Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Small Town, Big Problems

Elena DeNoia in Scene on Apr 18, 2016 

The small town of Pacifica, California, is located on California’s coast, about 15 miles south of San Francisco. Though many would consider it to be a suburb because of its close proximity to a large city, the population of about 40,000 would classify it as a small town. Arguably, the mentality of the people in this city also classifies it as a small town. From the great, small businesses to the problems, such as drug and alcohol use among teenagers, the things that happen in Pacifica are common in other small towns. But, there are other problems that are, in fact, threatening the survival of this small city in the long-term. What are these problems, and how can we begin to solve them?

Everyone knows what really makes a small town are its small businesses, which are usually family-owned institutions that everyone in the town knows and loves. Pacifica has loads of small businesses; Florey’s Books on Palmetto Avenue has been around since 1977, and I’ve been buying books there since before I knew how to read. Sea Bowl off of Highway 1 has provided me with tons of fun bowling birthday parties. Sadly, however, many of these deeply loved businesses are at risk for being shut down and replaced with chain stores. In Pacifica, this trend is due to the multi-billion dollar Kimco Realty company, who owns a whopping 60 percent of small business facilities in Pacifica. In addition, Kimco owns two of the largest shopping centers located in Pacifica, the Linda Mar Shopping center and the Fairmont Shopping center. In order to make room for larger chain stores that will give the company more money, Kimco has been raising the rent for stores in these shopping centers throughout the past few years, causing numerous long-time small businesses, such as Sam’s Deli, to close down. Sam’s Deli had been in business in Pacifica for more than 15 years before it was shut down in 2007. Just recently, in December 2014, the Denny’s restaurant, which had been family-owned in Pacifica for more than 30 years, was closed down by Kimco Realty, most likely due to a lease issue. It is clear that Kimco has nearly destroyed every small business in Pacifica, and they will most surely continue to do so without any form of intervention.

Many people in the U.S. are aware of the spike in housing costs in the Bay Area throughout the past decade or so. Pacifica is no stranger to this. Considered one of the “more affordable” places to live in the Bay, the median listing price for a home is $844K. Compare this to the national average of $184K, and you understand where we’re coming from. Not only have the housing prices increased, but more homes are being built that are very expensive. On Roberts Road, a favorite viewpoint of the ocean for many locals, new homes are being built with an average cost of $5 million. Yes, you read that correctly. Though these homes are likely going to be more upscale than the average Pacifica home, the fact that they are here, increases the property value of all of our homes (basic economics). Residents, who rent their homes (unless they have serious rent control), will likely be seeing an influx in their housing costs. The entire Bay Area is experiencing this, but for Pacifica, the problem is growing larger. Not only should this problem be addressed for Pacifica, but for the entire Bay Area, as well.


Posted by Steve Sinai


Anonymous said...

waaa housing is too expensive waaaaa

please move some where that you can afford

Bernie Saunders will not be president and he won't be giving out everything for free.

Anonymous said...

I think the secret to buying is working hard and saving. I see plenty of young married couples who are buying, in Pacifica. I do have to say they have been working hard for a long time. It is possible.

Anonymous said...

5% of the population saves money.

Regardless of how much they make.