Author Topic: Affordable teacher housing opposed by San Jose residents  (Read 180 times)

ergophobe

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Affordable teacher housing opposed by San Jose residents
« on: October 05, 2018, 03:53:37 PM »
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Parents fear the new site will be too far away and the teacher housing could affect property values, by bringing renters into their Almaden Valley neighborhood.

Braley says, "It's just frankly not in fitting with the rest of the community."

Meanwhile

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The district says when it comes to housing, they have no choice but to take action. Silicon Valley prices have made it nearly impossible to retain quality teachers.

McMahon says, "We're losing dozens when they find out about the cost of living. We're losing even more when they want to start a family."

http://www.ktvu.com/news/proposal-for-affordable-teacher-housing-causes-uproar-among-san-jose-parents

What is the end point for all this?

ergophobe

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Re: Affordable teacher housing opposed by San Jose residents
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2018, 03:59:23 PM »
It feels like the End Times....

4700 signatures on a petition to stop this because "Low cost housing is not consistent with the surrounding areas"
https://www.change.org/p/san-jose-unified-school-district-board-trustees-save-leland-and-bret-harte-schools

https://abc7news.com/education/anger-at-community-meeting-over-teacher-housing-idea-in-sj/4406981/
https://abc7news.com/education/opposition-to-teacher-housing-mounts-in-san-joses-almaden-valley/4404364/

This is a good summary
https://twitter.com/kimmaicutler/status/1047768119744188417

It turns out San Jose is closing schools anyway, because they are losing so many families with children.

https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/02/02/south-san-jose-school-district-decides-to-close-three-schools/

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The valley’s high cost of housing has contributed to a drop in student enrollment. As families with young children flee to more affordable areas, Oak Grove has lost more than 200 students annually for the past four years. That’s projected to cost the district $2.3 million this year.

Oak Grove has lost 1,800 students since a high in 1996-97, a 15 percent drop.

Without consolidating campuses and making other cuts, Oak Grove would end up $12.8 million in the red by 2019-’20, Superintendent Jose Manzo said. The Santa Clara County Office of Education required the district to come up with a plan to remain in the black.


To me, this story, more than any of the big political stories, epitomizes where we are in America right now.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2018, 04:05:25 PM by ergophobe »

littleman

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Re: Affordable teacher housing opposed by San Jose residents
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2018, 06:44:03 PM »
Last weekend I was stuck in traffic on the freeway on Sunday, there was a $130K car to the left of me and a $200k car a few paces up; we were all inching along.  At the same time I was listening to some blip on NPR about how the US soybean ban in China is causing a new round of deforestation in Brazil.  Seems we've collectively lost perspective.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2018, 08:04:10 PM by littleman »

Brad

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Re: Affordable teacher housing opposed by San Jose residents
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2018, 12:32:53 PM »
>epitomizes where we are in America right now.

I summarize this as, "I got mine, the rest of you can go scratch."  We used to recognize, as a society, that we had certain civic obligations that were bigger and more important than us as individuals.  We have lost that.

OTOH, altruism has limits.  As a taxpayer, I look at how our local school board has spent money on different priorities and I see a lot of miss-spent money on things I don't consider priorities. 

ergophobe

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Re: Affordable teacher housing opposed by San Jose residents
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2018, 11:26:25 PM »
Last weekend I was stuck in traffic on the freeway on Sunday, there was a $130K car to the left of me and a $200k car a few paces up;

Do you know Paul Piff's research?

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In studies 1 and 2, upper-class individuals were more likely to break the law while driving, relative to lower-class individuals.
http://www.pnas.org/content/109/11/4086.full

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Five studies demonstrated that higher social class is associated with increased entitlement and narcissism. Upper-class individuals reported greater psychological entitlement (Studies 1a, 1b, and 2) and narcissistic personality tendencies (Study 2), and they were more likely to behave in a narcissistic fashion by opting to look at themselves in a mirror (Study 3).

http://paulpiff.wixsite.com/meshlab/publications

And in the popular press
The Rich Drive Differently, a Study Suggests
https://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/12/the-rich-drive-differently-a-study-suggests/

ergophobe

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Re: Affordable teacher housing opposed by San Jose residents
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2018, 12:10:34 AM »
I summarize this as, "I got mine, the rest of you can go scratch."
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OTOH, altruism has limits.

I summarize it as "Pulling the ladder up after me" as in "I'm out of the dungeon and over the prison wall, but I'm taking the ladder with me so screw you."

I don't want to sound evil, but I'm not a fan of altruism. Altruism is all well and good. I would even say that on my best days, I try to do altruistic things.

When I say I'm not a fan, I mean that altruism is not a plan. Any plan that depends on people just miraculously working against their self-interest is just not going to work.

So, we have a system which over and over is rigged to pull the ladder up after us.

One example - the mortgage tax deduction. It mostly helps realtors, bankers and allows wealthy people to trade up to bigger homes or, the ridiculous part, own multiple homes (because you can write off more than one home). The vast majority of the benefit goes to upper income people and I think it's bad (and so did George W. Bush and the panel of economists he assembled from across the political spectrum - that is not a controversial standpoint among economists).

That said, did I take the write-off every single year I could? You bet.

I could run through the same analysis with 529 college savings funds, 401K plans and pre-tax employer-sponsored health insurance.

As long as the system is set up to provide tax subsidies to the haves, to the extent that I'm a have, I'm going to take those, even the ones I think are bad and wrong. That's why I say that I don't think altruism is a plan.

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I see a lot of miss-spent money on things I don't consider priorities
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Seems we've collectively lost perspective.

Yes, it's a problem. I think it's you (Brad) who are always encouraging people to get involved in local government. I have found that compared to the utter powerlessness and alienation I feel at the state and national level, at the local level, you can sometimes nudge policy if you are energetic enough.

I'm sure the San Jose school district has spent money on some stupid things, but at the end of the day, if you can't keep teachers, you can't keep a good school system running. I would like to see teachers paid something above the median wage of the community they teach in. Same for police officers, firefighters and other essential occupations. There is a similar problem with those occupations throughout Silicon Valley.

I get that maybe you are just going to live in your bubble and not care that the barista who serves your coffee at 7am on your way to work has to leave home at 3:30am to get there. But I just can't see wanting to live in a place where that's true for my teachers, police, firefighters, paramedics, nurses, and so on.

The strange thing is that I think 99% of people agree with me on that. We just can't seem to be able to get from where we are to there. That's why this story depressed me so much. It just felt like, if there were an issue that shouldn't be controversial, that would be it. And yet...

buckworks

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Re: Affordable teacher housing opposed by San Jose residents
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2018, 01:44:31 AM »
>> mean that altruism is not a plan. Any plan that depends on people just miraculously working against their self-interest is just not going to work

Whoa there. Where does the assumption come from that altruism is against our own self-interest?


ergophobe

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Re: Affordable teacher housing opposed by San Jose residents
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2018, 03:34:41 AM »
Ha Buckworks! What's funny, is I had a long rumination on that very thought while cleaning the house and before posting the above.

Altruism: "behavior by an animal that is not beneficial to or may be harmful to itself but that benefits others of its species"
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/altruism

And yes, it also has the meaning "unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others," which implies not working against your self-interest, but without regard for your self-interest.

Anyway, I'm not saying that altruistic actions necessarily work against your self-interest, but they are either not beneficial or detrimental. Yes, it can be either one. It's not always zero sum. But if it's beneficial, it is ipso facto not altruistic.

In cases where we talk about it with respect to taxes, "altruistic" actions tend to be against my self-interest, at least from a very narrow point of view. To the extent that I benefit, it is not altruistic.

I prefer to see a tax structure in which most deductions that I benefit from are eliminated. That isn't altruism though. That is based on my belief that a more equitable society is more stable and a more pleasant place to live.  In other words, that's a case where I am suggesting that I be taxed at a higher rate not from altruism, but because I see a benefit there to me.

Kierkegaard has an essay "Truth is subjectivity" and the same theme runs through Fear and Trembling. The gist of it is that if you do something because you believe it is right, but you are in the majority, you can't be sure that your action is moral or motivated by groupthink. It's only when you find yourself alone, as with Abraham going up the mountain to sacrifice Isaac, that you can be sure you are acting on purely moral grounds, not out of self-interest. Now, there are other obvious problems with taking Abraham as your model, but that's clear to Kierkegaard too. It's a complicated and thorny problem.

Similarly, even when I see no long-term benefit to me, but I act in accordance with the norms of a social group that I adhere too, it becomes difficult to say that I am being altruistic. As with morality and Kierkegaard, the crowd is untruth.

So there are very few situations where I would claim that I was acting purely altruistically.

More to the point, when you ask people to give up, say, the home mortgage deduction out of altruism, it is against their short-term self interest (costs money). I would argue that this seemingly altruistic act is in their long-term interest (more stable society). But by getting people to see their long-term interest and act accordingly, you are no longer asking them to act altruistically.

I think it is generally more effective to get people to prioritize their long-term interest over their short-term interest than it is to get them to prioritize someone else's interest over their interest. Stewart Brand makes this argument in the Clock of the Long Now - the longer the time horizon you can get people to take, the easier it is to get them to agree. That's because it's easier to get them to see a shared self-interest the farther out they project.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2018, 03:38:54 AM by ergophobe »

buckworks

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Re: Affordable teacher housing opposed by San Jose residents
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2018, 05:31:27 AM »
Q: Why did God ask Abraham to sacrifice his twelve-year-old son?
A: Because if he were a teenager it wouldn't be a sacrifice.

 ;D

On a more serious note, I prefer Wikipedia's definitions of altruism:

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In simple terms, altruism is caring about the welfare of other people and acting to help them.

To me that in no way rules out sensible regard for one's own self-interest.

Our integrity isn't sullied if caring about the welfare of others tends to create benefits for ourselves too. It's called win-win!

-------

FYI, here in Canada we don't have the mortgaged-related tax deduction that homeowners do in the US.

ergophobe

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Re: Affordable teacher housing opposed by San Jose residents
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2018, 06:36:26 PM »
To me that in no way rules out sensible regard for one's own self-interest.

Fair enough. That's just a terminology thing. To me a win-win is mutualism. To you it's altruism. That's fine. The label isn't that important to me.

My point was simply that getting people to act against their immediate self-interest, however you label that behavior, is hard. I think it is more effective to reframe what is in their self-interest (say be long-term thinking) than to get people to take actions apparently against their self-interest.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2018, 10:29:23 PM by ergophobe »

buckworks

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Re: Affordable teacher housing opposed by San Jose residents
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2018, 09:49:27 PM »
>> getting people to act against their immediate self-interest ... is hard

Yes.

I wish I had an answer for that, but one thing I do know is that becoming too preachy often makes it even harder.

>> reframe what is in their self-interest

Yes, again.

Ponder the power of a story.

I'd have lots to say but not much time just now. It's Thanksgiving here in Canada and I have some goodies to cook!

ergophobe

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Re: Affordable teacher housing opposed by San Jose residents
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2018, 10:29:05 PM »
And this just in...

The Nobel in economics just went to Nordhous and Romer for their work in economic modeling to create more sustainable systems. Nordhaus has written:

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A central lesson of economic history is the power of incentives.  To slow climate change, the incentive must be for everyone--millions of firms and billions of people spending trillions of dollars--to increasingly replace their current fossil-fuel driven consumption with low-carbon activities.  The most effective incentive is a high price on carbon.
(source: a friend's email with the news, quoting his book "Climate Casino")

Meanwhile
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Hours before the award, the United Nations panel on climate change said society would have to radically alter the way it consumes energy, travels and builds to avoid the worst effects of global warming.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-nobel-prize-economics/u-s-economists-win-nobel-for-work-on-climate-change-innovation-idUSKCN1MI0UN

So the key is to use the insight of #1 to help effect the actions required for #2... On my very best days, I do not despair that it can be done. But getting the incentives correct and doing so ASAP is crucial.