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High-cost housing creates desperate living conditions

Original post made on Jul 26, 2013

As the cost of living in Mountain View climbs, a city inspector says that in recent years he's found families living in shocking conditions -- children sleeping with their parents in garden sheds and in the closets of cockroach-infested apartments.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, July 26, 2013, 12:50 PM

Comments (75)

Posted by Scott Lamb
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 26, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Daniel DeBolt: In another recent article, you wrote that "Mayor Inks questioned the assertion that $8.50 an hour was not enough to live on." I wasn't sure how he intended people to afford rent. Maybe this is what he intended? Could you please ask him to clarify in light of this story?

Posted by OK
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 26, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Thanks to people like Scott Lamb we have expensive housing. They live the good life, throw mud, raise fees, then blame it on someone else instead of looking within the union leadership.

Posted by M. Kane
a resident of Castro City
on Jul 26, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Maybe it's time for Mtn. View to consider rent control as well as raising the minimum wage.

Posted by Nick
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 26, 2013 at 3:02 pm

How many of the tenants in these situations are illegal immigrants? The article tries to make it a sob story, but the conditions are probably better than what they'd have in their home country.

People don't have to live in Mountain View either: there are much cheaper places, including nearby.

Posted by Curious Observer
a resident of Jackson Park
on Jul 26, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Curious Observer is a registered user.

When I looked into the brand new apartments on Evelyn across from the train station, the rent was >$4,000/month for both 1 & 2 bedroom units and that didn't include utilities. Unbelievable! It's downtown Mountain View folks...not SF or Manhattan!!!

Posted by Scott Lamb
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 26, 2013 at 3:23 pm

OK, I think you have me confused with someone else. I'm not a union member.

Posted by kuppernman
a resident of Gemello
on Jul 26, 2013 at 3:38 pm

yes, it is definitely sad to see and hear that people have to live in such horrible places. But who can escape the laws of demand and supply. I remember back in 1995 , I used to live in a 3br-2ba for $900 in Mountain View. And in 2010, I used to pay $1000 for a 1BR-1BA which seems a great bargain when compared to today's rental rates. Those days are now for the history books and grand kids.But we humans will adapt to anything. You can't ask for higher minimum wages because you have to make a minumum of $30 to $35 to make a meaningful life. Now imagine, if McDonalds's or a taqueria has to pay someone $35 per hour,....many of us won't be afford to eat a burger or a burrito. And you can forget about going to a bar or dining in a fine restaurant because only multimillionaries and billionaires if every business is forced to pay livable wages.

Posted by noneckjoe
a resident of North Whisman
on Jul 26, 2013 at 4:48 pm

"He came upon another family living in abackyard" -- needs a space before "backyard". :-)

Posted by Martin Omander
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 26, 2013 at 5:10 pm

It's sometimes sad, but there is no escaping the law of supply and demand. When more people want to live in a certain place, prices there go up. Raising the minimum wage would only result in even higher rents, as more money chase the existing apartments. Rent control usually results in poorly maintained housing and lower supply.

In my opinion, the government should stay out of the rental market and instead focus on three things to alleviate the problem:
1. Provide infrastructure that private actors won't, like better roads and rail links.
2. Adjust zoning near downtown areas, to allow for higher density housing.
3. Enforce existing rules, to prevent unsafe additions that aren't up to code. It's no fun waking up to an electrical fire in your neighbor's backyard shed where people live. I know...

Posted by Scott Lamb
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 26, 2013 at 6:54 pm

Yes, rent and cost of other goods/services would likely increase if the minimum wage does. But it's an exaggeration to say that other goods and services will become unaffordable for everyone (kuppernman) or to imply that the rent increase will be so much that wage increase will make no difference in minimum wage employees' standard of living (Martin Omander).

I'm not an economist, but...

Goods/services: Keep in mind that professionals' salaries vary greatly with area. I make far more in Mountain View than I ever could where I grew up (Iowa). But minimum wage is much closer to the same everywhere. ($8.50/hr here vs $7.25/hr in Iowa) So the ratio of professional to minimum-wage income is much higher here than there. That ratio could go down just a bit and professionals would be fine. kuppernman, I don't know your financial situation, but I suspect you'd also be fine. Keep in mind that labor is not the entire cost of anything. If prices increase according to costs, then a labor cost increase of x% will result in a price increase of less than x%. Also keep in mind that happiness is not a zero-sum game. I can imagine all kinds of ways not living in the same town as many miserable people might make me more happy than a cheap burrito would. It might even save me money overall. Desperate people are expensive in terms of emergency services and such.

As for housing: A wage increase at least wouldn't hurt minimum-wage workers. if the prices increased so they again couldn't afford housing, then demand would fall back to its previous levels and they'd be no worse off than before. More realistically, I think they make up a relatively small part of the elastic housing market. Increased prices could encourage other people to have (a safe number of) roommates, commute a bit further, etc, causing demand to go up by less than you suggest. The price will probably go up but again by a lower percentage than their wage increase. And any price increase would make it more profitable to be a landlord, increasing supply. So again, I think minimum-wage employees would be noticeably better off and others would not be noticeably worse off.

Posted by George
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 26, 2013 at 8:04 pm

What the frig.... Nothing stops them from moving on. It would be nice if we al could live in Atherton...We all move down to the places we can afford... Get the heck out of MtnView to somewhere yu can afford. No sympathy..

Posted by Mary
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 26, 2013 at 8:45 pm

I'm rather appalled by the lack of sympathy in some of these comments. I suppose the disclaimer is that I believe people should try to live as locally as possible. If people lived closer to where they worked, shopped, prayed, etc., traffic congestion would lessen. We need the infrastructure to support this and to promote use of public transit. Because newsflash: this area is not going to get less densely populated, and I personally don't support the idea that the person who bags my groceries at Safeway has to commute over a long distance/time from San Jose because that's where they could afford housing.

Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 27, 2013 at 7:35 am

You know where I would live if I could afford it? Los Altos. The schools are way better for my kids.

But guess what? I can't afford to live in Los Altos. Is that Los Altos' fault?

Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 27, 2013 at 7:48 am

I have seen the future of Mountain View, and you can, too: it's called Flint, Michigan. Enjoy your high times while they last, greedheads. You'd be well-advised to invest some of your lavish winnings in canned goods and shotguns.

Posted by Observer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 27, 2013 at 9:03 am

This has been going on for two decades. This is how Silicon Valley and Mountain View were built and maintained. The article doesn't touch on the practice of renting out a piso, or floor space. Many families along the California Ave apartment corridor rent sleeping space on the floor, infants and all. It works something like in after 8PM, out by 6AM, locks on all cupboards and the refrigerator. In a two bedroom apartment I once visited, the principal renter lived in relative style with his small family in one locked room, and then rented out every inch of floor space at night. That's how he made his living while the woman cleaned houses. So you see here how the exploited learn to exploit sometimes even better than those who first exploited them.

Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jul 27, 2013 at 9:12 am

My old studio on California Street is 1,500 per month, yes I long for the good old days.

I can only wonder how much my 1 bedroom apt in San Francisco goes for now.

While no has the right to live in places or expect affordable housing in certain neighborhoods or cities. Demand is so great that certain landlords can just collect rents due to the fact people need the housing.

We have so many types of work people are trained, educated, or provide to the all residents. All residents need services from a house cleaner to a doctor. In turn they needed services.

Posted by Honor Spitz
a resident of another community
on Jul 27, 2013 at 12:13 pm

This is indeed a multi-facated and complicated issue. While some of us, through nothing more than "good timing" and "dumb good luck" live where we do, others do not. But whatever one may think about those less fortunate souls, one factor looms on the horizon that can't be ignored: in one way or another, all of us who DO live here will be affected sooner or later by the high cost of living in this area. First responders, teachers, service people of all type (waitstaff in eateries, car mechanics, "mow and blowers", etc) medical practitioners of all sort, and on and on, will live so far away that we'll be left high 'n dry. Then what?!!
I don't have a magic wand or a handy bromide, but I do think that all of us should keep an open mind and an open heart and put on our thinking caps and try to be part of the solution rather than be nothing more than point fingers

Posted by Nick
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 27, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Honor Spitz --
>First responders, teachers, service people of all type (waitstaff in eateries, car mechanics, >"mow and blowers", etc) medical practitioners of all sort, and on and on, will live so far >away that we'll be left high 'n dry. Then what?!!

It's simple: then people will have to pay more to get these services, and those people will be able to afford to live here. If we just subsidize their housing, then those with more money just continue to get cheaper services. Don't distort the market just because a few illegals are comfortable living in shacks. To them, it's not so bad anyway compared to what they left in Mexico, or they wouldn't be here.

If we also eliminated the inflated pensions from police/fire/teachers, we'd be able to pay them a lot more right now, which makes it easier to live here. Though remember: the police in Mountain View start with six figure salaries (plus huge pensions, so they don't even have to save for retirement), which is generally better than the tech industry!

Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jul 27, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Talk to any city dweller from San Francisco or New York City they will tell you of crazy living units. Laundry rooms, hallways, closets or any kind of space. They would rent bunk beds out.

Now most people wouldn't rent these,kind of crazy rental space or at least something shows up for rent. You have to act fast, know someone or move out altogether.

We don't have the transit network, subways or ferry routes to even support living within quick access to our jobs. No not just a token 22 or LRV,

Posted by mvresident
a resident of The Crossings
on Jul 27, 2013 at 6:41 pm

So long as the city refuses to impose rent controls, the market will remain pure and undistorted. This is a good thing because supply and demand. Economic fact.

Plus, everyone knows Mountain View isn't servants' quarters. Be gone, poors!

Posted by S.Carvalho
a resident of another community
on Jul 28, 2013 at 4:46 pm

How sad this is. I remember how run down the City of Mt. View used to be in the 80s, nobody wanted to live there, I purchased a 1,600 sq. ft. townhome near downtown MV in 1994 and I paid ONLY $210,000.00 (now the same townhome is worth almost $1.0 million). I find it even sadder the SELFISH comments from people who probably are luck enough to work for such companies like Google, etc and are new to the area and think that they are better than the people who are unfortunate. For the selfish ones here, have you given any thought that these people who are in dire situation perhaps work nearby, don't own a car (remember, public transportion in Northern CA is not that reliable or good), and thus, these people need to live near their jobs? Why do some people think they are better than others? Why do they think they deserve more than others in this earth? Poor souls.

Posted by Bruno
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 29, 2013 at 10:18 am

"You can't ask for higher minimum wages because you have to make a minumum of $30 to $35 to make a meaningful life."

That sentence is painful to read. kuppernman should be embarrassed to have written it.

Posted by Steve
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 29, 2013 at 12:18 pm

"but were able to find somewhere else to stay pretty quickly, Costanzo said"

They lived in a shed when they were able to find somewhere else? Why?

Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jul 29, 2013 at 2:35 pm

My old studio apartment on Cal St is now 1,500 per month times 12. 11,000 dollars a year, 1/3 of you pay should be for rent. Rent with food, electric, gas, if your have kids, car and other. Not everyone wants to live 5 to a room or live in a shed.

Yes I do know landlords love when rents get this crazy. A landlord is any who rents space. A whole house to a garden shed. Not all landlords are this bad or terrible just the worse kind.

Working 60 plus hours, making 30 dollars a hour with a college degree. You are low income.

Posted by Long Time Mountain View Guy
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 29, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Life can be tough for folks. To mvresident: "Plus, everyone knows Mountain View isn't servants' quarters. Be gone, poors!" Nice. I understand it might not be in your playbook but try to be a little more compassionate if you can. If you have kids (or friends) they'd probably appreciate that.

Posted by Shame on you
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 29, 2013 at 3:58 pm

I am reading some of these comments and thinking, "what a bunch of jerks!". I hope one day that you too can be "unfortunate poors". What is wrong with you selfish people? Think about the work that all these "mexicans" do that YOU yourself would not do. That work benefits you stupid people (not everyone on this thread, just the insensitive ones that obviously make a ton of money and like to talk down on people). We are all Gods children, he loves us no less regardless of our salary. I moved out of Mt. View because the law allows landlords to be thieves! The rent increases are ridiculous. I am waiting for the opportunity to leave CA altogether. I will NEVER give the city of Mt. View my rental/mortgage money and I work in Mt. View. I don't even buy food here, I bring my own or go outside of Mt. View. Such a rip-off and there should be rent control or subsidized housing. I would take a bus to work if I could but public transportation sucks here in Silicon Valley. Stop trying to compare Mt. View to SF or NY, this is Mt. View folks!

Posted by Scott Lamb
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 29, 2013 at 4:20 pm

I think (hope) mvresident was joking when he said "Be gone, poors!" Web Link

Daniel deBolt: I'd also love to see interviews with people living in these places. I imagine no one would do this for fun. Why are they living (and working?) in Mountain View? Is this a permanent arrangement? Are they unable to commute from a nearby city where housing may be cheaper? Are there problems with credit checks and such that prevent them from renting an apartment normally? Are they illegal immigrants? We can guess at these questions and more, but you can report.

Posted by starguy
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 29, 2013 at 4:58 pm

As expensive as Mountan View is, just be glad you aren't paying rent in Palo Alto or Los Altos!

Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Whisman Station
on Jul 29, 2013 at 7:02 pm

$1000/month ~$30 day. I can get the SAME RATES AT A MOTEL OR LONG TERM INN WITH HOUSEKEEPING SERVICE AND A KITCHENETTE ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE COUNTRY!!!( except in liberal infested cities and US coastal communities. Maybe that statement is redundant)

Your " Golden State " isn't so golden to many NON UNIONIZED service workers, that is why you find many more illegal conversions ( an actual legal term ) of intended single family dwellings.

There are MANY incentives to create these squalid properties; the number of FREE SERVICES in what is called SANTA CLAUS COUNTY South of the border. I've mentioned them before in MV and had the MV Voice censor those comments; that doesn't alter the truth about these places I HAVE ACTUALLY SEEN AND HAVE BEEN TO PERSONALLY!!
THAT is why a building inspector makes the headlines, while the MV Voice CENSORED WHY I EXPLAINED MY COMMENTS!!

Are you ready to accept FACTS without censoring about the local magnets that draw people to live in these illegal conditions?

I'm waiting....but I won't hold my breath.

BTW, I get treated better by your Siamese twin just to the North of you.

Posted by Chris Costanzo
a resident of another community
on Jul 30, 2013 at 11:18 am

Chris Costanzo is a registered user.

Posted by Steve, a resident of the Shoreline West neighborhood, 22 hours ago

"but were able to find somewhere else to stay pretty quickly, Costanzo said"

They lived in a shed when they were able to find somewhere else? Why?

They moved to the Central Valley with family, Lathrop I believe. It was winter and is was quiet cold.

Posted by Chris Costanzo
a resident of another community
on Jul 30, 2013 at 11:19 am

Chris Costanzo is a registered user.

Quite, not Quiet. sorry

Posted by Chris Costanzo
a resident of another community
on Jul 30, 2013 at 11:19 am

Chris Costanzo is a registered user.

Quite, not Quiet. sorry

Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jul 30, 2013 at 12:48 pm

I don't know why someone would want to rent a sub standard rental unit but I guess they do according to the article. Moving down the road sounds easier then done, I am Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and San Jose have to same problems Not everyone has the perfect income which will lead to the perfect place to live.

I don't want to see Mountain View become servants quarter know would I want it to be become a super rich community. Not everyone wants to live in Mountain View. But we do provided employment and people do buy our services.

Posted by sally
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jul 30, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Oh the horrors of having to commute! We can't expect people to move to places they can afford! Growing up, we lived in an undesirable area that we could afford and the horrors of horrors, my father had to commute to SF and later San Jose.

Posted by Betty
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 30, 2013 at 3:29 pm

The coalition of Bay area leaders have plans to add 660,000 new apts to the bay area in the next 30 yrs along El Camino and Bart and Caltrain. If each household has 2 cars that will add 1,320,000 to the roads and if 320,000 decide to use public transportation I don't see how our infrastructure can handle it. Could someone please explain how this is supposed to work?

Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 30, 2013 at 4:06 pm

There's a word for unlimited growth: cancer.

This is another bubble, folks. 2008 Redux, if you like, but this time with more special effects and explosions. This entire economic model is coming unglued. It's patently unsustainable.

Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 30, 2013 at 4:08 pm

I mean, it's one thing to build your house with foundations in sand, and it's quite another to finance it with money that a fair number of people don't even think is real.

Posted by palo alto parent
a resident of another community
on Jul 30, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Just curious - what does the code inspector do when he finds code violations? Is the landlord required to fix them? Is the tenant required to move?

Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Jul 30, 2013 at 7:33 pm

Wait, you mean if NIMBY opposition prevents new housing from being constructed, the area becomes unaffordable? That's strange, I could have sworn we were exempt from market forces...

Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 30, 2013 at 8:26 pm

If the California Code Inspector (neither Santa Clara County nor Mountain View have any standards whatsoever when it comes to rental properties) finds the property in question substandard as regards to California Code, the property is "red-taped", meaning it cannot be rented to anyone at all, including the current tenant, until the violations are fixed.

The tenant is effectively evicted. So put your ducks in a line and move before you call the code inspector and drag your predatory slum landlord into court. He'll invariably settle out of court to avoid a judgement, and you'll have the pleasure of knowing he couldn't rent the apartment until he made the repairs when you vacated.

Posted by Mel
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 31, 2013 at 9:48 am

Nick I think your thinking is way off!! Struggling families, are American families too. I am a hard working American with 4 kids and live in a two bedroom rental, I work two jobs and barely have enough to get by with the outrageous rents and I take no money from the government. Rent is unbelievable in MV if you are trying to raise a family and send your kids to good schools, while providing everything they need. Rent control is needed.

Posted by Spartacus
a resident of North Whisman
on Jul 31, 2013 at 2:35 pm

I've heard it's because of Google. The high pay their employees receive, free meals, free buses to work which saves them gas, etc. The workers there can afford high rent. It's great for them and I'm happy for them but it makes it harder on the rest of us. My landlord just raised our rent telling me it's necessary and due to upkeep. He does every year and do mortgages go up, no. And what upkeep? The first year our oven didn't work. The last few years our fridge has been on the brink. And it's just simple greed. Rent control would be fantastic in this city.

Posted by another Mel
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 31, 2013 at 3:11 pm

I agree with Mel. I am also an American family, single parent with one child with just a couple years left in high school (and 12 years invested in the Mtn. View school district, so please don't anyone advise me to 'move and commute'). I also do not get any type of government help. I have FOUR jobs (one full, three part time). My rent is $2,300 a month ($27.6K a year) and is 63% of my income. 63%!! And THAT is common for Mountain View families. That's before utilities, food, gas, clothing car and insurance is even paid.

Rent control is definately needed in this city!

Posted by Dave
a resident of Jackson Park
on Jul 31, 2013 at 4:21 pm

I lived in Mountain View for 30 years until last year when the rent suddenly raised 25% (actually quadrupled over 30 years) and I am now homeless.

The local police are experts at harassing and threatening homeless people like me and accusing me of being a drug abuser. I told the officer that I am working at a job with the Federal Department of Transportation in the Federal Department of Homeland Security and get random drug tests to protect the traveling public and besides, I do not and never will do drugs as the effects are annoying and the side effects are always bad. I even have a Federal P.I.V. badge I need to wear at work every day.

Actually there are advantages of being homeless: no spyware PG&E "smart meters" with their dangerous high frequency signal emissions!

Posted by Dave
a resident of Jackson Park
on Jul 31, 2013 at 4:26 pm

As far as building high density housing near public transportation: have fun living in your tiny "kennel" breathing diesel fumes from buses and constant noise from Caltrain.

Mountain View is a perfect example of the application of Unites Nations Agenda 21.

Posted by Steve, ex-sylvan park
a resident of another community
on Aug 1, 2013 at 7:26 am

Isn't it ironic. The harder our regulators try to subvert the economic law of supply and demand, the greater their results are in the wrong direction.

Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Aug 1, 2013 at 9:32 am

My rent has gone up 25% in the last four years, and the landlord refuses to bring this hovel up to the basic standards of California Code. I have a lawyer, and I'll be getting a substantial amount of my rent back when I leave this crummy apartment. I'll also call CA Code Enforcement and have the place red-taped.

Mountain View needs rent control, ASAP.

Posted by Mel
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 1, 2013 at 2:39 pm

I'm back.......MV City Council are you hearing us, do you see the middle class is struggling without rent control in this City?

I play in this City, I live in this City, I volunteer in this Community and have for 10+ years.

Contemplating moving due to my rent being increased 15% this year alone by BT Properties in a unit I have lived in for 8 years.

Posted by Markets
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Aug 1, 2013 at 2:45 pm

This is one of the nicest areas to live in the world. There are plenty who would love to be here, but realize it wouldn't they live in other parts of the bay area or other parts of the country. Maybe some people truly prefer Idaho or south Dakota, but I bet lots would love to live here.

On rents. Often they are associated with the purchase price of the building. Those "investment" prices have also gone up. Investors have a right to a return. Some may have suffered losses during the down times, or with vacancies. Also, for those upset about rising rents, we're there any complaints about the decreases during the prior recession period?

Posted by Beth
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 1, 2013 at 3:09 pm

To Me!

BT must be on a roll, they increased our rent by 23%! And didn't do a darn thing to the place to deserve it. Somehow that feels illegal to me!

Yes, Rent Control is needed. But I don't think any of the Council would go for it. I'm sure it wouldn't make the developers happy and that seems like all they want to do lately.

Posted by Detroit escapees
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 1, 2013 at 4:19 pm

With the flood of people escaping Detroit and with all the illegals, and all the H-1b visa people, it's no wonder there is no room. Something will have to give. Mt. View is not Manhattan and lets try and keep it that way.

Rent control is what the market will bare. Similar to stocks, the more people wanting some companies stock, like Googles, the higher the price will be.

With prices going up and up, we need to ask our employers for a raise. Or talk to your local union leaders.

Here is some humor on getting a raise.

Employee: Excuse me sir, may I talk to you?

Boss: Sure, come on in. What can I do for you?

Employee: Well sir, as you know, I have been an employee of this prestigious firm for over ten years.

Boss: Yes.

Employee: I won't beat around the bush. Sir, I would like a raise. I currently have four companies after me and so I decided to talk to you first.

Boss: A raise? I would love to give you a raise, but this is just not the right time.

Employee: I understand your position, and I know that the current economic down turn has had a negative impact on sales, but you must also take into consideration my hard work, pro- activeness and loyalty to this company for over a decade.

Boss: Taking into account these factors, and considering I don't want to start a brain drain, I'm willing to offer you a ten percent raise and an extra five days of vacation time. How does that sound?

Employee: Great! It's a deal! Thank you, sir!

Boss: Before you go, just out of curiosity, what companies were after you?

Employee: Oh, the Electric Company, Gas Company, Water Company and the Mortgage Company and they are all after me to pay up the bills!

Posted by sally
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Aug 1, 2013 at 5:35 pm

Schools are not a valid reason to be entitled to live in a place you can not afford. I went to bad schools. It wasn't that bad. My parents lived where they could afford and they were college graduates living in a blue collar area sending their kids to blue collar schools. We all turned out just fine, imagine that. I guess they could have pissed and moaned that they couldn't afford Palo Alto.

Posted by Another Mel
a resident of Shoreline West
on Aug 1, 2013 at 7:21 pm

Boooo, hiss Sally! That is the most insane reasoning to argue the point that rent increases have gotten out of control in this area.

If you think it's acceptable that a rental market increases 25% in a year when the average worker is lucky to get a 3% pay increase, or that those of us who have invested YEARS in this community feel "entitled" to provide our kids with good schools, you sound more like someone who was raised in the "I-am-and-always-be-better-than-you" neighborhood.

Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Aug 2, 2013 at 9:10 am

Don't want to see Manhattan come to Mtn View but it is already here. Mind numbing increases in rent, high rents and crazy living conditions. It is a landlord market which could result in crappy apartments and rental. If you don't like your space that you rent, just move. The landlord will have a renter in hours.

Rent Control will it help, again you could just move. Rent Control does not cover empty apartments.

Posted by @Garrett
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 2, 2013 at 1:35 pm

"Don't want to see Manhattan come to Mtn View but it is already here."

What have you been smoking? I've lived in NYC for over 4 yrs, a long time ago. MT. View is nothing like it.

Posted by concerned
a resident of Jackson Park
on Aug 2, 2013 at 8:12 pm

"Now imagine, if McDonalds's or a taqueria has to pay someone $35 per hour,....many of us won't be afford to eat a burger or a burrito. "

heck, I can barely afford fast food now with Big Macs hitting $4, yet my hourly wage is less than it was in 1992.

If wages had at least PARTIALLY kept up inflation as so many other have done (transit workers, city managers, lawyers, ceos, etc...) then maybe we all COULD afford that much-more-costly burrito and that ridiculously priced apartment today. You wouldn't see so many new and old businesses fail due to painfully high rents and leases too.

And to those who say it was mainly low-paid immigrants who have been forced to move from M.V. due to high costs, try telling that to all my friends who grew up here and were forced to leave their home town unwillingly.

Our economy cannot survive if workers are not paid a fair wage, because they ARE the lifeblood of the nation's economy.

Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Aug 3, 2013 at 6:17 am

I know we aren't like NYC, only saying that the rents and housing prices have risen. No let me change it to mind numbing percentages. No we aren't NYC but then making 48,000 dollars a year won't get you far.

Posted by Janet L
a resident of Rex Manor
on Aug 3, 2013 at 11:23 am

The job and housing markets can be so cruel. Either the economy is down and unemployment soars or the job market is up and housing prices soar.

Many of the suggestions above defy market forces:
(1) Rejecting denser housing will tighten supply in a high-demand market and drive prices upward. If people are willing to pay top dollar for a "tiny "kennel" breathing diesel fumes from buses and constant noise from Caltrain" then it must be better than other options, right?
(2) Landlord not maintaining property? Rent control often means he or she will spend even less. That's what I hear from friends in New York City and San Francisco, the #1 and #2 densest cities in the US.

By the way, San Francisco & Manhattan respectively have 3x and 12x the density of Mountain View. The fear-mongering about density is pretty darn hyperbolic.

Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Aug 3, 2013 at 2:50 pm

We are seeing a change in high tech office space for the worker. Most offices average at 250 square feet which for SV companies are looking at 100 square feet for workers. The changes won't apply to all companies, workers and the position one has with their employer. What we will see the density of the workplace. Take Mayfield Mall, apply the 100 square foot rule to 250,000 square feet. You have to account for other non 100 square feet per worker uses. Restrooms, hallways, visitor lobby, meeting space and etc.

Now look at past and present building and ones that haven't built. Not all space will be changed to 100 square foot spaces. Don't worry your doctor, your dentist or lawyer will lose space.

Now add how many more people will squeeze into 50,000 to 200,000 square feet spaces. Then try to figure out space for these workers, the new workers that will serve those workers and all those extra workers that serve both types of workers.

By the way read that California builds over 30,000 acres of farmland each year. I am sorry I can live with denser cities, crowded sidewalks, smaller taller buildings but ask me to give up food for parking lots. I have to draw the line. 600,000,000 acres of farmland lost since 1990.

Posted by Sanity
a resident of another community
on Aug 4, 2013 at 12:01 am

Manhattan is 33 square miles. Mountain View is 12 square miles. Manhattan has a population residency of 1.6 Million people with another 1.6 Million or so commuting in to work each day. When we have 576,000 residents and 576,000 workers coming in from outside to work each day, then we will be at Manhattan density.

Posted by Sanity
a resident of another community
on Aug 4, 2013 at 12:04 am

On the other hand, San Francisco has 812,000 residents and is 231,000 square miles. Mountain View with 12 square miles needs 42,000 people to be at San Francisco population density. However, we are already at 75,000 population, so we are already much denser than San Francisco.

Posted by Sanity
a resident of another community
on Aug 4, 2013 at 12:05 am


On the other hand, San Francisco has 812,000 residents and is 231 square miles. Mountain View with 12 square miles needs 42,000 people to be at San Francisco population density. However, we are already at 75,000 population, so we are already much denser than San Francisco.

Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Aug 4, 2013 at 8:03 am

I agree 100 percent our density is lower then San Francisco and Manhattan. Mountain View and the rest of Silicon Valley has a world wide draw to those seeking employment. Just like Manhattan and the prestige of working in one of their,many companies, firms and professional fields. Mountain View and the rest of Silicon Valley is on a smaller scale.

Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Aug 4, 2013 at 10:42 am

Except that NYC has a very diverse range of businesses: entertainment, media, finance, software, games, publishing, fashion, and transportation.

Silicon Valley has all its eggs in one basket: tech.

Detroit is a much better comparison, and see where that got them? You're on a high-speed train to Detroit, and you don't even know it.

Posted by Scott Lamb
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 4, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Sanity: Those San Francisco figures don't match common sense for a simple reason: the 232 square miles are mostly water. San Francisco's 42 square miles of land are much more dense than Mountain View's 12 square miles.

Mountain View's density is going up with every new apartment complex, but it's not keeping up with demand. I'd like to see more housing as well as a higher minimum wage.

Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Aug 4, 2013 at 3:29 pm

The Detroit Met is a big are and does well. Expect for certain cities. Our city council should encourage other businesses and retailers to build, invest and stay within the 12 square miles. Not just to house Google and their workers.

Support your local arts, businesses, retailers, schools and events.

Posted by Janet L
a resident of Rex Manor
on Aug 5, 2013 at 10:55 am

Old Ben, the idea that MV has all its eggs in one basket because tech will decline is hogwash. We've already weathered multiple tech waves, first when semiconductor manufacturing went overseas (Fairchild), then when computer manufacturing declined (SGI, Sun). Now what's hot is internet search and social media and guess where it is--right here in Silicon Valley (Google, Facebook).

Who knows what's the next tech business? I sure don't. But Mountain View is not likely to left out of it.

Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Aug 5, 2013 at 12:29 pm

The tech industry is entirely dependent on a consumer-based economic model and a sustainable energy grid. The consumer base is shrinking, worldwide, owing to the decimation of the middle class. The energy grid is a bad joke manipulated Enron-style by JP Morgan Chase and subject to annihilation by a fairly decent CME during solar maximum at any moment. The phones are killing the PC market, and the phone market is saturated.

Your Detroit moment is much closer than you think.

Posted by Mel
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 5, 2013 at 2:39 pm

It's a hoot how quickly people get off subject (ADD??). Housing costs too high........discuss!

Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Aug 5, 2013 at 3:35 pm

I agree with Janet about the cycles seen in MV and the challenges of change. The auto industry some challenges and really major lack of change. One big change Detroit missed was the gas shortages and the impact on the consumer.

Tech business is ever changing, we don't have the same kind of worker to start with, other thing is the challenge to create work in the worse of times.

This is important to keep the valley from becoming full of out of reach housing, long commutes and lack of cheap office space. Nobody will want to take risks, create new ideas and jobs when so much overhead is needed.

Detroit is cheap but they don't have valley in their blood.

Posted by PoliticalInsider
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 7, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Just did some RE comparisons in Detroit. Did you know you can buy a home for $1, the rub of course is $3000 a year in property taxes, but hey its a run down roof over ones head with lots of potential.

PA to TX people are being run out of their homes thanks to fracking, so that we can have our natural gas. Social Justice gone to greed. Their properties are laid baron because the home fills up with methane and their water turns to fire if one lights a match. IN additions the toxic wast contaminants are a clear violation of the Clean Water Act. Does the EPA do anything about it? No Obama says we have an all inclusive energy plan. Good news is our Congresswoman, bless her heart, is putting in a bill to end Fracking. The Honorable Congresswoman Eshoo needs your support. Don't believe it? Google Gas Land and get an education.

I also know everything about the rent rates in our area. Campbell has the most reasonable at $1800 a month average. Sharon Heights a very nice complex is running close to $3-4000 average. Here in the middle is our city with new rents at $3500 average. San Francisco is out of sight at again almost 5 to 7000 per month average. Dot Com all over again.

Housing, I bought our 1970 condo in 2002 for $300,000 today its worth $500,000 and a killer back yard. New homes with the same square footage start at $900,000 and up with nothing but asphalt and other units to stair at. I have remolded extensively and have even more worth. But that is just me right?

So whats wrong with this picture for the poor? There is no way on Gods green earth they can afford living in our rent inflation area.

Today I went for a walk on the trail, I saw a homeless guy jumping the fence into the hotel dumpster. Sad for him the worker was dumping garbage just as he landed. That's what homeless and the poor feel like, garbage. What a metaphor!

We can and should do better as some cities have like Half Moon Bay. They have very low income housing that is nice and clean and not much but it works. We do not have this. If we did we would help the poor and the disadvantaged.

As far as it ferreting out illegal immigrants, I have little sympathy for law breakers. If its only about pushing the poor out, that's our city; we build apartments at the cost of jobs. To date:

Mintons, Jobs lost.
AAA repair, Jobs lost.
Several dot com companies on Evelyn, Jobs lost.
Several machine shops and other small business on Evelyn. Jobs lost.
Hotels and other small businesses on El Camino. Jobs lost.
All these jobs end up at the day worker center or other homeless posts.

So what we have is developers making out like bandits, small business's being snuffed out day by day. Housing only for the well to do tech people, and leaving in the dust everyone else, except the lucky few that purchased a long time ago.

We should do better, Its all absent and a very sad state of affairs.

We better be very careful here. Detroit managed to lose it all due to overcrowding of poor and lack of compassion leading the riots. The police were overwhelmed and the white flight began, leaving a vacuum of housing taken over by the poor who could not leave. Today their government mix ups equaled total failure that we see. Look at the pictures, here a city on a deep water front and failure. We dont have a water front and are losing sight of our Pacific mountain range every day thanks to zoning height changes. How is this going to end up?

We might be on the verge of a Detroit economy, if all these poor band together and create mayhem. I for one with the way they are being treated would not care. Social justice is lacking in Mountain View. The Chickens may come to roost one day. Rue that sad day, but events out of our control might take us there.

Posted by Detroit
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 8, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Well if the goons, mark leno and darrell stienburg, in SAC have there way, our property taxes will be the highest in the nation.

Posted by carol
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 22, 2013 at 3:52 am

MV is not the only city with out of reach rent, so is San Jose, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara. Have you checked recently, suggestion, please do. I can't find anything yet that I can afford. I have to move soon too.

Posted by LeftMV
a resident of another community
on Nov 8, 2013 at 8:40 pm

WHY DON'T YOU DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! STOP COMPLAINING ABOUT THE COST OF LIVING. PROTEST IN FRONT OF GOOGLE, MICROSOFT, SYMANTEC, ETC. I was born and raised in Mountain View and fuming mad I was chased out after my husband passed away and I couldn't afford to stay. I had to move all the way to Brentwood (Northern CA). Fortunately, it was a great move. I bought a brand new, 3,000 square foot house for $432,000 in a gated community!!! The people up here are FAR nicer, less hectic, lots of golf, fishing, boating, yet still has a city feel. I miss Mountain View, terribly. As a matter of fact, the crosswalk at Phyllis and Hans was put there for me by my dad when I was a little girl. The schools are far superior here too. Mountain View schools are far overrated for the cost you pay to live there.

Posted by ac
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 23, 2016 at 9:31 pm

Density calculation error

SF population may be ~837,442 but it is 49 sq miles. So Mtn view would need 189,000 people. We may be there soon

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