Apple Park's new employees asked to push for more housing in Cupertino

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in General Discussion
As thousands of Apple employees begin moving into new offices at the company's new "Campus Two" at Apple Park, development battles over a new project next door are enlisting their support to build more housing in the quiet Silicon Valley town that's been the corporate home of Apple since its founding.




The largely dead Vallco Shopping Mall (below) lies directly across the freeway from Apple Park. It is the subject of ambitious plans to rebuild the retail graveyard into what could be a vibrant new mix of retail, offices and housing.

Cupertino's government, however, is frowning at building any new housing (during a severe shortage of places to live in the region) because it gets more tax revenue from office space. Apple's local taxes alone fund around 30 percent of the town's budget.

Vallco Mall and its sprawling parking lots sit next to a series of Apple's existing Vallco Parkway offices, including new space the company now leases next to the recently built "Main Street Cupertino" project, which actually does involve both new offices and some housing.


Apple and the Mall

The large indoor mall, which bridges over Wolfe Road, is about as old as Apple itself: built in 1976 as Americans were fleeing the cities to pave over surrounding farmlands in order to build out the sprawl of suburbia.

This move created the Petri dish of Silicon Valley, where kids like Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were raised in safe communities of middle-class families, with the ability to pursue their curiosities--taking advantage of specialized technical education and job opportunities at the region's founding technology firms, including Atari and Hewlett Packard (the latter of which paved over the orchards and occupied the land where Apple Park now sits) and even found their own new companies.

In the mid-80s, Vallco Mall, originally called "Vallco Fashion Park," began facing new competition from more modern shopping centers. Like Apple itself, the mall attempted to refresh and expand itself to remain competitive. However, in the 1990s it was hit by a series of forces, including the emerging role of online retailers and the fact that increasingly affluent demographics in Silicon Valley weren't attracted to its midrange tenants.

In 2007, as Apple released the iPhone, Vallco Mall added a new 16 screen theater and a bowling alley. By 2015, the decline of retail prompted its owners to come up with new plans to demolish the entire thing and rebuilt a modern mix of shopping, offices and housing on a street grid covered with green parks, orchards and gardens.

The project was called The Hills of Vallco. The planning site (portrayed in a rendering below) would be directly opposite from Apple Park's garages (top of the image) and across the street from the company's Vallco Parkway 2A building (top right).

However, homeowners concerned that any new housing might affect the stratospheric valuation of their own property (in a city where a standard family home is priced in the millions) rushed to kill plans for any new housing. Two competing measures, one to block the construction of anything on the site apart from retail, and another to push through the original The Hills of Vallco plan without the risk of it being derailed by opponents leveraging the city planning process, both failed to pass in 2016.




In the year since, things have only gotten worse for Vallco Mall as its large anchor stores (formerly Sears, Macy's and JC Penney) remained abandoned and its interior walkways lead to little more than empty retail stores and a few random low-rent tenants. Its owners have announced that they have no interest in trying to spruce up the site because it demands a larger investment to create something new.

Homeowners are still trying to block any new housing, asking that the old mall only be replaced by a new shopping center, despite the fact that there is clearly no real demand for a shopping center in Cupertino.

At this point, Vallco could probably best serve as an opportunity for Apple to take over the property and use it for expansion of its existing Vallco offices. But housing advocates are asking Apple's workers--most of whom can't afford to buy housing in Cupertino even with professional salary--to push for new housing on the site. At the currently insane housing prices of Silicon Valley, a couple of Apple employees trying to buy a house in Cupertino would face a mortgage of around $10,000 per month

At the currently insane housing prices of Silicon Valley, a couple of Apple employees trying to buy a house in Cupertino would face a 20 percent down payment on an existing home at a price even higher than greater SV's median of $1.17 million, meaning they'd also have to pay a mortgage of around $10,000 per month. And there are only a couple dozen available houses for Apple's thousands of employees to even attempt to buy anywhere near the company's offices.

That prompts much of Apple's workforce to commute from more affordable (or at least more desirable) areas, including San Francisco, around 40 minutes away when there isn't any traffic. Apple has worked to develop a network of buses to minimize the impact of traffic because the Bay Area suburbs lack much effective transit of their own.

Some residents in desirable areas of San Francisco served by buses from Apple (and other firms in a similar predicament, including Google) have demonized the influx of new workers as a gentrifying force, as if the City would be better off in an economic decline, with the kind of violent crime and decay that San Francisco limped through in previous decades of lower rents.

San Francisco also faces a long-term housing shortage, in part because activists there, as in Cupertino, work to block the development of any new housing (particularly any housing density), fearing that any new housing would be filled with some sort of undesirables.

Are you an Apple employee who works in Cupertino? Take this survey to tell this NIMBY group down there that you want housing on this 50-acre failed mall site less than a mile from Apple HQ: https://t.co/STrrUerok4 (And then also attend the meetings listed below.) pic.twitter.com/aq2z0Hnwmg

-- Kim-Mai Cutler (@kimmaicutler)


While no panacea, the redevelopment of Vallco Mall as a place for people to live, work and shop could at least help reduce the need for long-distance commuting and further shifts that displace people and raise rents elsewhere.

For that reason, Apple employees have been encouraged to get involved in planning discussions that begin next Monday, February 5, and to weigh in on a survey that asks what individuals think should be built at the Vallco site.

That survey, set up by Better Cupertino, is currently tilted to support the anti-housing efforts that backed the measure to block anything from being built on the site apart from more retail. However, only a couple hundred people have yet responded to it.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 32

    I'm inclined to think, people being people, that inertia will keep that area commercial, unless some outside force acts upon the city to change it.

    The "peepul" don't want their existing homes devalued, which is completely understandable, especially if they're upside down on their mortgages, and the city doesn't want to sacrifice the higher tax revenue that commercial zoning gives them.  Of course, the fact that they aren't getting that revenue now only means they need to attract a higher class of business, undoubtedly with tax incentives that erode the difference anyway.

  • Reply 2 of 32
    That’s not understandable at all. The demand for housing is extremely high and supply must expand. Cupertino isn’t going to lose money by adding residents. What a selfish and shortsighted vision the anti-housing bozos have.
    jbdragonJWSCrandominternetpersonlolliver[Deleted User]jony0
  • Reply 3 of 32
    Other than zoning, how is this anybody's business other than the property owner's?

    I am not a Conservative, but this kind of thing is what drives people crazy and is more harmful than helpful.
    JWSCrandominternetperson
  • Reply 4 of 32
    Apple could reach a deal with everyone involved by making the land into a mixed zone of commercial and residential.  If they had input from the city and the residents who live next to the mall, I'm sure they could come up with a suitable use that would protect the land values and create affordable housing and reduce blight. 

    If things do not change, the residents can look forward to gridlock and urban noise and watch the mall die a slow death.

     It might be wise to try to work a deal with Apple before they decide they will just watch the mall deteriorate and then buy it cheap and force the city to rezone it or they will make it into a giant parking garage. 
    JWSC
  • Reply 5 of 32
    To have a city with a lot of retail, you have to have the homes to supply it.
    jbdragonJWSClolliverpte apple
  • Reply 6 of 32
    Apple basically owns the city in which they are located because of their massive tax payments. It’s long past time for them to install their own puppet regime and have the city council, mayor and police all be directly answerable to them.
    JWSC
  • Reply 7 of 32
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,161member
    Having family in the area, I understand why residents don't want to add more housing in the area. In the long term, new houses won't lower property values in Cupertino. If new houses are built, they will be gobbled up by the Chinese. They are one of the main reasons why property values have gone through the roof. With all the new middle and upper class people in China, they come to places like the Bay Area and buy everything up. The Chinese do that since they want to send their children to American schools. It is kind of sad what's happened to Vallco. I have so many good memories going there while growing up. The city should allow redevelopment of the site. Add housing and mix in an outdoor shopping area with higher end shops. 
    edited January 2018
  • Reply 8 of 32
    Having family in the area, I understand why residents don't want to add more housing in the area. In the long term, new houses won't lower property values in Cupertino. If new houses are built, they will be gobbled up by the Chinese. They are one of the main reasons why property values have gone through the roof. With all the new middle and upper class people in China, they come to places like the Bay Area and buy everything up. The Chinese do that since they want to send their children to American schools. It is kind of sad what's happened to Vallco. I have so many good memories going there while growing up. The city should allow redevelopment of the site. Add housing and mix in an outdoor shopping area with higher end shops. 
    The same thing has happened in Vancouver and other areas of Canada. Massive influx of Chinese property buyers. I mean, who can blame them for wanting to have options in case the PRC decides to crackdown on the people there again or if another “cultural revolution” breaks out.
    boltsfan17JFC_PA
  • Reply 9 of 32
    Just about every community across the country needs to sort out having an appropriate supply of housing. Along with the gated digs for the company executives, there are the engineers, middle management and cleaning staff who all need places to live. For some reason, there is an innate tendency in to want housing for “those people” (generally meaning anyone who is ethnically, culturally, or economically different) to not be anywhere nearby, because it will hurt property values and be “dangerous,” etc. The truth is, if everyone down to the toilet bowl scrubber is paid enough to afford decent market rate housing, and there is enough supply of decent housing so that the market rate is not hideously distorted, you actually get stability and safety. Danger and instability come mainly when basic living arrangements are scarce and unaffordable, forcing large numbers of people to struggle just to survive. For a town like Cupertino, the benefits of having a hugely profitable company headquartered there come with the responsibilities of being a city that can accommodate all the people that come with those headquarters. Trying to preserve some (mostly imagined) idyllic past when it was a smaller place with fewer people is just a recipe for strife and disaster.
    bikertwinJWSC
  • Reply 10 of 32
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,161member
    Having family in the area, I understand why residents don't want to add more housing in the area. In the long term, new houses won't lower property values in Cupertino. If new houses are built, they will be gobbled up by the Chinese. They are one of the main reasons why property values have gone through the roof. With all the new middle and upper class people in China, they come to places like the Bay Area and buy everything up. The Chinese do that since they want to send their children to American schools. It is kind of sad what's happened to Vallco. I have so many good memories going there while growing up. The city should allow redevelopment of the site. Add housing and mix in an outdoor shopping area with higher end shops. 
    The same thing has happened in Vancouver and other areas of Canada. Massive influx of Chinese property buyers. I mean, who can blame them for wanting to have options in case the PRC decides to crackdown on the people there again or if another “cultural revolution” breaks out.
    Yep. Vancouver is a great example. The Chinese buyers have essentially priced out the locals of affordable housing. I don't blame the Chinese at all. I would do the same thing if I was living in their situation. 
    SpamSandwichJWSC
  • Reply 11 of 32
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,124member
    What I think Apple should do is buy the land and build a large or a number of large Apartment buildings. Really Nice Apartments, and it's only for Apple Employee's. Where it's reasonably priced, and near by. That's not going to affect Housing Prices which are insanely high already. People need a place to live. I know I hate to commute and mine haven't been huge. I end up moving closer. I'm 15 minutes away from my currently job. I can ride my bike if I want to.
  • Reply 12 of 32
    Spent a little time looking at the area on Apple and Google Maps after reading the article and this thought came to me:
    When Apple has fully moved into Apple Park, why not swap the Mall Property for One Infinite Loop which is mostly a huge parking lot like the old H-P Campus that Apple bought for Apple Park?

    This would give Apple control over a 50 acre site adjacent to Apple Park and allow redevelopment of the old HQ site which is getting old.

    Apple could build a mixed use development on the old mall site (residential over retail) and connect the two with a pedestrian/Bike bridge over the highway. This could add housing close to campus (walk/bike distance), add housing close to the new HQ, remove the eyesore of a dead mall, and allow for redevelopment of the old Apple site (approx 32 acres). It is not going to fix everyone's housing concerns, but could allow Apple a controlled way to grow near the new HQ without a major disruption of existing housing stock or retail space.

    They certainly have the money.
    edited January 2018 JWSC
  • Reply 13 of 32
    AppleZulu said:
    Just about every community across the country needs to sort out having an appropriate supply of housing. Along with the gated digs for the company executives, there are the engineers, middle management and cleaning staff who all need places to live. For some reason, there is an innate tendency in to want housing for “those people” (generally meaning anyone who is ethnically, culturally, or economically different) to not be anywhere nearby, because it will hurt property values and be “dangerous,” etc. The truth is, if everyone down to the toilet bowl scrubber is paid enough to afford decent market rate housing, and there is enough supply of decent housing so that the market rate is not hideously distorted, you actually get stability and safety. Danger and instability come mainly when basic living arrangements are scarce and unaffordable, forcing large numbers of people to struggle just to survive. For a town like Cupertino, the benefits of having a hugely profitable company headquartered there come with the responsibilities of being a city that can accommodate all the people that come with those headquarters. Trying to preserve some (mostly imagined) idyllic past when it was a smaller place with fewer people is just a recipe for strife and disaster.
    Sorry, market forces are the only thing that has been shown to work.  That's what the anti-housing advocates are trying to disrupt, i.e., they are trying to keep the supply artificially low to keep their prices up.  The value of the mall is best determined by the market.  Clearly, the market has shown that a mall is not the highest and best use of it. It sounds like free market demand would dictate that housing is the best use for the owners.  BTW,  same goes for labor.  Apple and others have to offer a wage and benefits sufficient for janitors, etc., to be willing to put up with commute, etc., to work there. That's why so many businesses support illegal aliens coming in as they can take advantage of them to work at lower wage.  If the supply of illegal labor wasn't there, wages would have to rise to get people to take certain jobs. Partially addressing your concern over low wages; although it is unrealistic to expect free market would value janitorial work, your example, at a wage rate sufficient to afford multi-million dollar home near Apple Park. 
    edited January 2018 JWSCrandominternetperson
  • Reply 14 of 32
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,449member
    jbdragon said:
    What I think Apple should do is buy the land and build a large or a number of large Apartment buildings. Really Nice Apartments, and it's only for Apple Employee's. Where it's reasonably priced, and near by. That's not going to affect Housing Prices which are insanely high already. People need a place to live. I know I hate to commute and mine haven't been huge. I end up moving closer. I'm 15 minutes away from my currently job. I can ride my bike if I want to.
    In NYC in the 1950's-1970's, that's exactly what a lot of unions did.  They built a lot of housing, primarily for their members.  When I was in elementary school, there was an apartment building nearby in which many of the teachers lived.    

    The problem in many cities is that housing has become beyond reach for any middle-class family and especially as many formerly middle-class housing projects have gone private and "market rate", employees have to live farther and farther away from where they work at the same time that many companies want their employees to work longer hours.   That's not going to work in the long run - people who live far away will leave work earlier and show up later.   NYC has gained population in recent decades, but I think that's going to reverse again as it did from 1970 to 1980 when we lost 10% of the population.   If it does happen again, it will be primarily because of high housing prices and high taxes, especially now that there are severe limits on deductibility.  

    The residents who don't want housing built near Apple Park are simply being greedy and selfish.   Property values only matter if you want/need to sell and the only homeowners who should be concerned are those who have lived there a short time.   Those who bought their homes 10+ years ago will do very well and those who have been living there for decades will make extraordinary profits.   I doubt that building housing on that shopping mall would create enough housing to lower property values anyway, but even if it did, the majority of homeowners would actually benefit from presumably lower real estate taxes as well as a larger local tax base and fewer commuters clogging up the streets.  Personally, I think there should higher real estate taxes charged to those homeowners who don't live in their homes, for which the homes are solely an investment.

    And where did those homeowners think all those Apple employees were going to live?

    But I blame Apple as well - they should have gotten the town to approve new housing and/or zoning changes before they build their new facility and should have threatened to build elsewhere without that approval.  
  • Reply 15 of 32
    Notsofast said:
    AppleZulu said:
    Just about every community across the country needs to sort out having an appropriate supply of housing. Along with the gated digs for the company executives, there are the engineers, middle management and cleaning staff who all need places to live. For some reason, there is an innate tendency in to want housing for “those people” (generally meaning anyone who is ethnically, culturally, or economically different) to not be anywhere nearby, because it will hurt property values and be “dangerous,” etc. The truth is, if everyone down to the toilet bowl scrubber is paid enough to afford decent market rate housing, and there is enough supply of decent housing so that the market rate is not hideously distorted, you actually get stability and safety. Danger and instability come mainly when basic living arrangements are scarce and unaffordable, forcing large numbers of people to struggle just to survive. For a town like Cupertino, the benefits of having a hugely profitable company headquartered there come with the responsibilities of being a city that can accommodate all the people that come with those headquarters. Trying to preserve some (mostly imagined) idyllic past when it was a smaller place with fewer people is just a recipe for strife and disaster.
    Sorry, market forces are the only thing that has been shown to work.  That's what the anti-housing advocates are trying to disrupt, i.e., they are trying to keep the supply artificially low to keep their prices up.  The value of the mall is best determined by the market.  Clearly, the market has shown that a mall is not the highest and best use of it. It sounds like free market demand would dictate that housing is the best use for the owners.  BTW,  same goes for labor.  Apple and others have to offer a wage and benefits sufficient for janitors, etc., to be willing to put up with commute, etc., to work there. That's why so many businesses support illegal aliens coming in as they can take advantage of them to work at lower wage.  If the supply of illegal labor wasn't there, wages would have to rise to get people to take certain jobs. Partially addressing your concern over low wages; although it is unrealistic to expect free market would value janitorial work, your example, at a wage rate sufficient to afford multi-million dollar home near Apple Park. 
    You seem to be arguing both directions regarding the free market. The janitor has to be able to live somewhere and get to work. Nobody is saying that he should live in a mansion. But using zoning to keep housing costs artificially high, relying on immigrants living in unsustainable conditions or relying on government benefits to make it possible for the janitor to survive on sub-par wages are all market distortions. A town like Cupertino is going to have to allow greater residential density to accommodate the market, or they’ll have perpetual problems. 
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 16 of 32
    AppleZulu said:
    Notsofast said:
    AppleZulu said:
    Just about every community across the country needs to sort out having an appropriate supply of housing. Along with the gated digs for the company executives, there are the engineers, middle management and cleaning staff who all need places to live. For some reason, there is an innate tendency in to want housing for “those people” (generally meaning anyone who is ethnically, culturally, or economically different) to not be anywhere nearby, because it will hurt property values and be “dangerous,” etc. The truth is, if everyone down to the toilet bowl scrubber is paid enough to afford decent market rate housing, and there is enough supply of decent housing so that the market rate is not hideously distorted, you actually get stability and safety. Danger and instability come mainly when basic living arrangements are scarce and unaffordable, forcing large numbers of people to struggle just to survive. For a town like Cupertino, the benefits of having a hugely profitable company headquartered there come with the responsibilities of being a city that can accommodate all the people that come with those headquarters. Trying to preserve some (mostly imagined) idyllic past when it was a smaller place with fewer people is just a recipe for strife and disaster.
    Sorry, market forces are the only thing that has been shown to work.  That's what the anti-housing advocates are trying to disrupt, i.e., they are trying to keep the supply artificially low to keep their prices up.  The value of the mall is best determined by the market.  Clearly, the market has shown that a mall is not the highest and best use of it. It sounds like free market demand would dictate that housing is the best use for the owners.  BTW,  same goes for labor.  Apple and others have to offer a wage and benefits sufficient for janitors, etc., to be willing to put up with commute, etc., to work there. That's why so many businesses support illegal aliens coming in as they can take advantage of them to work at lower wage.  If the supply of illegal labor wasn't there, wages would have to rise to get people to take certain jobs. Partially addressing your concern over low wages; although it is unrealistic to expect free market would value janitorial work, your example, at a wage rate sufficient to afford multi-million dollar home near Apple Park. 
    You seem to be arguing both directions regarding the free market. The janitor has to be able to live somewhere and get to work. Nobody is saying that he should live in a mansion. But using zoning to keep housing costs artificially high, relying on immigrants living in unsustainable conditions or relying on government benefits to make it possible for the janitor to survive on sub-par wages are all market distortions. A town like Cupertino is going to have to allow greater residential density to accommodate the market, or they’ll have perpetual problems. 
    No , I am arguing free market is only thing that works.  Reasonable zoning restrictions don't include trying to restrict supply of housing to keep prices artificially high for current homeowners.  That said, housing prices are never going to level that anyone who wants to live near Apple Park will be able to.  No one has "right" to live in Simi Valley or any other place; thus, Janitorial staff and most others will have to commute from farther away if they want to work at Apple Park.  Apple will have to pay a wage and benefit sufficient to attract employees to put up with commute.  That's how it's supposed to work.  Illegal alien labor distorts that free market and allows employers to pay lower wages as folks who enter illegally often are willing to take the lower wage job.  
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 17 of 32
    AppleZulu said:
    Notsofast said:
    AppleZulu said:
    Just about every community across the country needs to sort out having an appropriate supply of housing. Along with the gated digs for the company executives, there are the engineers, middle management and cleaning staff who all need places to live. For some reason, there is an innate tendency in to want housing for “those people” (generally meaning anyone who is ethnically, culturally, or economically different) to not be anywhere nearby, because it will hurt property values and be “dangerous,” etc. The truth is, if everyone down to the toilet bowl scrubber is paid enough to afford decent market rate housing, and there is enough supply of decent housing so that the market rate is not hideously distorted, you actually get stability and safety. Danger and instability come mainly when basic living arrangements are scarce and unaffordable, forcing large numbers of people to struggle just to survive. For a town like Cupertino, the benefits of having a hugely profitable company headquartered there come with the responsibilities of being a city that can accommodate all the people that come with those headquarters. Trying to preserve some (mostly imagined) idyllic past when it was a smaller place with fewer people is just a recipe for strife and disaster.
    Sorry, market forces are the only thing that has been shown to work.  That's what the anti-housing advocates are trying to disrupt, i.e., they are trying to keep the supply artificially low to keep their prices up.  The value of the mall is best determined by the market.  Clearly, the market has shown that a mall is not the highest and best use of it. It sounds like free market demand would dictate that housing is the best use for the owners.  BTW,  same goes for labor.  Apple and others have to offer a wage and benefits sufficient for janitors, etc., to be willing to put up with commute, etc., to work there. That's why so many businesses support illegal aliens coming in as they can take advantage of them to work at lower wage.  If the supply of illegal labor wasn't there, wages would have to rise to get people to take certain jobs. Partially addressing your concern over low wages; although it is unrealistic to expect free market would value janitorial work, your example, at a wage rate sufficient to afford multi-million dollar home near Apple Park. 
    You seem to be arguing both directions regarding the free market. The janitor has to be able to live somewhere and get to work. Nobody is saying that he should live in a mansion. But using zoning to keep housing costs artificially high, relying on immigrants living in unsustainable conditions or relying on government benefits to make it possible for the janitor to survive on sub-par wages are all market distortions. A town like Cupertino is going to have to allow greater residential density to accommodate the market, or they’ll have perpetual problems. 

    Notsofast said:
    AppleZulu said:
    Notsofast said:
    AppleZulu said:
    Just about every community across the country needs to sort out having an appropriate supply of housing. Along with the gated digs for the company executives, there are the engineers, middle management and cleaning staff who all need places to live. For some reason, there is an innate tendency in to want housing for “those people” (generally meaning anyone who is ethnically, culturally, or economically different) to not be anywhere nearby, because it will hurt property values and be “dangerous,” etc. The truth is, if everyone down to the toilet bowl scrubber is paid enough to afford decent market rate housing, and there is enough supply of decent housing so that the market rate is not hideously distorted, you actually get stability and safety. Danger and instability come mainly when basic living arrangements are scarce and unaffordable, forcing large numbers of people to struggle just to survive. For a town like Cupertino, the benefits of having a hugely profitable company headquartered there come with the responsibilities of being a city that can accommodate all the people that come with those headquarters. Trying to preserve some (mostly imagined) idyllic past when it was a smaller place with fewer people is just a recipe for strife and disaster.
    Sorry, market forces are the only thing that has been shown to work.  That's what the anti-housing advocates are trying to disrupt, i.e., they are trying to keep the supply artificially low to keep their prices up.  The value of the mall is best determined by the market.  Clearly, the market has shown that a mall is not the highest and best use of it. It sounds like free market demand would dictate that housing is the best use for the owners.  BTW,  same goes for labor.  Apple and others have to offer a wage and benefits sufficient for janitors, etc., to be willing to put up with commute, etc., to work there. That's why so many businesses support illegal aliens coming in as they can take advantage of them to work at lower wage.  If the supply of illegal labor wasn't there, wages would have to rise to get people to take certain jobs. Partially addressing your concern over low wages; although it is unrealistic to expect free market would value janitorial work, your example, at a wage rate sufficient to afford multi-million dollar home near Apple Park. 
    You seem to be arguing both directions regarding the free market. The janitor has to be able to live somewhere and get to work. Nobody is saying that he should live in a mansion. But using zoning to keep housing costs artificially high, relying on immigrants living in unsustainable conditions or relying on government benefits to make it possible for the janitor to survive on sub-par wages are all market distortions. A town like Cupertino is going to have to allow greater residential density to accommodate the market, or they’ll have perpetual problems. 
    No , I am arguing free market is only thing that works.  Reasonable zoning restrictions don't include trying to restrict supply of housing to keep prices artificially high for current homeowners.  That said, housing prices are never going to level that anyone who wants to live near Apple Park will be able to.  No one has "right" to live in Simi Valley or any other place; thus, Janitorial staff and most others will have to commute from farther away if they want to work at Apple Park.  Apple will have to pay a wage and benefit sufficient to attract employees to put up with commute.  That's how it's supposed to work.  Illegal alien labor distorts that free market and allows employers to pay lower wages as folks who enter illegally often are willing to take the lower wage job.  
    Both of these are accurate comments. Subsidies in the form of public housing, publicly funded transportation, and so on are absorbed by taxpayers and these things are (rightfully) exploited by businesses BECAUSE they exist and they contribute to wage suppression (in other words, the full financial burden associated with the hiring of low-cost/low-skill labor is hidden). These subsidies are unethical and can only contribute to the corruption of markets. I'm not a fan of using taxpayer money to give out fake "freebies".
    edited January 2018 designr
  • Reply 18 of 32

    I'm inclined to think, people being people, that inertia will keep that area commercial, unless some outside force acts upon the city to change it.

    The "peepul" don't want their existing homes devalued, which is completely understandable, especially if they're upside down on their mortgages, and the city doesn't want to sacrifice the higher tax revenue that commercial zoning gives them.  Of course, the fact that they aren't getting that revenue now only means they need to attract a higher class of business, undoubtedly with tax incentives that erode the difference anyway.

    I guarantee you that no owner of a multi-million dollar home in that area is upside down on their mortgage.  Housing values there have completely recovered from the housing crisis nearly a decade ago.
  • Reply 19 of 32
    By the way the headline and phrasing of this article are a bit misleading.  One could infer that Apple is encouraging its employees to weigh in politically, whereas all that happened is that one side of the debate (the developer) reached out to Apple employees (and no doubt anyone else they thought would help them) encouraging them to support their position.

    The story is interesting, but the focus in the headline about this minor lobbying part is odd.
    edited January 2018 SpamSandwich
  • Reply 20 of 32
    Other than zoning, how is this anybody's business other than the property owner's?

    I am not a Conservative, but this kind of thing is what drives people crazy and is more harmful than helpful.
    Welcome to the Bay Area haha.

    In SF, anytime somebody wants to remodel their house they have to send schematics to all of their neighbors in a ~3 block radius. 
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