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Jan 29 Priority-Setting Session

From: domainremoved <Rachel>
Date: Mon, 29 Jan 2018 01:02:58 -0500

Dear Mayor Ohtaki and Councilmembers,

I understand that on January 29, you will be discussing the Council’s
workplan for the year. Unfortunately I won’t be there because it is taking
place during work hours. I’d like to add some thoughts by email.

The Council understandably must take into consideration the fact that many
of its work areas are ongoing, and there are limitations on how much staff
can do. However, I’ve seen and heard very little with regard to the city’s
affordable housing shortage.

Like transportation, housing is an issue that affects all cities in the Bay
Area. It’s a question of equity that has not been sufficiently addressed in
most cities, including Menlo Park. I read the results of the recent Godbe
city survey; people are concerned about housing, as well as other related
issues. There has been a lot of talk about the library (or libraries); I’ve
attended the meetings at our downtown library. While opinions differ on
whether we need a new library and what should go into and around this new
library, one thing is clear: this is public land. The architects at these
meetings proposed library options with 30-40 units of affordable housing-
that’s huge!

A library might not be the first place you think of when you think about
affordable housing, but that’s just the point- we can’t afford to wait and
we have to be creative. Every day people leave this city because they can’t
afford to live here. Every day people struggle to get out of their
neighborhoods because of the traffic. Let’s find more opportunities,
library or no library, to build near public transit, and to build quality
housing as quickly as possible.

As a renter, I am particularly concerned with making sure our city does
everything it can to prevent stark economic disparities--something it has
little control over-- from eroding the fabric of our communities. It can do
that by making housing a priority.

In closing, I support the argument of the Housing Leadership Council of San
Mateo County and others that the maximum number of housing units should be
increased in the Downtown Specific Plan. There are so many people who have
planning expertise and a strong interest in making Menlo Park into a model
city for walkability, environmental stewardship, and equity- so let’s
listen to them and make these priorities the Council’s priorities this
year.

In gratitude for your public service,

Rachel Horst
Received on Sun Jan 28 2018 - 22:06:30 PST

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