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Fallacious arguments about Pacaso
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Napa Valley Register

Fallacious arguments about Pacaso

By Paula French

In response to Phil Nova’s letter “In Defense of Pacaso” (June 22):

1. Your carpool analogy is a false equivalence. Carpools put multiple riders in a vehicle at the same time. Pacaso does not put eight strangers in the home at the same time. However; carpools do use the carpool lanes when available and tourists should be using the hotels and B&Bs available.

2. Pacaso does not take “ultra-luxury homes worth millions of dollars each” and divvy them up. The Rainier home was a 1950s flat-roofed starter home in a working-class neighborhood that was originally purchased by a flipper for around $500k. A family, possibly a family of color, or an LGBTQ+ family might have purchased that home. Likely the flipper bought it for Pacaso, because we heard that a family had the lowest bid, which was still over a million dollars. Pacaso’s predatory purchasing power offered slightly more but all cash, one week close. The family never had a chance, so your point that the home would not have been available to a family is also fallacious.

3. Packing eight people into one home is not better for the housing supply. Those eight likely would not have purchased a second home for the current avg price of $700k in this neighborhood. Pacaso opened up second homeownership to an entirely new group of buyers. No. A family was looking at it and Pacaso cut them off at the knees.

4. Lastly, your implication that this has anything to do with segregation is insulting and sounds like the company line from Pacaso. We are opposed to the intended use of the property, not to those who might have purchased it. What if that family who bid on that home were POC? Do you think that Pacaso would have let the home go to them so that we could possibly see some real progress in adding diversity to this valley? I doubt it.

Your assertion that restricting timeshares keeps Napa inaccessible to new, diverse residents is laughable, and also a Pacaso company line. At the original estimated sale in the $500k range, it's very likely that a family of color, or a family with two fathers, or two mothers, could have purchased that home.

The homes that Pacaso has sucked up in St. Helena are small homes with values that are now obscene because of second home and vacation buyers and, as LLCs, will never house a family full time again. None of the children of those time shareowners will attend school in St. Helena.

Pacaso may not carry all the blame but they are a contributing cause and they can’t even acknowledge it. Maybe you should have gotten a few more facts before you jumped in to be Pacaso’s cheerleader.

You’re correct about innovation being needed to assist with homeownership, but timeshares are not the answer. These people are sucking up second and third homes either in total, or fractional parts while you and your generation are hoping for your chance to own your first.

Pacaso isn’t providing the kind of innovation that will keep homeownership in a healthy community within reach. They aren’t providing innovation or creativity to assist first home buyers.

No, they are sucking up residential homes for insane amounts of cash and carving them up so they can take their piece of the pie, and to hell with the quality and health of the communities they are carving up. Your own (now former) mayor of Sonoma put it best when he said that Pacaso was putting the last nail in the coffin of middle-class homeownership in these valleys. You do know that your mayor stepped down, in part, to take a position and to move to an area where he, himself, would be able to afford a home for himself and his family? That speaks volumes.