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Moving to Palo Alto

Original post made by Maryland-er on Jun 12, 2008

My husband has a job offer from a company in the Bay Area and we are going to move to the Bay Area over the summer. A lot of his colleagues recommended Palo Alto to us. We have a middle schooler and a high schooler.

I found a lot of good things on the web about Palo Alto and then I stumbled onto this forum.... Makes me wonder if we need to re-think our decision of renting in Palo Alto !

Comments (49)

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2008 at 1:01 pm


It is a nice place really, just has a few issues and some vocal residents. The people you meet around here are generally nice though.

Posted by Lois, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 12, 2008 at 1:09 pm

It all depends of whether you've got school age kids. If not many of the Cities around Palo Alto are very nice and some are far more reasonable to live in.

Yes, Palo Alto politics are goofy, but you learn to live with it. We have our share of certified nut cases, but there are also some very nice people who live here.

Posted by Mary, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 12, 2008 at 1:39 pm


How long do you plan to stay? The reason I ask is that rental stock is low in Palo Alto, thus the rents are high. If you plan to stay at least five years, you might consider buying. I have lived here since the 1960s, and I have yet to see a true down market in home prices (flat, yes, but not down). One caveat: If the new ABAG housing quota goes through, then you are probably better off renting, becasue home prices will deteriorate.

The schools, in general, are good, however, your children will need to compete, if you want a top tier performance rating (translation: They will be accepted at an Ivy, from Palo Alto).

Warning: Do not shop Downtown, unless you are comfortable with panhandlers. Some of them are quite aggressive (especially towards women). California Ave. is probably better, in this regard.

A number of the neighborhoods are friendly, although it takes some time to get to know your neighbors. One of the friendliest is College Terrace. I have a friend who moved there five years ago, and she was welcomed ,immediately, by her neighbors.

There are lots of youth activities. If you are a soccer mom, you will do just fine, here. There are also many opportunities for non-soccer-moms (like me).

You have already figured out that we like to argue about politics, both local and beyond. That is to be expected among a pool of former valedictorians.

Give it a try. I think you might like it, since you seem willing to do your homework.

Posted by fireman, a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2008 at 1:45 pm

Your life and the lives of your children will be exposed to all that is wrong with this Country and this world. They will be exposed to a group of people who care little for fair play or moral values. Who feel that "THERE SYSTEM" is the only system. That what they say, not what they do. Is what they should be held to. Not the out come of there actions.
When a place and a group of people have all that PALO ALTO has to offer and turns it into. A CULTURE of FEAR, a City that will cover for the people who dance to the music of Self serving political misfits. Who have found the mother load for inept leaders. Where huge amounts of $$Funding is lost or wasted and then when you do not buy that the baby boomers are the ones that walked off with it. Or that City Employee's must always pay the price. For they are the cause of all wrong. While the small group of people with the power and the funding run lose doing who knows what?? And when you do find out what. All the rest of the ones you can not trust, want you to just forget about it. Or maybe the City will fight you in court to keep PUBLIC BUSINESS...... PRIVATE??? Hey just do not write it down.

Mr and Mrs CLEVER left town. When the City targeted them and turned all the City's Enforcers lose on them. FUNDED BY YOU THE TAX PAYER
If you do not play the game, HOLD the SYSTEM to be all, and PRAY TO PALO ALTO. They will send the COPS to your House to INVADE YOUR HOME AND LIFE...

Oh and I hope you do not have elderly friends. If they try to go for a walk. The streets are in such poor condition that they will trip fall and then pass a way from there injuries. They will then be bait for people who say. They should have not tried to walk, what is wrong with them? Send the butler to walk. And do not pick on the City of Palo Alto Employee's. They get paid less than the cheapest BMW would cost you. NICE??

Palo Alto had all the pieces. It was a special place. Not anymore. It is a place to stay a way from. But hey I only lived there and worked there. Worked for the CITY OF PALO ALTO.

Have you asked anyone who has had to DEAL WITH THE CITY OF PALO ALTO , What is was like?

Posted by Palo Parent, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 12, 2008 at 2:00 pm

See previous post about certified nut cases.

Posted by Ada, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 12, 2008 at 2:04 pm

My advice - rent where you might be able/hope to buy one day. You get used to the neighbourhood, kids get used to local school, so if you think you are here long term and if you can afford a house in Palo Alto, then rent here. If you can not afford a house in Palo Alto, look at Mountain View (Los Altos school district), Cupertino (Cupertino school district), Saratoga or Los Gatos. These towns can have more affordable housing and excellent schools.

Posted by Citizen, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 12, 2008 at 2:17 pm

Palo Parent - excellent comment.

Maryland-er - good luck with your move.

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 12, 2008 at 2:48 pm

A good thing is there are tons of families with children in Palo Alto and the level of education is very high

Posted by fireman, a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2008 at 4:15 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 12, 2008 at 4:31 pm

The opinions expressed on this forum are not all the representative of the town. This forum is a bit raw, opinionated, judgemental, and sometimes mean spirited, but the percentage of actual citizens that participate is pretty low, probably for the reasons listed above.

The climate (weather) in Palo Alto is one of the best on the Pennisula. Just the same I agree, rent first and learn the areas, different parts of Palo Alto have different feels.

The public schools are ranked very high nationally. They are very good for college prep.

The town has a nice park system, it is very bikeable. That said there are other nice towns on the pennisula, I'd suggest some others to consider, but I dont know where your husband will be commuting to or what your criteria is for a town to make roots in.

and take anything fireman posts with a grain of salt.
Welcome to the bay area.

Posted by fireman, a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2008 at 4:46 pm

Salt is better than the truth which no one likes in Palo Alto. It was once a very cool place. Caught the tail end of it.. There are some very special people. Too bad most of them have died,moved or just given up. Lots of places to live.. Just look at the forum. Do not even read the post just add up the Issues. That should tell you something?

I guess I got my salt shaker from living and working here for so many years?? It seems to rain salt. Some keep telling everyone it is gold. Well for some it is. I do not think so. Its white? Look into the Police Issues.
beatings, abuse "sexually" , handling of cases. Hey how about the Children Theatre, Enron, Utility department, Find out about a Culture of Fear. Remember this is the City that Willy-Nilly would not lower the flags for the fallen firefighters. Then cooked up some story about having a last minute blunder. Forgetting they had many days to prepare for this, however, it all was just a misunderstanding??

Posted by Barron Park Resident, a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 12, 2008 at 5:21 pm

Not sure if this is important to you, but of all the best middle school/high school districts in South Bay and Penninsula, Palo Alto and Los Gatos are more racially balanced than Cupertino or Saratoga. The latter two score highest on API, but are predominantly Asian, to the point that Caucasians are minority. And they tend to cluster most in high school - Asians with Asians, Caucasians with Caucasians, which is unfortunate but true. So if a racial balance is important to you, go with Palo Alto or Los Gatos.

Posted by carl, a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 12, 2008 at 6:55 pm

I do like Palo Alto, but I recommend you follow all the good advice given above about schools, renting, and checking nearby communities.

And any time you see a posting by fireman, skip it. As a minority of one he is not representative of the large majority. On a gaussian curve he is well past a 3 sigma end.

Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 12, 2008 at 8:21 pm

oh if you truly are still out there and want to be sold on P.A. Let us know, I can come up with a bunch of things I like about this town, I bet others could too, but I'm not going to type them if you have moved on.

Posted by Stuck in Palo Alto, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 12, 2008 at 8:51 pm

Palo Alto just stinks. I moved here with no enthusiasm and I have never liked living here. Too many rude people who think they are god's gift to the world and look down on you if you don't drive the right car or don't wear the right clothes.

Staying here only because my last child does not want to change schools. As soon as said child graduates from high school I am out of here.

Posted by NotAFanOfPA, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 12, 2008 at 9:25 pm

Palo Alto is like designer jeans - you're paying for the name, not the quality.

If that's not your style, I suggest looking at neighboring towns starting with Mountain View and working your way north. Anything south of Mountain View is the cultural wasteland known as "Silicon Valley" - a place to go to work, but not to live.

Good luck!

Posted by Outside Observer, a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2008 at 9:35 pm


Did you ever expect a response like this?

Posted by Bern, a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 13, 2008 at 7:20 am

Hi, Maryland-er,

As others have mentioned, the quality of input in this forum is spotty. Our city auditor annually uses a standardized,random survey to get an objective assessment of what our citizen think about the city and city services. You can go to this website:
Web Link for the results, with comparisons to results of that same survey given in cities throughout the country.

In the end, there's hardly another city in the country with the range of high marks we have here. Come on out and try it, you'll like it.

Posted by my 2 cents, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 13, 2008 at 7:38 am

Honestly, if I were thinking of having kids or had kids in school, I would movce to PA in a heartbeat.

Otherwise, there are other towns just as fun, more balanced in all ways, fewer extremists, less expensive to rent or buy in, great down towns and parks, and more tolerant of diversity of political Mountain View.

Palo Alto is the Berkeley of the Peninsula..which sounds great until you realize that Berkeley, like here, is so far to the left it has become completely acceptable to judge, criticize, label and stop anyone you disagree with if you are on the left. If you are on the hide.

In Mountain View, Sunnyvale, etc there is still room for open dialogue.

Posted by GSB, a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 13, 2008 at 8:00 am

I agree. Come to Mtn View

Posted by former Palo Altan, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jun 13, 2008 at 8:39 am

Maryland-er, you might want to consider Menlo Park. We are 1/3 the size of Palo Alto, so not as well known, but enjoy the same fantastic climate and easy access to Silicon Valley as our noisier neighbors to the south. Having had children in both Palo Alto and Menlo Park schools I can say unequivocally that our schools are as good as (if not better than) those next door. And because we annexed the community on the other side of the freeway, our city has far more ethnic diversity than does Palo Alto. We have terrific neighborhoods too, and a wide range of housing options, very similar to Palo Alto but without the Eichlers.

We have our share of nuts but in general are far less contentious than Palo Alto. Click on The Almanac button on the left side of this page and check out our forums.

Posted by Walter E. Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 13, 2008 at 8:45 am

I am critical of Palo Alto because my children and I live here. With some exceptions most of the other Bay Area [Our bay, not yours] cities are worse. Palo Alto has good people, but too many of them have not experienced the adversity that hones wit. This results in their buying into LibLudd fads that, if universally applied would reduce us all to hungry beasts. Come join the fun.

Posted by fireman, a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2008 at 9:53 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Maryland-er, a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2008 at 10:58 am

Wow !! I am over-whelmed with the response.

This move is for a limited time. Things change and we may end up staying a bit longer or even returning in a years time - don't know; we have decided to take things one-school-year at a time. So renting is our option at least for the first year.

Every town has its share of "interesting" people. Due to the human nature, we cannot expect every resident of the city to be a happy camper. My interpretation of the responses is - people with school going kids are happy (if not delighted) with the school system. Overall this town seems to have adults who are some level of higher education (the source of this information is public). Common-sense tells me that if the adults value education, it somewhat reflects in the children. Yes, parents can push kids to be high achievers, there is too much competition. Personally we prefer some level of competition and we, as a family, will draw lines where this competition ends i.e. we won't go out to get a expensive tutor for our children.

We are doing this cross-country move with an open mind. We are excited about the Bay Area's "melting pot" community; the different ethnic compositions that we will get to experience. Seems like people from different ethnic backgrounds live in harmony in this town.

Residents of Menlo Park, Mountain View - thanks for making us feel welcome! We think we will rent in Palo Alto - but we will definitely visit you guys ( A friend recommended downtown Mountain View for a variety of restaurants .. don't recall the street name )

Posted by PV Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2008 at 11:01 am

Castro Street is the downtown Mountain View restaurant hub, and my opinion is that it is pleasanter than University Ave in PA, but I am biased as my husband works in walking distance of Castro St. Our favorite is the Irish Pub called St. Stephens Green, which is good for Irish and British alike.

Posted by fireman, a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2008 at 12:06 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by I vouch for Los Gatos, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 13, 2008 at 3:45 pm

In my 20 years residence here in Bay Area, I had a chance to live in Berkeley, Mountain View, Los Gatos, Willow Glen, Sunnyvale and for the last 3 years I have been living in Palo Alto. Of the above mentioned cities only Willow Glen and Los Gatos have a community feeling, people decorate their houses for Halloween and Christmas, they know each other's neighbours, they have block parties...
None of that in Palo Alto, every year less and less houses decorate for Halloween and Christmas, probably because they either do not care or they are idealogically opposed to both holidays or any holidays for that matter. I moved in 3 years ago to Palo Alto and I barely know my neighbours. I never saw a block party in Palo Alto. Neighbourhood kids do not play outside in big happy groups like in my home town. If you want to be part of a community, rent in Los Gatos, because Willow Glen's schools are not that great.

Posted by wow, a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 13, 2008 at 5:08 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Marylander - I am a long-time resident and can share that Palo Alto offers richness that is the envy of many a community (proximity to Stanford, climate, educational system, parkland, city activities, etc.) It is also a place where above-average is the norm which brings an extra set of perspective challenges to both families and kids, but it's a challenge worth accepting in my view.

Best of luck and keep in mind above poster's comment that a forum is just that. It's not a scientific representation of all the people in town because a small minority of vocal folks do not speak for the entire community. There are a great number of great folks living and working here as there are in most communities.

Once you settle here, don't be bashful of seeking advice or referrals (vets, pediatricians, etc). As you can see from your initial question, there are lots of people who are more than willing to provide you what is hopefully useful input.

Posted by 3 kids, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Jun 14, 2008 at 4:00 am

I think Palo Alto is Paradise and many share my opinion. Weather is perfect, people are intelligent, friendly, curious, schools are great, everything is within arm's reach, people are down-to-Earth. Although Palo Altans often voice too many opinions... Many Palo Altans get spoiled by the lack of driving and begin to think that driving more than ten minutes is too far. There is easy access to main highways so skipping to another city for something takes little time.

Those who are negative about PA must feel inferior, either financially or intellectually. Because it is easy to feel that way. We moved from a place where my husband was top dog and we could pull strings all the time and money was no object. We moved here and were humbled. We had to buy a $1.5 million dollar, 2000 sf, 50-year old house and were surrounded by people either as successful or more successful than my husband. It took us awhile to get used to it but we love being with such accomplished people. Steve Jobs (Apple), Sergey Brin (Google), David Filo (Yahoo) and other famous/wealthy people who could live elsewhere live here. We attend our childrens' sporting events and meet great people. Then go home and check the computer and find out that they run their own company or invented something, or are otherwise highly accomplished.

In general, Palo Altans are very down-to-earth, friendly, and don't care much about appearance. See a person wearing jeans, and he/she could be a multimillionaire. Attend a school event, and people don't even dress up. In fact, it is amazing how underdressed people are here. Stanford Shopping Center is not a good representation of PA people. Many of those shoppers are overdressed and the whole mall has a snooty feel. I feel as if I have to dress up when I shop there. It is world-class shopping with high end stores and I think many of those shoppers are from the areas where prestige/appearance is more important. Downtown PA is really great too, thus attracts people from neighboring towns.

One word of caution for your kids since they are older. They may have to adjust to the workload depending upon their current schooling. The schools are great here, but they do make the kids work. It could be a shock to them, esp. in high school if he/she is not used to this level of work. And it's not just busy work. Put bluntly, former students find that college is easy compared to high school here.

Be aware that they are closing the doors on new students to Gunn High because they have no more room. Terman Middle School is busting at the seams too. The city decided to keep building new homes/townhomes even though the schools were becoming overcrowded. So you may live in their attendance areas but have to drive your kid across town for school because there is no room at those schools. Check with PAUSD (PA Unified School District) for school availability.

Don't think that the housing prices are going to drop here. Our house has appreciated $300,000 in 3 years. It is such a desireable place to live that prices will never drop a whole lot.

As far as where to live here, there has always been a difference between the people in South Palo Alto vs. North Palo Alto. Oregon Expressway is the dividing line.

We live in North Palo Alto and love it. I am a stay-at-home mom and my kids enjoy extracurricular activities.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 14, 2008 at 6:51 pm

I have lived in Palo Alto since 1996 and honestly I really don't think the schools are very good. We lived in Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Germany and the schools in Palo Alto do not measure up to those in Massachusetts or Oregon. If I knew then what I know today, I would not have put my three kids in Palo Alto schools. The move was for business purposes, but I would not have agreed to it if I had a crystal ball into the future.

I don't know which way you learn politically, but if you lean to the right, you will be disliked by most of those living in Palo Alto who lean left, some very left. If you lean right, your kids will be indoctrinated into the leftist way of thinking while at school. You have to work hard to keep your kids in the center. If they disclose their political beliefs, they will pay for it dearly socially. It's very sad really. There's is no free speech here in the public schools or in city council chambers. If your are prepared to be disliked because of your opinions, then you'll do OK here.

If you want your kid to do well in school then get ready to have him or her tutored. Some classes will be fine because the teacher is excellent. Other teachers can barely speak English and do not know the subject they are attempting to teach. Again, it's very sad. Tutoring is necessary so that your child can move to the next level the following year and be ready to go. Sorry, but that's the way it is here. Very competitive. If you don't tutor, most parents do quietly do so and your child will be wondering why he or she is the only ones that doesn't understand the subject matter.

I would seriously consider Los Altos. It has a better downtown area with less homeless sprawled over the public benches.

Good luck.

Posted by carl, a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 14, 2008 at 10:27 pm

Maryland-er. I hope you post your thoughts about Palo Alto in six months or so; you sound like an open-minded person.

Probably the most even-handed post (there are a couple of other good ones) is the one by Mary who is the third one on this thread.


Posted by former student, a resident of another community
on Jun 15, 2008 at 1:58 am

Personally, I appreciated the education I received in the PA school system. Yes, this town is a bit ridiculous (my parents are no exception!)

Posted by Good luck!, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 15, 2008 at 6:52 am

Resident, 2 posts up, is dead on.

If you are left or far left, you will be one of the something like 90% of the voters here.

The poster a few posts up who had to get used to being just one of many rich folks..and loves meeting all of the power brokers..then went on to comment on the "dividing line" of south and north PA being Oregon...well, I fear that she/he is a stereotype of that famous North PA..snooty, class-oriented. I know for a fact there are people in the "North" who aren't like that, though, so don't despair.

On the other hand, it is true that "south" PA is more diverse in cultures ( 1/2 my kid's classmates spoke one of 11 other languages at home), and the home owners/home renters are a little less concerned with "class" or looks or status. Of course, there are many major exceptions to that stereotype, as there always are.

As for schools: we ARE busting out of the seams in all our schools, not just some. Every single one has "modulars" to house kids, and has lost some "extra" rooms that used to house a science lab or art room or some kind of "choice" something. There are no longer guarantees that your kid will go to the closest school. They go where we can find space. Just be prepared.

Good luck!

Posted by bus and school, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 15, 2008 at 6:54 am

Oh, and there aren't school buses to bring your kid to school, so you end up having to drive them or if they can, they ride bikes to the further school.

Posted by Lior, a resident of Southgate
on Jun 15, 2008 at 12:47 pm

Resident is right about no free speech here in the public schools or in city council chambers. There is no tolerance to a different opinion (non leftist), unfortunately.

Posted by Me Too, a resident of Meadow Park
on Jun 15, 2008 at 1:10 pm

What free speech does or doesn't happen in the schools? I'm not sure what that even means.

Only about 20 people generally go to the city council meetings and they can say what they like during the public comment section. Not sure how intolerance manifests itself here either. The fact is that almost no one speaks up about most things, except for NIMBY and special interest areas.

I don't doubt PA is heavily liberal (like most college towns) but the idea that people can't speak their minds - haven't seen it or heard of it till now.

Posted by Susan, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 15, 2008 at 1:29 pm


If you are at all concerned about patriotism, forget about PA schools. They REFUSE to obey the state education code, by refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance.

You are moving a to a VERY left-wing place!

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 15, 2008 at 2:05 pm

Yes, if you are accustomed to things like saying the Pledge in school and having a fun 4th of July parade - this is not the place for you. There are parades up in San Francisco, however they are quite different style.

Posted by progressive, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 15, 2008 at 2:35 pm


You are not quite right. Palo Alto has the May Day Parade (renamed the May Fete Parade a few years back, unfortunately). We have regular farmers' markets (a stationary parade), full of locally grown organic veggies. We don't have fireworks on the Fourth of July, but so what...that is a form of warmongering. We don't fly the american flag, becasue it is a fascist symbol. The pledge in our schools, give me a break, why should we pledge to fascism? We are, in the majority, progressive socialists, proud to be so.

If you are not a progressive, you will, justifiably, be uncomfortable in Palo Alto. We are not interested in listening to fascists.

Posted by Paradise indeed, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 15, 2008 at 3:27 pm

Maryland-er, I am so glad you are ignoring all those people who are suggesting places like Mountain View, Los Altos, and Menlo Park. They are simply jealous of those of us who are privileged to live in Palo Alto, and they realize that their towns seem puny when compared to our prestigious city. Our schools are the best and our streets and homes are models of aesthetic perfection. You will not find a blemish on a Palo Alto teen's face nor an ounce of extra flab on the massively toned body of a north-of-Oregon-Expressway Palo Alto mom. (Some of the southside mothers are trim, but few have personal trainers. Not that it's a crime in Palo Alto to go without a personal trainer, it's just emblematic of the infinitessimal but nontheless significant differences between the two halves of our superb city.)

Those posters here who disparage our politics are miffed because we are always right (in the sense of being correct, of course, not our political leanings). hat is because we are better educated and more affluent than 99.9999% of the rest of this country, yet we remain refreshingly humble and middle class in our values and ethics. We may have the Larrys (Page and Ellison) and Steves (Jobs and Westley) at all our barbecues, but we would never think of namedropping or talking about the immensity of the deals our husbands' vc firms have put together.

Demographic researchers at Stanford, which is the preeminent university in the world, have determined that Palo Alto most closely fits the profile of the kind of city where everyone in America would like to dwell, if they could afford it.

You are moving to a very special place! Welcome!

Posted by Thurston Howell III, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jun 15, 2008 at 10:39 pm

Bravo, "Paradise Indeed," bravo! My lockjaw is extremely stiff now upon reading your simply par excellence summary of our fair city!

One additional small item to note to Maryland-er, given the recent political discussion over such matters:
There will be no need to bring either your guns or your religion here, for we're just not THAT kind of place (try Bakersfield or Fresno if you're into those kinds of things)!

Posted by Huh?, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 15, 2008 at 11:02 pm

I don't know if "Paradise Indeed" is being sarcastic, but it sure comes off wrong. I live in north PA and do not know of one person who has a personal trainer.

Re, the difference between N PA and S PA, we rented in S PA while we looked for a house to buy, and it seemed that S PA people had less disposable income. They didn't know about summer camps or about any extracurriculars. North PA has always been known to be the wealthier part of town, but by no means are we snobs. People are very friendly. Perhaps the minority of Old PA people who live in 5-10 million dollar houses are snobs, but we don't live there. Again, this would be a stereotype of wealth = snobs, which is actually unfair. Drive around S PA and the landscaping is less well kept than N. PA. That is an indisputable fact.

Posted by Pragmatist, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 16, 2008 at 12:11 am

Of course the landscaping isn't as deluxe in South PA because the residents are too busy working in the gardens in North PA to tend to their own homes.

Posted by Walter E. Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 16, 2008 at 6:38 am

Ah, yes. Palo Alto, home of 58,597 bright eyed progressives and one old grouch realist. Don't know that our intelectual superiority rates 6 nines, but we do indeed fall mostly on the right side of the bell curve. Most of us are fortunate to have never done a day's real work since our paper routes, some of us have overcome the onus of common birth, and a vanishing few of us even understand an egg comes from a chicken's body and not a supermarket, with all that entails. I still want that crab cake recipe.

Posted by Lois, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 17, 2008 at 7:30 am

Palo Alto has too many old people, and I'm one of them.

Posted by Elena, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 17, 2008 at 1:19 pm

North Palo Alto has a few interesting houses from architectural point of view, but by overwhelming majority Palo Alto housing is ugly ranch houses, delapidated Eichlers or tiny pseudo victorians on tiny lots. Streets are in ok condition. You don't see super luxury cars like you do in Portola Valley, Los Altos Hills and Atherton, so it is more of a myth that people are super rich here and it shows.
Many VCs who work on Sand Hill Rd lunch and brunch in Palo Alto, but they live in sprawling estates of the above mentioned cities, not in PA.

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 17, 2008 at 11:44 pm

Oh, heck, might as well chime in.

Plenty of filthy rich types live in Palo Alto--some are in Crescent Park, some, like Steve Jobs, are in the Green Gables section that's west of Louis and east of Alma. Another set has estates in the Palo Alto foothills.

The people who live in south Palo Alto don't work as gardeners--south Palo Alto does have a larger stock of tract houses than does north Palo Alto--however, there have been a large number of teardowns since the dot-com boom, so there are several McMansions around town squeezed onto tiny lots.

Housing prices will shock you.

Tons of people rent--including lots of families who want the school system but can't swing ownership.

The town is reasonably friendly, but less so than it was pre dot-com boom. Lots of people came out here to get rich, or had to move because they couldn't get rich. The transience has hurt the community feeling. But, yes, there are block parties.

Yes, we're a fairly liberal place--more bourgeoisie than Berkeley has been. There's a lot of money here and a lot of very successful capitalists--honestly, how socialist do you think a town with this many VCs and entrepreneurs is actually going to be?

It is low-key in manner, unpretentious in some ways, but there's also a certain sense of self-satisfaction as well. Even the complainers tend to feel rather satisfied about being Palo Altans.

Everything gets argued to death on the Forum, but, in person, people tend to be quite polite. We're diverse in that there are people from all over--we're less diverse in that educational levels and income levels are similar--and nearly every household has someone working in the high-tech sector.

Menlo Park's not particularly diverse, but its high school is (and does well). Be careful of which district you're in in Mountain View.

Posted by I keep my mouth shut, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 23, 2008 at 6:38 pm

OP...PA votes what...83% for whatever Democrat is running. That isn't unbalanced? Palo Altans haven't put together yet that the further left our country goes, the more taxes they pay. They haven't figured out yet that most Palo Altans pay 80% of all the taxes that run this nation and this state. And they keep voting to pay for more.

A prime example is how many times I have met someone who thinks that the "rich need to pay more" and don't realize that they ARE the rich.

So, yes, it is fair to say that Palo Altans have a majority of socialists in the city. They just haven't figured it out yet.

But, that is neither here nor there. As long as you can tolerate being dismissed at every group gathering as a racist or a homophobe or against the poor or greedy or uneducated etc if you are a Republican, and don't mind either fighting it all the time or keeping your mouth shut, then it is great for you.

If you agree with the above sentiments, then welcome!!

Posted by Ronald L., a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 24, 2008 at 11:33 am

Would 3 KIDS please explain " there has always been a difference between the people in South Palo Alto vs. North Palo Alto " I am missing something here.

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