Author: Ray Bramson (Ray Bramson)

Bramson: Empty office and retail sites could be used for housing

Vacant storefronts with “For Lease” signs fading in the windows. Abandoned strip malls with a sea of empty concrete spaces. Massive corporate offices from a bygone, pre-virtual era, sitting unoccupied, desolate, forgotten. Sadly, this is the post-pandemic narrative for many California cities, suburbs and exurbs these days. Along with an unexpected financial collapse and a...

Bramson: Stepping up or getting out of the way

In a recent 2021 poll by the Bay Area Council, homelessness dominated the concerns of most residents in our region. Raise your hand if you’re surprised. The fact is we all see the tragic impacts of people forced to sleep outside and it’s truly horrifying. Human beings living and dying along our highways and creeks....

Bramson: How to build a downtown best in San Jose

On any given day, try taking a stroll down the main boulevard of Santana Row. There are people dining at expensive restaurants, sipping on decadent drinks, shopping at luxury stores and enjoying a safe, cultivated, undisturbed sunny afternoon. Some people think this carefully manicured Silicon Valley fantasy is the best San Jose has to offer....

Bramson: The write stuff to say about poverty

Have you noticed how often homelessness and poverty are crowding your news media feeds lately? It’s everywhere from Nextdoor to the nightly news to your local paper. Evictions, encampments, unemployment, affordable housing developments, community responses, failures and new reports. And without question, there is a growing fascination with finding the headline grabbers that scrutinize and...

Bramson: Do you know how to stay in San Jose?

In a 2020 tweet — that really could have been a sound byte from any platform in the last century or so — a former U.S. president claimed a victory that “people living their Suburban Lifestyle Dream would no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low income housing built in your neighborhood.” It...

Bramson: No easy answers for poverty in a pandemic

Amid all of the chaos of the past few weeks, I find myself dumbfounded by the raging national debate over the amount of stimulus checks. Whether it’s $600, $2,000, or any other one-time denomination, part of the discourse feels like our leaders are agreeing that we should be allowed to eat cake, but still not...

Bramson: Finding it hard to sleep tonight

With an utterly horrific and terrifying year nearly wrapped up, I have spent the past few weeks thinking about what gifts might still be under the tree despite all the carnage. And I have to admit it’s hard to get in a festive mood this holiday season. The pandemic is still raging across the country,...

Bramson: How we can get out of the way for affordable housing

On the heels of an historic year that has hammered poorest people the hardest, I find myself thinking about the future of affordable housing. Even in the best of times, it’s a tough row to hoe. From finding a place where it’s even feasible to build to navigating the complex innerworkings of the local land...

Bramson: When ballots open doors

With the election season now crashing down upon us, it’s a good time to think about how your vote might open – or close – some doors for your fellow residents in the days ahead. Oddly, despite a housing crisis of epic proportions, a tsunami of anticipated evictions and hundreds of thousands of people seeking...

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