In this Issue
A very long 4th of July weekend is upon us. Let’s take stock of what is important as we enter our nations’s Fourth of July celebrations. Just think about traditions and values we have enjoyed since 1776!
Dark Side of Prosperity
Our region’s growth delivers extraordinary wealth and inequality. A new book has been published to educate the public who want to figure out what is going on. “Most local planning regulations actually make a lot of sense.” To those who say the housing issue is caused by lack of supply, the author says,…”No, the problem is the [housing] demand is generated by a boom, possibly a bubble [and] by this extraordinary high average income and wealth at the top.”
SJ Mercury News
Ed. Comment: The book’s title below says it all. Are we reaching the point of saying “Let them eat cake”? This did not work out well historically. “Pictures of a Gone City: Tech and the Dark Side of Prosperity in the San Francisco Bay Area.”
Pushed Out of Town
Menlo Park residents have reached out to media and Facebook. A letter delivered to Zuckerberg via Facebook profile described huge rent increases forcing families out of their longtime residences. Sandra Zamora, a member of the Redwood Landing Tenant Union, wrote a letter saying Facebook’s campus expansion has “extremely affected” their current predicament.
SJ Mercury News
Ed. Comment: Is this the shot heard round the world or will this story be marginalized by the highly effective Facebook pushback machine? Will Belle Haven neighborhood slay their marketplace dragon? This neighborhood will be a test for citizen endurance and journalists’ focus. Bottom line: Menlo Park City Council is more than 50% responsible for this un-tenantable situation.
Full disclosure: SFPRA editors live in Palo Alto. Our City Council, as in most cities, is creating far more upscale housing than housing for citizens such as Sandra Zamora. Determining who benefits from “affordable housing” has become far too murky all over the region.
Across the Bay Area landscape we see deteriorating jobs to housing ratios (J2H).The next four articles are our Peninsula Housing Reality Show.
Weight of the World
South San Francisco City Council recognizes community fatigue amidst rare economic opportunity. Officials are reconciling social and economic opportunity against the toll on residential quality of life from massive ongoing development.
What is on their agenda? Quality of life for current residents versus the future. Are we experiencing an economic miracle or a social nightmare?
San Mateo Daily Journal
Ed. Comment: Here is our $64,000 question. Who wants to live in South San Francisco when development is built out? If the economic boom continues, everybody will seek any available housing at the right price. If the boom collapses, anybody with resources will seek available housing at new price points.
Sleepy Silicon Valley
A self-proclaimed premier transportation agency is displacing some its drivers who seek 40 winks. For 20 years Santa Clara VTA has allowed some of its employees to sleep on its premises if they live far away. This perk may be coming to an end. Its elimination is another warning bell about the housing crisis: The bus drivers’ temporary bedsites may have to make way for permanent development for VTA.
Ed. Comment: We have heard of sleeping on park benches. We have heard of sleeping in campers. We have heard of sleeping in awful places. But never have we heard that transportation leaders are reducing affordable housing for their own employees. Can Santa Clara County leaders be more asleep at the switch? Let’s hope bus drivers are not as sleepy.
Breaking the Bank
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission may consider a risky borrowing-and-investment scheme to reduce its employee pension debt.
The problem is that there are no magic bullets for covering the ever-increasing retirement payments. And, unfortunately, some government officials refuse to learn from the mistakes of the past.
SJ Mercury News
Ed. Comment: We can’t make up news such as this. If this is fiscal prudence for billions of transportation dollars, then our strange mix of overlapping transportation agencies will continue to disappoint taxpayers.
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Editors, Neilson Buchanan and John Guislin, are unpaid, private citizens on the SF Peninsula and have no ties to developers or government organizations.