July 29, 2013

A house near intrigue, excitement, sex & piles of cash

Tired of your boring life working in a cube farm and returning to your apartment farm? This listing is for you! Best of all, it’s in the center of happening stuff. That’s right! Mountain View!

Thanks very much to Burbed reader dollarbin for not only sending us the listing, but the amazing story that goes with it. Or next to it. Or, if you don’t read this article, may involve the next owner.

130728-tyrella-redfin620 TYRELLA Ave
Mountain View, CA 94043

4 Beds
2.5 Baths
1,833 Sq. Ft.
$490 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 2002
Lot Size: 4,978 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 59 days
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 2
Community: Whisman
MLS#: 81318701
Style: Traditional
View: Neighborhood
County: Santa Clara

Gorgeous light & bright 2-story home! Almost new-11 years old! Gourmet kitchen has granite counter tops. Sep Family Room has gas fireplace. Living Room is perfect for Downstairs 4th BR! Formal dining room. Gleaming hardwood floors & new carpeting. Master suite features spa-tub & walk in closet. Redwood deck is perfect for outdoor entertaining. Large 2-car garage. Lush Landscaping. Mt View High!

130728-tyrella-gleamingWell that’s pretty exciting, an eleven year old house calling itself almost new. We guess if you compare it to the typical Mountain View Eichloid put up in 1956 this place was practically finaled yesterday. If only they’d put in confetti tile to get with the 2010s.

And if the gleaming hardwood floors aren’t enough high drama, then the following story directly from the same block as this house certainly will be.


Blind date robbers strike a third time

by Nick Veronin, Mountain View Voice Staff
Uploaded: Friday, June 7, 2013, 4:33 PM, Updated: Monday, June 10, 2013, 10:46 AM

They did it again.

For the third time in just over a week, a man was lured to the 600 block of Tyrella Avenue believing he would have sex with a woman he met online on top of a bed covered in money. Unfortunately for this man — and the two others who were duped before him — instead of taking a roll through cold hard cash, he was rolled for his cash.


You can read the entire story at the link above, and yes, all three of these dudes actually believed they were going to meet a woman whose fantasy was to “make the beast with two backs on a bed full of Benjamins.”

We absolutely swear that is a direct quote from the Voice.

If only one of these men had bought this house instead of showing up at a rental apartment building, they wouldn’t have had any spare cash to get rolled for. Instead, they could have met a woman online who would join them on top of a bed which is in turn on top of a house covered by an even huger pile of money (never mind that most of it belongs to the bank).

Plus, it would be much harder for her to steal the money that way. Unless she’s with the bank.

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:07 am

June 5, 2013

[PSA] Beware of residential burglaries

Dear Real Bay Area citizens,

Yes things are going well: the median house price in San Francisco is $1M; the median list price in Mountain View is $998,000 and $639 per square foot.

But not all things are well in our lands…

Residential burglaries up this year
Number of home break-ins higher than in past five years, police say

by Nick Veronin
Mountain View Voice Staff

Local residential burglaries are up, according to officials with the Mountain View Police Department.

MVPD spokesman Sgt. Dan Vicencio said 50 houses and apartments were broken into between January and April. There were only 31 residential burglaries over the same four-month period last year.

"That’s a 61-percent increase," Vicencio said, adding that the increase in break-ins is "significant." Over the past five years, on average, there have only been 35 burglaries between January and April.

The department only had official numbers through April of this year. But looking at data from CrimeReports.com, which tracks police activity in cities all over the country, it appears that the trend will continue through May.

According to the crime-tracking website, from January to April there were approximately 14 home break-ins reported per month. This month, as of May 24, the website shows there have been 21 reported burglaries and attempted burglaries of local houses and apartments.

Vicencio said there is no clear reason for the increase in home burglaries. However, he said, whenever there is an increase in home break-ins, the department’s detectives pay attention. "When we have a jump this significant, we take a look at it."

In fact, thanks to the intrepid reporters at the paper of our land, we know about the many latest incursions into our castles:


Personally, I’m shocked. Don’t higher housing prices translate to higher commissions for realtors which translates to more salon visits, headshots, SUV sales, and more of all things that stimulate the economy? Shouldn’t higher housing prices defeat and end crime?

Until that day, be careful people. Be careful! Guard your castles! Keep driving those housing prices up so that we can help improve the economy and reduce burglaries!

Comments (5) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:48 am

August 5, 2012

Huge Charter School Controversy in the RBA (tl;dr warning)

120804-bullis-cartoonWe haven’t been shy about sharing our educational “reform” position with you: we distrust the charter school movement.  We believe they are a means for private corporations to strip school boards of their resources and teachers of their benefits by providing cut-rate education under the false flag of “school choice.”  After all, corporations exist to make a profit.  Would you really want your child’s education outsourced to the lowest bidder?  Of course not!  That’s why you’ll pay anything to live in the Real Bay Area!

Charter Schools’ Negative Impact on the Educational System

120804-bullis-protestCharter schools are being implemented all across the country, whether parents want them or not.  This is happening because some very wealthy people, not one of them with any education background, see this as a way to profit at the expense school boards and teachers unions.  Much of the current “school reform” movement has been taken over by tons of money from foundations from the Walton (Walmart), Gates (Microsoft) and Broad (construction and insurance) families and, of course, the Koch brothers.  These groups have completely derailed real school reform in favor of their plan to corporatize our educational system.

All that money crowds out real reform in favor of forcing charter schools, despite their lackluster performance despite their ability to cherry-pick students.  There are stories everywhere of neighborhood schools forced to close, fire all the teachers and administrators, and then reopen as charters, despite complete opposition from the affected teachers, parents and children.  Needless to say, this is most likely to happen where parents are not well-represented in the political system.  That is, this process is most likely to happen in poorer neighborhoods rather than wealthy suburbs.  Remember Waiting for Superman (which is, of course, pure propaganda)?  The Bay Area school in the film was in Redwood City.  And look at all the corporate charter schools that have popped up in Oakland and San Jose.

Click on through to find out what happens next.


Comments (20) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am

July 15, 2012

Sorry Googlers, no sleeping cubes for you

Google housing axed in city’s general plan

by Daniel DeBolt, Mountain View Voice Staff

120714-googlehousingCouncil members were not moved Tuesday night by last-minute efforts by the Chamber of Commerce and the mayor to keep housing as an option for future development of Google’s neighborhood north of Highway 101.

Council members voted 6-1 in a final approval of Mountain View’s 2030 general plan, a kind of road map for redevelopment in key areas of the city and the culmination of four years of meetings, and a “community visioning” process in 2008.

Largely by increasing allowed building densities and heights, it encourages redevelopment along El Camino Real, in the East Whisman area, North Bayshore (north of Highway 101), Moffett Boulevard and the San Antonio Shopping Center area.

Council members removed an allowance for as many as 1,100 apartments along Shoreline Boulevard between Highway 101 and Charleston Road. The housing would likely have been used by employees of Google and other tech companies in the area and was supported strongly by the Chamber of Commerce, which posted a YouTube video promoting the idea and whose members largely support North Bayshore housing, said president Oscar Garcia.

Here’s the video mentioned above.

But higher density along El Camino Real!  Yay!  Too bad for all the Google employees who thought that walking to work was a good idea.  The City Council is dedicated to making you live in another zip code and buying commuter vehicles.

You can read more about the backstory on the plan and the vote in this article from last week.  The plan the City Council voted in is supposed to guide Mountain View development through the year 2030. 


Comments (42) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:01 am

May 11, 2012

Congratulations to citizens of Mountain View

Housing at Mayfield mall site dumped for offices 

After almost a decade of contentious planning and untold millions to design, the 27-acre housing community planned for the Mayfield Mall site has been ditched for a $90 million deal to re-use the existing buildings as an office campus.

Congratulations to the citizens of Mountain View! You are victorious!

You stood tall and proud in the face of evil developers who threatened to add more housing to the Real Bay Area.

You fought valiantly at efforts to reduce commute times and potentially prevent housing prices from eternally going up.

You held your ground when confronted with the threat of allowing more people to live in your city.

Kudos to you Mountain View citizens. Kudos to you!


And kudos to the commenters of the Mountain View Voice website! Like this one!

Bravo to office space vs. housing and all the traffic that would bring. What a lot of wasted time and money over this past decade trying to fight the housing development(s). Went to a lot meetings at City Hall to fight the developments and did not feel our council members did enough for the existing neighborhood. Am very grateful the existing structure will be reused and that our beautiful trees will remain. I hope traffic through our neighborhood will be kept to a minimum. The old Mall/HP campus is lovely when the trash is picked up and and the weeds are kept down.

Because nothing says less traffic like more office space!

Comments (16) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:00 am

June 5, 2011

Slumlord Sues City for Not Letting Him Make Long Overdue Repairs

Here’s some news from Mountain View about a multimillion dollar project that doesn’t involve stainless steel kitchen appliances or Berber carpeting.

Developer sues city for denying permits

Owner of ramshackle apartments still owes city $97,000 in fees

imageby Daniel DeBolt, Mountain View Voice Staff, Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

Summer Hill Apartments at 291 Evandale Ave. remains closed. Photo by Michelle Le.  (Article in MV Voice 2/23/09)

The former owner of a large Evandale Avenue apartment complex has filed a lawsuit against the city that claims he lost as much as $24.5 million when the city opposed his efforts to renovate the apartments after his redevelopment project fell through.

Plaintiff Sal Teresi claims that city officials, under the direction of former city attorney Michael Martello, engaged in "capricious and arbitrary conduct" to prevent him from renovating the 64 vacant apartments at 291 Evandale Avenue, which he ended up selling in the middle of the recession. As a result of the city’s actions, Teresi claims he lost $4.5 million in rent over five years and $16-20 million from appreciation of the building.

The issue took center stage in a City Council meeting in October of 2009. Teresi’s lawyer claimed then, as Teresi’s new lawyer claims now, that Teresi had a right to re-roof and repair the buildings without being subjected to a design review process, which the city officials told Teresi was required June of 2008. In the 2009 meeting, City Attorney Michael Martello disagreed, saying that "under their theory they could rebuild the entire complex" without any oversight.

Teresi’s troubles began when he had lined up a buyer for the property just before the recession hit, and decided to vacate the apartments before closing escrow, according to the claim Teresi’s lawyers have filed in the case. The sale fell through when the real estate market tanked. After unsuccessfully trying to find another buyer, Teresi needed to rent the apartments again to pay his bills.

Wow, all those new Facebookers, Googlers, VMWearers and StartUppers driving rents through the roof, while a whole apartment complex is sitting empty!  Do you hear the sound of opportunity knocking? This developer did, and he thought it would be a great idea to sell the place and deliver it to the new owner tenant-free.

After he got the tenants out, whoops, the housing market collapsed!  I hate it when that happens.  I’m sure you can figure out what kind of troubles he’s had since, especially since the City of Mountain View didn’t consider him the most responsible of apartment owners.  According to the lawsuit:

[T]he city and the city attorney at the time — Michael Martello — treated Teresi Investments with "intentional and disparate treatment" when they denied the company permits to renovate the property in 2008 and 2009. The property’s next owner, Bay West Realty Capital, was given "favorable treatment."

This is an Open Thread.  Tell us about your favorite crime magnets, because some of the local coverage of this place suggests when the fences went up, the crime rate went down.

Comments (17) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:15 am

October 16, 2010

School Budgets Cut Again, Ho-Hum

Another day, another school staving off impending doom.

Teachers, school staff OK salary freeze

by Nick Veronin,  Mountain View Voice Staff

Teachers and staff of the local high school district have agreed to forego salary increases for two years.

The pay freeze, together with a change in retirement benefits for some staff members, will help the Mountain View Los Altos high school district save money, officials said.

At its Sept. 13 meeting, the high school board approved salary freezes for teachers and school staff represented by the California School Employees Association.

The teachers union and the local chapter of the CSEA went along with the district’s plan, which ensures that salaries will not increase for employees represented by either union until the 2011-2012 school year at the earliest.

Cupertino Unified School District added five furlough days to this year’s calendar as part of the staff contribution to covering a $3.4 million shortfall.  San Jose Unified schools took last week off.

State legislators budget deal, after 100 days of no action on allocations, does not pay schools the full amount they are owed.

Some schools are asking the voters for help.  Three school districts have placed parcel taxes on the November ballot, including Cambrian (Measure L, $96 a year), Foothill-DeAnza (Measure E, $69), East Side Union HSD (Measure I, $98),  Another four are seeking bond measures: San Jose/Evergreen (Measure G, $268 million), Santa Clara Unified (Measure H, $81.1 million), Franklin-McKinney (Measure J, $50 million), and Moreland (Measure K, $55 million).

The parcel taxes require a 2/3 vote to pass, the bond measures require 55%.  And if you want some political intrigue, two neighborhood associations have organized against the San Jose/Evergreen bond measure, claiming the community college district has wasted money on unneeded projects, needless travel, and consultants.  The best quote from the arguments against the measure is “The San Jose Mercury News has said that their fiscal credibility on a scale of 1 to 10 is zero.”

How are things in your school district(s)?  Any stories of treachery in budgeting?  Wait, isn’t Los Altos in the Real Bay Area?  Why are they dealing with budget issues?  What do you bet nobody read down this far? 

Comments (9) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

August 9, 2010

Survey: Bay Area workers highest paid in 2009

Survey: Bay Area workers highest paid in 2009
Data shows workers in nine-county Bay Area earned 20 percent more than national average

Workers in the Bay Area were the highest paid on average in the nation last year, according to data released Friday, July 23, by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The data showed workers in the San Francisco-San Jose-Oakland metropolitan area earned 20 percent more than the national average in 2009, the agency said.

The survey included the nine-county Bay Area, plus Santa Cruz and San Benito counties, in that category, according to bureau economist Todd Johnson. The data showed above-average wages in all of the employment categories surveyed, but particularly among construction jobs, service jobs, sales, office and administrative jobs, and professionals.

Workers in the Brownsville-Harlingen, Texas, metropolitan area on the U.S.-Mexico border were paid the least, earning 79 cents for every dollar earned by workers nationwide, the agency said. Bay Area workers also were the highest paid in 2008, earning 17 percent more than the national average, according to Johnson.

— Bay City News Service

No wonder everyone’s still dying to move here! And that can mean only one thing: $800 per square foot is here to stay!

Comments (5) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:18 am

May 29, 2010

Good news! Record number of property value reductions in county

Record number of property value reductions in county

The Santa Clara County Assessor’s Office today announced $21.4 billion in property value reductions on approximately 118,000 properties in the county.

The figures, based on an initial analysis of the assessment roll by the assessor’s office, represent a record number of reductions. The numbers won’t be final until the roll is completed on July 1.
The decrease in assessed values means a further hit to already cash-strapped schools as they see their revenue from property taxes drop.

Assessor Larry Stone said the number of reductions in assessed value will likely greatly exceed the number of increases.

"The last 36 months is by far the worst economy I’ve experienced in the 45 years since I left graduate school for Wall Street," Stone said in a statement.

The reduction in assessed values is $4 billion greater than last year, Stone said.

To someone who is outside of California, this may seem like bad news… but in reality, this is excellent news. This means that homeowners will have low property taxes from now until forever thanks to Prop 13. This means less revenue for government, which means a smaller government, less services for people, which means more opportunities for businesses and private enterprise to fill in the gaps! And for these homeowners to become landlords and increase GDP.

Woot! Even better, according to the comments for this thread, houses in the Real Bay Area were not impacted at all! Double woot!

Comments (57) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:00 am

March 28, 2010

Bay Area to have the best census takers in the world!

A wealth of qualified census-takers

by Chris Kenrick
Palo Alto Online Staff

The U.S. Census-taker who knocks on your door this spring just might have an M.B.A., or even a Ph.D.

Silicon Valley’s high jobless rate has created a wealth of talent to staff the 2010 Census, which is now on final countdown to Census Day April 1.

By that date, every U.S. resident should have returned the 10-question form they’ll receive sometime in mid-March. If one hasn’t mailed back the form, one of those ultra-qualified census workers will be knocking on the door.

Jim Kamenelis, a longtime Silicon Valley IT director, is one of those with ample qualifications. An experienced IT manager who was looking for work after a failed startup, Kamenelis was hired by the Census Bureau in the summer of 2008 to help ramp-up to the big count. He expects his job to end this September, he said.

Kamenelis said he has tested about 15,000 local applicants for census jobs, which are on-again-off-again depending on tasks at hand. He has also managed a variety of preparations, such as updating addresses and maps, required for the upcoming count.

"There’s an incredible pool of capable people available right now," Kamenelis said.

"It’s amazing how many talented people we hire — we have lawyers, business executives, a lot of retired military, and one lady here is a Ph.D. in computer science.

"These are a lot of accomplished folks who, for whatever reason, are unemployed and this is the best thing available to them."

You heard it here first folks. Another reason why the Bay Area is special? Another reason why the next decade is going to rock for this fine valley?

We’ve got the best census takers and workers in the WORLD! Just think of all the innovation these PhD’s, JDs, MBAs, and military folks will be able to add to the census process. I bet all the other cities in America are just drooling with envy as to how lucky we have it.

Without a doubt, we are surely going to have the best counted census in the world right here in the Valley. Congrats!

Comments (89) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:01 am