July 21, 2012

Mobile Home Living in Palo Alto

Yes, another article about Palo Alto.  It seems nobody can have too much of that place.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader PKamp3 for spotting this article in the Fox News Journal.

Vehicle-Dwellers Call Palo Alto Home

By DEBORAH GAGE, The Wall Street Journal
SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA Updated July 11, 2012, 6:17 p.m. ET

120720-live-car-wsjPALO ALTO—Kurt Varner moved to Palo Alto from Los Angeles in March to start an Internet company. But instead of renting an apartment, the 25-year-old has been residing in a different kind of abode: his car.

Every 72 hours, Mr. Varner moves his car around Palo Alto to avoid violating the city’s parking rules, and he tries to be as inconspicuous as possible to local residents and other car-dwellers. Mr. Varner sometimes does some rudimentary cooking at a co-working space in Mountain View, where he codes during the day. And he showers at a local 24 Hour Fitness gym. His total cost for the gym and co-working space is $139 a month.

Living in his car is the only way he can afford to be in Silicon Valley right now, says Mr. Varner, whose wife, a teacher, lives in Los Angeles. Mr. Varner, who has been effectively homeless for the past few months, says he can’t afford to pay rent on two places but will move into an apartment in the area this month when his wife moves up.

He says he is excited about working on something he is passionate about, but being homeless is “a little scary.”

120720-live-car-wsj-vanSo it’s not enough to find out that some people love Palo Alto so much they’ll live at the office.  Every single night.  Because they don’t live anywhere else.  Now we’ve got people living in their cars because it’s completely legal to live in your car in Palo Alto.

No wonder there’s only one mobile home park in Palo Alto.  There’s too much lowball competition!  How can Buena Vista possibly compete with BMW?

This is also your Weekend Open Thread, so have at it.  Did you see anyone living in their cars when you toured Open Houses this weekend?  Where are the best places to park?

 

Comments (31) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:14 am

31 Responses to “Mobile Home Living in Palo Alto”

  1. waiting_for_the_fall Says:

    I’ve seen a few people that park their motor homes in the Warlmart parking lot all day, then move the next day. I see the same people at least 3 or 4 times a month, so I know they must be homeless.

  2. PK Says:

    Haha, am I the only person in the RBA who gets the WSJ?

    #1 I have heard about the Walmart parking – it’s sort of a fad among RV users to map out Walmarts that allow free overnight parking.

  3. mabledu Says:

    one of the streets near my office looks like a deadhead concert on evenings and weekends because of all the RVs and vans.

    i’m surprised that PA let’s people get away with that. but i guess that’s one more reason that PA is actually utopia and oh so Special.

  4. Real Estater Says:

    If Palo Alto were to charge non-residents for parking, park usage, and library check-outs, it would probably not need any donation to fund the schools.

  5. Real Estater Says:

    Since this is an open thread, I might as well mention things are getting brutal out there. Just lost a bid on a crap shack in the south bay, despite offering close to 20% over asking. SV Shopper, I feel your pain!

  6. Sunny(vale) Kim Says:

    Where is SV Shopper? He most got timeout from his big-on-education wife after losing another bid. Or may be he moved to Tracy – the next happening place. :/

  7. SEA Says:

    “Just lost a bid on a crap shack in the south bay, despite offering close to 20% over asking. SV Shopper, I feel your pain!”

    I will have no problem finding you a nearly infinite supply of homes to buy if you are willing to offer 20% over asking. Nearly infinite means I can find more sellers willing to sell at 20% over asking than you have money, no matter how much money you can produce.

  8. Petsmart groomer Says:

    > If Palo Alto were to charge non-residents for parking, park usage, and library check-outs, it would probably not need any donation to fund the schools.

    Palo Altans already pay less than non-residents for spaying and neutering pets. What else can you possibly ask for?!?

  9. SV Shopper Says:

    I’m right here. What’s up with the personal attacks?

  10. nomadic Says:

    Weird find, #8. I don’t get why people wouldn’t take their pet to their regular vet to be spayed/neutered unless they really cannot afford it. These low cost services should be reserved for those who really need them.

  11. madhaus Says:

    The underwater car thread should have moved over here. Then we can have upside down FBs in Palo Alto using the library.

  12. SEA Says:

    #11- I can almost hear it now, “When I wanted a new Boxster I let the dealer know how much I owed on my old car, and he said he could make it work…” “…but now I am forever and always underwater on my car.”

    “I only paid 20% over asking on my new Boxster.”

    What a deal.

  13. Real Estater Says:

    >>. These low cost services should be reserved for those who really need them.

    If you really need lost cost pet services, you probably shouldn’t own a pet.

  14. SEA Says:

    After paying “more than not a lot of money” for a PA home, is it any surprise that ‘lost’ cost pet services are needed?

  15. The Gilroy Alex Says:

    A “mommy van” is the best for living in. Extra points if you can get one of those “my child is ….” stickers from some school to stick on the bumper. Keep the van clean and neat, keep yourself likewise, etc.

    Since my damn car died and I sense it’s a money-pit, it’s on Craig’s List and I’m actually seriously planning to move into a friend’s storage shed in Fremont.

    Living in a somewhat remote, rural area is great for riding out the Zombie Apocalypse, but not so great for being able to get out and do things that don’t involve dirt, or chickens.

    So I may well be the Fremont Alex in a month or two.

  16. Real Estater Says:

    What? Your car may become a money pit so you decided to sell it to somebody else? What kind of Bay Area spirit is that?

  17. Crissa Says:

    It’s not legal to live in these things on the street. It’s just darn hard to do anything about it. I know there’s more than a few hippie vans wandering the county roads here, sitting in regular places. The cops rather watch them than bust them until the pols have some big chops. It’s easier to harass someone who can’t just drive off – or might have big pocketbooks to fight back.

    And the cost of a surgical spay can be up to a thousand dollars. You can feed and get shots for an entire lifetime for a cat (15-30 years) without hitting that level. Canned food for a year costs only $146. So yeah much cheaper to care for a pet than to get started with one.

  18. Crissa Says:

    When I was looking for homes I did stay in my car overnight instead of motels or driving back every time, but I did the circuit of state parks and truck stops for my sleep and shower.

  19. Real Estater Says:

    >>So yeah much cheaper to care for a pet than to get started with one.

    You obviously have never owned a pet. Caring for a pet is very expensive. Just like people, pets need to see doctors. When pets grow old, some of them need surgery. Pets also need to be groomed on a regular basis. In the case of dogs, you also need to buy flea collar; a product like Frontline is not cheap. Neutering a pet and feeding a pet are almost trivial in cost compared to the total cost of ownership.

  20. nomadic Says:

    Caring for a pet is very expensive.

    But maintaining a house is cheap: only light bulbs and Drano required. :-P

  21. Real Estater Says:

    As LED technology become more commonplace, even light bulbs will not need to changed in the future.

    To me it’s not just a matter of money. Now days I’m trying to simplify my life. By not owning a pet, I have a lot more free time. I wouldn’t have to take the dog for a walk. I wouldn’t have to make trips to the pet store, vet, and groomer. I wouldn’t have to clean up after the pet. I can go on, but you get the idea.

  22. madhaus Says:

    To me it’s not just a matter of money. Now days I’m trying to simplify my life. By not owning a pet, I have a lot more free time. I wouldn’t have to take the dog for a walk. I wouldn’t have to make trips to the pet store, vet, and groomer. I wouldn’t have to clean up after the pet. I can go on, but you get the idea.

    Think of how much time, money, and energy you could save by not having kids.

    Today’s article is up. Sorry for the delay.

  23. SEA Says:

    “open thread” tag is missing.

  24. SEA Says:

    From The end of artificial scarcity

    “Yet in the transition from water scarcity to water abundance, a funny thing happens. As water becomes more and more abundant disproportionately across the population, the man who is nearest to the water source and has the most receptacles becomes the richest.

    He thus has an incentive to store and hoard as many receptacles as possible, to prevent the water being distributed evenly — a situation in which he would lose all of his advantage.

    Of course, if the water is so abundant that people don’t need access to receptacles at all (it becomes free flowing everywhere), then only the fear of future scarcity can make his receptacles retain value.

    Even if the much-discussed scarcity never arrives, the man with all of the receptacles suddenly has an interest in inducing artificial scarcity, or at the very least the fear of scarcity.”

  25. Mike Woods from Carmel Says:

    I have actually heard that the current recession has given rise to a new class of homeless, those who dwell in their cars. This is the first story I’ve read that actually gave any detail on a specific person. Although, in this case, he’s not homeless for the same reasons.

  26. madhaus Says:

    #23, SEA, tag added.

    #25, Mike Woods, we’ve mentioned Carmel here but not very often. Feel free to rectify that.

  27. SEA Says:

    Just as the 52 week high was going down, now the 52 week low is going lower:

    “Yesterday, Reed Hastings saw a quarter of his company’s stock value disappear. Today’s insult to injury: A dis from Consumer Reports.

    A new survey from the magazine places the Netflix streaming service sixth in user satisfaction, behind, well just about everybody: Walmart’s Vudu, Apple’s iTunes, Amazon’s Instant and Prime offerings, and Hulu. The big ding against Netflix: It doesn’t have a selection of stuff people want to see.”

  28. SEA Says:

    FB at all time low? Good thing the “expected price” is $38 (IPO price).

    Guess it’s time to buy on “weakness” again?

  29. nomadic Says:

    A new survey from the magazine places the Netflix streaming service sixth in user satisfaction, behind, well just about everybody: Walmart’s Vudu, Apple’s iTunes, Amazon’s Instant and Prime offerings, and Hulu. The big ding against Netflix: It doesn’t have a selection of stuff people want to see.

    Hmm, not sure about Amazon’s services off-hand, but all the rest (excluding Netflix) pay content providers on a per view basis. Looks like Netflix ought to go back to their old model for payments; they might be able to save some money that way and they could definitely expand their selection to make customers happier.

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