I was born and raised in Saratoga, CA, a once agricultural small town in the Silicon Valley. My parents moved to Saratoga in the late 1960s for the town reminded them of the more rural setting they both grew up in. Both my parents are school teachers at the time and worked hard to save enough money to buy their home with a 20% down payment and a mortgage at a rate above 10%. They got settled in the community and raised me through the 70s and 80s. Deep roots were planted in Saratoga as relationships were built over the years with neighbors, friends from school, friends from a local church and community leaders. It was never a problem to find a friend with a helping hand or to borrow some sugar from a neighbor. Friends who were raised in the small towns through out the San Francisco Bay Area had very similar experiences growing up.
Saratoga, and the rest of the Bay Area, has changed substantially since the 1970s as people from across the country and world come here to live and work. The technology invented in the Sillicon Valley continues to change the world. How fortunate are we to be part of this and local residents. While our influence is felt throughout the world, there are many challenges that result.
The challenges we face living here are many.
- Housing Affordability: The world demand to live in the area is so high that rent and home prices have increased at a rate beyond affordability by many. Los Gatos, CA was recently mentioned in a study as being one of the most expensive places to live in the country. These high housing prices are pushing out critical people who make our communities great including policemen, firemen and teachers.
- Strain on Family Life: the economic pressures to afford to live in the Bay Area has put a strain on family life. Many companies set aggressive employee goals to remain competitive in the business environment. As a result, employees work many hours to drive innovation. Typically, both parents work to generate enough income to afford a certain standard of living. As a result, more time is spent at work and away from families and community. Children are cared for through nannies, after school programs and “community” babysitting. Parents feel less connected to the communities they live in. The need for strong community is even greater as high tech innovation puts a strain on family life.
- Strains on Infrastructure: The population has exploded which puts pressure on our communities, freeways and schools to meet the demand. For example, a commute from Saratoga to Mountain View took 20 minutes in the 1990s and currently takes an hour. Large companies have located in certain areas creating high densities of people and traffic to job centers.
My vision and goal as a realtor is to support our Bay Area communities in addressing these 3 challenges through:
- Supporting families in their search to find the right community to support their family needs inside or out of the San Francisco Bay Area.
- Providing affordable housing opportunities for critical community members including teachers.
- Engaging with Sillicon Valley business leaders in developing innovation centers outside of key commercial centers (Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Palo Alto) to reduce rent prices traffic congestion.