In East Palo Alto, residents say tech companies have created ‘a semi-feudal society’

This poor city is surrounded by the temples of the new American economy that has, in nearly every way imaginable, passed it by.

Just outside the northern city limit, Facebook is expanding the blocks-long headquarters it built seven years ago. Google’s offices sit just outside the southern edge, and just a few miles to the west, Stanford University stands as the rich proving ground of the economy’s future. Amazon just moved in.

Only a small fraction of jobs in those companies go to those who live in this city of 30,000 people, one of the region’s few whose population is majority minority. That demography is under threat by the one economic force that has not passed East Palo Alto by — rapidly rising rents and home prices.

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