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Sharing the Wealth in California

Published on: February 23, 2020

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When the annual “Top 50 Wealthiest Cities in the U.S.” list was released recently several California cities and towns came out on top once again. Never mind that your annual property tax in Atherton (San Mateo County) runs higher than the annual salaries of millions of the state’s residents. An average $10 million home can cost $65,000 or more in property taxes annually–a small price to pay for the convenience of a short commute to your job five, ten or fifteen miles away.

While Atherton’s locals scrape by with average annual incomes last year at $525,324, it’s the top earners who skew the results. Notable residents present or past include Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac, Bob Weir of Grateful Dead, a deputy prime minister of the UK, countless actors, venture capitalists, sports legends such as Willie Mays, and many who have made their wealth in tech and finance industries such as brokerage magnate Charles Schwab, Sheryl Sandberg – chief operating officer of Facebook, Meg Whitman – former president and CEO of Hewlett-Packard & former CEO of eBay, and Google chairman Eric Schmidt.

With a population under 10,000 in the 5.6 sq.mi. town, there’s not a lot to put this city on the map as a tourist destination. Atherton city website calendar is kind of boring–unless you get a kick out of attending a paper shredding event or city council meeting. California tourism may be booming but Atherton residents aren’t necessarily interested in becoming a tourist Mecca.

#3 on the top 50 list, Hillsboro, CA, has more to see such as the Carolands Chateau (top left photo.) The 98 room mansion is a California Historical Landmark on the National Register of Historic Places. A lottery system is used for small curator-led tours of the Chateau and gardens.  The Flintstone House (top right) and Uplands (bottom right picture) built by Templeton Crocker as a gift to his fiancee of the C&H Sugar family fortune are several other notable structures in Hillsboro.

 

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