Town Square

New report lists local communities among Bay Area's most racially and economically segregated neighborhoods

Original post made on Aug 9, 2022

A new report shows that several Bay Area neighborhoods are highly segregated by race and wealth, with Portola Valley, Woodside, Atherton and Menlo Park on the top 20 list of the most segregated neighborhoods by white wealth.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, August 9, 2022, 10:01 AM


Posted by K. Dumont
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 9, 2022 at 2:46 pm

K. Dumont is a registered user.

I hope this is a wake-up call to everyone who thinks segregation is a thing of the past. We need to use all available tools to end race and class segregation in our lifetime. We can move to desegregate housing by supporting more housing projects, especially more AFFORDABLE housing projects, in ALL our neighborhoods. Yes, change is uncomfortable, but change is necessary if we want to end segregation. The problem isn't going to solve itself. Housing policies that "preserve neighborhood character" only promote and perpetuate the shameful reality of racial and economic segregation right here in our town, and that is just unacceptable. We can't just talk a progressive line--we have to walk it, too.

Posted by Resident
a resident of another community
on Aug 9, 2022 at 5:30 pm

Resident is a registered user.

K. Dumont, I have an especially easy, simple, and fast solution to the problem that you are citing. White families could buy homes in East Palo Alto. As a resident of East Palo Alto, here are a few reasons for this easy, simple, fast solution to the segregation that you are mentioning (I note the ones I like)
1. Homes are cheaper in East Palo Alto. In fact we have a bunch of homes here with for sale signs that are not even listed on Zillow or Redfin. I am guessing they are just waiting for all cash offers investor to investor. You could probably get one cheap by selling whatever home you are in and still have enough money to buy another home for a friend on the same street.
2. Most of our homes have extra random rooms. They may look small, but the present occupants could be as many as ten or twelve in what is listed as a 3-1. Imagine being able to cram all of your friends or associates in with you.
3. Most of our homes without random ADUs have good yard space and good soil for gardens and fruit trees you may want to plant. (I like this one)
4. All of our homes are a mile or less from the awesome Bay Trail. I run or bike it almost everyday. Relax or fish (still relaxing) at Cooley Landing. You can even hunt waterfowl at the Ravenswood portion of the Don Edwards preserve behind Meta/Facebook (hard to believe right?) (I really like this one too)
5. If you really, really like fireworks, people running stop signs and doing donuts in intersections, random dirt bikes running up and down streets, we have daily displays of all of those.

Ultimately, why don’t the folks living on the economic high end of the scale, concerned with segregation, move over to the “segregated” neighborhoods? Take Malcolm X’s advice
Web Link
So everyone concerned about segregation can walk over the pedestrian bridges at Newbridge, Bay Road, or over the University Ave overpass bridge and prove what truly has value and purpose to them, not just “matters”

Posted by MenloVoter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 10, 2022 at 7:53 am

MenloVoter. is a registered user.

K Dumont:

"affordable housing" is a myth and a lie. Those that push it are virtue signaling pretending that it is some how possible in this area. It's not without major government subsidies. One only need run the numbers using the land values and the costs of construction here and it becomes obvious that "affordable" isn't possible. We live in a state with the highest or second highest tax rate in the nation. I don't see California stepping up with the billions in budget surplus and funding these projects, do you? If they aren't going to fund it now when they have a ridiculous surplus, how do you think they'll fund it? That's right, they'll raise taxes. Again. Sorry, but I pay enough taxes already.

By the way, I'd like to live in Atherton. You think maybe someone could arrange to build something I could afford so I can live there?

Posted by Private citizen
a resident of Laurel School
on Aug 10, 2022 at 1:50 pm

Private citizen is a registered user.

Just for yucks, I researched the two Menlo Park tracts of land listed among the top 20. First, I’m bewildered at the the areas not listed, like Palo Alto and Los Altos, even though Los Altos hills got a special mention in the paragraph below the list. It makes me wonder at the methodology. That aside, the two mp land tracts listed in the Equity Atlas are located in West Menlo Park, around and just west of downtown. And yet, our city continues to focus mostly on sites in district 2 - having already overdeveloped district 1. District 2 must do its part, but the virtue signaling, especially by districts who have avoided or argued their way out of participating in the city's affordable housing goals, continues to be laughable.

Posted by Iris
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 10, 2022 at 8:14 pm

Iris is a registered user.

The largest lots in Menlo Park are west of downtown. They cost more, a lot more, than the lots cost elsewhere. On larger lots, the houses can be larger so they cost more, too. A lot more. It should be no surprise that there are few affordable houses there. The math doesn't work.

Posted by Private citizen
a resident of Laurel School
on Aug 11, 2022 at 3:23 am

Private citizen is a registered user.

I’m mentioning the location of the two specific tracts in the top 20 list. I don’t believe the tracts are necessarily the very largest, but the study *claims* they are amongst the 20 most segregated - racially and economically — and the list includes neighborhoods well beyond San Mateo county. (As I said, the list doesn’t include several of the cities one might assume it would. And it’s fairly challenging to unpack the study given the wide range of data sources and goals.)

The idea is that the city has almost no affordable housing…anywhere. If “the math” works for districts 1 and 2, there should be a way to make it work for districts across the city. (A stated goal.)

Posted by MenloVoter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 11, 2022 at 7:32 am

MenloVoter. is a registered user.

Private Citizen:

"affordable housing" math doesn't work anywhere in Menlo Park without government subsidies or tax breaks for developers of "affordable housing". The cost of land and construction are simply too high. The cheapest anyone is likely to get anything built around here is $500/sf. So, if you build a 1000 sf house, your cost of construction alone is $500,000. That is exclusive of soft costs which adds another 15 to 20 percent. Then you have to buy the land that goes under that house. Even if you were able to find a lot that cost $500,000 (not likely, but for sake of argument), that means you're looking at a house that cost $1,075.000. Do you honestly believe someone making minimum wage or even say $20/hr can afford to buy a $1 million house? Hint: they can't. Oh, and they'll have to pay property taxes on that home every year. That's around $16,000 a year. Sound "affordable"?

So if "affordable housing" is wanted it will have to be subsidized. Funny thing though, in this state any time you involve public money in construction the labor has to be paid prevailing wage which drives UP the cost of construction. So, that "affordable housing" becomes even less affordable or costs the tax payer more.

People need to get real about this subject and stop virtue signaling. If you want "affordable housing" built those of you that want it are going to have to step up and put your money where your mouth is and pay for it. Not to mention you'll have to accept higher density in your neighborhood. And that's the rub. You all want to support "affordable housing", but you don't want it built in your neighborhood. I would guess the majority of you don't want to put your money where your mouth is either.

Posted by Private citizen
a resident of Laurel School
on Aug 11, 2022 at 9:49 am

Private citizen is a registered user.

@MenloVoter, It seems we will have it …a lot of it, in or near our district’s small-lot neighborhoods —whether or not the math works. Personally, I’m good with affordable housing at the former flood school, but the project as specified doesn’t fit the site or the neighborhoods. It seems to be as much about RCSD covering budget shortfalls as it is about providing affordable housing for staff. (All rentals, no path to ownership, potential for offices. How many eligible employee *tenants* does RCSD have? No one knows - but they won’t budge on the size, regardless of impact. And our council, as it’s currently inclined, won’t likely exercise their legal right to adjust the zoning to help manage the impact. But I digress. So, if it’s mandatory, and it seems to be, you can imagine why district 2 might appreciate other districts stepping up to share the love. Everything you say is true, and yet here we are. the plan of record is to locate as many potential affordable housing sites in district 2 as possible. I’m certain you fully understand the predictable impact. So, yes, the virtue signaling, from our council and from districts without any skin in the game, some of whom have fought mightily to avoid participating —it’s annoying.