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About this blog: So much is right — and wrong — about what is happening in Palo Alto. In this blog I want to discuss all that with you. I know many residents care about this town, and I want to explore our collective interests to help ...  (More)

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Do we really need all that new housing?

Uploaded: May 3, 2022
Suppose that all those pious but earnest urgings by local and state officials over the past few years proclaiming that we need much more housing in this state, particularly affordable housing, were based on false data?

What if all those mandates from the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and other government agencies that set a specific number of new housing units cities must provide were based on dated and unsound information? And what if these agencies have not taken into consideration current data -- such as the number of people now moving out of this state or the decline in new births or that the escalating population growth would no longer continue, or corporations leaving this state -- were discounted, and certainly not included in their predictions of how many housing units are needed?

I never thought to question if the state officials were correct in their assessments, but one recent report has, and its conclusions made me anxious about these projections– a lot.

At the outset, I want to state that I don’t know whether the state auditor’s findings are right or wrong, but I do think we should pay attention to them because if they are true, then we may be needlessly requiring overbuilding in this state. And even worse, if we are creating too many housing and apartment units, they may sit empty for months or years, and we will have created ghost towns or slums in portions of our cities, which is certainly something to think about.

The scathing report was prepared by acting state auditor Michael S. Tilden, and released March 17. It found the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) predictions on housing needs are not only inaccurate, but overestimated the number of new housing units needed in this state by at least 900,000 units, in its stated need of 2.1 million new units. That’s like a 43 percent overcount!

Evidently HCD did not adjust their numbers the previous years, even though the demography of this state was changing – an increase in the number leaving the state, the drop in birth levels, etc.

“The (state) Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has made errors when completing its needs assessments because it does not sufficiently review and verify data it sees,” the report bluntly states. In other words, there are screw-ups.

To put this in local terms, each year ABAG tells local cities how much new housing they need to provide. For Palo Alto, the city has ben tasked with 6,086 new units between 2023 and 2031. Originally ABAG demanded a 10,000-unit increase, but did not explain why the decrease.

But I look around me and see San Antonio Road near El Camino crammed with massive housing and commercial buildings; Menlo Park along El Camino has two blocks of high-rise under construction – a massive amount, visually. Is there enough demand now to fill them, since the construction started years ago and based on older growth estimates?

At-large Columnist Tom Elias also wrote a column about this auditor’s report and noted that even Gov. Gavin Newsom has reduced his housing-needs figures, perhaps based on similar findings about overblown numbers. In 2018, he said California would need 3.5 million new units, but now says we need 1.8 million by 2030. Newsom never explained the drop in his projections. Plus, evidently HCD did not adjust their numbers, nor has it, according to the report.

Now I am not dismissing at all the escalating housing needs in many parts of our nation; they are there. But in California, where the needs still exist, it looks to me like we may be overbuilding based on false predictions and unreliable information. At least, let’s all think about it, especially our city officials and some legislators in this state who are still coming up with ways to make our communities a lot denser (e.g. SB 9 and SB 10).

It's a shame to have all our communities adjust its housing because of false numbers.
Democracy.
What is it worth to you?

Comments

Posted by Pat Dobson, a resident of another community,
on May 3, 2022 at 5:14 pm

Pat Dobson is a registered user.

The massive influx of compressed mixed-usage housing in Palo Alto & Mountain View happened for a valid reason.

There is a shortage of residential housing in the midpeninsula and land is limited

By having commercial businesses at ground level and high-rise condos & apartments above, both needs are easily addressed & resolved.

It may not look pretty to some but the older and original San Antonio Road Shopping Center district was no beauty contest winner either & the Barron Park section along ECR could also use a major facelift.

As Kevin Costner said in Field of Dreams, "If you build it, they will come" and many people would still like to reside in both Palo Alto & Mountain View.

So why not accommodate them providing these newer mixed-use residences are not crowding or overlooking your backyard?

To reside in distant & affluent neighborhoods like Crescent Park or the PA Foothills while complaining and/or critiquing advancing redevelopments in the lesser parts of town does not make any sense.

It's like someone living in Beverly Hills overly concerned about what goes on in East LA.

Just don't go there


Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on May 3, 2022 at 5:19 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

I am pleased someone is asking these questions.

Over the weekend, I was talking with a young tech worker who has been working from home for the past couple of years. His company will let him work from anywhere provided he works Pacific time. He will be leaving California within the next couple of months to move back East nearer family and where he can afford to buy a house even though he is single.

I feel sure he is not alone.

Will Twitter leave California? That is not supposed to be a discussion starter about Elon Must, but more as to whether it is part of the trend of high tech companies leaving the State for various reasons.

As I said at the start. I am pleased someone has started asking these questions.


Posted by I+miss+my+small+town+feel, a resident of another community,
on May 3, 2022 at 6:01 pm

I+miss+my+small+town+feel is a registered user.

Don't destroy SF neighborhoods or turn nice towns into versions of SF, NYC or Hong Kong with all their crime and housing shortages despite massive building... We should convert all these office buildings that draw in high wages and gentrify neighborhoods to dorm style housing... The young, poor, homeless, etc. would have a nice, new place to live with dorm meals, laundry machines and perhaps small businesses like hair salons and dry cleaning on the first floor. I'd use eminent domain rather than keep raising taxes to build more housing for rich tech and biotech companies to fill with their highly paid employees.


Posted by Violet Davis, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on May 3, 2022 at 7:34 pm

Violet Davis is a registered user.

"We should convert all these office buildings that draw in high wages and gentrify neighborhoods to dorm style housing... The young, poor, homeless, etc. would have a nice, new place to live with dorm meals, laundry machines and perhaps small businesses like hair salons and dry cleaning on the first floor."

Good idea BUT would young professionals want to share a housing complex with transients, many of whom have substance abuse or mental health issues?

I think not.


Posted by BDBD, a resident of Cuesta Park,
on May 3, 2022 at 7:46 pm

BDBD is a registered user.

Cities only identify where to put housing targets that ABAG assigns; Palo Alto draws lines on maps to say, "We'll definitely approve housing here." But the units they pencil in will only get built if a developer thinks they can make a profit: if the city has identified a usable lot and there is demand for housing there. The idea that developers would build empty housing, especially "ghost towns or slums," in the middle of the city is laughable at best. The out of touch boomer attitudes in this column are troubling and illuminating at the same time.


Posted by JH, a resident of Midtown,
on May 3, 2022 at 8:35 pm

JH is a registered user.

Good lord! I don't know what report Diana Diamond was reading, but it apparently wasn't the March 17 State Auditor's report on Regional Housing Needs Assessments! Contrary to Ms. Diamond's claim, the State Auditor found that in two of the three Regions analyzed, the Regions had actually UNDERCOUNTED the demand for new housing. (No errors were identified in the third Region's assessment.)
Jocelyn Dong, your fact checkers are asleep at the wheel!
For those who are curious, the State Auditor's report is available at Web Link --- but Ms. Diamond should have already told you that.


Posted by monahaley, a resident of Castro City,
on May 3, 2022 at 9:31 pm

monahaley is a registered user.

I agree with BDBD. Palo Alto paints lines on maps to indicate where it will approve housing targets set by ABAG. That is, if a developer thinks he can profit from the project: if the city has identified a useable site and there is demand for houses. The idea of developers creating "ghost towns" or "slums" in the https://cookie-clicker2.co is absurd. This column's out of touch boomer sentiments are both alarming and illuminating.


Posted by I+miss+my+small+town+feel, a resident of another community,
on May 3, 2022 at 10:03 pm

I+miss+my+small+town+feel is a registered user.

Violet Davis>> "Good idea BUT would young professionals want to share a housing complex with transients, many of whom have substance abuse or mental health issues?"

Thanks.

You obviously put them in different buildings... with one set up with mental health and outpatient facilities on the first floor rather than small businesses in the units built for the low income but healthy and gainfully employed. This would be far better than the "pods" some are living in SF inside homes to save on the high cost of rent by splitting a home between a dozen or more people.


Posted by Marvin Miller, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive,
on May 4, 2022 at 8:35 am

Marvin Miller is a registered user.

I+miss+my+small+town+feel brought up an excellent idea on how to accomodate both the young working professionals and the transients with mental health or substance abuse issues.

El Camino Real in Palo Alto (Barron Park section) and Mountain View (anywhere from the Castro Street/ECR intersection northward would provide ideal locations as the VTA #22 and #522 Express bus lines run regularly along this route.

Anyone who has driven along El Camino Real will attest that the Barron Park section in Palo Alto and most of Mountain View along ECR is pretty mundane and could use some major upgrading.


Posted by Justine McDaniel, a resident of Blossom Valley,
on May 4, 2022 at 9:08 am

Justine McDaniel is a registered user.

The El Camino Real section of Mountain View from Castro Street up to El Monte Road should be razed in its entirety and utilized as I+miss+my+small+town+feel suggested.

And the same applies to the section along El Camino Real in Palo Alto from Portage Avenue all the way to San Antonio Road which encompasses most of Barron Park.

Both sections are not reflective of progressive Mountain View or upscale Palo Alto and more reminiscent of the hideous and haphazard sections along El Camino Real in Sunnyvale and Santa Clara.

And who would want that?


Posted by Meghan Williams, a resident of Southgate,
on May 4, 2022 at 9:33 am

Meghan Williams is a registered user.

It should noted that prior to annexation, Barron Park was an unincorporated area exclusive of Palo Alto.

As a result, it lacks the residential refinement that the Southgate neighborhood has along El Camino Real.

Barron Park was essentially just a place to buy gas, get one's car or lawnmower fixed, or make a run to Ernie's Liquors and outside of venturing to Rudolpho's or the original Ming's restaurant, there was nary a reason for us to ever go there.

Unlike California Avenue which was once the main street of Mayfield, there is no main street in Barron Park nor any traces that it was once an actual town of and on its own merits.

This is why Barron Park lacks a certain character.


Posted by Kevin, a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks,
on May 4, 2022 at 9:37 am

Kevin is a registered user.

Ms. Diamond, it's your editorial that seems pious and disingenuous. You seem to have foolishly parroted some NIMBY groups' talking points on the result of the audit, without reading the real conclusions of the audit.

The top line message was for the state and cities to move much faster in creating new housing.

With more than 1.4 million low-income California households unable to access affordable housing in 2021, the rapid creation of additional affordable housing is vital to the State. To address this need, the Governor issued Executive Order N-06-19 (executive order) in 2019, which prioritized the use of excess and surplus state-owned land to support the development of affordable housing.

Web Link

Please rewrite your editorial reflecting the real facts and conclusions delivered in the audit if you are going to use some selective data from the audit as evidence.


Posted by Mike Larson, a resident of Los Altos Hills,
on May 4, 2022 at 9:55 am

Mike Larson is a registered user.

"...it looks to me like we may be overbuilding based on false predictions and unreliable information."

Please elaborate.


Posted by Jeffrey Rennie, a resident of Cuesta Park,
on May 4, 2022 at 10:18 am

Jeffrey Rennie is a registered user.

I personally know dozens of people who live as far away as Tracy, Dublin, and Gilroy and commute to Mountain View and Palo Alto. That's 100 miles of commuting per day.

Long commutes like this are horrible for traffic, for the environment, and for the health of the commuters.

Building housing so people who work locally can live locally is a win for everyone.


Posted by Miriam Lange, a resident of Cuesta Park,
on May 4, 2022 at 10:21 am

Miriam Lange is a registered user.

Location and convenient access to public transportation and cheaper retail stores is paramount when deciding where to establish low income housing.

As others have suggested, sections along El Camino Real provide an ideal location as Walmart and Target are easily accessible and Showers Drive in Mountain View is a primary VTA hub.


Posted by Ariel Fine/Ph.D., a resident of another community,
on May 4, 2022 at 11:51 am

Ariel Fine/Ph.D. is a registered user.

Human beings are like rats and when overcrowding occurs, anti-social behavior begins to rear its ugly head.

The key is to establish a ceiling on just how much additional housing the SF Bay Area can sustain while still maintaining quality of life parameters.

In many cases, lower income individuals are limited by their ambition, intelligence, education, and a subsequent ongoing lack of economic opportunities.

Facebook, Google, and Apple could help remedy this situation by providing more internships for those who do not qualify.


Posted by Bob Taylor, a resident of Woodside,
on May 4, 2022 at 12:13 pm

Bob Taylor is a registered user.

> I personally know dozens of people who live as far away as Tracy, Dublin, and Gilroy and commute to Mountain View and Palo Alto. That's 100 miles of commuting per day.

If Palo Alto was really all that concerned about climate change and global warming, it would make housing availability readily accessible for the countless workers who must commute to their daily jobs as supermarket personnel, postal clerks, sandwich makers, and other service workers who cater to our daily whims and necessities.

Most NIMBYs are dinosaurs and out of touch with real world.

Selfish and self-centered would be another description.


Posted by Sally Pierce, a resident of St. Francis Acres,
on May 4, 2022 at 12:38 pm

Sally Pierce is a registered user.

Another option would be to establish more mobile home parks along ECR.


Posted by Leslie Bain, a resident of Cuesta Park,
on May 4, 2022 at 1:11 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Thank you, @JH, for providing an actual link to the March 17 report - Web Link . I agree this link should have been provided in the text of the article itself, so readers can examine it for themselves.

However, I find your criticism of Ms. Diamond to be overly harsh. I very much appreciate her shining a light on this report, as it explains how Regional Housing Needs Assessments are SUPPOSED to be performed. The key takeaway from the report:

* "HCD's Housing Needs Assessment Process Lacks Sufficient Reviews and Support"

"HCD does not have a formal review process for the data it uses to determine its needs assessments. As a result, the needs assessments for two of three regions we reviewed included errors."

Yes, Diamond was a bit provocative in posing the errors as being over-counting (rather than under-counting) the need, BUT THE POINT OF THE REPORT is that the HCD process LACKS IMPORTANT SAFEGUARDS to ensure that the public can trust their recommendations! For anyone who cares about the housing issue, this is outrageous. The bottom line is that recommendations are only as good as the data they are based upon: garbage in, garbage out.

Diamond wrote, "I never thought to question if the state officials were correct in their assessments, but one recent report has, and its conclusions made me anxious about these projections" a lot."

Let this be an example to all of us that putting blind faith in our politicans is a very bad idea. Those who care about recommendations need to be able to examine the process and the data on which those recommendations are based. We constantly need transparency.

Also noteworthy: in a pending lawsuit "several interested individuals and two nonprofit corporations filed a lawsuit alleging that HCD failed to consider data regarding the relationship between jobs and housing in its assessment for the Association of Bay Area Governments." Thus, ABAG data was not part of audit, sadly.


Posted by Consider Your Options. , a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on May 4, 2022 at 2:43 pm

Consider Your Options. is a registered user.

I have wondered why ABAG's work consistently evades audit (for years now). Real estate interests do seem to have a lot of bought/paid for leverage these days. With the reduction of citizen engagement, this is the kind of problem that quickly slides into corruption.

Pay attention, people!


Posted by Larry Jenkins, a resident of Rengstorff Park,
on May 4, 2022 at 3:57 pm

Larry Jenkins is a registered user.

"...putting blind faith in our politicans is a very bad idea."

^ Then why do so many voters follow this questionable path?

(a) Is it out of ignorance, stupidity, or a gullible nature?

(b) Are most politicians just natural born liars?

(c) Democracy has certain inherent flaws?

(d) All of the above?


Posted by BruceS, a resident of Greenmeadow,
on May 4, 2022 at 3:59 pm

BruceS is a registered user.

"There are none so blind as will not see".

Um, have you checked either house or apartment prices anytime lately? There's your answer.

One can argue about where, what and how housing should be put, but to argue that it's not necessary is just willful blindness.

Or perhaps we should just tell everyone under 50 to leave and become a huge retirement community?


Posted by Mondoman, a resident of Green Acres,
on May 4, 2022 at 4:00 pm

Mondoman is a registered user.

Re: "Both sections are not reflective of progressive Mountain View or upscale Palo Alto and more reminiscent of the hideous and haphazard sections along El Camino Real in Sunnyvale and Santa Clara."

Quite! It's great to have our betters from San Jose and elsewhere point out how declasse it is to allow restaurants without a single Michelin star or stores that haven't even heard of Hermes :)
If only we could send folks to a proper finishing school rather than an uncouth rural school like Stanford...


Posted by Alex+M, a resident of Willowgate,
on May 4, 2022 at 4:20 pm

Alex+M is a registered user.

I don't question that Mountain View needs more housing. That's debatable.

What I DO object to is the view, spewed repeatedly by developers and city councilmembers alike, that Mountain View needs more RENTAL housing.

We don't. The majority of Mountain View's population already rents. You don't make a community that way. You make a community by creating opportunities for people to be invested in it. That means we need housing that people can OWN.

The housing can be multi-unit condos and high-rises, but they need to be owned by the occupant, not by a landlord.


Posted by Keith, a resident of another community,
on May 4, 2022 at 4:27 pm

Keith is a registered user.

It's a shame I can no longer afford a studio apartment IN PHOENIX because local governments in California have strangled housing production for fifty years. I will be homeless in two weeks so my corporate landlord can charge some fresh-in Californian 30% more in rent than I'm paying.

No one is requiring you to sell your home to a developer. It's time to legalize housing; we've "thought about" this problem plenty long enough.


Posted by Tristan C., a resident of Stanford,
on May 4, 2022 at 4:28 pm

Tristan C. is a registered user.

@Mondoman

Santa Clara has Santa Clara University and the 49er stadium but that does not make it a leading edge city or a cultural center.

If not for high-tech and associated housing, Santa Clara would still be an agricultural area and we all know that most agricultural types are not the most intellectual or visionary of people.

I grew up in Salinas and attended UC Davis. To a farmer, being visionary involves the clairvoyant selection of crop strain and fertilizer to yield the largest crops.

I imagine this mentality is the same wherever tractors are sold.


Posted by Diana Diamond, a Almanac Online blogger,
on May 4, 2022 at 4:46 pm

Diana Diamond is a registered user.

My intention in writing this blog/column is to alert people that some of the housing need projections in this state may be inaccurate, and not revised for recent trends (lower birth rates, people and corporations moving out of state, etc. If that is true, as the stat e auditor reports, then we should not blindly agree to the false projection numbers.

I certainly acknowledge the housing shortages in this state, and I am a big supporter of more housing, and particularly affordable housing. But I want to have us consider the possible inaccuracies in these housing need numbers, and not simply nod and accept them. Our local cities are struggling to meet
ABAG's housing allocations, and if those predicted needs are in error, then we have to consider altering our adherence to those projections.

So to those of you who wrote urging more housing, I am with you, not against you, but I don't want us to be gullible.
Diana


Posted by Allen Akin, a resident of Professorville,
on May 4, 2022 at 4:46 pm

Allen Akin is a registered user.

Regarding undercounting vs. overcounting, note that the auditor's report explicitly avoided comment on the Orange County Council of Governments lawsuit, which is about the main overcounting issue. The most detailed discussion of this that I've seen is from the Embarcadero Institute, documented here: Web Link If you want to understand the issue, I think that's the place to start.

Lots of folks make the "just build more housing!" argument. Cities don't build housing; investors and developers do. Developers could be building today; there are lots of places already zoned for housing. They don't because the housing that's needed in large quantities isn't profitable for them to build. To appreciate this, see the Terner Center's tutorial here: Web Link For example, building Terner's prototype in the South Bay costs 10% for land, 68% for hard costs, 9% for fees, 9% for financing, 3% for consultants, 1% for tax/title/insurance.

For investors, it makes sense to put money into the projects that yield the highest return. That means high-end housing that isn't affordable for most people. Because investment is globalized now, money flows to those high-end projects wherever they are. It doesn't just start trickling down to local midrange projects after a few local high-end projects are built.

Finally, building housing locally doesn't reduce traffic locally; it increases it (in the long run most people still commute, and also use cars for a lot of other things near home). Building *transit* reduces traffic, but that's expensive, too, and around here seems to be funded with regressive taxes.


Posted by ivg, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on May 4, 2022 at 6:44 pm

ivg is a registered user.

I nominate Ms. Diamond for the Yogi Berra award. "It's so expensive, no one lives there anymore."


Posted by JH, a resident of Midtown,
on May 4, 2022 at 7:17 pm

JH is a registered user.

@ Diana Diamond, sorry, but that's hogwash. If your intent had actually been to "alert people that some of the housing need projections in this state may be inaccurate," you would have acknowledged that the report found two of the Regions had undercounted. Plus, you're still misstating the facts, even in the comment you posted today. Contrary to what you claim, the report doesn't say that "some of the housing need projections in this state may be inaccurate, and not revised for recent trends." Instead, it says, "Finance's Population Projections Have Generally Been Accurate," and "The variables that affect population estimates, such as the number of deaths, births, and migration, are not constant values and are difficult to predict precisely; therefore, we considered Finance's statewide projections reasonable."

C'mon, Diana Diamond --- if you're not going to bother with the facts, you don't deserve a blog in the paper. A journalist with integrity (and your pedigree) would admit her mistake and take her lumps. If you were just an average person posting on this page, I wouldn't care, but you claim in your bio to be a legitimate journalist.


Posted by Brent Lawson, a resident of Community Center,
on May 5, 2022 at 7:59 am

Brent Lawson is a registered user.

> There is a shortage of residential housing in the midpeninsula and land is limited

Speaking of an accurate audit, what is the city's profit margin on operating the Palo Alto Municipal Golf Course?

Golf courses require a lot of maintenance and irrigation.

Just how much revenue is actually generated from the green fees?

Depending on current ROI factors, the City of Palo Alto could simply rezone the PA Muni land for housing development and then go into the residential real estate market.

The area is close to 101 for commuting and there would be plenty of room remaining for a small shopping center as well.

Golf courses and cemeteries are the biggest waste of land and water.


Posted by Charlotte Marcel, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on May 5, 2022 at 8:15 am

Charlotte Marcel is a registered user.

"There is a shortage of residential housing in the midpeninsula and land is limited."

Forty years ago, the Mountain View School District sold off its prime downtown MV High School site and made a killing. The property was then developed into a thriving and modern mixed-use application.

Palo Alto could easily do the same with its golf course land and the PAUSD should also consider selling the Cubberley High School acreage to accommodate additional housing.

Recycling existing land into more productive usage is the key to resolving this current issue.


Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on May 5, 2022 at 8:34 am

Bystander is a registered user.

It is important to remember that a thriving City needs things other than restaurants, retail and housing. As it is, we Palo Altans seem to spend a lot of time doing things like driving to Mountain View or Menlo Park for recreation such as movies and other activities both social and family.

We need our golf course, our recreation classes, our cemeteries and even the airport which is an amenity for the county not just Palo Alto.

It could be argued that we need more recreational facilities. We used to have a bowling alley, in fact more than one. We used to have a drive in movie theater but at least that was turned into a park. We have apparently lost the cinema on Page Mill!

Don't pave paradise and put up a parking lot for people (another name for stack N pack housing).


Posted by Lauren Peters, a resident of Martens-Carmelita,
on May 5, 2022 at 8:58 am

Lauren Peters is a registered user.

• Recycling existing land into more productive usage is the key to resolving this current issue.

The Martens-Carmelita neighborhood (adjacent to Huff Elementary School) was once an unincorporated, low-income section of Mountain View but now it is far nicer and more expensive than many of the other older and more established neighborhoods in the city.

And why? Because the land originally used for flower growing was sold to saavy developers who in turn built multi-million dollar homes in the area.

• Don't pave paradise...

The Palo Alto Municipal Golf Course is a far cry from the municipal Harding Park in San Francisco (which is a PGA certified championship course) and the old Cubberley High School site is an eyesore.

Perhaps some Palo Altans have a different definition of what they consider paradise.

Simply redevelop that hideous section of Barron Park along ECR for mixed-usage/lower income housing and then create a stylish, upscale residential subdivision on the Cubberley land which will attract the big spenders.

Barron Park and the Cubberley sections of Palo Alto are not paradise by any means of the word or definition.

Start raising the bar!


Posted by James Fishman, a resident of Menlo Park,
on May 5, 2022 at 9:58 am

James Fishman is a registered user.

"Recycling existing land into more productive usage is the key to resolving this current issue."

At the turn of the 19th century and in order to make more space available for housing, the City of San Francisco claimed Eminant Domain and removed all of its cemeteries. The deceased were then transfered to Colma which is now known as 'The City of the Dead' (no connection to the Grateful Dead).

Palo Alto could take the same route with Alta Mesa Cemetary and move all of the deceased to the southern section of Santa Clara County (perhaps Gilroy) where there is still plenty of open space remaining.

This would free up a considerable portion of land for new housing and besides, after a couple of generations have passed very few people even bother to remember or bring flowers to ancestors they never knew in person.

Also concurring with those who advocate redeveloping the commercial stretch of Barron Park along El Camino Real in its entirety as it does not mesh with the rest of the older and more traditional sections of Palo Alto.


Posted by Priscilla Ackerman, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on May 5, 2022 at 11:14 am

Priscilla Ackerman is a registered user.

The section of Barron Park that runs alongside ECR is the armpit of Palo Alto.

Why not redevelop this mundane strip of nothingness and make it a sector of Palo Alto that the majority of PA residents can be proud of?



?


Posted by Bob Raines, a resident of Los Altos,
on May 5, 2022 at 11:31 am

Bob Raines is a registered user.

"The section of Barron Park that runs alongside ECR is the armpit of Palo Alto."

@Priscilla Ackerman

Many midpeninsula cities (with the possible exception of Atherton, Hillsborough, and the Los Altos Hills township) have 'armpit' neighborhoods that do not reflect the common and overall impressions of their namesake cities.

In Los Altos, there is a small 1-2 block residential section behind Chef Chu's & Armadillo Willy's that meets this criteria and many Los Altos residents do not consider it a part of Los Altos but rather a decrepit, run-down neighborhood sharing the same zip code.


Posted by Amie, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on May 5, 2022 at 12:24 pm

Amie is a registered user.

This article is so out of touch with reality, I can hardly take it. No housing crisis? I am not even sure where to begin.

Our school district enrollment is down and projected to continue along that trend. Watch for future closures because we cannot afford the schools. It will be like living in a retirement community, it seems we already are.

The area lacks variety and a decent overall number of housing units considering the jobs here (3 to 1 jobs-housing ratio last I checked). Some folks might love small-unit, less expensive housing near downtowns, retail, services, and transit. It sounds nice to me to walk from work, to restaurants, to home. You don't need a car with that lifestyle. Half of Paris lives in tiny studios and they seem pretty happy to me.


Posted by Old Steve, a resident of St. Claire Gardens,
on May 5, 2022 at 12:38 pm

Old Steve is a registered user.

Given proximity to the Airport, and the recent renovation (at City expense), Baylinks would be extremely inefficient as a multi-story multi-family housing site. Cubberley is publicly owned with PAUSD, so it could be redeveloped as public workforce housing for teachers, school staff, and first responders. Many projects are being developed that use below market leasing for up to five years for this type of housing.


Posted by Cafe Hunk, a resident of Rex Manor,
on May 5, 2022 at 12:46 pm

Cafe Hunk is a registered user.

(clutches pearls) Oh, no! If those projections were wrong, then the rent for those newly-created luxury cattle pens might go down! Wouldn't that be just aaawwwfffuuull?


Posted by Adrian Perez, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on May 5, 2022 at 2:44 pm

Adrian Perez is a registered user.

As a proud descendant of the Muwekma Ohlone tribe, my ancestors have seen the gradual destruction of this precious land now called Palo Alto.

While some things cannot be changed, overpopulation can and will lead to further ecological destruction and a lower-tiered quality of life for current Palo Alto residents.

Why not consider preserving Palo Alto from Mayfield northwards to downtown Palo Alto and returning the remaining city land back to their natural eco-systems?

While this endeavor would involve a major undertaking in terms of buyouts, commercial/residential teardowns, and natural restorations, Palo Alto could return to its original character as a small college community with a 'small-town' vibe and quaintness.

Palo Alto has gotten uglier with each decade and if additional residents are accommodated regardless of innovative housing or dwelling styles, it will become just another nondescript city like Campbell where even my people dare to venture.

Instead of getting larger, it is time to downsize by placing a moratorium on all new housing developments and aspiring residents unless the homes and apartments already exist in designated preserved neighborhoods.

There will be fewer cars and lower emission levels, less traffic gridlock, and reduced stress.

Isn't this what most Palo Altans really want?


Posted by Jennifer Petrie, a resident of Mountain View,
on May 5, 2022 at 4:19 pm

Jennifer Petrie is a registered user.

"Isn't this what most Palo Altans really want?"

^ What most Palo Altans want is to have their cake and eat it too.

From an anthropological and ecological standpoint, if the inhabitants of a region cannot adequately feed themselves based on the available natural resources, the ecosystem has either been radically altered or destroyed altogether.

This is one reason why human beings migrate to more promising land.

Over time, the opposite has taken place in Palo Alto and other midpeninsula locales.

Instead of curtailing growth based on an expanding population, more and more people want to occupy or share the same ecological space in Palo Alto.

It does not take a rocket science to establish that Palo Alto is tapped out and the days of living off the land are pretty much over in the SF Bay Area.

As a result, many residents have become slaves to corporate-dictated food production, technology, transportation, and various entertainment outlets.

"Isn't this what most Palo Altans really want?"

^ It appears so as no one can seen to agree on anything.

While it will be impossible to bring back the past, Palo Alto is on the decline as it is governed by too many vested interests, many of whom could care less about quality of life issues and concerns.


Posted by Lizette Daniels, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on May 5, 2022 at 5:01 pm

Lizette Daniels is a registered user.

In some ways, the early emergence of Silicon Valley took its toll on Palo Alto.

Had Palo Alto not been in the forefront of the electronics industry, it might have remained a quieter and more peaceful town like Los Altos and Menlo Park.

In a more perfect world, workers would have commuted FROM Palo Alto rather than to it for employment.

As a child growing up in Professorville during the 1950s, I recall my mother driving my father to and from the SP station where he commuted daily to his job in San Francisco's financial district.

In those days many homes had just a one car garage (along with one car) and most upper-middle class families could easily afford both a gardener and weekday domestic help to help keep things tidy.

Palo Alto's Golden Era is long gone having been replaced by a human rat race of malcontents and this is quite sad for all parties involved.


Posted by Robyn Jeffries, a resident of Palo Alto Hills,
on May 6, 2022 at 7:21 am

Robyn Jeffries is a registered user.

Given these concerns, it might be time for Palo Alto to split into two cities comprised of North Palo Alto and South Palo Alto. We already have an East Palo Alto (though it is a part of San Mateo County) and each sector has its own unique characteristics.

There is no room for any further housing developments north of the Oregon Expressway.

The Palo Alto neighborhoods south of Page Mill Road/Oregon Expressway might be better suited for redevelopment as the existing houses and commercial buildings have no real historical or aesthetic significance and could easily be razed or modified to make way for the new.

Palo Alto North is what most residents and visitors think of when they envision Palo Alto. It is older and more quaint than any of the offerings south of the Oregon Expressway.

Most of South PA is spread out and farther away from either California or University Avenues.

As a result, it does not feel like an genuine part of PA but more along the lines of an expansive section of mundane tract homes with small strip malls for shopping convenience.

Old Palo Alto is characterized by non-tract homes of various designs and sizes because in earlier times, people bought parcels of land and then built houses of their own choosing.

There is still adequate room and opportunities for further housing in Palo Alto but not everywhere.

Redevelopment is best reserved for the southernmost sections of Palo Alto where it would be a vast improvement over what currently exists.






Posted by Carol Lassiter, a resident of Blossom Valley,
on May 6, 2022 at 8:44 am

Carol Lassiter is a registered user.

Having grown up in Palo Alto, the preceding commentary makes sense.

The Evergreen and College Terrace neighborhoods should be the cut-off points for North Palo Alto designation with Grant Avenue (where the SC County courthouse is situated) the beginning of a separate South Palo Alto where redevelopment is most applicable.

Midtown should also be part of a newly designated South Palo Alto that would include all of the current Palo Alto neighborhoods south of California Avenue up to the San Antonio Road border with Mountain View.

South Palo Alto could easily thrive on its own as it is more like Sunnyvale.


Posted by Amy Moore, a resident of Palo Alto Hills,
on May 6, 2022 at 8:59 am

Amy Moore is a registered user.

Some residents here would also like to see the Palo Alto Hills neighborhood become a separate township like Los Altos Hills and Portola Valley.

Perhaps it really is time to split-up Palo Alto into more appropriate demographic communities.


Posted by Frank Demerist, a resident of Downtown North,
on May 6, 2022 at 9:42 am

Frank Demerist is a registered user.

This housing conflict is a South Palo Alto issue/problem because south PA is where most of the available space remains for any high density/high-rise residencies with ground level commercial businesses.

And it has nothing to do with NIMBYism on the part of older and more refined neighborhoods in Palo Alto because they are not zoned in the same manner as Ventura and Barron Park where residencies, motels, trailer parks, and various fix-it shops still co-exist.

Whatever happens in South Palo Alto stays in South Palo Alto.


Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on May 6, 2022 at 11:05 am

Bystander is a registered user.

Seeing the article about the Pods housing with 14 people sharing glorified bunk beds for sleeping, and shared space for kitchen and bathrooms, it does cause us to worry.

Those types of living conditions are not conducive to healthy living conditions for anything other than a few months at a time, at most. Would any of us like to live next door to communal living for 14 people with all their cars, their comings and goings, their arguments and their noise?

None of us like being called a NIMBY, but are we really expected to take these types of arrangements in our close neighborhood and be happy about it?

There is a saying that you can choose your friends but not your neighbors and I have always thought that I would like to call my neighbors my friends. But it is arrangements like this that would definitely try my patience on that one.


Posted by Ruth Templeton, a resident of Community Center,
on May 6, 2022 at 1:31 pm

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The question is where to place the pods as residents in the more affluent Palo Alto communities would not approve of having such dwellings in their immediate neighborhoods.

Somewhere along ECR would probably be OK.




Posted by Marnie Jacobs, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on May 6, 2022 at 4:00 pm

Marnie Jacobs is a registered user.

? Perhaps it really is time to split-up Palo Alto into more appropriate demographic communities.

This is beginning to make more sense given the city's variances in neighborhood wealth, ethnicities, and the available land remaining for redevelopment purposes.

Having grown up back east in Brooklyn, we had separate Polish, Italian, Jewish, Irish, Puerto Rican, and African American neighborhoods. Everyone got along fine as we knew far in advance where one might be unwelcomed.

Palo Alto is a mixed ethnic community separated only by wealth and it is somewhat understandable that folks residing in the wealthier parts of Palo Alto have little in common with those who reside in the areas south of Page Mill Road and Oregon Expressway.

A north/south Palo Alto would be no different than a north/south Chicago which is more reflective of economic wealth and privilege.


Posted by Brian Butler, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on May 7, 2022 at 8:20 am

Brian Butler is a registered user.

If one has an undeveloped lot in Palo Alto, can it be used to provide temporary housing for the homeless or anyone who just wishes to pitch a tent and live on simpler terms?

We own a 1/4 acre bare parcel of land next to our residence and since we are planning to sell our current home, my wife was thinking of keeping the empty lot and turning it into an encampment for those less fortunate or currently displaced.

The property has running water and after the weeds are cleared, we could easily have some porta-potties installed and maintained on a regular basis.

Since this land is private property without any structures, our attorney advised us that our only responsibilities other than periodic maintenance would be to pay the utilities, property taxes and liability insurance. He also advised us to allow only Weber kettles or gas stoves for cooking and to prohibit any fire pits.

This undeveloped parcel is still covered under Proposition 13, and so the property taxes are minimal. It would also provide a convenient income tax write-off as a charitable contribution.

We haven't discussed these plans with our immediate neighbors (nor do we intend to) because of a certain animosity that still exists between my wife and them.

A nice family from overseas recently made us a very generous cash offer for our current home and also inquired about purchasing the empty lot to serve as an extension of the existing house.

My sister-in-law who still resides in Palo Alto has offered to draw-up the residency bi-laws and serve as property overseer, calling the cops only as needed.






Posted by RE Attorney, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on May 7, 2022 at 8:46 am

RE Attorney is a registered user.

This sounds like a marvelous idea.

Speaking as a real estate attorney, I would also advise drawing up some sort of tenant agreement to free yourselves from negligent liabilities, establish a maximum tenant capacity, and prohibit the possession of any firearms on the property regardless of whether they are licensed or not.

Background checks would also be advisable.

No need to attract any unecessary attention or create further discomfitures for the surrounding neighbors.


Posted by Lucille Bentley, a resident of Menlo Park,
on May 7, 2022 at 9:39 am

Lucille Bentley is a registered user.

I would also prohibit the possession or use of illicit drugs on the property.

The police can only respond to criminal or traffic related infractions and this being a civil matter, constructive steps can be taken to avoid any police intervention.

Noise abatement and excess littering should also be taken into serious consideration.

And in the event of resident complaints or a possible injunction, it usually takes weeks (sometimes months) for a preliminary civil case to appear before the court. COVID had a lot to do with court backlogs so no one will be going anywhere until the case is finally settled.

My son did something similar with his property in Felton and to date, it has become a mini-community for those less fortunate.

Kudos for your humanitarian gesture as it is growing more apparent that individual citizens rather than inept politicians can be more pro-active when it comes to addressing and resolving various social problems and issues.


Posted by Ryan Weathers, a resident of Cuesta Park,
on May 7, 2022 at 10:19 am

Ryan Weathers is a registered user.

@Brian Butler

Since it is private property, your neighbors have absolutely no say in the matter providing the homeless inhabitants are not breaking any laws.

Illegal trespassing on private property or camping out on public property is another story and the police can intervene in these instances.

Also keep in mind that after a minimum 7 day stay, guests in CA become legal tenants (regardless of whether they pay rent). In other words, if an eviction is warranted you will need to file an Unlawful Detainer with the Santa Clara County Superior Court to have them legally removed from your property.

Hopefully there will never be grounds for such legal action and ideally, your tent tenants will become a fully accepted and vibrant part of the neighborhood they inhabit.


Posted by MyFeelz, a resident of another community,
on May 7, 2022 at 10:34 am

MyFeelz is a registered user.

Brian that is a noble gesture. But I am afraid Palo Alto is more amenable to allowing 14 people crammed in a dwelling intended for a single family for $800 per head because money talks. And when the money is talking, the City looks the other way. But when you suggest leaving a parcel open for homeless people, everybody jumps in with their two cents worth about background checks, liability waivers, crime, noise, fires, parking etc... because you are proposing to allow multiple people to camp on your personally owned open space for NOTHING. These are the SAME issues that will erupt in overcrowded overpriced shared housing. So, I think if you charged say, $1 per day of rent and called it "shared housing", it could possibly work. I support your new ideas about shared housing and they are worthy of a front page article!


Posted by Carolyn Jenkins, a resident of Professorville,
on May 7, 2022 at 10:52 am

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This is a win-win scenario in that it provides affordable (free) housing + it will drastically lower the escalating price of Palo Alto residential real estate, at least in your soon to be former PA neighborhood.

Similar concepts have been tried in other parts of the country and IF the disgruntled neighbors were successful in eradicating homeless campers on someone else's private property, it took at least 8 months and some very costly legal expenditures.

In addition to being a worthwhile humanitarian gesture, this is also another way to get even with your ex-neighbors.


Posted by Ben Parker/Homeless, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on May 7, 2022 at 11:56 am

Ben Parker/Homeless is a registered user.

Sign me up.

The PACC is a spineless governing board and their counterproductive, do-gooder agendas are best ignored.

And the same applies to ABAG.

While it is unrealistic to expect all Palo Alto residents to open their homes to the homeless, privately owned property made accessible by those willing to share their bounties with the less fortunate is highly commendable.

Jesus would approve.


Posted by Kirsten Smith, a resident of Cuesta Park,
on May 7, 2022 at 1:15 pm

Kirsten Smith is a registered user.

Kudos to Mr. Butler for considering this option.

We allow a homeless gentleman to park his camper on the corner of our property at nights. He always departs by 6AM & returns when it is dark.

No harm done to anyone.

I imagine that most PA NIMBYS are too caught up with their appearances and property values to even consider accommodating others who are less fortunate.

Jesus' approval withstanding, how many upwardly mobile Palo Alto residents actually care about their fellow man?


Posted by Erik Thorensen, a resident of another community,
on May 7, 2022 at 1:27 pm

Erik Thorensen is a registered user.

? "...how many upwardly mobile Palo Alto residents actually care about their fellow man?"

I would pose that question at the downtown Palo Alto Apple Store or at Stanford Shopping Center to get an accurate assessment.

While attending Stanford, I was amazed at the self-assured, self-centeredness that permeates the community and this trait is passed on to the children.


Posted by Juanita Morales, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on May 7, 2022 at 1:39 pm

Juanita Morales is a registered user.

Not all Palo Alto residents are uncaring.

I am employed by Molly Maids and one Palo Alto woman in Crescent Park whose house I clean weekly gave me a ceramic mug with a picture of Santa Claus on it for Christmas.

No cash...just a coffee mug that I saw on sale at Walmart after the holidays.


Posted by vmshadle, a resident of Meadow Park,
on May 7, 2022 at 1:48 pm

vmshadle is a registered user.

Robyn Jeffries, as a resident of Palo Alto Hills, are you blithely suggesting that the largest part of Palo Alto be razed and redeveloped because it's not Old Palo Alto and therefore not historically significant?

Or do you suggest that the largest part of the city incorporate itself first and then self-immolate so that you can enjoy the the dust and flames from your perch in the hills? Were you planning to suggest eminent domain or perhaps a magic wand?

Maybe you need to drive around our neighborhoods. We have billions of dollars of new and renovated real estate. Even working-class houses built in the mid-Fifties retail at $3.5+ million.

Families who have lived here for generations might just resent your casual dismissal of their homes and histories down here.


Posted by Richard Sorenson, a resident of Atherton,
on May 7, 2022 at 2:08 pm

Richard Sorenson is a registered user.

> "...working-class houses built in the mid-Fifties retail at $3.5+ million."

^ Only because of inflation and over-valuation.

My parents bought their 3BR/2.5B home in Atherton during the late 1950s for $90K and its current value has also escalated. So what else is new?

>>"We have billions of dollars of new and renovated real estate."

Because East Meadow badly needed it. I have driven through the area on the way to the PA Elks Club and the East Meadow neighborhood is no Crescent Park.

Some residents just don't seem to care what their front yards look like as evidenced by the dilapidated carports and unmaintained front yards.

Like Chicago, in Palo Alto there is a distinct Northside and Southside.


Posted by Henry Martinez, a resident of Castro City,
on May 7, 2022 at 2:21 pm

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• working-class houses built in the mid-Fifties retail at $3.5+ million.

@vmshadle/a resident of Meadow Park

Land rich/cash poor does not equate to affluence.

My ancestors learned this brutal lesson a long time ago.


Posted by Shannon Beasley, a resident of Midtown,
on May 7, 2022 at 4:18 pm

Shannon Beasley is a registered user.

@vmshadle

Midtown is kind of ratty as well and not overly reflective of the nicer Palo Alto neighborhoods north of the expressway.

And I should know because I co-share a rundown Brown and Kaufman house ajascent to the Midtown Safeway.


Posted by Mondoman, a resident of Green Acres,
on May 7, 2022 at 4:27 pm

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It's always interesting (but a bit sad) to read all the biases and prejudices that folks are willing to post about here. My hope is that those not posting here are more community-minded.


Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on May 7, 2022 at 4:34 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

Really amusing comments, thanks for those who participated in the tongue in cheek.

However, all Palo Alto contains people who have lived here 40+ years as well as those who have lived here only a decade or less. The point is that people move to Palo Alto because it is convenient and whenever they bought their homes they paid what was considered big bucks at the time. Even the working class homes of south Palo Alto were once filled with blue collar service workers for Stanford University or the early tech days of Silicon Valley. Nobody moved here thinking it was poor housing, it was always more expensive than a similar style house in Mountain View or Menlo Park/Redwood City.

Some homes in Palo Alto still have the insides from 40 years ago, with perhaps an upgraded bathroom or kitchen. The original owners have not upgraded because the house fits their lifestyle and the agony of getting work done (think Palo Alto slow process) has been too much effort. Many homes have been razed and the monster homes taking up most of the plot tower over older style homes next door. It doesn't mean people have more money, or more clout, but perhaps have accumulated more stuff over the years.

Palo Alto has charm whether it be north or south of Oregon. It seems to me that there are some snobby individuals turning up their noses at the south, but really we are all here for a reason, and that reason may just because it was what could be afforded to get a Palo Alto address.


Posted by Claire Kendricks, a resident of Los Altos,
on May 7, 2022 at 4:41 pm

Claire Kendricks is a registered user.

>> It's always interesting (but a bit sad) to read all the biases and prejudices that folks are willing to post about here.

^ Everyone has their personal biases and prejudices whether they are willing to admit it or not.

It's just a part of human nature.

I have tried to instill in my children that everyone has a right to live as they choose providing it is not against the law.

Palo Alto is diverse in its socio-economic makeup and we should not condemn or ridicule others who do not measure up to our standards because some people are more comfortable lowering their standards.


Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on May 7, 2022 at 7:59 pm

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A house that goes on the market now has been brought up to spec with new floors, new landscaping, new bathrooms, new kitchens. A lot of money gets invested in bringing a house up to local standards and specifications to go on the market. And sometimes a ratty house will be torn down and replaced with a new two-story home. Drive anywhere in this city and you will see new two-story homes in all neighborhoods. Commenting about ratty homes just says you do not get out much.


Posted by Leanne Chen, a resident of Charleston Meadows,
on May 8, 2022 at 7:05 am

Leanne Chen is a registered user.

"sometimes a ratty house will be torn down and replaced with a new two-story home."

All of the ratty looking & rundown houses in Palo Alto should be torn down and replaced with newer and bigger two-story homes.

A smaller front & backyard also requires less maintenance.

Interior square footage is very important.


Posted by Resident , a resident of another community,
on May 8, 2022 at 7:48 am

Resident is a registered user.

There are houses available (at almost half the cost of PA or west MP) in East Palo Alto. Why don't the some of “more housing now" advocates just move over here?


Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on May 8, 2022 at 8:40 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Yes - the facts concerning the number of houses needed was incorrect and the ABAG people know that. This is a case of "the end justifies the means". Getting tired of the approach that creates mayhem as an end result.

What else is in the papers is that the ocean is rising and the bay area will be negatively affected. This city does not have a lot of margin east of 101. We have a water problem - and now an electricity problem. The state cannot support any huge increase in population.

First resolve the problems that we are now being advised of before we commit to mayhem in this city. Also note that this city does not have a large commercial section that can be converted to housing. That large section is at the Fry's location and El Camino Real. That is your solution area.


Posted by Len Bancroft, a resident of Menlo Park,
on May 8, 2022 at 8:55 am

Len Bancroft is a registered user.

"There are houses available (at almost half the cost of PA or west MP) in East Palo Alto. Why don't the some of “more housing now" advocates just move over here?"

@Resident

Because prime Palo Alto residential real estate has become a 'designer label' of sorts.

The local real estate agents also milk this superficial mentality as it equates to higher listing & sales commissions.

In many parts of America, an East or South regional designation often implies a less desirable residential community (e.g. South Chicago, East/South LA, East Oakland, East Palo Alto, East San Jose, East/South San Diego etc.) and perhaps some Palo Altans apply the same reference points as there are many parts of South Palo Alto that bear minimal similarity to the older and perceivably nicer sections of town.

Palo Altans are not entirely exempt from this perspective as there are many Menlo Park residents who do not relate or connect with East Menlo Park.

Perhaps the key is to remove East and South designations and give them fancier names.


"we should not condemn or ridicule others who do not measure up to our standards because some people are more comfortable lowering their standards."

This is quite true as evidenced by some of the earlier comments.

People tend to be more comfortable among those who share common perspectives and tastes. The inhabitants of Palo Alto are no different which might explain the variances in north/south perspectives and presentations.

We are all products as well as victims of our upbringing and birds of a feather often flock together both in thought and flight.




Posted by Bethany Woods, a resident of Los Altos,
on May 8, 2022 at 9:10 am

Bethany Woods is a registered user.

We are so grateful to be residing in Los Altos rather than Palo Alto where all of the Los Altos neighborhoods are considered nice.

There are no homeless issues, no vagrant RVs scattered about, and very few people complaining that they cannot afford to live here.

Palo Alto somehow manages to attract all of the above.


Posted by Sheryl Jamison, a resident of Blossom Valley,
on May 8, 2022 at 9:35 am

Sheryl Jamison is a registered user.

The East-South city designations are oftentimes more reflective of socio-economic factors.

Palo Alto is a predominantly white middle class community with a noticeable increase in affluent residents from abroad.

As a result, even the lesser parts of Palo Alto (i.e. neighborhoods south of California Avenue) command high residential real estate prices.


Posted by Carol Richards, a resident of South of Midtown,
on May 8, 2022 at 11:46 am

Carol Richards is a registered user.

> Perhaps the key is to remove East and South designations and give them fancier names.

Seriously? Most prospective home buyers (especially those from overseas) are not that naive.

On the other hand, Barron Park has an attractive monicker and sounds similar to Menlo Park.

From a real estate marketing standpoint Barron Park could easily be utilized as a namesake for a newly designated city encompassing all of the Palo Alto neighborhoods south of Evergreen and Southgate.

Though we reside adjacent to Century Liquors on Middlefield Road, there is no question that our homes do not even come close to the PA homes adjacent to the former Jordan Junior High School at Middlefield Road and north California Avenue.

We are Palo Altans in name only.


Posted by Trey Lance, a resident of another community,
on May 8, 2022 at 12:00 pm

Trey Lance is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Mondoman, a resident of Green Acres,
on May 8, 2022 at 7:14 pm

Mondoman is a registered user.

@Carol I always thought many/most of the houses north of Oregon were sort of fusty antiques. Some people like antiques, but the lack of two-car garages, the excessive tree cover, and the 100-year-old styles like faux-Tudor are not for me. I guess I'm too nouveau-techy. Also, wasn't Gunn recently ranked the top school in the state, beating out Paly?

Perhaps we could just take Palo Alto south of Oregon and merge that with Los Altos. The same area plus Stanford could merge its schools with Los Altos and the MVLA Union high school district.


Posted by Mondoman, a resident of Green Acres,
on May 8, 2022 at 7:19 pm

Mondoman is a registered user.

@Sheryl Re: "Palo Alto is a predominantly white middle class community with a noticeable increase in affluent residents from abroad."

You may be surprised how much that has changed:
Web Link


Posted by Eric Freeman, a resident of Ventura,
on May 8, 2022 at 7:50 pm

Eric Freeman is a registered user.

>"Perhaps we could just take Palo Alto south of Oregon and merge that with Los Altos. The same area plus Stanford could merge its schools with Los Altos and the MVLA Union high school district."

@Mondoman

The area south of Oregon Expressway bears little connection or resemblance to Los Altos and would involve transferring Gunn to the Mountain View-Los Altos High School District which is highly unlikely.

I am appalled at the snobbism being displayed by some of the posters who think they are better than other Palo Alto residents just because they happen to reside in a more affluent PA neighborhood.

Is this where we are headed?

If so, I'd be more than willing to sell our simple 2BR/1B house on Park Boulevard and relocate to a community that is not so fixated with superficial Veblin-inspired appearances.

No wonder Palo Alto is becoming the laughing stock of midpeninsula cities.



Posted by Reese Daniels, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on May 9, 2022 at 12:33 pm

Reese Daniels is a registered user.

Palo Alto has certainly changed.

Growing up here during the 1950s, the area of Palo Alto south of Grant (including the Ventura neighborhood) was pretty much inhabited by working class people of color who were employed in service occupations.

Now their homes are valued at $2M and inhabited by young professionals and their families.

Neighborhoods north of Oregon were always considered the nicer part of Palo Alto as they were inhabited by a predominantly white middle and upper middle class populace.

Everyone got along fine regardless of wealth because most minority people knew their place and unlike today, we did not have any outside influences from woke society agitators and malcontents.

It was almost like living in Leave It to Beaver land and I am grateful that I was born before the Millennials and Gen Zers
who have to endure what Palo Alto has become.

The NIMBY's yearning for yesteryear are strictly out of luck as there is no going back to the way things used to be.

The only option is to move away from Palo Alto and seek refuge elsewhere.

And being a seller's market in terms of residential real estate, this can easily be accomplished.





Posted by MyFeelz, a resident of Greene Middle School,
on May 9, 2022 at 5:37 pm

MyFeelz is a registered user.

Bethany, about your lack of homeless folks in Los Altos ... my insurance agent is located there on the border and I went in there last week to drop off a payment. I almost ran over a person sleeping in the wide open air. His legs were sticking out into the road. His head was next to one of those sandwich-board things pertaining to some kids Lego activity going on. The part of his leg that was in the road had something on his ankle, that was covered in a black trash bag. I believe it was an ankle monitor. I called the Los Altos police to report the issue after I pulled over to determine that he apppeared to be breathing. They said since he appeared to be alive, they would not be going out to investigate the issue. So, apparently, Palo Alto is not the only community that "manages to attract all of the above". Just because you are wearing blinders doesn't mean Los Altos is immune from society's shared problems. Your neighborhood doesn't have any affordable housing -- that's why you don't have people complaining they can't afford to live there. People don't tend to stick around trying to find what doesn't exist.


Posted by Janice Young, a resident of Los Altos,
on May 10, 2022 at 8:21 am

Janice Young is a registered user.

@ MyFeelz

The borders between Palo Alto (Barron Park) and Los Altos and Palo Alto/Mountain View along El Camino Real (near San Antonio Road) are often frequented by the homeless due to ease of access.

You will often see them near Whole Foods or along Showers Drive where Walmart and Target are situated. The area is also a VTA transportation hub.

But unlike Palo Alto and Mountain View, you will rarely witness homeless people loitering in the downtown area or see caravans of dilapidated RVs parked along the city streets.

The reason: Vagrants are considered persona non grata in Los Altos.

Los Altos is not a nirvana for transients because of and using your quote:

"People don't tend to stick around trying to find what doesn't exist."


Posted by Local news junkie, a resident of Charleston Meadows,
on May 10, 2022 at 8:50 am

Local news junkie is a registered user.

Lots of snobbish attitudes directed to South Palo Alto among posters! I can assure those living north of Oregon Expressway that your neighbors to the south are just as human as you are. I live in South Paly, and my neighbors are doctors (MD and PhD), engineers, teachers, journalists, college professors, etc., people who are educated, socially aware, concerned about their kids and community ... kind of like the folks north of Oregon Expressway. Yes, our houses may sell for a bit less, but the humans inside are just as much Palo Altans as those in Crescent Park. Come visit sometime!


Posted by Mildred Cawley, a resident of Atherton,
on May 10, 2022 at 9:03 am

Mildred Cawley is a registered user.

Good grief...couldn't the cities of Palo Alto and Mountain View simply pass an ordinance against homelessness and vagrancy?

Or perhaps round all of these people up and put them on a bus to Nevada?

Like Los Altos, Atherton does not have a homeless problem.


Posted by Sam Jensen, a resident of Rengstorff Park,
on May 10, 2022 at 9:21 am

Sam Jensen is a registered user.

Nicer neighborhoods like Atherton and Los Altos do not have homeless issues because the residents will not put up with such degradation of their communities.

Palo Alto and Mountain View tend to look the other way and the transients perpetuate themselves which results in more substance abusers and mentally ill people roaming about the city as if they owned the place.

The same scenario has occured in Santa Cruz which like Palo Alto and Mountain View was once a nice place to live.

The idea of deporting all of the homeless to another remote locale is a sound one and many residents here in Mountain View would also like to see the rundown RVs removed or impounded.

ABAG should focus more on resolving the homelessness issue rather than residential overdevelopment.


Posted by Ginger Tomkins, a resident of Portola Valley,
on May 10, 2022 at 9:41 am

Ginger Tomkins is a registered user.

I feel sorry for the few (or many) residents of Palo Alto, who are consumed with projecting superficial appearances of newly acquired wealth, residential supremacy and pseudo sophistication.

[Portion removed.]


Posted by Jessica Liu, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on May 10, 2022 at 10:12 am

Jessica Liu is a registered user.

We did not buy our house in Palo Alto to watch its value eventually go down due to escalating crime and homeless proliferation.

Palo Alto City Council and police department...please do something!






Posted by AnnetteG, a resident of Midtown,
on May 10, 2022 at 11:39 am

AnnetteG is a registered user.

Reading these comments - don't people have something better to do?
If you care about this area, about Palo Alto, why not go out volunteer and make a difference, rather than writing such drivel and yes snobbishness.

Some of these posts sound like an April fool article.


Posted by Naomi Steinman, a resident of Charleston Meadows,
on May 10, 2022 at 11:48 am

Naomi Steinman is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Errol Grant, a resident of Castro City,
on May 10, 2022 at 12:55 pm

Errol Grant is a registered user.

? If you care about this area, about Palo Alto, why not go out volunteer and make a difference, rather than writing such drivel and yes snobbishness.

^ The poster who is offering his empty lot in Palo Alto to provide a sanctuary for the homeless is trying to make a difference.

How many others would be willing to offer their front yards or driveways?

Stupid question.


Posted by Judith Meriweather, a resident of Menlo Park,
on May 10, 2022 at 3:26 pm

Judith Meriweather is a registered user.

• No wonder Palo Alto is becoming the laughing stock of midpeninsula cities.
•• Reading these comments - don't people have something better to do?

We just watch & learn from our dear neighbors in Palo Alto, regardless of whether they are from the 'bad part of town.' *L*


Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on May 10, 2022 at 3:38 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Organizations like ABAG and the CA Legislator headed by Mr. Weiner are part of the problem. They are not the solution. The areas that voted them in - SF, Berkley are not living up to any standard of developing new housing. The Boards of those cities put all type of roadblocks in the way. What else to do but push whatever they cannot accomplish in their individual areas is to push the problem down to the suburbs on the assumption that there is less strategy to deal with this issue. And more compliant representatives who do whatever they are told to bolster their own career goals.

How do you know that you are a Suburb? We do not vote for the Mayor in this city - it gets passed around by the city council. Every major city in this state votes for the Mayor. That Mayor has to represent what the majority want or get voted out. This city is the target for all type of newcomers because it is perceived as being weak on overall control of the political pressures. Time to get a grip on our environment in this city and not get railroaded into mayhem.


Posted by Theresa Pitman, a resident of Ventura,
on May 10, 2022 at 4:33 pm

Theresa Pitman is a registered user.

"We do not vote for the Mayor in this city - it gets passed around by the city council. Every major city in this state votes for the Mayor. That Mayor has to represent what the majority want or get voted out."

The PACC and its chosen mayor are more along the lines of a USSR steering committee led by an internally elected commissar.

Each councilmember then takes turns at being mayor until they decide to run for county supervisor.

Kind of like in Dr. Zhivago.


Posted by MyFeelz, a resident of Juana Briones School,
on May 11, 2022 at 6:53 pm

MyFeelz is a registered user.

Janice I was only talking about one homeless person I saw in Los Altos, that I then reported to the police, not out of fear other than that he could get his foot run over if he stayed where he was. The police did not choose to interfere. So, if he had been in front of your yard, can I assume you would have given him a ride back to Palo Alto where he belongs, next to the Target store? The Los Altos Police took a decidedely laissez faire approach to the situation which is the opposite of dragging him by the ear and moving him and his ankle bracelet closer to the RV section of Palo Alto, as you suggested. Everybody who travels through (but doesn't live in) Los Altos is probably considered (to use your phrase) "persona non grata". I live in PA and hang out in Los Altos ALL the time! It's almost like I'm homeless except I'm not. Next time I see the ankle monitor guy I'm gonna buy him a sandwich and a drink and maybe drive him to the civic center to see if they have any services they can offer him.


Posted by Claire Delancy, a resident of Los Altos Hills,
on May 13, 2022 at 3:30 pm

Claire Delancy is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Bryan Peterson, a resident of another community,
on May 13, 2022 at 5:22 pm

Bryan Peterson is a registered user.

"Next time I see the ankle monitor guy I'm gonna buy him a sandwich and a drink and maybe drive him to the civic center to see if they have any services they can offer him."

@MyFeelz...

If a person is wearing an ankle monitor you should be able to put 2+2 together. It's not that difficult.

Usually it's a convicted felon on supervised probation or on early release parole.

Despite good intentions on your part, you are playing with fire.

Perhaps better just to give him a gift certificate to McDanalds and a bus token.


Posted by Kelly Sonderson, a resident of Cuesta Park,
on May 13, 2022 at 5:27 pm

Kelly Sonderson is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


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