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Guest opinion: The housing 'crisis'

Original post made on Jul 16, 2019

In a guest opinion in the July 5 edition, Mountain View resident Robert Pollak calls on creative solutions to address the need for more housing in the Bay Area.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, July 16, 2019, 9:25 AM

Comments (10)

28 people like this
Posted by Bored M
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 16, 2019 at 10:08 am

What's the point of this opinion? Anyone who says "...things aren't working" should have to qualify that with "for me" or "for some folks I know". There are plenty of people who are making life work and finding ways to thrive. That's what has made this area so successful. The Voice should do a series on how people are achieving and thriving.


13 people like this
Posted by Jake O.
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jul 16, 2019 at 2:40 pm

Everyone is thinking that there's a housing shortage, but perhaps we have a population issue?


13 people like this
Posted by Bla, bla, bla
a resident of North Whisman
on Jul 16, 2019 at 4:21 pm

What about all the cheap, imported tech labor? No mention of that? And for those of us who own homes, are we responsible for the mess the corporations you claim are behind all this? Why is it we have to put up with all the RVs? Because our corporate masters are making us? Why don't our politicians just enforce the laws? The created new rent control laws that are apparently being enforced. Why then can't they enforce long-term parking laws?


26 people like this
Posted by Do your homework
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2019 at 6:21 pm

@Robert Pollack, where on earth do you get this information? It’s seems you pulled it right off the top of your head:

1. Most rental homes and condos in this area that were foreclosed on or sold short were not purchased by large corporations and partnerships. They were purchased by individuals. A short scan through public records of property ownership would tell you this.

2. Likewise, the local RV parks are not owned by large NY Stock Exchange corporations. They’re owned by local entities.

Building a couple thousand cheap, crappy houses on google land will add at least 4,000 cars to our small area and significantly increase the already over congested streets. Eliminating single family zoning would create an incredibly unsightly hodgepodge of neighborhoods that would ruin the character of our cities (it would ruin the character of any city for that matter. Zoning ordinances are in place for a reason.

We didn’t have a housing shortage until our local city councils allowed the over expansion of the tech companies. The answer is not to build more housing but to stop (or reverse) the expansion. We’re already overcrowded beyond what our infrastructure can support. The more housing we build, the more traffic we create, the more miserably overcrowded we become. If the techies can’t find housing maybe they’ll move somewhere else!


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Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2019 at 8:36 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

In response to Do Your Homework you said:

“@Robert Pollack, where on earth do you get this information? It’s seems you pulled it right off the top of your head:

1. Most rental homes and condos in this area that were foreclosed on or sold short were not purchased by large corporations and partnerships. They were purchased by individuals. A short scan through public records of property ownership would tell you this. “

Where is your proof of this claim, you propose that you know better, but you do not provide a valid resource to prove your point. Also there are many “fronts” or “fictitious entities” that are on the record regarding these purchases. Just looking at the public records in fact can be very deceiving, what if it is that the “large corporations and partnerships” provided the funding for the purchases under others names. That is a VERY common business practice in order to gain access to tax credits and incentives in business. Please provide some public records to prove your claim? You said:

“2. Likewise, the local RV parks are not owned by large NY Stock Exchange corporations. They’re owned by local entities. “

What local RV parks? Most people with “RVs” are parking on the street. You are conflating a “Mobile Home” and an “RV”. How many “RV” parking lots are there in Mountain View? There can’t be many if all the RVs are parking on the streets. You said:

“Building a couple thousand cheap, crappy houses on google land will add at least 4,000 cars to our small area and significantly increase the already over congested streets. Eliminating single family zoning would create an incredibly unsightly hodgepodge of neighborhoods that would ruin the character of our cities (it would ruin the character of any city for that matter. Zoning ordinances are in place for a reason. “

Unfortunately, it may become state laws to restrict single family homes, and in fact force cities to replace them with multifamily housing. SB50 is one that would result in this kind of land use reform. Oregon is going in this direction seen here (Web Link). Again, my proposal to start with is this:

Here is the REAL SOLUTION of affordable housing:

The State must create a database of ALL existing residential units that ACTUALLY EXIST! THIS IS MANDATORY TO ALL PROPERTIES!

Then they must create a database of all OWNED residential units that ACTUALLY EXIST! THIS IS MANDATORY TO ALL PROPERTIES!

Then they must create a database that accounts for all USED residential units that ACTUALLY EXIST! THIS IS MANDATORY TO ALL PROPERTIES!

Then they must create a database consisting of all UNUSED residential units that ACTUALLY EXIST! THIS IS MANDATORY TO ALL PROPERTIES!

OF COURSE the Housing industry will oppose this. Why?

This will provide the public the ACTUAL manipulated SHORTAGE of HOUSING in California.

Also there can be taxation designed so that for those properties NOT USED to be levied to fund public housing projects. This will be because the housing crisis allows for this extreme action as long as these units are not listed or used because it is against the state anti-trust and price manipulation laws.

It can be avoided if the properties are made available to the market.

But I will not be surprised that there is as much as an additional 10-15% of units just being withheld from USE because it makes other properties more valuable. And given Proposition 13, they pay pitiful property taxes on units that just sit and decompose due to intentional neglect. No upkeep means that the taxes are the only cost. You said:

"We didn’t have a housing shortage until our local city councils allowed the over expansion of the tech companies. The answer is not to build more housing but to stop (or reverse) the expansion. We’re already overcrowded beyond what our infrastructure can support. The more housing we build, the more traffic we create, the more miserably overcrowded we become. If the techies can’t find housing maybe they’ll move somewhere else!"

YES the area needs a SERIOUS REDESIGN to finally have the infrastructure to deal with our situation. YES, Cities appear to not have the intelligence to deal with the problem. YES we NEED highly skilled civil engineering to fix the problems you describe. But if you drive out these workers, the economy in the region will suffer incredibly. The resulting drop in property values will be the same level as was the great recession on 2007, and it will never return.


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Posted by Former Minneapolitan
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 17, 2019 at 8:08 am

Thanks for mentioning Minneapolis. Glad to see the Midwest mentioned in a positive light.


2 people like this
Posted by MVmom
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 17, 2019 at 10:52 am

One thing that might help is if the City of Mountain View wouldn't make things so difficult for people trying to build ADU's (additional dwelling units). These could help with providing more places to live with landowners paying the expenses, no cost to the city. According to someone we know every time they resubmitted their plans, the plan checkers(s) would add multiple items each time and it took over 1 year to get things approved. They said it seemed they were adding items on a whim, not having anything to do with codes nor the city standards, and different plan checkers were asking for different things arbitrarily. Several professionals in the building industry that we have spoken to have said the City of Mountain View is notorious for being difficult to get building permits and approval on things...unless you are building huge condos/apartments it appears. Just my opinion, so no back lash please.


1 person likes this
Posted by not the housing crisis solution
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 17, 2019 at 11:55 am

Nobody is going to build an ADU for the sole purpose of allowing a homeless person to live in their back yard. No backlash. Maybe there could be a "quick" permitting process when owner is required to allow a homeless person/s to live in their yard for a period of 20 years before it reverts back to a market rate ADU.


10 people like this
Posted by Silly
a resident of Bailey Park
on Jul 17, 2019 at 2:06 pm

Most of the opinions offered are typical far left rhetoric. Large Corporations exploit us and force us to do things. How silly. Go to an RHC meeting. And you will not see any large corporation landlords in attendance. Only mom and pop landlords that suffer through rent control.

As noted above, there are a lot of residents doing very well, which is why they can afford to live here. S


2 people like this
Posted by MVres
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 18, 2019 at 8:45 am

MVres is a registered user.

Responding to not the housing crisis solution, I thought the concept was to create more affordable housing for people, not just house a homeless person in your backyard.


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