What does the New York Times have against air travelers? First they condemned Congress for ending politically motivated flight delays as giving a "gift to travelers." On Friday Times San Francisco bureau chief Norimitsu Onishi found a unique class-war angle on a new corporate jet center in San Jose -- the gap between the "untold wealth" of the "region's haves" compared to the "have-nots " in Silicon Valley -- in "Corporate Jet Center Exposes Silicon Valley’s Class Divide."
The approval of a new corporate jet center at this city’s struggling airport might have been just another losing skirmish in the battle between Silicon Valley billionaires and middle-class neighborhoods worried about noise pollution. Instead, it is becoming the latest symbol for the rapidly growing gap between the region’s haves, with their private jets and untold wealth, and the have-nots, clinging to more modest lives in the dwindling number of communities they can afford.
Google, which is responsible for many of the jets that will use the new $82 million center, is helping bring badly needed cash to Mineta San Jose International Airport, just as the tech industry is creating jobs and wealth in Silicon Valley. But the tech boom is also sharpening income inequality and fueling a housing boom that is squeezing families out of many Silicon Valley communities.
Whether it is the possibility of private jets’ disturbing the sleep of San Jose homeowners, or the transformation of Palo Alto’s last mobile home park into luxury apartments, local developments throughout Silicon Valley highlight how the tech boom is leaving many behind. Local officials worry about the trend, which experts say will only accelerate, and its effects on the valley’s work force and diversity.
As Tokyo bureau chief, Onishi appeared to blame U.S. President Ronald Reagan for inequality in Japan in April 2006: "The moment of reckoning has come as the man given credit for the economic revival, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi....[his] Reaganesque policies of deregulation, privatization, spending cuts and tax breaks for the rich helped lift the national economy, but at a social cost that Japan's more 127 million residents are just beginning to grasp."