That is actually very useful, thank you. Tentatively we are looking at staying in the Santa Clara/West San Jose area. (She hates commuting). Housing cost is the largest concern. We know that we will be getting some sort of housing allowance, but we don't know how much (and it's rather gauche to ask at this point). We would probably want to rent for the first six months to a year while we get settled. It will be the two of us, our (by then) one year old daughter, and a couple cats; so we are looking at a town house or similar sized condo or apartment (1000-1300 sq feet). I've done some looking around and guesstimate that rent plus major utilities for something like that would run about $3K per month. Does that sound about right?
Never having lived in LA I'm afraid your public transportation comparison is a bit lost on me. Is it possible to navigate around the larger Santa Clara/San Jose areas via bus or light rail with minimal headaches do you think?
Thanks again, your input is a lot of help.
3K sounds like plenty to me, but I don't know for sure.
Getting around entirely by bus or light rail is going to be difficult unless you pick your location very carefully. The Valley is an economically dynamic area, but at the core it is suburbia, not city.
Not so much worried about getting a round entirely by mass transit, really. She'll take the car most days as I'll probably be Mr. Mom for a bit while we get settled. On days where I have the car for errands or what have you it would great for her to be able to get to work without me having to pack up the kid to take her. Or on days where she has the car I could take the kid into town, or the park, or whatever without wanting to to shoot myself in the face. In a perfect world it would be nice to stay a one car family when I go back to work, but that's a bridge to cross when we get there.
"I believe it is the duty of each of us to act as if the fate of the world depended on him. Admittedly, one man by himself cannot do the job. However, one man can make a difference."