Bay Area Mayors United over Sanctuary City Status
Mayor Ed Lee joined Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo in vowing to defend “sanctuary city” status in their respective cities. After President Trump signed an executive order to withhold federal funding from cities that do not cooperate with the ICE, many Bay Area activists and politicians redoubled on their commitments to keep local law enforcement from collaborating with deportation efforts. Though it is unclear what power, if any, the... more
YIMBY Party Releasing Comic Book Essay
The Metropolitan Observer is delving into the world of print publishing with one of the most exciting comic book projects this ragtag team of political nerds could imagine. A quick recap: Less than three years ago, local journalist Kim-Mai Cutler blew Bay Area housing politics wide open with her incendiary essay, How Burrowing Owls Lead to Vomiting Anarchists. Cutler sought to redraw alliances where she saw petty, shallow class-warfare rhetoric, and did the math to show how California... more
Caltrain Begins Construction to Prepare for Electrified Rail
After enduring years of litigation, the diesel train system connecting San Francisco to the Peninsula and South Bay cities of San Jose and Gilroy will soon be upgraded to an electric rail system, in preparation for integrating with a future High Speed Rail. As part of the Caltrain Modernization Program (CalMod), the agency will begin work this week on the Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project. Over the next three months, Caltrain will be upgrading utilities and testing soil along... more
South Bay Stoner Titans SLEEP Triumph at The Warfield
Ten years ago, last Friday night at the Warfield would have been unthinkable. San Jose’s stoner-metal heroes Sleep were historic legends, their few albums revered as untouchable classics while the trio splintered into newer, heavier projects. But returns in the market for classic metal albums churn out slower than their songs, and over 20 years after disbanding, the band has found the audience that was always waiting for them. Hearing the sheer force of air pressure that is their songs, it’s... more
Los Gatos Council Denies 320-Unit Mixed-Use Project at North 40
Last night, the Los Gatos Town Council voted 3-2 to deny a permit application to construct 320 residential units and 66,800 square feet of retail space, known as North 40. The decision had been deferred from an earlier council meeting to this special session. Despite objections by the developer, Grosvenor Homes, Mayor Barbara Spector spearheaded the motion to deny based on its failure to comply with particular features of the town’s Specific Plan for the area. Although it is compliant with... more
San Jose Tenants Face Uphill Battle Against Rent Hike
Two San Jose tenants face an increasingly Sisyphean struggle to hold off a crushing rent increase that could force them to move. Through an arcane loophole in the city’s rent control law, landlords were allowed to raise rents beyond the legal cap in order to pass through interest rates of new mortgage loans onto tenants. Although San Jose amended the law to close this loophole in June, in the three-month period before it took effect, the city saw fifteen Debt Pass-Through Petitions filed, as... more
Los Gatos Delays Decision on 320 Units
Aug 17, 2016
We reported last month that Los Gatos would be facing a contentious decision on a mixed-use apartment development in the North 40 area, at the intersection of two highways. Last night, the Los Gatos Town Council voted to postpone thei decision on the 320-unit project until September. Spearheaded by Eden Housing and SummerHill Homes, the dwelling units come as part of a broader development by Grosvernor Americas which would also include 66,381 square feet of retail space and open, walkable... more
San Jose Approves 102 Temporary Housing Units
Aug 17, 2016
San Jose’s City Council voted yesterday to approve a temporary modular housing project on Evans Lane, amid vocal criticism in support of a permanent alternative. The proposal passed by an 8-3 vote, with Pierluigi Oliverio, Manh Nguyen and Johnny Khamis opposed in the dissent. The site on Evans lane lies in the Willow Glen neighborhood of South San Jose, just off the Almaden Expressway. Oliverio (pictured above), whose district covers the site, insisted that he would prefer to see... more
Rents Begin Declining in Some Bay Area Cities
Renters have been unhappy for quite some time in the Bay Area, and for good reason. Home to the highest rents in the country, the situation often seems dire, and likely to only get worse. Some outlets have begun reporting that there may be signs of a silver lining. Two separate real estate data aggregates have claimed that San Francisco’s average rents have decreased ever-so-slightly this year. Zumper added to ApartmentList’s good news by showing some rental decreases in Oakland and San Jose... more
San Jose Sues Santa Clara over Lack of Housing
Two neighboring cities in the southern Bay Area will be taking their land-use feuding to court. The City of San Jose filed a lawsuit today against the smaller neighboring city of Santa Clara, alleging that the latter’s recently approved CityPlace development has a gross imbalance of jobs and housing. The project by Related Companies is expected to bring close to 25,000 jobs with 5.7 million square feet of office space and 1.1 million of retail, but only 1,360 dwelling units. In May, San Jose... more