In the Media
Jobs paying less than $50,000 a year make up the majority of Silicon Valley’s projected employment growth, according to a 2012 report, and that means many more workers will commute long distances because they can’t afford to live in the valley.
In a housing market inflated by high-salary technology jobs, the median price of a single-family residence in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties remains at nearly $700,000.
The cost of renting is often out of reach as well. The report, released by the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California and Urban Habitat, shows that the average Silicon Valley bank teller, paramedic, waiter or retail employee falls well short of the annual salary needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment: $69,560 in Santa Clara County and $82,400 in San Mateo County.
As a result, 98,000 cars commute to and from the valley each day, and more than one-third of the workers driving them earn less than $40,000 annually, the report said.
Some commute from Stockton or Modesto (both almost two hours east of Silicon Valley), others from Hercules (more than an hour north). Even though housing is much cheaper there, these long-distance commuters pay in other ways: They spend a big chunk of their income on transportation and also lose time with their families.
Listen to Christy Leffall, land-use program coordinator and coordinator of the Richmond Equitable Development Initiative (REDI) at Urban Habitat, on KPFA's Morning Mix hosted by Richmond Planning Commissioner Andres Soto that aired on April 19, 2012 at 8:00 am. Leffall gives a recap of the General Plan Rally at the Richmond City Council Chambers on April 17th and subsequent adoption hearing of the General Plan with the Environmental Impact Report, which REDI has been working on for over six years.
REDI members turned out in significant numbers to this meeting. The vote was tabled until next week because the general plan agenda took over four hours, one hour for the staff’s presentation, and another three hours for public testimony where 111 speakers had signed in to speak. The upcoming City council vote on Tuesday, April 24th, 6:30pm at Richmond City Hall. Listen to an edited version of the segment here (or download). Visit, KPFA to hear the full version.Christy Leffall is currently a Land Use Program Coordinator working in Contra Costa County. Leffall is coordinator of the Richmond Equitable Development Initiative (REDI) in Richmond, CA, which advocates for the adoption and implementation of equitable elements within the city’s updated General Plan.
The Pleasanton City Council will vote tonight on bids by BRE Properties to build high density apartment buildings with 498 units in Hacienda Business Park.
The Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) were approved earlier by the city's Planning Commission after more than a year of public hearings, workshops and task force considerations.
The project is an outcome of the settlement agreement between the city and Urban Habitat, an Oakland-based affordable housing coalition that successfully sued the city over its 1996 housing cap and lack of adequate affordable, workforce housing.
The Golden State’s tremendous diversity will be the key to its future economic success—if its leaders take action to increase fairness and opportunity. Equity is not only a moral imperative—it is also an economic one.
These are the key messages of the new report California’s Tomorrow: Equity is the Superior Growth Model, authored by PolicyLink and the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE). The report was released at a legislative briefing earlier this month hosted by PolicyLink and the California Legislative Tri-Caucus, and was attended by legislative staff and nearly 40 advocates from all parts of the state.
Below is a reflection on the report from Urban Habitat President & CEO Allen Fernandez Smith:
Urban Habitat fully supports PolicyLink and PERE’s core finding in the California Report that to create a prosperous California, we must address current systemic inequities, avoid creating new ones, and serve residents of all races and incomes equally.
Bob Allen, director of transportation justice, Urban Habitat and Larry Hanley, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union, speak on transportation justice on KPFA's Morning Mix with with Adrienne and Steve that aired March 26, 2012 at 8:00am. Listen to an edited version of the segment here (or download). Visit, KPFA to hear the full version.Bob Allen, Director of Transportation Justice. His background and experience include community planning and policy work both in the United States and overseas with international Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). While at UH, Bob led the successful 2008 Campaign to help pass a regional measure, Measure VV, which raised funds to keep bus passes affordable for seniors, youth, and disabled riders. Currently, Bob is leading UH’s efforts on federal and state transportation advocacy. Bob received both his Bachelors Degree in Political Science and History and his Masters in Public Administration from Rutgers University.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) needs to vote on the proposal for a Free MUNI Youth Pass in March — or risk losing millions in transportation dollars that would improve the lives of San Francisco youth and their families. A broad community coalition led by young people has been campaigning for the free pass for more than a year, which would allow all San Francisco students to get to school, work, and to recreational and cultural activities.
By rezoning nine separate sites totaling 73 acres throughout the city for high-density housing, the council has authorized developers to build more than 3,000 units for low- to very-low to moderate income tenants.
Add to 840 more housing units previously approved on land rezoned for two-, three- and four-story apartment buildings in the Hacienda Business Park, Pleasanton has now met a March 1 deadline imposed by the Alameda County Superior Court and the Urban Habitat affordable housing organization to require Pleasanton to meet its current state housing obligation to provide more workforce/affordable homes.
At its meeting Feb. 9 in Oakland, the board agreed to proceed with a project-level EIR and the formation of a joint powers agreement (JPA) with Livermore and the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC).
Director John McPartland, whose district includes Livermore, made the motion, which was seconded by director Tom Radulovich of San Francisco.
Radulovich added an amendment that made clear the understanding that no capital improvement money for the Livermore extension would come from BART.
Directors from the older areas of BART service were worried that the Livermore project would have to tap into BART funds sometime in the future.
Directors said that BART has $30 million in reserves, which is a small sum compared to the overall budget. Further, BART faces the need for $7.5 billion in improvements for the entire current system. Much of it is for replacement of train cars that are 40 years old.
By Bill Silverfarb
As Facebook looks to expand its headquarters in Menlo Park to accommodate thousands of new employees, the city is being challenged to address its neglect related to building affordable housing over the years.
The city’s shortcomings may fall on the shoulders of Facebook as it is being urged to develop or contribute the funds needed to build thousands of affordable housing units in and around Menlo Park.
Last night, the Menlo Park City Council weighed in on the development agreement for the Facebook East Campus project at 1601 Willow Road with an intent to secure a commitment from the social media giant to fund housing opportunities in the city and surrounding region. Facebook is asking Menlo Park to allow approximately 6,600 employees to occupy the East Campus, that includes nine buildings on the 57-acre site once occupied by Sun Microsystems.