be involved in deciding how to help build a new city or two, not forcing unfunded mandates on existing towns that simply don't have the infrastructure to grow that way anymore without severe consequences to safety, the environment, health, quality of life, pollution, etc. And there should be a new version of Prop 15 to help pay for it (though it should have much higher thresholds for reassessment, and should graduate the reassessment.)


21 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 3, 2020 at 7:02 am

mauricio is a registered user.

Before being able to buy my Palo Alto home I lived for years in crappy studio apartment and shared housing in very unfashionable places, including EPA. I didn't go on sky trips or ate out. It's also known as sacrifying. Why should I care that a 24 year old coder demands housing in a town where the average home sells for 3 million dollars while refusing to sacrifice to achieve his/her goal?

The attitude of 'I'm too cool to live anywhere but in Palo Alto and you make it affordable for me' is what it sounds like, entitlement, and terrible politicians like Fine and his mentor Kniss who are in essence lobbyists for land developers are entrenching it.

No one who claims they want Palo Alto to be more affordable to young people but don't put any pressure on tech firms to expand or entirely move elsewhere should be taken seriously.


24 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 3, 2020 at 8:15 am

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

>"Why should I care that a 24 year old coder demands housing in a town where the average home sells for 3 million dollars..."

^ I don't...they can go live somewhere else more affordable & save up for later.

> "The attitude of 'I'm too cool to live anywhere but in Palo Alto and you make it affordable for me' is what it sounds like, entitlement,"

^ And the irony is...Palo Alto really isn't all that cool anymore (unless one's priority is dining out 24/7/365) which reaffirms to a certain extent that many of these millennial-aged coder/tech types aren't all that 'cool' to begin with, maybe just menu driven & overly preoccupied with stepping out & being part of a faceless crowd.

A suggestion...buy some groceries, learn to cook at home & save some money. Cut down on the bar tabs & lattes as well.

Also consider using the current Covid-19 SIP protocols to one's advantage...as part of a comprehensive personal savings strategy. Then maybe you can reside in Palo Alto...someday.


5 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 3, 2020 at 9:42 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

I do not think PA is "COOL". The book store on University disappeared. That means that I am in RWC for shopping at the massive Safeway, getting the latest NYT best sellers of my favorite authors, and checking out how the new buildings in down town are coming along. Pre-Covid was music on the Square - Friday nights, best local music groups possible. Art on the Square - talent abounding. And the PORT - now signed up for all of the Port goings-on. There will be a ferry that goes up to the city when we get over the hump here. RWC is the COOL Place. Kayaks in the bay, Sport Authority store. That is the COOL Place. And SU is smart enough to figure that out with their new campus. San Mateo County has enough variation in the economic picture to create a really diverse population - all who come out Friday nights at the Square. Look at the difference between how San Mateo County handles issues vs Santa Clara County which is tied in knots by Google.

And thank you to the Zuck who supports Music on the Square and all other city specific activities that support social interaction and help for the schools and health. What a big difference.


4 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 5, 2020 at 9:59 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Read the Real Estate section of the papers. More large purchases in South San Jose where all of the new buyers are so excited to be part of the Silicon Valley Experience. These are very large ventures. All reported with excited, positive, self-congratulatory comment. No where does it discuss where all of the new workers are going to live.

But wait - put that together with other articles that talk about the increased flooding that is expected to occur. Foster City, moving down to more solid ground. My house is in the 100 year flood zone and it required to have flood insurance. If you live in a flood zones with projected rise in sea level then you are not in an "Opportunity Zone". North PA has had flooding which they are now trying to correct.

The major housing developments are in the inner CA locations - Los Banos and moving eastward.

We have other blogs on funding being shifted to BART. Time to challenge and get a RR link between the valley and Gilroy up to San Jose. This is not HSR - it is a transportation link similar to Amtrack's train moving up the east bay to SAC.

Silicon Valley Leadership group - will you please focus on where the new jobs are and where the people will be living. Then connect the dots. The new housing is in the east bay. It is not bee-hives in areas of potential flooding.


7 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 5, 2020 at 1:13 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

"Silicon Valley Leadership group - will you please focus on where the new jobs are and where the people will be living."

You might also focus on what's happening to all the displaced workers, the impoverished gig workers, the soaring use of contract workers and H1B workers, the new people to be unemployed by the latest shutdown, the Stanford construction workers who can't afford $300+ a night for motels...

Drive down El Camino between Embarcadero and Oregon Expressway. The number of rundown RVs has soared in the last few weeks! Absolutely shameful. Is anyone doing anything about it?? Besides finger-pointing and claiming it's our Grand Blvd initiative!

Shameful.


3 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 5, 2020 at 4:10 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Mountain View has passed an initiative that RV's cannot be on residential streets. They are trying to move people to commercial locations but there is a limitation on space. I suspect that the overflow is coming from Mountain View.

Okay - it is time for PA to have an initiative - no RV's on residential streets or within X space of a school. That takes them off of ECR. It is shameful that we have unknown people living on the edge sitting between a high school and a university - both which are "kid" locations. Who does that? That defies logic.

Time to open CHS so we have students going to school in a fairly safe location. This is coming down to SAFETY. Any one get in on the CHS to housing issue is going to meet a buzz saw - and ejection from the PACC. We bought here because it is suppose to be a SAFE place for our children to grow up.

The city has property east of 101 at San Antonio - a giant parking lot - also a city office in that location. That is where your RV's are going to go. And the city office can help monitor what goes on out there.


31 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 5, 2020 at 7:28 pm

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

>"The city has property east of 101 at San Antonio - a giant parking lot - also a city office in that location. That is where your RV's are going to go. And the city office can help monitor what goes on out there."

^ Curious...will proper sewage & waste disposal also be implemented or is this just a parking lot to keep transient RV dwellers away from public sight?

What about porta-potties & running water? Have all of these considerations
been fully addressed by the city?


3 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 5, 2020 at 9:55 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Lee - do you see any porta-potties on ECR? Do you see any running water on ECR? Do you see any waste disposal of ECR? NO! If none of those are on ECR then what is the heck is the city doing to allow this to go on in a very public place which is a tourist attraction for sports and a place where we require children to be in normal times. From every aspect of sanitary conditions then the city is at fault for allowing this. And worse - we are in a health epidemic and this mess is sitting there.

There are buildings in the San Antonio "business" center that are empty. They have bathrooms. Get a building and open it for the RV people. Also they may have a small kitchen which can be used.

Right now the RV people are using SU bathrooms and facilities. Is that what SU wants? Random people on campus in the bathrooms? All totally wrong.


3 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 5, 2020 at 10:03 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

WOW - so I am opening the mail and what do I find? Valley Water with a large brochure telling me I live in a FLOOD ZONE.

1. Do I have an Emergency Kit?

2. Do I have a PLAN?

3. Do I have Flood Insurance?

4. Am I flood ready?

NO - I do not make this type of stuff up.

Any one that thinks up a bee hive set of housing is in denial. ABAG is in denial.
Bee Hive housing is a no-go. Do not even go there.


35 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 6, 2020 at 6:37 am

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

>"There are buildings in the San Antonio "business" center that are empty. They have bathrooms. Get a building and open it for the RV people. Also they may have a small kitchen which can be used."

^ Curious...if you were the owner/landlord/property manager of a vacant office building on East San Antonio Road, would you be willing to open the restroom & kitchen facilities (if any) to hordes of semi-homeless RV dwellers parked nearby?

Liability, property damage & public health issues would be major concerns.

Could these RV dwellers be relied upon to keep things tidy or would twice-a-day contracted cleaning services also be required?

In your effort to rid ECR of RVs, simply moving them to another area sans any pre-preparations or pre-thought is reckless & destined for further problems.

Lastly, ECR provides convenient access for RVers to shop locally & use public transit if necessary. If they are sequestered out of sight & out of mind on East San Antonio Road, chances are many of these decrepit & most likely uninsured RVs (if operable) will be motoring along Palo Alto streets further endangering residents, pedestrians & other drivers.

Have you given this any consideration?


3 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 6, 2020 at 8:23 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Mountain View is getting the Shoreline Park parking lot ready for the RV people. PA is getting the parking lot on Geng Road ready for the car dwellers. RWC has the RV dwellers on a commercial street next to the 101 freeway. Foster City has the RV dwellers on a parking lot next to the 92 freeway. SJ is looking at the fair grounds as a RV location. Currently there are RV's on the streets in the Google Complex east of 101.

Every city out there has already thought up a commercial section out of the Center City which is not in a residential area next to a high school. I don't have to think this up -it is in the papers of what other cities are doing. And other cities are providing the amenities where the planned parking lots are. If other cities are using city assets which are not in the center city then it would be classified as a consistent approach across the peninsula.

But of course PA is "different". Some city residents own those RV's and rent them out. Some could say that some city residents are looking at this whole venture as a money making "service". But that "service' does not address the very points that you mentioned - all of the down side.


23 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 6, 2020 at 8:43 am

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

>"Some city residents own those RV's and rent them out. Some could say that some city residents are looking at this whole venture as a money making "service". "

^ Did the outgoing Mayor Fine ever address this issue & your concerns...or was the RV 'community' part of his AFFORDABLE housing plan?


2 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 6, 2020 at 10:18 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

The RV's on ECR have been an on-going concern that like FHP continually pops up as a topic but then gets buried. One could go into the On-Line archives and find multitudes of blogs on the topic. Because some have a financial interest in renting the RV's out and then go in and pressure the city. Town and Country is now facing a lot of shops that have moved out of the area. Maybe no longer a desirable place to do business.

Recently there was a meeting on what to do with the RV's and car dwellers but the Covid scratched that idea. Also the church people were less than enthused about their property being available 24/7 - meaning that they did not have enough people who would be on hand for the security aspect. Security is a prime issue if on private property.

Mountain View had a city vote and the vote was remove the RV's from the current park location.

I addressed the PA Business Park idea with a county supervisor - his response was the ROI aspect. Funny - homeowners also have a ROI interest.


25 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 6, 2020 at 10:27 am

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

>"The RV's on ECR have been an on-going concern that like FHP continually pops up as a topic but then gets buried."

^ So that would lend some observers to concur that when/if the ACLU gets involved, RV dwellers will have a free reign to park & reside THROUGHOUT Palo Alto as part of their 'constitutional rights'.

Meanwhile, the PACC continues to skirt the issue...until force upon to do so.

Just like Foothills Park.


22 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 6, 2020 at 10:42 am

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

> correction/typo: until 'forced' upon....

That said, if your remote RV community on East San Antonio Road proves somewhat feasible, how do you propose dealing with any renegade RV dwellers who express & embrace their civil rights by being 'free to move about' anywhere throughout the city as per ACLU 'concepts'?

City mandated citations, impoundments, and/or banishments? Given the PACC's acquiesence to the ACLU/NAACP legal challenges over Foothills Park, it is highly unlikely that the city will impose any arbitrary mandates...bad PR.


1 person likes this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 6, 2020 at 2:45 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Mountain View skirted this issue by stipulating the size of units that can go on a street where bicycle paths are. No room for RV's. In Oakland Hills the street signs preclude any vehicle over a certain size. SUV's okay - trucks not okay. That is in part due to the fire codes for narrow streets.

Why are you feeding ideas here? It is called "leading the witness".

It is not my job to deal with anything here in the PA city legal world. However I do track issues and what other cities on the peninsula are doing with those issues. I assume that they applied some study, came to a conclusion, and are proceeding with a plan which in MV's case was voted on by the residents.

I do not view PA as "special" relative to other cities on the peninsula. we are all dealing with the same issues. However other cities have proceeded with strategies that are in place and are working.

Are you adverse to successful strategies used by other cities?
Do you have a financial connection to RV's on ECR?


36 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 6, 2020 at 3:18 pm

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

>"Why are you feeding ideas here? It is called "leading the witness".

^ It's called covering the bases.


>"Are you adverse to successful strategies used by other cities?"

^ You should be asking the PACC that question.


>"Do you have a financial connection to RV's on ECR?"

^ Hardly...but I often feel for those who are enduring harder times than many of us. I'd let one of those RVs park in front of my house (on the street) but the neighbors and local RE agents would probably go on the warpath.

A little visual blight is palatable to me (at times)...consider the Legoland complexes on San Antonio Road. The only difference is that they cannot be moved.


5 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 6, 2020 at 9:11 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

The job of a city is to manage it for all residents. If there is an RV on a residential street then fire trucks cannot pass through. Look at any street
now when the delivery trucks come. That is why RV's need to be on commercial sections and not in residential sections.

I was on ECR when a large bus was trying to get through in a lot of traffic without side swiping cars on one side and RV's on the other side.

Moving the RV's to the Palo Alto Business Park on East Bayshore is for everyone's safety. And if they have children then there is no business to have them on ECR.
The city has an office in the direct area which can be used as an information area and source of aid.

SU has already said that it does not want any one on campus that does not have business there. I think their position is very clear - the safety of their students and property comes first.


2 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 7, 2020 at 11:16 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

I have to laugh. The Wall Street Journal has a weekly section called Mansions. It shows across the country what is going on and who is selling what. This week another large property in Montecito has been sold. A lot of sales in that area - home of Oprah and Ellen G. And the sellers of the property are also selling the San Francisco properties. How about our Tesla main man? He has sold his properties in NORCAL - local mansions. Are they all in the cross-hairs now? Progressives who own very large properties who are also mocking the current social scene? It must be hard to be Oprah and control so much money. FOCUS OF ATTENTION right now is not a beneficial place to be.

The Zuck has moved up to SF. He was going to try and combine a number of sites in Crescent Park into a compound. That did not work so well. So all of you peoples there is a trend in process and your property could be in the cross-hairs. And the city appears to be part of this cabal and is egging this all on. Hopefully the new city council will be on top of these trends because they cost a lot of money to the city. And the methods used to implement those trends is not straight forward.


18 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 7, 2020 at 11:23 am

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

>"He was going to try and combine a number of sites in Crescent Park into a compound. That did not work so well."

^ Too expensive...even for the likes of Zuckerberg + Crescent Park isn't quite ready for high-tech communal residencies.

When it is, the FOR SALE sign goes up & it's 'open season' for prospective buyers...to the highest bidder of course.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

In order to encourage respectful and thoughtful discussion, commenting on stories is available to those who are registered users. If you are already a registered user and the commenting form is not below, you need to log in. If you are not registered, you can do so here.

Please make sure your comments are truthful, on-topic and do not disrespect another poster. Don't be snarky or belittling. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

See our announcement about requiring registration for commenting.


Get the most important local news stories sent straight to your inbox daily.

Craving B. Patisserie's perfect pastries? The San Francisco bakery is popping up in San Mateo next week
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 12,200 views

Demystifying heat pump water heaters
By Sherry Listgarten | 11 comments | 2,965 views

Dry January Last Week? LOL
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 2,853 views

Which Christmas Gifts are Lasting?
By Cheryl Bac | 2 comments | 1,711 views

Premarital and Couples: Join the Club . . .
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,392 views