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Palo Alto the #1 snobbiest city in the COUNTRY?

Original post made by Blue, Barron Park, on Jul 24, 2014

Why is this story not published here? Too embarrassing?

Web Link

Comments (28)

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Posted by THe Shadow knows...........
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 24, 2014 at 1:27 pm

How many Palo Altonians does it take to change a light bulb?


Only one; they just stand there, hold the bulb, and wait for the world to revolve around them..............


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Posted by Well.
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 24, 2014 at 1:37 pm

According to their criteria, it's more a measure of how "high end" the cities are, not how snobbish. Here's their criteria:

- Median home price (the higher the better)
- Median household income (the higher the better)
- Percent of population with a college degree (the higher the better)
- Private schools per capita (the more the better)
- Performing arts per capita (the more the better)
- Art galleries per capita (the more the better)
- Fast food restaurants per capita (the fewer the better)

But I have no trouble believing we are as snobbish as any city our size.

Ever heard of Orinda?


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Posted by Palo Alto Native
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 24, 2014 at 2:52 pm

The headline is simply for grabbing attention. Palo Altans are incredibly overly-modest. Talk to a parent at a childrens sports even who is in jeans and a tee shirt but they never brag. If you ask them what they do, they may tell you, but they won't mention their Ivy League degree and share their entire resume. Go home and Google them and have an OMG moment. Attend a school Open House in PAUSD and most people are wearing comfort clothing. People are friendly in Palo Alto. Don't think the daytime shoppers at the high end stores at Stanford mall are Palo Altans - those are clearly not Palo Altans - there is some bad snobbery during the weekdays.

What has changed since moving here in 1975 (elementary school) is the academic snobbery. The quest for Ivy League admissions is insane. People seem to think that an Ivy League degree buys a halo over the head. Paly has 5 lanes of math, which implies success revolves around math. Really, only the top 50/500 students of each high school attend the elite schools. The academic snobbery here is extreme and makes the other 450 feel dumb.

Agree with the posting from "Well".

And BTW, ever heard of Woodside?


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Posted by David
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 24, 2014 at 3:47 pm

What is wrong with being "snobbish"? I take that to mean that we will defend our own interests. Another, similar concept, is "NIMBY". What is wrong with that? Many of our elite leaders claim to be egalitarian, but they, clearly, are not.

When will our PA leaders tell us what they really think? There is so much obfuscation.


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Posted by Nerd Utopia
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 24, 2014 at 7:04 pm

Apparently, the word "snob" has been redefined from when I was a kid in the South and anyone who didn't have a lot of money or drive the right car, or who wore the wrong socks, or (any girl who) missed a hair when shaving her legs was snickered at and pointed at. Forget being of different racial makeup -- no one here has ever done all that eye-pulling crap to let you know you are Asian or related to someone Asian, so common when I was a kid in the South.

Don't have the right haircut? The right color clothing? A thick layer of makeup by the 5th grade? The right length of hemline? Go to cotillion? Live in the right neighborhood? Belong to a country club? Did you have foreign-born parents who spoke with accents and looked different? Did you forget to wash you car and show up somewhere with a speck of bird poop on the door? -- Did you say the word "poop" instead of whatever the socially acceptable norm for feces is in conversation? You wouldn't live it down all year. None of that snob crap happens here. Remembering my childhood, I asked my child to tell me if I really needed to buy other clothing, if we were really outside the norm to where it was embarrassing, and he said, Pretty much no one cares what you wear.

Sorry, but expensive does not equal snobby. In case anyone hadn't noticed, a lot of our expensive homes are small and really rundown because families are sacrificing so much to be here for the schools. I've lived in places where we'd be ostracized for not having a front lawn. Palo Alto snobby? Only to people who don't really know what snobbishness and social ostracization really are.

I am totally with "Palo Alto native" on this one. I am constantly bowled over by how humble and accomplished my neighbors are. I was once at the park talking to a new mom while our kids played together, they seemed really nice, and after they left, someone ran up to me and asked, Do you know who that WAS? (I thought they might have missed seeing a long-lost college friend or something) I tentatively gave their first names, and the person said, Yes, but do you know who that WAS?! (I just thought the woman who asked was a little strange and didn't realize who it was until I read Steve Jobs' biography...)

No, in a snobby town, the rich congregate and point and laugh at those who are not like them, or even at those who are like them but somehow mess up on some inconsequential social norm. They don't include the rabble in their social circles. They never miss a chance to make others feel inferior.

In Palo Alto, you might be volunteering for a PTA fundraiser with the CEO of a successful startup or the editor of a famous movie, and you might not even know it til you'd known them for months or years. We don't live on the ritziest end of town - though don't get me wrong, it's mindblowingly expensive (we don't live in luxury) -- and yet we have plenty of friends who do, and you couldn't tell us apart in a crowd.

No, if anything, this town is Nerd Utopia.


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Posted by HUTCH 7.62
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 24, 2014 at 7:11 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Ankylosing
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 24, 2014 at 7:15 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by HUTCH 7.62
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 24, 2014 at 7:18 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 24, 2014 at 7:44 pm

The company that came up with this is based in San Mateo. I think they are trying to push their ABAG requirements down on us. Mill Valley, Marin County rules the SF Chronicle Real Estate homes section. Also Los Altos Hills, Atherton, Menlo Park
I think they are behind the real state companies that are trying to churn up the market here because we have more young families with children in the school system.
If you look at the other streams on this system we seem to have a lot of problems relative to the management of the city.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 25, 2014 at 12:56 am

This story sure looked familiar. Basically a rehash of Web Link
but with a more inflammatory headline designed to get more web-clicks.


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Posted by Nerd Utopia
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 25, 2014 at 3:50 am

@David,
Maybe they went to a City Council meeting and think the rest of us look down our noses like that. (Greg Schmid excepted. But really, how did Liz Kniss get to be such a snob?)


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Posted by Memories
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2014 at 8:24 am

So one park interaction leaves you thinking a famous person isn't a snob? Interesting.

Of course Palo Alto is snobby. Most private university towns have a patina of snobbery. And yes, the ABAG thing is a strong possibility.

Palo Alto really started to become snobby in the late 70s. There was a lot of it among kids then, coupled with pretentiousness. Snobbery was in full force by the mid-80s, and there's been no going back since then.

I'm not sure why this was posted, as there have been various versions of it going around the Bay Area, clickbait.


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Posted by Another village far way
a resident of another community
on Jul 25, 2014 at 9:56 am

Having lived in Palo Alto for a decade i treasure the times i lived there. I attended college in Hoboken as
" urban renewal" via burning the tenants out of their apartment building happened driving most working class people out of town. I came to despise the snobby hipsters who replaced them in the renovated condos and brownstones that were rebuilt with the insurance payouts. People may call it shallow alto but the diversity and caring for and about the people of this town ( despite the palo alto process) is what makes it a great place to live. Now if only i could afford to live in PA again.


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Posted by Palo Alto Native
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 25, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Thanks for the well-written and humorous posting, "Nerd Utopia."

The definition of "Snobby" to me is "bad, condescending attitude", which is why I mentioned Woodside. As poster "Well" mentioned, they labeled PA as such because of its success, not due to attitudes.

Regarding the posting from "Memories", the one interaction was one example of a common experience in PA. While PA residents have changed from its hippy days, I have to wonder if "Memories" considers well-dressed people to be "snobby" just by glancing at them, which is plain ignorance. And there are far too few who actually dress well in Palo Alto, truthfully. People who usually label us "Shallow Alto" have self-esteem/jealousy issues. People in Palo Alto are nice and they always have been. Notice no one honks their cars in Palo Alto?


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Posted by Palo Altan
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 25, 2014 at 3:33 pm

They really mean Time Square.


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Posted by Really???
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2014 at 8:21 pm

What about Atherton? Where people live enclosed behind eight-foot-high walls?


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Posted by Really???
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2014 at 8:23 pm

Come to think about it,what about Boston? Consider the definition of a "Boston Marriage": an unconsummated relationship.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 25, 2014 at 8:24 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

How people are dressed doesn't indicate snobbery, and Palo Alto has always been pretty snobby.


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Posted by Soul Brother
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 25, 2014 at 10:38 pm

With all the 1 percent'er snobs (ex. Daly city/SF/SJ/Oak Hells Angels) around here in the Bay Area it is surprising that the Progressive socialist ideal continues to survive here.


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Posted by Palo Alto Native
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 25, 2014 at 11:10 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 26, 2014 at 12:05 am

Hmmm is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Palo Alto Native
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 26, 2014 at 12:48 am

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 26, 2014 at 1:13 am

Hmmm is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 26, 2014 at 8:16 am

This is a stupid topic - it certainly has brought out the worst in people.
Hope the editor shuts this down. A waste of time.


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Posted by John94306
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 26, 2014 at 10:26 am

John94306 is a registered user.

Bogus article.

Affluence and education don't imply snobbiness.

Case in point for the materialistic: The most common car brands found in Palo Alto are Toyota and Honda.
This is a far cry from the rampant displays of excess in most affluent communities.


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Posted by iSez
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 27, 2014 at 2:50 am

iSez is a registered user.

Completely agree with John94306 that Priuses and minivans frequent our streets. People here are actually too intellectual to be snobby - ignorant people are snobs. If people are jealous of our achievements, that doesn't make us snobs.


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Posted by Anonymous22
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 29, 2014 at 10:28 am

Anonymous22 is a registered user.

Why lock this thread? I seem to recall there was a post last year by someone complaining that people here dress too casually and everyone is a slob. I think this is what happens when reporters forget to turn off their tablet autocorrect. Obviously, the story was supposed to be that we're the #1 SLOBBIEST city. (Who can afford to fix the rundown hovel after buying it!)


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Posted by litgal
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 29, 2014 at 8:24 pm

litgal is a registered user.

I was amused by the comment made by Palo Alto Native relating to the pressure to attend Ivy League schools at Paly Hi. Hey, this was going on back in the late 50s when I attended Paly. And there was so much Stanford hype at Paly back then that, coming from a huge Cal family with a grandfather who had been on the faculty, I didn't even apply to Stanford. I of course ended up Cal and had a great education and time there. As to snobby, Palo Alto has always been academically and perhaps culturally snobbish, but otherwise folks here are pretty low key.


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