Stevenson House is a 120-unit senior non-profit housing that staff recommends be turned to a for-profit limited partnership, granted a Planned Community zoning exemption, be given $1 M of tax payers money from SUMC (Stanford hospital expansion hush money slush fund) so that a huge real estate developer with offices in San Francisco called John Stewart can get $35 M in federal incentives to upgrade the plumbing in the buidlings — which I toured, which our fine, very nice, cute, livable — they want to move the sink from the south side of a tiny but sufficient bath to the north, blah blah blah. In recent times we have at least the perception of corruption at City Hall, collusion between staff and developers, kowtowing — and in the case of the June, 2014 Santa Clara Grand Jury Report, obvious examples of this — that the slick and incentivized developers find the most arcane and convoluted arguments to always get their way. The staff says “let it fly” in a staff report which the Council is being asked to rubber stamp Monday, March 9 – next week, in four days — but I would think that 3 of them — and I know that a couple have been approached — should pull this, and let it see a little light of Democracy and process.
Surely, we should be cautious. It does occur to me to compare this to Dartmouth College Case, the formation of corporate law — we don’t want to tamper with the affairs of a corporation — but on the other hand the writing is on the wall that money interests make a mockery of Democracy. Is Stewart a legitimate good player here, or preying on the elderly for their own gain? It looks like a Trojan Horse to privatize and then gentrify the beautiful site. What is best for the 120 seniors? That it involves a PC, that it involves $1 M of our SUMC money, that it is arcane, that in numerous instances recently money preys on our social institutions — schools, parks, Little League, Maybell — this calls out for a little extra trip around the track of scrutiny.
Come to City Hall and Council Monday, March 9 and see for yourself or speak out. The opportunity to speak on this issue will be around 8:45 p.m. If you show up at 5:30 there is a rally produced by Joe Simitian, which includes free pizza, about Buena Vista, (an initiative to preserve low income housing for 400 people).