The Silicon Valley Voice

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Milestones (OPINION)

Demonizing developers is a dopey idea destined to decimate dollars and deem us destitute.

Citizens, what are you thinking? Have you forgotten?

It wasn’t that long ago, just before you bought your ranch rambler, orchards were being ripped out to build housing for you and your neighbors. After all, you needed a place to live because you worked here and wanted to raise a family.

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That part hasn’t changed for thousands of employees who are working here now. They would love to have a place to live without paying $1.5 million for a roof.

Since the price is impractical, they commute. A hundred thousand people per day travel into Santa Clara, clog our streets and depart at rush hour back to Gilroy, San Martin, Pleasanton and dozens of other destinations. It is not their first choice, which would be to buy or rent a home that is affordable, near where they work.

Thanks to short sighted and organized resident opposition to problem solving developments which meet employee’s needs, developers (who have historically bailed cities out) have been portrayed as greedy demons.

Santa Clara residents are pushing back the clock, not to the day of orchards (because that would affect their home), but putting the brakes on new development, which will be a very costly mistake to all of us.

Get ready for showdown city.

This week our City Council will begin discussions on next year’s budget. The major topic around City Hall is; “How are we going to pay for this?”

All those services you have grown to love and enjoy may begin to be trimmed. Of course, it won’t all happen at once. Gradually, our City must trim the budget and services or find new sources of revenue.

Our unfunded pension liability for safety officers and City staff alone is pushing a half billion dollars, not to mention current obligations.

New development has been a mainstay in our City budget. However, we have now spent that money. Since new development is on hold, revenue pipelines are being squeezed like lemons.

City Place, the mega billion-dollar project on our golf course, is still embroiled in legal squabbles and by the time it comes on line will make a small dent in our growing liabilities.

Who then is going to pay the bill?

Residents: you will be the recipients of the bill.

Keep in mind, this is a “good” economy. If we can’t balance our budget in good times, you don’t need a creative imagination to know what will happen when the economy heads south.

Don’t wait to beg developers to come and bail you out. They won’t. Developers don’t like to risk their capital when times are tough.

It was only nine years ago when one of every 15 homeowners in Santa Clara lost their home and not a developer in sight. How soon you forget.

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