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Guest opinion: Council members respond to the Voice's editorial on housing

 

It is disappointing that the Voice chose to write an incomplete editorial, sensationally titled "A crisis of character" in the May 17 edition. It starts by saying "It isn't clear what Mountain View City Council plans to do about" the Bay Area housing crisis.

Let us take this opportunity to remind the Voice -- and its readers -- what we have already done since the Voice's 2014 editorial about jobs-housing imbalances. First, the council adopted an award-winning precise plan that transforms a suburban office park into complete neighborhoods, allowing up to 9,850 new housing units with 20% designated as affordable housing. And we are poised to adopt another plan for East Whisman, making 5,000 more units possible. We have approved 4,400 new housing units since 2014, and another 3,100 are currently under review.

The council updated the below market rate (BMR) ordinance to increase affordability requirements on new rental developments from 10% to 15%, and is expected to do the same for ownership units this month. In just the past three years, we have added 210 affordable units; 183 affordable units will open later this year for veterans and families; over 200 affordable units were approved just this month; and more than 600 additional affordable housing units are currently in various stages of planning.

We have made it a city priority to address displacement. It is also worth noting that Mountain View is one of only two cities in the county with a tenant relocation assistance ordinance (TRAO) for complexes under 50 units, and in May 2018 the council amended the TRAO to increase the amount of assistance provided.

Our city has probably done more than any other city of its size on the regional issue of homelessness. As of March, 116 Mountain View affiliated households have been placed in housing, with an additional 44 households on the path to more stable housing. We continue to combine both funding (nearly $2 million) and resources with the county and local nonprofits, such as CSA, Hope's Corner, the cold weather shelter at Trinity United Methodist Church, the Graduate House transitional shelter, and the Quetzal House youth shelter. We helped fund the nonprofit MOVE Mountain View to organize and operate a safe parking program, and have identified two city-controlled lots to expand local capacity to around 60 parking spaces -- giving Mountain View nearly 50% of all such locations operating in the county at this time. And we have implemented an affordable housing strategy that includes facilitating the development of 200 to 250 units of permanent supportive and rapid rehousing.

We believe the Mountain View City Council has shown incredible character, compassion, and leadership on these very complex regional issues. And we challenge you to find another city in the area that has done more, relative to our size, on housing and homelessness.

Lisa Matichak is the mayor of Mountain View and Margaret Abe-Koga is the vice mayor.

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Comments

18 people like this
Posted by Fred
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 12, 2019 at 10:59 am

Council members should know by now that the Voice, Lenny Siegel, Job Lopez and all the other outside activists group are one and the same. They have an agenda and they do not care about ALL of Mtn.View and ALL of it's residents.

It is never the Whole truth and nothing but the truth, but just a one sided spin to push their agenda.

We need the city council to allow it's residents to have an open forum on it's website so we can discuss issues within our city and not have the Voice BAN us, block us, and delete posts in which they do not agree with, even thou respectful and factual.


5 people like this
Posted by Love my city
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 12, 2019 at 6:05 pm

I too commend our Mayor, Vice Mayor, Council and overworked Staff. The housing issue Mountain View faces is a REGIONAL crisis brought to you by the Tech Industry, their accomplices (out of town Developers) and the weak and out-gunned Council leadership, who approved office project after office project without considering the needs of housing, transit, schools and resources to support those workers.

The Voters, who now understand what the Tech Industry has created, voted out the Council members responsible for those bad decisions. Our current Council is working hard to find solutions for the mess Google, Facebook, Apple, etc have unleashed. It is time for these industry giants to be responsible to the communities they have forever altered. It is time for them to be GOOD Corporate Citizens . They have Billions of dollars to make this growth responsible and sustainable.

It’s time to write to our state legislators now! Ask them to negotiate with the Tech Industry. Play hardball if necessary. It is not Mountain View tax payer’s responsibility to house their workers, build their schools, build transit without the financial help from the Industry that brought them here. SB50 has stalled in Appropriations, for now. SB 330 is bulldozing through as we speak. The Tech Industry and Developers $$$$ would love these bills to pass. So help stop them!

If you don’t know how these bills will affect your home and Community you had better learn fast. It will change everything!

Thank you Mountain View Council and Staff for the countless hours spent in service to our wonderful city.


6 people like this
Posted by Vince Rondazzi
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Jun 12, 2019 at 6:25 pm

"It is not Mountain View tax payer’s responsibility to house their workers, build their schools, build transit"

I'm sorry, Love my city, but who built all of those things for you? Answer: the people who came before you, who used to believe in building communities for future generations, not just themselves. That was the way California operated before Boomers decided to pull the ladder up behind them.


5 people like this
Posted by Mountain View Conscience
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 12, 2019 at 6:42 pm

Mountain View Conscience is a registered user.

Vince,

Tech companies who bring in all these new people, and developers who build their offices, are shirking the other two critical parts to the equation: it's offices plus housing plus transit. And those people need schools, parks, and other infrastructure too.

New stuff costs way more than maintaining existing. What Love My City is saying is that if there is a massive new amount to build, and the City is apparently heading toward adding 50k new residents in the next few years, then Tech companies and developers need to pay for the new.

Boomers, and those before them, and those after them, paid for the new when they arrived, through developers fees paid through either rentals or purchased housing. And Companies paid too, through corporate taxes. But the growth was much slower.

But now, developers have whittled down the fees and companies don't pay taxes anymore. Grow fast and it gets exponentially more expensive. What that person is saying is: fast growth means Companies should spend some of their collective nearly $1 Trillion stashed in the Caymans -- where they didn't even pay taxes on that offshore cash -- on housing, transit, and schools, parks, etc.

The point is, MV residents for the past 150 years have paid taxes to maintain, and some extra for new infrastructure, through bonds, personal housing costs etc. But it's not MV residents, whether they are 80 or 60 or 40 or 20, responsibility to pay for all this new. They didn't ask for the new. Companies did.

Why? They won't accept remote workers. They aren't opening offices in Dubuque or Allentown. They want everyone here. Ok.. then pay for it. Otherwise put the jobs around the country.. where we have existing housing, schools and parks, transit, etc.


Like this comment
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2019 at 6:47 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

To me it is very simple.

These people are counting Chickens before they are hatched. They said:

“First, the council adopted an award-winning precise plan that transforms a suburban office park into complete neighborhoods, allowing up to 9,850 new housing units with 20% designated as affordable housing. And we are poised to adopt another plan for East Whisman, making 5,000 more units possible. We have approved 4,400 new housing units since 2014, and another 3,100 are currently under review.”

That’s a plan, it hasn’t even gotten to the starting stage, and most likely never will. WHAT AWARD DID THIS PLAN GET? So far no ACTION. Please provide us proof of ACTION you went on to say:

“over 200 affordable units were approved just this month; and more than 600 additional affordable housing units are currently in various stages of planning.”

That’s planning, not completed building. Again no ACTION.

To me this is nothing but empty promises. Mayor Lisa Matichak and Vice Mayor Margaret Abe-Koga, you haven’t produced anything like your claims yet. We have to deal with what we have, which is still a serious housing problem in Mountain View.

Still no comment regarding the actual housing VERSUS the PLANNED housing?

The city governments ego makes promises the city cannot achieve.

The "Google" plan is still not done. It has not broken any ground.

To me, the city cannot get away with claiming to improve affordable housing by simply saying plans are approved or in the works.

NO MORE DELAYS AND NO MORE TALKING.

Either report the work being actuallly worked on only, or don't make any claims at all.

You know if you broke the vase or the window, you cannot claim you did anything special when you repaired or replaced it.

This is what the City Council of Mountain View is trying to get away with.

The City deserves better.


6 people like this
Posted by Vince Rondazzi
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Jun 12, 2019 at 7:00 pm

"Boomers, and those before them, and those after them, paid for the new when they arrived, through developers fees paid through either rentals or purchased housing. And Companies paid too, through corporate taxes. But the growth was much slower."

I'm sorry, that just doesn't reflect reality or add up. These were funded through property taxes, which the Boomers slashed and locked in low rates for themselves via Prop 13. Growth was far faster prior to that. Please check your facts before speculating.


5 people like this
Posted by Love my city
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 12, 2019 at 7:21 pm

The Business Man,
I think your questions are best forwarded to Google, who has back- pedaled on every promise for housing and schools. And while you’re at it, check in with Developers, who delay projects continually trying not to uphold our affordable housing percentages and building standards. They can’t make it “Pencil Out”. meaning they can’t make as much money as they want $$$! That’s what holds up building housing.


4 people like this
Posted by Vince Rondazzi
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Jun 12, 2019 at 7:21 pm

"Mountain View Conscience", I'll show you exactly where your attitude leads, over in the article discussing the ban on vehicle dwellers:

"There are 21 homeless (though they live in a mobile HOME) students in schools? What part of property taxes are these families paying directly or through rent? It's not the kids fault, sure, but what kind of irresponsible freeloading adults are we enabling? This is ridiculous! That's over $200k a year in flat out stealing of resources that could be allocated to kids whose parents are not burdens to the community."

What we used to do was pay for all these things together because they are important and reflect our values. Now, as you say, "it's not MV residents [...] responsibility to pay for all this new".


5 people like this
Posted by Mountain View Conscience
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 12, 2019 at 7:23 pm

Mountain View Conscience is a registered user.

Vince, I'm looking at 150 years of history. You are fixated on 1977. Big picture, residents have always paid to maintain. More than just boomers voted in 1977 for prop 13. (That would put boomers at, avg age like 25? Seems remote that they really cared about property taxes at that moment). Many many from the depression era to the WWII era voters also voted for it. Some boomers may have benefited from prop 13. But big picture, new infrastructure was paid for by the bigger (over 30%) corporate taxes and developer fees for new housing.


5 people like this
Posted by Mountain View Conscience
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 12, 2019 at 7:27 pm

Mountain View Conscience is a registered user.

How do you get that I think we shouldn't be paying for RV dwellers, and many others, to get affordable housing? You have no idea what I think and you are taking on the wrong article.

But just so you know, I'm all for affordable housing, and I think we should take a couple hundred billion dollars of that un-taxed cash in the caymans, and build transit, schools, and frankly the 2m housing units we need in CA. Let's do it. Let's tax those guys at 33%. That would be close to $333 billion. Certainly enough to buy the 2m housing units and the transit and the schools we need.


7 people like this
Posted by Vince Rondazzi
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Jun 12, 2019 at 7:51 pm

That you can't draw the link between your attitude and the vehicle dweller ban is not surprising. As expected, you want to tax someone else rather than put any of your money where your mouth is. You don't think "we" should be paying for it, you think someone else should.

Since you're an Old Mountain View homeowner, you yourself are sitting on a large amount of untaxed wealth, which appreciated due to the big bad tech companies and none of your labor. You might even own more than one property and have even more untaxed wealth. You're near great public transit at the Caltrain station, which everyone in California funded, but you've limited access to it by barring anything but single-family homes from existing in your neighborhood.

I don't expect you to admit these things here, you'll probably just have an indignant "you don't know me" response while not actually denying any of it. But maybe it will lead to some internal self-reflection.


3 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2019 at 8:33 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

In response to Love my city you said:

“I think your questions are best forwarded to Google, who has back- pedaled on every promise for housing and schools.”

Not really, if the City had been properly managing resources for more than 20 years we would not be in the mess we are in today. The City broke the vase that long ago. Ecpecting some miracle that it would fix itself, or somone like Google would rescue them. You said:

“And while you’re at it, check in with Developers, who delay projects continually trying not to uphold our affordable housing percentages and building standards.”

Again, if the City held off on the commercial development to balance out the housing, that would have been able to prevent the problem we are in today. Thus the “Developers” would not have the ability to extort the City into giving them endless money, or being bribed to build any luxury housing they want. You said:

“They can’t make it “Pencil Out”. meaning they can’t make as much money as they want $$$! That’s what holds up building housing.”

If the City did its job and prevented this serious crisis from becoming so severe, that claim would be greatly reduced. In effect, the City caused the problem and they have no clue how to fix it.


4 people like this
Posted by Love my city
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 12, 2019 at 9:59 pm

The Business Man,
I think you agree with several of my points. Our past Council Leaders were essentially Googled out of valuable land and given false promises. They allowed too many offices to be built. This is why 2 members of Council were voted out. I guess they were afraid Google might leave if they pushed back. Now we knows Google will expand, but they are not going to leave Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley was and remains the Tech Mecca long before the likes of Google came along. Google has to remain headquartered here. So let’s make them play fair and honorably.

I think you agree that this is a regional problem, meaning our Council cannot take on housing alone. All parties: All Bay Area City Leaders, Developers like Sobrano, Tech Companies like Google, Transit, school officials.etc. These are complex issues that touch the entire state, especially The Bay Area. It is not reasonable to expect our MV Council to solve this alone. What they can do is lead the vision.

I am hopeful that our Council will take a Leadership role in driving the kind of changes needed to solve these problems. They need our involvement. I don’t think we have the luxury of being cynical at this pinnacle moment. We must contact our Legislators and drive the change we need to happen. That’s all I’m saying.


Like this comment
Posted by Mountain View Conscience
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 12, 2019 at 10:47 pm

Mountain View Conscience is a registered user.

Vince,
You do you, man. You do you.

Turns out all the things you say I am, I'm not. Nor did I make the zoning. But it's the mark of a losing argument when you start attacking personally and accusing people of something without asking them what they believe.

Good luck dood. You lost.


2 people like this
Posted by Vince Rondazzi
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Jun 12, 2019 at 10:55 pm

You're not an Old Mountain View homeowner? You don't live right by the Caltrain station?

Here, I'll ask you: do you think people, even homeowners, should be taxed on the market value of their properties? Do you think that we should have high-density housing in Old Mountain View?


2 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2019 at 5:37 am

The Business Man is a registered user.

In response to Love my city you said:

“I think you agree with several of my points. Our past Council Leaders were essentially Googled out of valuable land and given false promises. They allowed too many offices to be built. This is why 2 members of Council were voted out.”

That is a not exactly accurate. One lost because of political gaming. John Inks and the Mountain View Police Department acted out a retaliation against Job Lopez by framing him. Why, because Job Lopez proved that the Mountain View Police took illegal law enforcement action in the case of Dennis Pineda BALUYUT et al., Petitioners, v. SANTA CLARA COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT, Respondent, PEOPLE, Real Party in Interest. (Web Link ). Job Lopez is over 70 now and simply didn’t have the ability to take on another long legal fight so he did a nolo plea. You said:

“I guess they were afraid Google might leave if they pushed back. Now we knows Google will expand, but they are not going to leave Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley was and remains the Tech Mecca long before the likes of Google came along. Google has to remain headquartered here. So let’s make them play fair and honorably.”

Not if the California Legislature adopt the new laws regarding Independent Contractors and Employees in the Dynamax Case (Web Link) that will make it so IT contractors will be practically nonexistent. 60% of PayPal workers are contractors, it is safe to say the same for Google. The new law will establish that anyone working longer than 6 months at Google or PayPal will become by default Employees of them. And realize that in order to be an Independent IT Contractor, the worker cannot use the assigned entities Computers, Software, or Networks. The IT Contractor cannot perform work in accordance to the assigned entities work product procedures. The IT Contractor retains ownership of any process that was delivered to the assigned entity, thus is entitled to a residual payment after leaving. Thus IT Contractors are going to be eliminated in California. You said:

“I think you agree that this is a regional problem, meaning our Council cannot take on housing alone. All parties: All Bay Area City Leaders, Developers like Sobrano, Tech Companies like Google, Transit, school officials. etc. These are complex issues that touch the entire state, especially The Bay Area. It is not reasonable to expect our MV Council to solve this alone. What they can do is lead the vision.”

I do not agree because that is coincidence. The fact was that the regional governments all made the same mistake doesn’t excuse the City at all. The fact is that the City decisions caused the problem in the first place for the City of Mountain View. The Accountability simply remains and everyone knows it. You said:

“I am hopeful that our Council will take a Leadership role in driving the kind of changes needed to solve these problems. They need our involvement. I don’t think we have the luxury of being cynical at this pinnacle moment. We must contact our Legislators and drive the change we need to happen. That’s all I’m saying.”

We have the right to be as critical as we want. These people sold themselves as competent leaders or having the skills to effectively make the right decisions. But the proof is they cannot. Every citizen has the right to demand their representatives to make wise decisions. And the proof is that the City doesn’t make those kind of decisions. You cannot expect that to happen if you claim you cannot hold them accountable for poor choices.

They broke the vase, and they are responsible for replacing it, and get no credit for it because they broke it themselves.


Like this comment
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2019 at 5:36 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

As followup

I was laways critical of the video purportedly being used as proof of Job Lopez being a vandal.

But know the news comes that there are now free software that allows faces to be transplanted onto video as seen here (Web Link) It is called deepfake and is defined here:

“Deepfake (a portmanteau of "deep learning" and "fake"[1]) is a technique for human image synthesis based on artificial intelligence. It is used to combine and superimpose existing images and videos onto source images or videos using a machine learning technique known as generative adversarial network.[2] The phrase "deepfake" was coined in 2017.

Because of these capabilities, deepfakes have been used to create fake celebrity pornographic videos or revenge porn.[3] Deepfakes can also be used to create fake news and malicious hoaxes.[4]”

Specifically:

Deepfake software

In January 2018, a desktop application called FakeApp was launched. The app allows users to easily create and share videos with faces swapped. The app uses an artificial neural network and the power of the graphics processor and three to four gigabytes of storage space to generate the fake video. For detailed information, the program needs a lot of visual material from the person to be inserted in order to learn which image aspects have to be exchanged, using the deep learning algorithm based on the video sequences and images.

The software uses the AI-Framework TensorFlow of Google, which among other things was already used for the program DeepDream. Celebrities are the main subjects of such fake videos, but other people also appear.[27][28][29] In August 2018, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley published a paper introducing a fake dancing app that can create the impression of masterful dancing ability using AI.[30][31]

There are also open-source alternatives to the original FakeApp program, like DeepFaceLab,[32] FaceSwap (currently hosted on GitHub)[33] and myFakeApp (currently hosted on Bitbucket).[34][35]”

The “Video” evidence that was used was NOT provided by a police camera, but a private individual. There was no process to prove the validity of the video because Job Lopez was so old, he couldn’t deal with another lengthy legal fight. There was plenty of free video footage online of the real Job Lopez to provide the necessary “image capture” so that the software could be used.

John Inks had someone synthesize this video. I am openly challenging that the video be investigated to determine if it was digitally manipulated. If it comes to be reality, the Mountain View police was a party of a criminal act to frame Job Lopez.


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