The “real” impediment to affordable housing 2

Dear Editor: 

The July issue of POLITICO Magazine has an article that states: “The middle-class dream of a single-family home is the biggest impediment to affordable housing, according to some housing activists—it keeps prices up by preventing new and denser developments…

This is simply wrong, wrong, wrong!  The “real” impediment to affordable housing is allowing companies to put too many jobs in areas where there is not enough land for additional housing of all types for their new employees and others as well.  We need to say “no” to new office developments that bring people and cars (to overly crowded areas with limited transportation options – other than cars).  Instead, we should encourage companies to move their new offices to communities that have space for housing, schools, parks, etc., etc., etc. (that is, the “American Dream”) and are begging for jobs to come their way.

We should not allow developers (many from outside the area) and other real estate interests to paint current residents as the ones causing the current housing shortage.   Elected officials, at all levels of government, have to start saying “no” to new office developments that don’t provide on-site housing for the new employees or office workers. Even if they are made to do so, we will still continue to have our horrendous traffic conditions. Other communities are seeking jobs and new developments.  Listen to them.  Go there. Your employees or the office workers will be happy you did – and so will those communities.

Joe Hirsch
Palo Alto

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2 thoughts on “The “real” impediment to affordable housing

  • Pardis Beikzadeh
    Pardis Beikzadeh

    Some of us like living in dense walkable urban areas with lots of jobs and services and racial and socioeconomic diversity.

    I know most people’s reaction to this sentiment is “then go live in NYC and leave my neighborhood alone”. Unfortunately for the both of us, the Bay Area is silicon valley and for whatever reason it is the “hub of innovation”. What a shame indeed! Wish that had happened somewhere else, somewhere were people like me would be considered welcome.

  • kristen Altbaum

    People who tout high-density everywhere for “the environment’s sake” don’t seem to mind the impacts of commuters, who already purchased homes in the Bay Area, and longer commute distances on denser freeways and city streets. I’m no C02 expert, but it seems dense homes/longer commutes on wider freeways may cancel each other out. MTC says that more housing will “fix traffic” but without further out communities becoming ghost towns, I don’t know how this is possible. Job density legislation, allowing for no more jobs than existing housing, diverse zoning, and better management of existing transportation dollars are the only solutions to fixing traffic. The CCTA wants to pass a new tax onto Contra Costa County residents, so our residents must drive 1-2 hours each way AND pay MORE for that headache…that’s insanity and hits poorer residents the hardest. The CCTA won’t even quantify what the new tax will net in commute-time savings, because with housing projections, commutes will continue to get worse despite new taxes. If I were in charge of MTC, I’d establish a 15-minute commute goal across the entire region and find a way to monitor that. MTC should be built on a quantitative goal such as that, versus on the wishes of billionaire “job centric” CEOs that have hundreds of millions to spend on housing initiatives that send lobbyists to Sacramento. Those same CEOs will never fly a helicopter to places like Brentwood and drive into work with one of their employees in order to witness the social, emotional, and environmental damage they’ve helped to create. Palo Alto, Lafayette, Brentwood, or in between, we have a lot in common.