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Original post made
on Oct 4, 2012
Build small apartments or condos of 150 to 300 sq ft per unit and have the owners and or residents pay for them with no cost to homeowners.
In my neighborhood, just the other side of Moffet Blvd from Jackson Park, rents are going up 10% every six months which compounds. Tenants are turning over as people move from still higher priced apartments. If apartments in other parts of town are having the same sorts of increases, Mountain View and PA are shucking the bottom income quarter or so of its residents. Unfortunately there is no downside for the towns in going up market other than further driving up the cost of living in general including retail. PA residents increasingly have to shop in Mountain View for less than up market retail. At some point service workers will have to be bussed in each day from the East Bay and SJ. Most older people will have to leave but really should anyway.
Local government on the peninsula is elected or unelected on its ability to increase real estate valuations. That's about it. Much political activity here is about securing general public funds to upgrade neighborhoods, though most of it is presented in highly moral terms as we do here in California. Real estate owners, Nimbys especially, want the jobs, convenience, and upmarket economic activity that come with development so long as it's outside their event horizon somewhere. Since I came here in '82 all the cities played the game of industrial growth for the tax base but assumed that more housing density had to be somewhere else. Public transit was blocked but with Freeway construction that worked for quite a while. But no more.
Mountain View has been fortunate to have - actually voted in - some officials who have managed things like the transit oriented development and sited it where it shouldn't raise the hackles of home owners who don't want to be reminded that they now live in an urban area of over 6 million people.
Why exactly do we have to house people that can't afford to be here? I didn't receive any help when I bought here, I had to bust my butt! How is that fair to me or any of my neighbors? If you house poorer people, it is a proven fact that crime rates go up and property value go stagnant. Are you proposing to subsidize the police department for the increased costs and reimburse all of us tax paying residents our loss claim deductibles and alarm monitoring costs? I doubt it! Maybe Los Altos Hills will subsidize my income so I can move to a safer neighborhood?!
For anything pricing is set at what the market can bear. If you're priced out of the area you need to look elsewhere, home ownership and life are harsh that way. On the other hand if affordable housing is now part of the community's responsibilities, landlords need to be smacked down with rent control dictated by the city government. Why are we looking to build more housing when we're suffering from being overcrowded already? Neither solution is more "socialist" than the other, while only the latter keeps our streets from clogging up much more.
This is a real problem. Compared to when we moved into our apartment just 3 years ago, our rent has gone up $400 a month. That's an extra $4,800 a year!
We live in a modest 2-bedroom apartment. We are a Google household, so we're by no means low-income. If we're feeling the pinch of the crazy high rent increases, than I imagine it's an even bigger problem for middle and low-income renters in MV.
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