Posted by Change is good?, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jul 11, 2012 at 2:37 pm
Sorry, most long term residents of Palo Alto believe we should remain a sleepy suburb of San Francisco who just happen to be lucky enough to have Stanford as a neighbor. They don't want these high tech companies camping on their doorstep!!!
How many times have I heard from my neighbors; the City has changed, and changed for the worse. As for our schools they are for us, not for them!!!
Posted by rent, a resident of Mountain View, on Jul 11, 2012 at 7:40 pm
I definitely sympathize with the idea that losing companies like Pinterest is bad for a city in terms of taxes and I suppose lunch-hour business. But (a) employees at a company like Pinterest tend to want to live in SF, so it's good to have the workplace there; and (b) it would be nice if rent around Stanford were suitably priced for grad students and postdocs. How does a working-class family do it? It's kind of disturbing that in a certain way, a popping of the current app/social-network bubble would really help a lot of us out.
Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Jul 11, 2012 at 11:04 pm
Pretty simple - companies move out of Palo Alto (which is still THE premier address in the tech world) because they can't rent enough space. Perhaps we could stop giving away potential rental space to housing we don't really need.
Posted by Hi-Tech-Means-No-City-Revenues, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jul 12, 2012 at 7:12 am
> I definitely sympathize with the idea that losing companies
> like Pinterest is bad for a city in terms of taxes and I suppose
> lunch-hour business.
The problem with sentiments like this one is that there is virtually no way to quantify either taxes paid, or dollars spent on local lunch hour business. Property-based taxes are paid by the property owner, not the renter. Utility tax is paid by the renter, maybe. Income taxes are paid to the State/Feds.
But there are impacts that these companies make on a community. Need for parking, need for other mandated public services, such as police and fire/EMS. And even the "lunch business" ends up having a negative impact since most of the businesses operate with illegal aliens, or poorly-skilled legal aliens that are often involved in crime, in the surrounding areas. And then there is the never-ending demand for "low income/affordable" housing that is not readily absorbed in single-family residential neighborhoods.
One of the problems with Internet-based companies is that they are global, and don't really have a lot of interaction with the town(s) where they are located. A factory generally hires people from the town where the factory is located. Internet-technology lets you hire people from all over the world. No synergy ever develops between the companies and the towns.
One of the complaints of some of these companies is that there aren't enough bars in downtown for their employees to "hang out" in. It's really difficult to see a lot of value in having more bars in downtown Palo Alto--given that it is both very small, with residential neighborhoods on both sides of the business district. More bars means more public drunkenness, a larger number of alcohol-related accidents and most likely more trafficking in illegal drugs. All of these negative consequences of more bars will result in more public expenditure for police/EMS, as well as other Administrative costs.
While there is a clear benefit for the property owners, and the companies--being here in downtown Palo Alto--there is very little quantifiable benefit to the town of the City government.
San Francisco has the room to accommodate these companies where Palo Alto does not. Better that these companies move to that City where they can be better accommodated.
Posted by giant sucking sound, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Jul 12, 2012 at 10:41 am
I don't buy this no city revenues argument. Developers are converting old HP office buildings into housing, like the building on Alma and the Mayfield complex. How does housing create more revenue for the city than office space? At least offices create job opportunities for city residents.
Posted by Enough!, a resident of the Charleston Gardens neighborhood, on Jul 12, 2012 at 10:50 am
And I agree wholeheartedly with 'rent.' I have lived in Palo Alto for 38 years in various rentals and the rents keep going up and the properties keep getting smaller (and sold out from under us.) I am in the position now of trying to find a small place to rent and am discouraged to find that I've been priced out of the city entirely. I need to be here to be close to my elderly mother, but it's not looking good. It's ironic that a tech boom is wonderful for some, and totally discouraging for others. Worse, if you complain about the greedy landlords and their exorbitant rents, other people will point out that if you aren't financially prepared to pay that price, perhaps you don't belong in Palo Alto. Snobs. Personally, if I had a rental I would want someone who would pay reasonable rent who has lived here for a long time and who would have some personal pride in keeping the place nice and a continued involvement in the community. Mountain View is going the same way too. My daghter lived near downtown MV, and paid $1450 for s small one bedroom apt....after she moved out, the rat b's raised the rent to $1900 a month. The apartment has a CAMPING stove, mold problems, no dishwasher and is two rooms (inclusive of kitchen) and a tiny bathroom. That's just greed, plain and simple.
Posted by Enough!, a resident of the Charleston Meadows neighborhood, on Jul 12, 2012 at 10:53 am
@Giant Sucking Sound: Add to that, the condo's will probably price out at a minimum of $600k, still not affordable to a person who is NOT working in the tech industry. What's interesting to me is seeing how ever since Tech bubbles have made so many young people wealthy, the City of Palo Alto has become a transient community. Tech people come and go from these jobs and move around frequently. Some will stay for the schools, then ditch to Oregon and Arizona and other parts...there's no continuity of community anymore. Sad.
Posted by rent, a resident of Mountain View, on Jul 12, 2012 at 1:58 pm
> Worse, if you complain about the greedy landlords and their
> exorbitant rents, other people will point out that if you aren't
> financially prepared to pay that price, perhaps you don't belong in
> Palo Alto.
I know! Crazy. It's like people don't realize how many good things highly trained people do that don't garner salaries sufficient to live around here. The software dev aspect of Stanford gets the most media attention -- not surprising, since currently big-money software dev is focused on media -- but my estimate is that the vast majority of Stanford PhD students and postdocs do things that don't make a lot of money, and yet are way, way more interesting, and important to humanity at large, than Web x.0 stuff. I certainly do, simply because I want to. And, naturally, I can't afford to live anywhere near Stanford (and still my rent increased by >10% this year). On the plus side, I love bicycling, so I don't mind the commute.
Posted by Jim, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jul 12, 2012 at 7:04 pm
Palo Alto is a suburban town. Not an urban town. If all the young techies want "bars and nightclubs" to hang out in at night, let them go to San Francisco. Let them get drunk, be rowdy and urinate on the streets of San Francisco.
Posted by Jim, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jul 12, 2012 at 9:03 pm
To Outside Observer:
You're absolutely right. I never see bums in Los Altos, Los Gatos or Burlingame. Palo Alto caters to the bums.
There is an old bum downtown that pretends to limp and walk with a cane. He begs for money. At the end of the day, he walks back to his bike that is parked in an alley, hops on it and rides his bike home. The limp magically disappears.
Posted by musical, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Jul 14, 2012 at 11:11 am
"...most of the businesses operate with illegal aliens, or poorly-skilled legal aliens that are often involved in crime..." I was just about to take serious issue with this statement by Hi-Tech-Means-No-City-Revenues, and then I read the JJ&F break-in was, yes, the guy they hired to work the deli.