The Ax Falls in Palo Alto – Ripple Effect in the North State.

PaloAltoHouse4

Sometimes you feel yourself to be a part of history. The wrenching changes that the cyber revolution has wreaked in Silicon Valley are coming home- to the North Coast- to roost. But let me begin at the beginning.

My aunt and uncle moved from Eureka to Palo Alto in the ’50’s when Ma Bell transferred him to the “Puzzle Palace” in San Jose.  (The house they vacated in Eureka is the third house north of 14th and H, the one currently sporting  a wheelchair ramp.)  They bought a house in Palo Alto, a 3/2 with an attached studio unit. They paid $16K.

That place was my second home for the next 60 years. That was where we spent holidays, where prospective spouses were introduced, where I stayed my first few weeks after college.  You get the idea. I always had a place to stay in the Bay Area. But when change comes, you’re never prepared for it. My aunt and uncle died and last summer the house was sold to a nice Indian couple.  The husband works for Microsoft and they paid $2.2M .

(Incidentally, during that time Palo Alto changed beyond recognition.  Once a liberal bastion, it recently decided to cooperate in evicting 400 poor, mostly Hispanic residents from the city ‘s only trailer park, which will be redeveloped for more extremely expensive housing.)

One of my cousins had already left the area for Minneapolis, the other did what so many other folks are doing-moved north to Sonoma, where housing prices have doubled in the past few years due to refugees from the high prices further South. If people are paying half a million dollars for small houses in Sonoma (which according to Zillow, they are) what does that mean for us?

I doubt we will ever  see the instant millionaire phenomenon up here, although I don’t see how there cannot be pressure on prices. But the demand here will never be enough to send prices skyward,  although I think anything in a decent neighborhood here is a good investment. People who have the option are moving to Seattle from the Bay Area if they’re still working and want a tech industry environment. What do we have? Weed. And it’s far from clear whether the prosperity generated by weed- pardon me, cannabis- will be pervasive or only for the few. 

Which brings us to last Friday. A Palo Alto neighbor sent us pix of the old house being torn down.  Along with it went the rhody my aunt had planted when they bought the house and a whole lifetime of memories. 

And so it goes.

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SAFEWAY IS HIRING!!

In Eureka, anyway. Good local Union jobs! Everyone starts out part-time. Do not be fooled by the phone listings in the phone book. The first is actually the pharmacy,   the second answers with a fax tone.
 No, instead go online at Safeway.com, click on “careers’ and download the application form then call the customer service number, 269-0133, when you’re ready to bring it in. Good luck!

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Have Kids? Take Them to ACV June 9th.

In a local version of the Harmonic Convergence, our still NOT renamed airport will host BOTH the Wings of Freedom air meeting AND the Goodyear blimp on Tuesday June 9.  The Wings of Freedom event offers a chance to tour vintage Word War II aircraft,  and the blimp!! Well, what can you say about the blimp other than that it is the most recognizable American icon, apart from the Statue of Liberty. 

The festivities actually start on the 8th and the exact date of the blimps’ arrival is unclear (it takes several days to get here from Long Beach) .  Check the papers or  the Fly Humboldt Facebook page for updates.

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A New Way To Fly?

An interesting development is reported by the Sacramento Business News.  Surf Air, a private membership airline headquartered in Santa Monica and flying out of the old McClellan AFB,  is flying round-trips between Santa Rosa, Hawthorne and San Carlos beginning next month, and will add service between Monterey and Hawthorne and San Carlos in July.  On August 24,  they’ll begin round-trips between McClellan and Hawthorne, San Carlos and Santa Barbara. Then in November they’re adding service between Palm Springs and Burbank and Oakland.

A private airline? Affordable?? Well, maybe.  Surf Air’s customers pay a flat monthly fee starting at $1750 for membership and unlimited flights.  If you’re doomed to fly more than three or four times a month, it starts looking downright reasonable.  Add in the sheer pleasure of not having to deal with the major airlines and…well, I’d sure like to try it.

In another development, Pen Air, which is supposed to start service beween Crescent City and Portland later this year, is making nice with the Redding airport folks and has been heard to say they are interested in flying out of AVC.  We’ll see. Stay tuned. 

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The RCMF 2014

Before the memories have faded, I wanted to say something about the Redwood Coast Music Festival,  formerly the Jazz Festival,  that wrapped up a couple of weeks ago. This year we had the added pleasure of being able to show out-of-town friends why Humboldt is so special. 

The headliners were a mixed bag. Dana Fuchs was very theatrical, very talented but left us cold. Curtis Delgado,  on the other hand, was a complete knockout, and I can’t believe I’d never heard of the guy. He has several songs on You Tube. Other knockouts included the Au Brothers and Miskha Lake, both from New Orleans. 

Then there were the dancers. Ah, the dancers.  How do they learn that stuff? And the kids!  If I had learned to dance like that as a kid…You look around and there are a few faces missing from last year. But there are always the kids.  And there will always be more. 

The Music Festival is expected to raise $300,000 for local causes this year. What a wonderful way to spend a Spring weekend1  See you next year.

It’s Back?!! OH’S is Coming BACK?

I hadn’t realized it, but according  to a Facebook page there are folks in our community who have been longing for the return of OH’s Town House, Virginia Bass’ steakhouse which closed in 2008. I felt  bad when it closed, because I had always intended to eat there.  Guess I didn’t want it bad enough to actually GO there. In those days,  I was pretty uninterested in steak. Then I discovered the AA and since then I’ve only eaten AA steaks.  I don’t know how they get that char to be so perfect but they are a hard act to follow, if anyone is really interested in opening up another meat palace here.

The thing is,  Virginia and her hubby-in-the-middle Matt Owen are using the Facebook page (bringohsback) and postcards, who knows what else, to float the idea that our 4th District Supervisor is seriously interested in reopening the restaurant that failed so recently. What’s changed?  Other than a few more folks going vegan every week.  Virginia squeaked by challenger Chris Kerrigan to retain her seat in 2014 so she won’t have to face another election for three more years. 

Well, here’s a theory.  The Facebook page shows a thousand “likes”.  That ain’t the same as a thousand investors. I claim the whole idea of bringing back OH’s is spurious and is intended to keep alive the notion that Virginia is a friend to business.  She ran on a platform of bringing in more jobs to the community, and , since she hasn’t done that,  and since she is an honorable person , perhaps she thinks that the only way to bring jobs to the community is to revive OH’s.  I’ll eat my hat if OH’s reopens.  I’ll also try one of their steaks.  Really!!

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No Silver Lining

I was surprised,  as was airport management, apparently,  to hear that the Silver Lining restaurant at the Humboldt County Redwoods whatever airport is closed. That’s a big step backward for the folks who have been promoting the airport and while I don’t think many flyers would cancel a flight because their destination didn’t have a coffee shop, it still doesn’t say much for the infrastructure we offer our visitors.

According to the NCJ,  an attempt will be made to find another operator.  That might be difficult.  Most airport restaurants overlook a busy runway where diners can observe takeoffs and landings more often than four times a day. Maybe the County should contract with Dell’ Arte or Access Humboldt or someone else who can produce a light show to resemble a busy airport. At least it would LOOK like the return of normalcy. Stay tuned.