Curt Riffle MROSD trustee

Curt Riffle – May 16 Lunch with the League


Open Space-the next 40 years-Measure AA-June 3 Ballot

Curt Riffle — board member for  our Mountain View-Los Altos ward of the Midpeninsua Regional Open Space District (MROSD) — will be our speaker. Come learn more about what the bond money will do and ask questions.  Cost is $25 per person. RSVP online now for this lunch with the League. Space is limited.

Our League supported the formation of MROSD in 1972 and we believe that the District has done an outstanding job in acquiring property for “passive” recreational use and for protecting open space resources. Over 62,000 acres have been protected since MROSD’s inception. Now the District needs funding to open much of this acreage to the public, and to fund additional acquisitions.

Recently the board completed a series of public visioning meetings to shape the direction and priorities of the District.  The resulting plan reflects the public’s input on the 25 top projects to expand, enhance, and connect regional trails and open space areas, to preserve open space, and to complete restoration projects.  The Leagues of Women Voters of Santa Clara County and San Mateo County have endorsed the ballot measure, Measure AA, because our natural resources position supports measures that ensure adequate parks and protection of natural resources, open space, and agricultural land, both outside urban growth boundaries and in urbanized areas


See the top 25 projects here.

Measure AA calls for $300 million bond for open space district   San Jose Mercury

MROSD bond goes to voters – Half Moon Bay Review   Half Moon Bay Review  the Yes on AA Facebook page

May 16 – 11:30 am to 1 pm
Ristorante Bella Vita
376 First Street, Los Altos

 Registration is close for this event. It has occurred. 


MAP • Ristorante Bella Vita • 376 First Street, Los Altos

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James Walgren Los Altos, lunch with the league

James Walgren – April 18 Lunch with the League

Los Altos Planning April 18 Lunch with the League 
James Walgren headshot, lunch with the league



Development in the City of Los Altos

James Walgren, Director of Community Development for the City of Los Altos is our speaker. He will be sharing his insights on balancing aspects of development — commercial & office development, city infrastructure projects, affordable housing, preserving neighborhoods and transportation. He can address how city staff is implementing and influencing city council policy.  Cost is $25 per person. RSVP online now for this lunch with the League. Space is limited.

To prep for Q&A with James, check out the Housing Reading List from last month that we are recommending again  here.

Ristorante Bella Vita

376 First Street, Los Altos
11:30am to 1pm


Make your selections using the form below. RSVP by 4/16. For questions contact Natalie Elefant at 650-383-5590 or at [email protected]

* Indicates items that are required.

Number of Attendees
* Attendee One; Lunch Selection
Attendee Two; Lunch Selection
* Name #1:
Name #2:

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How to register and pay by check

You can RSVP by email to Margaret Brooks with your choice of entree, lemon chicken or vegetarian pasta and arrange for payment. Alternatively, until April 15 you can mail a check made out to the League of Women Voters Mountain View-Los Altos. Thereafter please email or phone Natalie Elefant at 650-383-5590 to arrange in person payment.  Please add attendee names, menu selections and a memo to the check that the payment is for LWL 04/18/2014 so that we may process your check properly. If mailing, mail the check and your notations to the League office at 97 Hillview Ave., Los Altos, CA 94022.


 Glossary of Affordable Housing Terms

The co-chair of our Affordable Housing Committee –Sue Russell– has recently developed a draft version of a Glossary of Housing Development Terms you may want to refer to or print out before the lunch. It includes a review of laws and housing programs as they apply specifically to Los Altos and Mountain View.


James Walgren, AICP
Assistant City Manager and Director of Community Development
City of Los Altos
“Downtown Public & Private Projects”

James Walgren has worked for the City of Los Altos for over 14 years.  In his present position, James directs the Community Development Department, including the Planning Division, the Building Plan Check and Inspection Division, the Engineering Services Division and the Economic Development Division.   With a staff of about twenty five, James administers a $3.5 million annual operating budget and an approximately $2 million annual capital projects program.

James earned a B.S. in City and Regional Planning from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, with an emphasis in architecture and urban design. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, the American Planning Association, and the Santa Clara County Association of Planning Officials.  James and his wife Kerry have two  sons  – Andrew, 17, and Christian, 13.

MAP • Ristorante Bella Vita • 376 First Street, Los Altos

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Affordable Housing – What’s on Randy Tsuda’s & Sue Russell’s Reading List

4 story apartment building
4 story apartment building

Are you going to hear Director of MV Development, Randy Tsuda, at our lunch March 21? If so you might want to prep for lively Q&A by doing a little interesting background reading. Here’s what Randy’s been reading about housing & development and also what Sue Russell – our Affordable Housing Committee & Development Chair –  recommends as a reading list.


Can Silicon Valley build its way out of a housing crisis? Silicon Valley Biz Journal (SVBJ)

If Silicon Valley traffic throttles the economy, can towers on train stations save it?  (SVBJ)

Affordable Housing Glossary .pdf

Agenda for Change .pdf .

City needs more housing says balanced growth campaign leader  MV Voice

Council quiet on North Bayshore housing   MV Voice


Randy Tsuda’s picks

Randy Tsuda recommended these two articles from the Silicon Valley Business Journal via Twitter in the past 10 days…

Can Silicon Valley build its way out of a housing crisis?

If Silicon Valley traffic throttles the economy, can towers on train stations save it?


Housing Committee Chair Sue Russell’s picks

3-story condos

Check out Sue’s new, hot off the presses Affordable Housing Glossary .pdf on our website. It explains those pesky acronyms and esoteric terms as well as the how the various ordinances and legislation are implemented by city councils in Mountain View and Los Altos.

Sue Russell generally agrees with the planning and affordable housing approaches explained by in their easy to ready and well-illustrated Agenda for Change.pdf.

The Bay Area is in a time of tremendous change. We are the economic envy of the world, but we have huge challenges as well. Housing is too expensive. Inequality is on the rise. And we’re not prepared for the realities of climate change. Fortunately, there’s a lot we can do to solve the toughest problems our cities face. SPUR’s Agenda for change is our vision for the central cities of the Bay Area — our manifesto. It condenses the big ideas behind our work and lays out our seven-point plan for making this vision a reality.


Picks from Mountain View Voice


open space - a plaza with people sitting around - public space making
open space – a plaza with people sitting around – public space making

City needs more housing says balanced growth campaign leader

This first article highlights the jobs-housing imbalance in Mountain View, which will be greatly exacerbated by literal implementation of parts of the City’s new General Plan. The General Plan allows a great expansion of office space, especially in the North Bayshore area, which is not matched by anticipated housing production.

Council quiet on North Bayshore housing

This second article explains that presently no housing is to be allowed in the North Bayshore area. This is happening at a time when rents in Mountain View are rapidly escalating and many long-time residents are being forced out, either because of high rents or because their dwellings are being torn down to make way for new luxury housing. Adding housing in North Bayshore will not solve all our housing woes, of course, so other policy changes are also needed.


Bay Area Anti-growth & Pro-growth Voices

Our local members suggest these articles:

Residents express outrage. Source:


A Threat to Planning? 

The opponents of Plan Bay Area, both Bay Area pro-growth and Bay Area anti-growth are undercutting the role of regional planning as a tool to manage long-term growth according to this article from SPUR.

modern condo housing complex
SPUR website – courtesy of Flickr user mark.hogan


The Uneven Housing Recovery

‘The biggest challenge to addressing the Bay Area’s housing costs is political. There is a great policy paradox in regional planning — namely, the places with the greatest demand are anti-growth and the places that are pro-growth don’t have enough market demand to support new construction. Add to this the fact that some of the tools to create affordable housing, such as inclusionary housing (in which municipal and county planning ordinances require a given share of new construction to be affordable by people with low to moderate incomes), are under attack, and you have the conditions for a perfect storm. We need to change some of these dynamics if we are ever going to address the extraordinary cost of housing in our increasingly unaffordable region.’

ABAG Region Map
ABAG Region Map


Prioritizing Conservation: Authorities Angle for Funding

“Let’s also think about the areas we want to conserve.” Laura Thompson, Bay Trail project manager at the Association of Bay Area Governments  (ABAG), remembered how this idea developed into a key strategy in creating the region’s new Plan Bay Area. As a result, in addition to Priority Development Areas, the plan contains more than a hundred Priority Conservation Areas submitted by counties and approved for inclusion by her agency. The goal is to retain and enhance the value the region receives from its rural areas, including agriculture and parks. Counties may also apply to have additional areas receive the designation. By Leslie Stewart.

Click here to subscribe to the LWV Bay Area Monitor, a  free bi-monthly review of regional issues.


Cover of Brochure for Plan Bay Area

Plan Bay Area Approved

Cover of Brochure for Plan Bay Area


So What is Plan Bay Area?

 Plan Bay Area charts a course for the Bay Area’s Sustainable Communities Strategy out to the year 2040. The Plan will accommodate needed growth within our nine counties while at the same time decreasing greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks. Clustering housing in cities and reducing travel needs is intended to help California achieve GHG reduction under AB 32, the state’s landmark climate change legislation. —Sue Graham, VP Programs LWVLAMV

Egon Terplan of SPUR on Bay Area Regional Planning

“Five Not-So-Easy Pieces” – jobs, housing, transit, taxes, climate

Excerpts From the Bay Area Monitor web site. The entire article is here.

By Alec MacDonald

For Egon Terplan – the regional planning director of SPUR (the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association) – looming questions revolve around five overlapping issues: jobs, housing, taxes, transit, and climate change. He has investigated how government manages these issues and found the Bay Area’s current system lacking — but he sees strategies for improvement that won’t necessitate a radical overhaul of existing institutions…

Continue reading “Egon Terplan of SPUR on Bay Area Regional Planning”