Letter to Editor: Response to March 10th City Council Meeting Regarding Housing by Phil Fioresi Sr.

South San Francisco, CA  March 11, 2021 by Phil Fioresi Sr.

My letter to the city council after last night’s meeting

 

Council members,

 

I had a chance to listen to some of last night’s meeting and to be honest, it opened my eyes on a few things. I had no time to prepare something as I had family issues this past week and didn’t want to just go off the cuff for fear of disparaging someone.

 

First and foremost, I will be changing my party affiliation today, I no longer consider myself a Democrat. After listening to the “young Democrats” I realize they do not represent the middle class, AT ALL. It is disheartening as I have been a lifelong Dem, grew up in a union household.

 

Clearly, these “democrats” are the I, I, I, me, me, me generation totally feeling entitled, and I, one of the middle class, owes them something. I get up every morning, put my work boots on and go bust my butt, maybe not like I used to but the few of you who know me and what I do know my job is no picnic.

 

I like my neighborhood and couldn’t imagine having a 4 to 6-unit building built next to my home. Not only the shadow it would cast but the street could not accommodate 6 to 10 maybe 12 more cars. Here’s a question: if there was a 6-unit apartment built on both sides of your parents’ house, how would they like that?

 

A little note, we had a person buy a house on our court, he rented rooms and had an-inlaw. There were 3 single people and one family living in the house, it destroyed our neighborhood as far as parking. He was so hated by all of us he decided to Air BnB it for a while. That was a bit better and now he and his wife live there and everyone is happy and get along well.

 

I also think the idea is very short-sided. All these young adults thinking about themselves are not planning on having families? They are going to be raising a family in a 1 or 2-bedroom cracker box built on a lot designed for a single home? Or, are these things going to be temporary places to live so current residents will have no long-time neighbors they like and trust?

 

I would also like to thank Mayor Addiego and Councilmember Nicolas for sticking up for us longtime residents and middle-class families. You two have the utmost respect from my family including my children, I have raised them to work hard and earn what they have, unlike some of the ones that commented last night.

 

Phil Fioresi Sr.

 

###

COMMENTS

Phil, you just described my immediate neighborhood right down to the “boarding house,” parking issues and Air BnB. Was a mess for several years and now miraculously it has resolved. Perhaps only temporarily. Let’s enjoy our “new world” until another movement dedicated to self-service changes it again. – Cory David

 

COMMENT

liberalism is a terminal disease, look at
all the cities on the west coast, the only
cure is a fatal dose of reality, in our case, getting involved in the democratic
process, and vote out the progressive
virus, REMEMBER you get what you voted for – Mel Perry

 

COMMENT

Consider running your poorly-articulated thoughts through a spellchecker. (: – Anna

 

COMMENT:

I totally agree with Mr. Fioresi on his remarks. I am also a person (immigrant) who has work hard my entire life and has never taken anything for granted or taken advantage of the system to provide anything to me or my family. I used to live in a couple of high density cities in the peninsula and just wasn’t safe and enjoyable for my family. Stay safe everyone! –Gloria Araquistain

 

COMMENT

Phil,
Why did you have to make it political.
Has nothing to do with republicans or democratic.
It’s all about the money. – Bill Rosenberger

 

COMMENT

Thanks, Phil. Very well reasoned opinion on the housing issues here in SSF. I mostly agree with you but did some research and found out the issue is bigger than SSF (it’s a statewide mandate out of Sacramento). While I agree this entitlement class of young Dem-Socialists are making noise and pushing unsound policy on our community at any cost necessary they are also very well organized. Now, the statewide mandate is not going away (unless SSF files and wins a lawsuit. Not likely) so we have to do something as a community to solve this problem before the state AG finds SSF in non-compliance (I think that triggers in 2031). It would be better if level-headed members of the community (that actually live here) come together in a working group and resolve in a way that works for all parties (homeowners and renters alike).

– Jason

 

Comment:
Jason, to date, several bills forcing these zoning modifications have been on the table and when “push comes to shove” the legislators have balked and run for the cover of the shadows. Maybe they see their involvement as an “express ticket” out of office. Maybe you are correct that the threat to our R1 zoned neighborhoods will not go away or maybe you are not. Still, I agree that being prepared for the outside mercenaries that plan to “use” South San Francisco to singularly solve the housing crisis, while protecting the cities they live in, is always a good idea. Instead of leading, for once, let South City be a follower and let communities like Hillsborough, Atherton, Woodside, and Portola Valley show us how they incorporate multi-unit, higher density housing into their R1 zoned neighborhoods. Barring that, the mercenaries need be aware that South San Francisco is no longer “The Armpit of the Peninsula” and they can force feed their business elsewhere.

– Cory Alan David

 

Comment:
We agree with this fellow South City resident who does not wish for zoning changes which would allow for multi-family dwellings to mix with our very small home and lots. Chuck and I have lived in this single family house since 1987 on the edge of Sign Hill, and seen enough changes so that parking is already an issue and if these changes were allowed, it would deteriorate even further. At one point, we all need to question how many new residents can we pack into the small area we call home, as with these high-rises on Chestnut and Airport Way and others, coming in with little or no changes to infrastructure, everyone will face long lines not only to get through stop lights and stop signs, but to accomplish every single daily task, like trips to the store or the post office. What kind of city do we want to live in? This is what our esteemed city council must ask, and look soberly at the fact that the planet itself is exceeding it’s carrying capacity, and we need to somehow put the brakes-on, if we wish for a bright and hopeful future. Many thanks to our heroes Addiego and Nicolas.

– Loretta Brooks

 

Comment:
To Phil Fioresi Sr:
“Clearly, these ‘democrats’ are the I, I, I, me, me, me generation totally feeling entitled, and I, one of the middle class, owes them something.”

Also Phil Fioresi Sr.:
“I like my neighborhood and couldn’t imagine having a 4 to 6-unit building built next to my home. Not only the shadow it would cast but the street could not accommodate 6 to 10 maybe 12 more cars.”

So the person who is simply asking to be allowed a place to live is somehow more entitled than the person who already has a place to live but is concerned that it might be harder to park or that they might have to deal with some shadows?

Meanwhile, the generation that is complaining about the “entitlement” of the younger generation was able to buy homes at a time where California was building considerably more housing of all types and homes prices were much lower in proportion to income. Not to mention that Prop 13 enabled many in that older generation to avoid paying their fair share of taxes on their properties’ increased value.

The hypocrisy is mind-boggling

– Ezra

 

COMMENT:

Clearly Erza has no clue how prop 13 works. As a 30+ year resident I now pay 12k a year in prop tax. Newsflash Prop 13 does not freeze your tax it only allows it to go up a certain amount every year. That being said yes I earned my what I have and a 6 unit building on small court would destroy my and my neighbors quality of life. If you actually live in SSF you would know that there are many vacancy’s and there will be many more coming. Have you even driven down Airport Blvd? How about the monstrosity being built where the car wash used to be? And then of course the 8 story monster that they promised would only be 5 stories on old mission. Plenty of places to live without re-zoning. Please get a clue.

– Phil Fioresi

 

COMMENT:

Ezra, I am curious as to why you remain unidentified so we can make sure you are not one of the many outside mercenaries looking to take advantage of SSF. They are in abundance. You will note, that most of the comments have been contributed by identified sources. If you are not a resident here, I would be curious as to whether or not you have been lobbying the elite cities in the county to provide you affordable housing.

You’d love Hillsborough. Would you like to clarify?

Now as far as your entitlement. I assure you none of us, even while decades removed from our home purchases, had it as easy as you hope would fit your narrative. In my case, a 17.5% 30 yr loan and more than half my household income dedicated to my mortgage. It was hard then and it is hard now. Kindly table your self-pity. Let me also point out the overwhelming fact that you and your compatriots have chosen to materially change the nature of the property I purchased because apparently you are under the impression I bought just a dwelling but you neglect to acknowledge that I bought the R1 zoned “dirt” it sits on. I also bought into a neighborhood sitting on R1 zoned dirt. It’s what many of us paid for and now you have taken the liberty to decide to negate our purchase criteria long after the fact as it suits your needs.

I wouldn’t buy a home next to an apartment building but you have appointed yourself to rescind my decision. What gives you the right? Let me call your attention to your most valued material possession, for argument let’s say a Fender Stratocaster guitar. I’m going to come to you, tell you to give it to me and I’m going to hand you a ukulele in its place. It’s not what you contracted for in your purchase but it has strings and makes sounds. I’m going to tell you to learn to live with it. I can hear the crying from here. We did the hard work and sacrifice in our time to get our homes, now it’s your turn to do the same.

-Cory Alan David

 

COMMENT:

I’m saddened to see persons such as Phil and their views that housing is “for me, not for thee.” Phil’s parents and their peers nobly fought Nazis and facists, while Phil and the rest of you like-minded commenters fight against your children and grand children trying to have a place to live.

If we don’t build more housing, where will your nurses and home aides live when you’re too old to care for yourselves anymore? California already has a shortage of senior housing and skilled nursing facilities. Do you not see that your anti-housing views are chasing away the very people who will be able to care for you when you can no longer support yourself? Many of your children have already moved away. Most of the young people graduating South City’s two high schools have to do so, too. What makes them unworthy of a good life on the Peninsula? And what makes you so much better than those who want the same opportunities — low cost housing, good jobs — that you had at their age?

I am a home owner. But I’m not afraid of enabling my friends, neighbors and their children to all have places to live in South City. Building and Housing don’t have to be dirty words. And shame on you for your exclusionary, selfish views. There’s more to life than have three vacant parking spots outside your house. And our kids, friends and neighbors that are renters deserve better.

– Matt

 

COMMENT:

Matt, how astute of you to acknowledge the “Greatest Generation” as you couldn’t be more spot on. My father risked his life with extremely poor odds of surviving and he and several other veterans settled in 1946 on one street in an early tract in SSF. The house remains in the family. I was raised in a household that valued diversity and everyone was welcome as they would be judged on character, nothing else. But it seems that those who feel so entitled would declare my Father a racist as he bought a home in what I now have come to learn, was an exclusionary neighborhood. Funny, he just thought he was buying a dwelling on a little piece of land to raise his family as well as a less hectic lifestyle than the one he left in SF. I guess in your entitlement, you would deem otherwise. At any time in his life, should you have implied that to his face, you would not like the consequences.

 

While I didn’t serve my country in the military, I made the financial sacrifice to maintain my accustomed lifestyle. Now in your generosity to your non-home owning neighbors you have delegated yourself to advocate to materially change the nature of my purchase because it makes you feel better. You think you speak for the community as a whole? You are mistaken. You fail to acknowledge the glut of existing vacant properties, with more on the books, because they are not affordable and yet in some delusional state you think that by opening up the R1 zoned neighborhoods to development that the developers or homeowners are going to be charitable by offering this housing for some unrealistic bargain price when they will be at the mercy of development costs. You are dreaming.

 

For arguments sake, as your compatriots seem price challenged, tell all of us just what purchase prices and rents you think will arise from this re-zoning? Then we will all know just what reality you live in. One of you needs to “number up” and stop avoiding this question. And, you can save your self-righteous assignment of blame in our exclusionary and selfish desire to retain what we contracted to purchase. You should be ashamed to volunteer other homeowners’ properties to achieve your ends.

-Cory Alan David

 

 

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Cory Alan David
Cory Alan David
6 months ago

Matt, how astute of you to acknowledge the “Greatest Generation” as you couldn’t be more spot on. My father risked his life with extremely poor odds of surviving and he and several other veterans settled in 1946 on one street in an early tract in SSF. The house remains in the family. I was raised in a household that valued diversity and everyone was welcome as they would be judged on character, nothing else. But it seems that those who feel so entitled would declare my Father a racist as he bought a home in what I now have come to learn, was an exclusionary neighborhood. Funny, he just thought he was buying a dwelling on a little piece of land to raise his family as well as a less hectic lifestyle than the one he left in SF. I guess in your entitlement, you would deem otherwise. At any time in his life, should you have implied that to his face, you would not like the consequences. While I didn’t serve my country in the military, I made the financial sacrifice to maintain my accustomed lifestyle. Now in your generosity to your non-home owning neighbors you have delegated yourself to advocate to materially change the nature of my purchase because it makes you feel better. You think you speak for the community as a whole? You are mistaken. You fail to acknowledge the glut of existing vacant properties, with more on the books, because they are not affordable and yet in some delusional state you think that by opening up the R1 zoned neighborhoods to development that the developers or homeowners are going to be charitable by offering this housing for some unrealistic bargain price when they will be at the mercy of development costs. You are dreaming. For arguments sake, as your compatriots seem price challenged, tell all of us just what purchase prices and rents you think will arise from this re-zoning? Then we will all know just what reality you live in. One of you needs to “number up” and stop avoiding this question. And, you can save your self-righteous assignment of blame in our exclusionary and selfish desire to retain what we contracted to purchase. You should be ashamed to volunteer other homeowners’ properties to achieve your ends.

Ezra
Ezra
6 months ago

David, I am not a resident of South San Francisco—in part because even with what would be considered a middle-income job, I couldn’t remotely afford it. But our housing problems are regional, created by many seemingly small decisions made by over 100 Bay Area jurisdictions over decades. And yes, I have pushed for other localities, especially wealthy and exclusive ones, to produce their fair share of housing and affordable housing.

In 1998, the cost of a typical home in South San Francisco was equivalent to roughly 48,700 times the California minimum wage at the time. As of today its equivalent to roughly 113,700 times the California’s current minimum wage–and this is despite the fact that California’s minimum wage has roughly doubled. So the idea that it was just as hard to afford a home 20-30 years ago as it is now is patently false—just saving up for a down payment is roughly twice as difficult.

Property is a bundle of rights (the right to certain uses, a right to exclude, etc). Those rights are not immutable and are governed by federal, state, and local law. The idea that buying a property means that a property owner’s individual preferences trump any other societal concern is not supported by property rights law or court decisions. The idea that zoning never changes is a fantasy—single family zoning was not a even thing for most of America’s existence. And if you think that preference of land’s “original” or “rightful” occupants is paramount above all other considerations, then would you support returning your home and the land it sits on to the descendants of Native Americans? If not, why?

These things are always a balancing act: for example, while I think allowing fourplexes in more areas is a great idea, I also support side and rear yard requirements in certain areas so that new homes don’t butt right up against another existing home–of course, in other contexts, something like row houses might be entirely appropriate. But just saying no to new housing, or insisting that any larger buildings are bad is at its heart selfish. At the very least, if cities are going to continue to allow more jobs to be created within their borders, they should likewise have to create additional housing.

philfioresi
6 months ago

Clearly Erza has no clue how prop 13 works. As a 30+ year resident I now pay 12k a year in prop tax. Newsflash Prop 13 does not freeze your tax it only allows it to go up a certain amount every year. That being said yes I earned my what I have and a 6 unit building on small court would destroy my and my neighbors quality of life. If you actually live in SSF you would know that there are many vacancy’s and there will be many more coming. Have you even driven down Airport Blvd? How about the monstrosity being built where the car wash used to be? And then of course the 8 story monster that they promised would only be 5 stories on old mission. Plenty of places to live without re-zoning. Please get a clue.

Matt
Matt
6 months ago

I’m saddened to see persons such as Phil and their views that housing is “for me, not for thee.” Phil’s parents and their peers nobly fought Nazis and facists, while Phil and the rest of you like-minded commenters fight against your children and grand children trying to have a place to live.

If we don’t build more housing, where will your nurses and home aides live when you’re too old to care for yourselves anymore? California already has a shortage of senior housing and skilled nursing facilities. Do you not see that your anti-housing views are chasing away the very people who will be able to care for you when you can no longer support yourself? Many of your children have already moved away. Most of the young people graduating South City’s two high schools have to do so, too. What makes them unworthy of a good life on the Peninsula? And what makes you so much better than those who want the same opportunities — low cost housing, good jobs — that you had at their age?

I am a home owner. But I’m not afraid of enabling my friends, neighbors and their children to all have places to live in South City. Building and Housing don’t have to be dirty words. And shame on you for your exclusionary, selfish views. There’s more to life than have three vacant parking spots outside your house. And our kids, friends and neighbors that are renters deserve better.

Cory Alan David
Cory Alan David
6 months ago

Ezra, I am curious as to why you remain unidentified so we can make sure you are not one of the many outside mercenaries looking to take advantage of SSF. They are in abundance. You will note, that most of the comments have been contributed by identified sources. If you are not a resident here, I would be curious as to whether or not you have been lobbying the elite cities in the county to provide you affordable housing. You’d love Hillsborough. Would you like to clarify. Now as far as your entitlement. I assure you none of us, even while decades removed from our home purchases, had it as easy as you hope would fit your narrative. In my case, a 17.5% 30 yr loan and more than half my household income dedicated to my mortgage. It was hard then and it is hard now. Kindly table your self-pity. Let me also point out the overwhelming fact that you and your compatriots have chosen to materially change the nature of the property I purchased because apparently you are under the impression I bought just a dwelling but you neglect to acknowledge that I bought the R1 zoned “dirt” it sits on. I also bought into a neighborhood sitting on R1 zoned dirt. It’s what many of us paid for and now you have taken the liberty to decide to negate our purchase criteria long after the fact as it suits your needs. I wouldn’t buy a home next to an apartment building but you have appointed yourself to rescind my decision. What gives you the right? Let me call your attention to your most valued material possession, for argument let’s say a Fender Stratocaster guitar. I’m going to come to you, tell you to give it to me and I’m going to hand you a ukulele in its place. It’s not what you contracted for in your purchase but it has strings and makes sounds. I’m going to tell you to learn to live with it. I can hear the crying from here. We did the hard work and sacrifice in our time to get our homes, now it’s your turn to do the same.

Ezra
Ezra
6 months ago

Phil Fioresi Sr:
“Clearly, these ‘democrats’ are the I, I, I, me, me, me generation totally feeling entitled, and I, one of the middle class, owes them something.”

Also Phil Fioresi Sr.:
“I like my neighborhood and couldn’t imagine having a 4 to 6-unit building built next to my home. Not only the shadow it would cast but the street could not accommodate 6 to 10 maybe 12 more cars.”

So the person who is simply asking to be allowed a place to live is somehow more entitled than the person who already has a place to live but is concerned that it might be harder to park or that they might have to deal with some shadows?

Meanwhile, the generation that is complaining about the “entitlement” of the younger generation was able to buy homes at a time where California was building considerably more housing of all types and homes prices were much lower in proportion to income. Not to mention that Prop 13 enabled many in that older generation to avoid paying their fair share of taxes on their properties’ increased value.

The hypocrisy is mind-boggling

loretta brooks
loretta brooks
6 months ago

We agree with this fellow South City resident who does not wish for zoning changes which would allow for multi-family dwellings to mix with our very small home and lots. Chuck and I have lived in this single family house since 1987 on the edge of Sign Hill, and seen enough changes so that parking is already an issue and if these changes were allowed, it would deteriorate even further. At one point, we all need to question how many new residents can we pack into the small area we call home, as with these high-rises on Chestnut and Airport Way and others, coming in with little or no changes to infrastructure, everyone will face long lines not only to get through stop lights and stop signs, but to accomplish every single daily task, like trips to the store or the post office. What kind of city do we want to live in? This is what our esteemed city council must ask, and look soberly at the fact that the planet itself is exceeding it’s carrying capacity, and we need to somehow put the brakes-on, if we wish for a bright and hopeful future. Many thanks to our heroes Addiego and Nicolas.

Cory Alan David
Cory Alan David
6 months ago

Jason, to date, several bills forcing these zoning modifications have been on the table and when “push comes to shove” the legislators have balked and run for the cover of the shadows. Maybe they see their involvement as an “express ticket” out of office. Maybe you are correct that the threat to our R1 zoned neighborhoods will not go away or maybe you are not. Still, I agree that being prepared for the outside mercenaries that plan to “use” South San Francisco to singularly solve the housing crisis, while protecting the cities they live in, is always a good idea. Instead of leading, for once, let South City be a follower and let communities like Hillsborough, Atherton, Woodside, and Portola Valley show us how they incorporate multi-unit, higher density housing into their R1 zoned neighborhoods. Barring that, the mercenaries need be aware that South San Francisco is no longer “The Armpit of the Peninsula” and they can force feed their business elsewhere.

Jason
Jason
6 months ago

Thanks, Phil. Very well reasoned opinion on the housing issues here in SSF. I mostly agree with you but did some research and found out the issue is bigger than SSF (it’s a statewide mandate out of Sacramento). While I agree this entitlement class of young Dem-Socialists are making noise and pushing unsound policy on our community at any cost necessary they are also very well organized. Now, the statewide mandate is not going away (unless SSF files and wins a lawsuit. Not likely) so we have to do something as a community to solve this problem before the state AG finds SSF in non-compliance (I think that triggers in 2031). It would be better if level-headed members of the community (that actually live here) come together in a working group and resolve in a way that works for all parties (homeowners and renters alike).

Bill Rosenberger
Bill Rosenberger
6 months ago

Phil,
Why did you have to make it political.
Has nothing to do with republicans or democratic.
It’s all about the money.

Gloria Araquistain
Gloria Araquistain
6 months ago

I totally agree with Mr. Fioresi on his remarks. I am also a person (immigrant) who has work hard my entire life and has never taken anything for granted or taken advantage of the system to provide anything to me or my family. I used to live in a couple of high density cities in the peninsula and just wasn’t safe and enjoyable for my family. Stay safe everyone!

anna
anna
6 months ago

Consider running your poorly-articulated thoughts through a spellchecker. (:

mel perry
mel perry
6 months ago

liberalism is a terminal disease, look at
all the cities on the west coast, the only
cure is a fatal dose of reality, in our case, getting involved in the democratic
process, and vote out the progressive
virus, REMEMBER you get what you voted for

Cory Alan David
Cory Alan David
6 months ago

Phil, you just described my immediate neighborhood right down to the “boarding house,” parking issues and Air BnB. Was a mess for several years and now miraculously it has resolved. Perhaps only temporarily. Let’s enjoy our “new world” until another movement dedicated to self-service changes it again.