"California is one of the most hostile places to do business on the face of the earth," says Cypress Semiconductor CEO T.J. Rodgers.
Rodgers, perhaps for reasons that stretch to his Wisconsin youth,
has passionately supported the Second Harvest Food Bank for
decades. He donated one of his now-vacant buildings to the
organization because the strain on the Valley's low-income
populace is reaching a critical point and the organization needs
"They're giving away food to 10 percent of Santa Clara County," he
noted, adding the food bank's finances are "red-lining" because of
the strain on its resources. That's a structural issue caused in
large part by the tech-jobs bleed and the high cost of living. Ten
percent of the county's population needs free food. Slow bleed.
"That's really why this state is really in deep trouble," Rodgers
said. "Meanwhile we've got idiots building bullet trains to
It could be that the basic structure of Silicon Valley, from
universities to infrastructure to environmental allure, will endure
and keep California from the abyss. Here's hoping. As Rodgers said,
New York is a center of finance but still finance jobs crop up
Time was when Austin was just a hot, dry state capital, Arizona
was a desert and Raleigh, N.C., was a stop on the snowbird run to
Florida. No more. They have their own reasons and effort for their
respective rises as tech hubs, but California isn't hurting their
In the end, California's problems are the fault of Californians. In
a hectic, complex time, we've stopped paying attention to government
or stopped caring or stopped thinking about the consequences of our
actions. But it's not too late to fix things.
For decades, I watched a beautiful maple tree grow along a creek
bank. The branches grew and the roots bulged from the bank and
jammed themselves deep in the ground. The tree became spectacular
because it hung unbelievably at the edge of the bank, even as it got
bigger. The bank every-so-slightly eroded rainy winter
after rainy winter until I walked by one spring and the tree had
collapsed and died.
No one tended to the stream bank over the
decades. That tree looked fantastic right up to the moment it tipped
over and fell into the abyss.
Valley Nation: The end of Silicon Valley?
Valley Nation: Lost voices