Editorial: Amazon HQ2 fiasco carries lessons for Bay Area

themercurynews – excerpt

It’s imperative that communities and tech firms build healthy relationships and work together to resolve differences…

The Bay Area and the tech industry have much to learn from Amazon’s New York headquarters debacle, which ended last week when the tech giant backed out of the deal to put its HQ2 in Queens.

The main lesson: When it comes to major developments of this nature, it’s all about relationships. Especially in an era when housing costs are spinning out of control…

Google has already agreed to be a full partner in building the city’s long-desired transit village in the Diridon Station area. If all continues as planned, the area will be a gathering place for all, with a mixture of retail, entertainment, public spaces and housing that will benefit the entire community. Google has also agreed in principle to a package of community benefits that will include affordable housing.

It’s still possible that the relationship could unravel. Nearly 200 protesters jammed City Hall and eight were arrested when the City Council approved the sale of more than $100 million in land to Google in December. Critics fear the project will push vulnerable people out of the city. It will be important that Google and the City Council continue to engage the community as they try to reach agreement on the specifics of what the community benefits package should include.

As with any relationship, expect disagreements. How issues that arise are approached will make all the difference. Amazon and New York City provided a model for how to make a worthy project turn into a full-blown debacle…(more)

Anyone for storming the gates?


Planners keep pushing the bogus concept of transit-centered housing

By Dick Spotswood : marinij – excerpt

Regional governments tout the benefits of so-called transit-centered housing. The concept is at the heart of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s CASA (Committee to House the Bay Area) compact and San Francisco Democrat Sen. Scott Wiener’s new Senate Bill 50.

Superficially, it appears logical that people living in high-density apartments adjacent to rail, bus or ferry transit stops won’t need an auto to commute to work. Instead, they’ll take transit because it’s more convenient.

The reality isn’t so simple…

Let’s see if transit-centered housing works as promised in Marin. Presume our typical commuter lives at Corte Madera’s Tam Ridge Apartments, aka WinCup. The four-story 180-unit high-density complex is exactly the housing envisioned in SB 50. When approved, WinCup was touted as transit-centered housing next to a Highway 101 trunk line bus stop…

Whether the transit-centered housing theory works in practice is irrelevant to them [MTC]. They’ll be enjoying big profits while average Bay Area citizens pay the price with increased traffic congestion, higher taxes and crowded schools…(more)

Public comments on CASA at the December 12, 2018 meeting

12/12/2018 – (includes video clips)

Portion of Santa Rosa Mayor Julie Coombs – concerns over regional mandate with “no Outreach and no funding”:  https://youtu.be/VP_m3SQrafo

Livable California President, Susan Kirsch offers reasons that organization opposes CASA compact:  https://youtu.be/r2Y0oTr6NSs
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