Letter to the Editor: A Word to YIMBY’s About the Suburbs and Those That Live Here

South San Francisco, CA   April 27, 2019 by Corey David, SSF Resident

Dear Editor and neighbors,

It has been brought to my attention that there has been dismay expressed in both ESC and Nextdoor that those of us demanding responsible development in South San Francisco are hostile old folks or NIMBYS as some like to label us.


This couldn’t be further from the truth. If it has escaped the naysayers attention, hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars, of development have been constructed or are in the planning stages in SSF. This city can’t be expected to solve the housing problems for the entire Bay Area. No one is saying no to new development but it needs to be responsible.


When a developer rolls out fifteen story high rise plans you bet there is going to be resistance. While we are totally sympathetic with those in need of housing, residents of this city chose to live in the suburbs, not a high-rise, high-density city. We made a deliberate decision to do so.


Let me offer you an analogy. It’s like signing the paperwork for a $300,000 Ferrari and you go outside and find out the salesman handed you the keys to a Volkswagen. It’s not what residents bargained for.


If you want to focus your anger, go after the Salesforces, the Facebooks, the Googles, the Twitters, the Genentechs, etc., business entities that have expanded without regard to the fact that the San Francisco Bay Area is geographically finite and has limited infrastructure to accommodate the personnel that comes with this expansion. Know well, that should our economy go “south” as it appears that it currently is unsustainable, these same titans of industry will just as quickly abandon the Bay Area leaving behind ghettos or ghost towns.

So YIMBYS call us NIMBYS if you must, but set your sense of entitlement aside, entertain some objectivity, and try to see the problem from our point of view.

11 comments for “Letter to the Editor: A Word to YIMBY’s About the Suburbs and Those That Live Here

  1. Naria
    April 28, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    Well said!! Been in the same house since ’54, the weather has changed because of all the homes that went up in the 80’s up on Gellert and Callen and Skyline, now the DC fog rolls over the hill, we protested the growth back then and it stopped!! I wish for the sake of our town, the YIMBYs never landed here, They have ruined our city and all the building, traffic is horrible. They closed 4 of our schools down to only refurbish Buri Buri, which looks horrible, instead of opening the other schools back up, Closed Serramonte HS down, to only bring in ppl from DC and beyond to our two HS, overcrowding. They need to stop STOP building in the city of SSF and take it somewhere else. Let those ppl commute out of the area to their jobs, instead of ruining our city with all the traffic. So many of our long time businesses have had to close or move to build more condo’s or apartments. We don’t want it anymore. The ppl on the board aren’t even native to California, and they come over here to make change, we don’t want it or need it. The ppl in our neighborhood, are disrespectful now, trash our neighborhoods, and the landlords let them, they just want the outrageous rent they charge and don’t care who or what is moving in. It was wonderful here before, now just disrespectful ppl running around. Have gone to several of the meetings in regards to the building, and they don’t even hear those of us that have been in this city for decades. Wish they would get it that they are ruining our city!!!

    • Judy Franzoni-Lau
      April 30, 2019 at 8:05 pm

      AGREED!….The FENCED areas ALL AROUND SSF…….Grand/Mission – old gas station….STILL FENCED – WEEDS etc…. (Going 6-8 years! SPRUCE/EL CAMINO REAL across from SEES’ – FENCED….REALLY!!!!! (Going on 3-4 years???) Arby’s – one of the NEWEST FENCED off area!!!!! COME ON PEOPLE ……where’s the SSF PRIDE that was ONCE in this small quaint city????
      MY HOME TOWN……makes me so sad!!!!

  2. Cheryl Peruchetti
    April 28, 2019 at 8:39 pm

    Fantastic article Cory David. Thank you for posting.

  3. Bono
    April 29, 2019 at 1:32 am

    Excellent letter and early responses. It speaks volumes of how SSF property owners feel. It’s very unfortunate how the City Council seems to pay no attention to these constituents. I don’t see enormous housing projects being erected in the middle of say, Hillsborough, Atherton, Woodside, Portola Valley or Emerald Hills. Why not?

    What happened to the push in recent years for us to reduce our use of natural resources? Now we’re placing even more of a strain on natural resources and infrastructure by cramming in more and more people. Our sewer rates skyrocketed and I’m sure we can expect property taxes to do the same as the need for more police, fire, and city services grow with these multi-housing developments. How’s that for affordability? At the same time I expect the quality of these services to decline from being stretched so thin. And now I segue;

    Ever notice the general lack of upkeep and eye appeal in SSF in recent years? It no longer has that “inviting” feel. Just look at the old, faded, painted street markings and signage around the City that aren’t kept up. The painted street markings around town are so worn and faded they’re barely visible in some places which makes the City look unkempt. Most nothing is kept painted and bright anymore. Note the over growth of weeds along center islands and sidewalks. It’s disgraceful. The center island along El Camino is beyond ugly, but drive south and as soon as you enter San Bruno and continue down the Peninsula notice the difference in overall upkeep and maintenence of the vegetation in the center islands the further South you go. What do WE have along the middle of ECR? Bent and discolored metal fence posts, remnants of long removed signal or sign posts in broken concrete and hard, dry, dirt with a blend of some shrubs and weeds if we’re lucky.

    It seems apparent that the priorities of the Council continue to be very misplaced. We all know the issues and discussions around the vacant property at ECR & Spruce which we’ve been tolerating for years, but have you seen the eye sore property that was once known as Arby’s Roast Beef? Ever notice the constant accumulation of litter throughout the ECR Walgreens parking lot? I’ve pointed it out to management and advised the City, but it continues. I’ve seen residential properties on main, heavily traveled roadways with nothing but tall weeds for front yards. Why do our elected officials permit this to blight to exist?

    Honestly, I appreciate that our elected Council members and City Manager have a tough, tiresome job and devote endless hours to the responsibility as they try to juggle so many issues. But too often it seems that these officials lose focus on what’s most important to the everyday residents. We want a safe, clean, maintained, relaxed community that’s inviting to come home to. Basic quality of life things for which we shouldn’t have to keep asking. I’m so tired of being asked by friends and family, “How can you stand still living in SSF?” and I’m tired of trying to come up with true justifications that are only fooling myself.

    • Judy Franzoni-Lau
      April 30, 2019 at 8:09 pm

      Nicely said Bono!

  4. Tony Verreos
    April 30, 2019 at 9:31 pm

    Mr. David is missing a few important points;
    1> YIMBY’s don’t care what you think or feel, don’t fool yourself. They are totally self centered brats doing the bidding of the
    2> Most people in SSF who are not multi millionaires with high paychecks and stock options wouldn’t think of paying $300K
    for any car, and would not be too snobby to drive a VW. I’m not sure what you meant by that analogy.
    3> Change is said to be the only thing we can depend on. CA’s so called progressive legislators have deemed it their right to
    tell all small cities to grow, and how to grow. Where’s the push back against that high powered abuse?
    4> SSF was one of the first smaller cities to realize the financial benefits of building commercial properties that generate big
    income for the City. They went wild with it, thereby, generating money to pay for public services people wanted. Of course
    all of those employees needed to live somewhere, and they either couldn’t afford SSF, or preferred to live elsewhere, so we
    get the greatly increased commuter traffic. There is a price or cost for everything – no free lunch.
    5> SSF later addressed some of it’s ABAG association of Bay Area Governments, RHNA regional housing number allocation
    generated and assigned new housing construction needs by approving building on San Bruno Mountain. Most of that was
    never “affordable housing.” Later they approved a high rise condo that sticks out like a sore thumb – how could they? Well
    this is a trend. Next came the ugly for their location high rise glass office buildings on Bayshore. No problem if you live on
    the other side of town I guess.
    6> Now comes the latest phase of “high density housing” inspired by a corporate greed generated housing shortage, and
    fanned by the twin blowhards of developers and politicians who pander to them for campaign donations. Unions always
    support construction at any cost, but that is to be expected – it’s how they eat.
    7> Resident may ask what is our city’s identity? You’d likely find it is very different things to different people. That’s why you
    now have such strong feelings pro grow and pro preservation of the older quieter suburban days.

    News flash – the old days are in the rear view mirror. Sometimes visions of a better or necessary change are later proven to
    be correct, and sometimes they are proven to be terrible mistakes. The only way we can tell for sure is looking backwards in
    time to compare. Whatever you care about, you need to fight for it, and not expect someone else to fight your battles for you!

    • Cory Alan David
      May 1, 2019 at 2:16 pm

      Mr. Verreos, I’m having difficulty figuring out whether we are fighting on the same team. I have lived here for sixty-one years, my family for seventy-three. I assure you I, among several other individuals, are in the thick of the battle and apparently fighting the fight for an unfortunately poorly informed or disinterested community. We know that the complaints will surface when the damage is done. I am also very cognizant of the fact that we can’t stop progress and if anyone surveys the changes that have already occurred in this city, the evidence is clear that we haven’t. What I refuse to accept is that the city of South San Francisco is expected to do more than its fair share to solve the housing shortage. Encouraging industry to expand here when personnel can’t be housed is a “fool’s errand.” Maybe it is time to tell these industry titans, thanks but no thanks. To those who didn’t attend the “2040 General Plan” kickoff, emphasis was placed on accommodating Genetech’s creation of 17,000 jobs and the fact that the impact fees generated by new industry protects the general fund from being utilized. What did not follow was that to achieve these ends, one would have to completely alter the character of our city and destroy our quality of life. I believe that is too high a price to pay. That also illustrates the meaning of my analogy, those who have chosen suburban life only to find high rise city life imposed on them, are not getting what they paid for. I have nothing against Volkswagens.

      Hope to meet you at a future meeting so we can compare notes. I’m easy to find.

      • Outsider
        May 5, 2019 at 1:51 am

        I say let Genentech move….

      • Kristina Anderson
        May 6, 2019 at 5:34 pm

        See u at the next meeting…so they can ignore us AGAIN!!!

  5. LG
    May 2, 2019 at 11:40 am

    Pockets of So. City are oblivious to the other side of town.
    It is the fault of geography. SSF has the largest land mass in the county of San Mateo.
    By luck or curse this is the reality. It is configured in such a way that some areas are
    protected from the crazy building going on around town near ‘transit corridors’.

    The charm of SSF is being destroyed by reckless development. SUB-URBAN will no longer apply. The proliferation of Airbnbs will be your new neighborhood. Mixed used will mean zoning is gone. You’ll have a skyscraper in the middle of your once tree lined street.

    Back in the 20th century zoning replaced court disputes between neighbors protesting highrises taking away their sunlight. Today’s new zoning aims to go backward to those times.

    I’ll sell you my house for 1.5M. All cash deal, I’ll get offers and new neighbors will be arriving soon as the plane lands at SFO, takes an Uber to another Airbnb. What a sad day

    It isn’t right.

    • Kris Anderson
      May 6, 2019 at 5:36 pm


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