According to most indicators, America is experiencing an economic boom.
This is very good news for every sector of business, industry, state government and municipalities.
Economic activity and growth has proven to be the lifeline for citizens seeking a better standard of living. A better economy makes for better jobs, higher pay and the ability to purchase and save.
Now with municipalities, this is not always the case.
More money usually means more spending by government on programs benefitting the less fortunate. However, this was not the case with California’s department of Health and Welfare that has been sitting on more than $2.5 billion for mental health funds. Not that we have a problem…
Now in Santa Clara we don’t have extra funds. As you may be aware, our Council has been on a spending spree, ballooning payroll by millions. Our projected deficit for the coming year has increased from $5 million to nearly $7 million. When you add in our City employees’ pension deficit, we have a nearly half billion-dollar hole to fill, and…these are good times.
Of course, our Council has an answer. “We will grow our way out of this.” And while that sounds promising, their rejection of multiple housing projects in Santa Clara doesn’t reflect that ideology.
You could say, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than get a development project approved on the El Camino.”
Developers have historically been welcomed in Santa Clara…until recently.
The current Council team are magicians. They have developed a skill for making a five-year project turn onto 10…just like that!
You got to wonder how they do it in New York?
Manhattan is about 21 square miles.
Santa Clara is about 18 square miles.
Santa Clara has a population of 155,000.
Manhattan has a population of 1,650,000.
Now all those people in New York go to work, go to school, come home, eat in or go out to dinner, go to theatre, visit friends, go to the park, go on vacation and make it work quite well.
Sounds very much like the residents who live in Santa Clara.
Yet, New Yorkers make it work with 10 times the population.
Manhattan most likely has a group of NIMBY’s who don’t want another 70-story apartment building going up next to them since they live in only a 50-story complex.
Santa Clara residents get riled up over a two-story house going up in a single-story neighborhood.
Property owner’s rights are at the mercy of the neighborhood’s opinion even when the City Code favors the property owner.
Most people in Santa Clara don’t even know there is a seven-story, 100 unit, condominium project a block from City Hall. It’s not going up, it’s already there; and it was built in 1972. Why is it we are still thinking single family homes?
Grow our way out of the housing shortage? Maybe not.
At the current rate of housing growth, we may see our kids and grandkids once a year when we visit them in Phoenix.