If you're moving there then negative equity won't be a problem.
Negative equity of 30% applies when people bought their houses during the boom for, say, $1M and they're now only worth $500k and they owe the bank $650k. If you now move into the area and buy the house off the sap for 500k then you won't be in a negative equity situation. Of course if the value drops further then you''ll be in the hole...
As for the wife having a job... you can live in surrounding cities and catch the Google shuttle to work.
There are valid reasons to keep away, but not those that you mention.
I'm very happy to live in a place where I bought a house (+ ten acres) for approx $100k ten years ago, and it is now worth $400k while I owe the bank approx $60k which will be paid off in less than 5 years at approx $250 per week, This is of course nowhere near USofA.