Letters to the Editor: The threat to Silicon Valley isn’t Austin, it’s unaffordable housing

Tesla's car factory in Fremont.
Tesla’s car factory in Fremont, Calif. The company is one of the highest-profile to move its headquarters from California to Texas.
(David Butow / For The Times)

To the editor: I began studying the Santa Clara Valley as an American history graduate student at Stanford in the 1970s, and I have published extensively on this history. I’d like to weigh in on tech companies moving from Silicon Valley to Austin, Texas.

The valley has been the site of technology development for more than 100 years, and over the course of a century there have been countless key innovations accompanied by skillful entrepreneurship and an accumulation of nearby venture capital firms. That Stanford and UC Berkeley were supplying talent was also part of the mix.

This much has been written about extensively. What’s less understood is the role played by the relatively open social structure of the San Francisco Bay Area and the region’s role as a generator of creative ferment, and not just in tech. That atmosphere has attracted and sustained creative people from all over the world.


So while Austin may be a somewhat liberal enclave in deep-red Texas, it’s still in a state that recently enacted an ultra-conservative abortion law and is busily censoring the teaching of American history in public schools. This is not the atmosphere in which creativity flourishes.

The biggest threat to the valley doesn’t come from Texas, but rather from the obscenely high cost of housing. When we address this in a meaningful way, the Texas threat will loom much less large.

Glenna Matthews, Laguna Beach


To the editor: The flight of capital from California is real and playing out every day. When a company moves out of state, the capital also relocates.

Arrogant politicians believe the party will go on forever, but the reality is much different.

David L. McDaniel, Capistrano Beach