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Guest opinion: Single family residential neighborhoods threatened by SB 9

Original post made on Feb 5, 2022

Mountain View resident Albert Jeans warns that Senate Bill 9 (SB 9) could erode the density and character of single-family residential neighborhoods across the city.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Saturday, February 5, 2022, 8:58 AM

Comments (87)

Posted by Yonatan
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 5, 2022 at 9:55 am

Yonatan is a registered user.

It is so good that Albert was able to buy property in Mountain View in the late 80s.
I am sure he paid less than half a million, maybe even a quarter of a million for his house.
It is probably worth 5-6 times as much now.
Thanks to Prop 13 and the actions of homeowners like Mr Jeans restricting the supply of new houses, the full cash price of a house in 1989 is less than the cost of the downpayment on the exact same property.
People like Mr. Jeans have grown rich on the backs of their children and grandchildren and are destroying this state attempting to hold it in stasis for themselves while destroying the lives of anyone else who had the misfortune to want to live in one of the most economically vibrant areas of the country or, for that matter the misfortune of anyone who happened to be born after the landowners in this area purchased their properties.
This "I've got mine, f-you" attitude of the landed gentry in this area is horrifying.
These gentrifiers are working every day to ensure that they no longer live in nice middle class or working class neighborhoods, but instead live in hollowed out retirement communities where all of the people who work in the shops around them need to commute hundreds of miles to work every day for a smaller and smaller chance at anything close to the comfortable life that Albert has managed to get himself.


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 5, 2022 at 10:00 am

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

This is a very nice summary, thank you Mr. Jean.

A key problem we are facing re the density battles is that many people believe that “every new housing unit helps”, even if they don't have any data to support it. Over the past 8 year RHNA cycle, the MV target was 2,926 housing units. How many were actually built? 8,078. Web Link That's a whole lot of extra new units. Did it help? No. Did prices drop? No.

People are being fed the notion that the problem is supply. Wrong. The problem is DEMAND. That's why building thousands and thousands of expensive, market-rate units doesn't make the rent go down. We are Silicon Valley, demand for housing is enormous here, unlike other places. And Google is magnifying the problem with it's goal of hiring 1000s more workers in MV.

Another problem is that people have this notion that developers will continue building and building, even if they don't get enough ROI (Return on Investment). This is a fairy tale. Once the profit margins don't make the cut, the building will stop. That is the reality of capitalism, those investment dollars will flow elsewhere. Once they've drunk the cream from the top of the bottle, development will cease. BMR units are their LAST priority, BMR is cost, not profit.

So many people are fighting to defend SB9 and SB 10, which the politicians claimed were for “affordable housing”, even though THEY DON'T HAVE ANY HOUSING AFFORDABILITY REQUIREMENTS. Why? I think it's their belief-in-their-gut that “every new housing unit helps”. These really are crap bills that don't even help highly paid Googlers all that much, but will do much harm to the community. Young people don't believe that, they don't understand where the funding for schools and city services comes from. Services are not free, somebody has to pay for them, developers and Google certainly don't want to.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 5, 2022 at 10:31 am

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

[Some] decry the fact that there's no requirement for affordable housing in SB 9, but I have to ask the obvious question: where is the requirement in areas that ban duplexes and garden apartments?

[Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 5, 2022 at 1:46 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

On a separate point, I'd expect a journalistic enterprise like the Mountain View Voice to disclose that Albert Jeans was a leading voice in the campaign for Measure C, as he wanted to roust vehicle dwellers from our community. He's even made recent comments where he advocates for adding bike lanes, explicitly stating that it's not because he cares about cyclists, but because it will make vehicle dwelling illegal on his street.

Surely, this context adds useful background for readers to judge how genuine his housing affordability concerns are...


Posted by ivg
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2022 at 7:16 pm

ivg is a registered user.

The timing of this piece is amazing, right after highly publicized, highly ridiculous attempts by Woodside and Belvedere to weasel out of their obligations and prevent the slightly-less-wealthy from living there.


Posted by ivg
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2022 at 9:05 pm

ivg is a registered user.

Mr. Jeans didn't get what he expected when he moved here? I can top that. When my family moved here from the Soviet Union, we expected to find a land of opportunity. Oh yeah, and property rights.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 6, 2022 at 9:50 am

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

[Portion removed] I'd be remiss if I didn't point out a massive lie you wrote here: "Over the past 8 year RHNA cycle, the MV target was 2,926 housing units. How many were actually built? 8,078." Simply clicking your link and reading the chart shows that's far from the truth; the 8,078 number includes proposed homes that are still under planning review. The closest number is about half that (4,219), but even then, that isn't even homes built: it's building permits issued. Now, I'm no urban planning expert, but I don't think a person can live inside a building permit or a proposal under planning review.

[Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 6, 2022 at 10:58 am

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

“Both of them present lots of complaints, anger, and fear, but no solutions.”

In order to present solutions, one has to agree on the problem. YIMBYs talk about “affordable housing”, but primarily fight for only the highest wage earners around. It is dishonest to claim one is fighting for service workers and kids who won't be able to afford to live here, when one viciously supports bills like SB9/10 which do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to help these groups.

The anger (and jealousy) is displayed by those like the first poster, who is angry that he wasn't born when housing was “only” outrageously expensive not completely unaffordable as it is today. I sympathize. He then makes evidence free accusations that existing homeowners have acted to restrict the supply of housing, and fails to understand that Prop 13 was passed IN RESPONSE to wildly increasing home prices, to protect old people from being forced out of their homes because they could no longer afford their taxes. Striking it down WOULD increase the supply of units for young techies, in a rather ruthless manner IMHO.

Randy likes to take words and nitpick to distract from the big picture. The data in that chart is difficult to describe and Voice comments require brevity, but THE MAJOR point it shows is that developers wildly prefer to build expensive units (650%) over BMR units (<50%). They have EXCEEDED RHNA TARGETS but rents are still high.

I have described the real problem and my proposed solutions many times. The true cause of expensive housing is DEMAND, not supply. Job availability increases demand for housing near jobs. Well-paying jobs drive up the cost of housing. Census data shows that almost (40%) of MV households in 2019 had incomes of $200K or more. Holy Smokes! Web Link And now Google wants to hire 1000s more, which is like throwing gas on a fire.

Solution 1: Google should GROW jobs elsewhere.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 6, 2022 at 12:04 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

How will growing jobs elsewhere bring down the cost of housing here, Leslie? Are you going to force companies to move existing jobs away? You claim that adding more homes doesn't bring down the cost of housing, but the reason prices are high is because these people already want to live here.

Saying that supply has nothing to do with the cost of housing is absurd. That would imply that removing homes from the city would have no effect on prices. Surely, you aren't going to claim that?


Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Feb 6, 2022 at 2:17 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

I don't support SB9. It will be repealed. or modified. The comments from Weiner about Woodside show how misleading he is, because he says Woodside is against "duplexes". But if you have a 5 acre parcel of land and you split it, no matter WHAT you do you aren't going to get a duplex in any sense of the word. $50 Million of land is not going to hold 4 duplex units, even if it was only worth $30 Million before SB9 entitled the owner to build more than one house.. Basically, Weiner is just lying when he says Woodside is against duplexes, because SB9 does not in their situation involve any duplexes!

We always have downturns in the housing market. Prices have been pumped up by a long period of historically low interest rates. This won't last, the rates have to go back up. The low rates shortchange a lot of people who just want to keep cash in a bank account. They eventually trigger inflation, as they are now doing. The inflation in housing prices has been ignored but now that it's making other things cost more, the rates will go back up. This may well involve a downturn in housing prices. It's more likely than not.

It did not help that 4 years ago the last administration adopted new income tax treatment for REIT and other real estate investments that encouraged speculation. We have had 4 years of that effect during the last part of the period of artificially low interest rates...(:

The drop in home prices should but a bit of a kibosh on any use of SB9 to add new houses.


Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Feb 6, 2022 at 2:34 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

To get some specific data about mortgage interest rates, I looked at: Web Link

In 1982, they were at 16%. in 1986-1990 they had dropped down to ONLY 10%. In 2018 they were at 4.5% and then by 2020-2021 they were at 3%.

So between 2018 and 2020, the amount of house a given person could afford increased by 50%. Of course this pushed prices up. And if you compare to these "lucky" old timers who bought homes in 1989, they could only afford 30% as much home mortgage as someone in 2020. These are facts.

It will take many months, but we could see mortgage rates back up at 4.5% again, and that will depress home prices in and of itself. Rates could even go higher. This is a surmise.


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 7, 2022 at 9:09 am

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

A problem I have heard stated repeatedly is the dilemma of hardworking techies who are pulling down high salaries and yet are unable to participate in the American dream of home ownership. Here is how one YIMBY described it:

“What's the "magical" secret that roughly everywhere else has figured out to allow people at 120% of the area median income afford market-rate homes?”

Solution 1 is aimed at them. If Google GREW NEW jobs elsewhere, where housing prices were actually affordable, then Googlers COULD buy their own homes. HP established divisions all over the Bay Area, Google could do that too. I bought in MV when it was much less desirable than most of the Peninsula, but never worked in MV one single day of my career. I commuted to Palo Alto, Cupertino, Santa Clara, etc. I think that it is lousy that Google is essentially teasing its workers with high salaries, but treating them like second class wage slaves when those jobs are in places like MV where housing is now extremely expensive. It is even lousier that MV homeowners are being SCAPEGOATED as the cause of that problem. YIMBYs only want to live here because of the jobs, it becomes clear they don't care about the actual community when they mock and belittle others for caring about the quality of our schools, parks, etc.

Solution 2 is aimed at actually improving the lot of low-income people like service workers and teachers. We need to increase the number of BMR units, which SB9/10 completely ignore. Building BMR units REQUIRES FUNDING. We need Prop 15, which fixes but does not repeal Prop 13, so that large corporations like Google pay property taxes on current market value rather than on frozen rates. This does two things: 1) it generates a large stream of money for schools and cities, some of which can be used for BMR units, 2) it ends the perverse incentive that Google has for growing jobs in a place that is unaffordable to its workers. I suspect that Google pays LOWER TAX RATES than most of its workers.


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 7, 2022 at 9:26 am

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Prop 15 would also affect corporate landlords, who actually have a fiduciary duty to extract as much rent as possible out of their tenants. SB10 was a gift from state politicians to these vultures. SB10 replaces OWNERSHIP units with RENTAL units, and then Prop 13 freezes the property taxes for the new units. The landlords can jack up the rent repeatedly, and NONE of that additional $$$ will flow to schools or to city services. Landlords grow rich, while schools go begging.

Corporate landlords are one of the ugliest examples of predatory capitalism that exists today. Remember the movie, "It's a Wonderful Life" and the villainous banker, Mr. Potter? Towns run by corporate landlords resemble Potterville. That's what state politicians want for the great state of California. Shame on them.

Corporate landlords should pay property tax on the CURRENT MARKET VALUE of their units, not on frozen rates.


Posted by ivg
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 7, 2022 at 9:30 am

ivg is a registered user.

If the goal of Prop 13 was to help retirees, why doesn't it only help retirees?


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 7, 2022 at 9:45 am

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

ivg, the devil is always in the details of the language in any bill. Most voters don't parse the words of most bills themselves, do you? Making enough time to vote is tough enough as it is. We mostly rely on summaries, and occasionally dig deep into the details.

Prop 13 was written at a time when voters were in a lot of pain over rising taxes. FYI, I didn't vote for it, I wasn't old enough to vote yet, but I was old enough to understand the hotness of the debate. Voters were in pain and they were mad at state politicians for taxing everyone so highly. TBH, I think most voters didn't pay attention to or realize the consequences of the language of Prop 13. It makes a simple statement about freezing taxes at 1% of market value, it doesn't shout out a statement like "for both residential and corporate property", but that is what the language implies. If those words had been explicitly written, it might have triggered voters to think more about the issue ... but I think that corporate interests didn't want that, because they wanted to have their tax rates frozen.

Anyway, Prop 15 finally, finally fixes that.


Posted by Frazin A
a resident of another community
on Feb 7, 2022 at 10:00 am

Frazin A is a registered user.

Leslie your solution is not scalable. There's a limit to how far regions can sprawl outwards and if an industry is scattered across different regions then the benefits of agglomeration are lost.

This is not Middle-of-Nowhere, Nebraska. This is the bay area, of course, the demand here will be high. The Bay Area is special in the world, with such great opportunities for upward social mobility.

The solution is not to restrict growth, make the area less desirable, and chase out jobs and opportunities.

The solution is to build more housing. Naturally, if the demand is high the supply would increase to reach equilibrium. But R1 zoning severely constricts the supply of housing and drives up costs.

The reason why housing costs are not coming down with additional units built is that the increase in supply is far outpaced by the increase in demand. We are adding 1 unit for 6 new jobs.

My only problem with SB 9 is that it doesn't go far enough as it has far too many restrictions.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 7, 2022 at 10:44 am

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

[Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]
It's been pointed out to you over and over again that Prop 15 did not affect residential properties. Landlords, corporate or otherwise, would have been unaffected on their residential holdings.

I honestly can't understand how you think we can solve a housing affordability crisis without building new homes when housing is unaffordable to more than half of the people here.


Posted by DrJKL
a resident of North Bayshore
on Feb 7, 2022 at 3:36 pm

DrJKL is a registered user.

Hey Albert, could you provide citations for your figures and assertions?


Posted by Tal Shaya
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Feb 7, 2022 at 4:40 pm

Tal Shaya is a registered user.

We need housing. So let the market decide. People who don't mind neighbors peering in from a 2nd story window will live there. And no street parking. But that was already a problem in Mountain View, eh?

I sympathize with Mr. Jeans. The first thing that comes to mind is, sell your castle for $1M and move somewhere quiet.


Posted by Jon B
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 7, 2022 at 6:17 pm

Jon B is a registered user.

Keep building houses in desirable areas and they will just get bought as Air B&B investments by the rich and taken right back out of the housing market. Too bad our legislature has done little to nothing to limit the amount of homes one person can buy and use as Air B&B hotels. My neighbor just bought two houses in the greater Bay Area - now they are no longer rentals for local workers- they were upgraded into chic vacation rentals. Legislature should also put a 20% real estate tax on any home purchased by a foreign buyer, since our real estate is apparently inexpensive compared to some countries. The tax could go to help finance affordable housing, and maybe give young Americans a better chance of buying a home.


Posted by Seth Neumann
a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 7, 2022 at 8:49 pm

Seth Neumann is a registered user.

I think you all miss the point that we will never build our way out the housing shortage when Mt View's best effort to build BMR housing will cost ~$1M/unit. We need to ban new office construction and hiring until teachers, nurses etc can afford to buy here. Let's export this housing mess to Red states that promise lower costs and better quality of life. I see where Austin has become the least affordable city in the country outside of California.


Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Feb 7, 2022 at 11:09 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

The shortage in housing is mostly relative to BMR units, but the shortfall may be far less than is realized. There has been very little money to fund the needed BMR units and the state has fallen way short in the current RHNA cycle. They then upped the perceived need in the coming RHNA cycle, for BMR and market rate both. But finally there's being some funding provided for some of the BMR, though not all. Maybe the funding will finally be enough. No one can say for sure that the huge need projected is at all accurate. You really have to start funding more BMR units to see what difference it makes.

The so called shortage in market rate housing relies on the assumption that workers want to live in the city where they work, but that's not true. But if it were true, three could be some swapping around done and Mountain View residents working out of the city could move to where they work. That makes more room locally for in-city workers. I'm not advocating that. I think it's a bogus desire in most cases. There are new apartments being built, just not in the imagined ideal place for workers to live.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 8, 2022 at 8:05 am

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

LongResident, are you actually claiming that there's no shortage of homes in Mountain View when the median home price is about $2M and the average rent for a 1 bedroom apartment is $2600? You've made some outlandish claims in the past, but this one may just be your best.


Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 8, 2022 at 9:33 am

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

As I read the very first paragraph of the INVITED? EDITOR ALLOWED? "Guest Opinion" I could tell that the Voice Editor - A.G. , was not paying attention!

It is just not true "With few exceptions, any parcel currently in a single-family residential zone (R1) can now be subdivided into two lot ...".

The impartial Legislative Analyst Office up in Sacramento, last year published it's final professional analysis of this legislation. It will allow some (minority) of R1 residential lots in CA to be converted. SO, whatever the "Guest Opinion" author's past troubles with 'the objective truth' may be, or past postings - Albert seems to be a spreader of untruth!

BTW - the City of Mountain View (Council) did not vote to be included in the "Official Opposition: (Verified 8/27/21)". Albert is acting (IMO) as a POOR LOSER of a public policy debate.

Web Link

click the highest/latest "Bill Analysis" link (08/28/21)


Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 8, 2022 at 10:49 am

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

@ Leslie Bain - fellow neighbor of Cuesta Park

thanks so very much for 1) using your real name and real neighborhood in this public policy 'debating forum' (that May itself Be Debatable :)
2) providing a very useful link to the US Census "ACS" data-rich site. 4 those who 'do their homework' well, we use the year-by-year statistical sampling of the Census Bureau to understand many elements of our communities. Leslie has provided U a good place to study such 'stats' as how income and education attainment is distributed around here.

Peace and Love


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 8, 2022 at 11:36 am

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

After I point out that “more housing of any kind” and SB9/10 will NOT help low-income workers - the traditional recipients of “affordable housing” - Randy accused me of not having any solutions. So I presented two. Notice that the one that could help low-income workers is mostly ignored by those who disagree with me. Randy offers a weird comment in a patronizing tone, “Prop 15 did not affect residential properties.” I never said it did, Randy. Of course it doesn't, Randy. It only affects properties owned by large corps, like Google. Prop 15 would fix Prop 13, so that rich corps pay property taxes at market rates, instead of on frozen rates.

Frazin says that my “solution is not scalable”. I think he means the one to solve the dilemma of highly paid Googlers who cannot buy homes here. It is wild to see our suburb described as a ”region” and the lack of sympathy for all the poor techies having to make long commutes from MORE AFFORDABLE towns. Google could end their pain, and save the planet!, but chooses not to.

Asking a suburb to increase housing stock by 32%, over the objection of residents, in order to help Google's bottom line is outrageous. I am not opposed to duplexes in R1 zones, I live near some. But changing zoning in ways to SILENCE the voices of those who already live in an area is chilling. State politicians handing down unpopular and unfunded mandates is chilling. “make the area less desirable” is EXACTLY what SB9/10 will accomplish because of the lack of funding for new schools, parks, etc. It would be lovely if YIMBYs would look into the FACTS instead of calling people like me “NIMBY racist xenophobic Trump supporters”.

Google and Googlers who don't understand how city services are funded should not be allowed to trash the community using slogans like “What about the kids?” and “We need service workers too.” Those who back SB9/10 are not helping kids or service workers!

The way to increase affordable housing is to BUILD AFFORDABLE HOUSING. Period.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 8, 2022 at 12:15 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

Leslie, you literally said "Prop 15 would also affect corporate landlords", but that's not the case. All residential properties, owned by corporate landlords or otherwise, we're not affected by Prop 15. The ownership type of the property does not matter, its use does. That's just a fact.

Leslie, do you think prices for housing are just set based on whether someone slaps the label "luxury" or "affordable" on it? California has been on the path to this crisis since the 1970s, with widespread downzoning and restricted property taxes. As it was pointed out to you, it's been progressing this way where housing is unaffordable to more than half of the people who work here. If we keep preventing large amounts of homes from being built in desirable areas, that percentage is simply going to keep increasing.

Your solution, as always, reduces to you wanting to be able to select the deserving members of your community, and force anyone you don't like to go elsewhere.


Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Feb 8, 2022 at 2:05 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

The thing is that SB9 does a lot more than just "allow 4 house." Albert didn't list them all. I don't think it "threatens" existence of single family neighborhoods because the change to mandate 2 ADU's per parcel already changed them considerably. They are no longer single family.

The possible effect of SB9 in terms of adding houses is very limited, but the changes it makes in other areas are harmful and do nothing good. For example, cities are blocked from setting a hearing when a neighbor simply wants to add on to an existing house while creating NO new units. Why? Oh sure, the libertarian trickle down folks will say it MIGHT help so why not, but that's not really a reason.

The real shortage has been in BMR units because land values have gone up so much that all non-BMR housing is getting too expensive for more and more of the population. Since generally adding BMR units means NEW housing, that addition alone would be enough to alleviate what shortage exists. So far the RHNA quotas aren't being met anyway--not by a long shot. Just pay for the BMR units and add them.

They are having housing inflation in Canada too right now, where in just a year or so there has been a 20% increase in the value of land. But they recognize it as inflation, and focused on LAND, so they aren't talking about building more housing to try to drive down prices.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 8, 2022 at 2:29 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

LongResident, when land prices rise, that means you can put more homes on that land.

How much would the city need to spend to create enough BMR homes to satisfy its <120% AMI RHNA for the next 8 years, and how much would the annual subsidy have to be in addition to the up front cost?


Posted by Frazin A
a resident of another community
on Feb 8, 2022 at 11:33 pm

Frazin A is a registered user.

Leslie, I know this post is about Mountain View but this problem goes far beyond Mountain View and Google. This applies to the entire Bay Area region. This problem doesn't affect just "poor techies" it affects everyone as people working in other industries have to compete with tech workers for the limited supply of housing.

Not sure what point you are trying to make about Google saving the planet but what I know is that car-dependent suburban sprawl is the worst development from an environmental standpoint. Yes, transit and other infrastructure need to improve along with housing supply but those things don't have to be mutually exclusive.

I will express some sympathy for those that bought into an R1 neighborhood but it was a mistake to zone 80+% of the Bay Area as R1 in the first place. The reason why the YIMBY movement is growing is that more people are realizing this.

The only way to solve the housing shortage is to build more housing.


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 9, 2022 at 10:58 am

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Randy, I see your game. You want to quibble about whether or not an apartment complex owned by a corporation is “corporate” or “residential.” Sigh. An apartment complex is a BUSINESS asset. SB10 would allow an ownership unit to be replaced with up to 10 rental units, it is an evil scam even on Googlers. How many ordinary homeowners have the $$$ to create such a complex? Wouldn't the cost be about 10 times the cost of a single home? Only very wealthy individuals, most likely corporations, will be able to take advantage of it. Suppose such a complex is built this year. After it is built, it is assessed at market value, and taxes are frozen at that rate.

Now fast-forward 10 years. The market value of the complex has increased, let's say it's doubled. What about rents? Are they frozen? No, a corporation has a fiduciary duty to its INVESTORS to charge the highest rents possible. What about teacher salaries? Are they frozen? Should they be? Where does the $$$ come from to give them a raise? This is the kind of question that well-intentioned YIMBYs never think about, they have no idea how schools are funded and who ultimately picks up the tab.

Corp landlords are able to maximize their profits because of Prop 13. Teachers need raises, school repairs need to be made, and buildings need to be built as the population increases so that kids can have low student-teacher ratios. Normally when a new apartment complex is built, developers have to pay some fees to help pay for schools and parks. Under SB10, developers don't even have to pay those fees. The result is that over time, the schools are starved for funding. Sooner or later the community will be asked to vote on a bill to increase taxes on ordinary folks to make up the shortfall. Been there, done that, I've always voted YES. The net result is that the burden of of the costs of schools and education increasingly shifts away from wealthy corporations and onto the backs of ordinary homeowners. Do you think that's right?


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 9, 2022 at 11:33 am

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

Leslie, it's not a game or quibbling, I'm talking about the actual ballot measure that was being voted on. See Web Link where it explicitly says "under no circumstances will residential property of any kind be affected", and "apartment buildings of any size" are exempted.

As for SB10, can you explain to me what it does?


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 9, 2022 at 12:01 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Frazin, appreciate your respectful tone, it's a refreshing change.

YIMBYs claim bills are about “affordable housing”, but their words and actions show they are PRIMARILY fighting to help the tech industry hire and house more well-paid workers. The situation is hypocritical and outrageous. If Googlers want to fight for bills that benefit people earning >$175K but are unable to buy in MV, God bless and good luck, but don't pretend that the efforts are about helping low-income or average-income workers. Be honest!

See “Inside Game: California YIMBY, Scott Wiener, and Big Tech’s Troubling Housing Push”, Web Link

“Part I: Big Tech is the Mothership
Part II: Big Tech Bets on Scott Wiener
Part III: Big Tech Sets Up California YIMBY
Part IV: Big Tech Pushes Trickle-Down Housing”

Housing has been expensive in CA for forever. My family moved from Long Island to Southern CA in early 70s, the new house cost TWICE what the old one did. People called it the “sunshine tax”. Real Estate is all about “location, location, location”. More desirable areas cost more. The Bay Area is desirable for many reasons, but never before has a conspiracy been put out that the root cause of high costs were evil SFH owners who were working to “block supply”. Bull-pucky.

The problem is not supply, it is DEMAND. I promise you, developers will never over-build to a sufficient degree to make the rents come down. It's not going to happen. Remember the Dr. Seuss story about Sneetches? Who was the ultimate villain? Those who had “stars on thars”, or that guy in the back who figured out how to make $$$ off of the situation? When he stopped making a great ROI, he packed up and left. That is exactly what the developers will do once they've drunk the cream off the top of the bottle. SB9/10 are nothing but cream to them. SB9/10 ain't going to make the rent come down, yet YIMBYs fight so hard for them.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 9, 2022 at 12:19 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

Saying that something is a demand problem, not a supply problem, is hard to understand. The problem with skyrocketing home values occurs when they are mismatched. Your response feels like "glass-half-empty/half-full" response, in that neither is more correct than the other.

The issue seems to be that your preferred solution to the mismatch is to decrease demand rather than meeting it with more supply, which is what many people disagree with. Frankly, it's because "demand" here is people with families, hopes, dreams, aspirations for a better life and community. Reducing that means closing the door to them, and to the opportunities the previous generations had here, rather than welcoming new neighbors with open arms.


Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Feb 9, 2022 at 1:57 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

Nah, the issue is that land value is inflating. The structure value inflation is much less of a factor. By allowing corporations to reduce taxes under Prop 13, they can afford to pay more for land. The land values are intertwined between residential and commercial. So it would help reduce land value inflation for residential to have the added taxes apply to non-residential. Prop 15 proponents missed that argument.


Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 9, 2022 at 7:20 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

a Land Tax ? Henry George was right (perhaps).
Wikipedia ref link if you are not up on this influential 19th century progressive.
200,000 people come for your memorial? NY, NY

Web Link


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 10, 2022 at 11:36 am

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

@Steven Nelson, thanks much for your kind comments and encouraging others to understand TRUE FACTS about MV. FYI, I am disappointed by the amount of “public policy debate” that has occurred re density issues. I first learned about them in April 2021 via a Nextdoor post and a single cryptic postcard from the city about a “public feedback” meeting re R3 rezoning. NO ADDITIONAL MEETINGS have been scheduled since that time. Web Link

“Abe-Koga also underscored that the R3 zoning changes are drastic, and that there hasn't been enough public outreach. The city's general plan never contemplated more housing and higher densities in some of the areas that are now poised for big changes, she said, and neighborhoods and community members need to be clued in and given a chance to respond … We have heard from folks, but these are frankly folks who are very interested in housing issues and they are mostly housing [pro-density] advocates," she said.” Web Link

@Randy, I have been open and honest about who I am and why I oppose initiatives that do not simultaneously identify who will pay for necessary infrastructure changes. You have made many snarky comments, but I have never heard you explain who you are or what your goals are. You seem uninterested in trying to find common ground. I find it wild that you went to a site I had never heard of, https://www.cft.org (a union for educators), and apparently did not notice that this source agrees with me about the need for Prop 15: “When Prop 15 passes ... The richest 10% of corporate properties will provide 92% of the new revenue.”

I am guilty, I never read the entire language of the bill. I relied on a summary from yimbyaction.org. It saddens me that predatory corp landlords will be exempt. But that does not make me wrong: we need Prop 15.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 10, 2022 at 12:38 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

Leslie, I find it a bit shocking to discover that the only place you read about Prop 15 was at YIMBY Action! CFT is the California Federation of Teachers, one of the two big teacher's unions in CA, and a backer of Prop 15. Jumping over to CA YIMBY (Web Link ) or even the voter information guide that came with your ballot would have let you know that residential properties are exempt, "protecting homeowners and renters" as they often said, and that housing and residential properties specifically were exempt. I'm not arguing that we don't need Prop 15, but it's important to make clear the facts, as it seems you repeatedly are getting misinformation from some of your media sources.

As for who I am, I'm a long-term Mountain View resident who believes in an inclusive community and has no desire to pull the ladder up behind me. I also absolutely despise misinformation.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 10, 2022 at 12:43 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

As for another statement of values, I abhor telling people who are seeking a better life and opportunity in the Bay Area that they are a "demand problem" to be reduced and mitigated. An inclusive community doesn't tell people that the city's full, to seek shelter and opportunity elsewhere, we meet the challenges and make it so that all who want to come here can do so without breaking the bank on basic human needs.


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 10, 2022 at 1:29 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

There you go again, Randy. Even now you cannot express support for Prop 15. Even now.

The link that you supplied is a newish link that obviously did not exist at the time of the election, so by sharing it now YOU are the one who is spreading misinformation, all in a sad attempt to discredit me. Here is what I read: Web Link

"Proposition 15 will get rid of property tax breaks for big businesses, and put billions of dollars towards schools and local services.

Currently, thanks to 1978’s Prop 13, owners pay property taxes based on the price they originally paid for that real estate—typically a lot less than what it’s worth today. Prop 15 will roll this back for many large businesses, raising property taxes to be assessed based on the property’s current (probably much higher) market value. Prop 15 will raise approximately $6.5 to $11.5 billion — 60% for cities, counties and special districts, and 40% for schools and community colleges. Homeowners and businesses with under $3 million in California property will be exempted, along with farm land."

I never said that was the only place I read about Prop 15. I just never came across the bit that corporate landlords were exempt. I assumed that those of them who owned over $3 million in CA property would have to pay their fair share to support schools, but apparently not. Forgive me, but you don't seem troubled by that at all.

Support for SB10 Web Link is like a tell, for those who are willing to see it. SB10 allows a developer to tear down a SFH and build up to 10 rental units in its place. Can a normal homeowner do this? Sure, if they are rich enough. In reality, SB10 is a huge gift to potential corporate landlords; it is a crap bill that MAKES HOUSING AFFORDABILITY WORSE at the same time that it starves schools for funding. But YIMBY organizations don't denounce it. Alert readers should think long and hard about why.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 10, 2022 at 1:58 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

Just to be clear here, Leslie, you're suggesting that CA YIMBY put up that web page after the election, for... some reasons? To aid in my newspaper comments section posting? Did the CA Secretary of State also modify it's Voter Information Guide that they mailed with your ballot?

I voted for Prop 15, Leslie, and I'd vote for it again. I don't know what has indicated to you that I don't support it, but it's really important to correct misinformation.

Honestly, I think you have to grapple with the fact that the people behind that political ad you shared are misleading and misinforming you, and quite frankly lying to you. The main thing SB 10 does is this: "authorize a local government to adopt an ordinance to zone any parcel for up to 10 units of residential density per parcel, at a height specified in the ordinance, if the parcel is located in a transit-rich area or an urban infill site." It simply gives that power to local government.

Even though you're wrong about what's in the content of it, even as presented in that political ad, it does not force anyone to do anything. Turning a single home that a person willingly sells into ten new homes is strictly an improvement, right?


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 11, 2022 at 10:16 am

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Just to be clear, Randy, I am 100% sure that CA YIMBY put up that web page after the election because it begins thusly: “Proposition 15 (2020), or the Schools and Communities First Act, would have closed a corporate tax loophole that allows large corporations to avoid paying property taxes at current rates on properties they own.” Past tense. It wasn't that hard.

It's great that you support Prop 15. Your attitude towards corporate landlords remains a mystery. Why is that Randy? As I said before, you seem uninterested in trying to find common ground, your primary objective appears to troll and discredit me personally. I asked you what your goals were, you wrote “I'm a long-term Mountain View resident who believes in an inclusive community and has no desire to pull the ladder up behind me.” It's a very empty, YIMBY-type statement, Randy, the equivalent of their infamous “I like people”. Are you retired, or employed? Do you own or rent? If you are employed, who do you work for and what are your main sources of income? Are you primarily interested in affordable housing for low-income people, or for those earning >%120 of AMI?

The FIRST MAJOR FRUITS of the YIMBY movement are SB9/SB10. Alert readers should pay close attention to that. All the pretty YIMBY words result in bills that do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to help service workers and kids who aren't techies.

I stand by my statements: SB10 is a litmus test, it is a gift to potential corporate landlords who want to rent expensive apartments while having their property taxes frozen. Developers will have zero problem finding investors to tear down ownership units and milk highly paid techies for all that they can. I am against SB10, you appear to support it. You cite the words, I cite how those words WILL BE USED.

Increasing housing units is not an improvement if it is done in a way that harms schools and parks, and results in

* gridlock and parking nightmares,
* gentrification, and
* making MV essentially Google's company town.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 11, 2022 at 10:34 am

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

Again, the Voter Information Guide was explicit as well about what Prop 15 applied to, in both the summary and the ballot arguments.

Leslie, SB 35 passed in 2017. For cities that have not met their low income RHNA, it streamlines approval for projects that have more than 50% of their homes at BMR. That quite clearly shows that whatever sources of information you're relying on are, again, lying to you and misleading you.


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 11, 2022 at 11:21 am

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Randy, I noticed you failed to answer my questions about who you are. It is certainly your choice to not be as transparent and honest about your goals as I have been. Alert readers should take notice.

Then you nitpick and quibble in an attempt to discredit me, this time over the issue of whether or not SB 35 was a "major fruit", lol. Seriously?

I don't think that SB35 has had as much overall impact as SB9/10 will have, if those bills are upheld. I leave it to others to reach their own conclusions.

"Assessing SB 35—Success or Failure?" Web Link

"the requirements to qualify for SB 35 streamlining can be onerous, leading many to question whether SB 35 will have an actual impact on California’s housing shortage. SB 35 took effect almost a year ago on January 1, 2018—how has the legislation been implemented at the state and local level, and have developers actually been able to take advantage of the new law?"

"The projects that have invoked SB 35 to date illustrate both the strengths and limitations of SB 35 as a tool for developers. Three Bay Area projects have garnered the most media coverage: Vallco Mall in Cupertino, 681 Florida Street in San Francisco, and 1900 Fourth Street in Berkeley. In Cupertino, the developer utilized SB 35 to fast-track a project that had been stalled for years. In San Francisco, an affordable housing developer—initially opposed to SB 35—leveraged the law to build a large 100% affordable project. In Berkeley, a developer invoked SB 35, but the city rejected the project, highlighting some of the challenges of using SB 35 in its current form ..."

"Despite its limitations, we count roughly ten SB 35 projects totaling around 4,000 units currently underway in California. Time, and likely courts, will tell whether the law has staying power. "

4,000 new housing units. Wow. Yet rents are still too high. Kudos to the YIMBYs. /s


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 11, 2022 at 11:34 am

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

As my grandkids learn in school, you shouldn't post information about yourself online publicly.

To be clear, you disregard laws that have passed as "major fruit" because they haven't had an impact yet, but call ones that have had no impact so far "major fruit"? Surely, you can see the flaw in that logic.

Your closing statement is quite disappointing. I see you have no interest in really understanding these problems and prefer to simply have a villain to hate. Best of luck to you, Leslie.


Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2022 at 1:40 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

SB35 is not limited to BMR unit creation. It also allows projects to be 49% commercial/office space and still qualify for mandated approval. It is an incentive to commercial development as much as it is an incentive to residential development. As far as the breakdown goes, the 51% that must be residential includes the Parking Spaces for the residential units. However, the commercial space need not count its parking. By dint of that, it is actually MORE of a commercial development entitlement than a residential entitlement.

SB35 stinks and it is being applied already. It is being used to force cities to approve commercial development that they otherwise would not.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 11, 2022 at 1:50 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

Long resident, welcome back!

You never answered my question: How much would the city need to spend to create enough BMR homes to satisfy its <120% AMI RHNA for the next 8 years, and how much would the annual subsidy have to be in addition to the up front cost?


Posted by Frazin A
a resident of another community
on Feb 12, 2022 at 1:08 am

Frazin A is a registered user.

Leslie,

Thank you for sharing the article. Always good to read opposing views.

To my surprise, I have found a few points in there that support my position. 1. “Apartment construction at the low end needs to start ramping up, and soon, in order to see real improvement.”
I am not opposed to building more low-income housing, especially in the form of apartments/condos as they are more scalable than single-family housing.

2. "As Big Tech expanded wildly in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area, the growing number of well-paid techies needed somewhere to live. That often meant they moved into “up-and-coming” neighborhoods that were affordable, but, with the influx of Big Tech employees, turned into high-rent districts, fueling gentrification."
Again, this is true. Because of the shortage of housing in the valley, tech workers are pushed to the East Bay and are gentrifying areas.


3. "Already, many California-based technology firms have accelerated hiring in other states because housing costs are too high." This is also very true, unfortunately. Many companies are now hiring outside of the state and in other countries. Californians/Americans are losing out on great jobs because of our failure to scale housing and transportation. These are the good high-paying jobs that every other country wishes they had more of. These are the opportunities that bring out the best talent from around the world here and make the Bay Area special. The Bay Area leads the nation in upward mobility: Web Link . We are robbing the next generation a chance at upward mobility with our failure to scale.

Lastly, if given the chance, developers will build and rents will come down. Not only is this a fundamental concept in economics, but it is also backed by real-world data. See the Paper: The Impact of New Housing Supply on the
Distribution of Rents.


Posted by Frazin A
a resident of another community
on Feb 12, 2022 at 1:19 am

Frazin A is a registered user.

Link: Web Link

"Adding one new housing unit to the stock for every 100 rental housing units offered on the market in a given month reduces rents by 0.4–0.7%"

And one last thing, most YIMBYs are well aware of gridlock and parking nightmares caused by suburban sprawl. YIMBYs support transit-oriented development and see cars as a problem and an unscalable method of transportation. While on the other hand, NIMBYs routinely oppose transit development and only support infrastructure for cars.


Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Feb 13, 2022 at 11:12 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

If you want to consider the effect of new units on existing rents, you need to take account of the rent for 1 bedroom apartments. These are the least expensive housing units and you can fit in more than one person there.

The issue is that in Mountain View we have a very limited amount of BMR units which are those pegged to income levels, and kept artificially low, even if below market. Such a unit might rent for $1500 per month, for household income levels of $60K per year, or $30/hr. But you won't find $1500 per month apartments currently on the open market. Instead, you find units ranging from say $1900 per month on up to $4500 per month. If you look at the details, generally the higher cost units are those recently constructed. They also tend to have less square footage than the cheaper units.

So now, if you build more new units, magically, from some deep pockets investor who will build without limits, very rapidly, what kind of lower rents can you expect?

Will they be cheaper than $4500 per month. Maybe, or maybe not. But we know darn well they won't be cheaper than $1900 per month units. However some of these $1900/ month older units are what are being demolished to hold these new units for the greedy tech workers who want to barge in on the party, as it were. Forget about the people who can only afford $1900 per month....

Plus you have to consider that cheaper rents in one city will draw people there who currently live in other cities. Plenty of people live in Palo Alto who pay more than $2500/month. If you manage to create some $2400 units, you care going to need to satisfy the demand from Palo Alto and Sunnyvale, not just people working in Mountain View.


Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Feb 13, 2022 at 11:23 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

Oh, and this is why the idea number of regulated BMR units is so hard to figure. Half of those job holders living in Mountain View today work for an employer outside the city. Mountain View has a lot of older "naturally affordable" apartments as it is, i.e. a large fraction of the total units. The fraction of BMR units is way smaller. If you are going to tear down the old cheaper units, you need to bump up the ideal number of BMR units to compensate. You also need to fill the demand for BMR from anyone living in the whole county, since that is who they are available too. It's a very fluid shortage situation.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 13, 2022 at 11:32 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

Why can't building more homes reduce the average rent? You gesture vaguely at it in your response but don't actually elaborate. Rents are set at what the market will bear, and those $1900 / mo apartments used to be less than $1900 a few years ago.


Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Feb 13, 2022 at 11:50 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

Basically it is income inequality, with a wide distribution of income levels among the interested population for housing in Mountain View and BMR units in Santa Clara County. We aren't in a situation with an efficient market where everyone is paying near to the so called "market rate" for the same type of housing. There is a wide distribution in the current rents, mostly with no correlation required to the resident household income level. Switching to BMR units to meet needs for lower income levels means there is a direct correlation, that the unit is subsidized, and that it is open to any resident of the entire county. More people won't be able to afford the average rent of the market rate apartments as well, because that average will go up, since it is currently way below the common price of newly constructed market rate units.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 14, 2022 at 6:54 am

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

Weird how you can attempt an answer at that question, but still won't answer the other one: How much would the city need to spend to create enough BMR homes to satisfy its <120% AMI RHNA for the next 8 years, and how much would the annual subsidy have to be in addition to the up front cost?


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 14, 2022 at 2:36 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

@Randy, you refuse to be transparent and honest about your goals and how you make a living. Alert readers take note! It is HYPOCRITICAL of you to criticize the Voice for not making certain disclosures about Albert Jeans. You wrote “Surely, this context adds useful background for readers to judge how genuine his housing affordability concerns are...” You DENY readers the same opportunity about you. Some people will make a lot of $$$ off of SB9/10, of course those persons will vigorously defend those measures and attack others who point out the flaws of those bills. But I've already gotten a clue about what you care most about from your comment that you have "no desire to pull the ladder up behind me." You care most about "more housing" for those earning >175K, you noble person you.

@Frazin, you wrote “I am not opposed to building more low-income housing” which is awesome. Everyone seems to agree it would be a good thing. And yet YIMBYs are backing bills that help HIGH-INCOME persons instead. That's a con job. Why aren't they backing bills that actually help low-income persons?

“Because of the shortage of housing in the valley, tech workers are pushed to the East Bay and are gentrifying areas.” Yup. High tech salaries cause gentrification in so many places, including MV. I've said this multiple times. Those high salaries are PART OF THE PROBLEM.

“Californians/Americans are losing out on great jobs because of our failure to scale housing and transportation.” The situation kind of sucks. The proposals on the table to “scale housing” involve overcrowded schools, underdevelopment of greenspace, traffic gridlock and parking nightmares. The population of MV cannot be doubled, then doubled again, then doubled again without enhancing the infrastructure. Is it truly possible that you do not comprehend this?

[Portion removed]


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 14, 2022 at 3:31 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

Leslie, I don't think you understand what "pulling the ladder up behind you" means. It's basically the experience you're describing of yourself: you were a tech employee that moved in to Mountain View when it was "much less desirable" (gentrification?) and now the policies you support will ensure that it continues to get more expensive. Every needed house left unbuilt pushes another family off the bottom of the ladder.

The only way out of this is through abundant housing, not by picking and choosing the lucky few who get to live here. I don't know how much more clear I can be about my goals than I said above: everyone who wants to live in Mountain View should be able to without becoming rent-burdened. How you mangle that into whatever wild claims about my goals, that's on you.

When I write a letter to the editor, I'll give a full bio, until then you just get my name on these comments. Online safety is important! Alert readers take note!


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 14, 2022 at 4:23 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Randy, I'm sorry you don't know what gentrification is. I'm also sorry that you prefer to lurk in the shadows, instead of being open and honest about who you are and how you earn your $$$.

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” - Upton Sinclair Web Link

Gentrification- "The process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces earlier usually poorer residents." - Web Link

According to the Census Data for 2019, the median household income in Mountain View was a bit less than $148K. Web Link That means that HALF OF THE EXISTING HOUSEHOLDS earn less than $148,000.

POLICIES THAT FOCUS ON IGNORING EXISTING RESIDENTS, and instead focus on increasing the number of housing units for households earning >$175K (!) (such as SB9 and SB10) will result in an influx of more affluent people who do not already live in MV! We need policies to increase the number of affordable housing units FOR THE PEOPLE WHO ARE ALREADY HERE who don't earn such amazing salaries, instead of ignoring their pain in favor of people who don't even live here now. That is what "affordable housing" is normally all about.

My insistence that urban planning be performed so that we don't have overcrowded schools, overcrowded parks, overcrowded streets, and insufficient parking is NOT "pulling up the ladder behind me". Shame on you for even saying such a thing. Why do you support overcrowded almost-everything?

I repeat: I am in favor of density as long as the fabulously wealthy corporations who are creating the demand (i.e. Google) PAY for the necessary infrastructure enhancements.

Please explain to me: what is wrong with that?

We don't need "more housing". We need "more AFFORDABLE housing". BIG DIFFERENCE!


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 14, 2022 at 4:34 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

Leslie, maybe you can elaborate what term we should use to describe it then. You, as part of a booming tech industry, moved into what you described as a "much less desirable" area, where housing was cheap and the average income was lower than yours. Perhaps you even bought your house from one of the existing residents, leading to their leaving the community. The influx of people like you caused home prices to rise, leaving you with a windfall!


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 14, 2022 at 11:23 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

[Portion removed due to personal attacks]

“Leslie, I don't think you understand what "pulling the ladder up behind you" means. It's basically the experience you're describing of yourself: you were a tech employee that moved in to Mountain View when it was "much less desirable" (gentrification?) and now the policies you support will ensure that it continues to get more expensive. Every needed house left unbuilt pushes another family off the bottom of the ladder.”

The policies YOU SUPPORT will ensure that MV continues to get more expensive too! Because the policies YOU SUPPORT don't make the rent come down, ESPECIALLY for low-income and average wage earners. SB9 and SB10 are nothing but con jobs foisted on the public under a banner of “affordable housing”, when they PRIMARILY help developers make more $$$ and Google import more techies into MV.

You are one of the legion who keep chanting “we need more housing”, when they are leaving out an important adjective: we need more AFFORDABLE housing, not more housing for the rich.

“How liars create the ‘illusion of truth’” - Web Link
“Repetition makes a fact seem more true, regardless of whether it is or not. Understanding this effect can help you avoid falling for propaganda, says psychologist Tom Stafford.”

I have asked for months and months now for somebody, anybody, to provide an understandable explanation of how increasing the number of expensive market-rate housing units in MV – because that is what SB9 and SB10 will do - will make the rent come down. And the answer is crickets.

I don't fault anyone for wanting to buy a home, I sympathize. People in pain want answers. Sadly, that leaves them vulnerable to snake oil salesman who are willing to scapegoat the innocent. YIMBY hate-mongering is not the answer.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 15, 2022 at 12:06 am

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

Now, Leslie, aren't you just deflecting at this point? It must be hard for you to admit you represent the first wave of gentrification, but if the shoe fits...

You keep ranting about how no one tells you how adding homes makes rents come down, but honestly, you don't seem like you're trying. Frazin A posted a paper demonstrating it above. Others have explained to you the mechanism where adding new market-rate homes removes price pressure on the existing homes, since the people renting or buying those new homes will no longer be competing with others on the existing housing stock. Just shouting into the void that no one has explained it to you doesn't make it true, you're just not listening to anyone.

Have you talked to anyone in real life about it, rather than just posting on the internet? You might have more luck.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 15, 2022 at 1:54 am

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

For SB 9, maybe this will help you understand. How about we run it in reverse? What do you think would happen to rents and home prices if we demolished half of the homes in the city and forced lots to be merged? Would the cost of housing rise, fall, or stay the same. Why?


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 15, 2022 at 3:45 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Randy, it's not hard to admit that I was in an early phase of gentrification. That's consistent with what I have said repeatedly: availability of jobs increases demand for housing, well-paying jobs drive up the price. That's capitalism. I had a good job that allowed me to buy a home. Our sellers had sold the house once, the deal fell apart. We paid asking price, allowing the sellers to build their dream house elsewhere, which is what they wanted. I had no assurance that my home would increase in value. Hindsight is 20/20. Was I lucky that we bought when we did? Yes. Have I done anything to “block supply”? No.

But there are many key differences between then and now:

1) There was abundant "affordable housing" here, so the problem of people being priced out didn't exist. The idea is crazy because people would live in MV instead because IT WAS CHEAPER than the leafier towns and (unlike Googlers) they were WILLING to commute.

2) Just as there was a time when people didn't know that smoking was bad, the concept of gentrification once either did not exist or was not in the mainstream. You are trying to convict me of breaking a law that did not exist at the time.

YIMBY followers have been fed propaganda to believe that they are fighting on behalf of service workers, and non-tech kids, but the reality is different. YIMBY leaders are posers. SB9/10 increase gentrification, period, they don't help the poor. Building more EXPENSIVE housing helps developers and Google, building expensive RENTAL units (70% of planned units in NBPP) is a cruel joke against Google workers.

3) I never belittled others for wanting a good QUALITY OF LIFE, or demanded that they make sacrifices so I would get what I wanted. The MV community wanted to have a BETTER quality of life. The downtown had a major makeover, so did the library. The free parking structures were built to support those businesses. MV has been a lovely place to live in, that is until Google and it's workers began waging a hate campaign against the existing residents.


Posted by Jack Cormode
a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 15, 2022 at 4:43 pm

Jack Cormode is a registered user.

A couple of peripheral comments:
1. Prop. 13 is unfair because it is based on how long you have owned your residence, not its value. It would be better to establish the property tax income paid to the City of Mountain View based on the present formulations and then go back and apportion those taxes based on property value. A special waiver could be set up to freeze or discount increases for those in their retirement years and the difference paid back when the property changes hands.
2. For those that propose programs like SB9, please tell us what affordable/split-lot housing is in your immediate neighborhood. Do your neighbors agree with how you are trying to increase the housing density in your immediate neighborhood?


Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 15, 2022 at 8:08 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

@Leslie Bain "That's Capitalism", as a good Republican I knew (past tense) that there is some truth and a bit of good in that. (Hard Work, Fair Wage, Individual Inititive)
But as a 'trying Christian', and a die hard republic/democrat (representative democracy) I certainly Observe that Peace and Love and good goverment are very often Totally At Odds with unfettered Capitalism.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 15, 2022 at 9:13 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

Leslie, it's interesting to see you say it's not hard for you to admit to being a gentrifier right after saying that I "don't know what gentrification is" when I pointed it out.

Another interesting thing you seem to have skipped over the explanations I provided, and the questions I asked about a reverse SB 9. That must be a small oversight by you, as I hope you won't continue to claim that no one ever provides you an explanation or that all you get is "crickets."

I hope I don't get "crickets" here myself!


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 16, 2022 at 6:17 am

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

@Frazin – According to your source, how much of an impact will SB9 and SB10 have on the price of rent for low-income and average wage earners? That's the bottom line, isn't it? I didn't find it in the paper. Also, can you explain why this data from Germany is especially relevant to the Silicon Valley economy? Are hi-tech employers having difficulty hiring techies there too?

“And one last thing, most YIMBYs are well aware of gridlock and parking nightmares caused by suburban sprawl. “

I'd like to discuss the definition and dynamics of “suburban sprawl”. The situation in MV does not fit the normal definition, the residents were not fleeing a big city with jobs. Many residents came here BECAUSE of the affordable housing. I think Google was attracted to low land prices here too. The gridlock here has ARISEN because of the massive job creation in our previously sleepy little suburb.

“NIMBYs routinely oppose transit development and only support infrastructure for cars.”

NIMBYs sound like a bad lot, don't they? I'm sure glad I'm not one. I have consistently been calling for transportation solutions that are necessary as part of responsible urban planning for higher density, whereas my YIMBY friends appear to be in complete denial that those solutions are even necessary. In addition, I want discussion about who exactly will pay for them. My feeling is that since job creators are creating the gridlock, job creators should pay to clean it up. I would LOVE to be able to take public transit around MV and leave my car at home. We don't have that today.

Development of transportation solutions needs to occur IN PARALLEL with increased density, not as an afterthought that is tacked on later. The costs should not be foisted on the little people in the community who aren't making a fortune from density.

@Steven, I agree with you: “Peace and Love and good goverment are very often Totally At Odds with unfettered Capitalism.” All I want is truthful, honest debate, that seems to have mostly disappeared from politics today. Instead we get smears and innuendo. Sigh.


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 16, 2022 at 6:27 am

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

"I would LOVE to be able to take public transit around MV and leave my car at home. We don't have that today." I mean something a little closer to 24x7. We do have a shuttle bus funded by Google, but that funding will expire in 2024, I believe. The hours of service were recently changed to make it a little more useful, but it still won't take me downtown for dinner on a Friday or Saturday night.

I feel for the people forced to live in areas of the city where parking is or will be a nightmare without reasonable alternatives, thanks to YIMBY advocacy.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 16, 2022 at 7:14 am

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

To clarify, Leslie, in that paper, studying how the impact of market-rate construction on rents, you're looking for the section that discusses California's SB9? I don't think you're going to find it.

Can you answer my questions about reverse SB 9? What impact would that have on rents? Would they increase, decrease, stay the same? Why?


Posted by Frazin A
a resident of another community
on Feb 16, 2022 at 11:27 pm

Frazin A is a registered user.

Leslie,

[Portion removed due to deletion of referenced post]

That study is relevant here because the law of supply and demand is universal.

YIMBYs support building dense affordable and market-rate housing. See this study: Does Building New Housing Cause Displacement?: The Supply and Demand Effects of Construction in San Francisco Web Link
"Affordable housing and endogenously located construction do not affect displacement or gentrification. These findings suggest that increasing the supply of market rate housing has beneficial spillover effects for incumbent residents, reducing rents and displacement pressures while improving neighborhood quality." Building dense affordable housing in addition to market-rate housing increases the housing supply without causing displacement.

The Bay Area is a classic case of suburban sprawl. People commute here from Stockton, Tracy, and some places farther away.

It's good to hear you are not a NIMBY when it comes to transit. But transit projects routinely get delayed or canceled due to NIMBYs. Both housing and transit here need to develop in parallel. Glad we agree there.


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 17, 2022 at 8:54 am

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

I think I may have possibly found common ground with YIMBY followers. Yay! Improved transportation services. We agree on that as a common goal, right? I would drop my concerns about gridlock on the streets of MV and lack of parking in new construction if we already had great transportation alternatives, instead of kicking the can down the road.

If we all agree that this would be so very great, why don't we have it? I'd love to see YIMBYs fighting for that TODAY. What you will soon find is that the problem is MONEY, the problem is always MONEY. Who exactly is going to pay for this wonderful goodness that will get people out of their cars. Google has been graciously funding a city shuttle that up until recently only ran from 10-6, fairly worthless for commute traffic, but it only has 1 route and the funding runs out soon, I believe 2024.

Google will profit massively from density, but isn't willing to pay for the solutions to the problems caused by density. One of the richest corporations on the face of the planet is a cheapskate that prefers that the little people of MV, like me, pick up these costs.

Even some rando Disney fan is on to Google plans. Disney recently announced plans for new “Storyliving” housing developments - Web Link

"This is a really smart move by Disney, and it echoes moves by Google and Facebook. These companies are all realizing that their revenue stream is too narrowly concentrated in one area, and they're trying to build for the future by spending some of the resources to become long-term landlords for the upper class.

Facebook and Google both rely heavily on advertising revenue, which is becoming threatened by increased privacy measures and the increasing use of free adblockers. So they're both building mixed use communities in the Bay Area, which is one of the wealthiest communities in the world. This will give them a solid, dependable income stream for the future."


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 17, 2022 at 9:26 am

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

Oh no, it seems that I'm only going to get crickets in response to my question. Alert readers, take note!


Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 17, 2022 at 7:44 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

@Randy - guess SO! think you have been 'clicked' out

@Frazin A Thanks for the very Phd level economics research document link (UC Berkeley has a few good/ well respected research programs :)


Posted by I can't breathe pollution
a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 18, 2022 at 7:32 am

I can't breathe pollution is a registered user.

[Portion removed due to personal attacks and off-topic]


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 18, 2022 at 10:46 am

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

@Frazin, the laws of supply and demand have two parts: supply AND DEMAND. I explain that here: Web Link . Many people forget about the second part, sadly.

Housing studies conducted in parts of the world that do not have the same insane DEMAND for housing as in Silicon Valley are simply not relevant. Reputable scientists should understand that.

“Comparing the increase of good jobs and opportunities that provide upward social mobility to cancer is despicable.”

No, what is despicable is conducting a campaign for “affordable housing” when the primary focus on the campaign is “affordable housing FOR GOOGLERS”, in a way that generates massive PROFITS for developers and Google. This is DISHONEST PREDATORY CAPITALISM at it's finest.

It's despicable to say “what about service workers?” and “what about our non-techie kids” and then viciously support bills like SB9/10 which do nothing to lower the rent for low-income and average income workers.

What is despicable is having state politicians ignore the will of the majority of people when they pass legislation, and when they overreach for new powers they've never held before in order to help rich titans.

We don't need MORE housing, we need more AFFORDABLE housing. It's despicable to brainwash people into thinking that “every unit built helps”, when that's fundamentally not true. Do these people believe that adding a cup of water to the ocean every day will raise the sea level? Or even an entire swimming pool?

Even rando Disney fans can see that Google and Facebook are trying “to become long-term landlords for the upper class.” Let me translate: These tech giants are trying to establish an ecosystem where they wear two hats: 1) first they hire and pay fat salaries to techies, and then 2) they take a huge chunk of those salaries back as landlords. This as nothing but worker exploitation, which are hallmarks of company towns.

Search for "pullman company town" to see how well that worked out for the workers.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 18, 2022 at 2:18 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

The alert reader will notice that Leslie refuses to acknowledge or answer the question about a reverse SB9, and therefore must conclude that it is because her answer would undermine her entire opposition to SB9.

It is clear she realizes that halving the number of homes in Mountain View would cause rents to rise, and that impact would be felt most strongly on the lowest income members of the community. She cannot admit it, though, due to the cognitive dissonance it causes when she runs it forward.


Posted by I can't breathe pollution
a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 19, 2022 at 4:01 am

I can't breathe pollution is a registered user.

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


Posted by I can't breathe pollution
a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 19, 2022 at 4:08 am

I can't breathe pollution is a registered user.

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 19, 2022 at 10:13 am

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

[Portion removed due to off-topic]

YIMBYs mock and belittle existing residents over what they disparagingly call “quality of life” issues. We are such whiners because we care about the impact of density on infrastructure: schools, water supply, gridlock, parking issues, etc. They want growth for themselves, regardless of the negative impact on the community.

Recently Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond and REI left MV because “there was a "mutual interest" not to renew the leases.” “The existing zoning for the property is industrial and allows for limited manufacturing, research and development uses. ” - Web Link Sounds like healthy cells dying off, but who cares, right? Creating more housing for more high-paying jobs is the only thing that matters! We've always got Amazon <3 /s

“Comparing the increase of good jobs and opportunities that provide upward social mobility to cancer is despicable.”

Explain to me why these jobs HAVE, HAVE, HAVE to be grown in MV please? Explain why the jobs can't be in Gilroy, Tracy, etc.? Spinning me to say that I am opposed to good jobs is despicable. I am even open to density as long as solutions for necessary infrastructure enhancements are provided and paid for by the wealthy players who will benefit most from it: developers and Big Tech.

Also, your concern for low-income persons appears to be missing from your statement. What a surprise. /s


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 19, 2022 at 10:50 am

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

[Post removed due to off-topic]


Posted by Old Steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 19, 2022 at 2:51 pm

Old Steve is a registered user.

The Charleston Center property backs up to the freeway, so not ideal for market rate multi-family housing. Retailers probably wanted Covid related concessions in the next lease the landlord was unwilling to grant. We can't compel Tech to work in Tracy or Gilroy, we can only invite them to Mtn Vw over PA & Sunnyvale. I won't apologize for the fact that being the center of innovation makes our lives more complicated from time to time. We don't have the right to tell our neighbors what buildings to allow (unless you can replace an entire City Council). But we each, every one, have the right to preserve our lifestyle by cashing out of Silicon Valley. 30 years ago we decided on a small townhouse purchased with family assistance, instead of a move to Modesto where one of us could have afforded to stay home. I have not regretted that decision a single day, but others are certainly free to whine and complain instead of taking action. Nothing in life stays the same without some choices being made.


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 20, 2022 at 11:28 am

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

[Portion removed due to personal attacks and off-topic]

@Old Steve writes: “Retailers probably wanted” and presents a complete hypothetical. Read the comments on the news item. One person wrote:

“It's about time this was cleared up. Every employee that I spoke with at the remaining stores said that housing was the reason for the store closures. And yes MV needs more housing, MV also needs commerce, retail stores, places for those of us who live here to shop. Besides, would rather have larger stores right next to the freeway than some kid's bedroom window; imagine breathing in all that clean auto exhaust. And housing on that street would be catastrophic for traffic.”

This is not exactly a "fact", but if the commenter is honest, he at least did some research. Wouldn't it be lovely if some investigative journalism was performed to get to the TRUTH behind these store closures?

Another comment: “"The existing zoning ... allows for ... research and development uses"

>>Tell me Google is moving in without telling me Google is moving in.”

The Voice's Diana Diamond recently wrote this about Palo Alto: “I want businesses to thrive here, because they produce sales taxes for the city among other taxes they have to pay. But they also provide fine stores, shops and restaurants we all enjoy. I want more retail in town, to make sure downtown and Cal Ave are fun places to go – day and night. I want a thriving community, not one whose two downtowns become boarded up.”- Web Link

Exactly. Those who don't want what is best for the COMMUNITY are batting for the wrong team. Period. Those who want what is best for Google and Googlers alone? Despicable.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 20, 2022 at 12:39 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

Leslie, I'm sure it's convenient to dismiss anyone who disagrees with you as a "troll," but I've repeatedly tried to engage you in good faith. What wild accusations have I made? That you view people pointing out factual errors you make as anything but good faith discussion is truly worrying.

Reverse SB 9 is not a "weird hypothetical," it's pointing out the flaws in your logic with regards to the impact of SB 9. Your inability to respond to it and defensiveness is revealing.


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 21, 2022 at 11:10 am

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Randy, I leave it to others to decide for themselves whether your comments are made in good faith. You CONSTANTLY speak about me personally instead of on the merits. Your last comment is an EXAMPLE of a lack of good faith discussion! Your last wild accusation was deleted by the mods, I won't repeat it.

You imply that if I make a mistake on anything, I am mistaken on everything, in a sad attempt to discredit me. The one factual error that I have made was believing that Prop 15 would force corporate landlords to pay their fair share in property taxes, instead of starving schools and cities of funding. I admitted it. I am sad about it. I am tired of seeing schools go begging for funds, and having taxes increased for "the little people" while wealthy corporations increase their profits.

I am not factually incorrect on these much more important points however:

* CA YIMBY leaders use language deceptively when they claim to be fighting for “affordable housing” when they are PRIMARILY fighting for “MORE housing (not even AFFORDABLE!) for the highest wage earners” in order to help their donors: developers and Big Tech. Web Link

* SB9/10 were passed in the name of “affordable housing” (and even signed by Newsom!) but they do NOTHING to help low-income or average wage earners.

* Bills like SB10 will increase the number of corporate landlords, who have a fiduciary duty to extract maximal rents from their tenants. Will that help rents go down? No. - Web Link

* YIMBYs mock and belittle existing residents over what they disparagingly call “quality of life” issues. I'm sorry, but those who don't want what is best for the ENTIRE COMMUNITY are batting for the wrong team. And being indifferent to the plight of school children - I have no words.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 21, 2022 at 11:44 am

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

That wasn't the only issue where you've made factual errors: you've incorrectly stated the number of homes built in Mountain View. You were even wrong about what SB 10 does, which is why you won't explicitly discuss it except to fearmonger.

Leslie, as you yet again resort to innuendo about me and deflection from addressing any of my points, I'm reminded of a wise person who once said: "Deflection is a debate tactic used when one is losing the argument."


Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Feb 21, 2022 at 3:36 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

This opinion piece wasn't about SB10 or any other kind of multitenant housing. That gets dragged in by people who think building more units of housing will reduce cost for the market rate housing. The issue of that is that most of the new units will be apartment units, not SB9 units. For apartment units we have 2 different market price points--those for new apartments (~$4500/mo) and the area average or median (~$3500 Palo Alto, ~$3000 Mountain View). New construction MIGHT reduce the rent on the new unit price point, but probably not. Definitely no reduction on the median, nor on the rental price for the older units currently going below the average, e.g. maybe $2500, etc.) Definitely new units will drive up the average because that's how averages work.

But it's interesting that SB9 isn't about that. It could only affect for sale home prices, which are up around $3 Million per house. The idea is that there would be less land per house. You know thuogh, that's the reason a few not many people commute to Stockton. They are getting a larger yard in Stockton, or in Gilroy for that matter. SB9 won't increase the size of the yard.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 21, 2022 at 4:04 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

Long resident, I know it's been a long comments section, but Leslie's the one who brought up SB 10, which is contrary to your claim that it "gets dragged in by people who think building more units of housing will reduce cost for the market rate housing," unless I've seriously misjudged her views!

Maybe you can tackle the reverse SB 9 question? Would that rents rise, fall, or stay the same in that scenario?


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 22, 2022 at 9:41 am

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Randy, you are full of accusations, but you never supply quotes or evidence. Once again, you are not doing so today. I've cited 2019 Census data when making comments about the number of households in MV. For you to say that I've been mistaken on this point goes to show your own "mistakes". You dispute census data? Seriously? On what basis?

You quoted the text of SB10, I stated what it will do. Normal people don't have the funding to replace their home with up to 10 units in it's place. But you know who IS able to do such a thing? Developers who buy such properties and use their own funding or seek the help of wealthy investors looking to profit from Bay Area real estate. More corporate landlords will be created. That is a PREDICTION about the future, it is my OPINION. You can disagree with me, but you cannot in good faith say that I am "wrong" at this point, all you can legitimately say is that you disagree with my opinion. You COULD also share your opinions about corporate landlords extracting the maximum possible rent, as I have done, but YOU REMAIN SILENT about that. I despise the idea of corporations milking working people for all the rent that they can possibly obtain. How about you, Randy?

In a recent interview with Anand Giridharadas, David Sirota quoted Paul Wellstone: “If we don’t fight hard enough for the things we stand for, at some point we have to recognize that we don’t really stand for them.” - Web Link

David was not talking about the CA YIMBY movement, but the same logic applies.

YIMBY leaders spread propaganda and talking points to say that they are fighting for "affordable housing", and kids and service workers, but it's all smoke and mirrors. At some point, people really need to pay attention to ACTIONS, and not PRETTY WORDS. Follow the Money. Who is getting rich, and who is getting the short end of the stick? Well intentioned, hurting people are being seduced by propaganda, heaven help them, spread by wealthy players to improve their own bottom lines.

@LongResident, once again great comments:

"The idea is that there would be less land per house. You know thuogh, that's the reason a few not many people commute to Stockton. They are getting a larger yard in Stockton, or in Gilroy for that matter. SB9 won't increase the size of the yard."


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