Polemics & Exchanges

Silicon Valley Insider

The three articles about the destructive character of Silicon Valley (Chronicles, August 2019) were right on the mark and reminded me of how the area has changed over the years.

I first visited Santa Clara Valley nearly 70 years ago while temporarily serving as a young officer at a nearby naval base. It was beautiful with countless orchards and a number of food-processing plants. Although I was too young to appreciate the ethnic diversity, I only came to realize the beauty of it when it was too late. Ethnic Italians, Serbs, Croats, Portuguese, Japanese and a few Latinos and Northern Europeans populated the Valley and interacted with each other very well. The only “High Tech” was Ames Aeronautical Research Center, later a part of NASA.

Later in the late 1950s, and about the time I moved from North Carolina permanently into the Valley, the defense industry arrived along with countless immigrants from other states. Santa Clara Valley largely managed to maintain most of its beauty up to the end of the Cold War, the departure of nearly all defense industry, and the arrival of the “dot-coms.”

Now, as Silicon Valley, it is a madhouse: traffic congestion, broken-down roads, rude people, and the homeless.

In July my wife and I attended a funeral involving a once prominent Valley family. The mass was celebrated at a prominent local Catholic mission and the reception at a local...

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