The capital of Silicon Valley is ready to abdicate. A few weeks ago, bizarre as it might seem, Palo Alto Mayor Patrick Burt came out against jobs. “We’re looking to increase the rate of housing growth,” he told Curbed San Francisco, “but decrease the rate of job growth.”
Think about that. Almost every mayor in the U.S. is wracking his brain trying to entice jobs into town. Yet Palo Alto—3.8% unemployment, a magnet for the geek class, the place that nurtured Facebook—is telling everyone else to get lost.
I had to meet this guy. Near City Hall, I pulled my (proudly gas guzzling) car into a spot between a white Tesla and a black Tesla. This was the Coral parking zone, giving me two hours before I had to move to the Lime zone. Nearby stood the Epiphany, a new $800-a-night hotel, just down from the ancient House of Foam, fulfilling all your polyurethane and polystyrene needs. Next to the Verizon Wireless store, the old Stanford Theater was showing a Ruth Chatterton double feature. Palo Alto, 65,000 people sitting on 26 square miles of some of the most valuable land anywhere, is certainly a town of contrasts.