This actually happened and is paraphrased to the best of my memory.
Me: Thanks for creating this Facebook group about Palo Alto’s history. Since I’ve only lived here a couple of years, I feel I have a lot to catch up on. How long have you lived here?
Admin: I’ve lived here since the Seventies and it’s crazy now. Did you see this rental ad for a van? Someone actually lives in a van! What if they need a bathroom?
Me: I dunno, bedpan and use the shower at the gym? You’re right that it’s crazy. I blame voters who block development. If it wasn’t for that housing shortage, people could live in proper apartments instead of spilling out into vans, illegally-converted garages, and cardboard boxes.
Admin: It’s those tech workers, is what it is. They raise rents and make mortgages unaffordable for anyone but themselves. Thank goodness we bought our house back when this area was quiet.
Me: Did you grow up here?
Admin: No, we moved here when my husband was hired by IBM.
Me: Oh, so he’s a tech worker like my husband. The only difference is you came here forty years earlier so you lucked into an affordable market while we pay top dollar for a clapboard apartment. You’re just like us!
Admin: *kicks me out of group, blocks me on Facebook*
When Elizabeth Lasky moved from her native Ohio to Silicon Valley a few years ago, her household income doubled but her rent went up fivefold. She concludes that Prop 13 can die in a fire.
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