Cupertino Mayor Darcy Paul
February 6, 2018

SF Chronicle: Mayor of Cupertino, home of Apple, says housing situation ‘not dire,’ critics disagree


San Francisco Chronicle writer Michelle Robertson recently quoted SV@Home Executive Director Leslye Corsiglia in an article in which Cupertino Mayor Darcy Paul said the housing shortage in his city was “not dire.”

Corsiglia respectfully disagreed.

See the original story at SFGate.

Mayor of Cupertino, home of Apple, says housing situation ‘not dire,’ critics disagree

A Silicon Valley mayor said the housing situation in his city is “not dire,” but local housing activists disagree.

In his State of the City address last week Cupertino Mayor Darcy Paul acknowledged his city, home to the sprawling Apple Inc. headquarters, “should be focused a bit more on housing at this point” but “the circumstances are not dire.” (You can watch the entire address here. Paul addresses housing around the 20-minute mark.)

“We have good options,” he continued. “But certainly the time to act would be at this point.”

Leslye Corsiglia, executive director of housing rights organization Silicon Valley at Home, said Paul’s statement is “out of sync with leaders from throughout the Bay Area — really from throughout the entire state — who acknowledge the depth of the housing crisis and its impact on our residents.”

Corsiglia cited plans in neighboring cities, including Palo Alto and Mountain View, to increase housing, with an emphasis on affordability.

“It is especially puzzling given reports released this week, one of which projects that the San Jose metro area — which includes Cupertino — will lead the nation in housing price increases,” Corsiglia said. The median home price in Cupertino is $2.2 million, an approximate 21-percent increase from the prior year, according to Zillow.

In a Reddit thread responding to a Mercury News report on the State of the City address, commenters characterized Paul’s comments as “NIMBYism” and a “let them eat cake” mentality.

One commenter said, “I dream of the day in which not a single one of the [anti-housing activists] has any power or influence over the Cupertino City Council.”

Paul, who was sworn into office in December, cited his city’s ideal jobs-to-housing ratio, a metric compiled by the Association of Bay Area Governments that helps local officials determine a responsible allocation of housing over eight-year periods of time.

At 1.29 jobs for every unit of housing in 2010, the last year of available census data, Cupertino has a good mix of office space in relation to living space, Paul said. A ratio of 1.5 to 1 or less is ideal.

Apple recently opened a new campus that can host 12,000 employees and 11,000 vehicles, and 2010 census data may not accurately reflect the need for housing, Corsiglia added. Case in point: projections predict the city’s jobs-to-housing ratio will hit 1.66 by 2040.

“Cupertino has historically underperformed on addressing its housing needs, and produced less than 25% of its need for affordable housing in recent years,” Corsiglia said. “If this is not a concern now, I don’t know when it will become one.”

Though on track to meet current market-rate housing, a state housing department report found Cupertino falls short in affordable housing development. This trend is present nearly every Bay Area municipality.

Paul could not immediately be reached for comment.

The mayor’s comments come in light of recent squabbling surrounding Cupertino’s Vallco Mall, a nearly empty shopping center built in the 1970s. City officials, residents and developers met Monday night for the first of a series of meetings to discuss the future development of the rundown mall whose millions of square feet could host additional housing, retail and office space.

Voters shot down a 2016 ballot measure that would have enabled the mall’s conversion and also rejected a competing measure.

“The sad reality is that the community is really divided,” Dan Parolek of Berkeley urban design firm Opticos told Curbed SF. “And it’s a pretty uncivil dialogue that’s built up.”