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Just like ‘the good old days’ WEEKEND | P.23 NOVEMBER 4, 2011 VOLUME 19, NO. 42 650.964.6300 INSIDE: MOVIES | PAGE 26 City council splits on housing fee By Daniel DeBolt n Tuesday the City able to receive any affordable Council had its most housing at all from five apartintense disagreement in ment projects, totaling 960 units recent memory when members already in the city’s planning split over whether to pursue a pipeline. new affordable housing fee for The opposition to the fee from developers. libertarians Inks and Means was Council members Ronit Bry- no surprise, but opposition from ant, Mike Kasperzak and Laura Siegel and Abe-Koga apparently Macias found themselves the was. minority in a study session “I’m just in shock,” said counTuesday on whether to come up cil member Laura Macias after with a new affordable housing fee the meeting. “We are walking after the city’s old one was struck away from fees when we need down in the Palmer vs. the City revenue.” of Los Angeles court case. Council member Mike KasperCity staff zak was fumreported that ing, and said without a new after the meetfee, nearly ‘We are walking away ing that “the 1,000 apartwere the from fees when we poor” ment units to ones who lost be considered out. need revenue.’ by the city They had failed council next to sway AbeLAURA MACIAS year may not Koga. “Housprovide any ing is more and subsidized more unaffordaffordable housing. A so-called able for the middle class. Aren’t “nexus study,” required by the we taxing the wrong group?” she court case, found that the city said, alluding to the sentiment could justify a fee of up to 11.4 that the fee would be passed on percent of the project’s assessed in the form of high rents for new value to subsidize affordable apartments. The average rent in a housing. City staff recommended Mountain View apartment comno more than 3 percent, however, plex has reached $1,793 a month, citing concerns over developers’ said Joshua Howard of the Caliprofits and having parity with fornia Apartment Association. the city’s 3 percent affordable But Macias pointed out that a housing fee for ownership hous- parcel tax would be “regressive” ing. Previously the city’s fee had in that the same tax would be been 10 percent, while Palo Alto’s paid by someone in a $300,000 was as high as 25 percent and condo as someone in a $1.5 Sunnyvale’s was 12.5 percent. million home in Waverly Park. Opposing the new fee were Mayor Siegel suggested a tax of council members Tom Means, $5 a month. “I think we could John Inks, Jac Siegel and Mar- sell that,” he said. garet Abe-Koga, who instead Proponents of the developfavored exploring a voter-ap- ment fee said it was justified proved parcel tax for affordable because the growth in populahousing. That threw into quesSee AFFORDABLE, page 9 tion whether the city would be O MICHELLE LE Lucy, a six-month-old stray cat found in Mountain View, peeks out of her cage at the Palo Alto shelter. Council dumps Palo Alto animal control service CITY TO CONTRACT WITH SILICON VALLEY ANIMAL CONTROL AUTHORITY By Daniel DeBolt M ountain View decided to break off its 18-year relationship with Palo Alto Animal Services on Tuesday night, with City Council members instead favoring a contract with a cheaper and more attractive Santa Clarabased agency. The council’s unanimous vote on Tuesday left Palo Alto on the hook for an estimated $7 million cost to renovate its Bayshore Road animal shelter. Palo Alto officials say they consider the shelter to be at the end of its lifespan and in need of seismic retrofitting. While Palo Alto had promised the city would not have to pay See ANIMAL SERVICES, page 9 Price tag swells for high-speed rail By Gennady Sheyner T he cost of California’s proposed high-speed-rail system, originally pegged at about $36 billion, has nearly tripled since the project was presented to voters in 2008, according to a business plan that the agency charged with building the new system released Tuesday. The estimated price tag for the INSIDE rail line, which would stretch from San Francisco to Los Angeles, now stands at $98.5 billion and could end up as high as $118 billion under the most expensive scenario, the California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) has concluded in a highly anticipated report. The numbers in the new business plan exceed not only the rail authority’s earlier estimates, but also projections from rail watch- dogs and the state Legislative Analyst’s Office, which expected the price tag to exceed $60 billion. The detailed 230-page document supplants the rail authority’s 2009 business plan, which was panned by state legislators and nonpartisan analysts as incomplete and optimistic. While the rail authority’s new plan continues to make a case for See HSR PLAN, page 12 GOINGS ON 28 | MARKETPLACE 30 | REAL ESTATE 32 | VIEWPOINT 19

Mountain View Voice 04.11.2011 - Section 1

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