August 28, 2020

Commercial Linkage Fee in San Jose: Critical Talking Points


Check back on September 1st for updates!

The Commercial Linkage Fee is essential to the future of Affordable Housing in San Jose. The current proposals from city staff and some on council fall short. The Mayor and City Council need to hear from all of us that new jobs are going to need new affordable homes, and we need to be ready for the recovery. 

Public testimony will likely be limited to one minute. (Directions for how to listen and speak are below.) Your personal story about the housing crisis is the most important thing to share, but we also need to make points that promote the best possible policy on Tuesday.

These are some sample talking points you might use in your testimony at the San Jose City Council Meeting on September 1st:

Mayor Liccardo and the City Council, my name is _______.

I am here to support the highest feasible fees.  These fees may be different for different types of development in different parts of the city, but they must be put in place now, and be prepared to increase.  We must be thinking about the future.

  • We faced an affordable housing emergency before the current public health pandemic and
    subsequent economic recession, and the need for more affordable housing will increase as the City
    moves to recover.
  • While the pandemic and the resulting economic recession has been challenging for everyone, it has
    been particularly difficult for the most vulnerable in our community, shining a bright light on the
    connection between adequate, safe, affordable housing, and community health.
  • A Commercial Linkage Fee is a standard tool used by cities – including Palo Alto, Mountain View,
    Santa Clara, Cupertino, Sunnyvale and Milpitas – to mitigate the increased need for additional
    housing as a result of new commercial development. It’s time the City of San Jose acts and adopts a
    fee too.
  • A robust Commercial Linkage Fee will help raise $50 to $70 million a year for critically needed
    affordable housing available to low- to middle-income households. We can’t let this opportunity
    pass us by.
  • More than 45 million square feet of new commercial development is in San Jose’s pipeline, which
    could create as many as 130,000-150,000 new jobs, many of which will not pay wages high enough
    to afford area market rents let alone have enough to cover other basic necessities like food, utilities,
    health care, child care, transportation, and more.
  • We absolutely need jobs as we move to recovery and get San Joseans back to work in a safe and
    healthy manner. But the challenge new commercial development poses to the city is that majority
    of new jobs created will be filled by San Jose residents who are already rent-burdened, living in
    overcrowded homes, or enduring long commutes. Additional funding sources are needed to address
    the housing demand created by new jobs.
  • Minimum wage workers – including restaurant, janitorial, housekeeping, retail, and child care
    workers – are struggling to live in this high cost area, with more than 50% paying more than ½ their
    monthly income on rent. This is why it is critical that San Jose City Council adopts the Fee.
  • San Jose added nearly 100,000 jobs in the past ten years but only built 22,000 new homes. The
    result? A 136% increase in the cost of buying a new home and a 62% increase in rents – from $1,690
    to $2,738. This has led to an exodus of San Jose families as they are pushed out of the city.
  • Over the past five years, elementary school student enrollment declined by 10% as more and more
    San Jose families are priced out and leave the city.
  • Latino households are more likely to live in overcrowded homes than their white counterparts.
    Adopting the Fee is a matter of addressing the racial inequities, and ensuring all San Joseans have a
    place to call home.[spacer height=”20px”]

Directions on how to listen and speak:

See suggested talking points here. The Commercial Linkage Fee topic will be at the end of the agenda, and will not be heard before 6:00. Use this Zoom link, or call in – (888) 475 4499. Webinar ID is 913 2537 8626. Press *9 to raise a hand to speak.