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Original post made
on Aug 6, 2013
There was not a single incident of theft, nor violence against us Greenmeadow residents ever reported because of those residing at Cubberly. Those that were priced out of their homes because of the technology boom and rising cost of living sought refuge in the Community Center. Rather than choosing to recognize the potential to reach out to those in our community, we simply mandated an order to dispose of them.
I applaud our city council for enacting this ordinance based on common sense and logic. Congratulations for not allowing yourselves to be shouted down by yet another vocal minority.
Apparently, "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" does not apply to those who have less money than you.
Shame on those that advocated and passed this vote.
First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.
Shame on the City Council for passing this cruel and unjust ordinance. It was obviously possible to solve the Cubberley issue without passing a city-wide ordinance that criminalized homelessness. There were more sensitive solutions available than simply making it illegal to be homeless in Palo Alto. Please, do everyone a favor and drop the ridiculous pretense that you are really "helping" the homeless. The fact that 5 votes could not even be found for Pat Burt's proposal (itself not enough) is just pitiful. Even the Weekly blessed this pile of crap.
Where would you like to provide these services that will supposedly help people? Maybell Avenue? Which neighborhood will you find to provide them with subsidized housing and services. This is tlowest common denominator politics. Sometimes it's small government you have to keep your eye on.
Wasn't this vote on the "first reading"? They have to vote again but not sooner than 10 days from now?
I applaud the council and the system that appears to have worked this time. As a town of 65,000+ people we cannot solve the homeless problem in the Peninsula + the greater Santa Clara County by ourselves. Those opposed to the ban have had two years to pull together an alternate solution without any apparent success. I look forward to seeing future proposals on how we can solve the homeless issue throughout the entire county in a caring and thoughtful way.
"Apparently, "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" does not apply to those who have less money than you."
What does that have to do with anything?????
Most of our current 'homeless' both 'vehicle dwellers & other unhoused folks were Palo Alto residents living in homes or apartments in Palo Alto. Plus, many have jobs but unable to afford rents anywhere in Santa Clara county. A portion are people who work here and compute from long distances which makes going home nightly impossible. NHN serves Palo Alto residents, too many on our groceries rooster are becoming homeless. These folks are your upper & middle income neighbors.
Please consider that there are good 'alternative measures' rather than a droconian ordiance which will make the circomstances of your neighbors who are failing horrifyingly worse. WE HAVE SEVERELY INADEQUTE 'SAFETY NET SERVICES'. The gaps and cracks in social services will not happen over night nor will there suddenly be adequte services in 6 mos.
Currently, there is no gap in emergency, temporary or permenant housing that these homeless folks can receive for free or afford because THERE IS NO HOUSING AVAILABLE.
It is false to believe that right now there are 'shelter beds' for street homeless or car campers. NHN peer counsels many homeless. And there has been NO available beds in quite sometime (except isolated incidents).
There is NO 'motel voucher' program in Santa Clara county. Previsionally, some faith groups have given money for motel stays but it is so little to match the true need for folks in dire circumstances.
Of the 500+ residents in need, housed & unhoused, which NHN provides peer counseling not one of them (even though they quailify) has been approved for public housing unit(s) in Palo Alto. Many of these folks (singles, seniors, couples and families) has submited public housing applications repeatedly (2004-2013).
If you spent some time at Cubberley, you'd understand why there's a need for this ban. PAUSD offices should move to Cubberley so the landlord can experience this first hand. Maybe the landlord would clean up the situation.
"Neighbors Helping Neighbors" claims, "Most of our current 'homeless' both 'vehicle dwellers & other unhoused folks were Palo Alto residents living in homes or apartments in Palo Alto."
How do you know this?
> There was not a single incident of theft, nor violence against
> us Greenmeadow residents ever reported because of those residing
> at Cubberly.
Given that the Palo Alto Police don't solve all of the property crimes committed against Palo Alto homeowners, and apartment dwellers--how could anyone make such a claim [portion removed.]
I'm curious why residents near Cubberley don't feel safe from the homeless? I've seen a few camper vehicles there, and I can imagine a vociferous nut job from time to time, but basically the homeless people I've known have been pretty harmless and have as much interest in personal safety as anyone else...
Thanks you the the city council. The situation at Cubberly was getting out of control and my daughter was no longer comfortable going to the Cubberly fields.
To Marc Berman and Karen Holman, you lost my support for any office you plan to run for in the future.
It wasn't easy, but thank you City Council members for making the best decision for our community.
Thank you, Mayor and City Council members!!
This is only the beginning, please attend (or send City Council an email with your concerns & photos) to the Policy & Services meeting next Tuesday for Cubberly specific meeting.
Shame on our "faith based" community. Shame. You faith-basers have debased your god, your community and yourselves. Shame on you.
For those of you who disagree with this decision please open up your houses, your lawns and your driveways to help these unfortunate individuals.
Yea right, like that's going to happen!
Many of he faithbased community and Stop the Ban folks who attended the meeeting last night were very disrespectful to the City Council and the other citizens who were in favor of the ban.
Shouting "shame", booing, hissing, making fart noises, assigning shame, and issuing threats were the tactics used throughout the meeting. They were hoping to intimidate the opposition from getting up to speak.
Rabel-rousing may make them feel better, but it's not helpful or effective in building relationships and partnering together to create the solutuions needed to take care of the homeless.
No one learns, grows or evolves in a shaming culture.
Thank you, city council members. Palo Alto is not, and should not become, a refugee camp for the entire Bay Area.
"At the same time, the council heard from numerous residents of the nearby Greenmeadow neighborhood who pointed to the growing homeless population at Cubberley Community Center and said they no longer feel safe near their homes."
So sad that my fellow Greenmeadow residents only equate homelessness with crime/criminal activity. Most of these people are like you and me, they just had the bad luck to lose jobs/homes. I have no fear walking by Cubberly in the evening. We live in a safe neighborhood - a safe city - and I've not seen any instance of the Cubberly homeless causing problems. [Portion removed.]
For the critics of the new law, Palo Alto already goes above and beyond when it comes to extending ourselves to homeless outreach efforts. No other city in our region does a tenth of what we provide, and, they all have vehicle dwelling bans on the books as well. How very convenient for them. And yet the critics still play the guilt card, and try to make those expecting some balance and common sense out to be less caring.
The thing about critics though, especially on this topic, they will have very strong feeling about compassion, caring, and helping other until the half-broken down RV parks in front of their house for days and nights on end. They will be the first to call and complain. We get it, caring and compassion when it's convenient and doesn't touch you personally.
Please, spare us the drama and histrionics already. Their was a need for this ordinance, because for every hard-working Palo Altan that found themselves on the street simply because they fell on hard financial times, which Neighbors Helping Neighbors suggests are numerous (not the case by any stretch), there are 100 times that number who in reality find themselves there due to drug and alcohol abuse, mental disorders, criminal backgrounds, etc. That is a reality that must be considered.
In an earlier post, Jack from Fairmeadow comments that apparently life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness does not apply to those less fortunate. Well in my opinion, it guarantees exactly that, just as stated. That unalienable right safeguards our "PURSUIT" of happiness. Not a guarantee or entitlement to happiness. Big difference.
I will not weigh in on this topic again, because quite frankly the commentary becomes a bit exhausting. I will thank and applaud our city council for listening to the voice of reason, not allowing themselves to be shouted down by a vocal minority, and exercising some common sense and logic.
Perhaps solutions exist similar to Santa Barabara..the ban was needed.
Safe RV Parking Program
Due to the alarming increase in vehicle dwellers in south Santa Barbara County, coupled with the crackdown on overnight parking enacted by the City of Santa Barbara, New Beginnings currently operates a program to provide safe overnight parking for individuals and families who find themselves living in their vehicles. The program is a cooperative between New Beginnings, area churches and non-profits whereby participating institutions provide parking places for vehicle dwellers registered with the New Beginnings program. The program currently includes various dispersed locations in the county. The purpose of the program is to provide a level of stability needed for vehicle dwellers to effectively make positive changes in their lives. A safe place to park, together with the social services and case management provided by New Beginnings case workers, are the tools used to achieve this end. Interested parties should direct their calls to The Safe Parking Program administrative office. The phone number is 805-845-8492. The fax number is 805-845-8493.
>Due to the alarming increase in vehicle dwellers in south Santa Barbara County, coupled with the crackdown on overnight parking enacted by the City of Santa Barbara, New Beginnings currently operates a program to provide safe overnight parking....
Please notice that criminalization (crackdown) preceded the non-profit partnership. It is the only realistic approach.
Thank you city council, now make sure enforcement happens.
And let's get Marc Berman and Karen Holman out of office ASAP.
The ideal situation would be for none of the cities to ban vehicle dwelling. However, since all neighboring cities (from Burlingame to San Jose) have banned it (except for E.Palo Alto & Portola Valley), this puts Palo Alto in a very difficult position, since every homeless in these cities now end up in PA. PA cannot solve this issue on its own.
I live two houses away from Cubberley. I haven't personally experienced anything violent/unlawful. In fact the teenagers in this neighborhood create more havoc than the homeless at Cubberley. However, other neighbors have had different experiences(flashing, got yelled etc).
Most of the Cubberley residents keep to themselves - they make an honest living, they live there purely out of circumstances. I would hate to see them move out. However, a few bad apples have been making life difficult for everyone around them.
I was at the meeting and there and I am glad that the city council voted the way it did.
Clearly, Palo Alto cannot solve the problem for the entire area and we need to be protected the same way other neighboring cities have done. They cannot be sending their problems our way. This is clearly what is happening today and we need to stop this flow right away.
While there were some calm and reasoned and valid arguments on the side of the homeless advocates, there are also plenty of intimidation and even some borderline threats. I am glad the city council decided not to fold under pressure.
We need to keep up the pressure on the city and deal with the Cubberley issues next week.
City Council acted responsibly by doing what the majority of residents want [portion removed.]
As to the faith community: two faith organizations offered to house vehicle dwellers at their sites but their neighbors protested so much that that the plans couldn't be implemented. This can be discouraging to others in the faith community, if they're likely to get similar responses from their [portion removed] neighbors. That is, in spite of all kinds of safeguards being offered to put in place. So, where do we go from here? Let's hear some positive alternatives for people who can't afford to rent in Palo Alto.
Fact One: The problems at Cubberley were created by City Manager James Keene and Police Chief Dennis Burns by refusing to enforce the existing laws and rules: (Sections 6, 7, 14 and 18 of Palo Alto Muni-Code 2.08.050 under '...Prohibited Conduct at or in Community Centers'') at Cubberely Center. They did this to generate support for a Vehicle Habitation Ordinance, VHO, even though a VHO will not solve any of the problems at Cubberley.
Fact Two: Many residents who spoke at last night's city council meeting relayed the lie given to them by the palo alto police in stating that there was nothing the police could do.
Fact Three: In addition to the rules at Cubberley there are many laws that the city has refused to enforce which would abate any other problems between residents, businesses and vehicle dwellers.
Fact Four: Now that Keene and Burns have their VHO in hand they will start enforcing the existing rules at Cubberley.
Fact Five: Cubberley will be cleaned up prior to enforcement of the VHO which begins in January yet Keene, Burns and City Council will falsely state to the public that it was the VHO that cleaned up Cubberley.
Fact Six: The VHO does not prevent the 120 homeless people who do not have cars from committing the acts that city council and city staff claim that the VHO will resolve.
Fact Seven: Since the VHO will not prevent public urination, littering or othe disturbances what was is the actual affect of the ordinance, it simply took vehicles away from the homeless.
Fact Eight: Come January the state of California will over-rule Palo Alto's VHO with a Homeless Bill of Rights exposing how illogical and unconstitutional it is to deny property to U.S. citizens and the right to equal access to the public's property, namely the public streets.
Finally! Thank you!
Thanks to the city council. Now we need enforcement.There are always 3-4 RV's with people living in them and parked on El Camino near Maybell. Probably send their kids to PA schools so we can pay for it. There are also two vans with trailers that park there and live there and use the vans for tools, etc. We need to remove that kind of street living in Palo Alto and hope we can enforce it and improve the community.
Thank you very much Marc Berman and Karen Holman. You have my vote in the future for any political office you run for. I have been a resident of Palo Alto for 35 years. After I lost almost everything, my 6 figure job, my wife of 22 years to death due to a long illness which exhausted our savings I then also lost my apartment. A couple of years ago I moved into an old RV which I now park in commercially zoned areas. I have never broken the law other than getting a couple of parking tickets here but now I will be subject to a $1000 fine and/or 6 months in jail. Also I will probably lose all my remaining property when in jail because impound fees for my vehicle will be huge. I think this VHO is backwards as it criminalizes us first with the city council saying they will work on plans to help the less fortunate in the future. They should have worked on providing more low income housing first. I have been on a list to get section 8 housing assistance for over a year but have heard that for now no more section 8 housing is being given out in Santa Clara county. I also have looked into what little low income housing there is in Palo Alto and it's too expensive for someone who's subsisting on social security. Some in the city council said this VHO will help us vehicle dwellers but it in no way helps me or others I know. It's said also that the police will direct us to social services. The services offered in Palo Alto are very few. The Opportunity Center is no help as it's full with a huge waiting list for housing. A recent ignorant letter to the Post said that we are mentally deficient and/or alcoholics and/or druggies who should be involuntarily committed to an institution all of which is untrue for me and many other vehicle dwellers I know. I'm an old software engineer who's working on a solution (a money making program) and I don't need anything other than maybe some cheap housing. Please allow me to solve my own problems and not jail me.
Are you interested in living in a room in someone's home or only in a private space by yourself?
Private is best but room might work out too. When I registered to post online I gave my email address. I wonder is there anyway you can send me an email through the PaloAltoOnline as they know my email address. Unless I have to I rather not post my phone number or email address in this post or is there any way I can contact you without either of us posting in here where it's so visible to everyone. Brings up a problem to solve also, me getting rid of my RV.
We don't have a spare room, but many neighbors do. I will ask around privately.
Then get connected if there's interest.
Perhaps other readers here may have a room for you, and ideas about the RV.
It would be a great start if citizens could help people who are substance free without significant issues find a room while waiting for other housing options.
I don't want to give false hope but want to begin somewhere, one person at a time.
Remember the leaf blower ban and all the debate over whether it was necessary? It blew away because very few ever filed a complaint. I feel this will be just the same, no calls, no action. I believe the VH will continue; with no specific violation for someone to report, there will be nothing to enforce. Currently Cubberley in general is quite serene. My neighbors can live in fear, I find the Cubberley residents harmless, and friendly in general; less congestion and competition for my dogs & I is a benefit from their fear. Thanks.
"When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.
34-36 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. And here's why:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.'
37-40 "Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was meyou did it to me.'
41-43 "Then he will turn to the 'goats,' the ones on his left, and say, 'Get out, worthless goats! You're good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because
I was hungry and you gave me no meal,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
I was homeless and you gave me no bed,
I was shivering and you gave me no clothes,
Sick and in prison, and you never visited.'
44 "Then those 'goats' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn't help?'
45 "He will answer them, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was meyou failed to do it to me.'
"I was homeless and you gave me a room,"
Seems to me that's what the city's social services option for the car dwellers wants to do. Therefore, why do so many of our citizens that I heard speak last night, including persons of the cloth, want to keep the homeless living in their cars?
Thank you for the timely tweak, johhnieEPA.
@ Mr. Goodwin:
Please provide verifiable proof of yout "fact 1". Or can we cut to the chase and have you admit that you are speculating at best?
Please provide proof that the police gave those residents the lies (prove that they are lies while you're at it). Again this is not a fact without proof.
# 3. Proof please. Many of the behavior and human biology laws can only be enforced if actually witnessed by PAPD. So "refusal" is more or less can't do anything if they didn't see it happening. They need proof...sound familiar?
#5. This is a prediction, not a fact.
#8. We have discussed this before. Pure speculation on your behalf. Not a fact.
The City of Palo Alto just voted to be sued and to spend the City's limited resources on defending an unconstitutional ordinance. Every Palo Altan should be outraged. This will solve no problem--the homeless will still be around AWAKE, and the City will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend this. See what happened in San Luis Obispo?
[Portion removed due to possible copyright infringement]
Has anyone ever considered using city-owned parking facilities for overnight parking for the homeless? There are several lots around town at public libraries, Gamble Garden, and under City Hall (safe and next to Police station)? If the city really wants to help, then use city facilities.
@ Justice. Please explain why all of the other cities in the area still have their camping bans.
I'm guessing that there must have been a specific issue or clause that caused the SLO court ruling. However, it is very clear that the ban is enforceable given the overwhelming number of cities in CA that have successfully banned camping and have survived any legal challenges.
>The City of Palo Alto just voted to be sued and to spend the City's limited resources on defending an unconstitutional ordinance.
Our new ordinance is not only constitutional, but the funds that we spend to defend it should come out of funds currently spent to support the car campers and PAHC and OC. Let's see how long the opposition wants to carry on with jury nullification, endless appeals, once it becomes clear that will dry up funds for their own causes.
>Has anyone ever considered using city-owned parking facilities for overnight parking for the homeless?
Of course, and it was directly rejected by Larry Klein, because it puts too much liability on CPA deep pockets.
It seems to me that Palo Alto already has a solution: If EVERY PERSON who showed up to holler SHAME at the meeting just sets aside dwelling space IN THEIR HOMES, the " homeless problem " could go away overnight!
How about that? Are you ready to put your money where your mouth is?
That would show the mark of a real community instead of people who talk the talk and do not walk the walk. At least ONE person has offered this right here. Anyone else willing to do the same?
The people who complain about the " CHANGE " ( where have I heard that word before? /sarcasm ) could CHOOSE to live in a place that is within their means, however it will not be in the SFBA..Ultimately, most " homeless " do not accept this very personal change.
People in Palo Alto have had both " formal "( laws ) and " informal " ( mores ) for many years, that is what defines a community.
You have a new change and the citizens of Palo Alto need to face REALITY instead of more Talk, Talk, Talk.
Are YOU up to the challenge?
Several members of the public who spoke at the CC meeting stated that when they call the police about problems at Cubberley the police have replied to them by stating that there is nothing they can do. Documented in the video footage.
City Councilwoman Kniss stated during the CC meeting that the police have stated that they need another tool to deal with the problems below. Documented in the video footage.
C.M. James Keene stated at the CC meeting and numerous times in the past that the problems at Cubberley has become a de facto homeless shelter and cannot be solved with existing laws and rules. Documented in the video footage as well as in the local press.
Here is the Link:
On July 27, 1998, the City Council amended Palo Alto Municipal Code Section
2.08.050 to enable the City Manager to prescribe and enforce regulations for the
entry into, or use by members of the public, of any City real property, building,
park, or other facility……… In the past year staff has encountered problems with a few disruptive visitors that have prompted us to again update the Community Center rules.
REGULATION OF THE CITY OF PALO ALTO REGARDING PROHIBITED CONDUCT AT OR
IN COMMUNITY CENTERS, THEATERS, INTERPRETIVE BUILDINGS AND ART CENTER
As authorized by Palo Alto Municipal Code section 2.08.050, the following regulation is adopted, to be effective fifteen days following submission to Council made the date stated below.
6. No person shall use covered facilities restrooms
or kitchens (excluding shower rooms or locker rooms expressly
provided for this purpose) for bathing (except for washing of hands and face),
or washing or drying of clothes or utensils unless to assist City staff or authorized by City staff. No person shall use covered facilities restrooms or public areas for meal or food preparation unless to assist City staff or authorized by City staff.
7. No person shall engage in running, skateboarding, roller skating or otherwise use coasting devices in covered facilities, including in courtyards, doorways or walkways.. No person shall engage in loud and raucous conduct on covered facilities premises sufficiently close to covered facilities"buildings so as to significantly interfere
with the use of the facilities by patrons, visitors or City staff. Noise from participants in special events may be exempted.
14. No person shall camp on covered facilities premises including in courtyards, doorways or walkways, unless that person is a part of a registered class or summer camp or specifically designated and authorized by the Director of Community Services as part of a special event. Camping means the use of any portion of covered facilities' premises
for living accommodation purposes.
18. Anyone who repeatedly places personal belongings in or around covered facilities, including in courtyards, doorways or walkways, in excess of thirty minutes after being requested not to do so will be considered to intend to use the covered facility for storage purposes. No person shall use covered facilities primarily for storage purposes, unless that person has been assigned a locker, closet or storage unit by City staff as part of participating in a registered class or
Here is the Link to the above Muni-Codes:
Regarding #3. you cannot punish people for what they might do as you have pointed out in your #5 as pure speculation. Secondarily, the VHO will not prevent homeless people who do not have cars or other people who leave bars and restaurants from urinating in your yard as they walk back to their cars. Based upon your logic we should do away with all of the local pubs and eateries.
I remember many years ago when I was working in my garage when I encountered one of neighbors was out on a jog and she had run down the alleyway behind my house and she could not make it home in time for she had pulled down her shorts and was urinating right next to my back gate attempting to conceal herself behind the big, oak tree.
Regarding #5, true, just like speculating on the trends in the stock market.
Regarding #8 true, yet Rhode Island has a HBR; Connecticut and Illinois only need a governor's signature and Oregon is soon to follow. The dominoes are falling just like black, women and gay rights. The same scenario is playing out.
CRESCENT PARK DAD, SEE ABOVE.
Crescent Park Dad,
if the above is not enough here are some more:
PALO ALTO MUNICIPAL CODES
5.20.030 Discarding of solid waste and recyclable materials.
5.20.160 Spillage or leakage of solid waste and recyclable materials.
5.20.190 No burning, burial, or dumping of solid waste or recyclable materials.
9.04.010 Streets, sidewalks, highways, alleys - Consumption of alcoholic beverages
9.04.010 Streets, sidewalks, highways, alleys - Consumption of alcoholic beverages
9.04.010 (a) It shall be unlawful for any person to consume any alcoholic beverage
upon any street, sidewalk, highway or alley except as may be
authorized by City Council.
9.04.020 City parking lots - Consumption of alcoholic beverages prohibited.
9.04.020 (a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, it shall be
unlawful for any person to consume any alcoholic beverage in or
upon any of the following listed city-owned, operated or controlled
parking lots or garages:
9.09.010 Regulating public nuisance.
9.09.010 (a) To urinate or defecate, except at a lavatory facility.
9.09.010 (b) To willfully and maliciously disturb any lawful assemblage or
procession of persons.
9.09.010 (c) To ignite, cause to be ignited, permit to be ignited, or suffer, allow
or maintain any outdoor fire except as permitted by Section
22.04.300 of this code.
9.10.030 Residential property noise limits.
9.10.030 (a) No person shall produce, suffer or allow to be produced by any
machine, animal or device, or any combination of same, on
residential property, a noise level more than six dB above the local
ambient at any point outside of the property plane
10.36.030 (a) No person who owns or has possession, custody or control of
any vehicle shall park or leave such vehicle standing upon any street or alley
or public parking facility for a period of seventy-two
consecutive hours or more
CALIFORNIA PENAL CODES
415. Any of the following persons shall be punished by imprisonment
in the county jail for a period of not more than 90 days, a fine of
not more than four hundred dollars ($400), or both such imprisonment
(1) Any person who unlawfully fights in a public place or
challenges another person in a public place to fight.
(2) Any person who maliciously and willfully disturbs another
person by loud and unreasonable noise.
(3) Any person who uses offensive words in a public place which
are inherently likely to provoke an immediate violent reaction.
I was against this ban, I did not see the need for it, and I don't see that it will change anything in a positive way.
That said, there are problems with institutionalizing an allowance for lots of people to be living on the streets, in cars or not - something this ban seems to entirely ignore in favor of the pretense that all of Palo Alto is a macrocosm of Cubberly where there are known problems that might have been solved but for ... what reason?
Clearly our city government does not have the brainpower or bandwidth to solve non-trivial problems, like development, traffic issues and others. They seem to spend a lot of time trying to stay out of sight and inflame the really vocal virtual internet mob that say things like if you don't want to see the homeless persecuted you need to let them sleep in your home. I still submit that the participation of these kind of comments and people is inimical to a town hall process, in the town hall of here on the virtual town hall.
Well, very Machiavellian job council.
If thoughtful conversations to solve these problems cannot happen in the city council, and they cannot happen in council meetings, and the people are not polled, and problems are not measured in a organized thoughtful way, I guess we just get what we get and most people may not like it but there is nothing existing to be done to change it. We just see the results of it in an unhappy public.
So, It will be interesting to see if anything changes, let alone gets better. I find all the citing of laws and codes very interesting as well as questions as to why the police could not handle these problems with existing laws. Also, since I regularly drive though Mountain View and other cities that are claimed to have existing bans like this and see RVs parked all over the place ... how is that happening, and how will our ban be different.
I used to know some perfectly affluent and civilized Silicon Valley workers that bought nice RVs to sleep in while working here during the week and then would travel up North for the weekend to their real house where they could afford to buy. There are places in the industrial and business parts of the city where folks like that would not bother people and could be more, but I do agree there are some situations where homeless people or people with mental problems would be an issue ... like they are even if they don't have cars.
So, do we have a law that will be consistently and uniformly applied, or just pulled out when a police officer has the time and either is tired of dealing with someone or getting too many complaints, while some others who are quiet or not bothering anyone or who may even have connections slide on by unnoticed. Are the police going to be patrolling the streets for people sleeping in their cars?
> it was directly rejected by Larry Klein, because it puts too much liability on CPA deep pockets.
Craig, did Larry Klein happen to explain what that means, specifically or give an example, or was "legal liability" just used as an excuse to avoid thinking about the idea too much? What it explored at all?
Many of the Cubberley car dwellers are (a) there because they have homes in far off places and commute on the weekends back to affordable housing (b) used to be at the Main Library or the Downtown Library or indeed Mitchell Park, but the parking there was suspended because of construction. One station wagon was there for years, quietly hurting no one; (c) one is I understand a google employee with huge dental bills unable to pay for housing yet, and using the Y (or google) to shower etc, (d) some are families who have lost their home because of bank practices foreclosing on homes instead of helping to refinance (e) some are veterans whose vouchers are refused by Palo Alto landlords. Let's see: 23 cars with people in them, trying to find a place to stay .... Good grief: city council. Can't you use your imagination and find a solution AND not always push these social problems onto the "faith-based" community. Why not address this with ABAG as I have suggested and why not use the Santa Barbara parking garage approach and get all the local cities to do the same. Share the problem and find a solution. Do your jobs as our elected representatives.
The new "Stop the Ban Coalition" was only formed 4 weeks ago at the meeting on July 13 at the UU church.There was a large attendance of about 70 people from many different org.and some of the vehicle dwellers and other homeless people. In attendance were people that had been working on this issue since July 2011-they called themselves the Community Cooperation Team(CCT). So when you say we should have come up with solutions there weren't many science facilities except older people, disabled,etc.
Last year the churches and faith community came together April 2012 where they discussed a pilot program which was never implemented. They wanted more input from the City regarding the operation of the program. A second community forum was at City Hall in June of 2012 and a majority spoke out against the ban.
The CCT attended CC and the Policy and Services Cmte. meetings and spoke out against the ban. The ordinance wasn't implemented by the PSC in 2012. One member of the Cmte. stated "Sometimes the best thing you can do about an issue is to do nothing. I think this is the time to nothing about an issue".
It wasn't until the spring of this year that the ban was revisited by the current CC which has a few new members.The PSC voted in favor of the ban at their June 25(26th), 2013 meeting where most of the speakers were against the ban and a few from the ones supporting it. That vote caused a lot of Palo Altans to mobilize to call the meeting mentioned above on July 13.
They also violated their own rules by not having the HRC get involved this time-Claude Ezran was told "not to worry about the ban issue because the CC is "handling it".
There are new org. as well as old org. getting involved this time.
The members are diverse,church members, concerned Palo Altans, WILPF(Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, members of the Democratic party, Occupy RWC members, Sandy Perry who works with the homeless in San Jose, Neighbors Helping Neighbors which helps people who are about to lose their homes and facing homelessness, Stanford students interested in social justice issues, myself, an RN member of the Santa Clara County Single Payer Healthcare Coalition,lawyers, and others who work in agencies that serve the homeless.
Unlike what has been said about us applauding our speakers who made very good points about why to stop the ban, most of us did not heckle the pro-ban folks. Except the folks in our STB Coalition, whom we have gotten to know in the past few weeks, we didn't even know who was for or against the ban until they stepped up to the microphone. The Mayor rightfully chastised the person who was heckling a pro-ban speaker. That was inappropriate.
We want to work to come up with solutions, not citations. We don't want to make Cubberley a permanent shelter. We want to work with the City and all of the org. and groups on both sides of the issue to come up with a win-win outcome.
We held a Community Dinner at Cubberley so that CC and HRC members and concerned citizens(neighbors of Cubberley) would come and meet the homwless many of whom are middle class, educated and some have jobs. They just can't afford the high rents. They are not violent or combative. The man who tangled with the cop most likely was one of the mentally ill/alcoholic. That does not translate to them wanting bothering the kids who go there.
I am waiting for a concrete example of what a homeless person, who lives at Cubberley, did that makes parents fearful.
@ Lynn: thank you for the update. I look forward to hearing about your continued progress.
This may seem a bit harsh, but I have to ask the obvious question....
For those campers who are obviously mentally & physically well, some who have jobs, some who commute...they are clearly capable of making rational and sound decisions...why do they insist on staying in one of the most expensive cities in the area? You can find studio apartments all over Silicon Valley and perhaps spend less than what they pay for commuting/owning their RVs. Find a roommate from this group and save additional money.
@Lynn - I live across the street from Cubberley and I walk, regularly, to Piazza with my young children. There is a homeless person who sleeps between building G and H who talks to himself in a full conversation - I also did a double-take to make sure he wasn't talking on a cell phone. Not sure if that meets a fearful definition but it makes me uneasy to have my children run around freely.
I know Menlo Park is not immune to the homeless. What is Menlo Park providing to the homeless that we could learn from and/or potentially use to model after in Palo Alto?
Posted by bru, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, 10 hours ago:
" I used to know some perfectly affluent and civilized Silicon Valley workers that bought nice RVs to sleep in while working here during the week and then would travel up North for the weekend to their real house where they could afford to buy. There are places in the industrial and business parts of the city where folks like that would not bother people and could be more, but I do agree there are some situations where homeless people or people with mental problems would be an issue ... like they are even if they don't have cars. "
Sorry, but this DEFLECTION ( look up the psychological reference ) is not germane to this discourse.
The PRIVATE PROPERTY use by employees/management has been properly used because that is a BUSINESS PRACTICE when contracting for temporary or permanent employees.
I have done this in multiple states when involved with a NATIONAL UPGRADE of equipment for Walmart IT related upgrades.
Living in a TEMPORARY abode at the upgrade site was a normal situation.
Another fact: WALMART ALLOWS TEMPORARY USE OF THEIR PARKING LOTS FOR RV USERS * WHEN IT IS ALLOWED BY THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT *. I used this feature many times when I did a vacation in the RV that was very useful.
The problems at Cubberley and other sites along with other specific laws that were not enforced show the proof that when One Law is Not Enforced it Weakens all the Other Laws on the books.
Now it is the time to get to work and rectify this LAWLESSNESS!
That means EVERYONE, including the LEOs who should have used the tools they had in the first place. Now THAT is the real SHAME in Palo Alto...
Will the Vehicle Habitation Ordinance force this fellow who sleeps between buildings G and H leave Cubberley? If not then why we're you for the ordinance if it is not going to accomplish what you hoped and claimed that it would?
If there were no permanent homeless camping out at Cubberley, would you be allowing your 6 year old kids to run around un-supervised?
You are teaching your kids to fear the wrong people. You should be teaching them to be on guard of strangers who own homes as apposed to those who don't.
@ Crescent Park Dad,
The ball has been in your court for 13 hours. Do you have a response or do you concede?
>Craig, did Larry Klein happen to explain what that means, specifically or give an example, or was "legal liability" just used as an excuse to avoid thinking about the idea too much? What it explored at all?
The meeting I watched, where Larry Klein said as much, had a variety of 'solutions' suggested, many of them pie-in-sky stuff. Larry was in denial about the problem, at that time (he has since changed his mind, big time). I think his basic view was that it was not problem, so why should CPA get involved, via its public garages. His stated view was a concern about exposing CPA to legal liability and expenses related to police security and sanitation...CPA has the deepest pockets, and would be liable to potential lawsuits, etc. BTW, I agree with his analysis; however, I am glad to see that he has woken up to the problem (numbers matter, as he says).
If you want his current views, then best to ask him.
@ Tom - I was answering a question Lynn had posted on homeless but if you think I'm going to let my 6 year old run around unsupervised with or without homeless, then you're making a wrong assumption.
Plus, do you have proof the homeless will voluntarily be an extra eye to watch my kids? That's just irresponsible thinking on your part to believe I'm going to expect someone else to take on the responsibility to watch my kids.
You don't know what I teach or instill in my kids so don't try to play parent. All I mentioned is that any parent should feel - uneasiness and more attention in cautious situations and surroundings. [Portion removed.]
[Post removed due to removal of referenced comment.]
People on both sides of this issue are passionate. I feel that this a great opportunity for us to talk with one another. People who aren't familiar with the homeless might be pleasantly surprised that the vehicle dwellers at Cubberley are middle class, educated and some even have jobs. Here are the latest rents in PA:
# BedroomsJun May Apr 3 Month % change
Studio N/A N/A N/A 0%
1 Bed $2,546 $2,421 $2,394 6.3%
2 Bed $3,589 $3,440 $3,493 2.7%
3 Bed N/A N/A N/A 0%
Palo Alto Apartment Rental Trends
These rents are outrageous. The average middle class person won't draw in a salary to be able to pay these prices. When the rich whites drive people out because they don't want to face the fact that some of us aren't electrical engineers making mucho bucks in Silicon Valley that's pretty sad.
Here are statistics of the homeless with mental illness:
Between 250,000 individuals with schizophrenia or manic-depressive illness are homeless among the 744,000 homeless population (total homeless population statistic based on data from a 2007 national survey). These 250,000 individuals are equivalent to the population of such cities as Dayton, Ohio; Des Moines, Iowa; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Providence, Rhode Island; Richmond, Virginia; or Salt Lake City, Utah.
Kathleen Sibelius, HHS Secretary, held a large Congressional forum about mental illness citing that we need to educate ourselves about these diseases so we can prevent some of the shootings this past year and have compassion for those who happen to be homeless. The homeless die many years sooner than people who have a decent place to live.
Homelessness is increasing with this economy ,esp. in this area where many can't afford an apt.
We should seize this opportunity for ALL of us to understand why people are homeless. In speaking with several of the vehicle dwellers and teachers who teach classes there at Cubberley, the stories that are being told simply aren't true. They clean up the trash and try to make the place clean-cleaning the public's trash. I am still waiting for a concrete example. There are mentally ill there who sleep outdoors. Mentally ill folks can't work, thus don't have cars. So the vehicle ban won't solve that problem. They can collect SS if they qualify for mental health disability. I believe that they are assigned have a guardian who handles their money.
Children should be educated that Jesus was homeless and that we should have compassion for them, not get rid of them. The man who attacked the cop as was mentioned was most likely one of the mentally ill-probably alcoholic. That does not equate into assuming that they are going to harm children. Most of the homeless in this area are non-threatening.
Once you confront a fear such as meeting the homeless and realize that many of them are wonderful, sometimes fragile people your fears should fade away. Our Stop the Ban Coalition wants to help the vehicle dwellers find areas in the city where they won't be harrassed. Cops come by at night at Cubberley and shine their bright flashlights into their cars waking them up. That is harrassment and totally inappropriate behavior of the cops.
The reason that homeless come here is that there are services for them that some cities don't have. Wouldn't you want to go to a place that has food and showers and mental health support? I would.
It is my hope that we can work together to help these American citizens who have a right to be here and just so happened to have unfortunate circumstances.
Liz Kniss and other CC members mentioned the Santa Barbara New Beginnings Program that apparently is working well. Some of our folks have been in touch with their people and we have discussed perhaps having someone from that program come up to PA to educate us about their program. Santa Barbara is a similar affluent community like PA.
We need to push for affordable housing which is at the root of this problem.
A society is judged by how they treat the poor and disabled.
I agree with Lynn and Tom, the deadheaded reaction of the City Council to think they should solve the Cubberly problem with allowing a mob of a few people unrestrained by editorial control to run wild here on Palo Alto Online with all kinds of fear mongering accusations and exaggerations and push it all into demonizing car-camping. The town forum idea is useless if it can be manipulated and steered.
But, also I don't really think it is any fairer to demonize our teachers as child-molestors though, but the point is understandable, but not any fairer than trying to paint all the homeless as sexual predators.
And then today on there was an article about a new software entrepreneur, Austen Allred, the co-founder of social news-sharing app Grasswire, and how he lived in his car before he made it. Is that funny or what?
Why did you say this: "But, also I don't really think it is any fairer to demonize our teachers as child-molestors though, but the point is understandable, but not any fairer than trying to paint all the homeless as sexual predators."
Who was demonizing teachers???
Sexual predators are mainly white males. I have never heard of any homeless person being a predator.
What do you mean by "right choices"? Did it ever occur to you that the people who have severe mental illness didn't have any choice in having a biochemical disease of the brain? Many are paranoid schizophrenics who won't take their medication due to their paranoia. They are usually the folks who push their shopping carts with all their belongings. They don't get the medical care they need due to their mental illness. That's pretty sad in the richest country on Earth and one of the richest cities in the US.
Did you ever consider that people can get disabled in their lifetime? Perhaps were in an auto accident through no fault of thir own and have a serious brain injury or had traumatic brain injury from an IED while in Iraq and can no longer work? There are a lot of homeless vets who fought for you and me to have our freedoms.
You are aware, I assume, that many people got laid off in Silicon Valley so no longer have their high paying jobs which allowed them to afford some of the rents in this area. They lose everything including health care and a salary.
And the fact that you don't believe many of the car dwellers have jobs, are middle class and educated, just like you, shows TREMENDOUS ignorance. I challenge you to go to Cubberley and meet some of the vehicle dwellers and hear their stories.
Oddly enough, there was an article on Yahoo just yesterday about a man creating a Palo Alto startup in Palo Alto who lived in his car:
Those who can't afford to live in Palo Alto need to move elsewhere and find less expensive rent rather than living in their cars. I am grateful this car-dwelling ban has passed. People should plan ahead and not spend every last dime they earn.
I don't understand how they will enforce the homeless to pay a $1000 ticket, however. If they can't pay, they go to jail and get free food and lodging?
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