Palo Alto Weekly

News - March 20, 2009

Google exec plans 6,000-square-foot home

Larry Page to build eco-friendly house in Old Palo Alto neighborhood

by Carol Blitzer

Try Googling Google Co-founder Larry Page and you won't find out much -- certainly not about what he's got in mind for his Old Palo Alto home.

But next week he's planning to apply for a permit to build a new, nearly 6,000-square-foot house, on the more than 0.75-acre lot, according to Page's spokesman.

The new lot is adjacent to the historic property where, according to neighbors, he currently lives.

The modern, two-story home will be sited nearly in the middle, with many of the property's 60-plus trees retained to screen the home from the street and neighbors, the plans indicate. It will feature four bedrooms and a full basement.

The home will also be environmentally friendly, the spokesman said.

Page is working with an arborist to replace some trees that are in poor health with others that use less water.

He is also applying for Green Point Certification, with points given for use of recycled and low or no-VOC (volatile organic compound) materials and a roof garden with solar panels. Other eco-friendly elements include use of grasscrete pavers, pervious paving in the parking court and a pervious path through the trees.

"The house is designed to minimize the impact on the environment," the spokesman said, adding that the application exceeds the minimum points to qualify for the Green Point rating.

The home's exterior features zinc cladding and plenty of windows, including a wall of sliding-glass doors in the rear, the plans indicate.

Under current Palo Alto regulations, Page could build another 5,000 square feet of "accessory structures," a guest house (up to 900 square feet), pool house or art studio, for example, according to Curtis Williams, the city's interim director of planning. The previous home on his lot was about 4,500 square feet. The planned 3,540-square-foot basement is not figured in the building cap.

Old Palo Alto neighbors have expressed curiosity -- and some dismay -- about what's happening on Page's block, since several older homes were demolished in the past year (only some by Page). Page has been reportedly buying up adjacent properties for the past few years, all under various limited-liability company names, according to Santa Clara County public records and neighbors.

Page's spokesman would not confirm Page's current address, nor that the Google co-founder also owns a third neighboring property. But city regulations would not allow him to merge any of the land, since lot mergers are prohibited when the combined properties exceed 19,999 square feet, Williams said.

But that wouldn't preclude Page from adding an accessory structure to the neighboring lot that he owns -- such as a tennis court or swimming pool -- as long as there was also a house on the property.

Neighbors aren't just being nosy. They expressed concerns over what might come to the area.

Ralph Britton, a retired electronic engineer and board member of Palo Alto Stanford Heritage, was walking the neighborhood when he noticed demolitions on four separate properties in Page's block.

"I noticed a house coming down, walked and saw another, and realized they were contiguous," Britton said. He described one house as elegant with a lot of land around it, a swimming pool in back and nice landscaping -- much of which is still there. Another former home around the corner he called "imposing."

Britton's concern is with the changing character of the neighborhood, as smaller, more modest homes are replaced with mega-houses. But, he acknowledges, more of that is occurring between Alma and Emerson streets than on Page's block, noting that the houses torn down were already "larger than most of the houses in the neighborhood even then."

And, of course, neighbors are also concerned with the mess of construction, as well as possible damage to streets from heavy trucks.

"There's constant noise and confusion; when one finishes, the other starts," Britton said.

But fences are already up, including mesh around protected trees, on the Page property, in preparation for construction, which cannot begin until the city approves a permit.

As for Page, "Larry has lived in Palo Alto for many years and has a tremendous appreciation for the local community," his spokesman said.

Associate Editor Carol Blitzer can be e-mailed at cblitzer@paweekly.com.

Comments

Posted by neighbor, a resident of another community
on Mar 20, 2009 at 9:15 am

3--2--1....Let the hysterical letters begin!


Posted by Go Larry Page!!!, a resident of Professorville
on Mar 20, 2009 at 9:25 am

Let's see he can build up to a 11,000 square foot home and is building a 6000 square foot home. The house will be environmentally friendly and he is working with an arborist about the trees.
Do you think that will appease the naysayers and NIMBYists. I doubt it. I am sure we will soon be hearing from those accusing him of building a McMansion and.or a Taco Bell home (the usual PA insults for other's homes--of course those that use those terms do not consider them to be insults--this is PA after all).
I am also sure that there arethose who are trying to figure out how to get this into the never-ending PA process pipeline. After all nothing can ever change in Palo Alto.


Posted by Madam NIMBY, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 20, 2009 at 9:37 am

How long until Old Palo Alto becomes a gated community?

With a Wackenhut security Armed Guard at all points of entrance.



Posted by Bob Harrington, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 20, 2009 at 10:06 am

Larry Page and his family must be attracted to the Palo Alto community for the many reasons the rest of us love it so.

With just a little interest expressed by this new neighbor, I'll bet Fiber to the Premise (FTTP) could become a citywide reality before the new Page home is ready for occupancy. The City has virtually all the elements of success in hand ready to be knit together in an innovative way.

Innovators have played a major role in strengthening Palo Alto for over one hundred years. To keep our community strong, we cannot just be caretakers. We need to be willing to roll up our sleeves occasionally on behalf of one civic project or another where we can make a difference for the common good.

FTTP would make a nice 'house warming gift' for the entire community; a gift that just keeps on giving.

In any event, welcome to Palo Alto to the Page family.


Posted by Mark G, a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 20, 2009 at 10:31 am

He wants a full basement. So doesn't the mean from the street it will look like a 3K' home? Not to mention he could do 11K'. Isn't this a win-win?


Posted by PATroll, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 20, 2009 at 10:37 am

Bob,

Don't Comcast and AT&T already serve our communication needs well enough? I'm sure Larry has this view :-)

- PATroll


Posted by Condi, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 20, 2009 at 10:40 am

What is the address of this house?


Posted by Tara Stein, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 20, 2009 at 10:47 am

I think it is great that he is building a smaller house than permitted (6k sq ft compared to the 11k that he could have built), is concerned about keeping the trees, and is building green. If more wealthy people would build homes that are "environmentally friendly," I believe it would give a great boost to the renewable energy/green sector of our economy. If I am thinking of the right block, then there is another "Leed certified" green house being built across the street. If one feels they must build a new house, then this is the way to go.


Posted by tj, a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 20, 2009 at 11:06 am

Bob, maybe I'm missing here, but why would a Google exec like him, who is acquainted with the latest in technology, be impressed with something clunky and bureaucratic like the city's fiber-to-the-premise program?

I view FTTP as an embarrassment because it illustrates how poorly our city government does when managing anything involving technology. It makes me think back to how we were the last city in the Bay Area to get cable TV because of all of the infighting over who would run our cable franchise. The lesson of the 80s cable fiasco and the current FTTP fiasco is that the city government should stick to the basics -- maintaining the streets, providing fire and police service, keeping the storm drains clear -- and leave the technology to the private sector.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 20, 2009 at 11:27 am

I believe the maximum you can build on a single lot in PA is 6000 sq ft. This does not include the basement. You can build a building on each of your lots - a pool house, guest house, etc. Knowing where these lots are, it does look like they are taking care to preserve the beautiful trees.


Posted by Go Larry Page!!!, a resident of Professorville
on Mar 20, 2009 at 11:29 am

Palo Alto Mom--from the story:

"Under current Palo Alto regulations, Page could have built close to an 11,000-square-feet house, according to Curtis Williams, the city's interim director of planning. The previous home on his lot was about 4,500 square feet."


Posted by Palo Altan, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 20, 2009 at 11:41 am

Mr. Page's spokesman said that this house will be "environmentally friendly", and it is "designed to minimize the impact to the environment". Not so, if this house will have a full basement, and possibly a swimming pool. With the aqua fers( underground streams) that are present in Palo Alto there will be drinkable water that will need to be removed. Often that water flows to neighbors' houses causing damage to their foundations. Since Mr. Page has lived in Palo Alto for many years and according to his spokesman has a "tremendous appreciation for the local community" , I recommend he not build a basement, or a swimming pool.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 20, 2009 at 11:45 am

Per the city of PA zoning docs, chapter 18.12, page 4, the maximum house size is 6000 feet.

Web Link


Posted by Go Larry Page!!!, a resident of Professorville
on Mar 20, 2009 at 11:58 am

Palo Alto mom--then I wonder where Mr Williams is getting his numbers from since he clearly states:

"Under current Palo Alto regulations, Page could have built close to an 11,000-square-feet house, according to Curtis Williams, the city's interim director of planning. "


Posted by gem, a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 20, 2009 at 12:01 pm

A brand new, 6,000 foot house is not "eco-friendly". Brand new things take resources, big houses are not green by default. I don't care what agency you have paid to certify your new building as "green"- environmentally friendly is living in and upgrading the house you have, not filling landfills with demolished houses and running heavy equipment for months.


Posted by Brendan, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 20, 2009 at 12:04 pm

tj,

You stated..."and leave the technology to the private sector"

While, I agree with you in the general case, I strongly disagree with respect to broadband:

Web Link

The common excuse for such poor progress is that the US is too sparsely populated to match Japan/South Korea, but that argument doesn't hold water when you factor in Sweden and Finland's broadband penetration.

I feel that failing to address this and other factors in the so-called "digital divide" will impact our (continued) ability to compete in an increasingly competitive global marketplace. I don't care whether the answer comes from the private or public sector, but (as of now) the private sector isn't working!

- Brendan


Posted by Go Larry Page!!!, a resident of Professorville
on Mar 20, 2009 at 12:13 pm

Gem--and you base your definition of "environmentally friendly" on what?
So new buildings that have been built cannot be considered environmental friendly?
You had better call the City Council and let them know that they cannot build a new police building based on your definition of "environmentally friendly ".


Posted by P.A. Native, a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 20, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Ok, so in Palo Alto HSR is bad and multi-lot mansions in residentials is good. Glad we cleared that up. Up is officially down in the city of Palo Alto.


Posted by Always the Schools, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 20, 2009 at 1:58 pm

"What is the address of this house?" I could tell you but for obvious reasons this information is not being made public by the Weekly.

I guess Larry Page is preparing to live in Palo Alto for the same reasons Steve Jobs and Steve Young live here; he wants his children to attend Palo Alto schools.

After all, Professorville is quite a nice neighborhood!!!


Posted by Bob Harrington, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 20, 2009 at 2:07 pm

As the 20th century wound to a close, private sector telecom companies morphed themselves from public utilities into profit driven private enterprises aiming for 40% profit margins. They have drifted far away from the customer service and community service model which served America well.

With Japan, Korea, and many European countries installing nationwide fiber networks all the way to the home, then mandating (except Japan) that their fiber networks must remain open for competition to flourish, it is no wonder that America's cost per Mbps to move data is 5 to 10 times what users pay in these more advanced nations.

Silicon Valley is doing its best to compete in the world across many high tech and green industries with one hand tied behind its back by telecom policies and their private sector corporate strategies. Over time, the price disparity alone will put Silicon Valley's head on a chopping block.

America's telecom system is failing at least Silicon Valley on a number of fronts:

1) AT&T and Comcast prices are high and drift higher year by year, the only relief in sight is true competition from FTTP.

2) Speeds quoted by the incumbents with their 'networks on the cheap' are downlink speeds only, their uplink speed is typically throttled to about 1/10 the down speed.

3) FTTP speeds are symmetric, the same both ways. This encourages innovation since now the guy or gal of any age can work on the biggest files in their home and move them back and forth between headquarters or school without limitation. This will really begin to be appreciated as full screen digital video, then HD video becomes our communication method of choice, popularized by none other than Google's YouTube.

4) Closed networks make their owners the king of the hill; AT&T and Comcast love this. They call the shots. Network neutrality, pricing, programming, answering the phone, everything...all on their terms; like it or lump it.

5) Open networks truly level the playing field, putting EVERY competitor on the same virtually unlimited capacity fiber network to duke it out for customers fair and square. Economies of scale drive prices lower.

6) Fiber is far more reliable than legacy copper.

7) Fiber does the heavy lifting when a WiFi network is installed as an overlay as Palo Alto is considering. You know how frustrated iPhone users become trying to find a reliable AT&T signal in Palo Alto? A WiFi overlay would solve this problem nicely and many more like it. This should bring a smile to the face of Mr. Page's accomplished neighbor.

Which solution do you think the Page family might prefer; the one limiting bandwidth or the one with unlimited bandwidth? I'm guessing the latter, especially since FTTP is designed to pay for itself with user fees, then WE own it.


Posted by Brendan, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 20, 2009 at 2:16 pm

I'm with Bob regarding FTTP. The private sector (especially the ILEC monopolies) is into squeezing profit out of existing infrastructure, not building for the (our) future.


Posted by Old Fashioned, a resident of Stanford
on Mar 20, 2009 at 2:41 pm

Six thousand square feet is never eco-friendly. You're not fooling anyone into believing that, Larry. Get real. 'Nuf sed.


Posted by Deep Throat, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 20, 2009 at 3:24 pm

Palo Alto Mom and Go Larry Page!:

Curtis Williams is probably getting his incorrect numbers about allowable floor area in the R-1 zone district from Interim Deputy City Manager Steve Emslie.

-------------------

Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of the Embarcadero Oaks/Leland neighborhood, 3 hours ago

Per the city of PA zoning docs, chapter 18.12, page 4, the maximum house size is 6000 feet.

Posted by Go Larry Page!!!, a resident of the Professorville neighborhood, 3 hours ago

Palo Alto mom--then I wonder where Mr Williams is getting his numbers from since he clearly states:




"Under current Palo Alto regulations, Page could have built close to an 11,000-square-feet house, according to Curtis Williams, the city's interim director of planning. "




Posted by YouShouldKnow, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 20, 2009 at 3:29 pm

Awww who cares? It's happening all over this City. At least his plan doesn't sound like the hideous McMansions being built all around town.

I heart Google. Well, most of the time. I'd love it even more if they hired people over 30! Regardless, Google sure has made a lot of our lives easier!


Posted by Carol Blitzer, Palo Alto Weekly associate editor, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 20, 2009 at 3:43 pm

Thanks to Palo Alto Mom for pointing out that Palo Alto's maximum house size is 6,000 square feet, not 11,000 as I reported. Just chatted with Jason Nortz, a Palo Alto planner, who double-checked that the R-1 Zone property indeed had the 6K cap. He wasn't positive that a larger home couldn't be built in another zone (remember the WebTV guy's house in Palo Alto Hills?). I'll look into this on Monday, when City Hall is next open.
Bottom line: Larry Page's house (at 5,971 square feet) is within city size limitations -- and his 3,540-square-foot basement doesn't count.


Posted by Hulkamania, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 20, 2009 at 3:57 pm

Larry will install an earth station that will link him to the nearest Google satellite. This should give him approximately 20 Gbps of bandwidth that he can use to feed the 1,000 inch flat screen TV that he'll have set up in the back yard.


Posted by Works for Yahoo!, a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 20, 2009 at 4:02 pm

"I heart Google. Well, most of the time. I'd love it even more if they hired people over 30! Regardless, Google sure has made a lot of our lives easier!"


Puuuuuuuuuuuuuuke! Unabashed love. Let me know how that works out for you.


Posted by Carol Blitzer, assistant editor of the Palo Alto Weekly
on Mar 20, 2009 at 4:06 pm

Carol Blitzer is a registered user.

Curtis Williams, interim director of planning for Palo Alto, just clarified the 11,000-square-foot maximum structure: 6,000 square feet is for the house, and another 5,000 square feet could be built in accessory structures. These could include a guest house (maximum 900 square feet), pool house, art studio, etc.


Posted by McMansionhater, a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 20, 2009 at 5:08 pm

You have to love all cookiecutter houses they've built on waverly!


Posted by YouShouldKnow, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 20, 2009 at 6:06 pm

Yahoo! Google works just fine for me. I'm a Google addict. Obviously. Pick a subject. Do a search with all engines. See who has the best results. Google. Hands down. So irritated that Verizon isn't going with Google as their default search engine!


Posted by Google groupie, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 20, 2009 at 6:16 pm

Google has a great search engine, and has done a lot of good. Brin and Page have been good stewards in a tough environment. Google does have problems: one big problem is ageism. A walk through the Google campus is enlightening in that regard.


Posted by Palo Alto neighbor, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 20, 2009 at 6:23 pm

Leave the guy alone...his private life is just that...private. He is building a home, like others have, in a quiet neighborhood and from all accounts the home is well within the bell curve of others in that neighborhood. In this tech area, we should welcome technologists and their families, not poke and pick and gossip and stare...


Posted by rawson, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 20, 2009 at 6:59 pm

6,000 sq "green" house? He is entitled to build it if he wills, but such a lavish standard is not in my opinion green.


Posted by Just lucky I quess, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 20, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Just to correct some erroneous info about ageism. A member of my family works at GOOGLE and he's over 40!!!


Posted by 14k/yr, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 20, 2009 at 7:32 pm

Well, at least somebody is helping to fund the schools.
Thank you Larry.


Posted by Go Larry Page!!, a resident of Professorville
on Mar 20, 2009 at 8:08 pm

Rawson--what size home is the cutoff for being considered "green"? Green is overrated in Palo Alto--it is a catchall phrase that our council and citiznes like to bandy about to show how environmentally friendlythey are. It is all a croc


Posted by Jarred, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 20, 2009 at 8:57 pm

Larry Page brought great value to the world with Google, became deservedly wealthy as a consequence, and now he's building a nice house. He will neither break any law nor hurt anyone by doing so. I'm not sure why anyone would have a problem with this--is it jealousy couched as environmentalism, or just a control-freak temperament?


Posted by Meth_mom, a resident of Woodside
on Mar 20, 2009 at 8:57 pm

Employing generation x and y is a good thing. Baby boomers have had their day and it has impressed no one. No one has sympathy that they wasted their retirement on overpriced homes and priuses. I'm not hiring them because I feel sorry, I am hiring because I have long term interests in mind.


Posted by YouShouldKnow, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 20, 2009 at 11:14 pm

Glad YOU aren't hiring quality people like me METHmom, you wouldn't know what do do with us. Besides, I don't have an attorney on retainer and cold sidewalks are hell on aging knees. Let me fill you in on older workers. They are more mature, more stable and loyal. There were a few studies released last year alone that revealed how younger workers have a tendency to job shop around, always seeking new opportunities. They have lower tolerance levels for the occasional tedium that comes with any job. The studies stated that employers seeking to keep their companies staffed with young employees are missing out on invaluable experience and reliability that can be provided by older workers.

I have to laugh at the comment that baby boomers failed to impress? Are you typing that comment on your PC or your Apple Mac? Why don't you let Jobs, Wozniak and Gates know your opinion? Baby boomers enjoyed and participated in a life that was rich, full of ideals, and effected change. Boomers have been a creative force in the area of inventions that make your life easier every day. Boomers are responsible for an era that shook up an entire culture.

It's a shame people like you look down on the people that came before you. That is the attitude that keeps the Google campus fairly elementary school, and the Facebook campus, Romper Room. This, even though if you look at the demographics of the people using these services, the largest increase has been baby boomers. I can't tell you how many people I have taken the time to coach in how to use Google, and the Internet. I can perhaps explain it a bit better, being of an age that understands the issues of older people, yet still young enough to totally get into and learn the newer technology.

I remember back in early eighties, working for St. James Infirmary and waiting on a group of guys who rode their bicycles there to have lunch, take over the party room and lay out plans, have long working meetings. I waited on those guys. Know what company they were forming? Oh right, this old baby boomer does. Sun Microsystems. Oh no!!! More baby boomers!

I have some advice for you sugar. Unless you really know what you are talking about, pipe down. You are giving me and probably a few hundred other people agita.

By the way Gen X, Y....see you on the Dark Side of the Moon. Oh wait, y'all haven't gotten there yet!



Posted by YouShouldKnow, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 20, 2009 at 11:18 pm

P.S. Baby Boomers also know better than to use a hyphy screen name of a highly addictive drug.

Now it's your turn to tell me it really means something else and I am too old to 'get' that.


Posted by Over40, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 21, 2009 at 7:55 am

I know atleast 7 people who are over 40 and are working at Google. They hire people of all ages if the person is qualified for the job ..


Posted by Bob, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 21, 2009 at 9:28 am

> I know at least 7 people who are over 40 and are working at Google. They hire people of all ages if the person is qualified for the job.

Well, no, they don't. They hire very few people over 40. Young workers are cheaper (Google pays very low salaries) and have fewer health issues (Google has low benefits). Older workers tend to have children, etc.


Posted by Laura, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 21, 2009 at 9:31 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 21, 2009 at 10:28 am

Just hope he doesn't erect a hockey rink with dome cover and attendant noise/visual blight for the neighbors like a certain famous Sun executive did on the PA/Portola Valley border as recently reported in the media
If he can go green, that would be great, I hope he considers doing more on that


Posted by YouShouldKnow, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 21, 2009 at 10:52 am

I know someone almost 50 who works at Google too. There are always exceptions. Fact is, there are very few. In all my years of job experience I worked with people of all ages and never thought a thing about it. With the exception of working at an ice cream parlor or pizza place, the idea of a young company in terms of worker age didn't exist. That's a relatively new phenomenon brought about by the tech industry. I wouldn't mind a 'low' salary and ANY health benefits would be more than I have now. A job is a job and Google is an interesting product. Hell, I can bring my dog to work and play air hockey while plugged into my iPod listening to Coldplay! As long as I can have a break at 4 to watch Matlock and quickly check my dentures and support hose I'll be just fine!


I kind of laugh to myself when I think about how these ageists will feel once they start hitting 40 and beyond.

Regardless, I think it's great that Mr. Page is sticking around and is doing what he's doing in such a way that he's not buildimg an ostentatious eyesore as so many others are.


Posted by Laura, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 21, 2009 at 11:31 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Kate, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 21, 2009 at 1:55 pm

How much water, electricity, etc. do I have to save to supply this house? Tht carbon footprint is going to be a lot bigger than my little one where we are cold all the time. And if he's going to build it, maybe he can pay to resurface one of the worst streets in town so it doesn't ruin the shocks on his Mercedes or whatever. And that area is NOT "Professorville" which reportedly ends at Embarcadero.


Posted by That Guy, a resident of another community
on Mar 21, 2009 at 2:07 pm

It's funny how I only use Yahoo! for search and not Google, yet I'm still able to find everything I'm looking for on the internet. I must be REALLY good at searching. Either that or Yahoo! is secretly using Google for the super awesome search results they deliver.


Posted by YouShouldKnow, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 21, 2009 at 2:14 pm

I just realized something ironic that's actually pretty amusing too.

If I go on Google Earth right now, and punch in my own address, I can see my house. Front and center, coming and going. Hit another button, I can see my own backyard. Use yet another function, I can pull in the picture tight enough to read the plate numbers on my cars, to read the numbers on my house. Every little detail for the whole world to see, brought to you courtesy of Google.

If I go to Google Web, I can pull up a lot of information on myself, even some that is supposed to be considered private record. Wonder how it got there?

Ditto on Google images. Who am I? A nobody really. Yet thanks to Google, their Earth and Zaba search and other tools I am somebody, as are most of us now thanks to the Internet.

Then I look on here and watch Palo Alto On Line deleting Mr. Pages address. Ironic, and a bit hypocritical, dontchya think?


Posted by Meth_mom, a resident of Woodside
on Mar 21, 2009 at 6:47 pm

Citing Sun Microsystems as a great creation of baby boomers, much less Stanford grads is a joke. Have you looked at their last 7 years of financial statements? Now their getting bought out by the company they always annoyed like flys on S for around $8 a share. Sun is a textbook example of how seemingly bright people really aren't skilled at business.

This company disposed of all their energetic, risktaking, visionary and mostly young employees in 2001. See what happens?


Posted by TwoSides, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 21, 2009 at 7:39 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Susan with a dog, a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 21, 2009 at 9:49 pm

Google puts every house and every address on the web, but somehow, their own homes are supposed to be secret? And this newspaper is covering up for them? It's hypocritical.


Posted by TwoSides, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 21, 2009 at 9:52 pm

Ditto that comment Susan and YSK. All of our info is on Google, and more than once! I see on Google Earth pictures taken of this house from two different times of the year! Not quite sure why they did it again, being that the first drive by's were adequate. I didn't offer up my home for the entire world to see, but there it is. So, what's good for the goose and all that...

This City is a small place in a lot of ways, everyone knows where our more prominant citizens live. We are respectful of their privacy. Thats why this is such a good place to live.


Posted by YSK, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 21, 2009 at 10:43 pm

I bet Suns financial statements and accomplishments makes yours look like a 5th graders allowance and science fair project.

Nothing to say about Jobs, Gates and Wozniak? That's convenient. About the sexual revolution? About the battles for Civil Rights?

How about this, which I found on, ahem, Google: Steinhorn writes, boomers were passionate idealists who demanded that America live up to its ideals. Disillusioned by official lies about Vietnam, appalled by America's pervasive racism, rejecting double standards for and discrimination against women, unwilling to blindly accept authority, the boomers fought for a more tolerant, enlightened, transparent and just society. Rather than being moral relativists or anything-goes nihilists, Steinhorn argues, they in fact embodied a deeply ethical and committed vision. "Given the Baby Boom's staunch values, their devotion to egalitarian and inclusive principles, how curious that some critics accuse Boomers of lacking a moral compass and imposing a reckless relativism on the rest of society," he writes.


What have your gen X'ers done lately? Oh I know, didn't research their comments before making ludicrous assertions.


Posted by Jane, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 21, 2009 at 11:14 pm

It'd be really cool if the rich didn't always decide to live in luxury; it's bad for the environment, simple as that. But I can see why someone would if they had the choice: working in a city environment is stressful, whether you're an executive or a low-salary worker.

I like to buy organic food and cook all my own meals...But I'm a college student now, and in reality I probably am screwing myself over financially in the future by doing that.

If I had the money to live in a nice house and eat nice food, I would. But I wouldn't tear down one house and build a new one, and the nice food I bought would all be organic, and as local as could be.
Basically, I think anyone who can afford to be that kind to the environment should be; it's part of the responsibility that comes with the money.

That's in theory anyway...I don't think it's all that helpful to criticize one guy in particular, but Page's deal is a good example.

And besides, I'm homesick.


Posted by Partial solution, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 22, 2009 at 2:15 pm

I'd forgive some of his sins if he would donate some of his talented workers to fix the city's joke of a website.
Could we get, maybe just for starters, a search engine that didn't bring up 2006 on top, when you asked for 2009?
I hope they save the current site because it will be good for laughs in a few years.


Posted by Ada, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 22, 2009 at 2:36 pm

All those who object to Larry's aspiration to build a nice house - and I bet it will be a nice one - are probably just envious, living in ugly eichlers or ranch houses. Palo Alto housing is 90% ugly track housing or faceless characterless cottages. I welcome every project that shows some taste, and an environmental twist is always a plus.


Posted by Lynn, a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 22, 2009 at 2:38 pm

Partial Solution, what sins of Larry are you referring to? Just that he made money and a cool successful company that employs many in Bay Area?


Posted by TiredOfThis, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 22, 2009 at 4:05 pm

Tract housing. And, I like Eichlers.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 22, 2009 at 5:01 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Every house within a half mile of his will be worth a couplathou more. Quitchabellyachin.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 22, 2009 at 5:57 pm

For those who live close by these moguls, do you notice more traffic owing to services being provided at the property? That seems a given and not a positive thing for quality of life.


Posted by resident, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 22, 2009 at 7:27 pm

Capitalism is good. Way to go Larry. I support this. Just be careful, we're in an age of a socialist mood where people are angry and really do want to lynch the wealthy.


Posted by YSK, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 22, 2009 at 10:38 pm

Yeah, socialism except for the Obama cronies and elite. What is that? 90% socialism?


Posted by Palo Altan, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 23, 2009 at 11:28 am

It is his own business re building his house. But when his spokesman says that it is environmentally friendly, I take issue. Unfortunately,the Palo Alto Building Depart. is still allowing basements to be built and does not count the footage. But, the aquifers are present in Palo Alto and that water needs to go somewhere else. I hope that Larry's neighbors will be sympathetic if/when that water damages their foundations. I would recommend no basement to be environmentally friendly, and caring towards adjacent neighbors.
Palo Alto native, now living in Mountain View- The HSR reps. did not give us details about it UNTIL after the Nov. vote. Many of us do not want it on the Caltrain corridor. There is not enough room for 6 tracks. Houses all along it will have to be torn down. The noise level will be higher than they are saying. Caltrain is adding more and longer trains. The advantages that the reps are saying are not true.


Posted by Julie, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 23, 2009 at 11:33 am

I doubt Larry reads this. I wish we had more people buy up surrounding lots to make more room for landscaped gardens and such. Only benefits from that - Palo Alto will have less people per sq. ft and bigger lots with plush gardens.
I wish someone buys lots around my house and turns them into luxurious properties. I am willing to put up with construction noise for several years just to see my property value increase.


Posted by Albert K Henning, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 24, 2009 at 3:07 pm

To Palo Altan,

Your comment about basements and water tables is incorrect. California (namely, the Bay Area and LA) is virtually the only place in my experience where basements are rare. In the Midwest, New England, Mid-Atlantic, and Rocky Mt areas, basements are the norm. (And, land is not as dear in these places as here; making the absence of basements here even less understandable.) Many of these areas have similar water table profiles to PA. There are no problems with putting in basements. Even in some areas of Chicago, prone to flooding, basements are still the norm, although they may come with sump pumps.

In New England, it is in fact *cheaper* to put in a basement foundation, than simply a slab foundation. Why the permit process, and the building trades, make it more expensive here, is beyond me. I have never understood this; maybe someone here can explain it. (I happen to live in a flood plain. Having a full basement would increase flood insurance; indeed, even having a crawl space can increase flood insurance. Beyond that, however, I don't see a practical reason why one couldn't have a basement, and don't understand city regulations which prevent having such.)

PA largely speaking (that is, in the flatland areas) gets its water from Hetch Hetchy, not from aquifers.

And the impact of a basement on neighbors will be nil: houses in other regions of the country where basements are the norm have no issues, even when houses are sited much more closely than they are in PA.


Posted by Gary Gechlik, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on May 25, 2009 at 8:43 pm

I support Larry Page. He has contributed a great deal to American life through his hard work and his desire to promote change. Most people know about his important impact on Search Engines at Google, but he also made a great contribution to library services through book scanning.

In life, we have to look beyond house size to understand what is good for the community. Larry Page is building a house that is environmentally friendly on the whole. This is really an investment for the community. Furthermore, Page could have moved to many other areas but chose Palo Alto. Palo Alto should be delighted that Larry Page would consider settling down in the community.

Instead of creating restrictions for young individuals that promise change and advancement, we have to create the environment that welcomes people like Larry Page. In this deep economic downturn, I believe we need to welcome jobs rather than create additional barriers.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 26, 2009 at 12:52 am

Billionaires live in a different realm than most of us. That said, four bedrooms, 6,000-square-feet on a 3/4 acre lot doesn't sound that bad.

True, new construction is inherently not green. It does sounds like Page is doing things to make the house energy efficient--i.e. solar panels. He's also building in a small city within walking distance of the downtown and biking distance of his work. He could be doing be doing the typical mega-millionaire thing of living up in the hills and, say, building a skating rink . . .

So as far insanely rich people go, I'll give Page some credit here. Not that he gives a damn.


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