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Let the affordable housing proposals pour in, city council says

Original post made on Sep 23, 2010

With $18 million in affordable housing funds burning a hole in its pocket, the City Council Tuesday supported allowing a larger number of affordable housing developers to propose projects in Mountain View.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, September 23, 2010, 1:08 PM

Comments (17)

Posted by Taxpayer, a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 23, 2010 at 3:02 pm

Is this another case of government wanting to spend money just because there is money? Can our city council just let the money grow and wait for a project that makes sense for Mountain View and its resident? Let's spend it wisely, and not just do business as usual.

Posted by MV Resident, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 23, 2010 at 3:37 pm

"Affordable housing" and a high-speed rail station in downtown? Sell your property now. Welcome to Oakland View.

I think about 90% of the the naive voters who read "affordable housing" think that somehow MV is going to make a $800k house magically become a $500k house. Wrong. It means MV is going to use your money to build downtown tenement housing with $1000k/month rent and only allow low-income people to live there. Sound like a nice place to live?

Think more along the lines of "Monte Carlo" and less along the lines of "Savvy Cellar." Say goodbye to MV evening strolls down Castro and Thursday Night Live without gang violence.

Posted by member, a resident of another community
on Sep 23, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Seriously? While most of us are educated, employed, pay taxes and struggling to find 'affordable' housing, the community is going to build housing that the majority of us will not be eligible for. What kind of madness is this? Shall I just give up everything that I have struggled my whole live for so others who haven't can reap the benefit? Silicon Valley and Mountain View have their priorities confused. How can one boost about having the most intelligent and highly skilled thinkers in the world, only to neglect them for not having a silver or tainted spoon in their mouth? I am astonished and sad at the same time.

Posted by Navy_Gunner, a resident of Stierlin Estates
on Sep 23, 2010 at 4:31 pm

MV Resident is exactly correct, that tax dollars will be used to build low rent housing, but ONLY for low income. The money should be used to implement the needs of the current MV residents, such as putting more money into schools!

Posted by Steve C, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Sep 23, 2010 at 5:00 pm

"I'm frustrated by the fact that we have millions of dollars that we are not spending"-Ronit Bryant
That certainly is illuminating! This is the type of irresponsible thinking typical of the enormous bureaucracy that is city government. As if any money found must be disposed of promptly.
The $18 million wasn't "free" money. It was taken via taxes from hard working citizens, who would certainly put it to better use.
Let's reexamine the affordable housing issue, without the misplaced middle class guilt. Subsidizing low income workers merely enables them to exist at the same low level, freeing them of the need to better themselves while at the same time penalizing them (see "taxes", above) if they try.
Before anyone mentions teachers, firefighters, or police, please research what they actually earn!

Posted by Taxpayer2, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 23, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Wow, MV Resident, way to assume that low income = gang violence. What an insult to low income residents who cause no trouble and do hard work in our community. You're right, Navy_Gunner, let's just ignore affordable housing needs and keep Mountain View as a playground for the wealthy.

Posted by DCS, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 23, 2010 at 8:46 pm

Vote the current council members out!

Posted by Observer, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 23, 2010 at 10:19 pm

Funny how Los Altos and the collective conscience there doesn't struggle with issues of low income housing--there isn't any. I agree with the above. Why the middle class guilt on the part of the City Council? I would live in Los Altos if I could. I can't and I'm certainly not expecting some one to make it easier for me by offering me housing at reduced cost.

Posted by Well, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 24, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Well, I hope the city council hires more police officers to deal with all the issues that low income housing brings. Oh that is right...we can not do that.

Posted by Kristine, a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 24, 2010 at 3:23 pm

I actually have been thinking about this. How about have the most affordable units in future projects have limited or no car parking. It's cheaper for developers to do and those who live without cars get rewarded for inducing less congestion with greater housing options.

Posted by Please, a resident of Whisman Station
on Sep 24, 2010 at 4:12 pm

"Before anyone mentions teachers, firefighters, or police, please research what they actually earn!".....none of these professions want to live in low income housing. They see the worst in people at work and have to deal with the ones have the most traumatic experiences when injured, sick, beat-up or dying. Those professions do not want to live in the low income housing conditions even if offered to them.

Posted by Observer, a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 25, 2010 at 1:11 pm

I work near San Antonio Place, one of the city's low-income housing developments. It's been there for quite a few years now, and is still as attractive, clean and well-kept as when it was built. It's much more attractive than the nearby old apartment blocks. The residents there are a mix. Some elderly, some folks with disabilities, some people who are fully employed but in jobs that don't pay enough to pay the high rents in the Bay Area (and still have enough to live on), some single parents. No gang members as far as I can tell. No trash, no tagging, no loitering, no noise.

As for the city being in a rush to spend this money -- actually, I think the city has been critized in the past, because they had all this money allocated for this type of housing, and was never spending it. I think they've been sitting on it for years, and are now getting around to figuring out where and how to build these housing units.

As far as the money being taxpayer dollars -- I think that the money came from "in-lieu" fees that developers chose to pay rather than including a percentage of low-income units in the housing projects they built, and not from taxes that the average worker/homeowner pays. Anyone know if this is correct?

Steve C: wow, arrogance is a specialty for you? "Subsidizing low income workers merely enables them to exist at the same low level, freeing them of the need to better themselves while at the same time penalizing them (see "taxes", above) if they try." Yes, those 80-year-olds on fixed incomes at San Antonio Place really need to pull themselves up by their (very old) bootstraps. And the disabled vets. And people who might have degrees in, I don't know, art or music and want to teach that for a living, and have to piece together low-paying, part time jobs because society won't value their profession enough to actually pay them enough to make a living wage. All a bunch of welfare queens, huh?

Let's not forget all the people who work in construction/landscape jobs and are working really hard remodeling our lovely homes and maintaining our lovely yards and getting paid low wages for it. I guess they should "better themselves" so they won't need to live in low incoming housing. But then who will do our yardwork and build on that new room we want to add? Oh, yeah, another group of people who will get paid minimum wage and not be able to afford rents around here.

Posted by Report, a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 26, 2010 at 4:21 pm

Dear Observer -

I work very close to the San Antonio Place and I am not sure which way your looking. I see the police at those units weekly. Sometimes just for a few minutes and sometime it seems like the whole department is there. The only benefit to this location is it is so isolated from other residential areas and the surrounding businesses are home improvement type stores and not restaurants or family attractive locations. I don't mind it working around the complex but I would hate to have it near my favorite restaurants downtown or in my neighborhood.

Posted by Liz, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 27, 2010 at 2:27 pm

I cannot believe that some of you actually equate low income with automatic crime. Some of those with the highest incomes perpitrate the highest crimes (see the town of Bell). I'm lucky to live downtown but my rent is affordable ($1,100)so am I a criminal in your book? It's the person, not the income that does the crime. Do you really not want me to come to your favorite restaurant?

Posted by k, a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 27, 2010 at 2:30 pm

"While most of us are educated, employed, pay taxes and struggling to find 'affordable' housing, the community is going to build housing that the majority of us will not be eligible for. "

While it's true that housing in the bay area is crazy, you can't assume these people don't work hard. Who do you think is in the kitchens making you food when you eat out a few times a week? Who do you think cleans our sidewalks? Runs your banks?

These people make less than living wages and the housing here runs $1k/mo and up for anything which is entirely unaffordable for them. While difficult for middle class folks, it's not impossible. It's matter of careful budgeting. While it might be hard to find housing around here, I think that's more of a problem that we need to update rent control laws rather than punish poorer people. This will solve the problems that you're having, as well as help lower-income people.

How ungrateful. So many people in this post are being ridiculously and unnecessarily hyperbolic, and very self-entitled. Ugh.

A couple of affordable housing developments are not going to turn Mountain View into "Oakland View". If you have a problem with this, I suggest you move to Marin.

Posted by KD, a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 27, 2010 at 2:37 pm

How nice that those Mountain View residents who win the next Below Market Rent (BMR) lottery will get to live in newly constructed, Above Market Quality (AMQ) accommodations.

It is one thing for the city to acquire apartment units for a group of residents to live and pay no more than 30% of their income in rent, but it is somewhat absurd for those units to be brand new and constructed at a cost of $300k - $400k each.

Especially when other Mountain View tax-paying renters seem quite happy to live in existing apartments units, which rent for $1,000 - $2,000 a month and are currently valued at somewhere between $100k and $200k each (depending on age, location, amenities, etc).

Perhaps the City of Mountain View should use its $18 million (plus some fixed rate debt) to acquire an existing apartment complex, (say 200 units in size), allocate the required number of units to BMR tenants (20%) and use the "profit" from the 160 units subsidize to BMR tenants.

Posted by Kent, a resident of another community
on Sep 27, 2010 at 9:03 pm

Oh... boy ! My friend, Hal (former Old Mill area)and I (former Sylvan Dale area) used to live in and didn't miss Mountain View anymore. Good luck with future potential low income housing coming up which would be similar to Oakland View.

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