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Pleasanton Affordable Housing Lawsuit Appeal Filed

Original post made by Patricia Belding on Nov 12, 2007

Citizens For A Caring Community, an advocacy group organized to promote affordabe housing in Pleasanton, has been following the progress of the suit through the court system and often receives inquiries from Pleasanton residents about its status. I am posting the link (www.publicadvocates.org) so that those who are interested can read the opening brief.

Comments (25)

Posted by AL, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Nov 15, 2007 at 5:57 pm

The plaintiff is a
"very low income mother of two," who spends 50% of her income on housing. There are a lot of people in Pleasanton (not just low income) who spend 50% of income on housing. I really don't understand how it is the city's responsibility to find housing for people. Sure, I feel bad for the lady and her struggle. However, if it's such a strain on her, why does she CHOOSE to live here? I would be interested in learning what her occupation is, and if that occupation could be found in a different city or state where she would be able to afford housing.


Posted by Dave, a resident of Birdland
on Nov 15, 2007 at 8:58 pm

The organization behind the lawsuit is based in SF. Perhaps they should address their own issues first. As Al stated, it is a choice to live here not a right. It's also a choice as to what type of home you purchase. The first house that my wife and I purchased in Pleasanton was small and ugly but it was all we could afford at the time.


Posted by Janna, a resident of Mission Park
on Nov 16, 2007 at 8:03 am

Nice attitude, Dave.

I'd like to know what year you bought that ugly little house. Even one of those these days is, at minimum, more than half a million dollars. Pleasanton is ridiculously expensive to live in. My family rents a house because that's the only way we can afford to stay here. You know why we stay? Because of the schools. Unfortunately, by the time I even met my husband, we were priced out of Pleasanton already. We will probably have to move some day so we too can buy a home, but not before I use the school system to the fullest extent.

Pleasanton has not met it's requirements for building/zoning low income housing so what do you care if she appeals? Pleasanton, however, has passed in the city council recently, the right for developers to build some 12,000 s.f. McMansions as if we need any more of those. I love Pleasanton but those are some seriously messed up priorities.

It must feel really good to tell people who have built lives here to just up and move when you already own a home. There are many factors involved. Just because someone doesn't own a home, doesn't mean they don't have connections to our town.


Posted by Shelley, a resident of Downtown
on Nov 16, 2007 at 9:37 am

I'm 25. I grew up here. I lived in a couple different places, Berkeley, San Francisco, Germany. I moved back to Pleasanton because my family is here and I like living here. It doesn't smell like urine every where I go and I can walk around at night, by myself, without worrying about being mugged, raped or murdered. I think AL and Dave's opinions represent what's wrong with Pleasanton. I don't think paying $500,000 for 1,000 square feet is exactly smart economics. Housing prices are high because the people who bought the homes drove up the prices. If people weren't willing to pay $800,000 for a house that is only 1,500 square feet, then sellers would have to lower their prices.
The point is, even if you do spend very conservatively, save aggressively, inflation and rising housing costs eat up the chance for people to even purchase a small, ugly house. Where's my booming economy to ride out, one that is similar to the others that so many people were able to benefit from? Where's my secure political future that insures low inflation, low cost goods, low cost utilities? There are many factors involved in the reason people are spending 50% of their income on housing. With all those other factors, why can't we help out and drive housing prices down, since the other costs don't seem to be lowering any time soon? (Has anyone else noticed the rising prices of milk, cheese, fruits, vegetables, and of course, gas?)
BTW, it is a mandate of the state of California that cities offer an x% of affordable housing, so it is a Pleasanton municipal government problem that it's not adhering to state policy. AL and Dave, if you don't like California affordable housing policies, then why don't you write to your state representative to get rid of them?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 16, 2007 at 11:41 am

Janna,

12,000 sq foot custom homes are not McMansions but mansions in the true sense of the word. McMansions are large, mansion-like tract housing. You see them on the hillside in Dublin.


Posted by Janna, a resident of Mission Park
on Nov 16, 2007 at 11:59 am

I didn't realize the difference; I stand corrected. Thanks Stacey.


Posted by Becky Dennis, a resident of Foxborough Estates
on Nov 18, 2007 at 8:15 pm

Hi, Al -

Ms DeGregorio is currently working as a teacher's aide, and is also studying for her teaching credential. Her two children loved going to school here, and that's probably the main reason she hoped to make Pleasanton her home.


Posted by AL, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Nov 19, 2007 at 6:04 pm

Ms. Dennis,

Everyone likes living here. In fact we wanted to live here so much that we had to live other places that we could afford BEFORE we lived here in order to build up equity. You can be a teacher or study for a credential in the Central Valley, or any number of other places in the United States. For example, I personally went to school in more affordable locations. Why should we all have to subsidize someone who CHOOSES to live here? I grew up in the Central Valley because that is all my parents could afford. I went to good schools and led a very happy life. I think it is very sad that people feel a sense of entitlement to be able to do whatever they want at a reduced rate. I am sure that Ms DeGregorio is a very hard-working person, but I have no respect for what she is trying to do.


Posted by Shelley, a resident of Downtown
on Nov 19, 2007 at 10:52 pm

AL,
So, are you saying that we should get rid of all our teachers in the SF Bay Area because they cannot afford to live here based on their salary? So all those people who work as receptionists, cashiers, technicians, child counselors, bus drivers, beauticians, etc, anybody earning 50-80% of Median Area Income should just go live elsewhere? Now how do you think that would impact our local economy?

"Housing element law, enacted in 1969, mandates that local governments adequately plan to meet the existing and projected housing needs of all economic segments of the community. The law acknowledges that, in order for the private market to adequately address housing needs and demand, local governments must adopt land use plans and regulatory systems which provide opportunities for, and do not unduly constrain, housing development." Web Link

NIMBY Resources Web Link


Posted by Janna, a resident of Mission Park
on Nov 21, 2007 at 9:16 am

AL-

I love how everything is a 'choice' with you guys. What say you about Pleasanton's choice to not honor their state required committment to provide affordable housing? Why are you not complaining about that? Instead you pick on a person wanting to live here and enjoy what our town has and should be offering. It's really a great town except for people with attitudes like yours. No wonder people in surrounding towns think Pleasanton is stuck-up!

Has our town somehow earned the right to price-out those not making huge paychecks? It's not as though the housing market here is at all reflective of the country's market. There's no logical reason for our prices to be triple or quadruple the rest of the country and yet you defend it rather than stick up for the little guy. Got it. You got yours, enough said.


Posted by Marie, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 27, 2007 at 12:44 pm

And this, people, is why people think that Pleasantonians live in a bubble. Applause to Janna and Shelley!!!


Posted by FF, a resident of Foothill High School
on Nov 27, 2007 at 4:26 pm

I'm just so glad to see that people are passionate about this issue and are sharing their views civilly.

My point:
I agree that the city must fulfill its state requirement as other cities in that state are currently doing so. Many have forgotten that people oringinally from Pleasanton were earning a low to moderate salary. They purchased their homes with many sacrifices and the home prices were never as inflated as they currently have been.

It is very unfair that the few who are "wealthy" have driven the real estate prices up so high that those who actually grew up here in Pleasanton can't even afford to purchase in their own city.

I say No, to estate homes and mini Mansions. Let's get grounded, back to reality and the true purpose of happiness (our family).


Posted by Dave, a resident of Birdland
on Nov 27, 2007 at 7:58 pm

It is a CHOICE to live here and while I understand the emotions behind people's comments I honestly don't get why people don't relaize this. I was born in the Bay Area but I moved away for awhile in order to save enough money to be able to afford to live here. Yes, this is a great place to live and that's why it is so expensive. If I want to live in Atherton or Piedmont instead of Pleasanton should someone else subsidize my housing because I can't afford it? A lot of "wealthy" people make choices that enable them to live in this wonderful city. I bet that some of the same people who complain about the high housing prices spend a lot more than I do on cars, dining, vacations, clothes, etc.


Posted by Shelley, a resident of Downtown
on Nov 28, 2007 at 1:53 pm

Dave,
Can you explain to me how affordable housing works? As far as I know, the subsidies are federal government subsidies from tax dollars, allocated to public housing authorities and grant programs. And as far as I know, providing affordable housing is not just a Bay Area problem, it's a national problem. So, choosing to live somewhere else just might not mean it's affordable to live somewhere else. I suggest you also look at the income limits before deciding whether you qualify for affordable housing in Atherton and Piedmont.


Posted by Janna, a resident of Mission Park
on Nov 28, 2007 at 5:16 pm

Dave,

You can defend the status quo all you want if it makes you feel good. The median income in our town is $103k. The fact that those of us making that or a little more over that cannot afford to purchase a home here is ridiculous, especially in light of the fact that the median salary in the country is around $40k. No one is asking to be subsidized. They are asking that the city honor it's obligations. As far as financial CHOICES go, those CHOICES are easy when money isn't an issue.

You know, in the early 70's my mom rented a little house for around $100 a month in the San Fernando Valley in SoCal. And a person could live ok back then on a low salary because things were reasonable back then. Now everything is expensive and you have the gall to suggest that those who cannot afford outrageously priced homes cannot do so because their living beyond their means already. Yes, they are but it's because gas is almost $4.00/gallon, grocery prices have sky-rocketed to help pay for transportation costs and it's practically impossible to save any money when you are raising kids and paying $2k/mo for rent. Our tax money in this country is being wasted everyday. Corporate welfare and tax cuts for the rich(because they need those cuts!)don't help either. Don't even get me started on the money being completed wasted on the illegal occupation of Iraq. Those CHOICES are a funny thing. We would not choose to have my husband's hard earned tax dollars pay for many of those things, but helping others in need is something I would never mind paying for.

We won't qualify for low income housing because we make too much, but I have a lot of compassion for those who do qualify and are being left out because of Pleasanton's CHOICES.

Where is your compassion?


Posted by Jennifer, a resident of Birdland
on Nov 28, 2007 at 5:23 pm

It's easy to speak about choices, Dave, when you have your middle class blinders on. Speaking as you have about other people's supposed vacations, cars, etc... shows that you really have no grasp on affordable housing issues, peak oil issues or any other issues that affect the working poor in our country.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 28, 2007 at 5:32 pm

Good post Janna.

Well the developers just don't build 'em like they used to. You would be hard pressed to find a development like Pleasanton Meadows, Jensen tract or Birdland being built today and that contributes to the rise in prices of these older neighborhoods. Developers get more money when they build upscale McMansion tracts. If you want a nice 3 bedroom/2 bath home with a nice yard for a new family you just can't find those. You'd be forced into a townhome for something like that or you'd have to pay through the nose for a 4-5 bedroom McMansion that takes up the entire lot so you have very little yard.

Add to that the "creative" financing that was available for a long time that allowed people to drive prices up further.

I don't see much of a choice for the younger generation who is basically getting screwed by the poor choices of the older generation. Oh wait, maybe Daddy will pay for the downpayment. Sadly, the middle class is slowly disappearing.


Posted by Dave, a resident of Birdland
on Nov 28, 2007 at 7:40 pm

I don't have compassion because I chose to move out of the area in order to build up my equity. I would have rather stayed here, but I couldn't afford it when I was part of the "working poor." It has always been over priced in the Bay Area this isn't something new. There are many places in the country that have good schools where houses don't cost a fortune. High wages, great schools, a responsive city government and close proximity to major employment areas drive up our housing costs. Yeah, it sucks, we can all agree on that. I don't think that it's realistic to expect to own your FIRST home in one of the most epxensive places in the country. BTW, at $103K you are not part of the middle class but actually part of the upper class (about the top 5% of US income). I agree that $103K doesn't buy a wealthy lifestyle in Pleasanton, but again, nobody is being forced to live here.


Posted by Enrique, a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Nov 29, 2007 at 10:08 am

Dave

I can understand your basic reasoning. Similar to why should I get a subsidy to buy a Mercedes when all I can afford is a Camry.

However, I believe the issue goes deeper and touches on how we are as a community. I currently live in a development where 10% of the properties were set aside for lower-income (for Pleasanton, maybe middle income someplace else) residents. These neighbors are just like the rest of us, but may work in the public sector (teachers, police officers, firefighters, etc).

Can you imagine if we allowed all future development was for mansions. Or that only people who lived here were semi-millionaires. What kind of town would we become? Affordable housing benefits society at large. I would like to see a proposal where 10% of any development needs to be set aside for affordable housing.

I also worked hard to save money to buy into Pleasanton, but honestly, Pleasanton should not be a town of exclusion but inclusion.


Posted by Janna, a resident of Mission Park
on Dec 4, 2007 at 8:57 pm

I guess I thought compassion comes from being human, silly me. As Enrique said very well above, 'affordable housing benefits society at large'. I agree fully. How does it benefit you to say that someone who hasn't followed in your footsteps shouldn't have an opporunity to have what you have?

I also wonder how our city will fare when the S(really)HTF and the number of foreclosures sky-rockets. How will that affect our city's bottom line? You do realize that this is only the beginning don't you? It's going to get way worse before it gets better. The only good news about foreclosures is that maybe some of us who are currently priced-out will have an opportunity. It doesn't make me feel good to say that I might have a chance on the back of someone else's misfortune, however.

I will never understand your reasoning Dave, but it is what it is.


Posted by AL, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Dec 5, 2007 at 7:43 pm

Janna,

So are you saying that anyone who is against low income housing lacks compassion? Wow that's a huge assumption on your part! You sound very bitter that you are unable to afford a home here.

I also believe that more 12,000 sq. foot homes is totally unecessary. Even if I could afford a home that large, there is no way I could justify living in one. However, I do not think that means we need to subsidize others with our tax dollars.

I have always felt that people who are into wealth redistribution should pony up their own money and just leave the rest of us alone.

I might also add, that it seems like you have made a CHOICE to live here and rent rather than own somewhere else. You have made this choice based on the schools. I made the choice to move out of state and save enough money to live here. There are a lot of choices people can make and different paths everyone can take to achieve their goals. That does not mean anyone deserves a handout, though. I think that Ms Degregorio should be ashamed of herself for even being part of this lawsuit.

By the way, if my husband lost his job, I would not be able to support our family here. My children currently attend the schools here, supported by the huge property tax we currently pay. If necessary, I would simply choose a more affordable place for us to live.

I


Posted by Janna, a resident of Mission Park
on Dec 5, 2007 at 8:15 pm

No, that's not what I said. Nice spin though.

The things that make me bitter are greed and selfishness which are disgustingly rampant in this country. I prefer a 'we' attitude towards my fellow human beings rather than a 'me' attitude, which you seem to favor.

How do you feel about Bushco re-distrubuting our hard earned money to such things as oil corporations, the wealthy, and Iraq for that matter? I'd much rather spend my money on my fellow citizens rather than that other useless b.s. At least I would know that someone who truly needs help would get it.


Posted by Dave, a resident of Birdland
on Dec 6, 2007 at 8:46 pm

Janna,
I don't agree with your limited definition of a "we" attitude which seems to narrowly focus on wealth re-distribution - a socialist concept. I think that a "we" attitude encompasses a lot of things including volunteering in my kids' schools, coaching youth sports teams and donating my time and money to charities of my choice. The Buscho remark has nothing to do with the issue of affordable housing. While I disagree with your postion I would respect your viewpoint if you are in fact donating your time and your money to support afforable housing. Finally, the idea that a public servant can't buy a home here is absolutely false. I have 2 fire fighters, 1 police officer and 2 teachers within two blocks of me. None of them bought their FIRST single family home in Pleasanton, they had to wait awhile and save their money.


Posted by TG, a resident of another community
on Dec 7, 2007 at 1:28 pm

My family left Pleasanton because we had to make a difficult family/financial decision. We loved Pleasanton, but we had no 'right' to live there. And if I had a job and a decent commute, we would probably move back in a heartbeat. Janna, if there a large amount of foreclosures in Pleasanton, that will drive down the price, and you'll have your opportunity. And your complaint about the government - a red herring. Markets determine home prices. People who work in Silicon Valley don't want to live in San Jose (yuck!), and that's what drives up home prices in Pleasanton - demand. Good schools, quality of life - those are not rights, they are privileges, earned by hard work and good decisions. I would never consider Pleasanton exclusive - there are some very nice neighborhoods there. Atherton is exclusive, where lot sizes are measured in acres, not tenths of acres. Count your blessings that you are able to live there. Good living (except for Paris Hilton) demands sacrifice. Stand on your own two feet, and don't expect others to take care of you.


Posted by aaron, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jan 11, 2008 at 4:56 pm

with the market so low it's going to be 2 years before it is what it was, i call that affordable housing. properties selling for hundreds of thousands under value. that is affordible


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