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By Paul Bendix

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About this blog: A 32-year resident of Menlo Park, I regularly make my way around downtown in a wheelchair. This gives me an unusual perspective on a town in which I have spent almost half of my life. I was educated at UC Berkeley, and permanentl...  (More)

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Menlo's Economic Divide

Uploaded: Mar 19, 2015
"More than half of the new jobs in the region will not pay enough to afford a two-bedroom apartment in Menlo Park and the rest of San Mateo County." That's according to KQED and Peninsula Press (of Stanford's Journalism Department).

If Menlo Park seems split on many issues...that's because it is split, structurally. 'The hourglass economy,' tends to do that. People making top professional incomes and those with low incomes know little of each other. They can't agree on issues...because their issues aren't the same.

Nor are their views of the community. In a very real sense there isn't a community. The people who teach our kids, answer calls to the fire department and help us find a library book...all have to live somewhere else.

Housing, of course, is the killer. The Belle Haven's current boom is great for property owners. But it's driving residents into cramped quarters or long commutes. This week's KQED story on Menlo Park describes a perfect storm of burgeoning high-tech, soaring land values and decades of civic inaction on housing.

What can be done about the lack of mid-income jobs? After all, this is a global problem. The answer may not be simple – but awareness is a good start.
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Comments

 +   4 people like this
Posted by Joseph E. Davis, a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills,
on Mar 20, 2015 at 3:01 pm

The economy is an extremely complex, organic process, rather like a bio-region. It is really not possible to micromanage it to increase middle class jobs. Such hubristic attempts almost always make matters worse, even if they are well intended.

Thankfully, it's not really clear that there's a problem here that needs to be solved.


 +   10 people like this
Posted by Union-Made, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights,
on Mar 21, 2015 at 10:28 am

Unions made the middle class after the war. (related: "The people who teach our kids, answer calls to the fire department and help us find a library book")

Clinton's economy raised all boats with 23 million new jobs.

And Joe's contribution? "Such hubristic attempts almost always make matters worse, even if they are well intended."

Wow. Fact driven, aren't ya?

How about this: middle class wages declined as union membership declined.

One simple chart: Web Link

Nationally, the Republican Party can grow the middle class by supporting living wages and workforce bargaining.

Or they can stick with the billionaires who buy them....

Golly, wonder which way they will go?

Locally, support working Americans, and let them work together to re-grow the middle class.


 +   9 people like this
Posted by Stop the Trolls, a resident of another community,
on Mar 21, 2015 at 4:40 pm

@Union-Made: Do you find it as "amusing" as I do when someone from the 1% insists on telling the plebeians that their problems aren't *really* problems, all evidence to the contrary?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by malvikad7, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest,
on Jul 7, 2017 at 12:31 am

malvikad7 is a registered user.

Web Link, the Republican Party can grow the middle class by supporting living wages and workforce bargaining.

Or they can stick with the billionaires who buy them....

Golly, wonder which way they will go?

Locally, support working Americans, and let them work together to re-grow the middle class.ly-very--2366334580.html


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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