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A Palo Alto son asks: 'Would I raise a family here?'

Original post made on Aug 11, 2017

In June of this year, both my body and mind were in strange places. My body, in Thailand: racing through bustling Bangkok traffic, where the only apparent rule was that there were no rules. My childhood friend (let's call him Derek) and I were packed into the back of a rickety tuk-tuk; the air we breathed was a mix of street food and smog.

Read the full guest opinion here Web Link posted Friday, August 11, 2017, 12:00 AM

Comments (162)

199 people like this
Posted by Absolutely Not
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 11, 2017 at 9:12 am

My son has so far picked up nothing but phony values, and is convinced that we are poor. He is too ashamed to bring friends home to our recently remodeled house.

WHY? Because the house is only 1700 sf, only 3 bedrooms and only 3 bathrooms. Because he has to share a bathroom with his sister, and we have no guest bathroom, guest bedroom, media room, two-story basement, sport court or swimming pool.

He is ashamed because his father's office is in our bedroom, we don't have two refrigerators and two dishwashers, nor do we have four ovens.

He is ashamed of our living room furniture, because it isn't brand new ( let's face it-- new furniture with two kids???), and most of all, he detests and is mortified by the fact that we have a small lot with no lawn-- and no room for play equipment.

If I had it to do over again, I would buy a nicer house on a larger lot in a less expensive neighborhood-- and send both kids to Catholic schools!


101 people like this
Posted by Absolutely Not
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 11, 2017 at 9:58 am

Woops: that should be a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house.

BTW: the city won't let us add on another bathroom due to the small Lot size!


122 people like this
Posted by Grew Up Here
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 11, 2017 at 11:19 am

Yes, life was much easier back in the day as a child.

Past: The vibe was more laid-back; mostly stay-at-home moms; nothing downtown but health food and irrelevant stores; The Varsity Theatre was a live music hangout; concerts at The Keystone on CA Ave; 1st run, blockbuster movies at the Aquarius Theatre and Palo Alto Square theatre; T&C was offices (besides The Cheese House); almost no traffic, which allowed us to skateboard and ride our bikes all over town without fear and no one was driven to school; very little homework in the schools, but better teachers who stayed after school to help and really cared about the students; mostly Caucasian intellectual liberals; we had lots of free time after school, we had driver's ed after school at Paly (so we were more prepared to drive than today's online ed); students weren't sleep deprived; students had normal social skills; extracurriculars were only football, soccer, baseball, softball, tennis (tennis team at Paly was stellar); PAUSD English departments were STRONG (students learned to write well); students were not stressed and were happier; Paly school pranks were allowed; everyone attended the pep rallies, more school spirit; Paly students all used their lockers; Stanford mall offered Blum's ice cream, I. Magnin, Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, fro-yo; college admissions were easier (could get accepted to UCB without perfect scores - high SAT/low GPA or high GPA/low SAT); UCLA and UCSB were considered easy admissions; no need to be concerned about rush hour traffic on the highways.

Now: More of a hurried family life; many families have no extra income to give their kids for fun (after paying the mortgage or rent); working moms, nannies, daycare; children don't play outside in their neighborhoods; schools are 30-40% Asian (mostly immigrant children); more divided student body; less school spirit (they removed the amphitheatre); immigrants from all over the world (not a bad thing); way too much homework; teachers who expect too much from our students; downtown offers a place to visit; T&C has good stores; Stanford mall is built up with more stores; extracurriculars in the area (anything your child wants to specialize in); too much cut-through traffic with too many fast-driving commuters - more dangerous to ride a bike; awkward social skills of students due to genes and no time to hang-out due to too much homework.

Per the article, neighbors did not all know each other, but more knew each other due to children playing outside in their free time.

Both then and now: rare bullying in school except academic bullying amongst some groups in secondary schools. It's okay to be a nerd. Everyone is nice.

I wish Paly teachers would understand how difficult college admissions are nowadays. Some of them allow extra credit, flexible deadlines, dropping test scores, etc. to lessen the stress, but others just don't understand and still think our students should be learning for the sake of learning, which is the mentality we had back in the day, but can't now.


78 people like this
Posted by PA Mom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 11, 2017 at 11:54 am

[Portion removed.]

As for the trade-off of public schools that cost too much money versus parochial school with breathing room- that is a no-brainer to me. I am not a fan of these public schools and extra money to cushion the ups and downs of life makes for much less stress in the home. PA public schools are not worth the cost in my opinion.

As for the Op-Ed piece itself, wow, what a beautifully written and well thought out piece devoid of self-righteousness and finger pointing. You must have some very proud parents :-)


20 people like this
Posted by Roger Carmady
a resident of Mayfield
on Aug 11, 2017 at 12:04 pm

"As for the trade-off of public schools that cost too much money versus parochial school with breathing room- that is a no-brainer to me."

Likewise. I wish I could trade the years I misspent in Catholic school (a real one, with real nuns) for even the least of the Palo Alto schools.


125 people like this
Posted by Another
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 11, 2017 at 12:29 pm

Another is a registered user.

While I appreciate the author's thoughtful article, I would gently remind him that having the choice of ignoring the Jeffs of the world and being able to feel equally at home in Silicon Valley and Ohio is a privilege based on race. A white American can feel at home in either place and while he may find Trump supporters' views objectionable, he will never himself suffer the unpleasantness of being personally targeted by their racist rants.

Don't get me wrong, if one is not a person of color, it is perfectly naturally to have the perspective that this author has. However, being Asian myself and having lived in the Midwest and other less diverse parts of the US, I can say there is no question that the Bay Area is much more tolerant and accepting of people who look like me. The racist taunts and snickers that I would see in the Midwest just don't happen here nearly as much, if at all.

It's a lot easier to view a guy as "caring and humble" if he's not hurling racist epithets at you or your race. The author's discussion about seeing the good side of Jeff almost makes it sound like objecting to some of Trump's supporters' blatant racism is somehow close-minded, when it is actually perfectly justified.

I think that is why I and other people of color get a little uncomfortable by the "Palo Alto was so much better in the old days" posts frequently found on these boards. They're often accompanied by complaints that too many (non-white) immigrants have moved here and have ruined the culture of the community.

When you're saying you wish Palo Alto were more like it was before, are you saying you wish it were "great again", with all of the implications of that phrase? I know that for me, other Asian Americans, and other people of color who live in Palo Alto now, this is the best place we've ever lived in. And for us, the 1950s version of Palo Alto that many gush about would be a much more unwelcoming place.



152 people like this
Posted by Born in America
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 11, 2017 at 2:38 pm

My grandparents were Chinese immigrants and I was raised in Palo Alto in the 70s. At the time, the Asians here were either Chinese (Cantonese) or Japanese and there was only a handful of them per grade level at Paly. There were only two E. Indians in my grade level. Because we all assimilated, I felt no racism. Now, the cultures don't even try to assimilate. If the country is giving you an opportunity, should you at least try to assimilate out of respect instead of being an outsider? We spoke Chinese at home, but not in public. Palo Alto was a non-racist atmosphere while other cities were not, so I feel fortunate to have been raised here. Being third generation, it's frustrating that everyone else groups me with the immigrants because we are not the same culture. I was raised as an American with some Chinese values, completely different than being the child of an immigrant in this day. Teachers even assume I'm a Tiger Parent although I'm not. To be fair, there are some immigrants who are assimilating but not all. I have lived elsewhere and agree that the Bay Area or LA area are the most open-minded towards Asians but I prefer the Palo Alto of the past when more people accepted me.


104 people like this
Posted by Midwest born
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 11, 2017 at 3:39 pm

I disagree with @Another. There are plenty of "enlightened" people in the Midwest and most are not racists or intolerant.
Some teeny hamlet in the countryside? You might find an apparent racist there, including in rural CALIFORNIA.
Meanwhile, PA clearly has a good number of status seekers, as in the need to display muktiple luxury autos, dogwalkers, household servants, which goes way beyond necessity and includes people such as non working mothers.


96 people like this
Posted by jake
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 11, 2017 at 5:04 pm

It is less good, but it is still good.

The problem is that of any community with recent influx of a totally different culture which is now just as dominant as the local one and rapidly growing to be more dominant.

The community is now split, half caucasian, half chinese, and the chinese come from totalitarian china which could not be more different than liberal intellectual norcal.

This is not racist its just a fact. Two cultures. The kids are torn. The parents are disparaging of each other.


104 people like this
Posted by Absolutely Not
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 11, 2017 at 5:18 pm

@ PA Mom: we raised our children ourselves. I worked part-time while they were in preschool and kindergarten, not returning to full time work until the youngest was in 4th grade.

My son feels we are poor compared to his friends' families and our neighbors, all of whom have higher incomes, more expensive cars and homes, clothes and vacations.

Although my husband has traveled world-wide, our vacations with the kids have been limited to the US and Western Europe, and mostly under one week in duration.


82 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 11, 2017 at 5:40 pm

I really like this article and agree with the author. I am pleased that having been away at college he now has a wider outlook on life compared to his narrow life growing up here in Palo Alto.

What has surprised me more are the comments that followed. Quite frankly, I don't understand all the points raised. Are these supposed to be criticisms about the article, or about the first post.

And as for the first post, I think it is very sad if this is really how children growing up here feel. Our schools are full of kids from all types of social backgrounds and income groups. My kids had good friends at school from all walks of life. Some lived in rented apartments, some had 3 generations living with them due to divorce and single parenthood, some had parents who were Stanford faculty and others who babysat or did after school care to help the family income. This is not back in the 90s but this century experiences. If our children are embarrassed by their homes as not being good enough for their friends to visit that shows something about the values their parents are passing on. There is a clue in what "absolutely not" has written in that the only reason they have not built a third bathroom to appease their son is because the City won't allow them to build one due to lot size. If parents are apologizing to their kids for the lack of a bathroom for each child and then putting the blame elsewhere, then that may well be part of the problem.

Palo Alto has been evolving over the past 20 years, but there are still people here of all income levels. There is an article alongside this one about the residents of Buena Vista mobile park. Perhaps we should be encouraging our kids to invite these children around to our homes for after school playdates, study dates, or hangout time. I feel sure that the BV kids won't mind the lack of a bathroom for each family member.


92 people like this
Posted by Orin Bailey
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 11, 2017 at 7:11 pm

Back in the day, everyone knew their place and there were no major non-assimilation or culture-related conflict of interest issues. Palo Alto used to be a city comprised of a variety of socio-economic/ethnic backgrounds and the neighborhoods sometimes reflected it.

No one was walking around in native garb and nearly everyone spoke English.
Today PA is more like an upscale version of Queens, NY.




31 people like this
Posted by Just a Thought..
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 11, 2017 at 9:34 pm

Over time Palo Alto, the Peninsula and much of California generally has become a world class international suburb. People from all over the world have come to experience what Silicon Valley has to offer and take part in making what Silicon Valley technology is creating for the world. There are a lot of important things being created here besides social media, like fundamental research in biotechnology, computing and applications of big data techniques previously used for web advertising to other fields.

The international diversity brings a host of disadvantages with the primary one being a high cost of housing and other one being misunderstandings. But it also brings unique advantages such as all sorts of amazing food options and interaction with different viewpoints, products and backgrounds when you least expect it.

On average it is not better or worse. It is just different. The people who like it will stay and the people who want Palo Alto circa 1970 will move to Pleasanton, Morgan Hill and Monterey and buy a big house with their lottery winnings.


41 people like this
Posted by Just a Thought...
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 11, 2017 at 9:59 pm

I think food, in terms of quality AND breadth, more than anything exemplifies the benefits of living in the current Silicon Valley that we sometimes overlook. Just from Palo Alto online's front page:

Something new (to eat) under the sun
- Summer sees spate of new dining options on the Midpeninsula
Web Link
Nobu, Thai rolled ice cream, French Laundry alums' restaurant, Korean fried chicken and a BBQ place co-started by the son of the Shezhan on Castro

When I was growing up in Palo Alto, general American food was Sizzler and maybe Peninsula Creamery if you were feeling fancy, pizza was Round Table and Italian was Olive Garden (and maybe some overpriced but mediocre Italian/ French places on University and some decent but nothing to look at Chinese restaurants on Castro).


110 people like this
Posted by Not Another
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 11, 2017 at 10:03 pm

I am not white and lived in the Midwest for ten years before moving to the west coast. I have lived in Palo Alto for 30 some years. In the past few days, I had been thinking the simple straightforward honest characters of Midwest versus the present day Palo Alto atmosphere of rushing business behavior. When I was in the Midwest, my neighbors and friends were extremely helpful to me when I needed help even though I am not white. I have to say, yes there are "outstanding schools" here, but if I have to do it again, I would not come to today's Palo Alto even I have all the money to live here. There are outstanding school outside of California too. I am also wondering how come the big companies do not open offices and factories in the Midwest too?


60 people like this
Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 11, 2017 at 10:59 pm

john_alderman is a registered user.

@Absolutely Not - 3 bed 2 bath house in old palo alto, vacationing in Europe, and feeling poor? There is a perspective problem there, and it is deeper issue than a handful of neighbors that have more, or travel more.


42 people like this
Posted by PA Mom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 12, 2017 at 12:01 am

We partially outsource the upbringing of our children when we allow the media or their friends or the schools to shape their values.
I am grateful that I was brought up to not compare myself to those who have more than I have or those who have less- in intelligence, money, looks, anything. There will always be those with more and those with less.
For most of the time I brought up my children here, we had less than many people in our neighborhood. My children noticed. My husband and I explained what our trade offs were and that was that.


127 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 12, 2017 at 12:10 pm

" I am also wondering how come the big companies do not open offices and factories in the Midwest too?"

This is one of the main reason for the scarcity and outrageous high cost of housing. Local politicians and others associated with organizations like ABAG have refused to engage in a frank and tough dialogue with local companies about moving operations to areas around the county that would greatly benefit from such a move. Notice how Steve Levy, the most aggressive vocal advocate for hyper development and growth goes into panicked hysteria each time this subject is broached.


131 people like this
Posted by Former viking
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 12, 2017 at 2:21 pm

I moved to Palo Alto as an elementary school student and lived on a beautiful magnolia tree lined street in a grand spanish style house with six bedrooms and maid buzzers in every room. Three years later, after my parents divorced, my family moved to a smaller house where we shared bedrooms and bathrooms. I never felt like we were lesser than others because we shared bathrooms and bedrooms and now lived on a busy street. That was Palo Alto in the 70s though, when people weren't as snobby as they are today.

Living in Palo Alto today is quite different from the "old days" when there was a strong middle class and the upper class didn't rub their wealth in your face. I think the rising of the upper middle class and incredibly wealthy one per centers are contributing to turing this town into an elitist, entitled, overcrowded and unfriendly place. Residents new and old, who made a fortune in real-estate, property development, and high-tech are allowed to buy up several houses on their block and tear them down so they can have a mega property with a mega mansion and no pesky neighbors. The property developers then cry for "affordable housing" to be crammed in the rest of the town. The property developers will then tear down bowling alleys, shops and anything they can lay their hands on and cram in housing and office buildings so the rest of the town is overcrowded, congested and claustrophobic. They then lease their commercial and rental property at outrageous rents so that the little shops are forced to leave and renters who don't make at least 85K/year can barely afford to survive. The property developers have sucked the life out of this town, and those who are so rich they can tear down neighboring houses or an entire block to build their mega mansions with spacious grounds, are creating a huge divide with their gross conspicuous consumption. Talk about in-your-face wealth.

Stanford seems hell-bent on developing every inch of open space. Not too long ago there were open fields along much of El Camino. It's what made Palo Alto unique among other towns along the Peninsula. It's soul destroying to see so much of it gone and replaced with crammed in housing - too much housing. It's soul destroying when there's nothing beautiful to look at.

Born in America commented that not too long ago immigrants assimilated and everyone got along. I remember that time. Why is it so different now? There seems to be so much more hostility, perhaps because some of the more recent immigrants don't want to assimilate. There's much more division. I love diversity when everyone can be nice to each other. I don't like it when people won't talk to their neighbors or say "hi" when passing me on the sidewalk because it's just not part of how they interacted in their country of origin. I like a good melting pot when people actually melt together, not when everyone stays in their own little group and won't interact with each other.

High expectations on school children creates stress for both parents and their children. Is it really necessary? Is excessive homework creating more intelligent kids? at what price? They're burned out before they reach college. I can see it in their zombie-like faces when I pass them on the sidewalk. They all look like they're just surviving. Give them time to play - and not just organized soccer. Limit sports team practice to after school hours and not beyond 5 PM. When I pass parks and schools I am surprised to see kids soccer teams playing past 8 PM. When do they eat and sleep? No wonder they're all burned out. Our kids are a big part of Palo Alto, and their mental health is a reflection of what is wrong in this town.

Sorry for the rant....once I started I couldn't stop. We need to make changes before this town has lost everything that made it a great place to live, or the people who are looking for community will move away, looking for a friendlier more livable town like Palo Alto used to be. Hopefully it's not too late...


98 people like this
Posted by Absolutely Not
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 12, 2017 at 2:41 pm

@john_alderman:

Nice to have a chance to respond to one of your posts. I often admire your commentary.

We are certainly not poor, having taken three European vacations-- only one of which was NOT related to my husband's work.

However, the two we took with the children had my husband's plane fare and hotel covered by his company-- as were his meals. He got to fly first class; WE were in coach. Most meals consisted of just the kids and me, as did most sightseeing. The hotel rooms were small enough that the kids had to share a roll-away cot.

These were not luxury vacations by any stretch, but they were very educational for the kids. However my son came away with the observation that Western Europe has a higher standard of living than the US, NOT what I wanted him to absorb.

Our house is another story: it is less than a block from Alma, and was a fixer upper that no one wanted. We have spent a lot of time and money refurbishing it. The owners were desperate when they sold it, and we bought it well below the market rate 15 years ago.

However, my son has had friends snicker when they see where we live, and that the lot really has only three sides, being "side-zoned". Over the years, his friends and their parents have been shocked, during play dates, to see how small the back yard is, and usually INSIST my son play at their house or we meet at a park.

As a result, both of the children have begged and begged to move to a larger home with a "real" yard, but it means leaving Palo Alto as well as losing a lot of profit due to the current state and federal capital gains taxes on real estate.

We are currently looking into leasing it out, and using all of our savings to put a down payment on a bigger, but cheaper house elsewhere. Our payments will increase 5x at least, since we are tied to Silicon Valley!


91 people like this
Posted by Absolutely Not
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 12, 2017 at 3:31 pm

FYI: We took the first step last year, and put our children into a Catholic school in a nearby city.

Unfortunately, children are influenced strongly by school and neighborhood friends-- for better or for worse.

In our case, it was for the worse, something I didn't think possible when we first talked of moving from San Jose!


56 people like this
Posted by Former viking
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 12, 2017 at 7:22 pm

@Absolutely not: I'm not understanding your point... are you complaining because you live in a 3 bedroom/2 bathroom house? Is everyone supposed to feel sorry for you? You're much better off than I am - I can no longer afford my apartment rent. Lots of kids in Palo Alto live in houses where siblings share bathrooms - not everyone lives in Crescent Park. Take your kids to the Buena Vista Trailer Park the next time they complain about their house. And what's stopping you from moving to a place that is more affordable? Even a house near Alma can bring 2 million dollars. You could move to Henderson Nevada and buy a big house with a big yard for your kids and still have a million dollars left over.

Are you seriously complaining about your short vacation in Europe? Really? I think you're really trying to poke fun at people complaining about living in Palo Alto.

If you can afford to live in a three bedroom house in Palo Alto, you're one of the fortunate ones and should focus on what you have instead of what you wish you had. Your kids will pick up on your attitude.


57 people like this
Posted by Liberal Arts Educated
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2017 at 7:43 pm

I'm struck by how young the poster and his friend are and the questions they're asking. One landed at Stanford-SLAC and the other at Facebook. Pretty great for their generation. And these weighty, meaningful questions they're asking far beyond questions of career. People tend to overlook liberal arts colleges for name-brand universities. It seems to me that these two young men got great educations, which gave them a solid start on careers (however much this means to them), and which got them to think and question broadly and meaningfully about life. Bravo to liberal arts colleges!


28 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2017 at 10:37 pm

@Absolutely

You are digging yourself into a big hole. You appear to be part of the problem instead of part of the solution. You say so many things that I don't know where to begin. Your attitude from "However my son came away with the observation that Western Europe has a higher standard of living than the US, NOT what I wanted him to absorb." to "We are currently looking into leasing it out, and using all of our savings to put a down payment on a bigger, but cheaper house elsewhere" show that you are a snob and your values are obviously trickling down to your kids.

I hope they turn out with values similar to the author of the above piece. He is the type of young person we hope to produce here. Unfortunately, they appear to have the odds stacked against them.

PS. What sort of observation did you want your son to absorb from Europe? No wonder Americans have a bad reputation in Europe!


39 people like this
Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 12, 2017 at 10:39 pm

john_alderman is a registered user.

@Absolutely Not - I don't want to diminish the problem, it is tough to deal with as a parent, but truthfully, there is a lack of perspective. I thought I was driving a normal nice car until the Porsches and Teslas and Ferraris started to show up in the neighborhood. However, your 1700 sq ft house is massive by European standards. You don't need to go far, like El Camino, or Rengstorff Park in Mountain View to see hundreds of people living in their vehicles. I don't think there is an easy answer, but I'd think about engaging them some sort of service activity to help reflect on their relative position. And travel places, home & abroad, that have a wider spectrum of life (E.g., SE Asia, Peru, India, West Virginia)..


73 people like this
Posted by Look at the numbers
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 12, 2017 at 10:42 pm

Fields Medal award is being treated as Nobel Price award in Mathematics. Ranking world wide universities having various number of Fields Medal recipients as faculties, out of the top 16 institutes, 10 of them are US institutes, only 3 are in California, 6 are in the East and 1 in the Midwest.

Of all 51 US citizens receiving the physics Nobel price, only 8 or 16% of them have their doctorate from universities in California. 12 or 24% of them work in California.

Open your eyes if you think you are smart, there are a lot of places in the world for you. It is not necessarily to go to school in California or work in California. For employers, there are a lot of smart people not in California that you can make use for.

Let us get rid of the snobby air of Palo Alto.


76 people like this
Posted by Best days are in the past
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2017 at 11:08 pm

Palo Alto was in the center of the technology revolution in the 1970s with Xerox PARC, now just PARC. And the Google search engine originally came out of Cornell University with the work of Professor Gerard Salton and the SMART retrieval system, also in the 1970s.

The Silicon Valley long ago has mass marketed most inventions from the 1970s, that at the time were the products of geniuses at PARC and Cornell.

In the last decade or so, small incremental changes in various techno-gadgets have occurred, with PCs now downsized to iPhones, and Facebook exists - - - even though they are touted as 'revolutionary' by marketing professionals, they really aren't.

I'd say that Palo Alto had a glorious past in the 1970s, but its best days are in the past. The traffic is a nightmare. A better quality of life with better work/life balance and educational opportunities along with multiple corporations with an R&D focus could probably be found in places like the Research Triangle Park in NC.


75 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto is pretty great
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 13, 2017 at 1:18 am

I am a non-white immigrant who was lucky enough to afford a house in Palo Alto. I have to say I love it here. I came from a small mid-western town where I experienced overt racism in high-school - open name-calling, being spit upon, being pushed down the stairs. Very few of the kids in that school had parents who were college educated - they are all Trump voters now I would bet. With my darker skin and accented English I was an easy mark. Now there might be hidden racism in Palo Alto, but I will take hidden racism over overt racism every single day of the week. Especially for the sake of my kids. The only downside to Palo Alto is that it is hard to afford for starting families. So I don't expect my kids to settle here, but I am thankful I can raise them here. Palo Alto is a safe haven for me and I believe it's best days lie ahead.


92 people like this
Posted by Old school Palo Altan
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 13, 2017 at 8:18 am

I grew up in this town during the 1960's-1980's. When returning from college,housing was affordable and it was within my financial reach to purchase a home. I chose to live in another city but was still fond of my home town. Lets be real, when your kid leaves home today for college it's highly unlikely they will ever return. The cost of living in this town is unreachable for 99% of the people. You will be traveling long distances to visit you children and grandchildren. It's not anyones fault, just a fact. What I'm saying is most people couldn't raise a family in Palo Alto even if they wanted to. I still hold fond memories of growing up there, but I don't recognize my hometown anymore.


105 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 13, 2017 at 11:41 am

I was born and raised in Palo Alto, and am now almost done raising my family here. Like all places, much has changed.
But, the insane cost of housing here sets Palo Alto and much of the Bay Area apart from many other places.

In the "old days" if you could not afford Palo Alto, there were many communities close by to choose from. Not
anymore. It has changed the whole fabric of the community. Such a narrow group of people can afford to
buy homes here. Makes living here very strange. I mean, very, very strange.


70 people like this
Posted by Assimilation
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 13, 2017 at 2:28 pm

I purchased my mobile home at Buena Vista in 1995. As time went on, most non-latino households moved out. As Jisser adopted a policy of charging the new immigrants by the head (illegal) and other nefarious practices and the park became largely latino I noticed that there was absolutely no assimilation on my street.

The new residents on my street were by and large unfriendly and a friend of mine on the street was even told by a new resident that "they wanted all the white people to move out so they could do whatever they wanted." Odd, since they already were doing whatever they wanted with no regard to existing rules and norms, continuing to this day.

However, Buena Vista's new management has already reaped benefits for residents in that they have removed most of the vehicles illegally parked on the premises, which makes walking around for a senior citizen a lot easier and installed responsive security services which is helpful. Once they assume full responsibility on 9/1 they will be implementing many favorable changes and enforcing Rules for Residents at last!

I think assimilation takes several generations, at least over here at Buena Vista.


24 people like this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 13, 2017 at 3:57 pm

Want to know what happens to a community with Prop 13?

Palo Alto is it.

The only people that live in Palo Alto are long-time residents that hate change, and the well-to-do that can afford to subsidize the property taxes of those long-time residents.

Like rent control in SF, Prop 13 has hollowed out the middle class in the Bay Area.


Posted by Absolutely Not
a resident of Old Palo Alto

on Aug 13, 2017 at 5:51 pm


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98 people like this
Posted by Absolutely Not
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 13, 2017 at 6:30 pm

I should have mentioned straight away that my husband's parents rent one of the bedrooms in our house-- which is why my husband has an office in our bedroom!

However, once our son turns 11, he is--by CA law-- no longer allowed to share a bedroom with his sister.

Our vacations do tend to revolve around my husband's extended business trips-- it is less expensive that way. We have only accompanied him to India once, but the children were sick most of the time with fevers, so we were stuck in the hotel.

Unfortunately, most of the other vacations have been to wealthy countries. The kids were surprised to see beggars and homeless people only in France and Italy, and most of them were Muslim women begging on the steps of Cathedrals, babies in tow.

Our children were surprised at how inexpensive real estate was between large cities, and how large the lots were-- particularly between Brugge and Brussels, between Mainz and Koblenz, and between Amsterdam and Eindhoven ( "we could live HERE, Daddy"), not just Italy and Spain.

They were also surprised, as I was, at how well Europeans dressed-- and how other than Italy-- no one seemed to buy clothing made outside the EU ( expensive!). Also surprising, outside of England, was how few Japanese or Korean cars we have seen-- one Prius one trip, one Hyundai in another. Otherwise we saw Fiats, Peugeots, Fords, BMWs and Mercedes Benzes; not a lot of old cars, mostly new ( the exception being France, Italy, Spain).

My son and I both volunteer with animal rescue, my son and daughter are required to perform community service through their school. My son has 2 hrs of homework each night, my daughter one. Both have after school sports.

What we are sick of are the wealthy people throwing their wealth in our faces. I have lost a friend because her husband now makes $2 million dollars a year, and recently completed the construction of a mansion-- we have lived in the same house near the tracks for13 years. My son has lost two friends whose parents felt we had not bettered ourselves in too long ( the house?), so their so s are not allowed to be friends with ours.

This neighborhood has poisoned my son's mind, so I moved them out of PAUSD before it does the same to my daughter's mind.


32 people like this
Posted by Poor Kid
a resident of another community
on Aug 13, 2017 at 7:09 pm

@Absolutely Not: I highly doubt that there is a state law restricting where children sleep (even in the nanny state of California). The fact that you think there is shows how clueless you are about how poor people are living in the Bay Area. Families are stacked up two and three to an apartment just to get by. I shared a bedroom with my grandmother until I was ten years old and then I slept in what was supposed to be the living room. My mom slept on the porch on a day bed. This was in 1986, not that long ago.


48 people like this
Posted by Quit Whining
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 13, 2017 at 8:15 pm

@Absolutely Not: This is a forum for posting comments on the article. Perhaps you should start your own blog. If you are paying to live in Palo Alto but send your children to a private school, might as well live elsewhere and pay less, have a bigger home that your children desire. Palo Alto isn't the place to be if it brings you so much unhappiness. Some people have been miserable for so long that it's all they know and can't snap out of it. I think you are staying for the status, otherwise, you'd move to a less expensive location. Frankly, most in Palo Alto are not wealthy as per your experiences. You are living in Old Palo Alto (the wealthiest part of Palo Alto) and have a skewed view of life in Palo Alto. My children have friends from families who are housepoor, which is common in the other Palo Alto neighborhoods. Look at your life and change it if you don't like it.


66 people like this
Posted by Parent in Palo Alto
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 13, 2017 at 10:30 pm

Some great insights about Palo Alto. I live here and often wonder whether the grass is greener somewhere else. But the reality is, our jobs are here and should we ever need to change jobs, the best prospects are here. We have planted roots here. And once you have kids, it's normal I think to become more conservative about making big moves. This town is different than most. And you really have to examine what you need to be happy. There are many people here who grumble about not having what other people have and whatnot. Do I understand that? Of course I do! But if you cannot handle being relatively much less wealthy than some of the wealthiest people in the world, then for sure, Palo Alto is not for you.

Though the crowd here is very multinational, it can sometimes still very feel one note. And there are so many times I miss the fun, easy kind of people that I grew up with. But it's hard not to fall into the trap. It's hard not to obsess over things like your child's education. We are here, because that's who we are. How do we change that culture and our obsession of "sucess?" I'm not sure you can. And I'm sure many of our children, when they go out into the world, are going to discover that Palo Alto is such a small slice of what the world has to offer. So enjoy more travels and adventures and perhaps then you will know if Palo Alto. An make you happy.


59 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 14, 2017 at 7:26 am

Absolutely you are living a life that is so different from what I have seen here.

One of my kids in middle and high school had a good friend from one of the "famous wealthy" Palo Alto families. They spent time in each other's homes and never once did I hear anything from either about the difference in the incomes or the difference in the homes. This friend made (yes arts and crafts) made birthday gifts to give to friends. You couldn't expect to meet a more down to earth family with such ordinary values and life styles from a family with wealth and prestige in town. In fact, one of the reasons why this friend was looking forward to college so much was because the family name would not be known and people met would not be asking "are you one of the _ family".

As for Europe, why would it surprise you that Europeans would drive European cars? And from what I know rust ages cars there and they have strict car evaluations each year which mean that old cars can't be kept on the roads until they die. I am not sure if I would be able to look at someone's clothes and no whether they were expensive or where they were made. I'm sure the black polos and gray tea shirts that Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg favor are made in every price range and in many countries!

Stop this pity party. Your kids are learning their values from you. If there are families who don't want their kids to play with your kids it may be for reasons other than family income.

People are people and if you can't find some families who want to be friends then perhaps you are looking for the wrong types of friends. Yes there are very wealthy people in Palo Alto. There are others who are not so wealthy. I find it is very difficult to tell the difference. Just because a family goes on expensive vacations or drive expensive cars may not be the indicator you expect. The families I have come across that I have suspicion may be wealthier than they appear are also the ones that give generously and share generously to schools, Little League, and do it out of the goodness of their hearts and not to either show off to those of us who are lower down the totem pole. (Yes and for the tax breaks too :)".

I was pleased to read the opinion piece. I hope more of our young people leave college and see life through a wider lens. I hope that many of us are able to teach our children values that have nothing to do with wealth and comparison. I hope we can get children to see that they should choose their friends by what they have on the inside rather than their parents' bank balance. From my perspective, they will get their attitudes mainly from their parents' attitudes rather than their friends.


66 people like this
Posted by Glass Full
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 14, 2017 at 9:31 am

@Quit Whining and Palo Alto is pretty great,
Thank you. I think these threads draw out the development trolls. I was a young engineer here in the '80s, and if anything it was worse because interest rates were so high. There was a tech boom and then during the Reagan recession, there was so much money pumped into Star Wars. There was one unusual drop after the earthquake, but that was really the only one. Housing has been unbelievably expensive here for longer than people realize. We are house poor and have never experienced any of the above "snobbery" even from our friends in the North. Do I think the North can have a snobby contingent? Sure, but it's way less than any place of similar wealth I've ever lived, including Los Altos (where people are less snobby than other places of comparable wealth). No one cares what you wear in the schools in Palo Alto, much less pigeonholes anyone socially, quite a departure from many places where the smallest variation from expectations is a social disaster. But then again, if someone tells me their spouse gave them a Tesla for their birthday, I think, "Wow, that's so cool!" Not "I am less just because I justify a good haircut as my big birthday splurge". And if someone wouldn't want to be my friend because of that, I wouldn't want to have such a shallow person as my friend anyway. Luckily, there are too many nice, smart grounded people around here to notice anything like that.

To the article's writer: the big change about Palo Alto has been a struggle for the future. For the first time, a few large companies have engaged in an overt battle to take over the town the public built. Instead of moving out when they needed to grow, like Facebook did, they instead have entrenched and are pushing out the startups that thrived here because of Stanford despite the unaffordability. Once thriving mom and pop areas have been decimated and traffic because of the glut of corporate workers makes it difficult to access the town's civic amenities for families, compared to even ten or fifteen years ago.

The thriving small town of yesteryear was never cheap, but it was also not an accident. The contingent of civic activists who kept Palo Alto from becoming Emeryville (then) are now dying out, literally. They worked pretty hard, and in recent years have more or less been co-opted by development interests creating a false narrative that building more offices for their highly paid workers and more expensive rentals for a basically transient workforce will solve things, when it only ever ratchets up costs AND reduces quality of life for families. If the young people wake up and realize that infrastructure is finite and balance can only be restored by finding ways to downsize office capacity here (encouraging larger companies to where they can grow is by far the better and easier solution - and hey, we limit the size of grocery stores, why not enforce the existing rules about downtown?) If anything, the young people I see today spend more time and money doing things like traveling and eating out; everyone I knew was scrambling for a roof over their heads, including the kinds of gritty home improvement projects (not in PA) they wouldn't make people do at Habitat for Humanity. Seriously, that makes up most of my memories of my adult life.

This town is run by a volunteer City council and volunteer residents. If you want it to create stability for families, you can do a lot by getting involved with your friends, and looking past the manipulative arguments of the overdevelopment beneficiaries to protect the environment, schools, infrastructure, traffic circulation, and restoring Palo Alto's local retail sector, etc. Creating stability and opportunities for civic life. I'll bet you have never read the Comp Plan, or understand the difference between a Charter City and not in California, and how that affects you personally. You sound a lot like me when I moved to SV in the '80s. When you get tired of the transience, you begin to realize that you can put roots down here (in SV, not just PA), but it takes commitment and persistence. It helps when you find community through school families, church, civic engagement, volunteering. Usually young people who volunteer don't do so where it involves governance and power. But there is nothing stopping you - just realize that there is a steep learning curve there, too, just as with housing, and the journey is as much the point as the destination.


85 people like this
Posted by Observer
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 14, 2017 at 10:27 am

I have read that kids actually care what brand of clothing their peers wear. Where do they learn that, from their Mothers?

Women involved in the schools are particularly vulnerable to the shallowness. Friends who would be considered well off because of years of employment in tech have no savings! They spend all their money on remodeling, on cars, and who knows what else, to keep up with the neighbors.

Years ago my kids delivered newspapers and were proud to have a real job. And we were proud of them. And kids could be hired to weed and do odd jobs.
Status seeking wasn't the driving motivation as it seems to be now.

It's hard to ignore both the rich techies and rich immigrants. [Portion removed.]


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Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 14, 2017 at 11:02 am

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Great City
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 14, 2017 at 11:09 am

Every day I wake up feeling so lucky and fortunate to live in Palo Alto and be at the epicenter of the information revolution. Life is about perspective. I have traveled to many countries as well as extensively within the US, and still choose Palo Alto over anywhere else and consider us very fortunate to live here. One of the reasons to live in Palo Alto is because of the great public schools. We have not experienced any of the problems mentioned by @absolutely not but it sounds like they are sending their kids to private school. You will spend $50K per kid per year to send them to private school and in my opinion, they will get an inferior and less well-rounded experience. I went to a top private high-school school and did not enjoy it nor consider it worthwhile. While housing prices continue to soar that's due to in part to a huge office building boom, including in Palo Alto and the lack of new housing. Also saddened to see Palantir gobble up 20 buildings downtown pushing out so many innovative start-ups. I do encourage residents to become aware of local city politics where many council and committee members are there on behalf of the developers and big companies to further those interests at the expensive of your neighborhoods and a resident serving downtown. Lastly, these days you have to participate in the community to be part of it. Start by volunteering whether it's for your kids school or an area you have an interest. The more time you spend thinking about and helping others, the happier you will be. That goes no matter where you live.


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Posted by green green grass
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 14, 2017 at 11:17 am

however green your meadow, you may believe the grass is always greener on the other side.... the author needs to think about that.

no place is perfect as people are not perfect. if the author had to actually live (long term) in some of those asian countries that were visited, he'd realise the advantages of palo alto or almost any other city in the u.s

imho, as long as your house is warm welcoming (and stocked with snacks), kids don't usually notice anything else :) we have two teenagers and a house with 'only' two bathrooms in palo alto...half our garage is a 'hang out' zone for our kids and their friends and not once have my sons or their friends concerned themselves with the number of bathroooms in our house!!!


Posted by Jet pilot
a resident of Stanford

on Aug 14, 2017 at 11:52 am


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Posted by Jealous Me 2
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 14, 2017 at 12:02 pm



"Prop 13 = old people who hate change"

Who are they? Where is the proof?
Is it no true without "Prop 13" significant number of "old people" will not afford to pay property tax and have to leave their home they spent years to build. These "old people" that you are looking down may still carry debt incurred during the years they raise you up.
"Old people" may be more flexible than you too!
You are young, you can make it yourself, don't be jealous that people are rich. Actually, rich and poor are irrelevant in this discussion. A person with fairness in mind is important.


75 people like this
Posted by Susie
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 14, 2017 at 12:12 pm

Great article, Aldis! Thank you for sharing your insights and questions. I lived in Palo Alto for 16 years in the late 1980's to early 2000's and raised my family there. We had many opportunities to leave but I was adamant about staying because of the reputation of the schools there. At the time I believed it was the best thing for my family. Juana Briones Elementary School was more diverse than most of the PA elementary schools - not only a mixture of ethnicities but there were children in wheelchairs and walkers because of the OT program. My son learned braille there because of the integration of the visually-impaired program with the rest of the school. My son got a wonderful start to his education there and was exposed to people of all socio-economic levels.

That seemed to fade once we moved and he landed at Jordan Middle School and Palo Alto High School. The cliques and the bullying were much more apparent. Kids who were "in the middle" were ignored. Unless you were in a special program of some sort, you kind of just coasted through. And if you were a shy, quiet kid, no one really got to know you. My son did well academically but suffered socially. It really wasn't until his junior year at Paly that a teacher took a special interest in him which, in turn, allowed my son to flourish. I can't say what it is like now but I can tell you, Aldis, that in the early 2000's there was a lot of pressure on high school kids in Palo Alto to get into "the best" schools. It was extremely competitive. You felt "stupid" if you went to a State school or a community college. There was no such thing as "average". Everyone was told they were gifted. What I found extremely frustrating was that a lot of Palo Alto parents felt it was their "duty" to tell the schools (and the city) how to run things. Palo Alto parents developed a reputation for taking over the process and expecting things to be done their way.

In my opinion, Palo Alto parents were over involved in their children's lives. Failure was not an option for their kids. I saw parents hovering over their children as if letting them go was a parenting failure when, in fact, that is exactly what we should be doing. Many Palo Alto students struggled in college because they were not used to doing anything on their own. They never really learned how to problem-solve, manage stress, express anger appropriately and deal with setbacks.

I now live in a smaller town in another state where parents have more realistic goals for their children and, for the most part, don't jump in and fix everything that is wrong in their children's lives. I am happier, less stressed and overall, healthier. My son (and daughter-in-law) still live in the Bay Area and I wish they would get jobs elsewhere. They cannot afford even a 2-bedroom apartment and they make good money! I would never suggest they put their children in the Palo Alto schools now. Palo Alto is a lovely place but it is not reality. No one needs the amount of pressure and stress put on them that you find when living in the Bay Area. I feel it when I'm just there visiting. When you have kids, Aldis ..... run! Run away to a real community where people have real problems and real joys. I have to go plan our neighborhood block party now - good luck to you!


61 people like this
Posted by Not Just Palo Alto
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 14, 2017 at 12:25 pm

It's all relative. When I was growing up in the Silicon Valley (Campbell and San Jose) in the 70's, Palo Alto was seen as the expensive place to buy a house. Its schools were more competitive than those of surrounding cities, and Stanford was where kids wanted to go to college. It seems to me that nothing has changed, but the intensity and its awareness have increased and permeated into the entire Bay Area. It's not just in Palo Alto. My friends who live in Sunnyvale, San Jose, and even Gilroy say that price of homes have gone way up, and the stresses of academics have increased greatly in schools. Also for the latter, I'd say it's a change that has taken place not just in this region, but in the entire nation due to changes in our college admissions system.

For those who grew up in this city, you were very lucky to have experienced the golden years of this city. But it has changed, along with the entire area. While I don't have an answer to to all the issues that come with growth, I think we need to acknowledge that the change is not just happening in Palo Alto. The Bay Area has a wealth of natural resources, excellent climate, diversity, and employment opportunities that attracts people from all over the world. The "secret" is out and those of us who choose to stay need to find a way to share the space.


83 people like this
Posted by Daryl
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 14, 2017 at 12:42 pm

My parents moved to Palo Alto when I was 3 back in the mid-fifties. My dad wanted to be able to ride his bike to work in Menlo Park. It is/was? a 3bed/2Ba ranch near Middlefield in Old Palo Alto. Across the street were a couple who taught at Paly with children my age. Across the other street was a man who did our taxes every year. Down the street lived a minister, and close by were a surgeon and his family. Yes, there were clearly wealthy people and average income people, but it did not seem to matter very much growing up. There were not the great differences that seem to be present today. You were friends with whoever you liked. You got to know people in band, or English class or sports. What the parents did - unless such things mattered to the PARENTS - was of no interest to the kids.
I remember having half days "off" to gather and talk about The War (Vietnam) at Paly. I remember getting fabulous raspberry sherbet at the ice cream place (now a bookstore) at T&C across from Paly. I knew people in large homes and small. I will say there were people of many ethnic/religious groups then, tho not as many as now perhaps, and, again,THAT didn't seem to matter... THAT wasn't what made anyone I knew care about you as a person. It was a different time. When I left Palo Alto in the 80's, I did not go back until 2010 to take care of my mom in the same house I grew up in. SO different. Oddly, I noticed that the wealthier one was, the more casual their clothing (Steve Jobs in his jeans and black tee shirt) seemed to be. The people in expensive clothing appeared to be wannabe's... trying too hard. All the different styles of homes I grew up with (ranch/lg and sm Spanish style/small bungalow/Eichler/2-story American with pillars on front porch, the large mansions pretty much centered on Waverly) are being torn down to make way for huge-as-the-lot-allows pseudo bungalow/Spanish/whatever homes that somehow manage to look the same and cheap. All the stores are expensive. University Ave has expensive shops. T&C does have the best coffee shop and a Trader Joes and a fine bookstore. There's a fabulous bagel shop on the West end of N Calif Ave. Midtown has a wonderful coffee shop where people gather to sit or chat and read the paper. It is still an amazing place. But I have heard that the suicide rates for young people in Palo Alto have soared due to pressure to get into NAME colleges. That makes me sad. That is due to parental/school pressures, not the city. Parents who move to the Bay Area just to ensure their children end up in status jobs to make them - the parents -look successful is a tragedy. There was a hint of that when I lived there, but it was rare. It is the people that determine the culture of a place. And sometimes you do need to leave and come back to know such things. I love to visit, love the drive over the hills to Pescadero, love the variety of trees and Foothill Park and walking the streets of Palo Alto... it is unique in all the world, but I will never live there again. Those that care about appearances seem to be in charge, and few appear to be standing up for what should matter most; each other. I am grateful to have had perhaps the best of Palo Alto, and hope that the energy and curiosity and intellect there finds its way to the surface again. It is up to you to choose. And, finally, please explain to me why there is continued building on ridiculously expensive land that will eventually - not so far away - be under water?....


45 people like this
Posted by Elizabeth
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 14, 2017 at 12:46 pm

I'm looking forward to coming back and reading all the above insightful comments when I've finished my volunteer session at Learning Ally (the former Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic), however for the time being I will say that I've lived in a large complex for an unexpected 23 years, and for a long time passed on getting to know neighbors and they seemed to migrate through so that as quickly as I knew their names and come to value them as friends they moved on....it was hard to handle for a while.

This year, however I've found myself drawn to introduce myself to more and more neighbors. We've exchanged names, numbers and ideas. We're "family" should problems arise. It seems in this time of media reported hostility and angst, that we need to take the time to get to know the people that life has brought to our vicinity.

Who knows what will come our way in the months ahead? I would have predicted little of what I've seen in the past couple years.

I'm happy to be surrounded by friends and to have their backs when needed and to know I'm not "alone" in this fast-paced community.

We create our own reality. I populate mine with wonderful people of vastly different ages, backgrounds and interests.

Richness comes from investment, and money is the least in that list of significant investments.


45 people like this
Posted by Reach out. Create the community you want.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 14, 2017 at 1:20 pm

Reach out. Create the community you want. is a registered user.

I have lived in Palo Alto for more than twenty years. My experience here has had its ups and downs, like life anywhere. On the whole, I feel blessed to be here. I do not live with an expectation of perfection. I have a wonderful network of friends for whom I am very grateful. (Each of us lives in the community we create by reaching out to others.)

My children live comfortably in a very modest 3BR 2BA Eichler and they are not embarrassed to bring their friends home. They are grateful for the blessing of a safe home. We exposed them to people who really do suffer from poverty in our own community and elsewhere. They know what real poverty looks like, and they feel an obligation to help others. (Strong values start with a family that actively teaches and lives them.)

Friends, if you want a certain type of community, look inside yourself and ask what you can do to create the community you want. As Bob Edgar once said, "WE are the leaders we have been waiting for."

MAKE the change you want. Don't wait for someone else to do it. Reach out. People will be hungry (just like you)to build friendships and a closer-knit community. The community you want is already here if you will just let yourself see it and actively be part of it. Getting off the internet and connecting with people face-to-face through volunteer work is a great way to start.


55 people like this
Posted by Scotty
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 14, 2017 at 1:54 pm

My advice young Aldis... be proud of the fact that you are from Palo Alto, and perhaps less proud of that manbun.


26 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 14, 2017 at 3:22 pm

Annette is a registered user.

Terrific opinion piece - thank you. I have lived here nearly 4 decades; raised two children here and have no regrets. The plus column is far fuller than its counterpart. That said, the densification and the changes it brings make Palo Alto less appealing to us now than it was for most of the time that we have lived here. Example: the May Fete Parade was a big deal - how fun to see a home-grown parade on your own main street that was full of everyday stores. One year we all went into the shoe store and bought red sneakers! It was fun splurge. Now I rarely go downtown. I think that's a shame but I selfishly don't want to spend my free time dealing with traffic and parking issues.

Plus, there are ways around it: I recently ordered several books from Bell's. On pick up day I circled a few times but could not find a space to park. So I called Bell's and one of the women came out to my car, took payment and handed me my books. Talk about customer service! THAT is why we don't want to obliterate local retail. City Council: I hope you are paying attention to this!!


85 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 14, 2017 at 3:34 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

I spent about 60 percent of my life in Palo Alto. A year ago I purchased a house in a rural yet sophisticated area of Monterey County, although I kept my Palo Alto home and spend (very reluctantly)two weekends per month in Palo Alto . I truly feel as if I was reborn and given a second chance for happiness, peace of mind and tranquility. I feel like I've given a second chance on life once I left Palo Alto.

My recommendation would be that if one can live elsewhere in a lifestyle and quality life that is acceptable, get out of Palo Alto asap, or even better, don't move in. There is mush less to Palo Alto than meets the eye these days. It is a town that has completely lost its soul. Why in the world would one want to raise a family in Palo Alto?


71 people like this
Posted by Carla Talbott
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 14, 2017 at 4:35 pm

I no longer live in Palo Alto but I lived there from 1970 to 2008 and my kids both went to P.A. schools, one for all 12 years, one partially in Los Altos where my ex lived. When I moved to P.A. in 1970 it was to a house on Seale Ave., close to the Community Center/Library/Theater complex. After 10 years in Phoenix, Palo Alto seemed like paradise! But I'd grown disillusioned with it by the time economic circumstances forced my late husband and I to move to a cheaper place, McMinnville, OR. I found that "Mac" was a lot like Palo Alto in some ways but not in the Snobby-ness. It is more like P.A. used to be. What started changing my mind about P.A. was the flash flood of 1998 and how we'd been treated as freezing, wet victims. There all the meetings, which I attended, but nothing of substance happened. Then there was the developer of the shopping center near 101, near the Embarcadero West exit. He was really a piece of work! But the last things that turned my stomach were the bruhaha at the Children's Theater where I felt the long time Director (?) had been treated very badly and unfairly and a botched investigation into some supposedly missing money was so disgusting and stupid. The next thing that pissed me off really badly was what happened to Town & Country Shopping Center and how it had happened. I'd previously supported several businesses there but when that asshole developer (whose name I can't recall) came in, kicking out long time tenants and otherwise being as ugly as possible, I was furious. Meanwhile, all the stores I used to shop at, downtown and on California Avenue got so upscale and expensive that I could not and would not shop there. The snoots shot ever higher into the air. Stanford Shopping center also too expensive for me although I'd once shopped there. Palo Alto became so damned "gentrified" that I no longer could identify with it. Midtown kept going downhill and I'd always shopped there for years. Treatment at the clinic or Stanford Hosp. was sky high. My husband's illnesses and consequent loss of employment (meaning loss of insurance). The bursting of the tech, stock market and housing bubbles finished us off in 2008 and we had to move elsewhere despite P.A. having been my home for 38 years. We did luck out in finding a town reminiscent of P.A. in its earlier times, in many ways. I've never been back since leaving in 2008 and I doubt that I ever will. I have no desire to go back. I lived in P.A. more years than I have anywhere else, it was home, but it changed too much to be my home any longer. It's for the rich and only the rich and I quit liking the vibe and how the town was being run (by developers).


65 people like this
Posted by Carla Talbott
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 14, 2017 at 4:36 pm

I no longer live in Palo Alto but I lived there from 1970 to 2008 and my kids both went to P.A. schools, one for all 12 years, one partially in Los Altos where my ex lived. When I moved to P.A. in 1970 it was to a house on Seale Ave., close to the Community Center/Library/Theater complex. After 10 years in Phoenix, Palo Alto seemed like paradise! But I'd grown disillusioned with it by the time economic circumstances forced my late husband and I to move to a cheaper place, McMinnville, OR. I found that "Mac" was a lot like Palo Alto in some ways but not in the Snobby-ness. It is more like P.A. used to be. What started changing my mind about P.A. was the flash flood of 1998 and how we'd been treated as freezing, wet victims. There all the meetings, which I attended, but nothing of substance happened. Then there was the developer of the shopping center near 101, near the Embarcadero West exit. He was really a piece of work! But the last things that turned my stomach were the bruhaha at the Children's Theater where I felt the long time Director (?) had been treated very badly and unfairly and a botched investigation into some supposedly missing money was so disgusting and stupid. The next thing that pissed me off really badly was what happened to Town & Country Shopping Center and how it had happened. I'd previously supported several businesses there but when that developer (whose name I can't recall) came in, kicking out long time tenants and otherwise being as ugly as possible, I was furious. Meanwhile, all the stores I used to shop at, downtown and on California Avenue got so upscale and expensive that I could not and would not shop there. The snoots shot ever higher into the air. Stanford Shopping center also too expensive for me although I'd once shopped there. Palo Alto became so damned "gentrified" that I no longer could identify with it. Midtown kept going downhill and I'd always shopped there for years. Treatment at the clinic or Stanford Hosp. was sky high. My husband's illnesses and consequent loss of employment (meaning loss of insurance). The bursting of the tech, stock market and housing bubbles finished us off in 2008 and we had to move elsewhere despite P.A. having been my home for 38 years. We did luck out in finding a town reminiscent of P.A. in its earlier times, in many ways. I've never been back since leaving in 2008 and I doubt that I ever will. I have no desire to go back. I lived in P.A. more years than I have anywhere else, it was home, but it changed too much to be my home any longer. It's for the rich and only the rich and I quit liking the vibe and how the town was being run (by developers).


78 people like this
Posted by Cheryl Lilienstein
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 14, 2017 at 11:09 pm

I was struck by the author's observations and trying to figure out what's happened. I feel the loss of heart also, and want to thank him for bringing it out.

I suspect my experience is controversial yet ubiquitous. But first let me say something about the maintenance man you knew. I imagine while conversing you each looked at one another's faces in person and the connection was made, face to face, heart to heart.

Yet everywhere I go I encounter people using cell phones in all public and social environments. The constant (pleasurable/addicted) attention to screens diminishes our humanity, our eye contact, our facial expressiveness, our heart to heart connection, and robs our capacity to attend to real human beings around us.

Is this interesting--? Common?-- When someone is using a cell phone near me: I have a sharp (and very temporary) sense of hostility and then a dull sense of withdrawal.

Perhaps this hostility/withdrawal thing is a natural primate reaction to being ignored by a proximate stranger, and I'm guessing millions of people are having this experience over and over, day in and day out, and it gives us the feeling that our "civilization" is heartless. This amazing tool has addicted us, our children, and altered the public sphere to such and extent that we hardly know one another any more, we don't make eye contact, and we end up not really wanting to.

We do have the capacity for heart, we have a deep need for it, yet we've allowed it to be eliminated or trained it out of our everyday encounters. Perhaps Palo Altans could put cell phones down and insist that children do so as well, in all public and social spaces. Maybe we'd find the heart we thought we lost, by having conversations with strangers we live amongst.


69 people like this
Posted by sunshine
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 15, 2017 at 9:38 am

I moved here in the 60s and returned after 2 years abroad. We bought a home in Barron Park, then a part of Santa Clara county, not Palo Alto. I liked the semi rural atmosphere--no sidewalks, a riparian creek, horses and donkeys and occasionally goats in what later became a park. The real estate agent was shocked that we would even consider Barron Park because they let ANYONE live there, even Chinese and Mexicans. My husband and I shrugged and told her we wanted that house (3 BR 2 BA standard lot) in "horror of horrors Barron Park". Yes, our neighbors were ethnically diverse, but they all did their best to learn English so that we could converse.
Our relaxation hours were spent fixing up and caring for our garden which include a large area of vegetables. Other days we went to the beach for the day or hiked on the many trails. Often Foothill Park was full on nice weekends. Now PA seems to be ignoring their less developed parks.
Both University Ave and California Ave had a variety of stores, including a Patterson's variety, Rapps shoes, Coop grocery and a supermarket art store, many art/craft stores, fabric and knitting stores (individual not chain), 4 movie theaters in PA and more in surrounding towns (not multiplexes; individual movie theaters), a variety of restaurants in both price and ambiance (you were not deafened by music and fellow patrons in most restaurants).
What was the same? PA City council was arguing whether to keep PA how it is or develop it more and add more people. That time the Residentialists won and PA stayed a good place to live.
PA City council seems to not realize that housing needs in this area have boom and bust times ranging from no place to rent at a decent price to apartment owners offering free rent first and last month and a move in bonus. What will happen during the next employment bust?


37 people like this
Posted by barb
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 15, 2017 at 11:05 am

Interesting that the emotions run so very high in regard to this post. more interesting is that the author of the original post would not likely be doing his world travels in a way that he is, in the context of his life had he not been raised in PA or the Valley !

we sought many areas to relocate in the past 2 years of raising our family here. We actually lived on asabatical of sorts in many of those areas. Oregon, Colorado, Idaho and Wisconsin. Each had many more similarities to the Palo Alto we were fleeing from : same uber busy schedules for young families, many working overtime, many wrapped up n latest tech stuff, many over focused on their kids accomplishments in school, equal divorce rates,
the main difference was in the cost of living by about 30%, but also the off set by the lack of strong salaries and truly interesting unique , unique, or challenging work possibilities.

Our kids were exposed to far more diversity, learning from adapting to to cultural diversity, economic diversity, and yet still able to dable and tap into some of the most talented, forward thinking mentors for teachers, internships, and community service experiences in all of N. America.......far more than any of the other locations we visited and lived in. Our kids become adults by in large initially through the 'lens' of life and perspective we model for them. If we model a 'poor me'''poor us" we dont have a big house, fancy car, mentality...we are serving our kids a heaping plateful of victimhood , and a perspective that the glass is half empty not half full.
Take them to live in a 3rd world contry for a year, or even a impoverished american town.........try that world view for a lesson.
Yes there are periods of time when i long for the bygone era...not just here but in the world....but i cannot help my kids become the adult and change-makers of tomorrow by dreamily gazing in the REAR VIEW MIRROR OF LIFE.


19 people like this
Posted by Community Center
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 15, 2017 at 12:10 pm

To "Absolutely Not," I am of the opinion that your own discomfort among your children's parents is part of the issue. Do you discuss your feelings of "not keeping up to the Jones'"? Your house, your vacations, are all more than what most have, even within Palo Alto and the Bay Area.

Your kids pick up what you feel too. My child also has friends with larger houses, nicer cars, multiple fancy vacation per year. As parents, we are both well educated (post graduated eduction) and work in STEM fields, and bought while still going to school. We bought what we could afford - a 3bd/1ba house (no upgrades unless things break), that we host relatives in, have gatherings and throughly enjoy. The libraries are close, Rinconada park down the street, downtown within walking distance and good public schools. However, his friends don't mind coming to the house - they DO say it's small - and then they move on to playing, with promises for more playdates. The important thing is that it's safe, clean (enough) and inviting.

"I have lost a friend because her husband now makes $2 million dollars a year, and recently completed the construction of a mansion-- we have lived in the same house near the tracks for13 years. My son has lost two friends whose parents felt we had not bettered ourselves in too long ( the house?), so their so s are not allowed to be friends with ours."

Maybe the loss of friendships have more to say about them than you, but anyone who only picks friends on their net worth? Then they lose out on 99% of the population.

That said, in the decades of living here before marrying, and watching the gentrification occur? I do understand the new money snobbery is rampant. It's my job to reinforce what our true values really are in this day and age.


79 people like this
Posted by Gone And Glad
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 15, 2017 at 1:23 pm

I, like Mauricio, left a few years ago.
It is so refreshing to enjoy life in a wonderful town far away from the greedy, aggressive, drive too fast, cut people off, pushy, money above all things lifestyles of Palo Alto.

I would never return to Palo Alto and regret the years I delayed leaving.

The values of this city are abysmal.
The schools are not that good vis-a-vis: the kids are depressed (ref. CDC study), and the student cheating statistics are absolutely shameful (ref. 2016 Paly study), the bullying and browbeating of special needs kids (ref. the CDE and OCR lawsuits), the rip-off of the taxpayers and the teachers (Measure A and the 2017 budget fiasco).

There is not one good thing about Palo Alto.
Quality of Life? No
Schools ? No
Services ? No
Community? No
Transit Alternatives ? No
Environmental Quality ? No






72 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 15, 2017 at 3:56 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

I don't feel like I left Palo Alto, Palo Alto has left me. Like many people like me, who either grew up in Palo Alto or spend many years living there, I am aware that the only thing that still exists vis-a-vis Palo Alto is the name, and absolutely nothing else.

It has become a repulsive, greedy, immoral, sickeningly competitive, ostentatious town where fewer and fewer residents even acknowledge each other, and I find the notion that so many people are clamoring to live in present day Palo Alto grotesque and macabre.


35 people like this
Posted by dont agree
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 15, 2017 at 4:13 pm

"repulsive, greedy, immoral, sickeningly competitive, ostentatious town"

I don't recognize this description of our town at all. Are there some people who are immoral, greedy, ostentatious, or competitive? Sure there are. But there are plenty of low-key, intelligent, thoughtful, graceful, open-minded, welcoming, and kind people to offset those folks many times over.



75 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 15, 2017 at 4:37 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

Yes, there are still low-key, thoughtful, graceful people in Palo Alto, but their influence on the character of the town is non existent. Just like it takes one rotten apple to spoil an entire crate, the influence of those who turned Palo Alto into a place drained of quality of life, grace, decency and community spirit is immense, and this includes the politicians who have colluded with the developers for decades, city staff( see politicians) and many residents who moved here only to get their kids into elite colleges, or so they think, without any appreciation and respect for the town's uniqueness, history and promise. It is nice to be able to bury one's head in the sand, but it does not change the sad reality.

Palo Alto does not exist anymore, only the name remains.


2 people like this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 15, 2017 at 7:27 pm

[Post removed.]


29 people like this
Posted by Gone And Glad
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 15, 2017 at 7:40 pm

[Post removed.]


47 people like this
Posted by Ex PALY99
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 15, 2017 at 7:58 pm

I would raise my kids here, but would not send them to school here.


58 people like this
Posted by Happier here
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 15, 2017 at 11:23 pm

As a non-white child of immigrants growing up in a white working class neighborhood on the East Coast, I became acutely self conscious of the racism around me. It made me cautious and more risk averse than I would have liked. Even 30 years on, I'm surprised at how much of it still stays with me.

Conversely, Palo Alto has been a dream. I am so grateful that my kids feel a part of their community, they go to great schools, we have wonderful neighbors, and we are surrounded by some of the most inspiring people, institutions, and ideas in the world.

Of course Palo Alto has its issues... but compared to what I've seen elsewhere, I'll take Palo Alto any day.



19 people like this
Posted by OPar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 15, 2017 at 11:24 pm

I've noticed that if you expect to find snobbery in Palo Alto, you can find it. If you don't care about it, it's easy to avoid it. I've never come across the house shame experienced by Absolutely Not, but I, myself, don't take the size of a house as a measure of self-worth. I know and like people who live and mansions and people renting and living in garages on the other side of the freeway. I suppose there are people who have nothing better to do than to sneer at my small house, but when I walk around at night, I see people living in vans and campers and I'm not going to feel bad about having a home of my own.

Since that's my attitude, that's the attitude of my offspring. Yes, more money and longer vacations overseas would be lovely, but anyone with genuine empathy can see money just doesn't have a ton to do with happiness as long as your basic needs are met.

As for Palo Alto--of course it's changed and it becomes a place where one no longer wants to live. But that's life. I notice that several of Carla Tallbott's make-or-break issues are long-gone. Edgewood is, again, a shopping center and is even (finally) scheduled to get a market. The Children's Theatre has done well under its hard-working and dedicated director. Midtown's fate's a bit up in the air, but there are plenty of businesses there and no vacancies. It's much more vital than it was 10 years ago.

While I'm still here, Palo Alto is not "my" Palo Alto the way it once was. But that's on me and time and the natural progression of things. I wish the traffic were much less and hate the planes overhead. Affordable housing remains an issue for the whole region. But it's a good place to live for a lot of people. Sometimes I think we need to learn to let go.


65 people like this
Posted by DTN Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 15, 2017 at 11:35 pm

DTN Paul is a registered user.

I suppose I should not be surprised about the wistfulness of many longtime Palo Alto residents, who lament the changes that have occurred since they moved here. Some of them are truly angry and bitter about the horrible place Palo Alto has become.

But I really have to wonder, how much of that is because Palo Alto has been ravaged by greedy soulless monsters, and how much of that is because, well, things change. And maybe the reason Palo Alto has changed so much is less because of corrupt city officials and greedy developers or foreign investors, but because it's at the epicenter of the information revolution driven by its proximity to perhaps the top university in the world.

If you don't like the sound of airplanes, you shouldn't live next to the airport. And if you don't like change, perhaps you shouldn't live in Silicon Valley.


37 people like this
Posted by I have, and would do it again
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 16, 2017 at 12:37 am

Quieting polluting airplane noise and managing growth (at least as far as traffic and housing is concerned) has been happening in some of the most desirable cities in Europe with some success. It takes planning.

What also helps are uniform rules which protect and respect basic rights and or norms. For example, in Europe the threshold of noise harm is realistic about health harm, whereas the US threshold of noise harm is based on an estimate of how many people will be annoyed, and then annoyance itself is dismissed with "you shouldn't live here" The US approach does not make for good policy.

The Palo Alto which I have had the privilege of being a part of in is not afraid of solving problems.

As the challenges grow, the best of Palo Alto I hope is still ahead. We don't all have the same material things, or look the same or act the same. Instead of looking at what divides us, there is much more to find in what unites us.


45 people like this
Posted by DTN Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 16, 2017 at 9:10 am

DTN Paul is a registered user.

@I have and woud do it again,

Palo Alto is not afraid of solving problems, but one problem that cannot be solved is stopping change. And my point was, if that is your goal, you might be living in the wrong place.


64 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Native
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 16, 2017 at 9:54 am

@DTN Paul: You are misinformed. We moved here before the airline noise so we didn't knowingly "move next to an airport". The airline routes were changed and there was little noise 3 years ago. The airlines purposely did not tell the city before changing the routes, as they were supposed to notify the city prior.


63 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 16, 2017 at 11:24 am

mauricio is a registered user.

Ah, the altar of "change". Change is good when it makes life better, not when it makes life worse. How is stifling traffic gridlock, overpopulation, worse air, incessant noise, decreased civility and sense of community, increased rudeness, crime and alienation and teenage sense of hopelessness that drives some of them to suicide considered good change that people should embrace?

Those who have something beautiful and decent that makes their life beautiful, yet allow it, through passivity and disinterest to be corrupted and ruined for the sake of "change", probably deserve to lose it.


7 people like this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 16, 2017 at 12:06 pm

You can censor me, but my sentiments are the same as DTN Paul - just said in a more forward fashion. (sorry not sorry your delicate sensibilities can't handle it)

I think the angst comes from people who want to ossify Palo Alto to when they moved here. Change is good. We live in Palo Alto, not Disneyland. Detroit was the center of the universe for a long time, but couldn't change and look where it ended up. It had to hit rock bottom before it emerge.

It's amazing to hear what some old Palo Altans want to happen here. Believe me, having lived in places where there's been an economic downturn, I would take strong economic prosperity (with its associated pitfalls) over not having it. The grass is not greener on the other side of economic growth.


52 people like this
Posted by What changes
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 16, 2017 at 2:05 pm


"If you don't like the sound of airplanes, you shouldn't live next to the airport. And if you don't like change, perhaps you shouldn't live in Silicon Valley."

Can someone say

"If you don't like not-changing, and you are not able to change the situation, either your change proposals have problems, or you are not smart enough to make the changes! Move out!"

There is not need for such nonsense statements. Stop complaining and make the changes you want. It is a fair game!


57 people like this
Posted by I have, and would do it again
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 16, 2017 at 2:21 pm

Me 2

The angst seems to be more with the push to have Palo Alto to grow bigger and faster, without proper planning. That doesn't bring economic prosperity to those who are being priced out of housing.

It's hardly a "cause" to make room for the already supremely prosperous, while people with lower paying jobs can't afford to live here. Or for small businesses to survive. The problem is hardly how to make room for more prosperity but to do it in a way which is not crushing less prosperous people along the way or eliminating them from the community altogether.





39 people like this
Posted by Palo Altan and proud of it
a resident of Gunn High School
on Aug 16, 2017 at 3:46 pm

Great thread. I moved to the Bay Area in 2000 for work and have been raising my kids here. Moved to Palo Alto from another Bay Area town where we had bought our first house. One of the best decisions I ever made was to move out of that town and into Palo Alto. My kids were going to a Catholic school and once we moved here, we put them into the wonderful PA public schools. We're a diverse and multi-cultural family and embrace everything that Palo Alto and the Bay Area have to offer. We're also immigrants but assimilated quickly. We have friends from different nationalities and walks of life. The weather is magnificent, you're within driving distance to beach and mountains, driving distance to one of the most visited cities in the world, have access to some of the best health care anywhere, the city is safe and full of parks for kids, lots of good sports, music, drama, you name it programs for all interests, on and on and on.

Yes, there is a lot of wealth around us, but unlike say Atherton or even West Menlo, the wealthy Palo Altans don't seem obnoxious about showing it off. We consider ourselves to be very, very fortunate to live here (we grew up in what's considered a 3rd World Country) and honestly do not understand what people complain about. The first commenter, for example. You should be happy with what you have rather than compare yourself to others and feel inferior. You should be happy for your friend that is moving into the mansion, not jealous or envious. You should teach your kids that respect and love to one another, no matter where they come from, their race, nationality, gender, etc., are more important than anything else.

Those of you complaining that Palo Alto has no soul, I think you're wrong. Palo Alto DOES have a soul: an entrepreneurial town that looks forward to change and embraces different values. A place with wonderful schools, great food, weather AND diversity. Stop whining and work together to make this an even better place. Stop whining and instead when you are at Trader Joe's at T&C, getting an ice cream at Baskin Robbins or Smitten, walking your dog, etc., smile at your neighbor, say hi, and acknowledge each other.


54 people like this
Posted by no
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 16, 2017 at 5:11 pm

just answering the question.


2 people like this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 16, 2017 at 5:39 pm

"The angst seems to be more with the push to have Palo Alto to grow bigger and faster, without proper planning. That doesn't bring economic prosperity to those who are being priced out of housing. "

Ironically, obstructing change (i.e. development) in Palo Alto is the main reason why people are being priced out of housing. If you are truly in favor of a housing supply that is inclusive, then you should be in favor of making room by building for them.


54 people like this
Posted by Abitarian
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 16, 2017 at 5:53 pm

I have, and would do it again wrote:

"The Palo Alto which I have had the privilege of being a part of in is not afraid of solving problems."

Well, maybe the citizens of Palo Alto are not afraid of solving problems in their work and daily lives, but it seems to me that Palo Alto itself, is all too often fainthearted in the face of difficult problems.

There are numerous cases, but I think the grade crossing situation is a good example for the purposes of this discussion. The city has been aware of the issue, timeline, and the trade-offs of various solutions for many years, but has certainly not, as they say, taken the bull by the horns.

I tend to see the world in all of its shades of gray. Every place has its advantages and disadvantages. The best way to decide on a place to live is to truly understand your own values and choose a place that is compatible with those values.


64 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 16, 2017 at 5:58 pm

Curmudgeon is a registered user.

"...obstructing change (i.e. development) in Palo Alto is the main reason why people are being priced out of housing."

Really now? Seems to me people are being priced out of housing by the development that has occurred in the past decade. A stupendously egregious excess of commercial developments has brought in too many workers for the town to absorb.

Twenty years ago the situation was in balance. Numerous newly wealthy tech workers defined the high end of the real estate market. Today only the elites in the startups can buy houses, while they pay their grunts sub-survival wages. It's gotten a lot like Mississippi here.

Here's what you should be preaching from the forumtops:

Pay your workers enough to live in Palo Alto, or take your company elsewhere!

And make it stick.


74 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 16, 2017 at 6:13 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

"obstructing" development(the developers would be amused to hear that anyone has ever obstructed them in anything they wanted to do) is absolutely, positively NOT the reason people are out-priced of housing. Actually, the more housing is developed in Palo Alto, the faster and higher housing prices shoot up. Foreign buyers who easily outbid all others are a major contributor to pricing people out of PA. No one wants to tackle this issue. Palo Alto real estate as a safe heaven for foreign, not always kosher money, is another major contributor.

Palo Alto is already overpopulated and its small town infrastructure is highly insufficient to accommodate its existing permanent and transient day population. The notion that it's somehow a good idea to cram even more people in is insane.

The only way to make housing prices less insane is to have some companies move elsewhere, where they are actually needed, and to tackle the issue of foreign buyers.


57 people like this
Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 16, 2017 at 6:59 pm

Developers will develop luxury, high end housing because they make the most profit on that type of development. Allowing higher density only increases the value of the land. The effect of the both of these trends only makes the land value of the properties with smaller, older improvements more valuable, which is why Palo Alto has become so expensive. The policies over the past 30 years of allowing higher densities for affordable housing, exemptions from parking (the improvement area that would have been allocated to garage gets changed to office or residential space, a much higher value improvement) have all made the land much more valuable.

Our local politicians, who like to pat themselves on their back, and bask in their "hero" status and glory of providing these policies are culprits and co-conspirators with the developers/affordable housing advocates. For they have long since moved on to other government positions, and don't need to take responsibility for the mess they have caused.


4 people like this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 16, 2017 at 7:18 pm

I am in general agreement that there is an imbalance in commercial vs. residential development. You can thank Prop 13 for that. But what I'm seeing is a general obstruction in *all* development, residential included.

As for paying people enough to live in Palo Alto - have you seen the starting salary for an engineer at Google or Facebook? it's crazy (closing in on $200K in total comp).

But what's obscene is even that isn't enough to buy Palo Alto.

And no, Mauricio, Palo Alto is not a small town. You can stop pining for 1985 now. That's over 30 years ago. But I will continue to read your polemics if you can share a picture of you in a Flock of Seagulls haircut or parachute pants.

"Developers will develop luxury, high end housing because they make the most profit on that type of development. "

You seem to have forgotten that the more governmental restrictions you make on housing development, the more expensive you make it to build. You're shooting yourself in the foot. If you want "middle class" housing, will you advocate for less restrictive development to make the middle class housing pencil out?

[Portion removed.]


65 people like this
Posted by Palo Altan
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 16, 2017 at 8:01 pm

I agree that developers are paying out.

Palo Alto's population is 67,000 but according to PAPD, swells to 150,000-200,000 during the week.


70 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 16, 2017 at 10:16 pm

"As for paying people enough to live in Palo Alto - have you seen the starting salary for an engineer at Google or Facebook? it's crazy (closing in on $200K in total comp). But what's obscene is even that isn't enough to buy Palo Alto."

Right. Salaries need to be much higher. And why not? Google, Facebook, Palantir, ... , brought in these people. They have the moral obligation to pay them a local living wage, or thin their workforces to fit the environment, or move. This ain't their royal fiefdom.

But since you are so itchy to build the boundless masses of Soviet-style housing blocks needed to bring housing prices down, are you volunteering your own very inefficiently developed Old Palo Alto neighborhood?

Thot not. Solutions seem to be always for somebody else, hmm?


85 people like this
Posted by BP
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 16, 2017 at 11:27 pm

Unless you can restrict who buys new housing in Palo Alto, we are essentially building housing for foreigners. So how is this helping locals?


43 people like this
Posted by I have, and would do it again
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 17, 2017 at 12:42 am

BP,

You could say that by definition if you are housing engineers, professors, and their students who are coming to a word class university you will have "foreigners."

People who purchase properties as an investment (many nationals do as well) does increase if the supply grows. I notice that fewer properties are left empty if that is your concern. As long as the properties are not abandoned, is it an issue?. Don't forget that foreigners own a sizable amount of US debt, so they are also helping the US borrow money.

Me 2,

" If you are truly in favor of a housing supply that is inclusive, then you should be in favor of making room by building for them."

Housing supply seen as city by city is short-sighted and useless for the type of impact that is needed. Housing goes hand in hand with transportation. Your angst is only about growing Palo Alto, but that is not how the housing problem will be solved. Maybe it's just fun to play this issue as a NIMBY but it's not doing much for those who really need help. I am in favor of more lower income housing in Palo Alto, and it should be part of a larger plan as well, where you have neighboring cities develop the same.


72 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 17, 2017 at 6:14 am

mauricio is a registered user.

You could build 50 thousand housing units tomorrow, and all of them would be purchased by foreign investors, and the end result would be an urban nightmare, even more expensive housing prices(it will also push rents higher) and not a dent in the demand for housing.


6 people like this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 17, 2017 at 9:41 am

" I am in favor of more lower income housing in Palo Alto, and it should be part of a larger plan as well, where you have neighboring cities develop the same. "

That policy, frankly, doesn't work. All that does is hollow out the middle class. That's what you see in The City where rent control+BMR-oriented policies have pushed out policemen, firefighters and teachers because they ostensibly make too much money. Meanwhile, rent control and Prop 13 + NIMBY organizations like Telegraph Hill Dwellers continue to restrict housing market rate development (sounds familiar..). SF is now just for long time residents + rich people + the service workers that support the rich. Meanwhile the middle class commutes from Manteca.

"Gentrification" happens when there's not enough market rate housing, so buyers go into marginal neighborhoods because that's all they can afford or only what's available. You can debate whether that's a good thing or bad, but it is indeed a sign of lack of supply.


64 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 17, 2017 at 12:00 pm

"If you want "middle class" housing, will you advocate for less restrictive development to make the middle class housing pencil out? or is this just a reason to be an obstructionist?"

Big talk from someone living in a neighborhood that cannot tolerate even a church in its midst Web Link.

Get some multifamily housing in OPA like in my 'hood and we'll talk.


66 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 17, 2017 at 2:14 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

Here is a chance for Me2 to show how sincere he/she is. Let him start a movement to allow the construction of many high rise, multi family tenament buildings all over OPA, including on his/her street. Let's start with 50,000 units and then take it from there. Per his/her wish, there will be no government restrictions on development in Old Palo Alto, including his/her street. It would be nirvana for him/her.


61 people like this
Posted by SJ
a resident of another community
on Aug 17, 2017 at 2:34 pm

I feel bad for Absolutely Not. It seems she is being attacked by a lot of commenters for simply trying to say that her children think they should be living as well as some of their more well-to-do peers, despite what they have, and in spite of what she has tried to impart unto them. What was meant as a direct response to the editorial and lament on children in Palo Alto nowadays wanting to keep up with their peers has turned into an attack on her parenting (completely off topic), resulting in the need for her to overexplain what her children don't have and what they do have (but aren't grateful for), which results in other commenters chiming in to chide her for bragging...and the cycle continues.

I think everyone out there has experienced, from having children or having once been a child, what it's like when children want things that they see other children have that they don't. Remember begging your parents for those new "cool" shoes the other kids at school had, or a certain jacket or pair of jeans, or a new toy, and your parents could not convince you that your clothes and toys at home were still perfectly good and usable? This is that, just on a grander scale. If you have children and they don't ever ask for anything beyond what they have, then 1) congrats on winning the kid lottery, because it's one in a billion, or 2) you've given them everything before they could even think to ask for it, so congratulations! You must be rich.

On a separate note, there is a lot of talk of assimilation on this page, and I am curious as to what assimilation means to each perspective commenter. Is assimilation renouncing your heritage and culture? Or is it simply hiding it in public like I am reading in a couple of these comments? And if it is a renunciation, what culture/heritage replaces it? Italian? Irish? German? Because what is "American" culture? Are we a melting pot or a salad bowl? And if you think it's your neighbors' foreign culture that keeps them from saying "hi" to you, what do you think it must be like when everyone from that culture comes together? Somewhere there is a country where no one says "hi" to one another at all....


48 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 17, 2017 at 3:07 pm

"I am curious as to what assimilation means to each perspective commenter."

Intermarriage among cultures is the oldest and historically most effective assimilation path. The parents either learn to live with the outcome, or they exit the scene by living out their lives.


6 people like this
Posted by Memories
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 17, 2017 at 3:36 pm

If good memory serves me well I can say that in the Palo Alto "paradise" of the early 80 neighbors came with the request that a house not be rented to a black Stanford professor and his family. A Filipino family with several girls in the PAUSD schools complained and rightly so of blunt remarks in the school grounds and classrooms that can only be classified as racist bullying. I could go on..... But, it was so nice May Fest and Stacy's bookstore, plus the creamery on U. Ave! So very romantic!

Nowadays Palo Alto is much improved. People from everywhere can and feel at home here bringing up their families in a developed community with good schools and good facilities. They are just not the same lily colored people that used to live here. That's great I think.

If you don't feel you can or want to stay and participate, just go to wherever pleases you . But do attribute fault to others because you went on vacation to India only once or have had friends making 2millon dollars/year (good for them, what's the problem?). Maybe the answer is in your character the why you feel you have been robbed of "your" Palo Alto.
It doesn't belong to you. It never did. But your little "shack" made you a very enviable rich person. Enjoy, rememnber who you owe it to [portion removed.]


60 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 17, 2017 at 4:36 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

"Nowadays Palo Alto is much improved. People from everywhere can and feel at home here bringing up their families in a developed community with good schools and good facilities. They are just not the same lily colored people that used to live here. That's great I think"

[Portion removed.] The street my house is on, and the neighborhood is a far cry from OPA and Crescent Park, doesn't have one black or hispanic family. Actually, go at least one mile to the North, South, East and West, and all you have is Caucasian and Asian families. The racism of the past has been replaced by a different kind of racism and exclusion. Since all racism is bad, and the quality of life has deteriorated so dramatically, and I won't even bring up what's going on in the schools pressure-wise and the many tragedies of the last decade plus, Palo Alto is anything but improved, it its far far worse.


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Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 17, 2017 at 5:59 pm

Hilarious. Yes there is multi family housing in Old Palo Alto. It happens to be closer to Alma. And as for the crack about the church - I actually live near it and don't mind the extra services. The problem isn't the church - it's the other services that don't conform to code. The same code that you want to wield over developers to control them. So it's ok to enforce code on side and not the other?

You can't have it both ways.

[Portion removed.]


17 people like this
Posted by Liberal Arts Educated
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 17, 2017 at 6:44 pm

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


66 people like this
Posted by Old Mom of 4
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 17, 2017 at 6:56 pm

I wouldn't recommend Palo Alto for anyone.
I'm not lilly white - kinda of brown, but still white by census "category" I guess. Sounds like some people above don't want me here because of my race. Also a bit old and I think Me2 and others practice age discrimination with a posting hostility bordering on Elder Abuse. So again, don't feel welcome in Palo Alto. That nobody at PAOL is catching the age discrimination in some posts is puzzling. Perhaps they think its OK to let Me2 and others bully old people in their online newspaper.

As far as kids go, there was a post above about the problems at the schools with depression and cheating. I'd add the sexual assaults that are being reported and lack of action by the administration after they were reported. I would not want my kids exposed to that kind of hostile sexualized campus environment.

Lastly, I have been approached several times by "real Estate Agents" wanting to buy/sell my home for me. They promise (on their own in their pitch) either to get me top dollar from a Chinese buyer, or promise me that they won't sell to a Chinese buyer. So racism is alive and well in this town.

Last week I put out my trash and noticed the neighbor putting their recyclable packing materials in my trash can to the point that the lid had to stay wide open. I told them that their items were recyclable and not to put them in my trash can. He called me a "White Witch" and "blank off". I was so upset - not knowing how to respond.

What happened to Palo Alto?



47 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 17, 2017 at 7:12 pm

"Hilarious. Yes there is multi family housing in Old Palo Alto. It happens to be closer to Alma."

Good start. Seems to have stalled out, tho, way short of what you insist we need. So keep going with it. First fill the 100 blocks, then bigger in the 200s, then the 300s, then ... ! The Bayshore's the limit! Code be damned, full speed ahead! More housing! Show us how!


"The problem isn't the church - it's the other services that don't conform to code."

Right. Of course. That pesky code to the rescue!


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Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 18, 2017 at 10:09 am

[Post removed.]


9 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 18, 2017 at 10:21 am

mauricio is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


53 people like this
Posted by GrandPa with 3
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 18, 2017 at 10:55 am


Quo bono? Me 2 has been consistently slamming Prop 13, I am not sure whether he belongs to some lobbyist group with specific motives!

Me 2 used "ossify" to characterize the old people. Physically is he physically fit to smell his toes and run the San Francisco Marathon? Mentally, if he is fit, what is his plan for change with a prescribed boundary conditions? Anyone one can dream up something without considering the limitations. Can an engineer design a product with no limiting boundary conditions? Failing all these, all we have is merely pseudo-intellectual gibberish.

Old Mom of 4, don't worry, we will all pass away and pass it to Me 2, however, by that time Me 2 may be ossified also.


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Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 18, 2017 at 3:34 pm

"Me 2 has been consistently slamming Prop 13, I am not sure whether he belongs to some lobbyist group with specific motives!"

Ah, the old "Question the Motives" post. Nope. Just a resident of Palo Alto with a regular job that also has a side interest in understanding the unintended consequences of decisions that seem like a good idea at the time. I see you'd rather question me than actually have a conversation about the intersection of restrictive land policies and Prop 13 that has caused the housing crisis we have today.

Actually, what I find more infuriating is people not acknowledging what they want is "I have mine, so I don't care about anyone else." If you just be honest with yourself about that, I would have less to complain about. It's ok to be selfish. It's not ok to pretend that you're not.

Come at me GrandPa with 3. I'm waiting.


52 people like this
Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 18, 2017 at 3:40 pm

john_alderman is a registered user.

@Me 2 - How about explain, assume we repeal Prop13, what it would do to improve housing in Palo Alto? You force some older, poorer, people out, but it doesn't magically turn a house into a condo. Palo Alto is only 15% 65+ anyway, so very brave of you to take them on, and blame them for the poor governance of the city.


56 people like this
Posted by Old Paly Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 18, 2017 at 3:54 pm

I would not raise a family here. I would choose to raise my children in a community with more faith-based families.
Many families who have moved here have decided to raise their children without religion and spirituality.
They mistakenly believe that their happiness is based on money and material things. Happiness comes from helping others outside ones family, while respecting ones parents and family values.
It is something which kids learn from their parents as a toddler, and see each day, while growing up.
It is as a way of life. It is not something which can be fulfilled by a school mandate of "community service".

Perhaps when two parents have different religious values, the core value of either religion gets lost in their children.
The children grow up spiritually unhappy and somehow "lost".
They are angry and mean to others. They think their happiness can be fulfilled by wealth and perhaps later being able to donate lots of money to various causes. But it is so much more than that. It is having empathy for others, helping others, and being thankful each day for what they already have.

I would not raise my children here.


51 people like this
Posted by Old Paly Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 18, 2017 at 4:53 pm

Regarding prop 13.
I believe that commercial property owners (think condo & apt owners, and big businesses) are benefiting the most from prop 13, and hurting our state the most.
Look it up, and please be quiet.
The long time property owners in this area have paid taxes here (over the national average) for decades, and have helped build this area.
Not having prop 13 would not make housing more affordable to younger working families.


45 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 18, 2017 at 4:56 pm

"It's ok to be selfish. It's not ok to pretend that you're not."

Now we're getting somewhere. Got those building permits for turning your property into a 50 unit apartment tower yet? Any luck geting your neighbors to join the project? Do they even know about it yet? Probably not,

It's not OK to pretend, you know.


51 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 18, 2017 at 4:57 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

I am waiting for Me 2 to campaign for his house in Old PA, and many other houses in OLP, and not just blocks bordering on Alma, to be replaced by soviet style tenement building, 24 stories high to begin with. Their height can be doubled and tripled in the future. They would arguebly make a slight dent in the demand for housing. Since he slams the "I have mine, I don't care about anyone else' attitude he attributes to long time PA home owners, let him prove that he is sincere. Since millions desire, and many of them demand, housing in Palo Alto, let's get rid of all single family homes and replace them with high rises tenements.

And since he wants to get rid of Prop 13, let him come up with ideas as to where to house all the older folks on fixed income who are not independently wealthy, folks who would lose their homes due to the elimination of Prop 13(a proposition I voted against as a very young man, and would vote against today, because it was a regressive, instead of progressive tax that didn't use mean testing and absurdly treated multi millionaires the same way it treated home owners on fixed income).


45 people like this
Posted by GrandPa with 3
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 18, 2017 at 8:08 pm


Many thanks for John to reveal the motive of Me 2:

"Palo Alto is only 15% 65+ anyway", so get rid of these minority first so that Me 2 can start building his middle class paradise, next get rid of the super-rich minorities, and so on... My good sweet God, the is a copy of the odious communists tactics.

There is no evidence of Me 2 is doing what he is advertising, and he has no plan on the table other than gibberish. Grandpa has nothing to give him, sorry!


49 people like this
Posted by PaloAltoUnbound
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 19, 2017 at 12:08 am

I don't know of anyone in my High School class at Paly in the late 70's that lives in Palo Alto anymore. I don't expect to stay here forever for many reasons even though I have a lot of connections and love for Palo Alto. The people who I expect do stay here are the ones from super-rich families that can carve out a space for their offspring and connect them into the Palo Alto economy. People with the background and support have the choice, but most people do not.

Every time a subject like this comes up someone make sure to pipe up with, "no one has a right to live in Palo Alto". It's a gnarly question and subject, but maybe that should be thought about or revisited - within reason.

I am an old fashioned American and I think we should all be living with, working with and encountering all kinds of Americans in all kinds of lives and situations, else our society continues on with what we have had - more inequality and more fracturing. The people who want Palo Alto to be for the super-rich do not even know what is wrong with that idea ... they've never encountered it or thought about it.

What is the solution? Someone mentioned breaking out Silicon Valley and spreading companies out beyond the South Bay and Peninsula. It has to happen, it is going to happen, at some point and it could be done intelligently to solve certain problems. The culture in CA and the Bay Area changes when people from elitist and classist societies come to live here, make a lot of money and start in to affect our way or life, and it is not what anyone wanted or voted for.

There are big intractable problems here, and it is a not very good place to raise a family except under certain circumstances ... circumstances that cut most of us and our kids out of that possibility.


45 people like this
Posted by PaloAltoUnbound
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 19, 2017 at 12:12 am

"dont agree" said ...
-- But there are plenty of low-key, intelligent, thoughtful, graceful, open-minded, welcoming, and kind people to offset those folks many times over.

Yeah, well, maybe not plenty of them, but the biggest problem is that they are on the way out. The bad always drives out the good or drags it down to its level.


12 people like this
Posted by E
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 19, 2017 at 9:04 am

I'm sorry. These are first world problems we are harping on about. Listen. Things ALWAYS look better in the rear view mirror. Palo Alto likely seemed better 15 to 30 years ago. You just have to look at Trump to realize how everyone idolizes the past and how great things were. The future and now... are represented by who live here and what we decide to do moving forward. You don't like the current state? Volunteer and participate.

My question to the author is... how much does he give back to the community. It's fine and dandy writing lofty articles comparing Ohio and the community there versus the Palo Alto community here. But has he contributed and volunteered? If he doesn't know his new neighbors.. has he gone out and introduced himself and gotten involved in his community/block programs and perhaps set up a block party?

We are lucky to be living in a beautiful country, with great nature that surrounds us. We have democracy and a wonderful university here... as well as an abundance of resources. Participate, and contribute an make this a better place to live. There are a diversity of cultures here and thoughts. It's a breeding ground for much good as well as a lot of misconceptions. If we stop complaining, perhaps we can figure out a way to make this a better place.

NOTHING stays stagnant and stays the same. That includes Palo Alto.. that includes the United States, and it includes places elsewhere in North America.

Housing costs are a separate issue from what this article is touting. He is talking about lack of community and cohesiveness. But honestly.. what a 20 year old perspective. Isn't it always about "what can I get from this world?" than "what can I give?"

My eyes couldn't stop rolling as I read the article... so entitled... this is a kid.... who doesn't understand how lucky he grew up and is enjoying life to this day.


52 people like this
Posted by IRONIC
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 19, 2017 at 9:25 am

Maybe it's just me. But I found this entire article somewhat annoying and felt like it was the epitome of 20 year old angst of "where shall I live? Will I live here for the rest of my life? Is this city worth my presence?"
Does ANYONE know where they will live for the rest of their live, and raise their children.. in their 20's? And even if they THOUGHT they knew where they were going to live.. did life turn out the way they assumed they would? People move for various reasons!

AND... here is the IRONY.... you would only expect such an entitled article to be written by a kid who grew up in Palo Alto feeling such entitlement and much levels of provision. This city... is it worth my presence of living here? It reeks of entitlement. Just go elsewhere in this world, or to other places in North America, and you'll find 20 year olds dealing with joblessness, or massive college debts, or trying to carve out a place for themselves in this world.... and they are not consumed with esoteric debate of "will I raise my child and family and live in this city into my adulthood?"... nor are they writing articles on it and publishing them in the paper.

It's complete irony.. how incredibly entitled the author is. And that attitude... comes from growing up being given everything and sheltered from this world, not knowing how great and lucky they were to not struggle. So instead they sit in the seat of the critic and form lofty criticisms of what is wrong here.

My suggestion to the author.... look beyond your own needs and things will appear differently.


36 people like this
Posted by Friend
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 19, 2017 at 10:25 am

I think the last two posters would have different points of view if they knew the author himself. I know the family and have done for years. Of course growing up in Palo Alto it is difficult to not feel entitled and no matter what experiences you have as a child, you are very much a product of your upbringing. Saying that, I can see how Aldis has changed during his college career. Since I know him I will say that the entitlement has brought in him an attitude of duty as to how he can help others. He has seen his entitlement but in that entitlement he has also seen the contrast between here and in his case the rest of the world. The traveling he has done worldwide has been involved in helping others rather than just foreign sightseeing. His career choice in the medical field is definitely a response to that idea of helping others less fortunate than himself.

His family still live in the home he grew up in and he is able to connect with those neighbors. He still feels part of the community he used to live in and is not disconnected.

As he looks to the future I think he is still undecided on how best to use his skills and profession to help in the future. To me, this article shows how he is weighing up the pros and cons of the type of work he wants to do medically but he is also very centered on getting his qualifications to help him start out. I think he is well adjusted for his age (22?) and is looking and asking the right sort of questions as he looks to the future.

Don't judge him for his youth and immaturity. Instead look at how he admits to what he is and what he came from and is asking the right questions about he can do his bit to make the world a better place.

Nice job Aldis.


32 people like this
Posted by Liberal Arts Educated
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 19, 2017 at 12:44 pm

It seems that most kids who grow up in Palo Alto, like the original poster, can't graduate from high school without volunteering and getting involved in community. These are now virtual requirements for getting into college/university. And, these days, the focus on volunteerism/community participation continues at the college level. There is so much focus on getting young people to volunteer and "get involved" that doing so can start to seem somewhat artificial, as a means to an academic or career end.

Caring about others and the wider world, as "Friend" suggests, goes beyond (local) volunteering, etc. and can involve decisions about career. Why not imagine a career path that is not merely about making money and gaining/maintaining status but actually helping others? I don't think the original poster is as shallow as some accuse him of being. We should be glad that people his age are questioning how they can use their education and skills--and, perhaps, even privilege--in ways that don't just benefit them individually.

To be a critic does not mean you can't love something or someplace; and it's not as if the original poster is trashing Palo Alto. Many of us are suppoter-critics on numerous issues. People can be critical because they're invested in something/someplace and wish for it to become better.


21 people like this
Posted by Have a city party
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 19, 2017 at 1:14 pm


The days when we would walk straight to our neighbor's kitchen to borrow some flour and sugar are long gone. If all the comment writers know each other, perhaps we really don't have that much disagreements. Having city wide party and small neighborhood block parties that people can across neighborhoods borders would be good to get citizens connected. So to a certain degree, all these writings may be a collective waste of time. Go party is more important.

Getting onto the computer too much is dangerous to your health too!


3 people like this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 20, 2017 at 10:58 am

It sounds like there is more agreement that Prop 13 should be repealed for commercial. Therefore let's focus on residential.

1) Prop 13 encourages the banking of properties. Reduces the natural turnover of properties that would increase supply of housing on the market. Less supply, higher prices.

2) Prop 13 traps people in their existing house when there is dramatic appreciation in housing. Inhibits downsizing or upsizing of housing when family situations change. People can't afford their new property tax burden. Inhibits natural turnover of housing, reducing supply again, which feeds into the vicious cycle of price increases.

3) it's not just 65+ who benefit (welcome to lies, damn lies and statistics). There are plenty of people under 60 who have been in their house for over 15 years that are trapped in thei existing situation because changing property would increase their tax burden.

4) There's benefits to having long term residents, yes. But there's also the downsides of people wanting their neighhlborhood to stay exactly the same as it was 20, 30, 40 years ago. Human nature is averse to change. We keep getting people wanting to shop the way they did 15 years ago. Hoping for the return of a bowling alley when no one bowls anymore. And being against any development, not to mention insulting millennials when housing is much less affordable here than it was even 10 years ago.

Prop 13 reduces supply. Reduced supply drives prices up. Anyone who has a basic Econ 101 understanding would get that.

There. The unintended consequences of Prop 13 in a nutshell, Grandpa.


53 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 20, 2017 at 11:32 am

mauricio is a registered user.

In a nutshell, the only way to create a slight dent in the massive(and global) demand for housing in Palo Alto is to replace all R-1 neighborhoods with high-rise [portion removed] buildings, 24-48 stories and higher. Since Old Palo Alto is the oldest neighborhood in town, this conversion should start there, from Alma to Middlefield, from Oregon to Forest Ave.

Since Me2 keeps pointing out how millennials are priced out of PA, I'm sure he would volunteer his block, and his house, as the first ones to be converted [portion removed] to accommodate those so desperate to live In Palo Alto.

[Portion removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 20, 2017 at 11:40 am

[Post removed.]


7 people like this
Posted by Larry
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 20, 2017 at 1:47 pm

@Absolutely:

When you move to that bigger house in that cheaper location, it will be *your* kids snickering at their "poor" classmates. The alternative, of course, was to teach them from an early age to value things money can't buy.


49 people like this
Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 20, 2017 at 3:04 pm

john_alderman is a registered user.

@ Me 2 - There is very little empirical data to support the "lock-in" hypothesis. There have been studies in California, Georgia, and Florida that show there is very little impact. This is additionally mitigated in Santa Clara and San Mateo by props 60 and 90 which allow transfer of tax base to homes of equal or lesser value. If you want to make this easier, and statewide, I'm sure most homeowners would support you.

But You aren't really talking about changing housing supply anyway. If a prop 13 owner moves to a new house, the supply has stayed constant, one house off the market, one house on the market. So no effect.

The only way to change supply is to reduce the number of people, or increase the number of homes. Prop 13 has nothing to do with it.


2 people like this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 20, 2017 at 3:39 pm

John, I don't know what to which studies you're referring (I'd love to read them, so please send links), but the studies I've seen is that it does increase tenure of households. Claims from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association don't count.

Grandpa above wanted to focus on Prop 13.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not expecting for us in Palo Alto to address a regional housing issue by ourselves. [Portion removed.] But there is room for reasonable accommodations for residential growth in Palo Alto. And that we need to really pressure other cities that are contributing to this mayhem (i.e. San Bruno and Cupertino both adding tons off office square footage with *zero* residential).

However, let's make sure we understand that restricting supply and the Atherton-ization of Palo Alto are two sides of the same coin. If you're going to lament the changing Palo Alto and disappearing middle class, you'd better be prepared to look in the mirror.


44 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 20, 2017 at 3:56 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

Me 2, so I take you are getting ready to sell your house in OPA so it can be replaced with a 24 story apartment building? If you don't, be repaired to look in the mirror and see someone who is preventing the creation of a slight dent in the housing shortage. It is time to put up or you know what.


56 people like this
Posted by pares
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 20, 2017 at 3:56 pm

@Me 2 -- your focus is wrong -- Prop 13 is not the culprit for the housing deficit. It's more and more jobs moving into the Bay Area needing more and more people. Massive increase in jobs is driving this housing crunch. You want to alleviate the problem then tell CEO's to move their jobs elsewhere in the US. Many tech workers would welcome moving to an area where they could afford to buy/rent more space. In the age of the internet and telecommuting, this should be possible.

The alternative is to build more and more dense housing here. The infrastructure is already stressed -- traffic is a huge mess. We have a water shortage in CA.

Stop blaming Prop 13


46 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 20, 2017 at 4:10 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

And if we agree to do even a little of what Me 2 keeps demanding, we are talking of a 2 billion dollar upgrade, just to start with in electrical power, sewage and water delivery, AND road expansion. It would require a bond measure in which existing home owners would have to approve a very large increase in their property taxes. What are the odds this bond measure would pass? Probably zero.

We all know that the only way to decrease the pressure on PA housing, although it would always be very expensive regardless of what happens, just like Beverly Hills and similar areas would always be very expensive, is to stop cramming people into this area and move jobs elsewhere in the US. Anything else is just deluded and meaningless talk.


22 people like this
Posted by jet pilot
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 20, 2017 at 5:21 pm

jet pilot is a registered user.

Very thoughtful piece and good perspectives from the various folks who have posted.


5 people like this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 20, 2017 at 5:28 pm

"@Me 2 -- your focus is wrong -- Prop 13 is not the culprit for the housing deficit. It's more and more jobs moving into the Bay Area needing more and more people. Massive increase in jobs is driving this housing crunch."

My focus is true. Just look at certain folks with names that start with "m" posting vigorous defenses of the status quo and the "I have mine, forget you" mindset that Prop 13 perpetuates. Palo Alto didn't start off as Beverley Hills. Don't forget that Eichlers were meant to be affordable tract housing. Now that those folks lucked into massive housing appreciation, they somehow think they deserve it, while paying bargain basement property taxes as newer residents subsidize them by paying orders of magnitude more for the exact same services.

Yes, economic growth is the main driver. Prop 13 without economic growth is what we saw in 2008-2011. But Prop 13 has given a perverse incentive for cities like San Bruno to make the jobs/housing imbalance worse because they get more tax revenue from commercial than residential.

Prop 13 has distorted housing the same way rent control distorted the market in San Francisco. Now we worry about teachers and firefighters commuting from long distances. Well, we got what we deserved.


44 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 20, 2017 at 5:53 pm

"Don't forget that Eichlers were meant to be affordable tract housing."

OK, OK, follow Joe Eichler's example and get that bee out of your bonnet. Nobody's stopping you from buying up all those empty fields and building lots of 3x2 houses and selling them at a modest profit like Mr. Eichler did.



41 people like this
Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 20, 2017 at 7:00 pm

Me 2 @ Old Palo Alto,

How much more supply is needed to lower prices? and what is type of supply is it (eg apartments, condos, houses ...).

Until that is quantified, you are making guesses on Prop 13, etc.


35 people like this
Posted by Liberal Arts Educated
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 20, 2017 at 8:16 pm

Some have suggested moving tech jobs to other parts of the country. Here's a fairly recent New York Times article about a midwestern town longing to attract start-ups through the efforts of a wealthy benefactress. She is a Republican, but the small liberal arts college mentioned in the article is progressively Democrat--very much in line with the general vibe of the Bay Area tech crowd. The article describes the more affordable housing in the area around the college. The town is within driving distance of large and small cities in Illinois and Wisconsin, such as Chicago and Madison.

Web Link


45 people like this
Posted by GrandPa with 3
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 20, 2017 at 8:19 pm

Me 2:

1. If you are agreeing to Old Paly parent “I believe that commercial property owners (think condo & apt owners, and big businesses) are benefiting the most from prop 13, and hurting our state the most.” Why did you consistently insulting old people?
2. What do you mean by “nature turnover”? Does anyone has to follow this fictitious “nature turnover”? Who makes this rule?
3. “It’s not just 65+ who benefit”, OK, why are you so hard on the old people.
Where did you get your data, you never provide references to your data for your arguments.
4. “…insulting millennial when housing is much less affordable here than it was even 10 years ago.” How caring you are!
5. “There. The unintended consequences of Prop 13 in a nutshell, Grandpa.” Not sure what are you talking about, you did trained as an economists? Sloppy thinker and planners always excuse their mess up as “unintended consequences.” Be honest and say you just mess up!
6. When I came here in 1984, my colleague told me “if you want to live in Palo Alto, get a RV and park it on the street!” What make you think people moving here earlier did not have a hard time paying their mortgages?

In summary, Me 2’s line of thought just focuses on economic value of people, he does not consider the human aspect of a community. That has been the line of thought of the communists. Does Me 2 ever ask what is his own economic value to the community? What is his most significant contribution to the community? OK, he is a technical person, what is his technical contribution to his technical field, thus his economic value to the world? Please sit back and calm down to rethink all you have been writing. It is not just “Me 2”, it is much about “We 2” – you, me and everyone in town has his own right and freedom to do what he/she wants. [Portion removed.]


49 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 21, 2017 at 7:21 am

mauricio is a registered user.

Let's say people like Me @ get their way and all Palo Alto home owners who have owned their home for more than 30 years are forced to sell and get out of town, what would happen then? They would sell for the absolute highest offer possible. Most of the buyers will be foreign investors who will outbid all other potential buyers and drive housing prices much higher. The same would happen even if massive housing development is allowed, not that there is land available for it, but let's assume. Those buildings would be purchased by real estate investors, mostly foreign, who will charge very high rents. The developers will sell only to the highest bidders, as they are in the business to maximize profits. The end result: no serious dent in the demand, but housing prices go even higher.

There is no economic thought behind the demand for limitless housing development in PA, just empty rhetoric based on wishful thinking that is not anchored in reality.


55 people like this
Posted by 2Me2
a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 21, 2017 at 10:21 am

Stop it. Just. Stop. It.


48 people like this
Posted by 2Me2
a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 21, 2017 at 2:11 pm

I would LOVE to hear how you treat your parents and grandparents, if still alive.

Doubt you'd last half a day in an Asian country!


42 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 21, 2017 at 2:14 pm

Interesting article from KQED News - property taxes has grown faster than personal income in California:

Web Link


25 people like this
Posted by GrandPa with 3
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 21, 2017 at 6:51 pm

We don't need to go that far over the Pacific Ocean to Asia. The Western world inherits a lot from the Judeo Christian tradition. There are Jews and Christians in Palo Alto. They shared the Old Testament. Here is a few lines from it about "father" and "old people":

Exodus 20:12
12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Leviticus 19:32
32 Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.

Deuteronomy 5:16
16 Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Proverbs 23:22
22 Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.

Isaiah 46:3-4
3 Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb: 4 And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.

King James Bible is part of the English language for centuries. It is not unreasonable for a cultivated person to read them as literature but also for understanding how the society should treat the disadvantaged, ecology and to learn a few female heroes.


49 people like this
Posted by RE: absolutely not
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 22, 2017 at 10:51 am

Keep in mind that as social animals, it is quite natural to care about what people in your community think of you.

It is very human to wonder where you fit in the local social structure.

I must suggest that if the tax loss is too big to ignore when selling a home, that home can be rented out for two years and then sold-- free of capital gains taxes!

That's what we did, once we had had enough of the current Palo Alto mindsets!


21 people like this
Posted by Fair enough
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 22, 2017 at 11:04 am

Let us make a simple poll. Just vote "like" to this comment if you are not a graduate from a California University or college and not grown up here. This will give everyone a sense of how many migrants from other sates are here at Palo Alto. Be honest!


44 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 22, 2017 at 11:49 am

mauricio is a registered user.

Why would you even want to raise a family in Palo Alto. Why would you want to inflict this on your future kids? PA is not a good place to raise a family anymore, anything but. It is not a good place anymore, period.

Leaving Palo Alto was the best thing I've ever done. I feel like I got a second chance on happiness. I keep looking for legal ways to sell my house in PA without capital gains taxes, which would be huge. Once I've done that, I would never set foot on Palo Alto soil again.

I suggest you think long and hard before making any future plans to live in Palo Alt, even if you're able to afford to.


8 people like this
Posted by And Yet...
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 22, 2017 at 12:07 pm

You are leaving no stone unturned on expressing your opinion on why one shouldn't move to PA ... And yet .. all of you are still here !


50 people like this
Posted by Hands are Tied
a resident of Triple El
on Aug 22, 2017 at 2:59 pm

Until the oppressive capital gains taxes on housing sales are repealed, there is too much of a cash loss to get into another house in another Bay Area city-- unless the homeowner is retired and no longer has ties to Sillycon Valley.

For people within 10-15 years of retirement, losing so much money means not being able to buy down the mortgage to where the payments are affordable.

This is causing an artificial housing shortage-- there are plenty of people who want to sell-- especially empty nesters and grandparents who wish to live closer to grandchildren. But the financial loss is too high!


48 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 22, 2017 at 4:11 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

And Yet, you need to understand why so many who don't want to stay in Palo Alto are still there. The capital gains tax on selling a house in PA would be brutal and would financially destabilize those who aren't billionaires and multi millionaires.

Personally, I was fortunate to be able to buy a home a 100 miles to the South without having to sell my Palo Alto home, but most PA home owners aren't as lucky. Nearly all the people I know who like me had purchased homes in the 1980s want to leave Palo Alto, but very few can afford the capital gains taxes involved in such a step.


56 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 22, 2017 at 4:21 pm

There's the absurd cap gains tax AND the fact that the city considers itself entitled to a share of our home appreciation and charges 1.5% for a "document transfer" FEE. Evidently it thinks it deserves 5 times as much of our money for all its time and hard work in "transferring" the documents on a $5,000,000 sales as on a $1M sale.

[Portion removed.]


18 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 22, 2017 at 4:28 pm

"It [Palo Alto] is not a good place anymore, period."

That would explain the rock-bottom real estate values.


"Nearly all the people I know who like me had purchased homes in the 1980s want to leave Palo Alto, but very few can afford the capital gains taxes involved in such a step"

Anybody who purchased a home here in the eighties and did any sound financial planning at all is sitting high in the catbird seat. Thirty-year mortgages taken out by 1987 would be paid off, the rest are paying almost entirely into principal, taxes are nil, and equity appreciation has been 10x-20x. They got problems paying the CG tax? Hah!

OK, show us your arithmetic.


44 people like this
Posted by Useless Words
a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 23, 2017 at 1:11 pm

If we had to do it over again, we would not have moved here! But who can see the future?

When we moved here with an infant, PA schools were still good, even at the high school level. Not as good as Los Gatos, but not too far behind.

Now Fremont schools are better! Sunnyvale schools ar better! Would love to get my son out if this district, but that capital gains tax has us over a barrel! Payments just got affordable, but losing g so much money to state and federal capital gains, local taxes, fees, fees and more fees plus realtor's commissions would not leave anything left-- certainly not 20-25% down on the next house.


4 people like this
Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 23, 2017 at 3:53 pm

john_alderman is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


36 people like this
Posted by No way!
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Aug 24, 2017 at 2:15 pm

We have lived in other states and a couple of other countries.

If we had it to do over again, and could see the future, I am sure we would not have lived in Palo Alto or anywhere in the Bay Area.

As for public schools, we often wish we had just stayed in Massachusetts-- except when we think back to the miserable winters. That's when we wish we had just gotten dual citizenship in either The Netherlands or Germany! Better standard of living as well as better schools!!


8 people like this
Posted by Fair Enough
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 24, 2017 at 6:08 pm

Let us do a simple back of envelop calculation (not a rigorous analysis) and see where things stand:

1. The poll shows 10 votes from people that are not grown up in California and didn't attend California colleges and universities. The highest number of people expressing like for one comment was decreasing from 160 to around 30 since 8/18. This number may be considered as the minimum number of people participating in the comments. Assume counting error with a standard deviation of 5.5 ~ square root of 30, the number of participants is around 30+2*5.5 = 41, the non-Californians is about 10 + 2*3.2 ~ 16. So the percentage of non-Californians is about 39%. The point is that there are a significant number of people around us that are not grown up and educated here, so we don't need to have a fixation that we have to raise our kids here.

2. If we mark each comment as wanting to raise family here, prefer not to raise a family here, and irrelevant to the question of should we raise a family here, we have
Total votes 5456
Like to raise family here: 956
Do not want to raise family here: 974
So both sides are literally tie with insignificant difference of 18 votes more of do not want to raise the family here.

So the conclusion is that do what you think the best for you and avoid having a fixation of living here or elsewhere.


30 people like this
Posted by To Former Viking
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Aug 25, 2017 at 6:19 pm

There are many people all over this country who have never had a real, actual two-week ( or more, in the case of some wealthier folks) vacation.

Many people can't afford to leave work-- out of concern for finances or career setbacks-- for more than four or five days.

If you take an overseas vacation for less than two weeks, though, it's not enough time to recover from jet lag, slow down your pace and actually enjoy your sightseeing!


5 people like this
Posted by Huh?
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 25, 2017 at 7:16 pm

@Useless Words: How can those school districts be better? PAUSD schools are 10/10. If anything, those schools are more academically rigorous than PAUSD due to the ethnicities of those schools. And Los Gatos has never been better than PAUSD. Plus, your house has probably appreciated so much that how could you say you would lose money by moving? [Portion removed.]


26 people like this
Posted by 10/10 ranking -- for who?
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 25, 2017 at 9:28 pm

10/10 ranking -- for who? is a registered user.

@Huh? I don't know what 10/10 means, or how it's calculated. But our schools are not as well funded as schools in other states, have high levels of stress and over-achievers, and have a very high percentage of kids who get tutored. This leads to the "average" or even above-average-but-untutored kid feeling stupid and left behind. This makes for a poor environment for many kids.

PAUSD schools have some terrific and very hard-working teachers and principals. But imo they are working against the tide. There is too little funding, and too much pressure from many parents on metrics as opposed to learning. I've heard that Gunn is like a factory, and kids go there for grades rather than to learn. Sad.

Palo Alto used to be a techy/geeky community, emphasizing kindness, creativity, and invention. With the rise of venture capital in the 90's, it became much more focused on money and entrepreneurialism. Changing demographics increased the pressure on grades and high-achievement-in-everything at younger and younger ages. Less play, more rigor. Great place to raise a family? Or pressure cooker churning out excellent-by-the-numbers kids? It's not my kind of place any more.


14 people like this
Posted by Huh?
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 26, 2017 at 1:02 am

@10/10 ranking -- for who: Great Schools ranks by test scores. Kids end up feeling "left behind" because there are so many intelligent children. Nerds have nerd kids. The people who can afford to live in Palo Alto are highly intelligent and financially successful. 50% have graduate degrees and at least 75% have undergraduate degrees. The teachers don't want to give out all A's so they make their classes more difficult. So there are highly intelligent students competing against each other, and may the most sleep-deprived win. The B students would be A students elsewhere. There really is too much academic pressure here with little free time. Part of the issue, however, is that college admissions are more difficult than in the 1980s. UCB requires a 4.42 GPA vs. 3.5 in the 1980s.


Posted by Fizzle
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

on Aug 27, 2017 at 1:30 pm


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2 people like this
Posted by Fair Enough
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 27, 2017 at 8:47 pm

Votes continue to dribble in, here is the update

1. Now the estimated non-Californian is 26 and the estimated recent participants is 53, so we have ~50% of non-Californian here. It reinforce the idea that there are a lot of people living here now were not raise or educated in California.

2. The total votes since 8/11 is 6298
Want to raise family here is 991
Does not want to raise family here is 1116

Now there are 125 votes more for not wanting to raise a family at Palo Alto. The standard deviation of counting error of 1000 is about 30. This time the number of 125 votes is for real.

So for those of you who do not want to raise your family here, you have the majority vote, if you decided to stay at Palo Alto, you have the votes to ask the school system to change to what you like, you also need to work with those whose prefer to raise a family here to make things better for the kids! Good for you. Show your care by taking actions.


23 people like this
Posted by Former Realtor
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 28, 2017 at 9:13 am

FYI: Anyone who has tried to sell a smaller home in Palo Alto will be aware of how difficult it is to find a qualified buyer when the house has fewer bathrooms than bedrooms.

Palo Alto buyers are different, are much more discerning, than buyers in other locales.

As for less qualified, less discerning buyers in Palo Alto, some families will double up to buy a home. Up to five or six bedrooms, two or the baths are simply insufficient.

Mrhe last 3/2 I sold, in 2016, was in Old PA, nowhere near the tracks. Appraised at $2.6 million, there were no offers above $1.9 million. The current owner plans to build a larger home with a basement on the spot.


14 people like this
Posted by @ Poor Kid
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 29, 2017 at 3:10 pm

I am sorry for your poverty growing up, but poverty in the first and second worlds is nothing near like the poverty in the third world. At least you had a roof over your head, and did not sleep on the street.

However, my father was a lawyer, and I do remember him commenting about how the CA state government would be able to enforce the law concerning the sleeping arrangements of children of the opposite sex.

I believe that law states that a child over the age of eleven is forbidden to sleep in the same room as a sibling or any other family member of the opposite sex.

That said, I agree with my father in that this is hard to enforce. That is, unless a child tells a teacher or friend's parent of their " illegal" sleeping arrangement, or bathing arrangements ( children over the age of nine must not bathe together, either). If the confidante were to call the authorities, that could be a gigantic problem.

I was the only girl in a family of four children. When I tuned ten, my father had a contractor add on another bedroom with a locking door to an adjoining bathroom ( called a jack 'n jill) that I shared with one brother. Two brothers slept in one bedroom, the oldest brother and I had our own bedrooms-- shared jack 'n jill bathroom between us!


8 people like this
Posted by My Answer
a resident of Mayfield
on Aug 31, 2017 at 2:53 pm

In a word, NO!


1 person likes this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 31, 2017 at 4:08 pm

@My Answer -- so where on Earth would you raise a family, and are you planning on it?


5 people like this
Posted by My Answer
a resident of Mayfield
on Aug 31, 2017 at 5:20 pm

Possibly Austin, TX or Research Triangle Park, NC.

Rochester, MN is another possibility.

Germany ( I have dual citizenship) has possibilities in the Sachsen and Nieder Sachsen areas, as well as Munchen.

But nowhere on The Peninsula! It is NOT a child-friendly place!


4 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 31, 2017 at 6:51 pm

Fair answer, thank you. I am somewhat familiar with all those places (though I haven't seen Dresden since '96). Uncertain how to define child-friendly these days. We all seemed alienated back in the famous sixties.


Like this comment
Posted by Poor Kid
a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2017 at 9:39 pm

@Barron Park: Thanks for educating me about the poverty that I experienced growing up and the state law that doesn't exist. I really appreciate it. Maybe we could be neighbors. Then you could lecture me from your high-horse all day long.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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