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Wall Street Journal article about the homeless of Palo Alto

Original post made by resident on Apr 9, 2014

Article in today's Wall Street Journal about Palo Alto's homeless residents, including retired professionals who lost their life savings to soaring rents. Web Link

Comments (14)

Posted by Robert, a resident of another community
on Apr 9, 2014 at 2:38 pm

I don't know why they're bringing it up now, this has been an issue for 20+ years...


Posted by resident, a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 9, 2014 at 2:44 pm

I think they're bringing it up now because right now the city is right now shutting down mobile home parks and living in campers on the street.


Posted by Robert, a resident of another community
on Apr 9, 2014 at 2:50 pm

The city is shutting down mobile home parks? That's news to everyone...


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 9, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

Maybe because the whole Peninsula has gentrified to the point where when one sees homeless people walking around in filthy blankets at expensive shopping centers it's a big contrast to how "reality" is being constructed around us. Then...ooops - that reality is rudely interrupted by a homeless person.


Posted by local, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2014 at 3:46 pm

In the meantime, the City is doing nothing to stop the razing of the last patch of actual market-based affordable housing in Palo Alto, at the Buena Visa Mobile Home park.

The horrible irony, of course, is that the incentives to build higher-density on the ridiculous pretense that this will produce affordable housing in Palo Alto is a major reason. The new owners of the property, once they have evicted the 400+ low-income, long-time Palo Alto residents, will then get a zoning exception that allows higher density in exchange for a tiny handful of below-market-rate units that none of the previous residents could afford anyway. Even if they could get through the wait lists of a government program.

It's true that this has never been an affordable place. A large percentage of the "housed" have their own stories of barely hanging in there. The people I know usually choose to move away early enough to put down some roots somewhere they can afford.

The difference this time around has been the active role the PA city council has played in exacerbating these conditions.


Posted by James, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 9, 2014 at 4:00 pm

[Post removed.]


Posted by citizen, a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 9, 2014 at 4:54 pm

It's a sad state of affairs when the WSJ provides better coverage of a local issue than the Palo Alto Weekly. Read and learn, PAW.


Posted by Rupert of henzau, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 9, 2014 at 5:01 pm

"In the meantime, the City is doing nothing to stop the razing of the last patch of actual market-based affordable housing in Palo Alto, at the Buena Visa Mobile Home park. "

This is a private business deal. The current owner is selling and a developer is buying. Not sure the city should be involved.

"It's a sad state of affairs when the WSJ provides better coverage of a local issue than the Palo Alto Weekly. Read and learn, PAW."

Citizen-- you are comparing a newspaper (WSJ) with a for profit advertising journal that acts as cheerleader for the powers that be in PA. The weakly is not a newspaper. While I disagree with the wsj politics at least it is a newspaper


Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 9, 2014 at 6:55 pm

Of the 100+ comments to the WSJ article, the respectful lean toward suggesting a less expensive area than Palo Alto if one wants to live on Social Security checks.


Posted by Robert, a resident of another community
on Apr 9, 2014 at 7:26 pm

Well good thing they're not in any kind of "senior housing" like they would be on Maybell, then they would be using city services and contributing to traffic!


Posted by Joe, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 9, 2014 at 11:55 pm

It is difficult to understand the sense of entitlement among many people in the US. If a person has developed the unfortunate situation of having limited means or income, one does not have a right or a claim to park your vehicle on the street of the one of the most expensive cities in the US over a long term basis. Simple as that and end of story. Palo Alto should have enacted this ordinance decades ago, which is the case in many less affluent cities. One can always move to Salinas or Stockton and get a job working in a fast food restaurant or equivalent, as an example, and make some money. Making an honest living, even if limited, is nothing to be ashamed of.


Posted by Fourth Generation and instilling strong work ethic into my children, a resident of Walter Hays School
on Apr 10, 2014 at 12:24 am

Americans need to learn from immigrants who come to this country without speaking any English but through hard work, succeed without help from the government. Americans born here are entitled and lazy because they know the government will bail them out. There is so much disability and need-based fraud in this country. Immigrants take any type of job to make ends meet because they appreciate the opportunities of our country. [Portion removed.]


Posted by citizen, a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 10, 2014 at 8:20 am

[Portion removed due to deletion of referenced comments.]

People should know that the Weekly endorsed the vehicle dwelling ban and that was shameful, truly shameful. Then, it cried crocodile tears in a big feature package when, predictably, a homeless women turned up dead of exposure on a park bench. Of course, the stories were all about how hard it is to help the mentally ill, not about how it feels to be homeless in a heartless community that passes (with the public cheerleading of the newspaper) a cruel ordinance like the VHO.

The Weekly should retract its support for the VHO. The Cubberley problem was solved by a seperate ordinance barring sleeping in public facilities, and there is no need or problem that requires the VHO any longer. The Weekly brought shame on itself by jumping on the anti-homeless bandwagon without any justification. Time to get off.


Posted by James, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 10, 2014 at 2:23 pm

From the original WSJ article:

""He didn't know how to take care of money," said the younger Mr. Smith, who lives in Maryland. The two do not keep in regular contact outside of occasional Facebook messages.

He said that after his mother died, he wondered why Mr. Smith continued to live in such an expensive area. He characterized his stepfather as a bit of "an eccentric.""

When one digs deeper into the back story, it becomes a beacon into the truth.

The PAW gives these people WAY too much sympathy, without doing any digging on its own. The WSJ did do some digging, so good for it.

Car campers have already been banned in Palo Alto...now pending a judicial review. If the courts decide correctly, our car campers should become a footnote of history in our city. Never should have been allowed in the first place.


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