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Advice to Palo Altans: Be kind to each other

Original post made by Blythe Nilsson on Apr 2, 2007

When it comes to embracing the greater good, nobody does it better than the people of Palo Alto.

We recycle, support our public schools and parks, buy Girl Scout cookies and Boy Scout wreaths, vote moderate to liberal and celebrate our proximity to one of the best universities in the world. We keep our yards clean and take pride in our homes.

If only we were as nice to each other as we are to our causes.
Our everyday encounters are increasingly "nasty, brutish and short," as the philosopher Thomas Hobbes would say. Too often, we offer each other a rushed, self-righteous and profanely exasperated façade.

We act in ways more appropriate to characters in a bad movie about New York bond traders than to residents of a California college town. It's time to slow down and to act like the people we think we are.
My favorite example of Palo Alto's identity crisis occurred three years ago while I was heavily pregnant with my first child. Unwisely, I decided to go grocery shopping in the midafternoon at Whole Foods, an overcrowded and organically correct locale that makes a wonderful incubator for the type of behavior I am talking about.

On this particular day a collection of Palo Altans for non-violent solutions marched downtown to protest the invasion of Iraq. The march ended around 2 p.m. Low on blood sugar and high on civic virtue, the protesters rushed to Whole Foods full of moral purpose and hunger for lunch.

My pregnant form was buffeted to and fro by these peace-loving folk as they raced to be first in the sandwich line, and next at the smoothies counter. I was elbowed at the salad bar and stabbed in the bottom with a sign that read, "No Blood."

A woman with a peace insignia on her shirt berated me for knocking over a basket of strawberries and not picking them up (I had not been able to see what was happening underneath my massive belly). Battered and dazed by the scrum I emerged from the market dizzy, wryly noting that the bag boys were wearing reflective vests, as one of them had been bumped by a car at the crosswalk.

Our town needs to take a deep breath and practice what we preach. We drive Priuses bearing license plates that boast ALTNRGY and NO2GAS, but we also drive dangerously fast on child-populated streets and cut each other off at four-way stops, honking, gesturing and cussing wildly as we go, certain that any transgression is someone else's fault.

Our town council passes responsible and intelligent civic legislation, but has received international attention for its members' habits of eye rolling and face making during their opponents' comments.

And on more than one occasion I have received a letter from a neighbor asking me to petition the city to stop construction at a house because the renovation will result in a structure smaller or lower than their own.

I love Palo Alto and in some ways can claim it as my native city -- my parents graduated from Stanford, I learned to walk at Escondido Village, I taught in the public schools here for six years, had two children at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, and even renovated a home just a block or so away from the place where I was attacked by a peace sign.

I cannot think of a nicer place in which to claim all of these experiences. And I am also as guilty of the sins I describe as any other Palo Altan. Recently a man driving a van whose license plate read some variation of LVLFLRN stole my parking place, forcing me to park several spaces further from my destination.

It was my first time out of the house after major stomach surgery, so of course, in good Palo Alto form, I hobbled over to tell him off. He pointed out that, while he had knowingly taken the space from me, I had been able to park close by.

We were both right in one way and wrong in another, and we both refused to admit this. Thinking about it afterward, I realized that the message on his license plate, whether it was meant to read, "Love, Laugh, Learn", or "Live, Love, Learn," was good advice.

We need to laugh a little more, and be a little more loving and forgiving in this life.

(The above is a Guest Opinion from the April 4, 2007, Palo Alto Weekly print edition.)

Comments (57)

Posted by Ha!, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 2, 2007 at 6:08 pm


Right on.

The "average" Palo Altan is NOT nice.

Nothing to add.


Posted by EBENEZER, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 2, 2007 at 6:54 pm

BAH HUMBUG!


Posted by Hulkamania, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 2, 2007 at 7:02 pm

We all should be kinder to each other but there are times when nothing would be more satisfying then to put the smackdown on some weasel that sorely deserves it.


Posted by Nicey Nicey, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 2, 2007 at 7:02 pm

Be Nice. Ok. But it is too boring.
We will take your advice. However promise to take ours. Grow a thick skin. Too much nicey nicey accomplishes nothing.



Posted by Fred, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 2, 2007 at 8:43 pm

Thanks Blythe. I am not generally a person who puts polite forms over substance. But I am surprised at the level of nastiness on these forums and in other civic discourse.

On another thread, someone told me "think of where people in PA come from." Where is that? Sure PA is full of go-getters - but so is Newton and Wellesley, where I spent most of the last 25 years. Boston is not exactly considered a bastion of civility - but the public discussions there were more respectful and less disparaging of the opponent's motives and goals than what seems almost commonplace here.

Growing a thick skin is not bad advice; but hopefully we can try raising our level of mutual respect, and see if we like that better.


Posted by Phil Lanthrop, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 2, 2007 at 10:19 pm

Go to sleep!


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 3, 2007 at 1:01 am

I know we're a college town, but we're not Wellesley or Newton. This is a nexus of innovation and money, aka ambition and greed. It's a lynchpin of the global economy. I sometimes think of Palo Alto as a city doing its damnedest to pretend it's just a nice college town.

It is hard to stay here unless you're lucky (you bought a house at the right time) or you're focused on making enough money to live here. It's hard for nice, less-driven people to afford Palo Alto and I've seen them get tired of trying and move some place where they can afford a life.

I date the rudeness upswing to about 1997 when the dot-com boom started pouring money into the area and housing skyrocketed. There was about a six-month period where I noticed the driving got much nastier. It got a little better after the bubble burst, but I think it's amping up again.


Posted by Marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 3, 2007 at 8:30 am

Let's be quite honest--we PA residents like to think that we are special and are more sophisticated/nicer/gentler etc. then anyone else. Actually we are like residents of all other places in the world--there are good people, rude people, obnoxious people etc here ust like there are anywhere else. We are not special.
I have to admit I did find amusing your encounter with the know-it-alls from Peninsula Peace and Justice--I guess they were in hurry to get back and lecture everyone about how nice Al-Qeida really is and to bash Israel, when you got in their way.


Posted by Evil Conservative, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 4, 2007 at 2:49 pm

The writer is the cause of her own dismay, and in more ways than one. First, she deludes herself into thinking that Palo Altans must be special or better than other people because they take up certain causes (ones with which she happens to agree with) or live in a materialistic rich environment. Second, she somehow equates the proximity of a major university (full of academically minded people) to the City as an indicator of how emotionally and socially intelligent the City's people must be. Third, she measures the piety and civic spirit of someone by the car they drive (after all, the Priuse is indeed the symbol of human goodness) or the protest sign they may be carrying (after all, a Palo Altan's opinion is so righteous that everyone needs to be accosted with it).

However, the worst betrayal of logic and common sense she makes which totally undermines her entire argument is that only "moderate to liberal" views are kind and aimed at the "greater good," but of course, everyone knows that all conservatives are evil and bent on the planet's destruction.

The most unfortunate thing about this is that this person is lost, perhaps never to be found. Sadly she is not alone, there are many like her. She is corrupted beyond having any rational faculties. She can not or will not even acknowledge that her own world view is, if not the cause, a significant contributor to the general decay of society and human interactions which she describes. But how can her view and corresponding actions lead to anything else but decay, for it is a view void of any real global understanding or appreciative of real diversity, it is hypocritical.

Rather than just "Be Kind to Each Other," why don't we just leave each other alone or act out of the desire to help someone rather than the desire to be seen as a helpful person.

She is ill, and her disease is modern day liberalism.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 4, 2007 at 3:12 pm

I found people in the Central Valley to be more down-to-earth...it's noticeable.


Posted by Zooooommmmm ....!!!, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Apr 4, 2007 at 3:42 pm

>> I was elbowed at the salad bar and stabbed in the bottom with a sign that read, "No Blood."
This is a test. This is only a test.

>> I had not been able to see what was happening underneath my massive belly
You probably were not aware of what else you knocked. Here dirty looks made you realize that you at least knocked strawberries.

>> ... while I was heavily pregnant with my first child....at Whole Foods, ... that makes a wonderful incubator ....
This is what Palo Alto is all about.


Posted by How about Bush?, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 4, 2007 at 7:04 pm


Evil Conservative, above, is a good example of what the average Palo Altan has become... Mean and selfish.

I moved to PA in the early 1990s from another Barea Town. I did not want to move here because the town already seemed to me to be lacking in socio/economic diversity. Nevertheless we did move here for practical reasons.

At first, it was not so bad. When I walked around my neighborhood, for example, people would actually acknowledge each other's existence back then and they would say hello. This rarely happens any longer.

I do agree with the person who saw things deteriorate significantly in the late nineties at the time of the internet bubble. That is when the first family from the East Coast moved into a house on our block. I wondered if all the East Coast transplants were the reason for the deterioration. I don't know...

This is definitely not a pleasant place to live from the human perspective. Look at all the nasty posts on this thread. They prove you right, Blythe. And they also prove that liberals have no monopoly on the ambient nastiness...

Solutions anyone (other than growing a thick skin and becoming nasty ourselves)?


Posted by Donnie, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 4, 2007 at 7:15 pm

How about Bush, Gosh, I read Evil Conservative's post and I didn't find anything selfish about it at all. Maybe he was "mean" by some people's definition in the way he criticized what he sees as the writer's parochialism, but his post does seem well within the bounds of reasonable commentary in that it was not base ad hominem, but critical commentary that made a point. And as I read his point it was to encourage genuine helpfulness toward others as opposed to hypocritical desiring to create a certain image by one's actions.

Maybe you were fooled by Evil Conservative's signature, and responded in a knee jerk fashion. I didn't see anything particularly "conservative" about the post. In fact it could have been written by a thinking liberal.


Posted by Fred, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 5, 2007 at 12:22 am

It isn't hard to improve attitudes and your neighborhood. Lead by example. Get out and talk to your neighbors. Help out with your block party (or get one organized if you don't have it). Wave people through at the intersection. Slow down when the light turns yellow. Let the person with a couple items go ahead of you in the check out line. Be respectful and even kind (not mean) on these forums.

I don't really think people in PA are much different from elsewhere (though maybe they like to think so). Maybe a little more education oriented (paying for the school district) or a little more status oriented (paying for the name), but not different in any fundamental way. They may not be the friendliest crowd you'll ever know (busy, distracted) but most know how and want to be nice if they think it will be reciprocated and perhaps even be expected.

Give it a try.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 5, 2007 at 12:52 am

Donnie,

"Corrupted beyond having any rational faculties" is an ad hominem attack. The thing Evil Conservative decries (moral judgments based on politics) is exactly the thing he's doing, just more egregiously.

Of course, I find it strange to think that somehow one's politics have no connection to one's morality i.e. He was a Nazi, but kind to small animals and children.

Fred,

The people here may be no different, but the circumstances are very specific. I've lived other places and in Palo Alto for quite a long time. I've seen the city change. It's been self-satisfied for decades, but the stress, competitiveness and extreme Type A-ism is more recent and I think it's because of Palo Alto's central role in the dot-com boom. We got a gold rush here with all the attendent excitement and stress. We also got a lot of people who were very, very financially ambitious. Before, I'd say the whole place was a little geekier--very techy, but not so driven. You could work for 20 years at HP and have an Eichler. You didn't have to worry or hope that real estate would rise 20 percent in a year.

One of the things that happens when you have to invest everything you have to live in a place is that you're less inclined to cut slack to, say, neighbors who lower your property values by having a messy yard or rebuild in a way as to shade your yard, etc.


Posted by Fred, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 5, 2007 at 1:34 am

OP - you make a good point, PA does have an unusual disparity of housing "cost basis" compared to a lot of other places in the country (true of much of the Bay Area and even SoCal I think, too).

I am not sure you are saying this, but I would not attribute "bad attitudes" to just the "new people." Change and differences puts stress on all parties. The new people in the big houses don't like the shabby yards; the long-time residents in the small houses don't like the McMansions and construction projects. Some people want new and better libraries; some people say it ain't broke so don't fix it (and don't touch my branch!). We are all in the crucible together.




Posted by Donnie, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 5, 2007 at 12:01 pm

OP, Sorry, but I disagree with your analysis of EC's post. "corrupted beyond rational faculties" isn't base ad hominem in its context in EC's post. His point that the writer's objectivity has been beclouded by her parochial world-view may or may not be accurate, but it is well-made by the quoted phrase. The point could have been made in a gentler way perhaps, but it's hardly a purely ad hominem attack.

Of course, perhaps your own world view is made transparent by your rather clumsy attempt to link politics and morality. Adherents to a universally acknowledged evil ideology like Nazism or Communism may in fact be evil and immoral people. I fail to see any relevance of this banal truth to the range of mainstream political opinions in Palo Alto (or the US for that matter) and the respective moral statuses of their adherents. The fact that you apparently do perhaps accounts for some of the incivility that the original poster of this thread complains of.

People don't vote the same way as you may be wrong (or may not be). But that doesn't make them evil.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 5, 2007 at 12:16 pm

Donnie,

Evil Con's comment was over the top. As in, give me a break, eye-rolling over-the-top.

I did give a simple version of the politics/morality connection because it makes the point clear. Fact is, neither Nazism or Communism are "universally acknowledged" evil ideologies. Both still have supporters. Many early Communists were naive idealists who had what many of us would consider to be virtuous qualities.

You are jumping to conclusions about my views because I'm pointing out the inner contradiction of Evil Con's post. That says more about your political views and how defensive you feel about them than mine.

In other words, you are attempting to see people through a political filter--i.e. I must be a liberal and if I'm a liberal, you can dismiss my point. It's been a common way of avoiding substantive political debate for some time now, but it's irritating.


Posted by Donnie, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 5, 2007 at 1:11 pm

OP, I have no idea whether you're liberal, libertarian, or Communist, and I really don't care what you are - or what you call yourself. Whatever personal qualities Nazis or Communists have (or had) really is beside the point, which you again try to avoid.

I'm not seeing you through a political filter, I'm viewing you through a logical filter. Your continued attempt to link political affiliation and morality - which liberals and conservatives alike seem increasingly likely to do - represents flawed thinking no matter which side you're on. That kind of thinking subverts the kind of dialog that people of differing viewpoints need to have to solve some of the problems we have here in Palo Alto, and in the US.

But then I guess it's much easier to categorize people with whom you disagree as evil and dismiss them than it is to think about the substance of what they say.

Maybe giving some consideration to something other than the personal virtues of Communists and Nazis would be a good place to start changing things.


Posted by How about Bush?, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 5, 2007 at 4:11 pm


Donnie,

The first one on this thread who attempted to link political affiliation and morality was Evil Conservative himself. And in a mean spirited attack questioning the rationality of the person who started the thread.

Can we now go back to the issue of civility in Palo Alto. It is at a low level, and I do agree that no political party has a monopoly on the ambient nastiness.

So how can we stop the nastiness and make our town a more pleasant place to live, regardless of politics? That was and that still is the question.


Posted by How about Bush?, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 5, 2007 at 4:12 pm

Donnie,

The first one on this thread who attempted to link political affiliation and morality was Evil Conservative himself. And in a mean spirited attack questioning the rationality of the person who started the thread.

Can we now go back to the issue of civility in Palo Alto. It is at a low level, and I do agree that no political party has a monopoly on the ambient nastiness.

So how can we stop the nastiness and make our town a more pleasant place to live, regardless of politics? That was and that still is the question.


Posted by Oooh La La, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 5, 2007 at 4:46 pm

I am surprised at the comments made by the original poster. I don't seem to think that there is any lack of civility in Palo Alto.
People do smile at each other and do have time for each other. It appears that the original poster may not have tried to stop and interact with others. Also I don't know why one would expect everyone to be the same in terms of how they react to others or whether they have time for others.

Some people have also commented on civility on Town-Square Forums. I find the encounters very civil and enlightening. Some folks have opinions and push their point rather strongly. I am actually VERY DELIGHTED that I live in a vibrant society like this. We all learn from other peoples points of view. If you cannot take the heat then simply dont read and of course you don't have to post. If you do post and you lack proper information, expect to be butchered. Its only words. If it bothers you, we can't really help you.
I really find the extra efforts made by Fred to bring about civilty and agreeing in the first line of his post with almost everyone. I consider that pimpish.



Posted by Phil Lanthrop, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 5, 2007 at 5:14 pm

Wake up!


Posted by Donnie, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 5, 2007 at 5:36 pm

How about bush,

With the exception of Evil C's last sentence, which I agree crosses the line of civilized debate even under the debased standards of this site, he makes a fair debatable point. I mostly disagree with the substance his point applied to the writer of the original poster, but I don't think it's either uncivil or impertenant.

That being said, I agree that the thread has wandered a bit. I have answer your question, "So how can we stop the nastiness and make our town a more pleasant place to live, regardless of politics"? I think, at least in interactions with one another, as on this Forum, it would work better if people didn't question others' motives or sincerity so much.

I have in mind one rather notorious poster who always seems to turn the discussion of city financial or employment issues into a hashing out of the mindset, motives or moral rectitude of those with whom he disagrees. It completely disrupts the discussion at times, and is disconcerting to those attempting to have a discussion about issues facing our town - in addition to having all the deleterious effects described by the original poster on the civic atmosphere.

In any event, thanks for keeping your own remarks on the issues at hand and saying what you think forcefully, but civilly.


Posted by Oooh La La, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 5, 2007 at 6:11 pm

Phil Lanthrop,
I like your alarm clock, seriously it brings about levity.



Posted by Fred, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 5, 2007 at 6:55 pm

OLL - I agree with you, that I also find many personal encounters in PA very civil; and I also love vibrant discussion (sorry, couldn't help agreeing with you).

I find it is more when we "de-personalize" others - make one's opponent just a faceless obstacle in our way - that incivility comes in. Directness and even forcefulness are great; but it isn't hard for angry people to cross the line into bullying, browbeating, and even personal attacks. That can stifle some and piss off many. We might do better to stay clear of the line.

BTW, I didn't understand your last point - what is "pimpish"? It sure doesn't sound too good ;-)







Posted by Phil Lanthrop, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 5, 2007 at 7:02 pm

Oooh La La....thanks for the encouraging words...

levity begets brevity.....

and longevity


Posted by Oooh La La, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 5, 2007 at 7:11 pm

brevity is the soul of wit. can we stomach wit.
when i have indigestion i will fast, but won't ask you
to fast.


Posted by Oooh La La, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 5, 2007 at 7:13 pm

PA Weekly snatches my morsel many times.
My morsels are vegan.


Posted by Phil Lanthrop, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 5, 2007 at 7:17 pm

Your makin' my head spin...


Posted by Oooh La La, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 5, 2007 at 7:17 pm

Fred desires his eggs without salt. what is life without it.


Posted by Oooh La La, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 5, 2007 at 7:21 pm

I don't know. Some people get offended too easily. We are allowed anonymity. It has its positive side and negative side. It is only a battle of words.


Posted by Phil Lanthrop, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 5, 2007 at 7:26 pm

Anonymity must be good in some ways....

However, ask Zimbardo what he thinks....

Lord of the Flies ring a bell.....


Posted by Fred, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 5, 2007 at 8:06 pm

OLL/Phil - "It's only words" can be a dangerous credo. If it were only wit other there, that would be one thing. But to call some of the scree that gets written "wit" is to give it too much credit by far.

If I (and perhaps others) feel the need to try to compensate for it, please indulge me. But if not, I'll take your bon mot put-downs without complaint, since the restraint of the many creates the opportunity for voices to be heard (including yours and mine). Enjoy your Dorothy Parker-isms.






Posted by Oooh La La, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 5, 2007 at 8:20 pm

My problem originates from the very title of this thread. I have yet to find a Palo Altan who has not come across nicely/kindly. Is that also your experience too ?
As regards my travels to Whole Foods, I find people there, customers included, "easy smiles".
The originator of this thread seems to have had a runin at Whole Foods during some special event, that does not make Palo Altans "not kind".
I would prefer a title "Advice to Palo Altans: Continue to be kind to each other"


Posted by Rama Nice, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 5, 2007 at 8:28 pm

ommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.....


Posted by Phil Lanthrop, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 5, 2007 at 9:08 pm

well done swami


Posted by How about Bush?, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 5, 2007 at 11:31 pm

Oooh La La,

How long have you lived in Palo Alto, and where did you live before coming here? The reason I am asking is that, having lived here for 17 years I have observed a very marked deterioration in the civility of people in this town, and how nice they are to each other. It used to be much, much better. The original other of the thread states that she has known Palo Alto for a long time, and feels the same way.

Maybe for you it is not a big deal because people here are as nice now as they were where you used to live. But for those of us who have lived for a long time we really miss the time when this was a much friendlier place.


Posted by How about Bush?, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 5, 2007 at 11:31 pm

Oooh La La,

How long have you lived in Palo Alto, and where did you live before coming here? The reason I am asking is that, having lived here for 17 years I have observed a very marked deterioration in the civility of people in this town, and how nice they are to each other. It used to be much, much better. The original other of the thread states that she has known Palo Alto for a long time, and feels the same way.

Maybe for you it is not a big deal because people here are as nice now as they were where you used to live. But for those of us who have lived for a long time we really miss the time when this was a much friendlier place.


Posted by How about Bush?, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 5, 2007 at 11:33 pm

I meant to say "the original author*...". Sorry.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 6, 2007 at 12:23 am

Donnie,

You claimed my "Own worldview was made transparent" then you claimed you knew nothing about my politics.

If your political views have nothing to do with your moral views, why do you have them? Did you simply inherit them? Do you vote for people because you find them attractive?

Political views don't evolve in a vaccuum.

Fred,

No, I'm not saying it's all the new people, not by a long shot. There are a lot of high-pressure factors that mean lots of mental and physical elbowing.

I think, also, there's kind of an anarchic power struggle as people try to remake Palo Alto into their preferred image and there are many different images. This year it's MI (one of PACE's reasons for MI in PA, according to its Web site is the city's changing demographics.), a couple of year's back it was the eruv for the Orthodox Jews. It's people who want the city to look like it did 30 years ago v. people who want to build the dream house that shows that they've *arrived.*

There's a lot of energy here, but a lot of tension as well.


Posted by Fred, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 6, 2007 at 12:44 am

OP - I think "anarchic power struggle" is a good way to put it. Things are unsettled here; there does not seem to be a center of gravity on what we should be or do as a community. And, to harp on my favorite theme, the leadership doesn't serve us well. They seem afraid - afraid to piss people off, afraid the city might get sued. It would be great to have leaders who really tried to speak for the center, strike compromises, and get things done. Has there been leadership like that in the past?


Posted by Rama Nice, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 6, 2007 at 2:19 am

Be nice? Just be; you will be nice some of the time, and not-so-nice some of the time. So is the the law of the Palo Alto Tao, ever present and true. ommmmmmmmmmmmmmm


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 6, 2007 at 6:54 am

I think that people here are generally very "nice" (whatever that means) if you want to find them nice and are nice yourself to them. But like everywhere, there are times when we can find some "not nice" people or someone having a bad day.

It goes back to the cliche, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

If you look for the good in people you will find it. If you look for the bad around you, you will also find it and it will probably make you pretty miserable in the process.

Palo Alto is a great place to live. You can find what you are looking for no matter what that is. This is a community and if you start reaching out to others you will find that nearly everyone will reach out to you.

Good Luck


Posted by Phil Lanthrop, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 6, 2007 at 8:53 am

If you keep filling the cage with rats eventually someone is going to get eaten....


Posted by Oooh La La, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 6, 2007 at 9:50 am

* If the ever present and true law of Palo Alto Tao "it should have been the same as it was 30 years ago" applies
* And also if the cliche "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" applies
Implies:
People who are complaining are not as nice today as they were 30 years ago. Why blame others. Look in your own heart.
I don't have a problem with Palo Alto. It is just fine.

(Sanskrit immersion, oooooooooooops did i say a bad word)

Asato ma Sat gamaya,
Tamaso ma jyotira gamaya,
Mrityur ma amritam gamaya,
(San Jose ma Palo Alto gamaya,
Palo Alto ma Palto Alto Square gamaya,)
Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti

(or should it be: Om Ashanti, Ashanti, Ashanti)




Posted by Donnie, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 6, 2007 at 9:51 am

OP,

Once more you reveal your world-view by how you (mis)interpret what others have written. If you will read the whole paragraph containing the snippet of mine you quote, you cannot rationally come to the conclusion that I was saying anything about your political allegiance. I was (and am) saying that you're clearly one of those persons who can't help but link personality morality and politics. Extremists of all colors - liberals and conservatives - do this, and it has the unfortunate consequence of blinding them to rational discussion of politics. (For how can you really discuss something if the person is not only wrong, but 'evil'?)

Your further elicudation of your views ("If your political views have nothing to do with your moral views, why do you have them? Did you simply inherit them? Do you vote for people because you find them attractive?") serves only to emphasize that for you politics is a moral endeavor, and the two are inextricably linked.

Did it ever occur to you that some people may have a healthy moral outlook - maybe even one similar to yours - but disagree with you about the best way to achieve moral goals? Or for you is it always "Conservatives = Good;Liberals = Bad" (or vice-versa)?


Posted by Phil Lanthrop, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 7, 2007 at 2:57 pm

Go to sleep!


Posted by Pajamas, a resident of Ventura
on Apr 7, 2007 at 3:56 pm

Phil,
Thought you had more than that. Give me something new and original. Stale stuff discarded. You sound like OhlonePar and A.J. Take them with you to Redwood City.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2007 at 4:44 pm

Agree with the comment that the first place to start is to NOT assume that anyone with whom you disagree has a "bad" or "evil" motive.

Agree that usually people disagree on the MEANS, not the goals. I mean, really, how many of us actually WANT kids to starve or poor health care or dictatorships or poor education or more children without fathers etc?

If we would all remember that most of us are decent folks who want "good" for all, with usually only different "means" to achieve the goals, and with good reasons for believing that "our" means have fewer negative consequences, I think that a lot more of us would be willing to go back to signing our real names or speaking/writing publicly.

As it stands now, it takes an incredible amount of courage to "come out" and disagree with whatever the current fad of thinking is.


Posted by Phil Lanthrop, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 8, 2007 at 10:14 am

Redwood City?

Why don't you get out of your pajamas.....and find some eggs.....


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 9, 2007 at 2:31 pm

Hi Donnie,

Of course there are some political disputes that are about means instead of ends. But there are also disputes about ends--abortion, the death penalty, gay marriage are classic moral, not method, issues.

Then there are more subtle ones--what part should the government play in our lives. Again, questions about values and what one thinks is "right" affect our views of this.

It's not that I can't separate politics from morality, it's that the two can and do intertwine. To me, it's obvious. I think it's simplistic to think of politics as something separate from the other. If you read any of the works by the founding fathers, you'll see moral questions and politics intertwined everywhere. The country was founded on a series of moral precepts--that men are created equal, that they have the right to pursue happiness.

You dodged my questions about the origin of your own politics and went into attack mode. I think you need to step back and think about the questions as to what politics is, what its purpose is and why you have the political views you have.


Posted by Wcpnx, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Apr 9, 2007 at 6:09 pm

OhlonePar,
Morality severely intertwined with politics is usually found in Islamic states.... your views?


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 9, 2007 at 11:10 pm

Theology not morality. A personal sense of morality seems to be frowned upon in extremist states. Part of the problem with Islam is that debate within the religion became very restricted in, as I recall, the 12th century. What was a reasonably evolved set of ethics for the time period has in some cases become ossified.

So, no I'd say moral debate is lacking in fundamentalist politics--it's what makes them fundamentalist.


Posted by Chris, a resident of another community
on Apr 11, 2007 at 11:30 am

The single most pretentious thing I have read in a long time.


Posted by Phil Lanthrop, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 11, 2007 at 11:08 pm

howdy folks, just read an article...front page of london(manchester)guardian from today...titled Love Thy Neigbor....found it to be quite interesting, humorous, and useful even though its focal point is in England....highly recommded....makes you laugh!


Posted by Roy, a resident of another community
on Apr 24, 2007 at 7:11 am

I was a resident of Palo Alto from 1956, when I was six, to 1972. It breaks my heart. But, then, I can tell you that your problems have nothing to do with your fair city--it's everywhere. It just seems that well-to-do, well-educated people should know better, but it just makes their bickering more interesting.


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