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Monday
Nov052018

POLITICS/URBAN AFFAIRS (Bay Area): Housing, gentrification, displacement/ low-income (minority) housholds: "In East Palo Alto, residents say tech companies have created a 'semi-feudal society'" ....  

***East Palo Alto:  Housing, gentrification, displacement/low-income (minority) households....

* Washington Post (Scott Wilson):  "In East Palo Alto, residents say tech companies have created a 'semi-feudal society'"  - From the WP:

This poor city is surrounded by the temples of the new American economy that has, in nearly every way imaginable, passed it by.

Just outside the northern city limit, Facebook is expanding the blocks-long headquarters it built seven years ago. Google’s offices sit just outside the southern edge, and just a few miles to the west, Stanford University stands as the rich proving ground of the economy’s future. Amazon just moved in. Only a small fraction of jobs in those companies go to those who live in this city of 30,000 people, one of the region’s few whose population is majority minority. That demography is under threat by the one economic force that has not passed East Palo Alto by — rapidly rising rents and home prices.

“Amazon Google Facebook – SOS,” reads a painted bedsheet draped from an RV parked off Pulgas Avenue, one of dozens of trailers where families have come to live rent-free along a gravel path that leads from the city to the San Francisco Bay.

In the past year, John Mahoni, a burly, affable 41-year-old Latino man, has had a dozen visits from real estate speculators looking to buy his small house off Terra-Villa Street in the city’s worn-down southeast side. The most recent doorstep instant offer: $900,000 in cash, almost three times what he paid less than a decade ago. He turned it down. “They’ve stopped coming because I cussed them out, but I know they were just doing their jobs,” said Mahoni, noting that residents have the right to reject any offer for their property. “. . . There’s no law against not being greedy.”

Skyrocketing housing costs are accelerating a demographic shift across the progressive Bay Area, pushing out Latinos and African Americans into ever-more-distant suburbs to make room for predominantly white technology workers.  A recent University of California at Berkeley study found that the region has “lost thousands of low-income black households” as the result of rising housing costs. The study found no similar effect on the income of or departures in white neighborhoods.

The process compelling minorities to leave for cheaper cities, caused by Bay Area housing shortages and policies that have cemented those market trends, is in effect resegregating a region that has prided itself on ethnic diversity .........................