Southgate is a little different because the section of El Camino that borders it is Stanford, not Ernie's Liquor Store. Also, there are larger and more charming homes, and it is close to Calif. Ave, Town and Country, and downtown, none of which are true for Ventura. Still, homes along the train track are going to be a tough sell until the high speed rail issue is settled. That being said, Ventura is a great place to get a home under 900K in PA.
One obvious question that I was planning to ask right when I asked my original question was, Southgate has exact same issues with location and in fact traffic jams are worse due to Paly's proximity (pick up/drop off times are terrible) -- plus small lots, but houses there seem to be selling like hot cakes. Is it because of the charm of this neighborhood? How about chem spills?
The location is not ideal since it lies between El Camino and the train tracks. There have been a lot of underground chemical spills from the industries that have been there, so the environmental reports sometimes look scary even though everything has is is being cleaned up. There are a lot of apartment buildings in the area. The homes are for the most part a little smaller and on smaller lots than other parts of Palo Alto. Plus, smugness.