Apple housing pledge expected to have little impact

The news that Apple had pledged to give $2.5 billion to address housing needs in the San Francisco-Silicon Valley region and California in general – on top of $1 billion each previously promised by Google and Facebook – led to praise from politicians as well as from civic groups and housing nonprofits. Gov. Gavin Newsom called the announcement “proof that Apple is serious about solving this issue.”

But news analysis pieces prompted by the announcement were downbeat on the likelihood that it would bring any significant relief to a housing market that is so expensive that nearly half of Bay Area residents say they want to move – much less “solve” the crisis.

Leslye Corsiglia, executive director of the San Jose-based housing advocacy group [email protected], told the San Francisco Chronicle, “It’s really great to get all this land and money, but in order to get units under construction and moving forward, we need to get project approvals. That does require policy and advocacy work to get the votes to move forward.”

Getting projects approved can take many years

The difficulty of getting projects approved in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley was cited in virtually all coverage of Apple’s pronouncement. Some cited the fate of the Vallco mall in Cupertino, less than a mile from where Apple opened its $3.6 billion headquarters in 2017.

Developer Sand Hill Property Co. acquired the mostly vacant 58-acre mall in 2014. But despite the region’s housing shortage, Sand Hill faced bitter opposition from the Cupertino City Council and local activists to its plans to build 2,400 residential units (half considered affordable), 400,000 square feet of retail space and 1.8 million square feet of office space on the site.

The $4 billion project was rejected first by local planners and then by voters in 2016. In early 2018, after state officials listed Cupertino as one of the hundreds of cities in California that had not built enough housing, Cupertino Mayor Darcy Paul defiantly said his city would not be pressured to respond to a housing crisis that he suggested was exaggerated.

City officials finally gave approval to the project a year ago after an analysis concluded that under Senate Bill 35 – the measure by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, that bars cities from rejecting certain projects that are properly zoned and include affordable housing – they had no choice. But because of further foot-dragging and legal threats, demolition of the main mall building was delayed until Oct. 2018 – four years after Signal Hall bought the property.

‘Affordable’ housing costs $700,000 in Bay Area

The second reason that Apple’s pledge was downplayed has to do with the extreme cost of building even what’s considered affordable housing in the Bay Area. While the average cost for a subsidized housing unit in California is about $420,000, housing officials say the cost is about $700,000 in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley.

If all $4.5 billion pledged by Apple, Google and Facebook were spent on such housing, that would add about 6,300 homes. Housing advocates say at least 54,000 such units are needed in the region – and far more if there is going to be enough supply to actually bring down rents that average more than $2,500 for small studio units.

Apple plans to provide a $1 billion line of credit for affordable housing projects. It also will set up a $1 billion fund to help first-time home buyers with down payments.

“We know the course we are on is unsustainable, and Apple is committed to being part of the solution,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement.

Nonetheless, the view that Apple was addressing a problem its explosive growth helped create was common – especially among progressives who see tech giants as a malign force. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination said Apple’s announcement  “is an effort to distract from the fact that it has helped create California’s housing crisis.”


Write a comment
  1. Edward Ryan
    Edward Ryan 22 November, 2019, 17:17

    Time to “call out” Christian Fundamentalists. They need to be warned to stop destroying our democracy with lying disinformation. Failures at America’s “Social Compact”. They are not capable of making good, well informed decisions. Their minds warped from Bible based lies, they are sick with religiosity. “Secular reality” is too much and these cowards can-not accept the finality of death. They are materialist who want it all, needing to live forever and be winged angels walking on streets of gold. They are superstitious, cultish fools unable to attain the rational. Lacking intellectual foundation, they could care less about good government. America’s fundamentalist Christians are complicit in Trump’s con-job lies and are culpable sounding boards foo Republican disinformation. Do these cowards who worship at the cult thrown they understand that average Americans, the good people not sickened with greed and religiosity, are not afraid to die, will fight to the death for uncorrupted democracy country? edryan221

    Reply this comment
  2. Edward Ryan
    Edward Ryan 28 November, 2019, 14:37

    Los Angeles City Council Member Harris-Dawson; You are is totally silent on the “LAPD Crimebuster Vigilante Facebook Scandal” Why do you fail to do “Good Government” oversight to stop LAPD and Los Angeles City Attorney Corruption. Read the “National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, Regional Advocacy Project” Complaint to California Attorney General Becerra. Becerra ignores the complaint even though LAPD vigilantes may of caused the death of the homeless man who is threatened on a video posted by the LAPD vigilantes and referred to in the complaint. The video described above is available here: Vigilante Facebook Postings in the complaint show nine homeless being criminal victimize by LAPD vigilantes. These nine are later arrested, but not one LAPD report tells about the vigilante “Stalking” harassment that provoked the arrest. The Los Angeles City Council should demand LAPD to identify the homeless victims whose photos are in the complaint. The Council will see that the LAPD police reports do not report the truth. No facts of the “vigilante Harassment” provoking the arrest are in the LAPD Police Reports. LA City Attorney Feuer’s Topanga Neighborhood Prosecutor uses the false LAPD reports to Convict and incarcerate the homeless shown in the complaint. The Vigilante Groups “Crime busters of our West Hills and Woodland Hills” and “Homeless Transient Encampments of our West Valley” were started by LAPD vigilante Fern Peskin-White. She is a LAPD volunteer from the Topanga Community Police Station. The participation of LAPD officers in these groups gives tacit permission to vigilante acts. Members include: LAPD Deputy Chief Kris Pitcher, former LAPD Deputy Chief John Sherman (ret. 2018), former LAPD SLO Brent Rygh (ret. 2018), LAPD Topanga At least the tobacco industry doesn’t have a coward LA Mayor Garcetti and vigilante acts by LAPD Officers who are members to the Crimebuster vigilante Facebook vigilante group Members include: LAPD Deputy Chief Kris Pitcher, former LAPD Deputy Chief John Sherman (ret. 2018), former LAPD SLO Brent Rygh (ret. 2018), LAPD Topanga Division Sergeant Karen Rayner, LAPD Senior Lead Officer (SLO) Sean Dinse, LAPD SLO Duke Dao, LAPD SLO Daryl Scoggins, LAPD SLO Gabriel Ahedo, LAPD SLO John Catalano, LAPD SLO Kari McNamee, LAPD SLO Jose Fernandez, LAPD Officer William Jones, LAPD Topanga Police Service Representative Monica Fairbanks. Why are Los Angeles City Attorney, Mike Feuer and LAPD Chief Moore allowing LAPD Brass, LAPD Slo’s and Neighborhood Prosecutors to belong to Vigilante groups. Routine false LAPD reports of homeless arrest, who are provoked by “LAPD Vigilantes”, corrupt the Los Angeles Courts. The Los Angeles City Council reputation is already soiled by cooperating with Mayor Eric Garcetti “Pay For Play” corruption at Los Angeles City Hall. Please do not make it worse by not investigating these LAPD Vigilante Hate crimes onto the homeless. Demand the LAPD supply the names of all homeless shown in the Above mentioned complaint. Then review All LAPD police reports relating to their arrest. Then ask why the LAPD police reports do not mention the
    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

    Reply this comment

Write a Comment

Leave a Reply

Chris Reed

Chris Reed

Chris Reed is a regular contributor to Cal Watchdog. Reed is an editorial writer for U-T San Diego. Before joining the U-T in July 2005, he was the opinion-page columns editor and wrote the featured weekly Unspin column for The Orange County Register. Reed was on the national board of the Association of Opinion Page Editors from 2003-2005. From 2000 to 2005, Reed made more than 100 appearances as a featured news analyst on Los Angeles-area National Public Radio affiliate KPCC-FM. From 1990 to 1998, Reed was an editor, metro columnist and film critic at the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin in Ontario. Reed has a political science degree from the University of Hawaii (Hilo campus), where he edited the student newspaper, the Vulcan News, his senior year. He is on Twitter: @chrisreed99.

Related Articles

Reuters bests state media at covering San Bernardino’s collapse

April 1, 2013 By Chris Reed If you had to fashion a nut graph to explain why so many local

Forgetting Pearl Harbor Day

Anthony Pignataro: So I just got back from a week’s vacation and saw that still-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proclaimed yesterday to

This is an ‘expedited’ review? Nerve-wracking times on bullet-train front

Nine weeks ago, the news seemed promising on the bullet-train follies front. Now the picture looks a bit murkier. On