https://mv-voice.com/square/print/2021/09/16/mountain-view-approves-rowhouse-development-that-will-replace-70-rent-controlled-apartments


Town Square

Mountain View approves rowhouse development that will replace 70 rent-controlled apartments

Original post made on Sep 16, 2021

The days are numbered for another complex of older, more affordable rent-controlled apartments in Mountain View after the City Council voted to approve a project that would raze the homes and replace them with for-sale rowhouses.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, September 16, 2021, 1:57 PM

Comments

Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 16, 2021 at 7:31 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

There are people in this town who believe that building thousands of expensive, market-rate housing units will somehow magically bring down the outrageous cost of rent for everyone. They believe themselves to be "housing advocates" who are fighting for affordable housing. Others like me strongly disagree with their theories, because they prioritize "high density" instead of "affordability". I wish we could have a respectful, civilized discussion on this topic. I fear the goal of "high density" will be achieved, and the goal of "affordability" will fail. Good for developers, bad for average working people who want rents to COME DOWN, and too late to complain once the dust settles.

In the news item, the gain in density is negligible, and the loss of affordability is tremendous. Shouldn't everyone fighting for affordable housing be saddened and angered? Some "housing advocates" make it their habit to avoid criticizing developers. Whose side are they on?

Building thousands of expensive, market-rate housing units will NOT bring down the rent for most people. Silicon Valley has a unique economy, housing theories that ignore its massive demands for new tech workers are simply flawed. In the news item, the new construction will drive rents up! Where is the outrage at what has happened here? Citizens, take note of this moment.

Also, remember that the MV City Council is strongly considering changes to R3 rezoning that will greatly increase density, with little input from residents
Web Link "[Councilwoman Margaret Abe-Koga] also underscored that the R3 zoning changes are drastic, and that there hasn't been enough public outreach." These changes will further bind City Council to approve projects "even if it means displacing lower-income residents and demolishing housing stock that's subject to rent control."









Posted by Lenny Siegel2
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 16, 2021 at 9:22 pm

Lenny Siegel2 is a registered user.

All the housing advocates I know actively opposed the demolition of 570 S. Rengstorff. The housing advocates I work with often criticize major developers. We fight them on rent stabilization, but we're willing to work with them to see that new housing gets built.

Mountain View needs to build large amounts of new housing because we have many more jobs than employed residents. The best way to do this is to replace office parks and shopping centers with medium-density, mixed-use complete neighborhoods. Such developments will reduce regional traffic and greenhouse gas emissions, while avoiding the demolition of naturally affordable apartments and preserving the character of existing neighborhoods.

New market-rate housing helps with affordability because without it demand will continue to grow faster than supply, and no one has repealed the law of supply and demand. New market-rate housing also helps add to the stock of subsidized housing - housing where rents and prices are based upon the income of the residents - by either including 15% to 20% affordable units in new developments or by paying fees to support the construction of stand-alone affordable housing projects.

Finally, there are significant benefits to infill development. Building housing in already developed areas reduces per capita energy and water use, takes advantage of existing infrastructure, and reduces the risk of wildfires destroying homes.


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 16, 2021 at 9:45 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Lenny, I am trying to be civil. There are housing advocates, and then there are "housing advocates", the ones that are much more effective at creating expensive housing than at creating and protecting affordable housing.

A theory has been put forward that the cause of unaffordable housing is a lack of supply, therefore the solution is simple: build, baby, build! Build a lot more housing of any kind and rents will fall! It sounds so logical, like Econ 101 ... but is it? Remember back before the Great Recession of 2008 when “NINJA” loans were used to allow persons with “No Income No Jobs or Assets” to buy homes? Did these loans even pass the smell test? No. Did the public object to them? No. Eventually we learned that they were worse than “too good to be true”, these loans and others actually almost brought down the entire world economy.

The laws of supply and demand have not one but TWO parts. The reason that “build, baby, build” seems so “logical” is that many people unwittingly forget about the “demand” part of the equation. When demand for housing is very high, as it is in Mountain View, increasing supply does not automatically lower prices.

Imagine 1000 expensive units are created, and 1000 new tech workers are hired from out of state and move into them. Nobody moves out of their old housing; none of the existing housing becomes cheaper as a result. This is an example of increased supply when demand also increases: it did not lower anyone's rent.

The true cause of unaffordable housing in the Bay Area is NOT a lack of supply, it is excessive demand. Most everyone who talks about a jobs/housing imbalance acknowledges this, perhaps unwittingly. Job availability increases demand for housing near jobs. Well-paying jobs drive up the cost of housing. Silicon Valley has been a source of well-paying jobs for decades, which is reflected in our housing costs.


Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Sep 16, 2021 at 9:50 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

But will workers really return to the boxes where they used to work?

Web Link


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 16, 2021 at 9:51 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

The laws of supply and demand predict demand dropping as prices rise ... jobs go unfilled ... employers are forced to grow jobs elsewhere where housing is affordable. Big Tech executives are magnifying the housing crisis by pushing demand in Mountain View to historic levels. They could minimize human suffering by growing jobs elsewhere.

Instead, politicians are intervening on behalf of these corporations to create housing for thousands of new tech workers in Mountain View. With a ruse of increasing “affordable” housing, they are actually maneuvering to force higher density onto an unwilling population. The last cycle of RHNA mandates resulted in 7,082 units (88%) for the highest wage earners, 371 (5%) for the poorest, and 253 (3%) for average earners (see “Housing units, built and planned, for 2015 through 2023 in Mountain View”, Web Link Thousands of expensive units added ... have prices dropped? No. The latest mandate (4X higher) calls for 11,135 additional units, and does not require a different distribution. The public is being duped: building massive amounts of “unaffordable” housing will simply not bring down rents for most wage-earners.

“NINJA” loans never made any sense. Building thousands of expensive housing units in Mountain View in order to bring down rents doesn't make any sense either. But it will help developers make $$$, and it will help Google hire and house thousands of new workers from out of the area, thus driving up the area's Average Median Income. Another word for that is "gentrification".





Posted by Seth Neumann
a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 16, 2021 at 10:04 pm

Seth Neumann is a registered user.

with the Bay Area 500,000 units short and the cost to build new units hovering around $1M (and that was for 114 BMR units, NOT high end luxury units), it's clear that there isn't the money to build them except in the most desirable locations like Mountain View. Realistically we are not going to build our way out of this. It's time to actively discourage employers from adding new jobs here. Hire in Pleasanton, hire in Bakersfield, hire in Indiana, hire in India, but not here. There are too many jobs here and the market is speaking loud and clear.


Posted by smorr
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 17, 2021 at 12:54 am

smorr is a registered user.

Are the regulations limiting the City Council from denying this kind of development proposal just part of the Mtn View City Code or are they regional? Statewide? If it's local, then we should be able to change those rules so that the City Council is not legally bound to approve proposals that they don't think are good for the city. Tearing down affordable housing is a step in the wrong direction. Having the City Council's hands tied doesn't make a lot of sense to me.


Posted by Lenny Siegel2
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 17, 2021 at 7:23 am

Lenny Siegel2 is a registered user.

@smorr - There are now state laws making it more difficult to demolish apartments, but the 570 S. Rengstorff and the upcoming Gamel Way project beat the clock - that is, the applications preceded the effective date of those laws. Housing advocates argued that the change in applicant for the Rengstorff project nullified that advantage, but city staff ruled otherwise. The Gamel Way project, which comes up later this month, could be stopped by the City Council, because it requires that the city sell land, and that action is discretionary.


Posted by Lenny Siegel2
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 17, 2021 at 7:35 am

Lenny Siegel2 is a registered user.

Leslie, When I took office, I asked Google to expand elsewhere, and they did. But this remains the best place in the world to start up and grow tech businesses, because we have the talent and - still - the quality of life to attract that talent. Have you noticed all the car companies that have set up tech offices here? All the mid-sized employers that didn't exist 10 years ago?

One can argue whether the benefits of that growth - our robust city budget, for example - outweigh the costs, but under our economic system the government doesn't determine where businesses grow. We can limit floorspace, but employers have increased the intensity of employment within existing space.

COVID-19 has temporarily limited office employment, but as companies move toward hybrid work models, in which more employees work at home part time, the demand for housing, especially larger homes, will increase. I also expect, as a result of COVID-19, a burst in biotech employment here. In general biotech companies require on-site work.

Whether or not we are able to control the rate of employment growth, we are way behind the curve. If we don't build housing, Mountain View will continue to gentrify, losing residents that we need to make our community function.


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 17, 2021 at 12:02 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Lenny I agree, Silicon Valley remains the best place in the world to start and grow tech businesses, for many reasons. The down side is: Job availability increases demand for housing near jobs. Well-paying jobs drive up the cost of housing.

Most everyone agrees there is a housing crisis in Mountain View and nearby communities. Naomi Klein wrote “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism” to explain how, during times of crisis, questionable policies are often put forward to exploit the public. People in pain are distracted and willing to embrace “solutions” that are deeply flawed; their pain essentially hinders their ability to think clearly. I submit to you that under a banner of “affordable housing”, proposals are being put forward that will do little to lower rents for most people; these schemes will instead generate massive profits for developers and Big Tech. The most important rule of politics is “Follow The Money”.

The problem is not “supply”, it is DEMAND. Conspiracy theories are being spread to scapegoat Mountain View homeowners, of all people, as engaging in activities to keep the supply of housing low in order to increase the values of our own homes. We are called NIMBYs, which is a more polite way of spitting in one's face. Raising any concern about high density (such as funding for local schools, water shortages during "normal" droughts and now the CLIMATE CRISIS, parking shortages and traffic congestion on streets like Middlefield) results in scorn from supporters of density.

Again, the last cycle of RHNA mandates resulted in 7,082 units (88%) for the highest wage earners, 371 (5%) for the poorest, and 253 (3%) for average earners. Less than 50% of the targets for the poorest and average earners were achieved. Now we have a non-explainable mandate to deliver 11,135 additional units, 4x higher? Why?

High density will be achieved, RENTS WILL NOT FALL, but the most important goal will be met: more tech workers hired and housed.


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 17, 2021 at 12:17 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Lenny, the first time that I heard about the R3 Rezoning proposal was back in April, when I received a post-card from the city in the mail. I read it too late to attend a scheduled meeting to provide feedback, but I signed up to receive notifications of future meetings. Sadly, no additional meetings were ever scheduled to enable the public to give their feedback about a proposal that will massively increase density in Mountain View. Why has so little outreach to residents been done?

According to great reporting in the Voice, Web Link , "State housing mandates are forcing Mountain View to grow quickly, with new zoning requirements that would increase its housing stock by 32% over the next eight years." "It's a huge spike over the 2,926 units required over the last eight-year cycle, and is much higher than what neighboring cities have been asked to accommodate." What is going on?

"Many cities have protested against their housing allocation this year, insisting that the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) is mandating too much housing growth. A total of 28 cities filed appeals seeking to adjust their allocation, including Palo Alto, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills. Mountain View did not file an appeal, but did send a letter with concerns about the high amount of growth being asked of the city."

I always thought that in a democracy, the people who live in a place get to decide what is best for that place. It appears to me that high density is being inflicted on Mountain View, whether or not the community of people who live here want it or not. I am a huge fan of Bernie Sanders; this situation smacks of oligarchy, to the point that I am losing sleep over it. What is happening to this town that I love?


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 17, 2021 at 12:35 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Lenny, you wrote: "One can argue whether the benefits of that growth - our robust city budget, for example - outweigh the costs, but under our economic system the government doesn't determine where businesses grow."

May I ask: Why is the state government inflicting high density onto Mountain View, for the benefit of business? Why are residents who object treated as scapegoats?

And why hasn't the City Council filed an appeal, as did so many other cities?


Posted by ivg
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 17, 2021 at 12:39 pm

ivg is a registered user.

I'm not aware of any housing advocates supporting this project.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 17, 2021 at 12:45 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

Others have pointed out that all housing advocacy groups have come out against this project, aside from the ones you've conjured up in your head.

Leslie, as much as you've drifted far off topic for this article's content, I must address some of your posting about "density". You say you're a fan of Bernie Sanders, but he is also opposed to exclusionary zoning, which is precisely what low-density housing in high-opportunity zones is. As long as our system allows people to freely buy and sell their homes on the open market, increasing supply is going to have to be a major component of any plan to make rich, exclusive cities like Mountain View more affordable.


Posted by Lenny Siegel2
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 17, 2021 at 1:05 pm

Lenny Siegel2 is a registered user.

Mountain View's plans to substantially increase our housing stock are largely the result of the 2014 election, in which three pro-housing candidates (including me) were elected to our City Council.

I have opposed most of the state legislative proposals to force unwanted housing on communities. I prefer local organizing as a way to get housing built. However, with job-rich cities such as Palo Alto and Cupertino severely limiting housing construction, I can understand why other people support such legislation.


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 17, 2021 at 1:15 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Randy, you wrote: "Others have pointed out that all housing advocacy groups have come out against this project, aside from the ones you've conjured up in your head."

Isn't Mountain View YIMBY, Web Link a housing advocacy group? I never saw their condemnation of the proposal before or after this latest action by the City Council.

Randy, what is your priority? Density or affordability?

I said nothing about a desire for "exclusionary zoning". I don't desire it or live in it. I live in a SFH that has duplexes literally across the street from me, and apartment complexes nearby. I bought my home decades ago when Mountain View was pretty much a dump. I liked it's racial and economic diversity.

Let me explain the math that shows: building large amounts of market rate (/expensive) housing will not bring down most rents in Mountain View.

Data shows that developers wildly prefer building market rate housing over housing for the poorest and/or “average” residents (see “Housing units, built and planned, for 2015 through 2023 in Mountain View”, Web Link ). Some argue that average residents benefit when market rate housing is constructed, using this logic: imagine 1000 expensive units are created; rich folks who can afford the best move into them, making their old (now less desirable) units unoccupied. Slightly less affluent folks move up into these empty units, and the process repeats. Eventually the cheapest units become even cheaper, or so the logic goes. This is an example of increased supply while demand remains constant.

Now imagine a different scenario: 1000 expensive units are created; 1000 new tech workers are hired from out of state and move into them. Nobody moves out of their old housing; none of the existing housing becomes cheaper as a result. This is an example of increased supply when demand also increases: notice it did not lower anyone's rent.

R3 Rezoning will give MV high density, but not affordability, which I care about.



Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 17, 2021 at 1:23 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Looks like Mountain View YIMBY, Web Link has suddenly gone down. How odd.


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 17, 2021 at 1:46 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Mountain View YIMBY, Web Link seems to be going up and down a lot today.

Fortunately I was able to make an archive copy: Web Link . I believe that document supports my claims, they were not "conjured up in my head".

There is a difference between "high density" and "affordability". I"ve shown the math to illustrate that building large amounts of market rate (/expensive) housing will simply not bring down most rents in Mountain View.

Voters should be aware that there are some in this town who care more about high density than they do about affordability. I like both honesty and democracy, myself. Let's put "high density" on the ballot to see what most existing residents (homeowners AND renters) want for Mountain View. If "we the people" want "high density", we should do it; otherwise, NO.

I feel that current claims about "affordability" are dishonest. Laws of supply and demand have two parts, but most people are a bit math impaired so they don't realize it, sadly. We have enormous DEMAND for tech workers, and that changes the equation. I want to raise these concerns before the building has all been completed: at that time it will be clear that rents have not come down, but by then it will be too late: we will get "high density" but NOT "affordability".

I encourage people to look at the Math.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 17, 2021 at 1:53 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

Leslie, have you tried reaching out to and asking that group what they think? It'd probably be more productive and informative rather than whatever assumptions you're making. I was mostly keying off what Lennie and others said here, but please let us know what they have to say.

Overall, it sounds like you need to slow down and be more thoughtful about a lot of this. Just like the purported "password-protected" document in the Shoreline article, your conspiracy theory about the website looks like it's simply user error, as you added a comma at the end of your link, which gives a "Not Found" for the requested page.


Posted by DavidWatson
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 17, 2021 at 2:32 pm

DavidWatson is a registered user.

Leslie, the link you keep posting has a dangling coma at the end.

If you load the website without the coma it works fine
Web Link


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 17, 2021 at 3:46 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

I'm trying to limit my comments on this article. Just want to say that, yes, I have been in conversations for months now with this group. When I explained the math that shows that building large amounts of market rate (/expensive) housing will not bring down most rents in Mountain View, the result was silence. They did not point out any flaws in my arguments, they simply ignored them.

My concerns are bigger than this group. I specifically avoided calling anyone out in my first comment because I want the focus of the conversation to be on the issues I have raised, not on personal attacks. I only named this group when you said, "all housing advocacy groups have come out against this project, aside from the ones you've conjured up in your head." You were incorrect, I provided evidence for my comments to provide proof to others.

Apparently I had a computer issue with the "password-protected" document; not a user error. I tried using a different computer, and the issue did not occur.

Re the URL with the dangling coma at the end: that link was generated by the Town Square software, not me.





Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 17, 2021 at 4:08 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

Honestly, Leslie, at this point it kinda sounds like you have an axe to grind with certain people. From your response it doesn't sound like you asked them for their opinion, but instead are just trying to prove that they're your "housing advocates" rather than housing advocates. If that's not the case, what did they think of this project?

You requested earlier that people "look at the Math" and have referred to sending that math out, but I can't really tell what math you're talking about. Can you clarify that?


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 17, 2021 at 4:43 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Randy, I wish you would refrain from making "observations" about me and my motivations. I am trying very hard to keep to the issues, I would appreciate it if you would do the same. You have made multiple little (not complimentary) comments about me, I have not done the same to you.

Do you know how to search for text? I'd like to not repeat what I've already written. Search for "Let me explain" ... you should be able to find it. Let me know if you have difficulty.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 17, 2021 at 5:33 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

I presumed you had posted actual math somewhere, so I gave you the benefit of the doubt. I had seen the quote you mentioned, and as best I can tell your "math" is a misunderstanding of what demand is. In your hypothetical, those "new" people are already part of housing demand, supply is just insufficient for them to move here. If supply isn't built, and they still want to move here anyway, they'll outbid other people on the scarce housing, driving up prices. As long as people are allowed to sell their homes on the open market, this is an inescapable outcome.

Is there some better "math" that I missed?


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 17, 2021 at 6:43 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Respectfully, Randy, you are wrong.

The argument that building expensive housing helps those in need of affordable housing hinges on the fact that demand only consists of people from the area: rich folks FROM THE AREA who can afford the best move into them, so they leave vacancies IN THE AREA behind. Slightly less rich folks FROM THE AREA move into them, etc. This is not "my hypothetical", it is a widely used argument given by many people about why building all kind of housing, including really expensive housing, is good because it still makes rents drop. It is a flawed argument for Mountain View because our economy IS DIFFERENT: we have much higher demand than elsewhere. We are Silicon Valley.

In example 2, when new workers from outside of the area move into the new units, no vacancies would be created. Am I wrong? Supply increased, yes, but demand increased too: it now equals the demand from the existing residents PLUS new demand from others outside of the area. Consider the result. Nothing really changes, does it? Am I wrong? A lot of highly paid workers have been added to the area, not much else.

If you disagree, please explain the logic of how prices of other units would drop, if you can. I'm betting you can't. Nobody has been able to explain this to me, and I've asked this question a lot.

P.S. Most Math teachers will tell you Math has concepts, procedures, and applications; good teachers cover all three. At the heart of Math are the concepts. Quibble about whether or not "this is Math", fine. But please explain how rents will become more affordable, other than by magic.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 17, 2021 at 6:59 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

Leslie, those 1000 people that move into the area will move in regardless, if they have the money and we allow homes to be freely bought and sold. Demand didn't increase, which I think is what's confusing you. What happens if there aren't enough homes is that they will bid against other people and drive up prices. When home sellers need to compete for buyers, that lowers prices.

I don't think you've proposed forbidding people from selling their homes on the open market, but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.


Posted by Allie Flanders
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 18, 2021 at 7:29 am

Allie Flanders is a registered user.

This is disgraceful. Margaret Abe-Koga citing her friends who are looking for million dollar starter homes is incredibly tone-deaf and elitist. Lisa Matichak and any others who are hiding behind zoning laws need to dig a little deeper. Fight for all residents of MV, for God's sake. Sally Lieber, you are correct that people who do "regular" jobs, who actually keep a community going, cannot afford to stay here. However, we're not going to "wake up one day" and discover this...that started happening years ago and the city council has done very little to address and prevent it from getting worse.


Posted by Allie Flanders
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 18, 2021 at 7:33 am

Allie Flanders is a registered user.

This is disgraceful. Margaret Abe-Koga citing her friends who are looking for million dollar starter homes is incredibly tone-deaf and elitist. Lisa Matichak and any others who are hiding behind zoning laws need to dig a little deeper. Fight for all residents of MV, for God's sake. Sally Lieber, you are correct that people who do "regular" jobs, who actually keep a community going, cannot afford to stay here. However, we're not going to "wake up one day" and discover this...that started happening years ago and the city council has done very little to address it and prevent it from getting worse.


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 18, 2021 at 12:09 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Randy, I'm not going to respond to you tit for tat. But I want to make one thing very clear: I laid down a challenge for you to explain how building thousands of expensive housing units in Mountain View is going to lower rents for most other residents. You DID NOT ANSWER that challenge. I am a National Merit Scholar who has been excellent at Math my entire life. Building 1000 expensive units to be filled with 1000 new tech workers from out of the area will not lower the rents of most who live in Mountain View. Those who are spreading this "theory" are spreading a myth; no worse than a myth, they are spreading pro-developer propaganda. If 11,000 new units are built, the number of BMR units that are constructed will be PITIFUL; I've already shown the data.

Allie, I agree with you that what is happening in Mountain View is disgraceful. However, voters should not make judgements about City Council based on one incident alone. I admire Councilwoman Abe-Koga greatly because she "underscored that the R3 zoning changes are drastic, and that there hasn't been enough public outreach." - Web Link . She also said: "We have heard from folks, but these are frankly folks who are very interested in housing issues and they are mostly housing advocates." These "housing advocates" have been considered STAKEHOLDERS on the R3 Rezoning proposal, while most residents are essentially being kept in the dark.

Lenny, I know that those on the City Council are in the hot seat. Many people are in pain over housing. As long as demand grows faster then supply, rents will remain obscene. The problem is DEMAND. But we have another, bigger problem: undefensible mandates passed down from the state that benefit Big Tech and developers, but hurt MV residents. City Council needs to fight for "the little people", not the rich and powerful. Please.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 18, 2021 at 1:02 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

Leslie, I'm truly trying to understand what your objection is. Those 1000 people already exist. Maybe they already live in Mountain View and want a bigger house, maybe they live in Sunnyvale and like it better in Mountain View, maybe they live out of state and want to pursue a better life for their family. In the absence of enough homes being built, those people will outbid people with less money on the existing homes. Surely you aren't contesting that?

When you sell your home, you're going to sell it at market rate, correct?


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 18, 2021 at 2:55 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

"Leslie, I'm truly trying to understand what your objection is."

I have several. First, I object to lies and false propaganda out of principle. Certain proposals (SB9/10 and R3 rezoning) are being put forward because of the housing crisis; many people are in great pain over obscene rents, and support these proposals because somehow they are getting the idea that they will bring down the cost of rent. They are being misled. These proposals WILL NOT LOWER RENTS FOR MOST PEOPLE IN MV. As long as demand grows faster then supply, rents will continue to remain obscene. Math.

My second: those of us who are opposed to high density without sufficient urban planning are being demonized in order to silence us. We are being scapegoated, even falsely accused as being the CAUSE of high rents. Have you ever been scapegoated, Randy? It sucks.

SOME of our concerns are: 1) schools starved for funding when new mega-apartment RENTAL construction is built and taxes are frozen for owners (we need Prop 15), 2) we need solutions for the water shortages that are already here and WILL BE MAGNIFIED, 3) we need solutions for parking issues and traffic congestion on MV streets that WILL BE CREATED, 4) less sunshine and greenspace 5) it's not fair or just to make ordinary taxpayers foot the bill for necessary solutions. Big Tech creates the demand; Big Tech should foot the bill.

FYI, I have many positive thoughts about NBPP, it appears well-planned for the most part. However, "NIMBY" concerns about increased traffic congestion due to higher density ARE 100% VALID: Web Link . NBPP might have "nature everywhere", but old Redwoods in non-Google parts of MV will be lost in order to "mitigate traffic issues". Lovely.

Forcing high-density onto non-Google parts of MV without a similar amount of care and planning, and silencing those who raise concerns is not fair or just; honestly, it's cruel.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 18, 2021 at 3:34 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

Thanks, that helps quite a bit. As you say, if we can get supply above demand, rents will go down.

Increasing supply is not a panacea, but it's a necessary part of solving the problem. In general, rents won't go down for most people in the Bay Area because we've spent decades underbuilding. What we can do in the immediate future is slow or stop the increase in the cost of housing.

We're playing musical chairs with 100 people and 10 chairs: even if we double the number of chairs, we'll still have 80 people that lose the game. We're paying off the debts of the past, and it's not easy.


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 18, 2021 at 5:59 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Randy, I responded to you in good faith, but now I doubt your sincerity. It does not appear that your are "truly trying to understand." Respectfully, I see you spreading more myths.

I'm not sure how old you are, I've lived in Mountain View for over 30 years. Housing has been expensive forever. If it is true that "we've spent decades underbuilding", then surely this situation would have been identified as an issue at least a decade ago by many people, right? Do you have any evidence that this is true?

I never heard of "underbuilding" as an issue before 2017. In that year, Brian Hanlon founded California YIMBY, which was "an emerging political movement demanding more housing construction across California, affordable or not." Web Link Note the last two words: "affordable or not."

Hanlon obtained backing from Silicon Valley executives. Why? They want to hire workers. Under capitalism, employers only hire workers when they will make a profit by doing so. Big Tech wants to hire more workers so they can increase profits; cool. But they have difficulty hiring when housing is super expensive. Big Tech primarily wants to help THEIR workers "afford housing". Are they outraged when rent-controlled apartments are razed? No.

In politics, people use words slyly. Someone can say they are "fighting for affordable housing" when they are specifically fighting for housing that only tech workers can afford. What they are saying is "true", but it is also highly misleading and deceptive. I hate that. Also keep in mind: tech workers can "afford" expensive market rate units. Words are slippery things.

If trends keep up, only 5% and 3% of new high density units will be created for our poorest and average wage earners. YIMBYs achieve THEIR goal: more housing units, "affordable or not". Big Tech can hire more workers. But everyone who trusts that SB9/SB10 and the R3 Rezoning proposal will LOWER MOST PEOPLE'S rent will eventually realize that they were played for fools.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 18, 2021 at 6:52 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

Leslie, please take a look at this report from the California Legislative Analysts's Office (Web Link ). They specifically cite many of the issues you dismiss as "myths," are they wrong too?


Posted by ivg
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 18, 2021 at 8:56 pm

ivg is a registered user.

Leslie, you said that MV YIMBY supported this project. Can you find any statements from us in support?


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 19, 2021 at 3:57 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

One of the wisest progressives I know has a sig that reads, "Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe."

In the news item, 70 affordable rent-controlled apartments are being razed. Where is the outrage? WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE?!#*!

Those who sincerely believe that "all types of housing are great!" and "MORE housing is better!" might even be PLEASED by this development. We lost 70 units, sure, but we are gaining 85! That's 15 MORE! Yay! And if one is fighting primarily on behalf of tech workers, the news is actually pretty fantastic. 85 ownership units priced at $1.2 million? Holy smokes, this is like manna from heaven.

Randy, I have been paying attention to politics ever since the stock market crash in 2008 when I lost 1/3 of my life savings. Nobody was hiring, so I also became long-term unemployed. Fun! I did much to discover WTF JUST HAPPENED?; I lost my zeal for the Democrats as a result. Dems say pretty words, but their actions simply don't match them. Thomas Frank has written much to explain "How Democrats Went From Being the ‘Party of the People’ to the Party of Rich Elites" Web Link "The book is about how the Democratic Party turned its back on working people and now pursues policies that actually increase inequality."

Did you know, the CA Democratic Party

* went to court to overturn the will of CA voters who voted for Open Primaries in 1996; then they gave us a primary system that suppresses the votes of independent/NPP voters in sneaky ways Web Link

* shelved a single-payer healthcare bill rather than ask a Dem governor to sign it into law Web Link

Please explain how SB9/10 and R3 rezoning will LOWER AVERAGE RENTS in MV. If nobody can do this, it is merely a MYTH that happens to benefit rich elites: developers and Big Tech.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 19, 2021 at 4:36 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

Leslie, I've been nothing if not patient in discussing this with you, but given your last post it does not seem that further engagement will be productive. The California Legislative Analyst's Office is a nonpartisan government agency. If you're at the point where you're ignoring my explanations and outright dismissing the research of professional, nonpartisan government bodies, I do not believe there can be any productive discussion here.


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 20, 2021 at 12:42 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Randy, alert readers can see for themselves that you have made MANY sneering comments towards me, while I have tried to respectfully discuss the issues. When one of your sneers fails, you simply move on to another, rather than acknowledge the truth of any of my statements.

You cannot explain how building thousands of housing units will cause rents to drop for most people in Mountain View, so now you resort to "because these experts say so". I have read your report, did you? Nowhere in it is any kind of statement made that rents will drop FOR MOST PEOPLE. It does say "Building Less Housing Than People Demand Drives High Housing Costs," but it does not make any kind of attempt to analyze what causes that demand. I wonder why they left that part out? We know what causes it, though. Job availability increases demand for housing near jobs. Well-paying jobs drive up the cost of housing. Silicon Valley has been a source of well-paying jobs for decades ... but NEVER BEFORE has government intervened as they are doing now, against the will of the people.

20 years ago "experts" told us that there were WMD's in Iraq. Saudi pilots brought down the Twin Towers, and as a result America went to war against another country. I don't accept what "experts" say out of blind faith anymore. Show me the Math!!!

At this point, the best that "our government" seems to be able to do is play defense. We cannot influence where Google hires? So we have to morph our small suburb into a dense city in order to protect ourselves from rents increasing even further? If so, let's be clear and HONEST about the reality of what Google is doing to us.

I'm getting to be an old lady now, I see how the game works. Most politicians serve their rich and powerful donors, rather than "we the people". It is a win/win for them; the "only" losers are the 99%. Web Link

Be HONEST: building expensive, market-rate housing units will NOT bring down the rent for most people.


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 20, 2021 at 2:15 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Never forget that Newsom waited to sign SB9 and SB10 until AFTER the recall election; he knows they are unpopular. If he signed them before the election, it would have influenced some voters to oust him.

"Two days after he repelled a recall attempt, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed on Thursday two contentious housing bills that have been at the top of the agenda for Democratic lawmakers, including one that would allow more dwellings on properties designated for single-family zoning." Web Link

Newsom put out this statement when he signed them: "the "housing affordability crisis is undermining the California Dream for families across the state, and threatens our long-term growth and prosperity.""

This is an example of the "pretty words" that I have come to despise from the Blue Team. The words are true and sound compassionate, the issue is real, the public wants action. But these bills are not truly designed to help the 99%. They are HONESTLY designed to help the bottom lines of wealthy elites: developers and employers struggling to hire and house well-paid workers. #FollowTheMoney #Oligarchy

Actions speak louder than words, but those who normally Vote Blue need to PAY ATTENTION TO THE ACTIONS of Blue Team politicians. FYI, I used to Vote Blue, now I am a Sanders-style populist.

Housing Is a Human Right Web Link shares polling that shows strong opposition to both bills by CA Voters. Highlights include:

* Opposition increases to 71% for SB 9 and 75% for SB 10 after voters learn more about those bills.

* Two in three voters say allowing the removal of single-family homes, and allowing local government to bypass the review process, makes them more likely to oppose. Half say this about lack of affordable housing requirements, and a plurality of 40% about homeless housing requirements.


Posted by I can't breathe pollution
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 21, 2021 at 10:11 am

I can't breathe pollution is a registered user.

I love this static "supply and demand" analysis. So stupid. As if demand were just a simple straight line on a graph. A simple function. Well let me explain something to you. Demand for this sort of thing is essentially unlimited

People procreate more when prices of housing are lower. This increases demand. It doesn't take long either. So in the not so long run, your attempts at increasing supply are like giving a fat person more food to help them lose weight

Unfortunately for you "housing advocates" (corporate propaganda zombies), I've been fighting development for awhile now as an environmentalist. For years and years developers were happy to tell you that increasing infrastructure in your area RAISES the value of your home. Which is the truth. All of a sudden, they change their tune and the zombies drink the Kool-aid

Housing the homeless or subsidizing some housing is an admirable goal and definitely worthwhile. Building market rate housing is a terrible idea, a blight on the environment, and completely counter productive to lowering housing costs


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 21, 2021 at 10:51 am

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

I'm sorry, "pollution," but are really comparing people starting families and having kids ("procreate") to "giving a fat person more food to help them lose weight?" That's a pretty egregious comparison, so I surely must be misinterpreting that.

It might help if you're more explicit about what you think the end goal should be. It sounds like you want to reduce the population ("lose weight"), is that correct?

How do you square your assessment that lowering the cost of housing is a bad thing with your statement that housing the homeless and subsidizing housing (which means lowering the cost) are admirable and worthwhile goals?


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 21, 2021 at 1:55 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

The razing of these 70 rent-controlled apartments is actually a great litmus test: Is this news good or bad?

Sally Lieber said "This is a really textbook example of gentrification that is eating our community alive." I agree.

@Lenny said: "All the housing advocates I know actively opposed the demolition of 570 S. Rengstorff." Apparently he does not know any YIMBYs? MV YIMBY Web Link never posted a statement opposing the demolition; they still haven't. MV YIMBY is listed under "Stakeholders" on certain R3 Rezoning documents Web Link

Those who believe that "all types of housing are great!" and "MORE housing is better!" might even be PLEASED by this development. We lost 70 units, but we are gaining 85! That's 15 MORE! If one is fighting primarily on behalf of tech workers, the news is actually pretty fantastic. 85 ownership units priced at $1.2 million? Fire Sale!

The words "affordable housing" are ambiguous. Affordable to whom? Low-income workers? Or Tech Workers? The razing of these 70 units is HORRIBLE for the former, but kind of WONDERFUL for the latter, isn't it? Which brings me to my point: who are YIMBY's fighting for?

Longtime housing advocate Patrick Range McDonald wrote:
"What Is a YIMBY? (Hint: It’s Not Good)" Web Link
"Housing Is A Human Right has been battling YIMBYs for years, so you’ve come to the right place for more information. In fact, we published a special report about them last year: “Inside Game: California YIMBY, Scott Wiener, and Big Tech’s Troubling Housing Push.” Web Link That’s a must-read."

Everyone deserves affordable housing, NOT JUST TECH WORKERS.

"To further their agenda, YIMBYs co-op housing justice messaging, but they’re not housing justice activists."


Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Sep 21, 2021 at 6:23 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

The link last posted is very important. It's the entire problem with the YIMBY's and their self interests. They rope in a few others too who don't think things through. I recommend reading this Web Link A terrible problem affects our state from conflating the need for housing for lower income people and the "need" for housing for well paid urban professionals who want to live in a suburb but claim not to feel that way. Some introspection would be helpful for such people. SB9 makes more HIGH COST SFH-like units typical to a suburb, not cost affordable housing. That is, to the extent that it will accomplish anything of its goals. Hopefully it will spark some opposition to the YIMBY movement.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 21, 2021 at 6:44 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

LongResident, all SB9 does is allow for duplexes and some lot splits to occur in single-family home zones. If you're opposed to it on the grounds that it doesn't allow for larger multifamily housing ("SFH-like"), surely you are opposed to the existing single-family-only zoning that makes all other home forms illegal?


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 21, 2021 at 7:09 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

To try to push this discussion in a more productive direction than a Two Minutes Hate directed at various groups, there was a recently passed and signed bill that would have prevented a project like this: SB 8. It requires that the replacement units required by SB 330 retain their rent control. It, like SB 330, was a YIMBY bill.


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 22, 2021 at 12:32 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Randy, I agree with you that Two Minutes of Hate is not a nice thing. Can you imagine what those of us who are fans of urban planning have constantly endured after the YIMBY movement was born? We have been demonized and scapegoated, actually accused of being the CAUSE of high housing prices. Is that "productive", do you think?

The name YIMBY is nefarious, it creates a situation that anyone who disagrees with the pro-developer views of that organization is a NIMBY. This is called "demonization of the other", it creates a dynamic where those who disagree are actually EVIL people, which stirs a deep emotional response. Did you know that when people are overcome with emotions they don't utilize the rational part of their brains? YIMBYs are convinced that they are saints, and anyone who disagrees with them is a villian.

Do leaders of the YIMBY movement disapprove? Have they made statements to condemn the use of this slur by any of their followers? Ha ha ha, are you kidding me?

Many political types find it convenient to identify scapegoats, and then stir up a mob against them. Mobs act in angry, unthinking ways. "Kill the Beast!" Stirring up mobs is USEFUL! Many people embrace ideas without asking for evidence. Is there any evidence that so-called "NIMBYs" are the root cause of high housing costs? No, but this belief now seems to be common. Who needs evidence?

Expressing any kind of concern about a proposed construction project results in one being branded a NIMBY, and then, because the person is a NIMBY it means that the concern is obviously invalid whining raised with dubious real intentions so should be ignored. As one YIMBY put it: "NIMBYs are there whining about parking, and shadows, and parking, and neighborhood character, and parking, and the drought, and parking, and traffic, and parking."

Demonizing so-called "NIMBYs" in order to silence them ... is that "productive" Randy?

Should urban planning be discouraged in the non-Google parts of Mountain View?


Posted by Dhanuraashi
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 23, 2021 at 9:10 pm

Dhanuraashi is a registered user.

Leslie, you claim to be a progressive and a great and noble supporter of the one and only Bernie Sanders.

Yet, what is obvious from your posts is that you hate the idea of people moving into Mountain View. If a great progressive like you is so unwilling to accept domestic immigrants from other parts of the country, what right do you have to criticize the Trump-voters who are unwilling to accept international immigrants?

Are your beliefs not just as xenophobic as theirs? Perhaps more so, because they, noxious as they are, want to stop only people from outside the country from coming in. You on the other hand, want to stop not just people from outside the country from entering your town, but even those from inside the country who don't happen to be currently living in Mountain View. Their hatred is limited to a subset of the people you hate, is it not?


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 24, 2021 at 5:19 am

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Dhanuraashi, your comment makes me very sad. Typically message boards encourage people to comment on the post, not the poster. Yet here you are, making "observations" about me, rather than the arguments that I have put forward.

You say, I "hate the idea of people moving into Mountain View." What exactly makes you say this? If I am concerned about a construction project not having enough parking ... that means I am xenophobic? I truly do not understand the logic, other that YIMBYs have internalized that anyone raising any kind of concern about any construction project is intrinsically evil.

Why are people who raise concerns about high-density being treated this way? Since when are concerns about water shortages and traffic congestion on city streets a mark of pure evil and support for Trump? I don't get it.

I am trying to expose the BIG LIE that these high density projects will help low-income and average wage earners. Until I see a cogent explanation that explains how building thousands and thousands of expensive, market-rate units will help these people, I call this claim propaganda put out by YIMBYs in order to deceive innocent and well-intentioned people. You seem to think that makes me a xenophobic Trump supporter? I truly don't get it. FYI, I despise Trump. BTW, there is no such thing as Santa Claus either. You can hate me for saying it, but I stand by it.

P.S. I believe in Democracy, the idea that the laws should be decided based on the will of the majority, as long as safeguards are implemented to protect the minority. If the majority of residents were in favor of these changes, I would embrace them. That is not what is happening. These changes are being forced upon the MV community, and those who raise LEGITIMATE concerns are being demonized. Increased traffic congestion on MV streets is not an invention by NIMBYs Web Link


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 24, 2021 at 5:47 am

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Let me add one more bit. I don't have animosity towards job-seekers who want to improve their lot in life. Far from it. I have much sympathy for those from other countries, especially south of the border, who live lives of economic and other desperation and seek a better life for themselves in America.

When I say

"Imagine 1000 expensive units are created, and 1000 new tech workers are hired from out of state and move into them. Nobody moves out of their old housing; none of the existing housing becomes cheaper as a result. This is an example of increased supply when demand also increases: it did not lower anyone's rent."

I am not trying to scapegoat those from out of the area. I am simply trying to show that DEMAND is a key component in the laws supply and demand. Most people forget that, they think that increasing supply will automatically cause prices to fall. My example attempts to show that the Math is more complicated than that, that's all.

The discussion is about housing affordability. The basic factors are: Job availability increases demand for housing near jobs. Well-paying jobs drive up the cost of housing. Silicon Valley has been a source of well-paying jobs for decades.

Big Tech has problems hiring new tech workers in the Bay Area because housing is so expensive. They want to hire more workers so that they can increase their profits. SB9/10 and R3 rezoning will create more expensive housing units to hire and house more tech workers, that is what these bills are primarily about.

I can understand how tech workers would support these bills, it is in their own self-interest to do so. Self-interest is a powerful thing, and not unreasonable per se. But why should the self-interest of tech workers be more important than the self-interest of MV residents who are worried about parking, traffic, etc.? Why should lies about lower rents for non-techies be tolerated?

And why should Google's self-interest be the most important self-interest of all? That is oligarchy.


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 25, 2021 at 1:36 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Re my claims "to be a progressive and a great and noble supporter of the one and only Bernie Sanders"-

I fell in love with Bernie back in 2014 when he asked Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen "Are we still a capitalist democracy or have we gone over into an oligarchic form of society in which incredible economic and political power now rests with the billionaire class?"

Her answer: I prefer not to give labels.

Web Link

“All of the statistics on inequality that you’ve cited are ones that greatly concern me, and I think for the same reason that you’re concerned about them, they can shape the ability of different groups to participate equally in a democracy and have great effects on social stability over time,” Yellen responded.

“I don't know what to call our system," she added. "I prefer not to give labels, but there’s no question we’ve had the trend toward growing inequality, and I personally find it a very worrisome trend that deserves the attention of policy makers."

A lot of people are in pain over housing costs. I have put forward arguments to support my belief that this pain is being exploited. Sanders-style Democrats believe that our problems are not caused by traditional LEFT-RIGHT disagreements. No, our problems are better understood as being UP-DOWN, primarily caused by the 1% against the 99%. Elites keep left-right disputes going, to keep the 99% distracted and fighting among ourselves instead of banding together to see what THEY are doing to US.

I care about low-income workers. Believe it or not I also care about tech workers; I was one. But I don't think that they should be treated as a privileged class COMPARED TO ALL OTHERS. I believe that many techies are good people who don't want this either, they just don't realize what is actually happening now.

Don't be fooled: SB9/10 and R3 rezoning are being forced onto CA to help rich and powerful elites, who will return political favors later.