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South Palo Alto leads growth, diversity trends

Original post made on Mar 11, 2011

The demographic data that the U.S. Census Bureau released Tuesday is likely to confirm and quantify the observations of residents in Palo Verde and other south Palo Alto neighborhoods. Over the past decade, Palo Alto has become more populous, adding nearly 6,000 residents citywide but particularly impacting the south.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, March 11, 2011, 9:55 AM

Comments (31)

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Posted by cityguy
a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 11, 2011 at 10:41 am

In many cases, people come for jobs, Snipp said

My personal observation has been that the Asian population comes here for the schools NOT the jobs. I have 2 neighbors who rent homes here so their children can attend our schools while the main wage earners work in China. These were homes of Caucasian people who could no longer afford to stay in their home town because they could not find jobs.


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Posted by Wake up Palo Alto
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 11, 2011 at 12:41 pm

City leaders want more "Smart Growth" i.e. more houses we have no room for, more people, and less room for people to drive comfortably from place to place in a reasonable amount of time (I'm a bike commuter, but acknowledge that driving is most usually the fastest way to get from A to B).

City leaders don't care what you think about the growth of residential development here-- or anything else because you keep voting for them and all of their utopian schemes.

Vote instead for those who want to preserve the quality of life this town should have, rather than those who want Palo Alto to be their little plaything to experiment with.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 11, 2011 at 12:54 pm

A rental unit in my neighborhood was purchased by a family from Hong Kong. They installed their 14 year old son in the house alone for the next four years just so he could attend Gunn.

How many high school students actually live alone in homes owned by their absent parents, just so they can attend Palo Alto high schools? Unfortunately, this is perfectly legal, they are residents of Palo Alto and their family owns the property.


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Posted by south PA Mom
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 11, 2011 at 1:04 pm

...and why did the owner of that house opt to rent rather that sell their home as they would if they lived in any other state in the nation? Prop 13 provides unfair tax relief to the long-term land owners who rent to young families at exhorbitant prices. The renter puts kids in our schools, but the property yields no additional property tax for the city and PAUSD. The landlord pockets the profits and laughs all the way to the bank. Young families and PAUSD and the city are screwed once again by long-term property owners (including and especially corporations)who happily dip into their pockets, using our services and not paying for them.

Population growth would be far less of a problem if we were capturing tax dollars that allowed us to mitigate traffic impacts, build adequate school capacity, improve safety services and public works, improve parks, expand libraries. Instead we do this with parcel taxes and bond measures which young people have to pay at the same rate as longer-term property owners even though younger folks are already burdened with 2-3 times more in property taxes. The burden that falls to young people increases with each passing year. This is NOT a sustainable situation.

As long as we have Prop 13 there will not be money to adequately mitigate the impacts of so-called "smart growth." It is time to stop excessive development and put pressure on Sacramento to change the tax structure so that there are funds to mitigate the impacts of growth. Instead they pass legistlation (SB375) that creates an unfunded mandate for infill development, pretending that this is a move toward "smart growth". Without revenues, it's not "smart". It's just "growth."...and that is not necessarily a good thing.

The change in racial/ethnic demographics is not the news in this census report. That change is evident to anyone who walks around with their eyes open. The change that is important is GROWTH. I would like to see an in-depth story on THAT. What has come, what is projected, and how we are going to fund the mitigation of growth?

FYI...I am a long-term resident who believes Prop 13 is unfair. Though I benefit from it, I want it changed. It is destroying our state and our wonderful city.


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Posted by Huh?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Resident,

Shouldn't you report that to child welfare or PAUSD central attendance centattendance@pausd.org or

(650) 329-3707

? He's not an adult. Is there a grandma there with him?


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 11, 2011 at 8:47 pm

>>> Wake-up Palo Alto: Some components of Prop 13 probably are unfair; however, without it seniors would be taxed out of their homes. The BIGGEST unfairness isn't the new vs. long-term homeowner, but the loopholes big enough to drive trucks through that protect large corporations when a company is sold. They have found ways to pretend that there was no sale of land, and thus companies sitting on properties worth many millions of dollars are paying tax rates on only a fraction of the value when they purchased the land. This has costs California millions in tax revenue every year. Fixing this may well fix our budget problems, but no politician dares approach reform.


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 12, 2011 at 10:16 am

14YO alone in a residence for extended periods of time (months, etc.) sure doesn't sound legal to me...
for those with longer memories, like early 2000's, don't you remember sad story of PALY boy (age 16 or 17?) from an overseas family - he committed suicide - had had been left in the "care" of older sister who was all of 18...perhaps these practices are legal in Asia? I believe for all practical purposes these two were on their own. Anyway, at the time, I recall there was a sense that this was an unfortunate practice.


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Posted by too large
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 12, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Time to split Palo Alto in half.


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Posted by Huh?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Too large,

Palo Alto is already split in half at Oregon Expressway.


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Posted by too large
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 12, 2011 at 9:03 pm

Let's formalize it. Two cities. City of South Palo Alto and City of North Palo Alto.


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Posted by Fleur de Lis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 13, 2011 at 10:07 am

I have a couple of comments:

If anyone notices a child living alone without adults on the premises, one can contact Child Protective Services within one's county that one lives in, and let them know about the situation. A social worker will investigate this.

Prop. 13 is something my parents voted against, yet if the tax amount were increased to what new buyers buying into Palo Alto would pay, my parents would not be able to afford to live as they have very modestly all these years. It would be an extreme hardship for many seniors living in our community to pull the rug out from under them, so to speak, and many wouldn't be able to hold onto their homes. So, it is the "house rich, cash poor" scenario.

For those people who complain about people who enjoy Prop. 13 taxes, at least know that people who have that status are mostly seniors, so unless the property is passed down and kept within the family, then the numbers of homeowners who have the low tax base will eventually dwindle as the seniors pass away or retire elsewhere where cost of living is more affordable. In time, things will even out amongst homeowners as far as Prop. 13 is concerned.


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Posted by Tea Party
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 13, 2011 at 10:26 am

Sounds like the Tea Party is trying to kick all the non-white people out of Palo Alto.


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Posted by andreas
a resident of Ventura
on Mar 13, 2011 at 11:31 am

On Monday, I wrote a review here about Da Sichuan, a new Chinese restaurant in South Palo Alto. PaloAltoOnline deleted it.

Either they allow restaurant reviews ONLY if the restaurant has bought paid advertising in the paper, or they don't want reviews of Chinese restaurants.

I checked their list restaurant reviews at the website: yep: no Chinese restaurant has ever been reviewed. (See Web Link )

I wrote to the webmaster: no response whatsoever. I ask that my review be restored.


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Posted by Stick to the topic
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 13, 2011 at 11:44 am

Andreas - why are you reviewing a restaurant on a thread about the census and demographics? Stick to the topic.


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Posted by it's the world, Andreas, just not as you know it
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 13, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Andreas, check out the "best of" awards before throwing around spurious comments: Web Link


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Posted by andreas
a resident of Ventura
on Mar 13, 2011 at 3:42 pm

The topic is diversity in South Palo Alto. However, the PaloAltoOnline deleted a review of a new Chinese restaurant. The PaloAltoOnline doesn't allow diversity.

Look at the list of reviews that I posted. That's the PaloAltoOnline's list. No Chinese restaurants.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Not sure why restaurant reviews is being discussed here but if you click restaurants on the side bar and then type in Chinese into the cuisine selector, this is what appears. Web Link

Since reviews are read by readers, I suggest that anyone interested in Chinese restaurant reviews starts reviewing them and putting them in the restaurant review section and not here.


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Posted by stick to the topic
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 13, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Andreas - there are 10 chinese restaurants reviewed on this site, if you'd like to add one, you can using the above link posted by resident, scroll down to the bottom of the reviews. Are you the owner of this new restaurant looking for some free advertising?


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 13, 2011 at 11:06 pm

I've said it before and I'll scream it again. EVERYBODY has a Prop 13 house. EVERYBODY. The people who bought before 1978 and those who bought yesterday or 1990 or 1995, 2008 or any other year. Residents who bought before 1978 have a Pre-Prop 13 house. Are those the ones you are targeting?? When Prop 13 was passed, the 'assessed valuation' rolled back to what it was in 1975 (and taxes had been going up as much as 30% a year!!) and taxes were rolled back to reflect that. After 1978, and from that time on, the initial tax was and still is 1% of the sale price and cannot go up more than 2% a year. But remember that parcel taxes and additional bond issues like Foothill College, etc. get added on. Look at you tax bill!! Get rid of Prop 13? You might get what you ask for and rue the day. There was no spending too little for the cities and counties and school districts before Prop 13 passed - and it's been upheld by the US. Supreme Court. And also remember, those who have those Pre-Prop 13 houses - who moved in after WWII, Korea, etc were the ones who footed the bill for every basic elementary, middle, and secondary school in town after WWII except Paly, Jordan, and Walter Hays *(which were built before WWII )....maybe some of Addison. They also built the libraries and the city hall. So if you paid $450K for your house in 1994 and one in your neighborhood recently was bought for $1.5, you both have Prop 13 houses, and that neighbor is probably angry at YOU. and in five years the newest neighbor will be angry at them. Before Prop 13, it used to be that if anybody in a neighborhood did anything to enhance the value of his home, EVERYBODY's assessed valuation in that neighborhood went up. Did you KNOW THAT? It's the commercial property that's a problem - not residential. Change that? Companies are fleeing California as it is now. Do you want that too?


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 13, 2011 at 11:21 pm

yeah, the topic is Prop 13.


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Posted by andreas
a resident of Ventura
on Mar 14, 2011 at 8:58 am

Resident replied "Not sure why restaurant reviews is being discussed here but if you click restaurants on the side bar and then type in Chinese into the cuisine selector, this is what appears." (and a link was added).

What appears in the link is a feed from Yahoo reviews. That text comes automatically from another site.

I'm not the owner of the restaurant. It opened a few months ago near my house. I went there, I liked it, and I wrote about it. But PaloAltoOnline deleted the review.

The topic of this thread is diversity in South Palo Alto (not Prop 13.) I'm pointing out that if you try to engage in diversity, such as write about Chinese restaurants, PaloAltoOnline will delete it. They don't review Chinese restaurants.

I asked two Chinese friends about Palo Alto. One has lived here for nearly 20 years; another has worked here for three years. They both shrugged their shoulders and said "Palo Alto is a white city."


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2011 at 10:47 am

Palo Alto used to be a "white city." But according to census reports and what many have observed, it's been rapidly evolving toward a more diversed population, with a sharp increase in Asian residents. It's a reality, and the trend is only going to continue. Whining and complaining about your Asian neighbors won't make them go away, or stop them from coming.

If you plan to stay in Palo Alto for the long term, why not adopt a more open-minded attitude and learn to embrace the change?
Insteading of complaining about Asians socializing only with their own race, why not take a look at yourselves -- if you're white, isn't it true that your friends and relatives are mostly white? In schools or other public places, if you see three or four Asians talking in their native language, you frown and note that as a sign of nonassimilation. Have you noticed that there're also a lot of European immigrants here, and they too tend to speak their own native languages in public?


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Posted by PA Native
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Resident,

Excellent posting, especially, these two points:

"Insteading of complaining about Asians socializing only with their own race, why not take a look at yourselves -- if you're white, isn't it true that your friends and relatives are mostly white?"

"Have you noticed that there're also a lot of European immigrants here, and they too tend to speak their own native languages in public?"


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Posted by bru
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 15, 2011 at 1:12 pm

bru is a registered user.

Prop 13 is surely unfair, but ending it in one fell swoop would be more unfair. There are a lot of people of all levels who would be forced to sell their house if they all of a sudden had to pay many times the taxes they are not paying, leading to a glut of homes on the market and drop in prices probably for a long time.

I benefit from Prop 13, but I think it does need to be ended in some way that is fair, equitable and not traumatic to the economy of people's lives.


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Posted by P.A. Native
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 15, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Resident,

I thought your post was not so great and a bit short sighted.

"Insteading of complaining about Asians socializing only with their own race, why not take a look at yourselves -- if you're white, isn't it true that your friends and relatives are mostly white?"

Yes. It's also true that if you're black your friends and family tend to be black, and if you're Latino your friends and family tend to be Latino. This is especially true in terms of the family aspect due to being related. Not really mind bending stuff there.

"Have you noticed that there are also a lot of European immigrants here, and they too tend to speak their own native languages in public?"

No, can't say I have. I have seen European immigrants around town on occasion who speak their native tongue, but to say that the two are equal in numbers is to be dishonest. Also, many European immigrants embrace American culture and customs, while many Asian immigrants don't. I don't know of any European supermarket chains like Ranch 99. I've also never seen a European person wearing a dark black netted shield over their face while they drive or walk.

Just thought I'd share my thoughts since another poster is using my ID without periods. I love all people including Asians, I just don't like embracing their cultures and traditions if not all of them are willing to do the same.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 19, 2011 at 1:23 pm

@REsident of another neighborhood. I think you are missing the point. Most of the posts weren't complaining as much as trying to understand the reasons for a tendency for Asians to isolate more than those of other racial/ethnic heritage. It is a tendency (NOT an abolute) that many have noticed in their neighborhoods. Although all neighborhoods (of any racial makeup) have individuals/families that prefer solitude, the comments here were about a tendency that seems more pronounced in Asians (mostly Chinese) that has been noticed not only noticed by whites, but confirmed by several Asians as well. By increasing our understanding of the values and preferences held by others, our understanding, our tolerance for differences, and our ability to interact in meaningful ways can increase. There's a difference between trying to learn/understand (which takes asking difficult questions) vs. judging others who may be different than ourselves.


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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 19, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Hmmm, well, yes, as a matter of fact I do have friends who check another box on the census form than I do. Always have. I grew up in an ethnically diverse area and find it a little strange, actually, when I'm in a single-race group--even when it's mine.

That said--I also see why people see a certain insularity to the recent East Asian arrivals. Honestly, I feel more of a white/Asian divide now than 30 years ago and I don't see as much cross-over socially among the teens.

I see various reasons for it--one, for more recent immigrants, there's a language barrier. Yes, English is spoken by everyone, but it doesn't mean people feel truly comfortable chatting in it. It's easier to talk to someone in your native language.

Second, among the kids, there is an extreme amount of academic competition. That situation just doesn't create a big feeling of camaraderie and fellow-feeling. Back when I was in school, if you were a good student you got into Berkeley and you could definitely get into a top school. It didn't matter that other kids were also good students--there was room. The competition is isolating in and of itself. Plus, of course, if you're studying and doing various extra-curriculars, when do you just hang out and bond? Particularly with someone of a different background--where you have to move beyond assumptions.

And, let's face it, schools are the big draw here. The competition's only getting sharper.

Third, I think there are some real feelings of ambiguity about assimilating. This is very different from when I was kid. Immigrants from where ever were here with the notion of staying--they didn't always assimilate, but their kids did and wanted to do so. I think it's different now--it's a lot easier and cheaper to spend each summer, for example, in the homeland. The mentality's a little more get-rich-quick, take advantage of the US university system and then be able to bring it back "home". This doesn't apply just to Asian immigrants, by the way, it's also true of many of the European immigrants I know.

One more note--I think Indian immigrants have an easier time than Chinese immigrants--more extroverted culturally and, as a friend of mine who falls into that category points out, they are very used to the British, which makes Americans a little easier to comprehend.




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Posted by Matt S.
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 20, 2011 at 3:38 pm

The authors of this piece barely mentioned the latino population and made absolutely no mention of blacks (let alone the reasons for such discrepancies). What's behind those blatant omissions?


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Posted by Matt S.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 20, 2011 at 3:40 pm

P.S. Could the discrepancies be considered a part of this "surge in diversity?"


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 21, 2011 at 7:58 am

Interesting article about this subject.

Web Link

What I find most interesting is that the author of this piece feels it necessary to describe her own ethnicity and her own reasons for living in Palo Alto.

Could this article have been written if the author were not Asian?


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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 22, 2011 at 11:52 am

The writing of the Hong article is interesting--but very in keeping with the kind of stuff I hear from Asian-Americans who were born in the U.S. and feel American. The influx of immigrants who look like them, but have more in common with, say, their grandparents culturally brings forth its own set of conflicts.

There's both a sense of solidarity and having kind-of arrived as an ethnic group, but also a certain anxiety about cultural traits against which they rebelled when they were younger.


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