News

Report: More people leaving Silicon Valley than coming in

Healthy job growth resulting in housing shortages, worsening traffic

As the economic engine of Silicon Valley continues to churn out out jobs, mint millionaires and attract new employees, the region is increasingly buckling under the strain of the recent success, with longer traffic commutes, a soaring cost of living and a steep housing shortage frustrating business leaders and residents alike.

That's the overarching message of the 2017 Silicon Valley Index, a comprehensive look at the region that the nonprofit Joint Venture Silicon Valley released Thursday morning. The report shows that the area's economy, despite a slight slowdown from 2015, continues to chug along and serve as a magnet for people from all over the world. It also indicates, however, that the region's economic inequality continues to grow and that its infrastructure is grossly inadequate.

In that sense, the report is a tale of two regions. On one hand, Silicon Valley continues to experience job growth and a declining unemployment rate (which hit a low of 3.1 percent last May and stood at 3.3 percent in November). Since emerging from the Great Recession in 2010, the Valley has added 297,000 new jobs, including 45,621 in 2016. The number of tech jobs, which make up the largest share, increased by 5.2 percent last year.

While the sectors of biotech, internet and computer design enjoyed the most growth, they weren't the only ones experiencing a boom. According to the report, the region added 6,864 new construction jobs and 6,829 new health care jobs. The Valley's average annual earning reached its highest level to date last year ($125,580) and per capita income was also at an all-time high ($86,976). All these figures, the Index notes, "dwarf those of the state and the nation."

At the same time, inequality in the region is as bad as it's ever been, with some ethnic groups actually losing ground. While white, Asian and black residents saw slight improvements in per capita incomes, Hispanic or Latino residents and those identifying as "multiple and other" saw their earnings dip.

The Index also noted that one out of every 12 residents now lives below the federal poverty threshold and one in 11 children lives in poverty. And even as incomes continue to rise, median wages in service occupations have actually declined by 8 percent since 2010, when adjusted for inflation.

Put in more concrete terms, 29 percent of the households in Silicon Valley "do not earn enough money to meet their basic needs without public or private, informal assistance, and this share jumps up to 59 percent for those with Hispanic or Latino householders."

Indeed, the report documents widening disparities between ethnicities, genders and residents with different educational attainments. The gap between the region's highest- and lowest-earning racial and ethnic groups increased by 40 percent in the past decade (in 2015, it amounted to about $47,000).

Even for those who don't occupy the lowest economic strata, the dream of homeownership is growing increasingly out of reach. The Index notes that Silicon Valley's housing costs are "crippling huge swaths of our population," with those in the lowest-paying professions suffering the most.

"The median sale price of homes in Silicon Valley reached $880,000 in 2016, a price fewer than 40 percent of first-time homebuyers can afford," the Index states. "Furthermore, only a small share of recent housing permits were affordable for low-income residents."

According to the Index, the percentage of new residences designated as "affordable" has dipped over the past year. In 2015, there were 1,758 such homes approved, making up 16 percent of the total number of new residential units. In 2016, the percentage dropped to 7 percent, with only 1,404 residences across the region designated as "affordable."

The report also indicates a growing gap between residents with graduate or professional degrees and those without them. While the median income for those on the highest strata of educational attainment went up by $3,578 between 2014 and 2015, it actually went down over the same period for those with lower levels of education. As a result, those at the highest tier earned about $86,000 more (or 4.8 times as much) as those at the bottom. This disparity is somewhat higher in Silicon Valley than in San Francisco (where the ratio is 4.5) and significantly higher than across the nation (3.2).

The gender-income gap also remains a persistent source of shame for the politically liberal region. Men in Silicon Valley with bachelor's degrees earn 50 percent more than women with the same degrees. This means that a woman with a bachelor's earns 67 cents for every $1 earned by a similarly educated man. While the gap narrows slightly for those with graduate or professional degrees (in which case, a woman earns 71 cents for every dollar earned by a man), the Valley's ratio for all women working full-time (74 cents per dollar) is worse than either in San Francisco (77 cents) or California (79 cents).

The report also underscores the outsized role that immigrants play in the region's economy, a particularly topical finding at a time when the White House is pursuing more restrictive immigration policies (by a coincidence, the report was released on the same day as the national "Day Without Immigrants" strike). Forty-six percent of the region's employed residents are foreign-born, according to the Index. This includes 62.8 percent of the employers in "computer and mathematical" fields and 60.5 percent of those in "architectural and engineering."

"Historically, immigrants have contributed considerably to innovation and job creation in the region, state and nation," the Index states. "Maintaining and increasing these flows, combined with efforts to integrate immigrants into our communities, will likely improve the region's global competitiveness."

The numbers are particularly high when it comes to women who are between the ages of 25 and 44 years and who are employed in computer, mathematical, architectural and engineering occupations. About 76 percent of these women are foreign-born, according to the Index. Furthermore, the percentage of residents who speak a foreign language at home rose from 48 percent in 2005 to 51 percent in 2015 (in San Francisco it actually went down from 46 to 44 percent).

Even with the high number of immigrants, the overall population of Silicon Valley remains relatively stable. In fact, one of the more striking findings in the new report is the growing number of people who left the Valley last year.

The "out-migration" in the Valley was greater in 2016 than in any other year since 2006, the report notes, with about 20,000 people departing for other parts of the state and country last year. This is a sharp break from just three years ago, when the region was showing more people coming in from other parts of the country than leaving. And birth rates in Silicon Valley have declined by 13 percent since 2008 (in California at large the drop was even more significant at 14 percent), dropping to their lowest levels since the mid-1980s.

And while population continues to grow, the rate slowed markedly last year. From 2010 to 2015, Silicon Valley had experienced population growth of about 34,000 per year. Between July 2015 and July 2016, it slowed to a gain of 19,000, according to the Index. With more people leaving the Valley than coming in, the growth was almost entirely due to natural growth (births minus deaths), according to the Index.

The report also highlights one key problem that continues to unite people of all backgrounds: worsening traffic. According to the new report, since 2005 there has been an increase of 228,000 Santa Clara and San Mateo County residents who commute to work, along with 57,000 additional commuters who come into Silicon Valley from San Francisco and Alameda counties. As a result, commute times have risen by 17 percent.

According to the report, the worsening commute since 2015 has added 35 hours of driving time per commuter annually (or 40 minutes weekly). The growing congestion comes despite the slight drop in commuters who drive alone to work (which went from 75 percent in 2010 to 73 percent in 2015) and an small uptick in the number of people who relied on public transportation (which increased from 5 percent to 6 percent between 2010 and 2015).

Joint Venture CEO and President Russell Hancock said in an introduction to the Index that the pace of growth in 2016 slowed down "ever so slightly," with the region losing a percentage point in the rate of job growth. Hancock noted that the market has made "necessary corrections to some overvaluations" and the region saw fewer IPOs this past year (nine in 2016, compared to 16 in 2015 and 23 in 2014). Yet he he also pointed out that there is "no talk of a bubble bursting." If anything, he wrote, "the talk is about the toll our growth is taking on the region as we move into robotics and artificial intelligence."

Hancock also acknowledged that the region's growth "has its perils."

"It strains our infrastructure, decreases our quality of living and puts housing out of reach for too many," Hancock wrote. "Growth can also be troubling when it isn't widely shared. Unfortunately, our report shows that income disparities are more pronounced than ever, changing the character of our region and raising profound questions about community and cohesiveness."

While the report highlights the steep challenges facing the Silicon Valley (which is defined as San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, Scotts Valley, Fremont, Newark and Union City), Hancock pointed to the "growing recognition that these challenges ultimately erode our innovation ecosystem and threaten the very foundation of our prosperity." He alluded in his introduction to Measure A and Measure B, which county voters approved last fall to support new housing and transportation improvements, respectively.

"Our region's storied innovation has served us so extremely well in the commercial realm," Hancock wrote. "Now, with the stakes so high, we need to apply that same spirit of innovation to our social and civic challenges."

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Comments

10 people like this
Posted by Steve Sillowsvenson
a resident of Green Acres
on Feb 17, 2017 at 10:40 am

Compare male and female engineer salaries in the SV and I am guessing the wage gap goes to about 0. Its more a question of sample data than sexism.


24 people like this
Posted by Sue Allen
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 17, 2017 at 11:13 am

And then there are the people who don't come at all. My nephew was all excited about his software engineer job offer from Google -- until he found what it would cost to live here. He is married with children and owns a house in another state. The increase in salary from Google wasn't near enough to cover the housing cost gap, so he turned the job down.

And Ravenswood School District (East Palo Alto) has lost 500+ students in the last two years-- down from 3500 students to 3,000. Young single tech workers can afford higher rent and can share houses that used to be for the carpenters and maids and gardeners with their families that serve our wealthy communities. They are all moving to Central Valley and other states.

What happens when those young single tech workers marry and have children? They move away to where there is affordable housing. See first paragraph above.


50 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 17, 2017 at 11:25 am

Of course the cost of housing is scaring away out-of-state American employees with families. That is why local companies are trying to raise the H1B foreign worker visa limit. Most of these immigrants are single when first hired, so have lower expenses and will work for less money than American citizens. Instead of looking for homes to buy, these immigrant workers share apartments to save money. You can bet that the high density housing project that Facebook is trying to build next to its campus is intended primarily for immigrant visa workers, not for Americans with families.


9 people like this
Posted by Green Quarter Acres
a resident of Green Acres
on Feb 17, 2017 at 11:26 am

Its just a pendulum cycle that goes both ways.
I've lived through many of them in my 60 years in this area.
Much ado about nothing.

People are always worried about reductions in school attendance as family's grow up and kids graduate. There is talk of closing schools. Then the mature families sell their houses and new younger families move in (yes, at insane prices), and wonder of wonders.... our schools and classes are overcrowded again.


7 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2017 at 11:31 am

Do Morgan Hill and Gilroy count as Silicon Valley?

According to MV Voice, VTA is piloting a dedicated bus from MH/G to Mountain View at the attractive fare of $4 one way. Web Link Will this encourage more people to move to the south part of SC County? Will this encourage local shuttles to meet the buses in MV?


4 people like this
Posted by Jim H
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 17, 2017 at 11:33 am

Looking at the date, I'm not sure that headline is entirely accurate. It could just as easily say, "Report: More people moving to Silicon Valley". The graph shows a more domestic migration, and more foreign immigration. But, the net looks to be a very small gain.

The article even states, "And while population continues to grow, the rate slowed markedly last year."


1 person likes this
Posted by Anke
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 17, 2017 at 11:40 am

@Resident, sounds like MH/G are the next gentrification targets.


72 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Feb 17, 2017 at 12:34 pm

Our schools and colleges are churning out young people with all of the computer technology skills but are not getting hired. Those jobs are being given to H1B people who are not employees of Google or Facebook - they are employees of the agency that hires them and sends them over, That reduces the cost to Google and FB. I am not sympathetic to this situation in which other people are being allowed to displace our qualified young adults. Sorry -and then Google, Apple, and FB are storing billions of dollars off shore and not paying taxes on the money. Look at all of the rioters - they are in part people with no jobs living in mom's house. And we have created the situation in which this happens based on our tax code and bad policies. No wonder Google and FB do not like Trump - he is trying to get jobs for your children and you are protesting and arguing about it. This is your children who have worked hard and now getting punched in the face by our local businesses.


15 people like this
Posted by Anke
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 17, 2017 at 12:47 pm

@resident of Charleston Meadows, add to that all the Bay Area children from low-income families who don't get the opportunity in the first place because budget cuts to their schools result in them being cheated out of the education promised them by law. The tech companies love to boast about all the jobs they create, but when those jobs go to outsiders brought in for that purpose instead of going to locals it's very counterproductive in so many ways.


1 person likes this
Posted by macbaldy
a resident of Stanford
on Feb 17, 2017 at 12:57 pm

A few months ago, regional news coverage was touting how the SF Bay Area has become a mega region...that it's expanded from the former 9 counties to 25 counties. Allegedly, northern Monterey County has been including, and that some Silicon Valley workers commute from Salinas. So, "leaving Silicon Valley" can have varied interpretations. The sprawl from SV has been active since the Sixties...now, it's more so?


7 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 17, 2017 at 1:34 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

Way too many numbers for my limited brain capacity to absorb and try to sort out and offer any good suggestions on them for solutions. We all know about the traffic problem. We all know about the high cost of living and housing and the much needed infrastructure update.

Numbers don't help solve problems, they just hi-lite them, as long as anyone can figure out what the numbers mean. So where do we go from here? First of all, individual cities alone, can't solve, or even make a dent in it, altho PA's CC thinks they have solutions to almost everything on their own, and get votes based on that. They should be a little more humble and admit they can't solve all the problems and that many of their plans proposed to help solve them outside of our city limits just aren't viable...and some of those within our city limits aren't either. And then we get outsiders postings on what PA should do. We live in a very bizarre world.

I don't get it. The Democratic Party, and the far left liberal wing of it, are so dominant in this area and in control at the state level, that you'd think all the solutions to help all our social ills would be in place by now. What happened? Did the Republicans in the state legislature stop it? filibuster it?

March on, march every day and for whatever cause you want to march for. It's good exercise. So keep marching!


44 people like this
Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 17, 2017 at 1:35 pm

john_alderman is a registered user.

Let's be blunt, you can read this another way: Huge influx of immigrants driving natives out of the area. And it isn't just 'white flight' as you can see by the massive demographic shift in East Palo Alto.


8 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Feb 17, 2017 at 2:04 pm

To add to the irony Mexico City is the biggest city in the North American Continent. Look at it on Google - it is a beautiful city with extensive hotels and expensive venues. The country of Mexico has a manufacturing base, agricultural base, technology base, and vast tourist beach areas. All of those migrants should be working in their country if they want to improve their life. They have more going for them there then here. And the lumber ad during the Super Bowl - how stupid - Mom should be headed to one of the major cities in the country to get a better job. Sorry - at this time I am not buying the "searching for a better life" narrative. the states that have approved pot are "plantation economies" which need people to work the fields with no benefits. So some can get some work on the pot farms - WOOHEE!


60 people like this
Posted by Peace Out
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 17, 2017 at 2:27 pm

I know of several people who are longtime homeowners (18+ years) in various nearby cities (Mountain View, Los Altos, Woodside, Portola Valley, Menlo Park) and none of them have an affordability problem, yet like myself, they will all be relocating well outside of the greater Bay Area in the very near future. To a person, it's become a quality of life issue...specifically, the rapidly declining quality of life in this region. The writing is on the wall, it's never going to get less crowded, less noisy, or more peaceful...those days are gone. For myself and many of my friends it's become untenable, and we have decided to move on...which was not a decision made lightly, being a lifelong Bay Area residents.

Incidentally, San Francisco county supervisors just delayed a vote on a resolution asking state lawmakers to amend the CA tax code, in a manner which would allow the city to levy a personal and corporate income tax, in order to generate revenue to fund its "sanctuary city policies". The vote has been delayed for two weeks. However, in addition to the never ending crush of humanity, the constant noise, and the overall declinong quality of life...it's the never ending taxes that is also reaching ridiculous levels. Can't change it, so...we will all be moving on.

Peace Out






18 people like this
Posted by high tech sexism
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 17, 2017 at 3:01 pm

Silicon Valley in some cases is hostile to young high-techie women. FACT. It's largely a good old boy white male and Asian male network, whether in established companies or start-ups, make no mistake. Not sure about big law firms, but some indications. Stanford had the Snapchat guy and his recent vulgar emails documented (about what he thinks about young women.) Terrifying. Sad to confirm this is still often the situation as the Valley has matured and it's 2017 and one would hope for improvements.. I recommend - to educated young women- to be very careful where they establish their ambitious work lives and to establish businesses elsewhere (though that's no full guarantee, I still think it is advisable) in order to live a harassment-free work life. I refer to highly educated female STEM grads in this post.


Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Feb 17, 2017 at 3:11 pm

[Post removed; off topic]


23 people like this
Posted by Disparity
a resident of Southgate
on Feb 17, 2017 at 3:28 pm

There is a huge disparity between monthly wages and monthly cost of housing, whether rent or mortgage!

That is the #1 problem!

People can live better on less money ELSEWHERE!


11 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 17, 2017 at 3:44 pm

"There is a huge disparity between monthly wages and monthly cost of housing, whether rent or mortgage!"

That is the problem in a nutshell. Local employers don't pay their employees a living wage. But the supreme mystery is why their workers meekly accept that situation.


22 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 17, 2017 at 3:50 pm

"I know of several people who are longtime homeowners (18+ years) in various nearby cities (Mountain View, Los Altos, Woodside, Portola Valley, Menlo Park) and none of them have an affordability problem, yet like myself, they will all be relocating well outside of the greater Bay Area in the very near future. To a person, it's become a quality of life issue"

Man, that's a rough life. Living in the Bay Area in a house that's worth many times over what you bought it for yet paying taxes on the original price, and having to deal with, ugh, OTHER PEOPLE, moving into here and just ruining your peace and quiet! You'd think that after decades of homeowners preventing urbanization and sending rents and housing costs sky high, these folks would finally get the message that this is your quiet suburb and stop moving here, but yet they keep coming over! Now you're left with no choice but to sell your house for a massive windfall and move somewhere else. It's just a tragedy!


16 people like this
Posted by Alice
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 17, 2017 at 3:58 pm

The other problem is that when the economy is strong and employees are paid well, the landlords feel that they deserve a cut of the new wealth and hike up rents so employees who rent never really get ahead. Every time my salary went up, so did my rent. The rent for my cruddy apartment is more than double my monthly salary.


17 people like this
Posted by Anna Longwell
a resident of The Greenhouse
on Feb 17, 2017 at 5:11 pm

overcrowding, noise, (especially the A/C virtually buzzing the valley as they turn crosswind for landing at SFO) highways that were designed when I was a kid and the valley was a great big orchard (earliest memories, the Treasure Island World Fair in 1940), $$$ for rents and taxes, and our PA police and our firemen have to commute to their jobs. Folk on professional incomes finding they can't afford to live here, worse for middle class retirees on fixed incomes and families working two or even three jobs to make ends meet.
We can't go backward, I know, but our current situation is not what I would call going forward. (more like a 90 degree turn in the downward direction). If the valley is getting richer, what in heck are we spending our money on? I don't need to get to Sacramento, but I'd like to get to San Jose or to Newark in less than an hour and without witnessing another wreck.
All us old curmudgeons should not be just standing on our porches and shaking our canes at the passing parade-Palo Alto is still a good place to raise a family, but we need to be to be more sensitized to changes and more demanding of our elected representatives. I resolve to do better. (But I do miss the solid blanket of blossoms from Palo Alto to San Jose as we drove down the Bayshore in the spring)


41 people like this
Posted by Peace Out
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 17, 2017 at 5:34 pm


@YIMBY,

Interesting that you seem to harbor I'll will towards those who are LEAVING simply because they desire a different quality of life than the one that is taking shape in this region. Evidently you enjoy more dense, urban environments -- yay for you. Different strokes for different folks. The ship has sailed, and things are not going to become less dense or less quiet around these parts...so I and many friends I know chose a path that's best for us, and are moving to places better suited for the quality of life we prefer. Sorry if that offends your YIMBY sensibilities. We'll all be gone soon enough, and that should please you 'cause besides getting rid of people like us, all those home sales will step up the tax basis, yet again. Wheeee!

Peace Out

P.S. Just because I said my friends and have been homeowners for 18+ years, does not mean we have lived in the same homes for all of those years. We have all moved at least once in that time.


29 people like this
Posted by Anja
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Feb 17, 2017 at 6:19 pm

Wealthy immigrants from the PROC, and their speculation in the housing market, are partly to blame for the high cost of housing being out of reach for citizens.

Those wealthy immigrants also pay cash and bid over asking price. [Portion removed.]

We would like to move somewhere that the residents won't snub us or our children! However, the IRS and the state take a total of 35% of the profits from selling a home, which doesn't leave much of a down payment on another house.

However, we don't like the fact that our children, and those of other Americans, are being snubbed and picked on as being "stupid" in Palo Alto schools! If they hear that often enough, it will harm their self-esteem.


Like this comment
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 17, 2017 at 6:27 pm

[Post removed.]


38 people like this
Posted by Peace Out
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 17, 2017 at 7:19 pm

@YIMBY

I wasn't asking for your sympathy. Sorry if you misunderstood my comments as seeking sympathy. I was simply stating the facts. The title of the article was 'More people leaving valley than coming in'. I was discussing the reasons why myself and several friends I know had made the decision to leave the area.

And, I am well aware that there are plenty of people who struggle to hang on here, and maybe there will come a time when some of them will decide that maybe there is somewhere else that is better suited for them...for whatever reason. I do however, wish them much success in their endeavors. Truly.

My friends and I are choosing to leave for quality of life reasons, that does not mean we will not be leaving behind many things and people that we love -- it just means that have we all made very difficult choices, and in the end we chose a path that was going to be the best path for us going forward. We are not looking for sympathy. We are not angry. It is what it is. Page is turned. We are moving forward with no ill will.

I am sorry that you seem to be so offended, evidently by the fact that I am not struggling financially. You might want to be mindful that there are other kinds of struggles besides financial struggles that can also have a profound impact on lives in similar ways, every day. It is the rare person who doesn't struggle with something. I know people who would give every penny they had just to have one more day with their loved one.

Peace Out


8 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 17, 2017 at 7:38 pm

That's precisely the point. The article is about how those lower on the socio-economic bracket are moving out because they can't afford to live here anymore, and a smaller number of wealthier replacements come in after. Your story about wanting to move because of noise is absurdly tone deaf to an article about the effects of income disparity and crushing housing costs in the valley.


37 people like this
Posted by Peace Out
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 17, 2017 at 8:51 pm

@YIMBY

As you are aware, the article is about much more than your simple synopsis above. I also read the entire Silicon Valley Economic Index that is referenced in the article. The issues are complex and far reaching. Clearly, it is not something easily or quickly solved. And evidently there are other reasons people are leaving the valley besides being unable to afford it. I don't know if Carl and his brethren are tracking those types of out-migrations, but they might want to start.

Again, I'm sorry you are so offended by our decision to leave for quality of life reasons, which you are now summarizing as simply "noise" -- you might want to try intellectual honesty when characterizing our reason for leaving, it can best be summarized as "quality of life" reasons.

Talk about irony. Here you are dressing someone (everyone?) down suggesting that they move somewhere else "where there isn't so much pressure to grow" ... more ... Yet when someone says they are doing just that, moving because of quality of life issues related to growth, they are excoriated mercilessly by you.


Web Link

Here's something:

"Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 16, 2017 at 1:54 pm
Silicon Valley Problems: There are just too many jobs in my city!

If you want to live somewhere where there's not so much pressure to grow from demand for jobs and housing then why not move somewhere else where that pressure doesn't exist rather than fight a losing and self-centered battle in the heart of Silicon Valley to keep jobs and people out of your city?"


2 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 17, 2017 at 9:14 pm

[Post removed.]


12 people like this
Posted by Dean
a resident of another community
on Feb 17, 2017 at 9:44 pm

Being as how I am one of those who really can't afford to live here, and am stuck because my spouse really needs to be here for her work, and her family, children and grandchildren are here, maybe I should complain more. We may end up in LA before the year is over, as she has many relatives there.

What I did was have a friend and his mother move in to share rent costs, because they can't afford the rent here either. I would love to buy, and could using my GI Bill, except I would need half a million to a million dollars for a down payment to keep the monthly payment where I can afford it. I know that there is supposed to be assistance to help people in my situation to be able to purchase a house (it has to be a single family house on one floor, with a garage, as I am handicapped), but I receive too much in retirement and SSI to qualify. Just like VA Medical, I make about $1,500.00 a year too much to qualify.

Way back in the 80's and 90's I worked as an Engineer, and trained a young lady in the technology of welding, NDT, and materials. She learned very well, and by 1991, she had progressed from a clerk typist to an engineer. Then on to the computer age as a software engineer where she was promoted to one job classification higher than me. I was happy for her though she was now making 25% more than me. She was still needing my assistance with some of her work.

I would still like to work, but nobody will hire me because of my age, yet I would be glad to work for the wages those H-1 visa people get. Oh, they are looking to the future, and at 80, they don't see me having much future.


3 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto resident
a resident of Community Center
on Feb 18, 2017 at 8:44 am

[Post removed.]


12 people like this
Posted by Is this the USA?
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 18, 2017 at 9:02 am

Palo Alto has crooked politicians, traffic and parking problems, ugly new buildings, too many foreigners, and noise from aircraft. I own a home in an expensive part of town and have all the fancy trappings. But, PA is completely overrated. Ghost houses are everywhere and foreign investors are destroying neighborhoods.


18 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 18, 2017 at 10:14 am

I have relocated from Palo Alto and Silicon Valley last year, although no further than rural Monterey County, while keeping my Palo Alto home, and I've never been happier. When I come to Palo Alto to check on my house, I am appalled and repulsed at what this town has become, knowing that the developer servants in the CC ,along with Palantir, PAF and the usual suspects, plan a further destruction on steroids.

I highly recommend relocating out of Palo Alto, the Valley and the Bay area, you will love it and wonder why you wasted so many precious years here.


8 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 18, 2017 at 11:21 am

I totally agree with Mauricio's post above. I find it highly ironic that at the same time this report came out 1) we get the Mayor's letter promising us unwanted expensive roundabouts and sharrows etc. etc. at a time when the city is supposed to be suffering a budget deficit and b) in the same issue there was an article about how so many limited liability corps. -- usually owned by groups of foreign investors -- are rushing to invest in Palo Alto and Silicon Valley real estate.

The former is expensive -- more than $100,000 for EACH roundabout -- and will only mess up traffic even more. The latter is another good reason for the continued housing price inflation.

A friend who owns residential rental properties called the other day absolutely livid that the city is now charging $250 an hour in TRAVEL time for inspectors to come out. They are obviously invested in CREATING more gridlock and making our lives miserable and wasting our time.

What is the city doing to STOP investment in ghost houses? What's it doing to stop in its tracks the permitting process for that 14-bedroom monstrosity at Embarcadero and Newell?

Shame on them and on the voters who buy the nonsense that increased density will reduce housing prices!


19 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2017 at 12:06 pm

Yimby and others above actually understate the problem. Out-migration from Silicon Valley is a crisis to the nation and maybe even the world.

Now some people, probably Republicans, might suggest that out-migrating people are seeking a more balanced lifestyle, away from the Valley’s escalating housing prices, traffic congestion and inconsistent public school quality. However this view is shortsighted.

Silicon Valley is the Innovation Capital of the nation; we lead the country and the world in patents per capita, lines of code per capita, dynamism, vibrancy, and sheer insane greatness; as well as our world-renowned confidence to succeed. Because of the well-known Network Effect, innovative people who leave the Valley lose their ability to innovate (with the steepest drop in fact if they leave Palo Alto). For example, Ford just announced they were spending $1B on a ten-person artificial-intelligence startup in Pittsburgh (the one in Pennsylvania, not the East Bay). Given our Innovation MegaPremium, that would likely have been worth $2B had it been in the Bay Area; and it could have been only five people since they never go home because of traffic.

This is a national threat. People who choose to leave the Bay Area actually harm the American economy (even more so if they leave Palo Alto). In this light, a decision to move elsewhere simply for more space, less traffic and better public schools – so called “quality of life” factors – is clearly inappropriate. Those people obviously seek a selfish, un-inclusive and frankly outdated lifestyle, when instead they should be looking Forward. They need to stay here and Innovate!

In fact, the region’s challenges are easy. Housing is clear: if everybody in Silicon Valley simply added two roommates (three in Palo Alto), everybody would have a place to stay and there would be no housing crisis (besides, if you spend a lot of time online you don’t need as much space anyway). The fact that some of our most passionate dense-living advocates don’t actually live that way themselves is irrelevant – what’s important is vision and leadership. Traffic is a more difficult problem, but if everybody left for work an hour earlier, we would be back in business. Our productivity advantage here in the Valley would more than compensate for the extra time.

Now some people, probably more Republicans, might point out that some people might not want this life, and still try to leave. But Innovation is a moral issue. We must do our share, and our nation’s capital provides the example: a big, beautiful wall. (Plus a little one around Palo Alto.)


23 people like this
Posted by Peace Out
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 18, 2017 at 12:47 pm

@Resident

Thank you for that.

Yours clearly lacking in " sheer insane greatness",

Peace Out


8 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 18, 2017 at 1:31 pm

You do realize that a significant chunk of households in silicon valley already do live like that, right? You pay between $1300 - $2500 in rent to be a roommate or housemate in a shared living situation. If you can't afford that, then you just cram more people in until you can. Really, I get that you were trying to make a facetious suggestion, but you might want to take a minute to look around you and notice that we're already there.


4 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 18, 2017 at 2:05 pm

Resident, maybe with your PA scenario the electoral college makeup, political climate and educational disparities of the country would change. You've got to give Ford credit for not having outsourced their operation to India or China or whatever low-wage locale the VC's and SV companies are currently supporting while they so creatively continue to destroy the middle class.

Also, if we all added 3 roommates, what makes you think we'd charge less than the prevailing rates esp. given the sex and age discrimination practiced here in the the Valley?

Why should we penalize ourselves further?


16 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 18, 2017 at 2:31 pm

-- Every time my salary went up, so did my rent. The rent for
-- my cruddy apartment is more than double my monthly salary.

My perception has been that as people got money in Silicon Valley they
bought real estate. Of course the "old guard" doesn't want to do anything
about the housing crisis ... that is their income, and they will ride it to death
without a thought about what they are doing to people.

It is fairly unnatural to rent your property for less than market value, but the
dynamics here are out of control and it exacerbates the problem of young
( or old ) smart and hardworking people who are not getting what they necessarily
merit in life, in our country supposedly based on merit because Capitalism
itself has morphed into something different than it used to be when it was
more free enterprise and less inherited wealth, or networked connections.

When life and the economy becomes something artificial and controlled by
a group or class of people politically or economically, you cannot say there
is a fair and free market at work. Or the supply of labor is manipulated at
the Federal level from overseas.

Can Americans go to Mexico, or China and buy and own property in the same
why those foreign nationals can buy here with the same protections of the rule
of law? I don't think so. So then why do we allow this. Hmmm, that should
have been a question our real estate mogul President should have asked -
except maybe it leads down the wrong road leading the wrong questions.

We have protections for trade, corporations, patents, inherited wealth, but
we have no protection for people ... because we prey on our people in a
way that would be unthinkable, except over a century ago in times of slavery.
All for the extreme comfort of a few whose behavior and philosophies, in
my opinion, do not deserve it.


9 people like this
Posted by Timmie Tee
a resident of another community
on Feb 18, 2017 at 5:36 pm

It's kind of fun to see the Bay area implode under it's own weight since I left and can now look back at the things I didn't like-- overcrowding, bad traffic, bad weather, and hyper-SV nerds running around with a cell phone in one hand and a latte in the other. After 15 years and some good times I left for the southland near LA and enjoy it much better-- from the beaches and better weather, to the more sanely laid-back people, and better roads. Occasionally I watch KPIX news on the internet to see what's happening up there, not that I miss it, but for a feeling of Schadenfreude, to get a little pleasure out of the pain inflicted on Palo Altans. Work hard, make your money, and leave someday-- but please don't come to SoCal and f' it up too. Good luck!


2 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 18, 2017 at 6:08 pm

Curmudgeon is a registered user.

"It is fairly unnatural to rent your property for less than market value..."

What defines "market value" is what the buyer will pay. Home buyers--and renters--can only blame themselves and their peers for high housing costs.


11 people like this
Posted by SunnyvaleSam
a resident of another community
on Feb 18, 2017 at 9:14 pm

@CrescentParkAnon,
B.C. Canada recently enacted a 15 percent real property transfer tax on foreigner-purchased properties in Metropolitan Vancouver. In addition, the City of Vancouver has a 1% empty home tax. Homes that are deemed empty are subject to a tax of 1% of the property’s assessed value.


23 people like this
Posted by Sanctimonious City
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2017 at 9:31 pm

Global elites seek access to world markets so they can exploit the masses and freedom of movement so they can flee (or at least send their families) to other safe harbors when the local population rises up to occasionally confiscate their ill gotten gains and/or throw them in jail.

Like other elite sanctuaries including Manhattan, London, Paris and Hollywood, Silicon Valley is a globalist paradise with the following amenities:

* Open borders to bring in an unlimited supply of low cost workers to do their laundry, clean their mansions and groom their lawns
* A favorable H1-B program so they can pay below market rates ($60K) for tech workers, bundle up the visas for offshore IT service companies and skim the money savings to tax differed compensation schemes for executives and Venture Capitalists.
* Global trade agreements designed as one way super highways to send manufacturing and R&D offshore and then park unfair profits in shell companies or corrupt banks
* A tax structure that penalizes earned income by middle class bule collar workers, upper class professionals and small businesses
* Real estate laws that do not discourage absentee ownership or foriegn money laundering
* A virtual single party political system that is easily corrupted and influenced
* A university system built on a business model that depends on international students, affirmative action quotas for giveaways and look-the-other-way admissions for large donors
* An above average sized pool of animated but naive social justice warriors over willing to be defined by immutable characteristics like skin pigment, reproductive organ and genetic preferences. Then easily enticed to chase every petty grievance while oblivious to their own prejudice and manipulation.
* A dishonest, corrupt and citizen-censoring media that has bought into (if not been bought by) the global elites

We have seen what has happened to Palo Alto as a progressive paradise. It is a golden goose for the globalists that only lays gilded eggs for the rich, the remote and the powerful.


2 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 18, 2017 at 9:50 pm

" ...easily enticed to chase every petty grievance while oblivious to their own prejudice and manipulation."

Yep, we got conservatives alright.


4 people like this
Posted by PassDaPopcorn
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 18, 2017 at 10:15 pm

Great comments from SanctiCity, Resident, TimmieT, Peace, Yimby and mauricio. Curmud is rather stale by comparison. I'll go pop some more corn and be back for more of the same. Meanwhile, the rest of you gotta up your game to the level of the Resident. That was pure gold! "Those people obviously seek a selfish, un-inclusive and frankly outdated lifestyle, when instead they should be looking Forward. They need to stay here and Innovate!". Is that Zucky's Forward!?? I wish that ZuckyFool would comment more here instead of on FakeBook. Did you all read his Manifestoe? More PureGold!!


15 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Feb 19, 2017 at 8:58 am

Sorry to say that in the state of California and elsewhere the solid middle class which included all colors and people arose from WW11, the migration to the coast due to the dustbowl in the middle US, and key to it all manufacturing.

Lockheed Martin in Sunnyvale was the biggest employer in the area, along with Ford Aerospace & Communications in Palo Alto, now SSL. Manufacturing provides the where with all for all working people to hon their skills to what ever their skill set is. This is also true for Los Angeles which had comparable manufacturing companies which all went from defense to getting to the moon.
For multiple reasons the state started raising the taxes on the entities and imposed many restrictions which became expensive and cumbersome causing many companies to move out of state. Also the US Government shut down the Moon projects. So the slow drip-drip in lack of good jobs. There is where the problem lies - no place for the younger new graduates to go except a Goggle or FB which prefers H1B people who have no benefits. UC is also outsourcing IT work to India.
Trump is trying to reverse that trend and pull manufacturing back into the US so people have jobs and rebuild the middle class. What is required is for the State of California to change it's tax code so the state can get back to supporting all class of people and bring regular business back into the state. That seems like basic common sense but the resistance to this has become a political battlefield. So what is the end game here? I can see the end game but will support the opposing party to right this ship which is sinking.
Next time someone in the CC says we ae not going back to the 50's is an indication that they will stifle the middle class and a tax structure that promotes all businesses in the state.


3 people like this
Posted by Alice
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 19, 2017 at 2:04 pm

resident, how will manufacturing jobs help in Silicon Valley where a person working on an assembly line in a factory could never afford to buy a home here. Maybe back in the 40s it was possible, but not today. Also, some of the big high-tech manufacturing companies are responsible for ground water and soil pollution. Google superfund sites in the California Bay Area. It's frightening.


5 people like this
Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2017 at 2:22 pm

@Alice,

Offshoring doesn't make industrial waste go away. Offshoring manufacturing just transfer the production of industrial waste to someone else's backyard. Someone with a lower standard of living, lower wages, and less environmental regulations.

Some of the pollutants that are dumped into the water and atmosphere eventually find their way back here.


2 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Feb 19, 2017 at 2:42 pm

Let's assume that Silicon Valley extends to the Los Banos area going east, and the east bay going east. There is a lot of empty land out there, as well as land in the Gilroy area. If people are commuting in from those areas then factories can be put where the people are. Amazon is trying to put warehouses in the San Jose/Aptos area. There is a lot of empty land in North San Jose near the dump. An assembly line does not need to be toxic material - it can be many things that people want that are not toxic to the land.
As to the land at Google that was previously Government land related to Moffatt Field. Most previously government lands have toxicity issues. The whole point is to build up the middle class with work that builds on people's skills and are useful - people have to be able to work.


4 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 19, 2017 at 2:58 pm

Or we could just build vertically along mass transit routes like CalTrain. You know, instead of building homes near dumps and superfund sites.


13 people like this
Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2017 at 4:01 pm

Caltrain is not a "mass transit" route. Caltrain is a boutique system that carries less than 1% of the passenger-miles traveled on the peninsula every day. Caltrain's most optimistic estimate say the proposed $3 billion electrification will only increase Caltrain's capacity by 20%. Beyond that there is no way to increase Caltrain's capacity. Caltrain simple does not own enough land.




8 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 19, 2017 at 5:27 pm

"Trump is trying to reverse that trend and pull manufacturing back into the US so people have jobs and rebuild the middle class."

No, Trump PROMISED to do that. Savvy voters know there is a YUUUUUGE difference between politician promises and politician deliveries.

Trump ain't doing jobs. He's mainly providing deportation circuses to entertain his Base. His big-Trumpet but feeble jabs at job restoration amount to government controls and subsidies for corporations. In other words, Socialism. Like Chavez in Venezuela.

Ya been had and yer bein' had more, good buddy.


1 person likes this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Feb 19, 2017 at 5:41 pm

[Portion removed.]

As to Mexico the NY Times had a big article about Mexico City - it is sinking and has no water. Strange that is what is happening in the central valley - it is sinking. We just spent 4 years with no water. So the idea that we are in a better position is questionable. Sorry - you are not selling anything except partisan politics.


2 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 19, 2017 at 7:20 pm

[Portion removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


"NY Times had a big article about Mexico City - it is sinking and has no water. Strange that is what is happening in the central valley - it is sinking"

Well, at 7,000 feet elevation, Mexico City has a lot more room to sink than central valley locales. Your point is ... ?


2 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Feb 19, 2017 at 9:45 pm

At the beginning of this stream I mentioned Mexico City as the biggest city in North America -so why are people coming here when in fact we are having big problems that are universal and not easily solvable. In other words we are not better off then other countries and coming here for a "better life" only works if you already have a job. So the promise here loses steam if people think they are promised something but we are not in a position to offer up what they expect. There is a promise here that was achievable maybe 20 years ago but that promise now is not that we can pay taxpayer money to support other people that could have as easily been supported in their own country. Each country has to grow up and get their own act together to support their own people.


Like this comment
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 19, 2017 at 10:03 pm

Curmudgeon is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


9 people like this
Posted by Anke
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 19, 2017 at 10:23 pm

Ok so here's a question: if it's really true that more people are leaving than coming in, why does my commute continue to get worse and worse?


6 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 19, 2017 at 11:16 pm

@Ahem

That's not what mass transit is defined as. Mass transit is public systems of transportation. The bus system, light-rail, commuter-rail like Caltrain, and all other forms of publically maintained transportation systems all fall under that umbrella.


1 person likes this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Feb 20, 2017 at 10:27 am

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 20, 2017 at 10:59 am

[Portion removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


Like this comment
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 20, 2017 at 11:15 am

[Portion removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


2 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 20, 2017 at 4:02 pm

[Portion removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


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