Race track turns monkey house

Chimps or chumps?

Their slogan is “The best decisions start here” so I’m sure they know what they are doing. My simple reaction is “good riddance” but my reaction is more nuanced than that.

Palo Alto, its physical site and geography, its culture, it’s leadership — elected, appointed and paid — is in many ways merely a subsidiary of 3000 Sand Hill Road (which is likewise NOT Menlo Park).

Survey Monkey, despite the fact that it is in industry parlance a feature more than a product or company — compare it to Apple or HP — is basically a “play”, a set of manuevers, a money grab, a sting. Sophisticated, despite its childish name and iconography. SurveyMonkey_Logo

101 Lytton was built with the realtionship with its tenant baked in; it got variances, used the PC zoning, as GS states. Likewise, at ARB they argued for variances to our laws regarding signage. They wanted bigger signs, better lit, more of them, for the stupid green chimp or whatnot. As I argued at those meetings, the signs do not, as one would normally assume provide way-finding to people for instance getting off a train and looking for a street address, but they point to Wall Street and the money-grubbers, their partners in crime. 101 Lytton is merely a giant billboard, despite the fact that people work there, 9 to 5 or whatnot and clearly desite the fact the many others 50,000 live nearby.

This is all calculated, by people who’ve done this many other times, to eventually and soon enough cash out of the $1.3 Billion valuation.

So office space in Palo Alto is ephemeral, despite being built of brick and mortar. And I don’t fret for the developer, the Smith family — odds are they are getting a slice of the IPO or exit, sort of the way David Choe got millions for a mural at the original Facebook, above Jing Jing.

As Bob Marley says: you can fool some people some time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time: just at least the last three City Councils and numerous boards and commissions, unless they are in on the game in which case “fool” is not the word.

Twelve-twenty one p.m. on a Friday and I will take a stroll down to the gelato place and snap a recent photo of the building in question, and update, lwatcdr.

and: I put this on someone else’s coverage of such:

I would not call Palo Alto’s measure a “stict” limit as you do. If you follow the link and read the footnote on page 2 of that document, the staff report, our Comp Plan had a cap in place that would have triggered a moratorium on further office space. Instead of enforcing such, we are re-writing the Comp Plan and having annual metered extensions to the already overbuilt downtown.

Lost in the Fog by a mile.

Mark my words, Bennett Porter and her ilk will take the money and run ($1.3 Billlion valuation) long before they ever move to Bay Meadows. And they play us (or our so-called leadership: elected council, appointed boards paid staff) for chumps at every step.

The building and it’s copious signage only exist long enough to signal the money people that the exit will happen as envisioned.

Our town is just a staging area for someone else’s drama. It’s not even an office park, it’s a lab for the VCs.

4) or so:
My blog covers “Plastic Alto” comprises more than 1,000 posts ranging from “butt rap” (a type of music, apparently) to live coverage of policy meetings.
I wrote and tried to link to a post on another blog that you did.
I also ran for Palo Alto City council three times (8,000 or so cumulative votes, but needed about 9,000 at one time), and was a candidate or at least an applicant for board or commission here five times (two votes, all time, needed five at once — if you see a pattern here).

My concern about that blog, echoing your comment, is that I worry that the pro-growth short term developers could merely pretend to be transit-oriented and environmental (and Democratic, as compared to neo-Totalitarian or whatnot) as a type of greenwashing. Look at Michael Kasperzak, of Mountain View running for Assembly for lobbies for a 10 percent cap of rent increases and takes gifts from 30 different developers — and also pledges to stay within the $500,000 voluntary spending cap — that’s a lot of money!!).

Anyhow, thought I’d say “hey”. And I will give it a read.

5) and as I prattle on here I am thinking not of monkeys on a race track but the line about an infinity of monkeys pounding on computers:
I’m sort of continuing from a previous comment, loosely comparing my blog to your blog and a third blog on which we both commented. And I’m curious what the gist of a recent state university planning degree confers upon its students compared to someone like me from a previous generation (I’m 51, a product of the 1980s more or less), with a very different tack, I think.

And in Palo Alto policy there is a rough schism along both ideological and generational lines: Palo Alto Forward I call pro-development, they call themselves transit-oriented or what not but they are generally very recent voters or workers by my take and maybe naive (whereas I may be a moldy fig).

I think it’s great if this blog is so site-specific for that particular station, where CalTrain meets BART, and it’s neighborhood. But the reason it exists at all is that Millbrae is where? And there were or are no NIMBYs?

This might be a non-sequitar but you say you live in SF: Terry and I were in the City last week, first time in a while, at the Opera, a matinee. What struck me is how much growth there is — I lived in the City in the late 1980s, for four years. Specifically, from up Van Ness — we went thru a drive thru, in a car, to get a milkshake, if that doesn’t completely discredit me. But it was notable how dwarfed City Hall is now that several huge buildings seem to have sprouted around it, mostly to the South.

And then you see Ed Lee on tv commercials spouting platitudes about fair housing but the ad, for Prop A is underwritten by Lennar.

I tend to knee-jerk: if a big builder says they are for it, I’m against it.

For me, capital is organized and powerful whereas people are diffused and fairly week. Consistent with Citizen’s United and McCutchen, a disturbing trend. In Palo Alto, in my opinion, at least since 2009 (though I’ve been in the community since 1974 on and off) developers more obviously of office space always get their way and average citizens mostly tune out or are ignored when they pipe up. And the building industry arguably is under-regulated.

Similarly, (?), other developers want to build ultra-dense housing. A bowling alley, tear it down and put in RM-15 homes; or Fry’s, likewise.

But will this really make housing affordable for recent graduates in urban planning? Or does it cater to high-end and the elite (founders of tech firms, VCs)?

And what about the working class? What about rent control? (Not even discussed. State law caps that).

Thanks for the food for thought. I hope these comments are not too esoteric or naive.

Do you work for public sector, an NGO the industry or what?

this bit was for Jim Walks Near Millbrae Stations on wordpress, my new BFF
I mean JF Walks and i hope he doesn’t think me a Mule or like Steve Poltz a Mewel (he was the male Jewel) for saying that JF Walks not JF Walks Blog is the name of his blog (JF Walks Blog blog?)

6) two hours later, still no gelatto but Jason Green of the not-Merc reports that Steve Elliiott of Stanford land states that part of the purpose of 500 El Camino in Menlo Park (former car dealership lots) is to retain or enhance 3000 Sand Hill.

7) ugh:
Meanwhile in a related story Stanford now says that part of its rationale for 145,000 square feet of office space at 500 El Camino, not far from 101 Lytton, is to retain or extend 3000 Sand Hill the famous cluster of elite finance workers.

If you are not part of the elite, or working directly for them, you go the way of the Ohlone, basically. posted to PAW

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player; he also sang in local choir, and fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32
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