History does not support your interpretation of the problem. Palo Alto city government openly and decisively created and embraced the Stanford Research Park which now houses many of the biggest technology companies in the world (VMware, Tesla, SAP, HP, etc) and more than 100,000 workers. Stanford Research Park LONG predates the likes of Google and Facebook and Page and Zuckerberg — it was created in 1951.The city had to re-zone that space and specifically entice tech companies to come there. The first notable companies there were Varian, GE, Lockheed and then Xerox PARC. They’re not there because they’re “entitled” — they’re there because the city wanted them there and wanted the tax revenues that they generate. The city also did a lot to entice companies to come back after the first .com crash when it suddenly found itself surrounded by a bunch of empty offices that weren’t paying taxes and the local retail was struggling with the reduced foot traffic.

I’ll also add, from a regional perspective, that one of the reasons offices opened up on the Peninsula and not in SF is because in the 70s San Francisco enforced a strict cap on office space development. That actually proliferated the conversion of industrial lofts into office spaces which you see so often there nowadays (you could convert, but it was hard to build new office space) and it proliferated the expansion of office space throughout the rest of the Bay Area. It’s only in very recent history — years after the first .com crash that San Francisco has even been considered a part of “Silicon Valley” — for a very long time, very few tech companies existed there, and almost no large notable ones.

From my perspective, Palo Alto made a decision to be a jobs center and a giant engine in the American economy long ago. And it’s been enjoying all the benefits that come with being an epicenter of an economic boom for some time now- including housing prices which have soared through the stratosphere because of the employees who want to be near their companies (and not because Palo Alto is somehow the most magical of magical suburbs…which are dime a dozen in the Bay Area). It’s time for them to stop outsourcing all the housing to surrounding regions, placing burden and displacement upon them. It’s time for PA to take responsibility and allow people to build the much-needed housing that was its fair share to build all along.

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