Los Gatos

“It means ‘The Cats.’”
- Tony De Leon

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Lost in Los Gatos

If anyone asks, the titular gatos would be the mountain lions and bobcats who still make a home in the surrounding forests and mountains. Sharing that home are victorian buildings that roll with gentle hills and ramble with the rivers, and friendly, well-heeled folks who wrap themselves in liberal sensibilities and tech ties.

Los Gatos is one of those sleepy California suburbs folks like to call “white people preserves,” where the comfortable and progressive-minded live in understated smug assuredness that theirs is the right way, the best way to be human. Or it was.


Los Gatos on the Edge of Everything

Coasting from gold rush to tech bubble to housing bubble, Los Gatos has maintained its unique charm and prosperity for a long time. But with the Second Depression in full force, there seems to be no fresh refuge in sight. Soon Los Gatos, like many other well-to-do towns in the US, might find itself hollowed-out and dying.

Cute little stores are shuttered, and energetic young techies have been replaced with disaffected punks eager for the next train out of town. The Toll House hotel hasn’t wound their famous clock tower in years, and it’s still stuck on 3:14 PM, coincidentally the hour a few years back that the Second Depression began. The love locks have rusted on Main Street Bridge, and the parks are overgrown and unsafe. Once thirty-third in affluence nationwide, Los Gatos now barely hangs on to its indolent veneer.

This is the birthplace of Steve Wozniak, and actors Aaron Eckhart, Joan Fontaine, and her sister Olivia de Havilland. It’s raised artists and violinists and pro athletes and business moguls. Now its birthrate is down to almost zero, and its children are leaving as fast as they can. Soon, this bright little city will be just another depressed San Jose suburb, and the cats will retake the corner — that is, if they can still drink the poisoned water by then.

Los Gatos

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