Somehow, the East Bay has pushed itself all the way out into the mother lode. While Tracy is still a cow town in all its manure-y greatness, it's a cow town you can't deny. Maps of the Bay Area sometimes even mark it with a big red dot. What makes Tracy the newest addition to the East Bay are its residents. It is just too expensive for most people to buy homes here near the coast, so they hop the coastal range and move out to the wild wild East. And what do you know, suddenly folks in Tracy have more in common with people in the East Bay than those in the Central Valley. This is perhaps best illustrated by the difference in median incomes between Tracy and its San Joaquin Valley neighbors. Per capita household income stands at $81,000, according to Chamber of Commerce chief Mike Schmidt, while folks in nearby Stockton make an average of $64,000. But all that extra cash doesn't mean it isn't still a cow town, albeit a tony modern one with a sleepy main drag and low-slung ranch-style homes. And on a clear day it's even possible to imagine that it might always remain so -- surrounded by a sea of hills and fields that turn from green to gold as summer descends on the ever-expanding East Bay. Let's hope so.
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