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Council tackles jobs-housing balance

Original post made on May 16, 2014

On Tuesday evening, residents pressed the City Council to do something about the city's worsening housing shortage while some council members, who term out this year, resisted a significant change in course.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, May 16, 2014, 12:00 AM

Comments (15)

Posted by Bored M, a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 16, 2014 at 7:57 am

I'm 35 and bought a house last year. I lived with my for a few years after graduate school and invested in stocks. I've been rewarded with the opportunity to buy a home in a nice area, but that didn't come without hard work ands some sacrifices.

These articles only focus people seeking some sort of intervention targeted towards the have-nots. I am not heartless, but where are the stories of people who worked hard and are doing well? Who don't want to see MV get sprawled out with traffic congestion at every major intersection?


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Castro City
on May 16, 2014 at 8:57 am

Since when should any city be obligated to provide enough housing units for every person who works within the city limits...or for anyone who happens to want to live within the city limits?

It sure would have been nice if I could have afforded to live here when I was a recent college graduate, but that wasn't reality. I took a job in another state - where I could afford to live on the income I was earning - and I saved for years and years and eventually was able to relocate back to the bay area, but it took a LOT of time and a LOT of sacrifice before I was able to afford to make the move back here. As much as I would have liked to have purchased a place in Palo Alto (where I was working at the time) I couldn't afford it, but I didn't blame the city for not providing affordable housing for me, instead I found a place to live that I was able to afford on my income. I guess I don't understand the apparent sense of entitlement of some people, demanding that the city provide enough housing for any/everyone who happens to work here or simply "wants" to live here. What's wrong with looking to other, more affordable cities - you know like...Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, San Jose , etc.- if Mountain View doesn't fit one's budget?


And, how about working on managing/limiting the growth of some of the large employers within the city limits, as opposed to kowtowing to these employers?



Posted by Bill T, a resident of Shoreline West
on May 16, 2014 at 2:35 pm

I read about the need for housing with the booming economy. I also see many, many new apartment complexes being built especially on El Camino Real in Mountain View and Palo Alto and Sunnyvale plus at several other locations in those cities.
The issue I have isn't necessarily with the new housing and the need for more housing. The issue I have is the streets/main arteries (El Camino, Grant Road, Shoreline/Miramonte, Rengstorff, San Antonio, El Monte to name a few) are quite congested and getting worse. If all the housing gets added that is seemingly needed, the quality of life for us living in Mountain View will deteriorate dramatically. At what point do we say enough is enough to maintain congestion and overcrowding to a liveable level.
El Camino Real is a mess at several times of the day as are Shoreline and Grant Road and San Antonio. I don't see any improvements that would lessen the traffic impact in the works for these thoroughfares. I think I even remember a proposal to cut the number of lanes on El Camino from 3 to 1 in each direction through Mountain View. That would be insane given the current traffic levels and the new housing being built.
Is anyone looking at this issue? What are the thoughts of the City Council and Planning Commission on this subject?


Posted by I'm sorry, a resident of Monta Loma
on May 16, 2014 at 3:03 pm

I'm sorry, but Mountain View can not accommodate everyone that works at googles, linkin and the other companies. Period.

And furthermore Mountain View can not accommodate all the leftist liberals that abandoned their once beautiful Detroit.

Otherwise this place will be a mad house of traffic, kind of like the slums of Mumbai.


Posted by @Bill T, a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 16, 2014 at 3:10 pm

"If all the housing gets added that is seemingly needed, the quality of life for us living in Mountain View will deteriorate dramatically. At what point do we say enough is enough to maintain congestion and overcrowding to a liveable level. "

Bill, your observations are right on target. Many of us are worried about the direction that the city seems to be headed. The current city council has only 2 out of 7 members who more or less consistently vote with "quality of life" in mind (Siegel and McAlister). Inks and Kasperzak consistently vote for development, for their own reasons. The others have usually allowed themselves to be persuaded by pro-developer arguments, and by pro-development recommendations from Planning staff.

At the last election, many of us did not see these development issues coming, and voted for some of the council members who have proved so disappointing. I know I made a couple of poor choices.

Three seats will be open this November. We have to do better this time. It really matters.


Posted by Konrad M.Sosnow, a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 16, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Mountain View's General Plan 2030 calls for an increase of 11,360 jobs between 2009 and 2030 (see Table 3.1)

It also calls for a population increase of 12,470 between 2009 and 2030 (see Table 3.1).

If we assume 1-1/2 persons per residence, that means an additional 8,313 residences.


So does City Council reconcile the 11,360 additional jobs in the General Plan 2030 with LinkedIn's desire to add 13,000 jobs and Google's plan to add 15,000 to 20,000 jobs?

We either have to cap job growth or work with San Jose, which has a lot of space, to build housing for those employed in Mountain View.


Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow, a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 16, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Mountain View's General Plan 2030 calls for an increase of 11,360 jobs between 2009 and 2030 (see Table 3.1)

It also calls for a population increase of 12,470 between 2009 and 2030 (see Table 3.1).
If we assume 1-1/2 persons per residence, that means an additional 8,313 residences.


So does City Council reconcile the 11,360 additional jobs in the General Plan 2030 with LinkedIn's desire to add 13,000 jobs and Google's plan to add 15,000 to 20,000 jobs?

We either have to cap jobs in Mountain View or work with San Jose, which has a lot of space, to provide housing for those employed in Mountain View


Posted by So Sorry, but, a resident of Monta Loma
on May 16, 2014 at 3:45 pm

I'm sorry, but Mountain View can not accommodate everyone that works at googles, linkin and the other companies. Period.

And furthermore Mountain View can not accommodate all the leftist liberals that abandoned their once beautiful Detroit.

Otherwise this place will be a mad house of traffic, kind of like the slums of Mumbai.


Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow, a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 16, 2014 at 5:03 pm

Plan Your Work, then Work Your Plan

Mountain View's General Plan 2030 calls for an increase of 11,360 jobs between 2009 and 2030 (see Table 3.1)

It also calls for a population increase of 12,470 between 2009 and 2030 (see Table 3.1).

If we assume 1-1/2 persons per residence, that means an additional 8,313 residences.

So how does City Council reconcile the 11,360 additional jobs in the General Plan 2030 with LinkedIn's desire to add 13,000 jobs and Google's plan to add 15,000 to 20,000 jobs?

We either have to cap jobs in Mountain View or work with San Jose, which has a lot of space, to provide housing for those employed in Mountain View.


Posted by PH, a resident of Rengstorff Park
on May 16, 2014 at 5:35 pm

What are those who can't afford the expense of moving supposed to do? Many people have lived here for years and the rent was always a little high, but they made it work out. Now the landlords routinely raise rents ten percent each year and most people don't get any wage increase even close to that. Add the increased costs of food, gas and other needs and the average person is in a dilemma they didn't create and can't control. The greed that drives our economy will turn us into a third world nation if those who have lots don't start helping others with better pay and benefits. The corporate way of hoarding money and making poor deals with upper management will eventually cost incredible amounts without gains and the poor government behavior will be the end of our country as we know it. Greed and corruption are not new, but seem to be on an all time race to wreck our economy. Our great nation was built by everyone from the bottom up and we all need the chance to get ahead, not just the few at the top. If those at the bottom fail the foundation of our economy will fail. Welfare programs sponsored by the taxpayer will not carry the burden. It is up to free enterprise to spread out their wealth across the people that make them profits. They don't have to give it all away, just share it a little more. The CEO of a company can't get rich if he doesn't have the people that work for him. They aren't independent from their employees, but they seem to have forgotten they are part of a team effort. We need to restore the dignity and sense of purpose to working people so that they can feel like being part of the solutions, instead of feeling like they need to cause more problems. Happy people who aren't worried where the money to pay their bills will come from are the kind of people that employers should want, but this only happens if everyone, no matter what the job, feels they can get ahead. People need affordable living anywhere and this area is certainly capable and should work on balancing out our economy. We should be leaders in having a good life, not greedy people who only care about how much they have. It isn't about who has the ability to get ahead, but what they are offered if they make the effort. We are all in this together and if the bottom falls out again as it did a few years ago we all pay the price.


Posted by Martin Omander, a resident of Rex Manor
on May 16, 2014 at 6:49 pm

Raising the minimum wage, forcing developers to build more affordable housing, punishing businesses which create jobs -- none of these address the *real* problem: a shortage of housing. With smart, mixed development accompanied by good public transport and bike lanes, we can get a lot more housing in Mountain View and make sure this remains a great place to live and work for our kids when they grow up.


Posted by SWAN Resident, a resident of Shoreline West
on May 17, 2014 at 7:28 pm

I think it's important to also point out the argument that Bryant and Abe-Koge made during the Housing Element discussion against housing in North Bayshore: Residential growth should be next to services, retail, schools, and transit. Its not possible to fabricate a balanced neighborhood in North Bayshore. Bryant brought up the historical example of the Whisman neighborhood as an example: lots of housing built, but retail and services never followed, and even an *existing* elementary school site has been difficult to re-open due to lack of students. North Bayshore residents would just end-up driving everywhere. Growth should be along El Camino Real and central Mountain View.


Posted by Unluckiest Woman in Mountain Vew , a resident of Waverly Park
on May 18, 2014 at 6:53 am

I am the unluckiest person in Mountain View. Unlike those that say how terrible traffic and parking are in Mtn. View, I have lived her over 35 years and have never not found a parking spot or been stuck in traffic in this great city. I am so unlucky, my house has increased 8 times in value. Thank goodness council has artificially restricted the housing supply in Mtn View.


Posted by Christopher Chiang, a resident of North Whisman
on May 18, 2014 at 8:46 am

Housing shortages and diminishing quality life are both real problems, so where's the innovation? This doesn't have to be zero sum. In tech, you don't see engineers fighting battery life and performance in zero sum terms, but rather designing to do both better.

To say Mountain View must be "the city" that lowers its quality of life for the region's woes by building more and more condos and luxury apartments is unnecessary and unimaginative. Likewise, to say because Mountain View can't solve the housing shortages alone, so it should do nothing bold would be akin to giving up on global warming at a city-level because a city cannot change the climate change alone. What's socially just doesn't depend on others actions.

Imagine, what if ecological housing was built in North Bayshore for residents who were willing to live on a carbon neutral (or even carbon negative) footprint adjacent to Google/Linkedin. The idea of no cars, thoughtfully designed smaller/micro housing, and relying on ZipCars, and bikes does not need to appeal to everyone, just enough people to help cool down the housing marking and traffic, and all the while highlighting the social good of living on less consumption.

This isn't "dorm life," nor is it unappealing to many. Look at how many visit Ikea's micro showroom or browse Dwell Magazine at the market. How many would give up a more traditional lifestyle in return for living in harmony with the Baylands, biking some of the most peaceful parts of the Bay Area?

We could stop construction growth in the rest of the city, preserve the traditional qualities of Mountain View, all the while blaze ahead creating enviable new housing designs. Yes, we can design to do it all, if we had the will and vision.

Lastly, those who worry about loss of open space ignore that housing could be built on the existing developed space slated for commercial office growth. Those who laugh that these ideas should take a moment to read what's happening around the world via sites/Twitters like:
CBS's SmartPlanet Web Web Link @SmartPlanet
Fast Company's Co.Exist, Web Web Link @FastCoExist
Atlantic Monthly City Web Web Link @CityLab


Posted by HollyinSunnyvale, a resident of another community
on May 19, 2014 at 9:56 am

I can't say enough about the quality of the debate in Mountain View. I live in Sunnyvale and we are not, as a community, quite up to the mark on understanding these factors pushing and pulling us. I feel that Mountain View residents should be commended for having these tough discussions. Only by bringing the issues forward can any community hope to come to some consensus. We likely need a regional discussion for this regional problem, but in the meantime at least your folks seem to have most of the major playing cards on the table. You are ahead of us.


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