News

Mayer's planned club stirs parking anxieties

Palo Alto council lauds goals for The Corner House, urges more neighborhood outreach

Marissa Mayer's proposed new venture -- the transformation of Palo Alto's oldest mortuary into a club geared toward working women and families -- received a mixed reception on Monday night, with City Council members and residents struggling to reconcile its laudable goals with its potential impacts on neighborhood streets.

Mayer, the former Yahoo CEO and current owner of the former Roller & Hapgood & Tinney funeral home, has requested a zone change that would allow her to turn the facility at 980 Middlefield Road into "The Corner House," a club that would include collaborative workspaces, play areas, enrichment classes, a cafeteria, a gym and other amenities.

Before she can meet her goal, however, Mayer has to overcome a significant hurdle: she has to convince the council to approve a "planned community" zone, a designation that has become so toxic over the past decade that the council agreed in 2014 to place a moratorium on it. In doing so, she has to make the case that the project's "public benefits" are significant enough to warrant a waiver from underlying zoning regulations.

In its pre-screening hearing on Monday, council members signaled that she still has some ways to go. Some members praised Mayer's general goal of creating new community space for working families. Mayor Liz Kniss recalled her time as a young mother in the Palo Alto community and concurred that there is a lack of resources. Councilman Greg Tanaka, a tech entrepreneur, emphasized the difficulty of raising a family in Palo Alto, where just about every young family needs two incomes to afford housing and where, as a result, just about every mother is a working mother.

Yet the council also sympathized with the roughly two dozen residents who addressed the council to voice their concerns and, at times, outright opposition to the project. At the top of the list is parking. One speaker after another noted the severe parking shortage that the University South neighborhood already experiences and raised concerns about conditions getting even worse if the project wins approval.

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While Mayer had argued that the traffic impacts of The Corner House would be lower than they were when the funeral home was in operation, many were unconvinced. Peter Steinhart, who lives near the property, said the funeral home had events that generally lasted for an hour or two. The Corner House has proposed hosting 250 small events (with less than 75 attendees) and about 150 large events (with more than 75 attendees) annually.

"This is a neighborhood already fighting for parking spaces," Steinhart said. "There are signs on Middlefield now warning Addison School neighbors not to park here and block driveways."

Tom Mees concurred and argued that the project would fail to address the city's goals on traffic, parking and public safety.

"If allowed, it would reduce the stock of potential sites for affordable housing while dramatically increasing traffic and the demand for parking in surrounding neighborhoods."

Others objections focused on the means, rather than the end. The "planned community" zone, they said, have been a bad deal for residents in the past, with developers often receiving valuable zoning exceptions while failing to provide the promised benefits. Even if the project makes sense, the planned community zone is not the best way to accomplish it, some critics said.

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"I really oppose these PC projects," said Eric Verwillow. "I think all the abuses of zoning I've seen have to do with the fact that community benefits never seem to realize."

Yet if the property is to become anything other than a mortuary (and Mayer indicated that she has no interest in entering the mortuary business), a zone change of some sort would be necessary. Councilman Adrian Fine suggested that a PC zone would in fact be an appropriate tool here, given that the existing PC zone -- which limits use to mortuary -- has effectively expired. He called the proposal "encouraging," but concurred with his colleagues that there is still "work to be done" on the project to address neighbors' concerns and to ensure that the public benefits would be sufficient.

Despite skepticism from some of her neighbors, Mayer made the case Monday that the new facility would be more a community center than a private club, with plenty of services available to non-members, including classes and rental spaces that would be open to the general public.

"We think by supporting working mothers and modern families and giving them access to useful resources -- that is is something that will strengthen sense of community (and) is in itself a community benefit,” Mayer said.

Many agreed. The council heard on Monday from several supporters of Mayer's proposal, including female entrepreneurs who testified to the challenges of managing family and professional responsibilities.

"If we had one local community center where I can both do my work and at the very same time, my children can do their enrichment opportunities each week, in return we'd have extra time each day in being present and doing what's most important in our lives -- being with our family," said Nicole Pollock, a former Google employee.

Coral Chung told the council that being an entrepreneur is "not glamorous and full of parties every day." It is, in fact, exhausting.

"I feel like there are no community centers or options for me as a young mother with a 5-year-old to go and have support -- and to potentially nurse, if I have a new baby."

The council also found plenty to like in the proposal. Councilman Greg Scharff urged Mayer's team to meet with neighbors and to better address their concerns. He also observed that her plan "is not a business proposal to make money."

"What we're looking at is something where someone is coming in here and saying, 'There's an unmet need.' That's something we should take very seriously and figure out how to accommodate that need," Scharff said.

Others similarly struggled to reconcile the views of the project's supporters and the skeptical neighbors.

"I think on one hand we have traffic and parking challenges and on the other hand, we have the goal of, 'How do we help working moms or women entrepreneurs?'" Tanaka asked.

Vice Mayor Eric FIlseth, who in the past has been skeptical about PC-zoned projects, noted that the city has very few instances where an existing PC zone expires. He did not preclude approving Mayer's plan, but argued that if the city were to go forward with the zone change, it needs to be careful about neighborhood impacts.

"Parking in this area is one of the most hotly contested (issues) in the city," Filseth said, noting that doctors and dentists in the neighborhood already feel excluded because they can't purchase enough parking permits. "We need to make sure that all that fits."

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Gennady Sheyner covers the City Hall beat in Palo Alto as well as regional politics, with a special focus on housing and transportation. Before joining the Palo Alto Weekly/PaloAltoOnline.com in 2008, he covered breaking news and local politics for the Waterbury Republican-American, a daily newspaper in Connecticut. Read more >>

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Mayer's planned club stirs parking anxieties

Palo Alto council lauds goals for The Corner House, urges more neighborhood outreach

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Mon, Oct 1, 2018, 10:19 pm

Marissa Mayer's proposed new venture -- the transformation of Palo Alto's oldest mortuary into a club geared toward working women and families -- received a mixed reception on Monday night, with City Council members and residents struggling to reconcile its laudable goals with its potential impacts on neighborhood streets.

Mayer, the former Yahoo CEO and current owner of the former Roller & Hapgood & Tinney funeral home, has requested a zone change that would allow her to turn the facility at 980 Middlefield Road into "The Corner House," a club that would include collaborative workspaces, play areas, enrichment classes, a cafeteria, a gym and other amenities.

Before she can meet her goal, however, Mayer has to overcome a significant hurdle: she has to convince the council to approve a "planned community" zone, a designation that has become so toxic over the past decade that the council agreed in 2014 to place a moratorium on it. In doing so, she has to make the case that the project's "public benefits" are significant enough to warrant a waiver from underlying zoning regulations.

In its pre-screening hearing on Monday, council members signaled that she still has some ways to go. Some members praised Mayer's general goal of creating new community space for working families. Mayor Liz Kniss recalled her time as a young mother in the Palo Alto community and concurred that there is a lack of resources. Councilman Greg Tanaka, a tech entrepreneur, emphasized the difficulty of raising a family in Palo Alto, where just about every young family needs two incomes to afford housing and where, as a result, just about every mother is a working mother.

Yet the council also sympathized with the roughly two dozen residents who addressed the council to voice their concerns and, at times, outright opposition to the project. At the top of the list is parking. One speaker after another noted the severe parking shortage that the University South neighborhood already experiences and raised concerns about conditions getting even worse if the project wins approval.

While Mayer had argued that the traffic impacts of The Corner House would be lower than they were when the funeral home was in operation, many were unconvinced. Peter Steinhart, who lives near the property, said the funeral home had events that generally lasted for an hour or two. The Corner House has proposed hosting 250 small events (with less than 75 attendees) and about 150 large events (with more than 75 attendees) annually.

"This is a neighborhood already fighting for parking spaces," Steinhart said. "There are signs on Middlefield now warning Addison School neighbors not to park here and block driveways."

Tom Mees concurred and argued that the project would fail to address the city's goals on traffic, parking and public safety.

"If allowed, it would reduce the stock of potential sites for affordable housing while dramatically increasing traffic and the demand for parking in surrounding neighborhoods."

Others objections focused on the means, rather than the end. The "planned community" zone, they said, have been a bad deal for residents in the past, with developers often receiving valuable zoning exceptions while failing to provide the promised benefits. Even if the project makes sense, the planned community zone is not the best way to accomplish it, some critics said.

"I really oppose these PC projects," said Eric Verwillow. "I think all the abuses of zoning I've seen have to do with the fact that community benefits never seem to realize."

Yet if the property is to become anything other than a mortuary (and Mayer indicated that she has no interest in entering the mortuary business), a zone change of some sort would be necessary. Councilman Adrian Fine suggested that a PC zone would in fact be an appropriate tool here, given that the existing PC zone -- which limits use to mortuary -- has effectively expired. He called the proposal "encouraging," but concurred with his colleagues that there is still "work to be done" on the project to address neighbors' concerns and to ensure that the public benefits would be sufficient.

Despite skepticism from some of her neighbors, Mayer made the case Monday that the new facility would be more a community center than a private club, with plenty of services available to non-members, including classes and rental spaces that would be open to the general public.

"We think by supporting working mothers and modern families and giving them access to useful resources -- that is is something that will strengthen sense of community (and) is in itself a community benefit,” Mayer said.

Many agreed. The council heard on Monday from several supporters of Mayer's proposal, including female entrepreneurs who testified to the challenges of managing family and professional responsibilities.

"If we had one local community center where I can both do my work and at the very same time, my children can do their enrichment opportunities each week, in return we'd have extra time each day in being present and doing what's most important in our lives -- being with our family," said Nicole Pollock, a former Google employee.

Coral Chung told the council that being an entrepreneur is "not glamorous and full of parties every day." It is, in fact, exhausting.

"I feel like there are no community centers or options for me as a young mother with a 5-year-old to go and have support -- and to potentially nurse, if I have a new baby."

The council also found plenty to like in the proposal. Councilman Greg Scharff urged Mayer's team to meet with neighbors and to better address their concerns. He also observed that her plan "is not a business proposal to make money."

"What we're looking at is something where someone is coming in here and saying, 'There's an unmet need.' That's something we should take very seriously and figure out how to accommodate that need," Scharff said.

Others similarly struggled to reconcile the views of the project's supporters and the skeptical neighbors.

"I think on one hand we have traffic and parking challenges and on the other hand, we have the goal of, 'How do we help working moms or women entrepreneurs?'" Tanaka asked.

Vice Mayor Eric FIlseth, who in the past has been skeptical about PC-zoned projects, noted that the city has very few instances where an existing PC zone expires. He did not preclude approving Mayer's plan, but argued that if the city were to go forward with the zone change, it needs to be careful about neighborhood impacts.

"Parking in this area is one of the most hotly contested (issues) in the city," Filseth said, noting that doctors and dentists in the neighborhood already feel excluded because they can't purchase enough parking permits. "We need to make sure that all that fits."

Comments

Stop Destroying Our City
Crescent Park
on Oct 2, 2018 at 4:12 am
Stop Destroying Our City, Crescent Park
on Oct 2, 2018 at 4:12 am

Mayer should not only reach out to the neighborhood, but she also needs a reality check.

Her proposal anticipates up to 300 or 400 people using the facility. The municipal code requires 100 parking spaces or more for that.

But Mayer proposes to have just 36 parking spaces. Where will the rest of the cars park? Surrounding streets are already jammed with cars.

An epidemic of fantasy-based planning is infecting Palo Alto. Ignore parking, ignore traffic, ignore creating more jobs but no housing ... heck, ignore reality itself. Enough.


Anon
Evergreen Park
on Oct 2, 2018 at 8:04 am
Anon, Evergreen Park
on Oct 2, 2018 at 8:04 am

In no way is an exclusive private club with very limited membership the same as a community center.
Community center is defined in our code as serving a significant percentage of the residents.

In general young women and mothers will not be helped by the proposed exclusive club which is not a child care center, as the property owner stated

Another example of the powerful and wealthy expecting special favors from our city staff.
Remember when Palantir occupied a city park for two weeks for a private party excluding all other use for a mere 40k


The Mortuary Served a Better Purpose
Professorville
on Oct 2, 2018 at 8:40 am
The Mortuary Served a Better Purpose, Professorville
on Oct 2, 2018 at 8:40 am

In addition to its proposed usage, the parking issue will also come into play in the event of any fundraisers, gala events and parties (i.e. Halloween) Ms. Mayer anticipates conducting at the facility.

Rather than emphasize that the parking is adequate, she should be proposing practical alternatives (e.g. shuttle service, restricted parking etc.). Until these potential problems are fully addressed (with workable solutions), the project should be declined by PACC.


This is Crazy!
Green Acres
on Oct 2, 2018 at 8:57 am
This is Crazy!, Green Acres
on Oct 2, 2018 at 8:57 am

She will need underground parking for this project....but Parking issues aside.....My Question is.....who is going to get rid of all of the cucuy from the dead spirits having flowed through that place. I imagine a bon fire of burning sage will not suffice....you won't find me there......


Martin
Downtown North
on Oct 2, 2018 at 9:44 am
Martin, Downtown North
on Oct 2, 2018 at 9:44 am

I support Marissa's vision, and think its fortunate that we live in a community where the people of extreme financial success, give back to the community. Whether its non-profit or for profit, having the mortuary replaced by a women/family center, is a great contribution.

Thank you Marissa!!


AnonymousRichWomen
Palo Alto Hills
on Oct 2, 2018 at 9:46 am
AnonymousRichWomen, Palo Alto Hills
on Oct 2, 2018 at 9:46 am
mauricio
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 2, 2018 at 10:13 am
mauricio, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Oct 2, 2018 at 10:13 am

[Portion removed.] Her idea is good, the location terrible. How about her buying property in a non residential area and having her club there?


Private Country Club?
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 2, 2018 at 10:20 am
Private Country Club?, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Oct 2, 2018 at 10:20 am

While having a center for working mom's might be ok, I don't think a cliquish private country club is. We've pretty much managed to steer clear of that in Palo Alto.


Working Mom
Nixon School
on Oct 2, 2018 at 10:27 am
Working Mom, Nixon School
on Oct 2, 2018 at 10:27 am

While I would love more housing options in Palo Alto, I like this community center geared for mothers and children. Palo Altans should think outside the box, and look into the future. Instead of worrying about parking, why not make bicycle safe routes throughout the city, and to this center, so we don't have to drive so much everywhere (think Copenhagen). Instead of thinking about parkable cars? How about self-driving options and public buses that re-route depending on need. We're so full of smart high-tech folks here, let's make this a really awesome green city with community center for moms and kids.


JustMe
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 2, 2018 at 10:46 am
JustMe, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 2, 2018 at 10:46 am

Can someone please tell me, precisely, why men should be excluded from this club? Do they not have similar needs juggling work and family?


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2018 at 10:56 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2018 at 10:56 am

Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis

>> Can someone please tell me, precisely, why men should be excluded from this club? Do they not have similar needs juggling work and family?

You wouldn't have time. ;-)


Katie
Addison School
on Oct 2, 2018 at 11:05 am
Katie, Addison School
on Oct 2, 2018 at 11:05 am

From the several working mothers who spoke at last night's meeting in support of this project, I wonder if they have ever even tried to connect at the existing places nearby meant for children, mothers and families - like the Children's Library, the Jr. Museum, the Lucie Stern COMMUNITY CENTER, Rinconada swimming pool? All within 3 blocks of the proposed project.

I understand it is difficult for young female entrepreneurial women to both succeed fully in a work situation and raise well-adjusted children. But almost every mother has had and will have the same struggle living in today's society. A private club in heavily congested University South will not be a panacea for any working mother's struggles. And for all mothers with infants and young children - this too shall pass - quickly - referring to this stage of life.

It sounds to me like affordable (or free, if subsidized by MM) childcare at the mortuary site is a better option. Yes, there would be some traffic issues related to drop off and pick up, but not the social gatherings of hundreds of people with amplified speakers and music and parking needs for over 100 cars. With a daycare center, a drop off and pick up zone would address the neighbor’s concerns about parking.

Marissa Mayer would do herself a huge favor if she stopped performing in front of city council and her colleagues, and would instead be a good neighbor and sincerely reach out to get productive input on what might be more acceptable at the mortuary site.





Annette
College Terrace
on Oct 2, 2018 at 11:10 am
Annette, College Terrace
on Oct 2, 2018 at 11:10 am

This is a perfect example of a bad thing precluding a good thing. Had *we* not approved downtown buildings with inadequate parking or assiduously added development that we are woefully under-equipped to support in many ways (housing, parking transportation, circulation, etc) we would have the latitude to embrace this with enthusiasm. Instead we are at an impasse. Neighbors who might ordinarily support Ms. Mayer's proposal have legitimate concerns. It is understandable that people do not want to see a problem get worse.

I suggest two things: 1) learn from the mistakes and not repeat them; and 2) invest in a robust shuttle program that gets people around town throughout the day, starting as early as 6:00 a.m. and not ending until most commercial activity ends, which I think will mean running until at least 10:00 p.m.

What if Corner House provided a shuttle for members at the risk of losing its occupancy permit if members parked on neighborhood streets? Come to think of it, given that under-parking has been justified on the basis of saying that employees in buildings near transit will have fewer cars, what if businesses in those buildings risked losing their occupancy permits if their employees parked in the surrounding neighborhoods? I think the City could probably claw back on that and impose that requirement.


JustMe
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 2, 2018 at 11:38 am
JustMe, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 2, 2018 at 11:38 am

Anon, Okay, then I will make it easier.

This is a "Women Only club", at a time when women are targeting any institution seen as "Male Only" and demanding inclusion, including simple things like Boy Scouts. Men and boys are not allowed exclusivity, how can women demand exclusivity? Doesn't something seem unfair there? I mean, equality should not be a buffet where you choose where you want it and where you don't.

If someone created a "Whites Only" club it would be a problem. It would be decried as bigoted and prejudicial, and it would certainly not be permitted. Is not a "Women Only" club just as bigoted and prejudicial? Is this not part of the toxic anti-male culture we live in today?


Barbara
Downtown North
on Oct 2, 2018 at 11:41 am
Barbara, Downtown North
on Oct 2, 2018 at 11:41 am

Palo Alto has more than enough facilities for working mothers with children - Cubberley, Children's Libray, Jr. Museum, etc. We do NOT need another one. The City is already "overgrown." Traffic and parking is getting worse by the day.


No profit for developers
Old Palo Alto
on Oct 2, 2018 at 11:50 am
No profit for developers, Old Palo Alto
on Oct 2, 2018 at 11:50 am

Annette put it well:
>Had *we* not approved downtown buildings with inadequate parking or assiduously added development that we are woefully under-equipped to support in many ways (housing, parking transportation, circulation, etc) we would have the latitude to embrace this with enthusiasm.<

It is ok to approve office buildings that are underparked, but not a community serving project?
Problem is, the Developers and Real Estate industry won't make MONEY off of this.


Bill
Barron Park
on Oct 2, 2018 at 12:07 pm
Bill, Barron Park
on Oct 2, 2018 at 12:07 pm

Wow, Ms Mayer tries to do something positive for the community at her own expense and her North Palo Alto neighbors complain about parking.

Since when does "this development negatively impacts me" qualify as viable objection, causing council members to struggle with approval? We'd like some of that in our neighborhood and South Palo Alto too!


DTNResident
Downtown North
on Oct 2, 2018 at 12:41 pm
DTNResident, Downtown North
on Oct 2, 2018 at 12:41 pm

Oh please, she can't buy a property that has only limited uses because of the parking situation, and then force the surrounding residents to contribute to make up for its shortcomings. The limits on its use were reflected in its cheaper price.
[Portion removed.]

There are other buildings she can rent or buy that are already suited to this type of use.

[Portion removed.]




No profit for developers
Old Palo Alto
on Oct 2, 2018 at 12:50 pm
No profit for developers, Old Palo Alto
on Oct 2, 2018 at 12:50 pm

Yes, any attempt by the underclass to improve their situation is crushed by the ruling class.
Poor men! they don't have a community center!
How about a few of the super-rich men creating one?

Poor babies, an institution that doesn't give them priority. Stomp on it!
Anyway it's a lie that men are excluded.


JustMe
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 2, 2018 at 1:25 pm
JustMe, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 2, 2018 at 1:25 pm

Women are and oppressed underclass? They make up 60%+ of college admissions as boys are crowded and shamed out, and yet women have more programs to get into college as "a minority" than men do, even though they are not a minority in college. Men make up 80% of suicides, but any attempt to discuss or understand this statistic is drowned out as misogynist. Men get harsher prison sentances for the same crimes that women get. #MeToo is all about destroying men on a whim, and feminists are appalled when it is used against a woman. The Duluth model for dealing with domestic violence is horribly anti-male and actually physically dangerous to children. Men make up the vast majority of the homeless despite their "male privilege", while women's shelters abound. Please tell me how women are oppressed in America in 2018 without resorting to lies or misleading generalities.


News of the Day
Downtown North
on Oct 2, 2018 at 1:34 pm
News of the Day, Downtown North
on Oct 2, 2018 at 1:34 pm

> Is not a "Women Only" club just as bigoted and prejudicial? Is this not part of the toxic anti-male culture we live in today?

>> And finally, she was sued for pushing men out of Yahoo while she was there. Her views on men are more than clear. Helping her build a "Center for Excluding Men" is hardly some sort of worthy cause, no matter how she frames it.

A question for the menfolk...knowing this, why would you want to enter (or join) an exclusive women's club with a 'man-hating' agenda?

Perhaps better to find some other outlet rather than making a crusade out of being unwelcomed.


JustMe
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 2, 2018 at 1:50 pm
JustMe, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 2, 2018 at 1:50 pm

"A question for the menfolk...knowing this, why would you want to enter (or join) an exclusive women's club with a 'man-hating' agenda?"

Perhaps because we wish to fight against an evil that is destroying our society and that is specifically targeting us. But we would fight equally hard against the KKK or neo-Nazis as a cancer in our society, so don't take our opposition personally.

Yeah, I am sure I would be unwelcome in the KKK, but that does not mean I wouldn't oppose it.


No profit for developers
Old Palo Alto
on Oct 2, 2018 at 3:16 pm
No profit for developers, Old Palo Alto
on Oct 2, 2018 at 3:16 pm

There is no Public Benefit??

Benefit is mainly for women. They do not count.

Repeat: Men are not excluded.
Poor dears, they need to control everything.

JustMe compares a community development to "KKK or neo-Nazis"
Male rage is truly out of control, not just in Washington.


JustMe
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 2, 2018 at 4:04 pm
JustMe, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 2, 2018 at 4:04 pm

"Male rage is truly out of control, not just in Washington."

Been to family court to try to protect my kid, anyone who has done that as a male has a right to be outraged. I have many co-workers who are perfect marriage material, but they have seen the way men tend to get treated and refuse to enter a relationship. They are not afraid of commitment, they are afraid of divorce and it's consequences for men, they have seen the destruction and the unfairness of the system. If you think that male rage is uncalled for, then you should perhaps ask why more and more men are being outraged. Something is seriously broken. the symptoms are there, and it is not PC to ask into it or talk about it. But it is not going to go away, it is the men who will be going away.


Annette
College Terrace
on Oct 2, 2018 at 4:12 pm
Annette, College Terrace
on Oct 2, 2018 at 4:12 pm

Some of these posts make me want to shout, "STOP!". And then I remember that this community is skilled at conflating issues. I think this has NOTHING whatsoever to do with what is happening in Washington, man-bashing, an effort on Mayer's part to exclude men or anything other that what it is: an owner's plan to develop a desirable property into something that she believes will meet a need in this community. As a former tech executive there's a good chance that she has been on the receiving end of concerns expressed by working women and single mothers. I don't know that men are absolutely excluded from Corner House, but so what if they are? I cannot quote "scripture" on this but I am pretty sure that studies show that there are circumstances in which "girls only" is a good idea. Such as learning. I think this is one reason Castilleja is as successful as it is. Given all that's going on in our society, I suspect "girls only" is going to be in even higher demand than it already is. And this is okay.

I understand that on the surface this flies in the face of equality and that it is disingenuous for women to demand that men's clubs and all male schools diversify and open admission to women and then not do the same, but I sincerely hope we can avoid getting so ridiculous about equality that we end up hurting society more than helping it.


Annette
College Terrace
on Oct 2, 2018 at 4:31 pm
Annette, College Terrace
on Oct 2, 2018 at 4:31 pm

@JustMe. I "liked" your comment b/c I think you stated well an unintended consequence of all that is going. I cannot predict when all this societal turmoil will end (or even taper off) but I worry that we may look back on this period of time and see that in our effort to correct old wrongs, we have committed new wrongs.


JustMe
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 2, 2018 at 4:31 pm
JustMe, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 2, 2018 at 4:31 pm

I'll say it again: Men comprise 80% of suicides, four times higher than women. I will also point out that in your post you basically admitted to inequality in the treatment of men and women, boys and girls. I have no problem with Castilleja being so good for girls, but where is a school that is good for boys? Men and boys are being thrown under the bus, but everything is fine from your perspective because you are a woman and life is wonderful.


JustMe
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 2, 2018 at 4:37 pm
JustMe, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 2, 2018 at 4:37 pm

Thank you Annette. Perhaps I am just a grumpy old man, but I feel that there is something to be grumpy about here. Nothing is going to get better if we refuse to look at the problems, and for the most part we are not allowed to consider mens problems and mens issues. Anyone who even mentions them is considered radical right-wing, and I don't think I am. I worry about the society our boys are growing up in, and our girls too. It is not healthy for them. I could be out of here and gone, but the problem is that I care.


Annette
College Terrace
on Oct 2, 2018 at 5:19 pm
Annette, College Terrace
on Oct 2, 2018 at 5:19 pm

@JustMe: if your comment that begins with "I'll say it again" was directed at me, I think you again make a good point. I am trying to make the point that while we must strive to be a society that treats men and women equally and respectfully and does not discriminate on the basis of gender, that shouldn't have to mean that we cannot have schools or clubs that are exclusively for one gender or the other. I also think we need to strive to be a society that doesn't assume that gender = guilt. Things are getting very confusing and messy and angry. None of that is good.

For what it's worth, I don't read grumpiness into your comments; I read sincere concern. I join you in that. And I am not a radical right-winger.


R. Davis
Crescent Park
on Oct 2, 2018 at 5:39 pm
R. Davis, Crescent Park
on Oct 2, 2018 at 5:39 pm

QUOTE: A question for the menfolk...knowing this, why would you want to enter (or join) an exclusive women's club with a 'man-hating' agenda?

Count me out. I've known a few women with that particular 'agenda' and they are
very unpleasant people to be around.

Most are chronic 'headcases' with a seemingly insatiable score to settle.


Gus L.
Barron Park
on Oct 2, 2018 at 6:27 pm
Gus L., Barron Park
on Oct 2, 2018 at 6:27 pm
Anonymous
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 2, 2018 at 6:36 pm
Anonymous, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 2, 2018 at 6:36 pm

The location is a problem for the general public. We “regular folks” WILL be affected by this. I oppose it.
However, I bet money (and/or influence, perceived prestige, etc.) will win in the end and she’ll get her exclusive club.
Atherton or Hillsborough or Woodside would seem to offer more space and parking and similar “prestige.”
[Portion removed.]


Male Rage Is Childish At Best
Atherton
on Oct 2, 2018 at 6:51 pm
Male Rage Is Childish At Best, Atherton
on Oct 2, 2018 at 6:51 pm

> Is this not part of the toxic anti-male culture we live in today?

You sound like my ex. Always blaming gender inequality for his innumerable shortcomings. It got old and tiresome to listen to. Instead of showing some initiative, all he did was point fingers (at women, minorities etc.) and complain about being left behind. Boo hoo.

Finally had to cut him loose. Filed for divorce and since I was the primary breadwinner, I now have to pay him alimony. And the loser is still complaining!

Most women want to be with a man who can hold his own. Not a whiney child.

As far as a private woman's club, so what? Go find somewhere else to occupy your time. Use some imagination, take-up a new hobby. The possibilities are infinite.



Older person
Downtown North
on Oct 2, 2018 at 8:18 pm
Older person, Downtown North
on Oct 2, 2018 at 8:18 pm

I attended the City Council meeting last night and Marissa Mayer seemed to be presenting variation of 'The Wing," a business located in five other communities with women who can afford the $2350 annual fee for a 'throne away from home' as their website describes it.
Besides services provided in the above business model she will also provide her members with more of the large parties with amplified music like those that have endeared her to her neighbors.
Interesting concept. Inappropriate property for such a business venture. Of value only to a small circle of women very similar to herself. No diversity. Little, if any, community value


R. Davis
Crescent Park
on Oct 2, 2018 at 10:33 pm
R. Davis, Crescent Park
on Oct 2, 2018 at 10:33 pm

QUOTE:...Marissa Mayer seemed to be presenting variation of 'The Wing," a business located in five other communities with women who can afford the $2350 annual fee for a 'throne away from home' as their website describes it.

QUOTE:...she will also provide her members with more of the large parties with amplified music like those that have endeared her to her neighbors.

QUOTE: Of value only to a small circle of women very similar to herself. No diversity. Little, if any, community value


A exclusive women's 'throne away from home' at a $2350 annual membership fee with large parties and amplified music definitely sounds elitist and not in the best interests of the immediate neighborhood or Palo Altans in general.

Looks like the only way a guy is going to make it into the building is either as an invited guest/escort or if he happens to be part of the food and beverage staff.

A questionable concept/idea at best but I imagine there are a number of professional women (as well as wannabes) who are just clamoring for an opportunity to be a card-carrying member of this exclusive association.

Are we entering a new era of arrogance & self-importance in Palo Alto?




Go For It Girl!
Palo Alto Hills
on Oct 3, 2018 at 9:08 am
Go For It Girl!, Palo Alto Hills
on Oct 3, 2018 at 9:08 am

> A questionable concept/idea at best but I imagine there are a number of professional women (as well as wannabes) who are just clamoring for an opportunity to be a card-carrying member of this exclusive association.

And why not? Women have been subjugated by men for centuries and now it's our turn to smell the roses. We've earned it.

Exclusivity has certain privileges and perhaps this undertaking and its associated social activities will inspire other women to climb the economic ladder to where they can also become members.

Women are far more financially independent these days and their actual need for a man only arises when procreational aspirations enter the picture.


JustMe
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 3, 2018 at 9:30 am
JustMe, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 3, 2018 at 9:30 am

"And why not? Women have been subjugated by men for centuries and now it's our turn to smell the roses. We've earned it."

This is revolting. It is hateful, bigoted prejudice against a class of people that you have chosen as a target for your hatred. Whatever "crimes" you have imagined were committed by men against women in centuries past, I promise you one thing: I DID NOT DO IT!!!! Neither did my son, and neither did your sons (if you have any,) and neither did your husband(s). Why should we be punished for things we never did, for things others supposedly did in your imagination? Another thing I promise you is that you never suffered any subjugation. Many enormous crimes against humanity have started out as this kind of class hatred, including the Holocaust and the Rwandan Genocide. How can you be so awful?


Marie
Registered user
Midtown
on Oct 3, 2018 at 9:54 am
Marie, Midtown
Registered user
on Oct 3, 2018 at 9:54 am

@Justme The equivalent of Castilleja is male-only Bellarmine in San Jose, a very expensive prep school and source of many prominent lawyers in Santa Clara County. Georgetown Prep, Kavanaugh and Goresuch's alma mater, is still male only. I think any survey would show there are far more men only prep schools than female. Their names are legion. In terms of clubs, the Bohemian club is famous for being male only and a very important venue for men to network. There are many others. Wikipedia lists 207 boys schools in the US (NOT a complete list - eg no Washington DC schools which has several.} They have no equivalent list of girls schools. To be entirely fair, the did list all girls schools in CA, and the number of girl only schools did exceed boys schools in CA. But that does not change the fact I can easily find a list of all the boys schools in the US and not the equivalent for girls.

I have no problem with a club for women only. However, I am against any new building with inadequate parking. If that can be addressed, I would be ok with Mayer's new club. However, please note, she wants to include "collaborative workspaces." Is this a way to have additional office space? How convenient, to have office space a couple blocks from her house.

Hanna House, which occupies an old movie house and then bookstore on University, made a big deal about its value to the public. Has anyone here ever attended a public event at Hanna House or is it used primarily as additional office space for surrounding businesses? It does have a minimal coffee shop available to the public.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 3, 2018 at 10:03 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 3, 2018 at 10:03 am

Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis

>> Been to family court to try to protect my kid, anyone who has done that as a male has a right to be outraged.

I've heard, and read, many horror stories about family court in California. The system apparently is awful. However, I think you are projecting your anguish over it onto something somewhat unrelated:

MM's "women's etc" proposal is about class. You know, "Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me." Web Link

If the goal was really to help "working women" the proposal would look very, very different.

>> I have many co-workers who are perfect marriage material, but they have seen the way men tend to get treated and refuse to enter a relationship.

It can be difficult to meet people socially when you are living on a coding farm. I can't help wondering how many of these co-workers are simply having trouble meeting people and are just rationalizing it. There does seem to be an unhealthy ratio of young men to young women around in Silicon Valley now.

>> Something is seriously broken.

I'm not sure all of the things you list are particularly related. I think California's broken family court system is pretty much off on its own self-serving island. (Self-serving meaning serving the interests of the lawyers, rather than the people.)


Paly Parent
Professorville
on Oct 3, 2018 at 11:00 am
Paly Parent, Professorville
on Oct 3, 2018 at 11:00 am

How do the Junior Museum, Children's Library, Rinconada Pool serve the need Mayer is trying to fill for working mothers, that is, a place one can go to to have meetings, work quietly uninterrupted, etc, while their children are at activities or school that doesn't involve a long commute. Last time I checked Rinconada Pool didn't have quiet desk space or meeting rooms.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 3, 2018 at 11:43 am
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 3, 2018 at 11:43 am

I wouldn't have any problem with a woman only club if women in general were not trying to undermine the masculinity of boys and men and intrude into such places as Boy Scouts as well boys' sports teams.

If the Boy Scouts are doing more adventurous activities than Girl Scouts, then bring Girl Scouts up to the same level of adventure. If the boys teams are getting more funding, more prestige, more community support, then work to get the girls teams to get as much funding, as much prestige and as much community support. Last time I looked, Girls Scouts did much better from their cookies sale than the Boys Scouts did with their popcorn!

We are very different from each other and we should be celebrating the differences not competing to see who is best or even to exclude the "evil other gender". I personally enjoy the company of a group of my own gender once in a while as it is so different from a mixed gender group. It doesn't mean I don't want to be in a mixed gender group and it certainly doesn't mean that I want to invade a group of the other gender who are enjoying their time together without me.

However, this club seems to be more about wealth, classism and elitism than it is about supporting working women. From where I sit, working women receive so much support while working that I find it unnecessary to make them a special group any more. Even Jerry Brown in his so called wisdom wants to ensure a woman is on every board of a public California company. He should next of course ensure that there is a man on every board, but that of course would be called sexism.

Men are continually getting the short end of the straw nowadays and it is going to get worse before it gets better. Male suicide rates are much higher than female (although more females attempt suicide but survive), males are still less likely to get equal custody in child custody battles and now it seems the pets are going to be up to the same level of custody battles. Men are expected more often to do overtime in their jobs than women and men are still less likely to be able to take time off work to look after a sick child. A man is often still expected to wear a shirt and tie to work (granted not necessarily in Silicon Valley) whereas a woman can turn up looking as if she is off to the beach or to a nightclub. In tv commercials the woman is now the "intelligent answer" to her husband's silly questions and that is becoming more apparent all the time including in political commercials. Colleges tend to have a higher ratio or women than men and women are now in the work force of what were previously male dominated professions. Men are still much more likely to die in work related accidents than women.

Women nowadays have it made. They are not tied to the kitchen sink. They are not expected to be waiting at home with a nutritious meal awaiting the husband's return. Women can be the chief breadwinner and often are. They can be higher up the career ladder than their husbands. They can also support their husband who works part time at home while looking after the children as the househusband. They can even be expected to pay alimony in a divorce.

This can be called progress and it is probably a good thing. But getting to the stage that women are in more need of a special club for working women than men need for working men, is just a bit beyond belief.


DTNResident
Downtown North
on Oct 3, 2018 at 12:18 pm
DTNResident, Downtown North
on Oct 3, 2018 at 12:18 pm

If a man had bought the property and wanted to claim a public benefit for converting it to a club for men and their families, there would be no question that such an exclusionary proposition was absolutely hateful and should not qualify for designation as having a public benefit. [Portion removed.]

The council should show her the door the next time she enters. You don't show people discrimination is wrong by discriminating against the other side, if it's wrong it's ALWAYS wrong. She's teaching people that it's right.


No profit for developers
Old Palo Alto
on Oct 3, 2018 at 1:18 pm
No profit for developers, Old Palo Alto
on Oct 3, 2018 at 1:18 pm

JustMe wonders if he is "just a grumpy old man".
Yes. You have turned your vendetta against your former wife into a generalized opposition to women no matter who they are.

Your ignorance about women's lives and situations is obvious. You need to educate yourself about these matters instead of repeating so many platitudes and spreading ego-centered anger.


JustMe
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 3, 2018 at 1:27 pm
JustMe, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 3, 2018 at 1:27 pm

Anon: "It can be difficult to meet people socially when you are living on a coding farm. "

I do not work in a code farm, I am the only one in the group actively coding. Take, as an example, my boss, a single young man that was out and about all over, many Tinder dates. But he has seen what had happened to both his father and step father, and the fathers of his friends, and he was determined to avoid any lasting relationships with women. He is not alone in that. Check out MGTOW. These are not men fearful of commitment, these are men who have seen the damage women have done to men and are fearful of it. I have seen it claimed, justifiably, that marriage is such a raw deal for men that no man with his eyes open would consider it. I see women as being like tigers: Beautiful, elegant, majestic, but something you don't want to get too close to lest you get mauled.


I Got the Power
Professorville
on Oct 3, 2018 at 1:31 pm
I Got the Power, Professorville
on Oct 3, 2018 at 1:31 pm

> Most women want to be with a man who can hold his own. Not a whiney child.

>>Women have been subjugated by men for centuries and now it's our turn to smell the roses. We've earned it.

>>>Women are far more financially independent these days and their actual need for a man only arises when procreational aspirations enter the picture.


*Have we just taken a bizarre trip in some sort of way-back machine? This sounds a lot like like circa late 1960s-early 70s...Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem rising.


>>>>It is hateful, bigoted prejudice against a class of people that you have chosen as a target for your hatred. Whatever "crimes" you have imagined were committed by men against women in centuries past,

>>>>>Why should we be punished for things we never did, for things others
supposedly did in your imagination?


*It's called the sins of the father. Someone's gotta pay...might as well be you.


>>>>>>Another thing I promise you is that you never suffered any subjugation.

*Traditional housewives of an earlier era might beg to differ. Their everyday life wasn't always like that of Mrs. Cleaver or Harriet Nelson.


>>>>>>it's just as hateful and undeserving of a designation as a "public benefit" when a well-known man hater does the same thing for women. Its wrong. Period.


Perhaps...but as Snap sings, "I Got the Power". Ms. Mayer apparently feels the same way.

Such is life in modern day PA.


JustMe
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 3, 2018 at 1:35 pm
JustMe, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 3, 2018 at 1:35 pm

No profit for developers

It is not a vendetta against my former wife or against women, I stand against what Feminism has morphed into, which is a hate-based ideology that is destroying out society. Let's face it, I could have my life turned upside-down tomorrow. All it would take is one woman to take offense at me (perhaps because I am married and did not return her attempt at affection) and accuse me of sexual misconduct: #MeToo. There goes my job, my family, my property, my freedom (if I land in jail), the life I have built. All due to an accusation, no investigation, no trial, perhaps not even knowing who my accuser is or what the charges are. Why would I be okay with that? Why would I want to work with a woman, mentor a woman, even enter an elevator with a woman with that threat over me?


JustMe
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 3, 2018 at 1:39 pm
JustMe, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 3, 2018 at 1:39 pm

"*Traditional housewives of an earlier era might beg to differ. Their everyday life wasn't always like that of Mrs. Cleaver or Harriet Nelson."

How am I to blame for potentially imagined crimes of previous generations? Tell me how *I* am to blame for that. None of this class-hatred BS, that just sets you up as a horrific bigot.


I Got the Power
Professorville
on Oct 3, 2018 at 2:03 pm
I Got the Power, Professorville
on Oct 3, 2018 at 2:03 pm

@JustMe

You brought up some valid points but you are starting to come off sounding like a 'victim'. Dwelling on past injustices only creates ulcers.

It's a dog eat dog world out there and we now live in a world filled with alpha-females who don't take prisoners...they simply eliminate the opposition.

Perhaps Ms. Mayer has various issues of her own which in turn gave rise to this particular undertaking.

BTW, the Japanese are currently creating anatomically correct female robots to take the place of real women. These robots can be programmed and are supposedly capable of providing fulfilling companionship on a variety of levels.

Amazing what they can do with just a battery and a set of embedded chips.


JustMe
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 3, 2018 at 2:42 pm
JustMe, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 3, 2018 at 2:42 pm

"You brought up some valid points but you are starting to come off sounding like a 'victim'. Dwelling on past injustices only creates ulcers."

Thank you, but the injustices in society are current, ongoing, and getting worse. It is not in the past except as examples of what we can expect more of in the future.

[Portion removed.]


No profit for developers
Old Palo Alto
on Oct 3, 2018 at 3:13 pm
No profit for developers, Old Palo Alto
on Oct 3, 2018 at 3:13 pm
Marc
Midtown
on Oct 3, 2018 at 3:34 pm
Marc, Midtown
on Oct 3, 2018 at 3:34 pm

If she had suggested doing this at some location south of Oregon expressway I think the everyone would have applauded and said go for it.

Is the problem with the idea or that fact that it is in the "heights" part of Palo Alto, rather then the "flats".

/marc


JustMe
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 3, 2018 at 4:02 pm
JustMe, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 3, 2018 at 4:02 pm
Gus L.
Barron Park
on Oct 3, 2018 at 4:06 pm
Gus L., Barron Park
on Oct 3, 2018 at 4:06 pm

Hey, Scott McNealy's Estate up on the hill would be a great place for a Woman's club.. she can afford it..
Web Link


mauricio
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 3, 2018 at 4:08 pm
mauricio, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Oct 3, 2018 at 4:08 pm
danny - 5078916Fgpg
another community
on Oct 3, 2018 at 10:41 pm
danny - 5078916Fgpg, another community
on Oct 3, 2018 at 10:41 pm

Sorry, Marissa. Beyond my jokes about Martha Stewart, etc in the other paweekly postings on this subject, it is not a good idea to have a facility that teaches gender exclusionism right across the street from a grade school. What effect will it have on the kids thinking? It's immoral, and therefore could be held illegal.


GREAT PLAN!!!
Downtown North
on Oct 4, 2018 at 11:11 am
GREAT PLAN!!!, Downtown North
on Oct 4, 2018 at 11:11 am

This is a great idea. I don't want to live in a sterile, boring suburban community! I want life, energy, events, people, and fun uses.

a) If you are worried about parking, tell the City to require all residents to keep piles of junk out of their garages so they can be actually USED for parking.

b) Ride your bike, make your kids ride theirs, take the PA shuttle, walk. How sad that we as a community could be so small minded and OBSESSED with a place to park our cars so that god-forbid we don't have to walk a few blocks a few times a month.


Give Me a Break
Professorville
on Oct 4, 2018 at 11:36 am
Give Me a Break, Professorville
on Oct 4, 2018 at 11:36 am

>If you are worried about parking, tell the City to require all residents to keep piles of junk out of their garages so they can be actually USED for parking.

*The City of Palo Alto (nor you) have the right to advise/tell residents what to keep or store in their garages providing they are not a safety hazard.

>>How sad that we as a community could be so small minded and OBSESSED with a place to park our cars so that god-forbid we don't have to walk a few blocks a few times a month.

*Whether one has to walk a few blocks or drive 50 miles is immaterial as everyone's necessities vary. Besides, not everyone can walk or bike for their errands depending upon various physical and/or practical limitations.

>>>This is a great idea. I don't want to live in a sterile, boring suburban community! I want life, energy, events, people, and fun uses.

*Fine and dandy. But don't draw immediate conclusions based solely upon your own perspectives of "life, energy, events, people, and fun uses."



Me 2
Old Palo Alto
on Oct 4, 2018 at 1:42 pm
Me 2, Old Palo Alto
on Oct 4, 2018 at 1:42 pm

What's wrong with you people. I think it's more creepy that people would prefer having a funeral home next to their house and elementary school rather than this project.

You people are weird.


Give Me a Break
Professorville
on Oct 4, 2018 at 2:12 pm
Give Me a Break, Professorville
on Oct 4, 2018 at 2:12 pm

> I think it's more creepy that people would prefer having a funeral home next to their house and elementary school rather than this project.

It's not so much about preferences. Residents just got used to having a mortuary nearby and it served a practical and necessary function for many people (i.e. funereal services).

A private country club is another story as it serves only a limited following + it creates additional problems (i.e. parking/traffic congestion/noise etc.).

Besides, the building will always be thought of and/or remembered as a former funeral home. Now that's creepy.


Me 2
Old Palo Alto
on Oct 4, 2018 at 4:12 pm
Me 2, Old Palo Alto
on Oct 4, 2018 at 4:12 pm

"Residents just got used to having a mortuary nearby"

That's seriously weird.


R. Davis
Crescent Park
on Oct 4, 2018 at 4:57 pm
R. Davis, Crescent Park
on Oct 4, 2018 at 4:57 pm

QUOTE: Residents just got used to having a mortuary nearby and it served a practical and necessary function for many people (i.e. funereal services).

Pretty much so. Roller & Hapgood were in business for a long time.


QUOTE:"Residents just got used to having a mortuary nearby"... That's seriously weird.

Probably no different than those PA residents who reside near Alta Mesa Cemetery or the old cemetary in Menlo Park off Santa Cruz Avenue.

While I wouldn't particularly want to live adjacent to a burial ground (or mortuary), it's not like ghosts come out at night to spook the local residents.




Allen Akin
Registered user
Professorville
on Oct 4, 2018 at 7:50 pm
Allen Akin, Professorville
Registered user
on Oct 4, 2018 at 7:50 pm

I liked having the funeral home across the street from Addison. It gave me a dose of perspective every day as I walked my kids to school. :-)

Seriously, what Marissa is proposing isn't bad in and of itself, it's just that the city has greater needs for other things that could fit in that space, and the immediate area would be badly impacted by traffic, parking, and possibly other problems.


Sophie
another community
on Oct 4, 2018 at 8:38 pm
Sophie, another community
on Oct 4, 2018 at 8:38 pm

The idea to have parties at a mortuary site is creepy. And this plan relays on the sacrifice of neighborhood to achieve its success due to limited parking, loud noise, etc. Marissa can afford to find a more appropriate location to satisfy her plan. [Portion removed.]


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on Oct 5, 2018 at 3:27 am
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on Oct 5, 2018 at 3:27 am

This would be a good project for 456 University, the former theater.
Housing is better at 980 Middlefield.
How we treat the wealthiest, and how we treat the poorest says a lot about our progress as a society. [Portion removed.]


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