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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Thinking of leaving the Bay Area? You're not alone

Uploaded: Jun 4, 2019
The humming Bay Area economy and its world renown innovation culture are magnets for entrepreneurs, but they are counter-acted by the soaring costs of living in the area.

Even well-paid tech workers find rents in San Francisco, on the Peninsula and in the South Bay dauntingly expensive. That’s led to families and companies considering doing business elsewhere. One friend of mine, now a tech manager after leading a private Christian school, relocated her family to Houston. They bought a fine home in the suburbs for way less than she would have paid for a tiny condo here. She’s now working remotely.

The latest Bay Area Council survey shows plenty of families are considering pulling up stakes and moving out-of-state—the question is where they will stop….Reno, Boise, Texas or other Southern states.

The latest survey, as reported in the San Francisco Business Times, showed nearly half of the people responding were thinking about leaving.

That’s countered by 74 percent of the 1,000-registered voters who said the Bay Area is a good place to live. For us East Bay residents, particularly here in the Tri-Valley, it’s nearly impossible to beat our weather. But, we do pay dearly for it. For people who have lived here a while and own a home, there’s plenty of opportunity in the right sectors.

However, the costs are piling up. You see it in the school districts where teachers in Dublin and the San Ramon Valley threatened to strike and teachers did walk out in Oakland and New Haven (Union City, now in its third week).

Teachers, particularly with benefits, are reasonably compensated, but pay has not kept up with the soaring housing prices. The state budget will allocate a record amount to k-12 education this year, but negotiations with teachers have been strained in many districts. The challenge for districts is their contributions to the under-funded State Teachers Retirement Fund are increasing and are taking a larger slice of the budget.

The cost of living here—despite the weather and the robust economy—has sparked the discussion of departing. It reached 49 percent in this year’s survey-up from 46 percent a year ago and sharply up from 34 percent just three years ago.

Survey respondents named housing costs, traffic congestion and homelessness as the top three issues. The number of people experiencing homelessness grew almost 30 percent in major Bay Area counties over the last two years—demonstrating how housing costs touch people across income spectrums. Major hotels in San Francisco now employ people to clean sidewalks daily so tourists and conventions don’t start skipping the city.

Those issues, not surprisingly, led 57 percent of the people to conclude the Bay Area is headed in the wrong direction.

Homelessness and housing are tied directly together, while traffic congestion is a function of the strong economy. For comparison, remember how easy the commute along I-680 was during the Great Recession and its aftermath.

Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Alamo,
on Jun 4, 2019 at 10:35 am

For people that are moving, they are looking at the picture from a short term perspective (<10 Years). You have to compare the Bay Area to other parts of the world (Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, etc...) as an example. Our cost of living is fairly cheap for what we are getting (opportunity cost). Think 20-30 years from now, do you think the Bay Area will be this cheap? In my opinion we will double or triple in economic activity, housing will triple (following Nasdaq index), cost of living will likely double. Now if you move to Texas be ready to pay 3.5% in property tax, which offset the sales and state income tax.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jun 4, 2019 at 12:11 pm

I've just started up a new business. I luv to help others relocate!!!


your pal....Cholo


Posted by Kiko, a resident of Val Vista,
on Jun 4, 2019 at 8:52 pm

I'm surprised Cholo is still around with all the BS he's been spewing out all these years.

Posted by James Michael, a resident of Val Vista,
on Jun 4, 2019 at 10:26 pm

James Michael is a registered user.

If you're retired or considering retirement then you really don't have a lot of choices unless you have one of the magical government pensions. Consider this as a compelling reason...The value of $1.00 in California is $.87. Only Hawaii is lower at $.84. The dollar value in the closest "go to" states: Arizona-$1.04, Nevada-$1.03, Texas-$1.03, and New Mexico $1.07. You can stay for a while but the cost of living and taxes will catch up to you.

Posted by Doug, a resident of Birdland,
on Jun 5, 2019 at 9:11 am

@James Michael

I'm retired and doing well here. I think that a lot depends on whether one owns their house or not. The Prop 13 cap of 2% on inflation adjusted property tax increases really helps to keep long term property tax increases predictable and manageable.

Posted by Ridgerunner , a resident of Pleasanton Heights,
on Jun 5, 2019 at 10:00 am

Another reason to leave that isn't mentioned is the desire to get out of the left wing blue state narrow mindedness. Leave socialism behind and go somewhere where lessons of history are appreciated and reason and logic prevail.

Posted by Frankie, a resident of Alisal Elementary School,
on Jun 5, 2019 at 10:02 am

Frankie is a registered user.

We are retired, 30 year residents and lived in the Bay Area all our lives. Creeping costs of living, non Prop 13 property taxes, and yes school parcel taxes is making it difficult. My biggest complaint is feeling trapped by gridlock and having only 10am to say 2:30pm to not sit in traffic. Plus there is just too many people with queuing required to do anything. Our neighborhood turns over regularly (no one stays longer than 2-3 years) with H1B and corporate relocations so we don't know any neighbors anymore. Pleasanton and Bay Area are great but this is California where population continues to soar. So in sum, we are sadly looking out of State for calmer and relaxation at a fraction of the cost.

Posted by Frankie, a resident of Alisal Elementary School,
on Jun 5, 2019 at 10:22 am

Frankie is a registered user.

One last thing. We are Dems and have always considered ourself on the liberal side, but it's gotten too silly liberal for us in California. Look how that has worked for San Francisco which is a mess with homeless drug addicts, mentally ill and illegal migrants. I walked on Market Street recently next to a man naked from his leather jacket down. C'mon, I'm no prude, but REALLY? I guess that's his rights so they say.

Posted by Veronica, a resident of another community,
on Jun 6, 2019 at 11:08 am

I was born and raised in the Bay Area, growing up my family finally bought a house when I was around 14 back in 1998 for around 300,000 I remember what a “deal" my father said he was getting for our 4 bd 2 bth home in Union City. However I also remember Asking him how long he thought it would take for him until the house would be paid off, and I remember he looked at me and laughed and said “that house still won't be paid off completely before I die". Now that houses are at the lowest of no less than 1 million I think about that statement and I feel like my chance at owning a home here is so much more unattainable than it was for my father. If your not born into money or have a career that pays you well and your poor than it's almost impossible to live here unless you've already been living somewhere for a long time and your rent or mortgage hasn't increased or your still living with your parents or another family member. The Bay Area is home to poor people also I think is unfortunate that we are being pushed out of the place many of us consider and only no as our home. ??

Posted by Looking to Get Out, a resident of Amador Estates,
on Jun 6, 2019 at 12:50 pm

Looking at the right side of page, 2.8 mill & 3.8 mill homes are listed as for sale - a sad reflection of what has become of our city. Pleasanton was a place where people came for less expensive housing in late 60's and early 70's. Families stayed, new neighbors, and looked out for each other. Police, fire, and educators lived in the community where they worked. Pleasanton has become a place where many people live in order to work in the Silicon Valley, necessary to afford a tract house of over a million dollars. Residents come and go. Public employees have been priced out - they now only work here with little investment in the community. Long term residents, with their children unable to afford Pleasanton housing, look to avoid the congestion by getting out when they can, often cashing out at retirement. There are places in and out of California that are far closer to what Pleasanton once was, a special community or people who look out for and care about others.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jun 7, 2019 at 10:16 am

Some folks sure like to hurt a person...just for that...a small group of ice-cream lovers I know are going to pig out at Fenton's in Oakland...eye cweem, here we come....hahahahahaha

Posted by Sad, a resident of Livermore,
on Jun 7, 2019 at 3:23 pm

Sad is a registered user.

I moved here from FL a few years ago, not by choice, but by necessity due to illness and a need to be near my children who live here. This is not a community to retire in. It is far too expensive and not senior friendly at all. The differences in services for seniors between FL and CA is shocking. The cost of living is ridiculously high and no matter what some people say, you do not get anywhere near the bang for your buck that you get in FL. I would move, but I can't, so I am stuck here. I know that FL is retirement heaven, but I never expected the disregard, disrespect and totally unashamed unconcern for seniors that I have experienced here. Many seniors would join the wagon train back East or down south, but can't. I won't live to see it, but I hope that when the present generation that is treating seniors so badly and has so little regard for them reaches my age, people treat them exactly as they have treated me and my fellow seniors - like dirt!!

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jun 8, 2019 at 7:46 am

You sound is available if you ask for it. I like living in the greater bay area. How old are you?

Incidentally, senior services are available. Until you get some help, I wouldn't want to be around you.

Posted by My opinion, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jun 9, 2019 at 5:59 pm

My opinion is a registered user.

@sad, what exactly is it that you expect from those people concerned about earning a living and raising their families? Seniors are exempted from some taxes, they get discounts on some utilities as well as many other discounts on services, and many of them are allowed to drive well beyond the time they should hang up the keys. We have excellent medical care and low crime, so what exactly is it that we are doing to so disrespect you? You don't want to pay for schools since you have no kids in them. Yes, the cost of living is high here. So take your money and go back to Florida (or Nebraska or North Dakota, or wherever) buy a house and understand that it might go up a few hundred dollars in value in the next decade. The economy is a free market and it can go down just as well as up, remember the early 2000s? I am really tired of hearing the non-stop complaining about the cost of living from people who **came here voluntarily**! No one held a gun to your head to force you to leave Florida and since you clearly wish you were on the "wagon train" back then please go ahead and go.

Unless someone is wearing an ankle bracelet and required to stay locally, you can leave. Take your money and move where the cost of living is much less. I'm sure you will find something else to complain about. Personally, I find Florida horrid. Drivers cannot see, hear or make decisions and late night dining is 6 PM. Then there are the cockroaches, the hurricanes, well, now I'm sounding like the other complainers.

Posted by Senior Disrespect, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jun 11, 2019 at 4:09 pm

Cholo and My Opinion -

I think your responses to Sad have proven his / her point.

She / he stated the move to CA was due to illness and the need to be near family - I assume because help was needed.

You are two uncaring, disrespectful people. I'm glad I don't know you and hope I never do.

Posted by Sad, a resident of Livermore,
on Jun 13, 2019 at 2:14 pm

Sad is a registered user.

Thank you @Senior Disrespect. I appreciate your support. I did think these responses were mean spirited and intended to hurt, but they are typical, not surprising. They prove my point exactly. I hope neither one of us ever meets them. Take care and God Bless.

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on Jul 13, 2019 at 4:03 am

riyaqueen is a registered user.

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on Jul 17, 2019 at 12:13 am

lisawelch is a registered user.

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bolt12 is a registered user.

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