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Council tackles 'ghetto' concerns

Original post made on May 1, 2009

Hoping to put to rest worries that an affordable housing development would lower property values downtown, a majority of the City Council on Tuesday voted in support of having professionals study the concern.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, May 1, 2009, 10:53 AM

Comments (28)

Posted by smart growther
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 1, 2009 at 11:28 am

"ghetto" concerns in Mtn View. Hard to believe

Posted by GDM
a resident of Blossom Valley
on May 1, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Three cheers for the 2 Councilmembers who opposed this study. I think the Council is merely looking for cover on the issue. If they want to build the project than build it. What will happen if the study comes in that the project will lower property valuse? They will probably vote to build it anyway.

Posted by mrp
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 1, 2009 at 3:57 pm

The council is absolutley looking for cover. If the council really thinks subsidized housing projects are a good thing, then they should put some south of El Camino. There's plenty of room: one can go in Cuesta Park Annex, and another can go at the Pumpkin Patch. Perhaps a third over close to Clark.

Neighbors would scream, of course. But if it's really a good idea, I'm sure they can be mollified with a study or two.

Posted by QM
a resident of North Whisman
on May 1, 2009 at 7:04 pm

Smart Growther: If you want to see what affordable housing in Mountain View looks like, come take a look at 291 Evandale. The city is already part owner of this property, and used the BMR funds to help the project along. If you think there are no “ghetto” concerns about the downtown project, come take a look at the eyesore the city left behind for our neighborhood.

Posted by Affordable Housing Facts
a resident of another community
on May 1, 2009 at 8:28 pm

For those that actually are interested in facts and not unsubstantiated conjecture, here are some links:

Web Link
Web Link

Posted by eric
a resident of another community
on May 1, 2009 at 10:50 pm

the Mtn View council is supporting the creation of ghettos (awful word) right now. High Speed rail will devastate our low income neighborhoods and impact those with no voice. Disgusting.

Posted by R
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 1, 2009 at 11:36 pm

Affordable Housing Facts - thank you for posting the links to those studies and reports. I hope all readers of this article take a look at these and give them some thought when considering the present proposal in downtown.

Posted by skeptic
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 2, 2009 at 12:47 pm

Afordable Housing Facts --Ya think the authors of these studies might have an agenda?

Posted by downtown neighbor
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 3, 2009 at 9:01 pm

By taxing new homes to pay for low income housing, the city is essentially raising the cost of housing of those us that struggle to afford so they can say they are making housing more affordable. Twisted logic. This development will spend $7 million to help only 50 residents. This money could be better spent in *so* many other ways. I side with the neighbors of that project. They're taking a big hit on a wasteful project.

Posted by windycity
a resident of another community
on May 3, 2009 at 9:52 pm

$7M of tax payer money so that 50 residents can live in low-income rental housing??? Give me a break. It doesn't make sense to take money from the many for the benefit of a few, while adversely impacting the neighborhood and nearby property values. I'm tired of excessive government spending, especially on projects that should be left to the private sector. It doesn't make sense, especially given that there are areas of low-income rental housing in Mountain View already. I feel for the residents in the neighborhood who will be adversely affected. The fact that some MV residents have asked for a study on the impact on values seems reasonable given that the City's decision is having a negative impact on others who are part of the community that Councilmembers have a duty to represent.

Posted by Andrew
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 3, 2009 at 10:57 pm

That's quite a bit of money for so few people. However, 50 residents (plus families) better not be the only folks living there. In other words, I hope Council makes sure it's just a jumping off point for low income families, not a long term solution. One family better not just move there when this is built and live there for 30 years.

Posted by Smart Growther
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 4, 2009 at 8:26 am


291 evandale is not owned by the city and is not a city project. A developer bought the run down apartment complex hoping to tear it down and build for sale market priced units. The city did use BMR funds to help relocate poor tenants. When the housing market crashed, he was unable to complete the project. I agree it looks like an eyesore, but that's what happens when a project fails. Its not the only stalled project. Take a look at the HP site.

Posted by Smart Growther
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 4, 2009 at 8:32 am

You are correct GDM. The online agenda packet included several studies/articles that showed these projects did not lower property values if done properly. None of them are high quality but the council will not spend 50K for a new study. This was done to appease members in the audience to make it look like the council really cares about every idea. There was plenty of information already available to them if they had bothered to read the packet.

Posted by local techie
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 4, 2009 at 8:53 am

I take issue with the word "ghetto". I did not hear it used at the meeting, so it's odd that it's in quotes. I feel that it casts a negative shadow on the valid concerns about the low-income rental housing project being raised by Bryant Street residents and the neighborhood.

Posted by Observer
a resident of another community
on May 4, 2009 at 2:27 pm

I work near the subsidized housing unit at San Antonio Circle, next to CSMA. It's a lovely building, very nice to look at and well-maintained, and I never see or hear anything bothersome from the residents. If the subsidized housing being proposed near downtown is anything like this one, I think the residents have nothing to fear. The subsidized building is far more attractive, in my opinion, than the ugly, squat, 60's-era concrete apartment buildings nearby. Doesn't seem to have hurt property values in the Crossings any, and this development is about a block away from that neighborhood.

Posted by what is
a resident of Jackson Park
on May 4, 2009 at 2:43 pm

Ghetto? What is ghetto? and who and what are the people like that are ghetto? Making under 60 grand a year!? sounds like discrimination to me.

Posted by DCS
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 4, 2009 at 4:00 pm

I watched the council meeting on-line and did not hear the word "ghetto" mentioned once. I agree with "local techie," this word was used by the author to marginalize the people who own at Bryant Street. It is great the the council may potentially address one of the issues that the Bryant Street owners face.

Posted by Peter
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 4, 2009 at 4:47 pm

I know that the writer Daniel DeBolt reads these comments:

Daniel, why do you sensationalize these reports and use an obvious reactionary word that was not used at the April 28th council meeting?

You do a discredit to your reporting....

Posted by Water Man
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 4, 2009 at 4:56 pm

Water Water Water Water Water Water Water Water Water Water

Where is all the water going to come from? The schools, the traffic........ We are already beyond our capacity.

To spend 7 million when we have a deficit is contrary to logic. People, we need to live within our means.

The Afordable Housing Facts articles must of been written by a major home building association.

Posted by Don Frances
Mountain View Voice Editor
on May 4, 2009 at 5:48 pm

Don Frances is a registered user.

I wrote that headline, not Daniel. As at most newspapers, editors write the Voice's headlines.

In response to above remarks over use of the word "ghetto," here's something I wrote earlier today in an email to a reader:

I know the "ghetto" thing does not exemplify the entire debate, but no one word could. It does, however, exemplify the extreme side of the neighbors' point of view, which is useful, and it does it in a way that fits in the space (unlike, say, the word "affordable"). For the more tempered and nuanced version, just see the subhead directly underneath: "Downtown residents fear affordable housing will lower property values." The final, fair and complete version of the story is the story itself -- because Daniel does a good job with these things.

Posted by DCS
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 4, 2009 at 7:00 pm


Here is a quote from the report:
one neighbor worried the project would turn the area into a "ghetto."

This did not happen, the person who spoke was more elegent and more careful with his words. Using this word underscores the oncerns that the people who live next door will face now and for many years to come. Just to name the obvious: construction noise, loss of view, loss of light, loss of parking, and loss of desirability to live in this location.

The people of 108 Bryant are the "only" people affected by this project, and they have every right to be concerned and have every right to be involved with this project.

Posted by Peter
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 4, 2009 at 9:30 pm

Re:Don Frances

That subheading (Downtown residents fear affordable housing will lower property values)would have worked just fine without your attempt to strike a cord with the word "Ghetto." But I do not fault you as I know it just journalism 101 to catch the readers attention.

As was written in the petition, if anyone in Mountain View was asked if they would be in favor of BMR housing, I am sure that most, if not all, would be in favor; but ask the same people if they would allow it to be built adjacent to their property, I am positive that there would be a resounding NO!

Posted by reindeerboy
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 4, 2009 at 9:35 pm

The word "ghetto" wasn't used at the various meetings related to this issue. It's a misquote. I too feel that it is being used to marginalize the concerns that community members are raising about the project.

Posted by jack
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 4, 2009 at 9:48 pm

Not everyone supports low-income rental housing built and run by the government. I (for one) don't think it's an appropriate use of taxpayer money.

Posted by MV resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 5, 2009 at 11:15 pm

I am so full of Schadenfreude I don't know where to start. MV city council candidates run on a platform of "affordable housing in Mountain View." Bunch of liberals like how that sounds, so they vote them in. Then they wake up to learn that "affordable housing" doesn't mean 2 BR bungalow for less than $1 million, it means "housing project." Then all the liberals show their true sides when they start calling it a ghetto and protest the decision. What happened about caring for the poor and loving your brother, no matter what his color or nationality? As long as they are on TV and not living down your street, you sure do seem to love them. I wonder if this ghetto will put a damper on your Sunday morning visits to the Farmers Market to buy $10 tomatoes from sustainable local growers. Ha.

Posted by Don Frances
Mountain View Voice Editor
on May 6, 2009 at 10:36 am

Don Frances is a registered user.

DCS: You neglected to provide the whole sentence. It is: "Two residents of 108 Bryant spoke at the meeting, echoing statements of concern about property values made by neighbors at previous meetings, when one neighbor worried the project would turn the area into a 'ghetto.'" I thought this made it pretty clear that the word "ghetto" had been used in a previous meeting. I guess it wasn't clear enough.

reindeerboy: It was indeed used. From our March 20 story "Neighbors concerned over affordable housing": "My concern is you are building a ghetto right here," said one resident, who added that -- despite the police station located across Franklin Street -- neighbors already must put up with the Pacific Euro hotel nearby, which was described as "essentially a halfway house." (Web Link

MV resident: You are confusing the issue, and this comment thread, with your vitriolic remarks. There is nothing inherently partisan about downtown residents' desire to have, or not to have, "affordable housing" near their properties. Your personal obsession with "liberals" is wasted here.

Posted by DCS
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 6, 2009 at 4:06 pm

Don - I thought this article was about the council meeting, there were two people who spoke at this meeting and neither one mentioned the word "ghetto." It is my mistake for speed-reading, but I stand by my claims that the article marginalizes the concerns of the people who live near the site where this affordable housing will be built. The concerns about this complex are very real and will effect downtown Mountain View for many years to come. I would like to see an unbiased article on this subject.

Posted by local techie
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 7, 2009 at 9:48 pm

I too would like to see an unbiased article on the topic. I was at the March 20th meeting and did not hear the word "ghetto". There was someone who summarized the concerns of one roundtable about the area potentially becoming "blighted," which he then qualified tactfully as being perhaps too strong a word. The key thing is that the concerns being raised by neighbors and downtown residents have validity and it is the duty of our city government to represent and consider the concerns of one and all.

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