Alexander Kent: Ignorance in Action

I received an email today from Kent’s campaign which was highly provocative…and filled with errors.

Not to mention it espouses values that fly in the face of what makes the San Carlos community so strong and vibrant and makes San Carlos such a great place to live.

Kent’s argument is that the Council, and all the candidates running for a seat on the Council except him, have sold out to developers and Sacramento as regards housing. Based on my knowledge of and experience with the candidates and Council members this is completely false.

Kent attempts to bolster his argument by saying the state-imposed housing mandates aren’t really mandates. They can, according to him, be ignored.

He might take that up with the cities in California which the state has begun suing for failing to comply with state housing mandates. I’m sure they’d be happy to know they face no risks, despite having been hauled into court.

Kent’s anti-housing agenda, whatever else he believes it may accomplish, will hurt a lot of San Carlans. Specifically, those parents who hope there is a way for their kids to share in the San Carlos dream by living here as adults. Because by rejecting the need for more housing — more housing that you don’t have to be the next senior director at Google to be able to afford — Kent will blow up that dream.

On a deeper level, though, Kent is carefully ignoring the elephant in the room. An elephant which I am confident many San Carlans would be uncomfortable associating with.

San Carlos could not function as a community without commercial development. Ever wonder how we pay for our parks & rec programs, our senior citizen support programs, not to mention our fire and police services? It isn’t through property taxes alone, folks! First off, the City of San Carlos only gets around 10 – 14% of your property tax dollar. The rest goes to schools, the county, and various other public agencies.

More importantly, property taxes rise very, very slowly, even in a hot real estate market. Because few houses change hands every year. There are 12,000 households in San Carlos, the vast majority living in single family homes. The assessed value of the houses that don’t sell can, by law, only increase by 2% annually. That’s far below the level of inflation. Even before inflation jumped up in the last couple of years.

Bottom-line, our community absolutely depends on commercial activity. Which means commercial development.

Fortunately, we are an attractive location for many commercial developers. The over 2.5 million square feet of commercial real estate that is or is about to be built in San Carlos will bring in a lot of money, money we will need to keep our public services funded.

It will also bring in thousands of new employees. Who will also help us by spending money in our local businesses…but who will be denied the opportunity to live in San Carlos if enough new housing isn’t built.

That would significantly worsen highway traffic, lengthening the commute of everyone not fortunate enough to work in San Carlos. Which is why the state has housing mandates in the first place: they don’t want individual communities approving more commercial construction — which pays for public services — without also offering more housing so that state highways don’t get totally clogged up with commuters. Whose commutes, by the way, also significantly worsen greenhouse gas emissions, “helping” cook the planet.

But that’s not the worst thing from a community values perspective.

Without more housing, San Carlos will be telling the people who will be playing a huge part in funding our community “Thanks for working here, but you’re not welcome to stay. Make sure you’re out of town by sundown”.

Does that sound like the San Carlos you know and love? Does it sound like the San Carlos you want your children to live in?

Probably not. Hopefully not.

In which case, absolutely do not vote for Alex Kent for City Council. Because that’s the San Carlos he’s promising to deliver. A closed, inward facing community that doesn’t care for anyone not fortunate enough to already live here.

2 thoughts on “Alexander Kent: Ignorance in Action”

  1. LOL! As a general rule that’s impossible to avoid unless one is always willing to write tomes about issues.

    So, what things do you believe I oversimplified? I’m curious.

    p.s. — I enjoyed your tagline…but one of the first lessons I learned in politics many years ago is that one cannot always use “splitting the difference” as a way of making political decisions. Why? Because as soon as, say, I recognize my colleagues always “split the difference” I’ll just go more extreme in what I say I want, let them split the difference with me…and end up much, much closer to where I really wanted to be all along.

    Which is an illustration of a good rule of politics: no approach works in all situations and circumstances :).

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