Council irritated over housing trust request


The City Council was divided last week over whether to give $150,000 annually to the Housing Trust of Santa Clara County since other cities, including Los Altos, were only giving a small fraction of that amount.

Every year the trust asks local cities for contributions towards homeless shelters, affordable housing projects and section eight subsidies. During their meeting last Tuesday night, council members were puzzled and, in some cases, annoyed after seeing that the city had originally been asked for more than any other city in the county -- $300,000 a year for two years.

Los Altos was only asked for $5,000, and Cupertino was asked for $25,000. The largest request was to San Jose for $250,000.

A representative of the trust explained that cities without many low income residents, like Los Altos, weren't expected to use any of the funds anyway, but some council members apparently thought that was exactly why those cities should pay more.

"I just don't like being singled out like this as a cash cow," said council member Jac Siegel, who wanted the trust to come back with an explanation for how it came up with the request amounts.

The council ended up voting 4-2 to dispense $150,000 a year for two years in below market rate housing funds collected from housing developers, with Jac Siegel and Laura Macias opposed. Mayor Margaret Abe-Koga abstained due to her involvement with the trust.


Like this comment
Posted by USA
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 26, 2009 at 4:09 pm

USA is a registered user.

Lets see what we have here:

- Los Altos happily gave $25,000 to the DWC to get rid of the illegals on their streets while still having access to cheap labor but blanches at $5,000 for the homeless.

- "Jac Siegel, [...] wanted the trust to come back with an explanation for how it came up with the request amounts" Indeed.

- Add to that a request for an explanation as to why the council voted for spending money without an explanation.

- Hasn't the council been talking about how to save money given the current economic turmoil?

- "funds collected from housing developers" is a euphemism which means "we'll jack up the prices on new home owners to pay for affordable housing".

- No, that doesn't make any more sense to me than Obama's plan to spend our way of the the financial crises or Bush's plan to cut taxes to raise the tax base.

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Posted by curious
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 26, 2009 at 4:59 pm

"Bush's plan to cut taxes to raise the tax base."

If you mean cut tax rates to increase tax revenues, which is what was done and what actually happened, here's how it works. Government cuts tax rates, leaves more money in pockets of taxpayers, they invest it in businesses, businesses sell more products and hire more people, who in turn pay more taxes. It is pretty simple once you stop thinking of taxes as a static zero-sum game.

Now, as to Obama's 'plan' you're on your own. It's principally a payoff to the special interest groups that supported his last campaign and that he expects will contribute to his next campaign.

As to our beloved City Council, they are still spending money like nothing has changed. After all, they can just go back to the hit up the taxpayers when they run low. Notice that the so-called fiscal conservatives like Kascperzak and Means voted to go along with this ripoff.

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Posted by LosAltosIsNotNecessarilyMyFriend
a resident of Shoreline West
on May 26, 2009 at 5:20 pm

I share USA's dismay at the irony (some might call it h*pocrisy) for supporting a center which bandaids the situation with undocumented workers and yet essentially thumbs its nose at the longer-term situation of how to house financially-disadvantaged people.

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Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on May 26, 2009 at 9:55 pm

Who do you think cruises over here to pick up cheap help? Start taking photographs of the license plates of those fellows hiring illegals. Send those photos to the authorities. Taxes aren't being paid.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 27, 2009 at 3:23 pm

So they were irritated, but gave the money? I don't understand, is there some sort of implication that Mountain View has more residents who will use these funds? More than any other city in the county?

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