These are your stories

Neighbors and community serving businesses across Palo Alto are struggling with skyrocketing rents, worsening traffic and parking congestion, school crowding, airplane noise. Residents are increasingly concerned about displacement, basement dewatering, code violations, absentee neighbors, the tone of local discourse, and more.

All of those issues impact our quality of life.

Hearing and understanding each other’s stories is key to building balanced and sustainable solutions.

If you are concerned about Palo Alto’s quality of life, tell your story. Use this form to submit your story or send an email to

Local business rents

I own a fitness club that has been in business for 14 years that was doing fine until our rent was raised 30 percent last year. The landlord wanted to raise it 50 percent and we spent four months negotiating it down.  He told us he was “doing us a favor.”

I have seen many small businesses disappear over the last few years because they simply cannot survive in this environment. The entire character of our downtown is changing and it will continue to do so unless something like rent control can happen.

– resident and Downtown business owner

Community character

I returned to my hometown Palo Alto not for a job but to raise a family. My wife and I craved an unpretentious community that emphasized good, safe, public schools, libraries, and parks, and made sure the necessary resources and attention where there to sustain them. Now Palo Alto feels more like a “companies town,” where vested interests and governance is obsessed with being “world class,” and creating “vibrancy,” and where “innovation” in the service of private gain is the highest form of accomplishment.

– resident of Evergreen Park

Public trust

I’m concerned that the City increasingly demonstrates an open door policy to developers but a closed door (and deaf ear) policy to residents.

– resident of Fairmeadow

Impacts of growth

I have lived here since 1983. So many new office buildings in the last 7-10 years or so. El Camino Real seems like it is solid concrete; block like buildings with little setback crowd the street. Traffic is so congested; need to time trips to stores, post office and other areas to avoid long delays. No bookstores downtown or on California Ave. Trees are dying and incorrectly pruned. What happened?

– resident of Crescent Park

Common Sense Priorities

Palo Alto is a nice place to live, but trend is negative.  City spends too much attention chasing the latest political fad or special interest, not enough on fundamental issues stacking up.  Need more common sense.

– resident of Downtown North

Balance and transparency

I am concerned that very powerful development entities (regardless of whether they are private, institutional or governmental) are subverting the democratic processes of local government, sacrificing a more balanced and open process that has been a cornerstone of local decision making that we have cherished and protected in the past.

– resident of College Terrace

Culture change

I grew up in Palo Alto and it was very clear that the top priority for the city was families. It was arguably one of the best cities in which to raise a family. Today accommodating the huge influx of hi tech workers is our new priority. I find the change very sad.

– resident of Evergreen Park

Culture change

It is distressing to see how widespread ostentatious wealth has become. The inflated cost of real estate caused by the big money from the tech industry and also many imported cash buyers. Every block has construction vehicles demolishing, remodelling, rebuilding.  The wealthy drag along the merely well-to-do. Young families are highly competitive, seeing one another at their children’s schools, measuring their homes and cars against one another. The competition is fierce, polluting the human atmosphere.
 – resident of University South

Critical services

“This year the water district failed to install the Matadero Creek Floodgates in a timely manner. I live next to the creek, and happened to notice this right before the supposedly biggest storm of the half-century, and alerted the city. The WD immediately came out and installed them (all 3 sets). However I have not been able to get a satisfactory response from them about why they “forgot” to do this, nor what they, and the city, have put into place to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

This could have been our mini-version of the Oroville dam.”

– resident of South Palo Alto

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