SAN FRANCISCO -- Has class warfare come to the exclusive Silicon Valley enclave of Atherton?
In the Lindenwood neighborhood, where average home prices exceed $7 million, vandals last week spray-painted black graffiti targeting the “1%” on walls, garage doors, a gate, a car, even white picket fences.
“Most people think this is a one-time thing, but I wouldn’t be surprised if security-camera companies are doing a lot of business right now,” Vice Mayor Rick DeGolia told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I think everyone’s hoping this doesn’t happen again.”
It isn’t clear if this was a teenage prank or protesters taking their issues with the super rich to the doorsteps of one of America’s wealthiest towns. Atherton was named the most expensive ZIP code in America by Forbes last year, after all.
But in Silicon Valley -- which the New Yorker magazine called the most unequal place on the planet -- could be a target of activists alarmed by the quickly vanishing middle class here.
Just on the other side of Highway 101, the main artery slicing through the area, is East Palo Alto, one of the poorest sections of the Bay Area.
Kids from both towns attend Menlo-Atherton High School, where “we have some kids who live in $12-million homes and have private jets, and other kids who live in Section 8 apartments,” Principal Matthew Zito told the Chronicle.
Most of the civil unrest has been focused on San Francisco, where the technology boom has driven up the cost of living, making the city unaffordable for many.
Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tom Perkins may have inflamed the debate here after making remarks in the Wall Street Journal about “a rising tide of hatred of the successful 1%.” He apologized for comparing the treatment of the wealthy to the Nazis’ persecution of Jews but said he stood by his message on class warfare.