News

'Residents only' policy for Foothills Park sparks fresh debate

Palo Alto's parks commissioners to explore ways to increase access to popular nature preserve

Hikers walk toward Wild Horse Valley in Foothills Park, the upstream area of Buckeye Creek. Photo by Veronica Weber.

With its winding trails, scenic vistas and family-friendly camping sites, the sprawling Foothills Park is frequently described as a nature-lover's paradise.

But the 1,400-acre preserve also includes one feature that is far less popular than the others: a sign at the entrance proclaiming that a visitor must be "a Palo Alto resident" or "an accompanied guest" to enter.

The controversial policy has been in place since the park opened in 1965, despite arguments and memos from various council members, mayors and parks commissioners that it is elitist, discriminatory and immoral. Now, a fresh effort to change the policy and open Foothills Park to non-residents is once again underway.

Several members of city's Parks and Recreation Commission recently brought up the idea of opening up access to Foothills Park, commission Chair Don McDougall said Monday during a joint meeting between the commission and the City Council. Three commissioners — Jeff Greenfield, Jeff LaMere and Ryan McCauley — sit on an ad hoc committee that is exploring this idea.

And while a policy change would still be months if not years away, the city's Community Services Department is now considering the possible impacts of loosening the restriction. Daren Anderson, who manages the Open Space, Parks and Golf Division in the Community Services Department, told the Weekly that the committee and staff have been "informally" researching the issue of increasing access to Foothills Park. At some point soon, he said, he expects the topic to be discussed by the full commission.

For former Councilman Cory Wolbach, the change can't come soon enough. Last month, Wolbach tweeted that the Foothills Park policy exemplifies "institutional racism." The policy, he wrote, is "unacceptable and needs to change."

He is by no means the only former elected official who feels that way. Former Mayor Leland Levy attended the Monday meeting and urged the city to explore the issue.

"As a Palo Alto resident, I have interfaced with all our local adjacent communities, and the one thing that they universally deprecate is the fact that Foothills Park is exclusive to Palo Alto residents, and they don't quite understand why," Levy said.

The policy goes back to 1959, when Palo Alto bought Foothills Park from the family of Russel Lee for $1.29 million. At the time, the city asked other jurisdictions to chip in and they declined. After Palo Alto residents authorized the purchase, the City Council passed an ordinance limiting access to local residents.

Today, those who favor maintaining the policy generally frame the issue in terms of environmental protection and note that non-residents already have ways to get into the park, notwithstanding the sign at the entrance.

Anyone who takes a trail from Arastradero Preserve can enter Foothills Park, Councilwoman Liz Kniss noted Monday. The city was required to make this trail open to the broader public as part of an agreement with Santa Clara County, which contributed the funding the city needed to purchase 13 acres of open space next to Arastradero Preserve.

In addition, even though non-residents are banned from driving into Foothills Park on the weekend, many arrive during the week, Kniss said.

"I think the perception that this is closed is erroneous, and many, many people from Los Altos Hills ride in on a regular basis on their horses," Kniss said.

But even though non-residents currently have ways to get into the park, Levy, Wolbach and others believe the city can do a lot more to make the park less exclusive. Levy said Monday that the city should conduct a study to see how many visitors Foothills Park can accommodate without having its environmental integrity compromised.

"We need to have data which says how much Foothills Park can be used and to what degree we can have outside residents access Foothills Park, the way we Palo Altans can access all the parks in the Santa Clara and San Mateo foothills and in the Baylands as well," Levy said.

Wolbach, who served on the council between 2014 and 2018, told the Weekly that he had tried as a council member to get his colleagues to change the policy but did not get much support. Others have experienced similar setbacks. Former Councilman Ron Andersen led an unsuccessful effort in 1998 to change the resident-only requirement. And in 2005, then-council members LaDoris Cordell, Judy Kleinberg and Dena Mossar penned a memo recommending that the Parks and Recreation Commission study the idea. Their idea fell one vote shy of advancing.

Wolbach said he was motivated to resurrect the issue after reading about Palo Alto's segregationist land-use policies in the 1950s and 1960s. (The policies included restrictive covenants that barred home sales to non-white residents and "blockbusting," an effort by real-estate agents and speculators in the 1950s to push black residents into living in East Palo Alto.) By making it difficult for non-white residents to buy homes in Palo Alto and by limiting Foothills Park only to local residents, the city was effectively creating a park for white people.

"I'm not making the case that this policy was racially motivated, but what we know is that at the same time that Foothills Park was created, which excluded people not from Palo Alto, the city was also excluding people who weren't white. So even if the intent wasn't racist, the effect was," Wolbach said. "It's the racially disparate impact that's the issue."

Another issue with the current Foothills Park policy is its inconsistency with the city's actual enforcement practice. Commissioner McCauley noted that the municipal code makes it a misdemeanor for a non-resident to enter Foothills Park — a policy that he called "draconian."

What this means is that if one leaves the designated Arastradero-to-Foothills trail, he or she is committing a crime.

"I can't imagine any city of Palo Alto ranger or police officer enforcing that law or any judge by any means sentencing someone for violating that law," McCauley said. "But it's I think an example for why we can probably improve upon our current policy."

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Comments

97 people like this
Posted by Racism?
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 10, 2019 at 3:44 am

Palo Alto is more racially diverse than the neighboring cities of Los Altos Hills and Portola Valley. Not providing full access to Foothill Park for mostly residents of those towns is definitely not "institutional racism."

True racism was and remains a devastating injustice in our society and across the world. Victims of racism are not served when a politician (who happens to be white, I believe) hijacks the term to accuse others and grab attention. Cory Wolbach billed himself as the person who would bring people together but seems to have utterly abandoned that.

Whatever you want to call a policy that aimed to exclude mainly wealthy communities that refused to pay a fair share for the purchase and upkeep of the park, it isn't racism.


117 people like this
Posted by JR
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 10, 2019 at 7:48 am

Palo Alto paid to preserve the foothills when no other city or government entity would chip in. We paid to preserve the park instead of building infrastructure (like separated railroad crossings). If other cities want to buy into Foothills park, we should allow them, but they will need to pay a significant fraction (say, 25%) of the price Palo Alto paid, with interest. That money would go to pay for infrastructure in Palo Alto that we declined to build years ago.

Thank you to the Palo Alto residents of old who made the decision to preserve the park.


46 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 10, 2019 at 7:48 am

We love the tranquility of the park. I love being able to spot the deer, the wild turkeys, listen to the birds and feel part of nature rather than part of a tourist trap.

Even at its busiest times, it is still peaceful and relatively quiet - apart from the sounds of nature, the leaves in the trees and the creeks babbling when they are full.

I would suggest that no more cars are allowed in total than we have already in. There should be a park full sign when the designated number of cars have entered and then more cars can enter when cars can leave.

I do think though that priority should be given to PA residents even when the park full numbers have been reached.

On a different note, I have taken guests from other Peninsula cities in with me. Their comments are always about how clean the place is - particularly the restrooms, compared to other parks in the area. It seems that PA residents do a good job of cleaning up after ourselves and leaving the restrooms as we found them.


100 people like this
Posted by YP
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 10, 2019 at 7:50 am

YP is a registered user.

For former Councilman Cory Wolbach, the change can't come soon enough. Last month, Wolbach tweeted that the Foothills Park policy exemplifies "institutional racism." The policy, he wrote, is "unacceptable and needs to change."

What a ridiculous statement. Unfortunately it seems in todays society when you want to get something done playing the race card is the weapon of choice. The term "racism" has become the most overused word in our public debates. Has Mr. Wolbach not noticed the large percentage of Asian, Indians etc that are now citizens of Palo Alto. Is anyone keeping them out of Foothill?

Keep the park for citizens of Palo Alto to enjoy rather than risking the negative impacts of overuse.


71 people like this
Posted by JR
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 10, 2019 at 7:55 am

As far as racism goes, it seems to me that surrounding non-diverse cities and towns like Los Altos Hills are the ones being denied access in favor of diverse Palo Alto residents (who by the way paid for the park themselves when no other city would chip in). So let's frame the debate like this - racist, white millionaires who don't live in Palo Alto demand that diverse Palo Alto residents give up access to a nature preserve that Palo Alto paid for in full.


54 people like this
Posted by YP
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 10, 2019 at 7:56 am

YP is a registered user.

For former Councilman Cory Wolbach, the change can't come soon enough. Last month, Wolbach tweeted that the Foothills Park policy exemplifies "institutional racism." The policy, he wrote, is "unacceptable and needs to change."

What a ridiculous statement. Unfortunately too often in our public debates the race card is played. Has Mr. Wolbach not noticed the large percentage of our citizens that are Asian, Indian etc. Is anyone keeping them from enjoying the park?

Keep Foothills for the citizens of Palo Alto to enjoy and not risk the negative impacts of overuse.


7 people like this
Posted by Paul Losch
a resident of Community Center
on May 10, 2019 at 8:55 am

I was on the Parks and Recreation Commission for 9 years. I remember LaDoris nailing me with a question about my point of view, and I have to admit that I had none at the time.

I did think about it subsequently, and I came to the opinion that the park should be open to all, with a fee charged upon admission to visitors who are not from Palo Alto.

It never came up from my terms from 2004 to 2011, and it needs to be addressed.


21 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Stanford
on May 10, 2019 at 9:41 am

Many cities make some of their city-owned attractions free for residents but charge a fee for out-of-towners. Why not do that for Foothills Park? Make the fee high enough to discourage overcrowding and dangerous driving.


29 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 10, 2019 at 9:52 am

The problem as I see it if we started charging non-residents is that we would probably incur more costs than we would collect and that discussion would have to be had. If it was designed as a deterrent then the cost of doing so would be high due to the fact that gate at present is only manned at weekends and then not until mid morning. The cost of having to employ someone to man the gates (or whatever the PC term is since it of course doesn't have to be a man) and collect the fees might be higher than the income from letting non-residents in.

Whatever we do, it should not add to the costs of running the park, unless of course other nearby cities are asked and willing to contribute towards the cost. :)


37 people like this
Posted by Dying laughing
a resident of Mountain View
on May 10, 2019 at 10:31 am

To the lady who said it's not really closed to the public because people from Los Altos Hills can ride in on their horses -- thanks for that. Needed a good laugh this morning. You really can't make this horse**** up.


83 people like this
Posted by merry
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on May 10, 2019 at 10:41 am

merry is a registered user.

A deal is a deal. Other cities said no to contributing, Palo Alto alone paid for this preserve. Exclusive? We live by our choices.


71 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 10, 2019 at 10:44 am

The claims of “racism” being the primary reason for restricting this park’s access for people of Palo Alto is beyond outrageous. Anyone who makes such a claim cannot be thinking clearly. Given how poorly the general public can be expected to treat this sort of preserve respectfully, Palo Alto has every right to want to allow only access to its residents.

Palo Alto has made the preserve previously known as the Arastradero Preserve open to the public. If Palo Alto is so “racist”, then how is it that this area is open to the general public?

It’s hard to know how many Palo Alto residents spend time in the parks and open spaces of other towns and cities. But it’s a fair bet that not many do.

Palo Alto has created a number of amenities that more often than not are used heavily by non-residents. Perhaps this expectation that Palo Alto should be obligated to provide for neighboring cities has become so ingrained that neighboring cities don’t see any reason to provide for themselves. Certainly, heavy use of the Cubberley Center, the golf course and the airport by non-residents demonstrates this fact.

There is nothing wrong with keeping the status quo at Foothills Park.


5 people like this
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside
on May 10, 2019 at 10:53 am

The policy is certainly offensive and exclusionary. The argument that Palo Alto paid for the park is a valid one, but charging an extra fee for non Palo Alto residents would mitigate that concern. Make the fee high enough to keep the park relatively peaceful.

The racism claim is hogwash of course.


48 people like this
Posted by old enough to remember]r
a resident of Downtown North
on May 10, 2019 at 10:54 am

I really do not want to be turned away from FP when the numbers of visitors reach the maximum because other cities residents are using it. I want FP to continue being environmentally and in all respects well cared for and that means restricting its use not only to outsiders but to its residents when the daily numbers are reached. PA paid for the park pays for its upkeep and shouldn' t be open to non residents.

There are plenty of parks in within the city for all to use, residents and non residents alike. Arrastradero is of open use.

Other cities made their bed and I suggest they lay on it.


77 people like this
Posted by Not Racist
a resident of Midtown
on May 10, 2019 at 10:59 am

Foothills Park is surrounded by areas that are open to all comers, including Arastradero and various Open Space Preserves. There is a reason that Foothills Park remains pristine: access is restricted to a reasonable number of people. The park is owned by the people who paid to purchase it and pay a hefty sum to manage and preserve it.

Arastradero, also owned by Palo Alto and maintained by Palo Alto, is open to all. Access is restricted by the number of spaces in the parking lots, for those of us who cannot bike to the park. And that is why, despite the fact that I live in Palo Alto and pay taxes to maintain Arastraderso, I am rarely able to use it: there's almost never a parking space left for me.

Likewise, Palo Alto City Parks are often filled with folks from outside the City, and Baylands, also owned and maintained by Palo Alto, has hundreds of visitors from outside Palo Alto, not to mention the many outsiders who continually create disturbance, noise, and air pollution over the Baylands and Palo Alto by using part of the Baylands as an airstrip.

There are, in fact, many acres of wildlands in Central California that are not open to the public. Many of these are private holdings, belong to water districts, etc.

The truth is that maintaining Foothills Park for Palo Altans is not racist. Any residents or guests of Palo Alto are welcome, and there are no restrictions whatsoever based on race. It has nothing to do with racism, but rather, making
sure that the wildness is preserved and that the folks who paid to purchase the park, and who pay to maintain it, are able to enjoy it in pristine condition, and that the wildlife and plant communities are not distrubed.

There is a good reason that Cory Wolbach was defeated in the recent election. Instead of representing the views and interests of the citizens he represents, he falsely accuses Palo Alto citizens, one of the most diverse populations of any city in the Bay Area, of racism. The neighborhood in which I live includes residents of nearly every race and religion I can think of, with folks from many cultures and countries. We all get along just fine, and would appreciate it if Mr. Wolbach would stop categorizing us as racist because we would like to preserve both our park and our access to it.

I hope that current park commission and council members do not succumb to this type of pressure.



60 people like this
Posted by What Will They Do Next
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 10, 2019 at 11:04 am

What Will They Do Next is a registered user.

And this is just one of many reasons Cory Wolbach was voted out of office.


6 people like this
Posted by James Hall
a resident of Barron Park
on May 10, 2019 at 11:12 am

James Hall is a registered user.

What about special access for people who lived Palo Alto for 23 years and enjoyed the park for many years and now live in a (cheaper) neighboring city but still do lots of work for the City?


Like this comment
Posted by James Hall
a resident of Barron Park
on May 10, 2019 at 11:14 am

James Hall is a registered user.

What about special access for people who lived Palo Alto for 23 years and enjoyed the park for many years and now live in a (cheaper) neighboring city but still do lots of work for the City of Palo Alto


46 people like this
Posted by Jonathan Brown
a resident of Ventura
on May 10, 2019 at 11:24 am

Jonathan Brown is a registered user.

1. The Parks & Rec. Commission and City leadership have more important priorities to address, such as the unhoused population living in or around parks, the needed improvements and maintence in other City parks and open spaces, and the general degradation in quality of life for City residents due to increased population, traffic, density and other factors. We should not divert time and resources from those priorities to address out-of-towner gripes about why they can’t free-ride on Palo Alto’s heroic decision to purchase this land on its own and preserve it from urban sprawl.
2. Foothills Park preserve is much cleaner and well-maintained than city parks that are open to all. Common sense suggests that opening the park up to non-residents will not make it cleaner.
3. Why should we encourage more cars traveling from out of town into Palo Alto and more drivers unfamiliar with the windy road endangering cyclists and others? It’s a bad idea for traffic, safety and the environment. You can through-hike as a non-resident already, so this whole proposal seems entirely centered on allowing more vehicles into the park. The City has been telling us how we need to reduce vehicle trips, not increase them.
4. To call this residents-only policy “racist” is a deeply offensive insult to those who champion the cause of racial justice and equality. Let’s fight racism wherever it exists, but please don’t misappropriate that mission for other purposes.


33 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 10, 2019 at 11:47 am

Foothill Park is a unique area that should stay protected. There are few areas left where one can enjoy peaceful, unspoiled surroundings that doesn't become completely overrun on weekends and holidays, and Palo Alto residents have paid the costs to make it available. Limiting official access to Palo Alto residents isn't as much about exclusion as it is a practical way to keep FP from losing it's purpose. Many have pointed out that it is accessible during the week by car, and by trail at all times. Why fix what isn't broken and change the rules now?


22 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on May 10, 2019 at 11:58 am

Annette is a registered user.

@Dying laughing: the lady who said the bit about horses is the same lady who said that Palo Alto doesn't have a traffic problem. Maybe those horse trails aren't crowded.


41 people like this
Posted by Not Palo Alto
a resident of another community
on May 10, 2019 at 12:22 pm

Have never lived in Palo Alto, but once visited the park with a resident. It is beautiful. Nevertheless, there are no shortage of parks for non-residents to visit, and I see no problem with Palo Alto keeping the park private or mostly private for it's tax-paying residents.
We have seen how visitors have loved Yosemite to the point that they are destroying the beauty of that eco-system. So limiting cars and the number of non-resident visitors make sense. If there is a move to open use to more people, it would make sense to do a test program where people could apply online for passes. Might make sense to vary the fee depending on the size of the vehicle and the number of people on the pass. Or a certain number of passes could be allocated for free entry. With passes, non-residents would know in advance if they would be admitted, and they could make other plans if the park has reached maximum occupancy.


20 people like this
Posted by Neil Shea
a resident of University South
on May 10, 2019 at 12:35 pm

As a long time Palo Alto resident, this policy is an embarrassment. I am not aware of any other city, county or state park in the US that has this kind of exclusionary policy. We are welcome in Golden Gate Park, Tilden park, and every other park in this state. This land was paid for 50 years ago. What are we saying about ourselves with this ridiculous policy? Let’s institute a modest fee, make it free if you come with proof of residency, and be done with it!


14 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on May 10, 2019 at 12:40 pm

What? Again?


8 people like this
Posted by Keith
a resident of Gunn High School
on May 10, 2019 at 1:46 pm

How many current residents of Palo Alto actually were living in Palo Alto when the land was purchased? Why should those who didn't contribute taxes 50 years ago expect special treatment?


33 people like this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 10, 2019 at 2:06 pm

[Post removed.]


12 people like this
Posted by Keep Foothills Park Private
a resident of Barron Park
on May 10, 2019 at 2:11 pm

[Post removed.]


28 people like this
Posted by What Will They Do Next
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 10, 2019 at 2:15 pm

What Will They Do Next is a registered user.

@ Neal...let's just keep it the way it is. Pristine. Embarrassed? I'm not. Have you seen the local Palo Alto parks after weekend use by residents from other cities? Garbage and litter everywhere,leaving it for city workers to clean up and for our tax dollars to foot the bill. I'm also a long time resident (over 40 years) and it's disgusting to see how some people abuse the welcoming policy of our city. However, I'm not completely surprised. Just look at the litter on the highways and streets.


15 people like this
Posted by What Will They Do Next
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 10, 2019 at 2:16 pm

What Will They Do Next is a registered user.

@ Rick....Bingo !!


25 people like this
Posted by Novelera
a resident of Midtown
on May 10, 2019 at 3:17 pm

Novelera is a registered user.

@Rick ITA! One of the happiest election results I can remember was Wolbach being voted out. It does feel like he's taking a shot at us for spite. I first heard about his comment having appeared in a Facebook post. I'm not on Facebook, so I heard about it from a neighbor. Of course, the media love a kerfuffle, so it got lots of ink. IIRC the San Francisco Chronicle chimed in agreeing with Cory.


24 people like this
Posted by Green Gables
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 10, 2019 at 3:29 pm

Green Gables is a registered user.

Cory Wolbach is a spoil sport because he lost the election. If you REALLY want to get into Foothills volunteer Sunday morning at the Park, then you can check it out and maybe hike.


8 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of another community
on May 10, 2019 at 4:16 pm

Palo Alto residents are free to enjoy Menlo Park, Redwood City, Mountain View and Los Altos parks which are open to all and paid for by those cities. Not obvious why Palo Alto park should be closed to neighboring residents.


12 people like this
Posted by Green Gables
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 10, 2019 at 5:03 pm

Green Gables is a registered user.

There are many other parks in Palo Alto anyone can go to such as Mitchell Park, Rinconada Park etc. Look online cityofpaloalto.org for the list of parks


22 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 10, 2019 at 5:23 pm

First of all, any resident claiming that the policy is "racist" should spend more time in the park and see who really uses it. The charge of racism is completely uninformed.

It is also the case that anyone who wants to -walk- in can legally do so via Arastradero Park or Los Trancos Open Space. The main Los Trancos Trail -is- open to people who are walking the "Bay to Ridge Trail" Web Link.

"Palo Alto residents and their accompanied guests only are permitted in Foothills Park. Exception: Non-resident hikers (and hikers only) may enter from Pearson Arastradero Preserve or from Los Trancos Open Space Preserve as part of the Bay to Ridge Trail." Web Link

For a while there, park use really dropped. But, recently, there have been a lot more people there when I visit. I think it is important to have at least one park that is kept pretty untrampled.


17 people like this
Posted by Federal Funding Is Your Answer
a resident of another community
on May 10, 2019 at 6:02 pm

> Not obvious why Palo Alto park should be closed to neighboring residents.

Because Foothills Park was funded by Palo Alto sans any federal funds.

For example...Cuesta Park in Mountain View utilized federal funds and as a result, it must remain open to all.

As a result, more non-residents tend to use Cuesta Park than MV residents.

There is absolutely no reason why PA should open its park to outsiders...unless they pay a fee.


15 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 11, 2019 at 7:46 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Seems as though using current terms of racism, etc are used to leverage an argument without any actual facts. Tired of that argument. As soon as someone raises that pejorative then no rational thought is going to follow. The city of Palo Alto is diverse and has a population with multi-ethnic representation. If Palo Alto is carrying the responsibility of running the park and paying taxes on it them PA gets to make the rules up. My concern is the fire danger in the area. I enjoy that park with a large group that has to make reservations way in advance for a specific area. Got into argument with a group that just decided to take over a reserved area and had to get the guard to come over. People have to reserve and plan for most of the areas that have barbecue. During the summer there is enough confusion going on for large groups that have reserved so do not need added confusion of out-of-towners who will take over reserved areas.

There are no lack of parks with barbecue available but they also require reservations. There is a cost for all of the areas reserved through Parks and Recreation so there are no free rides anywhere. The argument that all parks are available to anyone that appears is not true. Please do not push that argument.


10 people like this
Posted by Sally
a resident of Downtown North
on May 11, 2019 at 8:11 am

The park is a wonderful retreat maintained at a sizeable expense by Palo Altoans. The simple fix is to open it to non-paloaltoans at a per vehicle fee, maybe $6-10 like State Parks.

This allows others to enjoy it who are willing to pitch in. It will moderate use somewhat, which is a mixed bag of course. Folks you prefer a free beautiful free walk can visit arastradero, or venture further into the hills


5 people like this
Posted by Member
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on May 11, 2019 at 8:54 am

[Post removed.]


10 people like this
Posted by merry
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on May 11, 2019 at 9:16 am

merry is a registered user.

Let’s just leave Palo alto foothills park alone It’s a preserve.


12 people like this
Posted by Cesar Morales
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 11, 2019 at 9:23 am

[Portion removed.]

Trees are cool but pavements and parking lots offer far more recreational options for hanging out and/or tailgating.

That is why we don't particulary care if Foothills Park is exclusively reserved for Palo Alto white folks only.







12 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 11, 2019 at 9:23 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Corey did not get voted in for another term. Guess he should take heed of his motto. As to other people pitching in look no further than Golden Gate Park and the park in SF where the old houses are - a pile of trash left behind despite trash bins. Huge amounts of trash. The city has to pay for a special group to come in and clean up the place. And landscaping that has been ruined. People who have no investment in a location via residency leave trash. They have no investment in keeping an area nice and clean. Again the city of SF is the reminder of everything going wrong. And for all of the wrong reasons. When there have been summer events at Rinconada Park trash was left behind. That is not being politically correct to leave trash but it appears of no concern to the people who do it.


5 people like this
Posted by sunshine
a resident of Barron Park
on May 11, 2019 at 9:30 am

Have lived in the Palo
alto area since Palo Alto bought the land for Foothill Park. At that time I lived in Barron Park which was county, not city, thus we could not use the Park. I remember the discussion between PA and other cities when PA bought the land. None of the surrounding PA had any interest in paying for the park land. Palo Alto bought Foothill park on its own.
The discussion re open access versus racism has gone on for many years. I was pleased when Barron Park decided to join the City, giving us access to Foothill Park. However, there were other places to go for a hike.
There are some conditions that need to be addressed to allow others into the Park: first that city should agree and pay a portion of the purchase price updated for inflation to current property values; second, the other city must adhere to the strict policy regarding to bringing dogs to the Park.
Now a note to the city regarding the Park: on several occasions over recent years I have tried to visit the park on a weekday when the City website listed it as open. I have been unsuccessful because the gate was closed. Please keep information on open and closed times up to date.


8 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 11, 2019 at 9:55 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

I love Cesar's note - "white people only". Thanks for the racial profiling to get a point across. Has Cesar noted that Facebook is moving into EPA big time? I know people who are buying houses there and renting out their bigger houses. They are fixing up houses for future rental to the FB groupies. And how about those Amazon groupies? Cesar - your EPA location is as multi-diverse as PA. If you are reading the PA opinion pages then you are totally conversant that your city is in process of change. The "white people only" is not what it is about. It is about who is paying the taxes on a piece of the property and who is cleaning up the mess - not insignificant. As to Rinconada Park it is rented out to large groups who are multi-ethnic so your point is an attempt at "political correctness', guilt, and "pointless'.


6 people like this
Posted by Winifred
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 11, 2019 at 12:00 pm

> The "white people only" is not what it is about. It is about who is paying the taxes on a piece of the property and who is cleaning up the mess - not insignificant.

Are you saying that the gentrification of East Palo Alto via white migration and corporations will be the ones who will take the credit for 'cleaning up the mess'?

How gratifying and selfless of those actively involved in the process.

We owe the benevolent white community so much!


10 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 11, 2019 at 1:20 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Winifred - we are talking about a city-run park. Period. Why Cesar chooses to translate that into white people only is his choice - but has no relevance to the question at hand - the PARK. And his basis of comparison is his choice but does not reflect either Palo Alto or East Palo Alto at this point in time. Those comparison's were his choice. It is observations on what is occurring in all of the towns on the peninsula. All towns on the peninsula are multi-racial and diversified.


17 people like this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 11, 2019 at 3:17 pm

I'm not "white," and I can get into the park just fine.

Whatever.


13 people like this
Posted by Nature Valley Black Man
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 11, 2019 at 3:29 pm

>> I'm not "white," and I can get into the park just fine.

But you better have some proper ID. I enjoy an occasional walk through the woods but at PA Foothills Park I tend to stick out like a sore thumb...a black one at that.

Cesar brought up a valid point but perhaps his preferences for the pavement are due to being unnecessarily profiled at times. I've been there myself.

Fortunately all of my papers were in order.


6 people like this
Posted by Dishonest
a resident of Downtown North
on May 11, 2019 at 4:17 pm

[Post removed.]


12 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 11, 2019 at 4:27 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

Cory Wolbach sold Palo Alto out to developers who are largely not Palo Alto residents.


17 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 11, 2019 at 4:34 pm

If we want to see this lovely place destroyed ... open it to everyone.


21 people like this
Posted by Cesar Morales
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 11, 2019 at 6:13 pm

> If we want to see this lovely place destroyed ... open it to everyone.

No. Just have limited access via reserved day passes like Yosemite and other parks and keep it limited to PA residents only.

Elitist Palo Altans awaiting their turns are always welcome to stop by and visit EPA.






10 people like this
Posted by Outsider’s Perspective
a resident of another community
on May 11, 2019 at 6:26 pm

Sorry, but the argument “Palo Alto paid for the park when no other city would chip in” is nonsense. Quite literally, every other city paid for every single one of their own parks as well, small or large - at least to build the park, if not also to acquire the land. And in every case, ONLY that city paid to build its own parks, with no help from neighbors. That’s simply the way new parks get built by cities, everywhere. Sometimes nowadays, new parks are funded through mandatory developer fees, but that’s a relatively new concept.

And in every case, those cities make their parks available to all for free, or without differentiating between residents and non-residents.

Foothills Park is no different than every other city-owned park everywhere - except for its policy of turning away non-residents.


7 people like this
Posted by Dishonest
a resident of Downtown North
on May 11, 2019 at 6:33 pm

Here's a message to Cory Wolbach:

Things aren't free.


5 people like this
Posted by Green Gables
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 11, 2019 at 8:57 pm

Green Gables is a registered user.

Ousider’s Perspection, please look at the citofpaloalto.org and look at The list of all Palo Alto’s FREE parks. By the way EPA started out in the 1950s with mostly “white” people living in that community. Palo Alto is about 35% Asian


5 people like this
Posted by Outsider’s Perspective
a resident of another community
on May 11, 2019 at 9:09 pm

Green Gables, please look at Sunnyvale.ca.gov and look at the list of its FREE parks. Or go to Mountainview.gov and look at the list of its FREE parks. Guess what? They’re also the list of ALL of those cities’ parks. And none of those parks you see are restricted to “only Sunnyvale residents” or “only Mountain View residents”. That’s the way cities operate their parks.

Except for Palo Alto and Foothills Park.


18 people like this
Posted by Judy
a resident of Menlo Park
on May 12, 2019 at 1:52 am

I was a resident of Palo Alto for over 30 years and enjoyed access to beautiful Foothills Park during that time. It is truly a beautiful and peaceful refuge from the hustle and bustle of Palo Alto.

I moved to Menlo Park 13 years ago and can no longer drive into Foothills park. I suppose I could, like others, but I respect the park rules. I miss the park but I am happy Palo Alto has chosen to limit car access to Palo Alto residents to preserve the park. If I want to enter the park I walk along the creek trail in Arastradero Park and enter Foothills park that way. Everyone is allowed to enter on foot through that entrance, so it's not true that only Palo Alto residents are allowed to enter. They have provided a way for all to enter if you don't mind the hike.

I hope Palo Alto continues to protect the park. It is a haven for wild animals and native plants, which is why it is called a "preserve." That is its main purpose. Visitors to the park know this and most respect it.


26 people like this
Posted by eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on May 12, 2019 at 4:52 am

eileen is a registered user.

Foothills Park is really a preserve with miles of hiking paths and tons of wildlife.
You can't compare it to a regular park. It should be protected from overuse.
.


7 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 12, 2019 at 9:56 am

Posted by Outsider’s Perspective, a resident of another community:

>> Except for Palo Alto and Foothills Park.

Outsider, I wouldn't necessarily expect you to know that Foothills Park has a unique history, but, it does. That history has been covered -numerous- times in local papers (some now online) over the years.

Web Link

"The land that makes up Foothills Park was acquired from Lee in 1958. At the time, the city tried to arrange a regional deal, but couldn’t get support from other cities. So, when Palo Alto voters approved buying 1,194 acres at $1,000 an acre, a residents-only rule was put in place.

The restriction was eased in 2005. In exchange for a $2 million grant to buy 13 acres in the Enid Pearson Arastradero Preserve, the council agreed to allow non-residents to walk into the park from adjoining preserves. However, only residents and their guests can access the main gate on Page Mill Road."

I can't list too many links here, but, "Google". e.g.

Web Link


6 people like this
Posted by Outsider’s Perspective
a resident of another community
on May 12, 2019 at 10:38 am

I’m well aware of it’s history. Sorry, but it’s still not not that unique. Sunnyvale has its own nature preserve. It leases Baylands from the county, operates 70 acres as a public park, the remaining 110 acres as a preserved wetlands area, pays for all maintenance for the entire area - and still allows anyone from anywhere to use the public park area equally (charging everyone equally for parking during certain months, but that’s it). Other cities have similar such preserves here and there. Cities pony up cash to buy property small and large all the time for use as (often free) public amenities, always without help from their neighbors. Sunnyvale is shelling out multiple MILLIONS for a single acre of land that will become a public park (again open to all), with no help from it’s neighbors. The only difference is a matter of degree.

All you’re telling me is that Palo Alto’s “no outsiders” policy exists for no other reason than a 61-year fit of pique.


4 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 12, 2019 at 10:51 am

Posted by Outsider’s Perspective, a resident of another community

>> All you’re telling me is that Palo Alto’s “no outsiders” policy exists for no other reason than a 61-year fit of pique.

We're making progress. At least we agree that it isn't -racist- for Palo Alto to consider and reject the (absurd) 2007 offer from Los Altos Hills:

==

"Other local agencies have asked for access to the park in the past -- including a 2007 bid of $135,000 from Los Altos Hills. But Palo Alto declined because the money would not have been enough to justify added park-maintenance costs, Hendrie said.

Los Altos Hills Mayor Gary Waldeck said, "Many of our residents would love to participate, and the truth is we'd love to find a way to make that happen somehow. I don't know that we'd be able to pay anything. It's certainly not in the budget at this time."

==

Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by Outsider’s Perspective
a resident of another community
on May 12, 2019 at 10:57 am

I made no comment one way or the other on racism or anything Los Altos Hills’ offer. Please don’t put words in my mouth.


17 people like this
Posted by Winifred
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 12, 2019 at 12:37 pm

The City of Palo Alto has a right to restrict entrance via the main gate into this park. The park was paid for EXCLUSIVELY with the City monetary resources and as another poster noted, no federal funds were used so the park can remain private.

Why are so many outsiders clamoring for a change in access policy? Go find somewhere else for your nature experience.

I've had my 'issues' with Palo Alto but the city reserves the right to decide who can enter this park based on residency requirements.

A possible solution to this quandary...outsiders go make friends with some Palo Altan and hitch a ride into the park when they happen to be headed there.

In the meantime, there are other venues to partake in. Geeze.


10 people like this
Posted by Outsider’s Perspective
a resident of another community
on May 12, 2019 at 1:21 pm

Winifred, you and others keep making that money claim like it’s a unique occurrence. It’s not - it’s by far the most common way every single public park is funded and built. Here are a list of Sunnyvale parks that were paid for EXCLUSIVELY with “the City monetary resources, and no federal funds were used”:

Braly Park
Cannery Park
Columbia Park
De Anza Park
Encinal Park
Fair Oaks Park
Fairwood Park
Greenwood Manor
Lakewood Park
Las Palmas Park
Murphy Park
Orchard Gardens Park
Ortega Park
Ponderosa Park
Raynor Park
San Antonio Park
Serra Park
Seven Seas Park
Swegles Park
Victory Village Park
Washington Park
Wiser Park

(Basically all but Baylands Park, which was purchased by the County). The only difference is Palo Alto chooses to kick out outsiders, while Sunnyvale does not. So tell me again why Foothills Park is a unique exception in some way? Nobody argues that Palo Alto doesn’t have the right to set its own rules on its own property. They question why it is that every other city provides Palo Altans the exact same access to their parks that their own residents enjoy, but Palo Altans refuse to reciprocate.

If Palo Alto is at all like its neighboring cities, then 90% of its working residents work somewhere other than Palo Alto, and 80% of its workforce lives outside of Palo Alto. We’re a close-knit county that shares resources out of necessity and long-standing practice - libraries, parks, recreational services, and so on. When Palo Alto adopts these insular practices, be it this or its housing policies or whatever, and when Palo Altans so openly reference “outsiders”, your neighbors notice. We’re housing your workforce (with your jobs/housing ratio of 3), and you’re profiting from that greatly. Hearing complaints about the cost of letting “outsiders” into your park, well, that reflects on your character, not ours.


10 people like this
Posted by Winifread
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 12, 2019 at 2:24 pm

>...why it is that every other city provides Palo Altans the exact same access to their parks that their own residents enjoy, but Palo Altans refuse to reciprocate.

I suspect it is because most Palo Altans do not venture into Sunnyvale, Cupertino and San Jose et al for their outdoor park experience.

They are more than welcome to stop by East Palo Alto and enjoy our park facilities but for some reason, most PA residents choose not to.

> If Palo Alto is at all like its neighboring cities, then 90% of its working residents work somewhere other than Palo Alto, and 80% of its workforce lives outside of Palo Alto.

And most do not travel excess miles just to come to a park. Beaches maybe. My son resides in EPA and works in Fremont. He does not drive to Fremont during his off hours to use their public parks. My daughter lives in Santa Cruz and works in San Jose. She does not drive to San Jose on her days off for a park experience.

Gas is close to $5.00 a gallon now. People in other cities would be wise to limit their driving and not be so concerned about heading to Foothils Park.

On the other hand, you are always welcome to bike, hike and picnic in East Palo Alto!


2 people like this
Posted by Winifred
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 12, 2019 at 2:29 pm

Typing so fast I TYPO'D my own name *LOL*

I also meant to add that most of us in EPA have no problem being excluded from Palo Alto's Foothills Park. It's their turf and as aforementioned, you are always welcome to spend the day in EPA.

As Mr. Morales succinctly stated earlier, we tend to enjoy the pavement atmosphere but we also have some trees and parks as well.


4 people like this
Posted by Outsider’s Perspective
a resident of another community
on May 12, 2019 at 3:33 pm

Sorry, Winifred, but proponents of this policy don’t get to argue on the one hand that Foothills Park is “truly a beautiful refuge from the hustle and bustle of Palo Alto”, and simultaneously that “most do not travel excess miles just to come to a park”. Either it’s a unique destination worth traveling to or it isn’t.

You also missed my earlier point - large numbers of non-residents are ALREADY traveling to Palo Alto for work each work day. Some of those non-resident Palo Alto workers would like to visit the park, before work, during lunch, or after work. We see the same thing in our own parks and library. That’s the way a traveling workforce works.


12 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 12, 2019 at 4:04 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

Look at Palo Alto parks that allow non residents use(all except Foothill Park) and they are overflowing with garbage, practically pigsties . FHP is not Ricnconada or any other park, it has a fragile eco systems and a variety of wildlife that would be endangered by opening the park and a major increase in the the number of visitors. Cory Wolbach wants Palo Alto to become an urban asphalt jungle with great density in which everything is paved over, but there's no reason to not ignore him. He was voted out oof the CC, yet it seems like he hasn't gotten the message.


6 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto park use
a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 12, 2019 at 4:26 pm

Palo Alto park use is a registered user.

@mauricio -- Which parks are you thinking of? It's true that the trash cans are overflowing after most weekends in nice weather, but people at least try to pile trash around them. Maybe we need more trash cans? Does Palo Alto have more parks per capita than neighboring cities? Do we know that they are used more by non-residents than residents? It seems inconvenient to make your friends/family drive far to a picnic, so I'd be surprised if that's the case.


6 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 12, 2019 at 4:34 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

Some people place their garbage in trash cans, some don't. I used to run every morning through several city parks and on Mondays and the dat after holidays I'd be literally running over garbage and plastic bags. If you think that most park users are P.A residents, look closer on weekends and holidays. I have nothing against non residents using city parks, but .H Park is not an ordinary park, it's a nature preserve that would be damaged or destroyed if the volume of visitors were to sharply increase.


16 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 12, 2019 at 4:53 pm

Looking at the numbers, I don't see how anyone can reasonably complain. Palo Alto does a lot of sharing:

162 acres of urban park lands: completely open to anyone

4000 acres of open space: 2600 acres open to anyone (Arastradero, Baylands, and Esther Clark Nature Preserve); 1400 acres (Foothill Park) of limited access.

Total space open in Palo Alto open to all (residents and non-residents): 2762 acres.

Total park space in Mountain View open to all: 993 acres

Total park space in Sunnyvale open to all: 772 acres.

Bottom line: Palo Alto has 3-4 times more space open to the general public than either Mountain View or Sunnyvale. Protecting one very special place seems quite reasonable.


6 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto park use
a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 12, 2019 at 5:07 pm

Palo Alto park use is a registered user.

@mauricio -- You say "If you think that most park users are P.A residents, look closer on weekends and holidays." How can you tell by looking if a party is hosted by a Palo Alto resident?


14 people like this
Posted by What Is The Big Deal?
a resident of another community
on May 12, 2019 at 5:13 pm

In the past, I have resided in Mountain View, Los Altos, Menlo Park and Palo Alto as a renter.

While I have enjoyed a respite at Foothills Park WHEN I WAS AN ACTUAL RESIDENT OF PALO ALTO, why do all of these out of towners feel they should be afforded the same privileges? Go find somewhere else to hike or gripe about.

Besides, Foothills Park cannot accommodate a plethora of users and part of its charm is the limited access to PA residents only.

To the complainers who feel they are being deprived of their outdoor experience...Go to Big Basin, Castle Rock or even Portola State Park (which is relatively close to Foothills Park). Stevens Creek is another option.

BTW, I now reside in Los Gatos and have no intention of driving all the way to the Palo Alto foothill and there is always pen access at Los Trancos if worse comes to worse.

Why destroy the outdoor enjoyment of Palo Altans by turning Foothill Park into a mini-Yosemite where the congestion is unbearable?

Get real and as Winifred offered, check out EPA as an alternative venue.


12 people like this
Posted by Jason Moy
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 12, 2019 at 5:39 pm

Sorry but we don’t need more people in the park. More people means more garbage, more crowds, and more pollution. If you want to visit a park, go to your local park.


10 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 13, 2019 at 8:24 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

So where does "Outsider" live? A person who has taken on this issue with some fervor.

I hike with a group that goes to a park in Los Altos hills and it is filled with cars every morning. Cars stacked up looking for a parking place, then when you get into the trails there are running teams who like to use it for cross country workouts. The bathroom is always breaking from over use and people who do not know where trash is suppose to go - not down the toilet. One assumes that these are all educated people but they just don't care. The animals are overwhelmed by the number of people, turkeys walking around, deer walking around, people walking everywhere. The neighbors have put in traffic circles to slow the onslaught of cars on the road. And there has to be a clean-up crew to monitor all of the foot traffic. It is a destination for all age groups and during the winter trails get broken down due to wet earth getting pummeled. So that is what opening up a park produces.

Bottom line is that there are numerous parks in the bay area so no one can claim that they are short of a park to walk and hike in. The gauge is how fragile is a park and it's ecosystem to support non-stop and all-day activity. For Foothill Park it has severe limitations and the road to get to the park has severe limitations with many dangerous turns and altitude drops. The whole park and road have limited use, except for people on bicycles who are racing up and down, around blind curves, and practicing for their own club races. Common sense rules the day here.


13 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 13, 2019 at 9:22 am

When we talk about parks we have to start talking some sense here.

All parks are not equal. Palo Alto parks like Greer and Mitchell are not the same as Baylands Nature Reserve or Foothills Park. The reasons for people to visit are very different. Greer and Mitchell, along with many other parks are neighborhood parks where people primarily can walk from their homes, have the kids play on the playgrounds, use the grass for ball games, perhaps hold a birthday party or family gathering where there is more space than the average back yard.

Baylands and Foothills are nature reserves where people can hike, observe nature, expect some tranquility and not expect balls and frisbees, playgrounds and bouncy castles for birthday parties - although of course some parties take place and picnic areas can be reserved for such.

Baylands and Shoreline Park in Mountain View are similar but not identical.

All parks are not the same. We have different parks for different purposes. Foothills Park is available to anyone who arrives with a Palo Alto resident. In fact a Palo Alto resident can take in more than one car as a guest car can follow the resident in.

What we are doing is not trying to make the park "exclusive" in my mind. What we are trying to do is to limit the number of people in the park at any one time. I often take in non-Palo Alto friends and family. In fact, one couple asked me if they could accompany me there and immediately we arranged a date. It is always a nice experience taking non-Palo Alto guests in. I feel I am hosting them as I show them around the same as if I was hosting them in my home.

I think the Park is a Palo Alto gem and we should share it with our neighbors, but on an individual invitation basis the same way we share our homes with our friends when we invite them in for a short time. Yes, anyone can come in, when invited and when there is a Palo Alto host to invite you in.


15 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 13, 2019 at 10:50 am

mauricio is a registered user.

This particular park has a fragile ecosystem. Exposing the wildlife there to large crowds, which also means much greater noise, proximity to humans and garbage is a terrible idea. Putting more stress on the wildlife would be cruel and disastrous. There are many other reasons why the park should not be open to mass visiting, including large traffic on narrow winding roads that are dangerous even when traffic is light. It's just a very bad idea that should be DOA.


18 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on May 13, 2019 at 12:15 pm

Annette is a registered user.

I am most persuaded by the argument that FH Park is a preserve and as such should be protected and continually preserved. Although not perfect, the current policy is arguably in the park's best interest.


12 people like this
Posted by Nip This BS Issue In The Bud
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 13, 2019 at 12:18 pm

mauricio brought up a valid point and here's the solution...

The City of Palo Alto has the financial resources to simply hire an environmental consultant to prepare an EIR stating that this park can only sustain a limited number of visitors/users at any given time.

That said and duly noted, the out of town complainers can go to some other venue for their outdoors experiences.


9 people like this
Posted by Go Away Cory
a resident of College Terrace
on May 13, 2019 at 1:25 pm

[Post removed.]


21 people like this
Posted by merry
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on May 13, 2019 at 2:24 pm

merry is a registered user.

Maybe the name should be changed to foothills preserve. Just delete Park so there is no confusion.


9 people like this
Posted by Too Many People Coming To Plao Alto...Get Lost!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 13, 2019 at 3:30 pm

Palo Alto has become a magnet of sorts...for more office development, outcries for more housing and now more park access.

What gives? Is Palo Alto that great a place to hang-out?

I would imagine the more people there are 'hanging-out', living and working in Palo Alto will make this city even more unpleasant than it already is.

To the outsiders...go play in your own sandbox!


7 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 13, 2019 at 3:42 pm

Posted by Too Many People Coming To Plao Alto...Get Lost!, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

>> Palo Alto has become a magnet of sorts...for more office development, outcries for more housing and now more park access.

>> What gives? Is Palo Alto that great a place to hang-out?

>> I would imagine the more people there are 'hanging-out', living and working in Palo Alto will make this city even more unpleasant than it already is.

It -is- kind of curious that right now everyone in the world apparently wants to live in a Peninsula city, and yet, the State seems intent on destroying those cities and replacing the residents with office towers. Towers which, logically, could be anywhere on the planet, since they all look the same inside and out.


10 people like this
Posted by The Times Have Changed
a resident of Barron Park
on May 13, 2019 at 7:41 pm

from the Pa Weekly:

"Wolbach said he was motivated to resurrect the issue after reading about Palo Alto's segregationist land-use policies in the 1950s and 1960s...By making it difficult for non-white residents to buy homes in Palo Alto and by limiting Foothills Park only to local residents, the city was effectively creating a park for white people."

Mr. Wolbach is spot on with his assessment. Palo Alto was a racist community during the 1950s-60s and perhaps it still is. The only difference is that PA has experienced an influx of wealthy Chinese from overseas who have the financial resources to buy and live wherever they want to in Palo Alto. And good for them!

Back in the day, people of color were relegated to living in South Palo Alto (Page Mill Road to the Ventura neighborhood). PA neighborhoods north of California were 99% white and the Palo Alto community prefered it that way. As long as he minorities knew their place, everyone seemingly got along.

Foothills Park was concepted with white folks in mind as minorities were too busy with their menial labors working for the white man (i.e. laundry and dry cleaning, gardening, ditch-digging etc.) to even consider a weekend hike in the foothills.

Times have changed and people of all color now have the time to enjoy natural fauna and flora, even those from Fremont and beyond. Many even wear Patagonia and North Face outdoor fashion wear.

Professional minorities have also moved into other more affluent parts of Palo Alto much to the chagrin of some old timers who preferred that their all-white middle class neighborhoods be etched in stone. Not so anymore and welcome to the new PA where money now allows one to live wherever they want despite the silent codes of yesteryear.

The current 40% Chinese population is a sheer indictor of more to come and many highly-eductated East indian entrepreneurs are also electing to reside in the New Palo Alto.

So regardless of whether Foothills Park is closed off to non-residents, it will no longer be a white man's nature retreat.


6 people like this
Posted by Parking
a resident of College Terrace
on May 13, 2019 at 11:30 pm

So if PA allows people to park RVs and live on city streets , maybe we should let this same group park RVs at foothills park? They are residents right?


9 people like this
Posted by neighbor for 50+ years
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 14, 2019 at 1:44 am

Just basically selfishness on the part of Palo Alto neighbors.


9 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 14, 2019 at 6:08 am

mauricio is a registered user.

Many of the visitors to FH are Chinese and east Indians, so the notion that it is only for white people is nonsensical. The nature preserve, which is what FH park actually is, should remain open only to residents for environmental reasons. Distressing the wild life by turning FH into a mini Yosemite would be cruel and destructive to the wild life and ecosystem. It is not an urban city park of which palo A lot has many, more than any of its neighbors, and they are open to all.


14 people like this
Posted by Proof please
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 14, 2019 at 7:28 am

Mauricio--how do you know the following :
1. That Palo alto parks are overflowing with garbage
2. That this garbage is left by non residents (if there is even large amounts of garbage at all)
3. The ethnicities of visitors to foothill park.

By your own admission you live now in Monterey, so not sure where your are getting your facts from. Either way you are painting with a very broad brush and IMHO are making claims about non residents that are false


2 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 14, 2019 at 7:45 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on May 14, 2019 at 11:38 am

Annette is a registered user.

"Foothills Park was concepted with white folks in mind . . . "

The above is preposterous. What motivates people to write things like that?

@merry has made a good suggestion: change the designation to preserve. And then take very good care of it. This will always be a challenge b/c we humans are often not as kind to Mother Nature as we should be. I think it is worth keeping in mind that too many people and too many cars are incompatible with preservation.

But should it be opened, we had best plan to adequately staff the fire station 24/7/365. The entry fee for people who do not reside in Palo Alto should cover most if not all of that expense. Also, there should be an option to return to the restricted access should that be deemed necessary.


7 people like this
Posted by Fact check
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 14, 2019 at 12:57 pm

Speaking of garbage, what I have increasingly noticed in Bay Area nature parks, in recent years, is toilet paper used and then left on the ground, typically near a tree. It is disgusting and wasn't an issue thirty years ago. It's a new trend. Why? And what is being done to prevent/discourage this?


6 people like this
Posted by Open Season
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on May 14, 2019 at 1:07 pm

>> "Foothills Park was concepted with white folks in mind . . . "
The above is preposterous. What motivates people to write things like that?

From a historical perspective Foothills Park was created along that thought process (back in the 1950s-60s). Outside of maybe fishing or picnics, not that many PA people of color were into the outdoors.

Things have changed and today there are many recently arrived professional people from China and East India who enjoy these outdoor opportunities. Nowadays you see many sporting their fashionable Patagonia sportswear and Gortex boots out on the trails.

And now many of their friends from other areas (i.e. Fremont, Sunnyvale & Cupertino et al) want to do the same.


1 person likes this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 14, 2019 at 2:14 pm

@Annette, just curious what entry fee would be appropriate. And how many hundreds of paying vehicles we want on average, per day, week, or year. I don't see enough to pay for even one firefighter.


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Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on May 14, 2019 at 3:18 pm

Annette is a registered user.

I don't know the cost of properly staffing the fire station; my point is that I think that is important and should be factored into the decision making.

@Open Season - here's where my understanding on this may differ from yours: that something was done at a time when the decision makers were primarily (all?) Caucasian doesn't mean that the decision was purposefully, deliberately designed/concepted to exclude people who are not white or to create what you call "a white man's retreat". To conclude that it was is to attribute the worst of motives to people who simply purchased an enormous amount of pristine open space for the CPA. Foothill is beautiful, special, unique. If I had a vote in this I would vote to keep it that way.

I do not participate in Facebook so I have not read what Cory W wrote, but I think it regrettable that race has been made a central issue in this debate. CPA can be described with many adjectives but racist is not one of them. Cory W. grew up here; I am surprised he doesn't know that.


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Posted by Open Season
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on May 14, 2019 at 3:19 pm

>> Speaking of garbage, what I have increasingly noticed in Bay Area nature parks, in recent years, is toilet paper used and then left on the ground, typically near a tree. It is disgusting and wasn't an issue thirty years ago. It's a new trend. Why?

Homelessness and people from other countries where some are not used to indoor plumbing or flushing toilets (i.e. India).


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Posted by Open Season
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on May 14, 2019 at 3:51 pm

>...something was done at a time when the decision makers were primarily (all?) Caucasian doesn't mean that the decision was purposefully, deliberately designed/concepted to exclude people who are not white or to create what you call "a white man's retreat".

Of course. How could the 'decision makers' of the time have known that someday Palo Alto would become home to so many wealthy and successful immigrants from China & East India who would later enjoy the pristine flora of Foothills Park?

But at the time of its conception, the park was designed for white resident because most of the minority peoples were too busy serving them as gardeners, domestics and laundry/dry cleaner operators.

Things have changed today as many of the new Palo Alto residents from overseas are FAR richer than most long-time PA residents. Pretty ironic wouldn't you say?

And now many of their friends and relatives from out of town want to enjoy the park as well.

Call it The New Minority...which is gradually becoming a majority.


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Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 14, 2019 at 5:25 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Going back and reading the intro to this blog I am ashamed of the type comments made by Cory - "institutional racism". It is like a number of people who are trying to start a race war. Those are the type of comments which create a number of reactions which are happening all too frequently and the results are not beneficial to anyone involved. I do not see that to be the case and do not intend to allow bully tactics to overcome common sense regarding the management of city assets. FP is a city asset and the city is responsible for it's protection from people overflow causing a breakdown of the property infrastructure. A lot of work has gone into making it a safe place for people, animals, and the surrounding community which interfaces with it. There are neighbors there who also have a right to some protection from overflow and misuse. The trails are fragile and subject to collapse due to extensive rain. Some have had to be rebuilt. There exists the same fragility that we have seen at the baylands where the bridges going out are closed. Any area requires supervision as to number of people and type of activity.


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Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 14, 2019 at 7:05 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Foothill Park is a property that was donated to the City of Palo Alto by Dr. Lee - one of the original Palo Alto Medical Center originators. This is back when PAMC was on Channing. This was his gift to the residents of the city. There were no racial qualifications associated with the gift of land. Merely being a resident of the city. To imply that Dr. Lee qualified the gift with any racial bias is insulting. He could have simply sold the land so someone could build homes on it. So that is the cautionary tale here - donate your land to POST or Sempervirens. That way only a very small number of people would have access to the land. Forget any donations to the city that will allow people to besmirch the reputation of the person making the donation.


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Posted by old enough to remember
a resident of Downtown North
on May 15, 2019 at 10:13 am



Just a small correction:

Dr. Lee did indeed gifted the city part of FP in the sense that the price for the whole property was slashed so that city would be able to buy it. But the cost (part of the gift) was indeed paid by Palo Alto alone since other cities refused to join. No other entity either federal or state contributed.

Don't cry "wolf" now.



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Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 15, 2019 at 11:24 am

mauricio is a registered user.

I've been to enough nature parks which are in essence wildlife preserves, which FHP is indeed to know that an overflow of visitors would create a possible irreversible damage to its eco-system and put too much stress on the animals. Yosemite is in very bad shape right now for the exact same reasons and so are nature parks such as Iguacu Falls on either side of the Argentina-Brazil border, to name just a few. In Iguacu, the Quati species have gotten used to eating junk food leftovers that are spilled out garbage bins or carelessly tossed by visitors and it has caused birth defects and behavioral changes.

This issue has got nothing to do with racism, FHP is just not suitable for mass human presence. It is not an urban park like Rinconada or Hoover and shouldn't be viewed as such. I used to love visiting this beautiful nature preserve, but stopped going there about 25 years ago, figuring out that the animals were much better off with less people around.


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Posted by Limited open
a resident of Triple El
on May 15, 2019 at 11:35 am

I didn't care that much about this issue until I saw some pretty racist comments here about the cause of the mess in Palo Alto parks. Now I do care, and I think Palo Alto should open up the preserve.

It is a sensitive environment, so why not open it up to 50 (say) non-residents per day, then evaluate the cost and impact after two years. It's not ideal -- I can imagine a rush to enter on nice weekends -- but it's a start.

I wonder how much of the concern is due to worries about contention for camp sites or boats. I don't use the park, but I can imagine there is some competition for these. If that is the worry, then consider keeping those to Palo Altans only, or giving them priority access. I'd guess they are more expensive to maintain and Palo Alto has been funding this.


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Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 15, 2019 at 11:35 am

The "racism" stories are just that-- "just so stories". Web Link Where is the evidence?

Not that racism wasn't quite prevalent in the US at the time the park was created, including in Palo Alto. Until recently, a middle school was named after -Lewis- (and, more recently, Frederick) Terman, and, the opportunity to drop Lewis Terman from the name was passed up several times. Fletcher Middle School works for me though-- I consider her a great contributor to the city.

Yes, there were all kinds of pro/anti bigoted-racist-etc currents going in the world at the time Foothills Park creation. At the time, the -Conservation- movement was really gaining a wider audience (see the KQED "Saving the Bay" series - Web Link), but, it must be admitted, the "fit of pique" someone mentioned earlier has to be accounted for also-- the initial refusal, and, the decades of Portola Valley and Los Altos Hills -disinterest- in paying for part of land and/or ongoing maintenance costs. The irony being that Los Altos Hills and Portola Valley were indeed very white at the time.


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Posted by Open Season
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on May 15, 2019 at 1:09 pm

It is not a racism issue today. It was a possible racism issue back then during the time of the park's creation.

At present, they do not check ethnicities at the front gate. Just residency verification.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 15, 2019 at 1:13 pm

Doggism. Barred from the park on weekends. I've seen many snuck through anyway.


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Posted by Open Season
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on May 15, 2019 at 1:18 pm

> Doggism. Barred from the park on weekends. I've seen many snuck through anyway.

Doggism = because most of these so-called 'naturalists' believe it unnecessary for them to pick-up after their pooches in the wide open spaces.

The bio-gradable argument doesn't cut it when one inadvertently step in dog crap and then tracks it back into his/her car. That and having to clean it out of the treads of one's hiking boots.

That and the majority of pseudo nature-freaks with dogs feel that leashes are an encumbrance to the overall bucolic experience.


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Posted by Disgusted with the left
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 15, 2019 at 1:34 pm

What's with this socialism wave? Individual rights don't matter anymore? We pay our Palo Alto taxes, we should benefit. I think the Rinconada pool and our parks should be for Palo Altans only also. Our parks and the Rinconada Pool are being taken over by non-residents, which is what would happen to Foothills Park if we allow outsiders. We worked hard to be able to afford our house in Palo Alto, we pay high taxes, and NO, we should not have to share! If we could not afford to live here, we would move elsewhere. Everyone does not have a right to play in one of the most expensive cities in the nation.


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Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 15, 2019 at 5:03 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

We have jumped into the absurd. And the lead in article did not help matters. It provided incentive for people to take city policy into their own hands and politicize it. The writer sounds like a person with a grudge.

RACE has nothing to do with this. The ticket in is RESIDENCY. However I am in a group that reserves space for events and provides a list of expected people - and they are all colors. And when all is said and done it is just a park. There are parks all over that look just like parks.

You can find a list of parks available on the systems and you will find that many require an entrance fee and if they are filled up they say that - no more people. Suggest you go down to San Antonio Preserve if you can find a parking place. The bay area is filled with walking trails - get a map with all of them - they provide the hours and requirements and fees.


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Posted by The Times Have Changed
a resident of Barron Park
on May 15, 2019 at 6:18 pm

The irony of Palo Alto...once upon a time, Palo Alto was a predominantly white community and its civic affairs were reflective of that constituency.

Those days are long gone and despite the city's liberal wing extolling the virtues of ethnic diversity and culture, there is a faction that still wants to live in the idyllic 'white world' Palo Alto of the 1950s-early 1970s.

It's over. The newly arrived immigrants from overseas (China & India) are accustomed to residing in compressed neighborhoods and the opportunity to live in PA town (to them) is a godsend. The available residential lot sizes also affords the Chinese to build or remodel according to their residential ideals...big house with small yards. This accomodates extended families as the Chinese as a whole do not embrace the nuclear family concept. The same goes for the East Indians.

They've got the money so more power to them. Spending anywhere from $3M to $7M+ or a PA home is a drop in the bucket for many & the only ones who can still afford to live here are the NIMBYs who purchased their homes in the 1970s (pre-Prop 13). The newer post 1980 residents are paying through their noses just for the zip code.

Most current PA residents got in too late and to clamor for the PA of old is pure folly. Get used to the new Palo Alto and its diversity. (along with the variances in cultural perspectives & practices).

Foothills Park should remain an exclusive Palo Alto resident privilege. Outsiders can go to Stevens Creek or Los Trancos for their nature walks.

On the other hand, PA 'white world' is fading and its 40% Asian population will only increase over time.

It's just demographic evolution. The Ohlones were dispcaed by the Spanish/Mexicans who were in turn displaced by the white westward settlors.

The modern day displacement is coming from the far east and so be it.

At least they can afford to buy your house upfront CASH when you decide to relocate...either to another earthly locale or the afterlife.


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Posted by Palo Alto park use
a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 15, 2019 at 6:39 pm

Palo Alto park use is a registered user.

@Disgusted with the left. You say "Our parks and the Rinconada Pool are being taken over by non-residents". How can you tell who is a resident and who is not?

Several people seem to agree with you, so I ask that of others as well.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 15, 2019 at 8:15 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 15, 2019 at 10:35 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Go back and read this story. It is generated by Cory Wolbach feeding racist theories to the editor. That is on Cory and has nothing to do with Dr. Lee donating land to the city for city residents. And certain themes keep getting repeated to feed a narrative which really has nothing to do with the park. It has to do with Cory's political agenda. [Portion removed.]
We don't need to be lectured on the white world. We are all educated enough to figure out political spin when it is happening. And the white world lecture is lost on me since the majority of people on my block are not white. They qualify as "residents' and can go to the park whenever they want. Can you please shut down further activity on this subject since the subject at this point is not the park.


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Posted by Disgusted with the left
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 16, 2019 at 1:16 am

@Palo Alto park use: Haha, I ain’t gonna take that bait!


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Posted by YES - Racism! Speak for yourselves!
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 16, 2019 at 10:50 am

Reading these "It's not racism" comments is infuriating.

I can't tell you how many times since 2000 I have been approached to reshow my ID or DL to PROVE my residency while not being able to fully enjoy the park - undeterred or unstressed - like a normal person. Or, the feeling of my ID being glared upon as-if my family and I are invaders trying to "steal" access to the park. I no longer go and have since MOVED!

For all you of you who with this "oh, please. There's no racism, hidden, implied or unseen!!" BITE me and every other person of color who's been made to feel like an unwanted person, an unwanted thief of a preserve and that we should take the "back" door entrance to a park (resident or not) and still be approached or asked to leave.

Get out of your prestigious, narcissistic elitist privileged bubble.

Period point blank.

Yes. Angry and fed up ex-Palo Alto Tax Payer and Parent! (and take the typos as they come.)


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Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 16, 2019 at 1:01 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

What a confusing position above. When I go to FP the gate manager asks to see my license to prove I am a resident. So once you have shown your license then why would a ranger approach you again and question you? If people are coming in the back door then the ranger has not seen you before. That seems like a good reason to ask to see someone's license. So any one coming in the back door did not follow the requirements of using the park. And person is posting from Crescent Park but says they moved away. Hummm - sounds like a rant to me.

Filoli is a National Trust property and when you go there you have to check in and get a wrist band to show you are a member and have paid for your visit - if the visit requires a payment. No one is walking around without a wrist band to show they have checked in. Every location out there has rules and regulations associated with the utilization of park assets. If you go to any state or national park you have to reserve any overnight camping and you have to pay to just go into the park. And many of the local trails have a money box soliciting a donation for walking the trails. Each park has a unique funding source which dictates when the park is used and by whom. Big article about taxpayers now being asked to pay in more taxes to support the SF Dolores Park since so many people leave trash and tear up the landscaping. And the residents are angry to be asked to pay in more taxes to help keep the park clean.
As to budgets Rancho San Antonio has a ranger station, fire department, and rangers who circulate through the park on a regular basis to make sure people keep on the trails and are not setting the place on fire. And they have to hose down the bathrooms on a regular basis since people don't know how to use a bathroom. And a coyote wants to get in the garbage cans - watch out for the coyote - but he is not as big as the mountain lion who wants to catch a deer. And then there is the clearing of the mountains of high grass which is a fire danger. Lots of money is devoted to that park - go visit it - half of PA can be seen there.


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Posted by dtnorth
a resident of Downtown North
on May 16, 2019 at 2:25 pm

Some options is to ask the neighboring cities if they now would like to help pay for the maintence, kind of like Henny Penny. Also as someone mentioned maybe non PA peeps could buy a permit before going up to FHP and limit the numbers. That way you don't go all the way up and get turned away.

Speaking of our parks - they are in terrible shape. The lights and garbage cans are horribly infested with years of old caterpillars and dirt. Really the city should hire students such as Shoreline to do power washing maintenance on our parks. I live near a park and the light are in horrible shape.


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Posted by Paly1982
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 16, 2019 at 2:57 pm

Although my ties to PA officially ended last year with the sale of my childhood home, my parents bought in PA in 1964 and Foothills Park is a reason for dozens upon dozens of memories. We did it all: the trails, the lake, bbq'ing, and we visited the museum every single time (even though nothing ever changed -- it was just part of the package). I don't think the park would remain as serene if it were a free-for-all. I know things slowed down quite a bit in recent years with families just being "too busy" to enjoy nature with their kids, but I do remember trying to get to the park before the crowds to find parking and an available bbq grill. Even today, I (almost) love the smell of smoke in my hair, because it reminds me of Foothills Park!

It has been more than a couple of years that I've been back, but I'm willing to bet the view from the park (looking toward Hoover Tower and the rest of PA)... has changed....not sure I'd be thrilled with it.....

One thing that must be considered is the traffic to and from the park, and I am willing to bet the neighbors won't be really pleased if the traffic should suddenly pick up. I think they should have a say in the decision.

For selfish reasons, I would love the privilege of continuing my visits, but if I were still in PA, I would probably object, unless there were enforceable restrictions. The best compromise would be the charge for non-residents, and it would have to be hefty enough to support the extra staff to maintain it. Perhaps the days of a friendly "booth ranger" are long gone, but maybe a sticker (like a fast-pass) could be issued for free to residents and purchased by non-residents, renewable every year. It would HAVE to be renewable every year, to keep up with the changing status of residents who move away.

Just my 2 cents.


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Posted by HeartFHP
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 16, 2019 at 9:52 pm

@ YES - Racism! Speak for yourselves!

@ Yes. Angry and fed up ex-Palo Alto Tax Payer and Parent! (and take the typos as they come.)

Why so angry? WOW!






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Posted by old enough to remember
a resident of Downtown North
on May 17, 2019 at 12:24 pm

These are the fees for visiting Filoli :

Adult $22
Senior (65+) $18
Student, Teacher, Military $15
Children (5-17 years old) $11
Children (under 5 years old) FREE
Group Rate (15 or more guests - advance registration required) $17

At this prices, a family of 4 would pay $66 dollars for a lovely afternoon at FP. And, a fee like that would not pay for the upkeep of the park or amortize the capital expenditure. What it would do is costing Palo Alto a lot and use precious slots of Palo Altans. And then, of course, we would have non residents clamoring for reduced fees or a freebie. At the Filoli prices the Park wouldn't be very frequented by non-Palo Altans. Has anybody have a study showing the likelihood of the possible non resident attendance be sufficient for the fees to cover even just the added manpower (rangers)?

Just as an aside Filoli relies on volunteers and fundraises a lot just to break even...

Leave it as is!. FP is the precious resort that Dr. Lee reserved just for residents of Palo Alto. FP is the precious resort that other cities refused to share into. If you want to go to FP move to Palo Alto (or find a friend from Palo Alto). Or stay where you are and use your local parks our other parks.

The present situation was obviously a mistake on the part of other cities?
Not so fast. Apparently, as of last year another city offered a pittance to have their residents admitted to FP. They made their sums and must of concluded that only a handful of their residents would be fervent in their desire for FP admission. Those handful are vocal but remain a handful. Leave us alone and find some other cause worth of our time and yours.


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Posted by David
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 17, 2019 at 1:13 pm

Ex-councilman Cory Wolbach seems to be a sore looser of the last election and is trying to use the typical catch words like racism to keep his name in the limelight for future political office.


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Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 17, 2019 at 1:56 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

David - I agree. What is even worse is the Weekly printed the diatribe regarding racism. Maybe someone working for the city or paper does not live in the city and is venting their displeasure. We just got a lot of new city employees.


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Posted by Heh heh heh
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 17, 2019 at 1:56 pm

Residents only? Suuuuuure, wink wink.


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Posted by Paly Class of 68
a resident of another community
on May 17, 2019 at 3:15 pm

I happened upon this discussion by chance and am amazed by some of the comments. First off if you look at skin color and take it into consideration that is wrong. My parents were German, Spanish, Philippine and who knows what else as my mom’s family was in the orient since the early 1800’s.
We moved to the old city hall neighborhood in 1954 from SF and my parents resided their until 1971. I lived in Palo Alto until 1976. The use of Rinconada park was on a daily basis. As time went by and I got older I found it more and more crowded on the weekends with large groups filling up the picnic areas and such. My use slowed down as it was not as peaceful and Foothill Park became the substitute for me and my friends. The trails both on weekdays and weekends were uncrowded. In the 70’s when my oldest was young we would bring her up to play by the pond and in the large grassy area as an escape from Greer park and the others in the city.
I have returned to Palo Alto for work and pleasure over the years and noticed a massive increase in the number of people. I should say single people as it seems les and less are families. On passing Rinconada park it always seems full now with garbage cans overflowing. Since I am not and have not been a resident since 76, I have respected the rules and stayed out of the park. I would have a hard time imagining what it would be like to use the park now let alone open to all.

I guess it all comes down to respecting others, accepting that you can’t always get what you want and rules exist everywhere.


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Posted by How To Quell The PA Racist Agenda
a resident of Barron Park
on May 17, 2019 at 8:58 pm

One way to shake these racist allegations would be to have special days at Foothills Park in commemoration of some noteworthy event or noted individual of color with no PA residency requirements.

Some examples...

(1) On Cinco de Mayo Day, open up Foothills Park to large numbers of Hispanics regardless of their residency. Make it their special day to come and enjoy the park.

(2) Martin Luther Day for welcoming countless African-Americans representing various black neighborhoods throughout the peninsula.

(3) Chinese New Year Day to accomodate Chinese hikers and nature lovers from neighboring cities and even San Francisco.

(4) Ghandi Day for East Indians, welcoming all East Indians from the surrounding communities.

This should quell the criticism and then allow the park to be utilized exclusively for white Palo Alto residents during the remaining days of the year.

The only challenge would be how to provide the same visitation opportunities for white non PA residents and other ethnic/religous denominations.

Perhaps someone from Parks & Rec could research the various considerations and schedule it into the Foothills Park visitation calendar.

This is one way to pacify both the racists and the pro-non resident factions.




3 people like this
Posted by Tom Rota
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on May 17, 2019 at 9:02 pm

I am with Liz. I like Foothill Park as is.
Tom Rota
34 year Palo Alto resident.


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Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 19, 2019 at 7:01 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Amazing - Barron Park is stuck on the white theme. Not winning any points here - making up a guilt trip with condemnation that has no basis in fact. To say that all residents in PA are white is nonsense. Barron Park needs to get out more and look around. Google and FB are not hiring "white" people - they are hiring Indian and Chinese people. It is tiring to read people who are stuck in a thought process that has no applicability to real life.

The residents of PA are a mixed bag and they all can go to FP. And person is accusing PA of a racist agenda. Who makes this stuff up? Is this person a paid political hack?


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Posted by How To Quell The PA Racist Agenda
a resident of Barron Park
on May 19, 2019 at 8:01 am

^^^ Yes. Palo Alto is a mixed-bag of ethnicities today and the misconception that Foothills Park is accommodating the white populace arises because most of the park users are white.

The newly arrived East Indians and Chinese tend to do most of their walking while shopping or strolling through the neighborhoods. And the ones that do use the park sometimes invite friends from other areas who wonder why there aren't more of their kind at Foothills Park which in turn raises the race flag.

Many do not understand that Foothills Park is a semi-private park reserved for Palo Alto residents & this may be where the misunderstanding is arising.

Of course Palo Alto residents want to preserve the park by limiting access and reducing the chances of it being overun by out of towners who will stress the natural environment of the park.

This is not about race but who's actually using it and the perceptions outsiders may be getting when they visit Fotthills Park as a guest of a PA resident.



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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 19, 2019 at 9:46 am

I frequently visit Foothills Park. I estimate that Asians and Indians are more plentiful than Caucasians, but then I don't really try to put people in categories.

I would like to know, since we are talking about it, if all the rangers are Palo Alto residents. Not that it makes much of a difference except that I seem to feel that most of them have been familiar faces for as long as I remember visiting there.


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Posted by How To Quell The PA Racist Agenda
a resident of Barron Park
on May 19, 2019 at 10:07 am

> I would like to know, since we are talking about it, if all the rangers are Palo Alto residents. Not that it makes much of a difference except that I seem to feel that most of them have been familiar faces for as long as I remember visiting there.

Not necessarily. When one frequents a certain venue and encounters the same employees, it just means they've been there awhile.

Like asking (or assuming) does a grocery clerk you've crossed paths with for years at the check-out stand reside in the same community as you?



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Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 19, 2019 at 12:46 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

We have two members of the PACC that are not white. And the City manager is not white. So why are people stuck on white? It is insulting to those who live here that they are written off as not being part of the community they live in. I find the comments that assert we are racist as inappropriate and objectionable.


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Posted by Arlo Chang
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 19, 2019 at 3:10 pm

> We have two members of the PACC that are not white. And the City manager is not white. So why are people stuck on white?

> I find the comments that assert we are racist as inappropriate and objectionable.

Some Asian-Americans have succeeded in blending into the white universe by not rocking the boat...but to their white superiors, they are still viewed as minority peoples expected to tow the white line. It is a subtle but very prevalent scenario in business, government, the military, education et al.

You will rarely see an outspoken Asian politician along the same lines of their oftentimes more vocal Africa-American or Hispanic counterparts. Being acquiescent and/or subservient (or appearing to be so) is a part of their cultural make-up even on national political levels. When was the last time you witnessed a truly vociferous and outspoken Asian politician? Chances are...never.

So despite its apparent 'diversity' the PACC and PA City Administration is still a predominantly white governing & management mindset.

Even George Wallace denied ever being a racist.

As for the park, it is not a race issue but rather one of accessibility to outside parties.

If environmental impact is the primary consideration, then entrance restrictions would seem appropriate (i.e. to city residents only).

If it is intently (or subtly) based on keeping out certain minorities regardless of their residence, then it is racist.


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Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 20, 2019 at 7:50 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Accessibility is a key issue. Anyone that spends any time at Mitchel Park and the library, Little League Park, soccer fields, and accessibility to both public and charter schools can observe that we have a diverse population. Children want to be where other children are, parents get their children on the weekend to sports games, or children who are older bike there then bike home. The parks on the flat lands are signed up to support the sports leagues - that is where people are. The summer concert series are in those parks because they are easy to get to and set up to accommodate large crowds and deal with both the incoming and outgoing traffic relative to those locations.

None of those desirable factors are applicable to FP - it is a lengthy trip up a precarious road with big drop-offs, there are no soccer fields or child areas. It is a fragile area that is not conducive to any of the activities that people who have to manage children are going to go to except on a special trip. It is one of those places that people go to see "nature". But there are parks all over the bay area in which people can go to see "nature". Maybe the city can print a booklet that tells people where the city parks are and what activities are supported at those locations. But no where in your imagination are children going to bike to that location with their tennis rackets, soccer balls, or baseball teams. There is no school in the vicinity which children attend which creates the after school play that you see at Mitchel Park. A city is planned to direct people to the most advantageous locations as meeting and gathering places after school and on the weekends. Mitchel Park is in an excellent location relative to achools, organized and unorganized play areas, tasty food, and library where they are all sitting around reading. And anyone can go there and do go there. So why not appreciate that everyone has choices here and can observe that we are a diverse population.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 20, 2019 at 9:04 am

My question above about the rangers and where they live was along the lines of how long they have worked there and whether they took the job because they were Palo Alto residents who loved the park and wanted to work/volunteer.

I have seen groups of people volunteering in the park, clearing intrusive growth from trails, etc. Does the park need more volunteer groups?


2 people like this
Posted by Pravit Singh
a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 21, 2019 at 10:02 am

We go to Foothills Park all the time and bring friends from India who wonder why it is exclusive to Palo Alto residents. I tell them that it is a privilege to be a Palo Alto resident and outsiders are not welcome except as guests of a Palo Alto resident. It is like a nature country club and no, admissions are not racist-based. It is based on money and affordability factors. If one can afford to live in Palo Alto then they should be able to decide who uses Foothills Park.

My Chinese colleagues at Google feel the same way. They too enjoy Foothills Park and its limited access to outside residents. Many feel that there should be some sort of exclusive reward for spending well over $5M for a home in Palo Alto.

As others have mentioned, there are countless other parks in the surrounding area and they are there to serve those who are not in the higher income brackets.

It is like automobiles. Some like myself can afford to drive a Tesla and with that comes certain customer maintanance privileges. Those who cannot afford one go to Jiffy Lube.


3 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 21, 2019 at 11:03 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

I have to laugh at some of the comments here. If you notice the parking regulations in the garage at city hall many are specific to those who have a specific decal on their autos. How about those city parking lots where spaces are reserved for those with specific deals on their autos. And there is someone circling to hand out tickets. So the city is exercising a selective parking restriction within the city limits. Handing out rights to people based not on city residence but some other criteria. So everyone is picking and choosing their selective rage over their own choice of restrictions to voice rage over. Pick and choose what you rage over but take the other handouts with glee.


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Posted by funny stuff
a resident of another community
on May 22, 2019 at 2:19 am

I cant tell which of these posts are real, and which are satire. Which makes the posts even funnier


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