.The Best of Silicon Valley 2017 – Features & Columns

This issue celebrates the best of Silicon Valley—a product of American ingenuity, California sunshine and the world’s most optimally diversified genome stew. Some of the world’s smartest people live and work here, with the possible exception of the ones who oversee spillways at Anderson Dam.

Immigrants got a bad rap last year when they were cast as job stealers and sex offenders, but evidence indicates otherwise. With 37 percent of the population here foreign-born, we have nearly treble the national rate, yet both our unemployment and crime rates are ridiculously low. (The Stanford trash dumpster rapist came from Oakwood, Ohio, not Sinaloa—on an athletic scholarship no less.)

So give us your hired, your offshored, your graduate classes, yearning to drink employer-supplied, fruit flavored iced tea. The wretched refuse for our team-building exercises. Our prosperity depends on on foreign brain and brawn.

Despite declining birth rates (OK, laptops in bed may not be such a good thing after all), out-migration to cheaper places and the inevitability of death, our county’s population grows by more than 20,000 people a year. That’s because of the “I” word. We’re talking about immigration.

This issue is dedicated to immigrants, from Mexico, China and Vietnam. From Ethiopia, Israel and Ireland. Even Canada, where Ash Kalra, who represents part of Silicon Valley in the California Assembly, is from. Apple was started by the son of a Syrian immigrant, Tesla by a South African. Founders of Yahoo and YouTube were born in Taipei. France not only gave us the Statue of Liberty, but eBay and the camera phone, the latter by way of a CEO who unlawfully overstayed his visa. Merci!

Immigrants watch our kids, weed our gardens, code our apps, build our homes, run convenience stores, open boutiques and restaurants, start and run companies. It’s also one of the reasons why we have a rich selection of global cuisines and fusions thereof. Each year we survey, select and recommend many of the best places, and this year continues that tradition.

We’re not in favor of building walls, let’s get that straight. Unless, of course, someone wants to fix that damn dam before the next flood. —Dan Pulcrano

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