News

An 'overreach'? Palo Alto's curfew sparks concerns over civil liberties

Former, current city leaders question legality of 10-day order — and city manager's power to issue it

Workers install boards at the entrance of Cafe Venetia on University Avenue in Palo Alto on June 3, 2020, in preparation for possible looting. Photo by Gennady Sheyner

Update: Ed Shikada announced Thursday morning, June 4, that the curfew has been lifted after he and Police Chief Robert Jonsen had both determined that the conditions that had warranted the order no longer apply. Read more here.

---

City Manager Ed Shikada's sudden decision on Tuesday to impose a curfew in Palo Alto until June 11 is facing a backlash from residents, civil rights advocates and former City Council members, who are calling the move a legally dubious police "overreach" that will chill free speech.

The curfew took effect Tuesday night and prohibits residents from being out in public between 8:30 p.m. and 5 a.m. Chief Communications Officer Meghan Horrigan-Taylor said the city manager may shorten or extend the curfew based on circumstances.

But the order caught many community leaders off-guard, with some suggesting that the policy is not justified. LaDoris Cordell — a retired judge, former Palo Alto City Council member and former San Jose police auditor — said she doesn't believe that the city is under a threat requiring a 10-day curfew.

What's local journalism worth to you?

Support Palo Alto Online for as little as $5/month.

Learn more

"I want answers. What is the threat? What is it that we're concerned about here in Palo Alto that we can't be out front on our sidewalks at 8:30 in the evening, particularly when it's so hot during the day?"

The declaration, she said, "criminalizes every person, every family, anyone who can be charged with a crime for just being outside your door."

Police powers that are given to governors, mayors and city managers must be used with caution, she said.

"There must be a balance between the civil liberties of those who live and work here and those who have police power," Cordell said. "I don't see the balance anywhere and I have not heard any explanation."

In justifying Shikada's authority to implement the curfew, the declaration points to the section of Palo Alto's municipal code that grants a director (in this case, the city manager) expanded powers during a state of emergency. Palo Alto has been under a local state of emergency relating to the COVID-19 pandemic since March 12. Unlike San Mateo County, which declared a two-day curfew on Tuesday, Palo Alto did not declare a separate emergency related to potential civil unrest.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Sign up

Palo Alto's municipal law, section 2.12.060, authorizes the director to issue rules and regulations on "matters reasonably related to the protection of life and property as affected by such emergency." Those rules must be confirmed by the City Council "at the earliest practicable time by the city council," according to law.

But the council, which meets on Mondays, won't have a chance to confirm or amend the curfew order until June 8, three days before it's scheduled to expire, unless it holds an emergency meeting.

The curfew order appears to have only an indirect connection to the coronavirus state of emergency that granted Shikada expanded powers. The curfew declaration states that local retail has already been hit hard by the shutdown and is now "additionally burdened by risk of criminal theft and damage."

To further justify the curfew, the declaration states that Palo Alto law enforcement have observed "scouting behavior" around Stanford Shopping Center and the downtown retail core.

"Local and regional law enforcement intelligence-gathering suggests that planning is underway for additional organized criminal activity that could very quickly threaten harm to persons and property, and that such activity is imminent," the curfew declaration states.

"To protect lives and property in the city of Palo Alto, provide for the health and safety of residents and essential workers, and protect and support businesses that are a critical part of our community, it is necessary to immediately restrict the use of public areas of the city, including streets, roads, sidewalks, alleys, parks, plazas and other rights of way, during nighttime hours."

'To have windows smashed and goods stolen is completely unacceptable.'

-Adrian Fine, mayor, city of Palo Alto

Mayor Adrian Fine told this news organization on Tuesday that the aim of the order is public safety. The curfew declaration, he said, is "based on credible intelligence about criminal groups targeting Palo Alto's commercial districts."

"I sympathize so deeply with the businesses that have been sheltering in place for three months now," Fine said. "To have windows smashed and goods stolen is completely unacceptable."

To date, however, there have been no reports of any Palo Alto businesses being damaged during the protests. On Sunday, Menlo Park police arrested two men who were reportedly speeding through the city en route to Stanford Shopping Center, which was the destination in their GPS. They already had a stolen cash register and stolen clothing in their car, Menlo Park police reported.

Officers were on scene to conduct "highly visible spot checks and patrols" after receiving information about "a large group of individuals heading toward Stanford Shopping Center to loot businesses" when they saw the men's car run a red light.

Since then, Palo Alto has seen several peaceful demonstrations, including ones on Monday in front of City Hall and at El Palo Alto Park. There have been no reports of any property damage relating to these events; however, police in East Palo Alto have been called to deal with criminal activity occurring during protests, including a smashed store window and a building break-in.

In an updated announcement Wednesday, Shikada provided additional details about the Sunday incident, as well as others that he said have "created a need for law enforcement awareness regionally." According to the statement, police learned that looters were planning to come to Stanford Shopping Center. Within an hour of receiving the information, there were between 50 and 100 cars circling the mall with people who police believed were intent on looting.

"Due to the police presence, fortunately no looting occurred," the statement reads.

The statement also cited the June 2 arrests in Menlo Park of two people, one of whom allegedly had a concealed handgun while the other had an outstanding warrant for his arrests. And Shikada pointed to an arrest in Redwood City of a man who had a machete hidden inside his protest sign.

Shikada said in the statement Wednesday that after the Redwood City protest, groups of looters were allegedly planning to target various locations throughout the Peninsula, including Stanford Shopping Center and other areas.

"Officers were prepared and thankfully this did not materialize," the statement said.

Cordell and Barron Park resident Winter Dellenbach, a longtime advocate for more transparency and accountability in the police department, both said that the recent arrest by Menlo Park police only reinforces the fact that police can deter crime through increased surveillance in commercial areas that they believe are being targeted, which makes a citywide curfew unreasonable.

Cordell noted that even places that have actually seen looting have imposed shorter curfews. In Hampton, Virginia, which experienced violence and looting, the curfew was established for three days, she noted.

"I have never heard of pre-emptive curfew, as we have in Palo Alto," Cordell said.

While Fine said he supports the curfew, he told this news organization that he is concerned about the duration and that he believes two or three days would be more appropriate. He said he communicated his concerns with Shikada and advised staff to share more information with the public about why the order is necessary.

"I hope we can lift it as soon as possible," Fine said.

Vice Mayor Tom DuBois also said that he is not happy about the curfew decision and that he hopes the City Council will hold an emergency meeting to either ratify or modify the declaration before its next meeting on June 8. The imposed curfew, he noted, is not based on any incident that has actually occurred but on fears that something will happen.

"It seems like the cure here is probably worse than the illness," DuBois told this news organization.

Some residents have come out in favor of a curfew, arguing that it's necessary to keep Palo Alto safe during a period in which cities across the nation are seeing protests relating to the May 25 killing of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody. During the council meeting on Monday, Jennifer Liu was one of several speakers who said she was concerned about the "looting, demonstration and violence around the Bay Area" and suggested that the curfews already in place elsewhere in the Bay Area will drive more people to Palo Alto.

"With those cities having curfew, protesters have less places to go," Liu said. "If Palo Alto is open, those people will come to Palo Alto, and people are getting very worried."

Lily Hwang also pointed to curfews elsewhere and suggested that the city "may be a target" because it doesn't have one in place.

"I really love this city, and I hope there's no violence happening in our town," Hwang said.

The council did not discuss the proposed curfew during the Monday meeting, though Councilman Greg Tanaka briefly noted that some other cities have contemplated a curfew and suggested that Palo Alto should as well.

"It's important that business owners don't feel compelled to board up their windows," Tanaka said. "We don't want these tough economic times to be even tougher."

Despite his comment, there was no indication during the meeting that the city would be imposing a curfew the following day.

Protesters take a moment of silence and kneel in King Plaza in front of Palo Alto City Hall on June 1. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Dellenbach found the logic in the city's curfew order unconvincing. She called Palo Alto's curfew "a complete overreach and chilling of free speech."

"What they should be doing is focusing on Stanford Shopping Center and the downtown retail core," Dellenbach told this news organization. "What they have chosen to do instead is to put a curfew on every single neighborhood and on every single household in Palo Alto for up to 10 days on short notice."

She noted that Lytton Plaza in downtown Palo Alto has a history as the city's "free speech" gathering place and that the plaza in front of City Hall is named after Coretta Scott King and Martin Luther King Jr. With the curfew declaration, residents are banned from gathering in these places during evening hours. This is wrong, she said.

"It completely takes away from prime time our ability to express ourselves under the First Amendment — our right to assembly, our right to petition our government, our right to dissent," Dellenbach said. "All this in the name of protecting shops in two areas close together in town.

"The First Amendment doesn't sunset at 8:30 at night," she added.

Dellenbach also noted that out-of-town crews have stolen from shops like Victoria's Secret and Nordstrom for years. Now, cities are framing the activity as "looting" and using it as a justification for curfews.

Palo Alto is one of many jurisdictions that have adopted curfews over the past week to prevent property damage — but its order is considerably longer. San Mateo County's curfew for all cities in its jurisdictions only covers June 2 and June 3. The curfews in Santa Rosa and the town of Windsor both stretch from June 1 to June 4. Even San Francisco, which has seen looting in the Union Square area, announced that it is lifting its curfew at 5 a.m. on Thursday, June 4.

The American Civil Liberties Union North California has also denounced what it called "a slew of hastily announced 'curfews' enacted in cities across California" that impinge on residents' First Amendment rights to peaceably assemble. These curfews, the organization said in a statement, "lack clarity as to their scope and duration."

"This is the wrong way to handle disruptions to what have been otherwise peaceful protests, and they are far broader than necessary to address any problems that have arisen or may arise," the ACLU stated. "Moreover, by making presence on public streets anywhere in these cities unlawful, these measures give police too much discretion over whom to arrest and will lead to selective and biased enforcement.

"In short, these measures will only repeat the very problems that our communities are protesting."

ACLU also submitted a letter to Shikada on Wednesday asking him to rescind the curfew order, which it argued violates the public's constitutional rights. Protests constitute "an exercise of rights squarely protected by the First Amendment.

"Their lawful efforts to stop excessive force by law enforcement have been met, at times, with excessive force and now a curfew that improperly curtails their constitutional rights," the ACLU letter states. "If anything, the imposition of a curfew — a signature measure of a police state — in direct response to protests regarding police accountability demonstrates the importance of these protests. We therefore urge you as strongly as possible to take immediate action to uphold the U.S. and California Constitutions."

'It seems like the cure here is probably worse than the illness.'

-Tom DuBois, vice mayor, city of Palo Alto

Former Palo Alto Mayor Pat Burt also questioned the legality of the Palo Alto order. Because the curfew has "no relationship to the COVID emergency," he wrote, can powers granted to the city manager under one basis of a health safety emergency be used to address an unrelated risk?

He also questioned whether the city's new curfew meets the requirement that "extraordinary circumstances" be balanced against civil liberties.

"Does the mere risk of civil unrest, in the absence of significant illegal unrest or rioting in the city, legally justify a new emergency or a broad and extended curfew under the current declaration?" Burt asked in his list of questions. "Is the risk of escalated organized vandalism and theft equivalent to rioting or civil unrest that would be required for a citywide curfew?"

For Cordell, the answer is a resounding "No." She called the curfew "police power run amok" and said she hopes the council will direct Shikada to withdraw it.

"I think this is excessive, and I want it revoked," Cordell said.

Craving a new voice in Peninsula dining?

Sign up for the Peninsula Foodist newsletter.

Sign up now

Follow Palo Alto Online and the Palo Alto Weekly on Twitter @paloaltoweekly, Facebook and on Instagram @paloaltoonline for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

An 'overreach'? Palo Alto's curfew sparks concerns over civil liberties

Former, current city leaders question legality of 10-day order — and city manager's power to issue it

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Jun 3, 2020, 4:59 pm
Updated: Thu, Jun 4, 2020, 11:35 am

Update: Ed Shikada announced Thursday morning, June 4, that the curfew has been lifted after he and Police Chief Robert Jonsen had both determined that the conditions that had warranted the order no longer apply. Read more here.

---

City Manager Ed Shikada's sudden decision on Tuesday to impose a curfew in Palo Alto until June 11 is facing a backlash from residents, civil rights advocates and former City Council members, who are calling the move a legally dubious police "overreach" that will chill free speech.

The curfew took effect Tuesday night and prohibits residents from being out in public between 8:30 p.m. and 5 a.m. Chief Communications Officer Meghan Horrigan-Taylor said the city manager may shorten or extend the curfew based on circumstances.

But the order caught many community leaders off-guard, with some suggesting that the policy is not justified. LaDoris Cordell — a retired judge, former Palo Alto City Council member and former San Jose police auditor — said she doesn't believe that the city is under a threat requiring a 10-day curfew.

"I want answers. What is the threat? What is it that we're concerned about here in Palo Alto that we can't be out front on our sidewalks at 8:30 in the evening, particularly when it's so hot during the day?"

The declaration, she said, "criminalizes every person, every family, anyone who can be charged with a crime for just being outside your door."

Police powers that are given to governors, mayors and city managers must be used with caution, she said.

"There must be a balance between the civil liberties of those who live and work here and those who have police power," Cordell said. "I don't see the balance anywhere and I have not heard any explanation."

In justifying Shikada's authority to implement the curfew, the declaration points to the section of Palo Alto's municipal code that grants a director (in this case, the city manager) expanded powers during a state of emergency. Palo Alto has been under a local state of emergency relating to the COVID-19 pandemic since March 12. Unlike San Mateo County, which declared a two-day curfew on Tuesday, Palo Alto did not declare a separate emergency related to potential civil unrest.

Palo Alto's municipal law, section 2.12.060, authorizes the director to issue rules and regulations on "matters reasonably related to the protection of life and property as affected by such emergency." Those rules must be confirmed by the City Council "at the earliest practicable time by the city council," according to law.

But the council, which meets on Mondays, won't have a chance to confirm or amend the curfew order until June 8, three days before it's scheduled to expire, unless it holds an emergency meeting.

The curfew order appears to have only an indirect connection to the coronavirus state of emergency that granted Shikada expanded powers. The curfew declaration states that local retail has already been hit hard by the shutdown and is now "additionally burdened by risk of criminal theft and damage."

To further justify the curfew, the declaration states that Palo Alto law enforcement have observed "scouting behavior" around Stanford Shopping Center and the downtown retail core.

"Local and regional law enforcement intelligence-gathering suggests that planning is underway for additional organized criminal activity that could very quickly threaten harm to persons and property, and that such activity is imminent," the curfew declaration states.

"To protect lives and property in the city of Palo Alto, provide for the health and safety of residents and essential workers, and protect and support businesses that are a critical part of our community, it is necessary to immediately restrict the use of public areas of the city, including streets, roads, sidewalks, alleys, parks, plazas and other rights of way, during nighttime hours."

Mayor Adrian Fine told this news organization on Tuesday that the aim of the order is public safety. The curfew declaration, he said, is "based on credible intelligence about criminal groups targeting Palo Alto's commercial districts."

"I sympathize so deeply with the businesses that have been sheltering in place for three months now," Fine said. "To have windows smashed and goods stolen is completely unacceptable."

To date, however, there have been no reports of any Palo Alto businesses being damaged during the protests. On Sunday, Menlo Park police arrested two men who were reportedly speeding through the city en route to Stanford Shopping Center, which was the destination in their GPS. They already had a stolen cash register and stolen clothing in their car, Menlo Park police reported.

Officers were on scene to conduct "highly visible spot checks and patrols" after receiving information about "a large group of individuals heading toward Stanford Shopping Center to loot businesses" when they saw the men's car run a red light.

Since then, Palo Alto has seen several peaceful demonstrations, including ones on Monday in front of City Hall and at El Palo Alto Park. There have been no reports of any property damage relating to these events; however, police in East Palo Alto have been called to deal with criminal activity occurring during protests, including a smashed store window and a building break-in.

In an updated announcement Wednesday, Shikada provided additional details about the Sunday incident, as well as others that he said have "created a need for law enforcement awareness regionally." According to the statement, police learned that looters were planning to come to Stanford Shopping Center. Within an hour of receiving the information, there were between 50 and 100 cars circling the mall with people who police believed were intent on looting.

"Due to the police presence, fortunately no looting occurred," the statement reads.

The statement also cited the June 2 arrests in Menlo Park of two people, one of whom allegedly had a concealed handgun while the other had an outstanding warrant for his arrests. And Shikada pointed to an arrest in Redwood City of a man who had a machete hidden inside his protest sign.

Shikada said in the statement Wednesday that after the Redwood City protest, groups of looters were allegedly planning to target various locations throughout the Peninsula, including Stanford Shopping Center and other areas.

"Officers were prepared and thankfully this did not materialize," the statement said.

Cordell and Barron Park resident Winter Dellenbach, a longtime advocate for more transparency and accountability in the police department, both said that the recent arrest by Menlo Park police only reinforces the fact that police can deter crime through increased surveillance in commercial areas that they believe are being targeted, which makes a citywide curfew unreasonable.

Cordell noted that even places that have actually seen looting have imposed shorter curfews. In Hampton, Virginia, which experienced violence and looting, the curfew was established for three days, she noted.

"I have never heard of pre-emptive curfew, as we have in Palo Alto," Cordell said.

While Fine said he supports the curfew, he told this news organization that he is concerned about the duration and that he believes two or three days would be more appropriate. He said he communicated his concerns with Shikada and advised staff to share more information with the public about why the order is necessary.

"I hope we can lift it as soon as possible," Fine said.

Vice Mayor Tom DuBois also said that he is not happy about the curfew decision and that he hopes the City Council will hold an emergency meeting to either ratify or modify the declaration before its next meeting on June 8. The imposed curfew, he noted, is not based on any incident that has actually occurred but on fears that something will happen.

"It seems like the cure here is probably worse than the illness," DuBois told this news organization.

Some residents have come out in favor of a curfew, arguing that it's necessary to keep Palo Alto safe during a period in which cities across the nation are seeing protests relating to the May 25 killing of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody. During the council meeting on Monday, Jennifer Liu was one of several speakers who said she was concerned about the "looting, demonstration and violence around the Bay Area" and suggested that the curfews already in place elsewhere in the Bay Area will drive more people to Palo Alto.

"With those cities having curfew, protesters have less places to go," Liu said. "If Palo Alto is open, those people will come to Palo Alto, and people are getting very worried."

Lily Hwang also pointed to curfews elsewhere and suggested that the city "may be a target" because it doesn't have one in place.

"I really love this city, and I hope there's no violence happening in our town," Hwang said.

The council did not discuss the proposed curfew during the Monday meeting, though Councilman Greg Tanaka briefly noted that some other cities have contemplated a curfew and suggested that Palo Alto should as well.

"It's important that business owners don't feel compelled to board up their windows," Tanaka said. "We don't want these tough economic times to be even tougher."

Despite his comment, there was no indication during the meeting that the city would be imposing a curfew the following day.

Dellenbach found the logic in the city's curfew order unconvincing. She called Palo Alto's curfew "a complete overreach and chilling of free speech."

"What they should be doing is focusing on Stanford Shopping Center and the downtown retail core," Dellenbach told this news organization. "What they have chosen to do instead is to put a curfew on every single neighborhood and on every single household in Palo Alto for up to 10 days on short notice."

She noted that Lytton Plaza in downtown Palo Alto has a history as the city's "free speech" gathering place and that the plaza in front of City Hall is named after Coretta Scott King and Martin Luther King Jr. With the curfew declaration, residents are banned from gathering in these places during evening hours. This is wrong, she said.

"It completely takes away from prime time our ability to express ourselves under the First Amendment — our right to assembly, our right to petition our government, our right to dissent," Dellenbach said. "All this in the name of protecting shops in two areas close together in town.

"The First Amendment doesn't sunset at 8:30 at night," she added.

Dellenbach also noted that out-of-town crews have stolen from shops like Victoria's Secret and Nordstrom for years. Now, cities are framing the activity as "looting" and using it as a justification for curfews.

Palo Alto is one of many jurisdictions that have adopted curfews over the past week to prevent property damage — but its order is considerably longer. San Mateo County's curfew for all cities in its jurisdictions only covers June 2 and June 3. The curfews in Santa Rosa and the town of Windsor both stretch from June 1 to June 4. Even San Francisco, which has seen looting in the Union Square area, announced that it is lifting its curfew at 5 a.m. on Thursday, June 4.

The American Civil Liberties Union North California has also denounced what it called "a slew of hastily announced 'curfews' enacted in cities across California" that impinge on residents' First Amendment rights to peaceably assemble. These curfews, the organization said in a statement, "lack clarity as to their scope and duration."

"This is the wrong way to handle disruptions to what have been otherwise peaceful protests, and they are far broader than necessary to address any problems that have arisen or may arise," the ACLU stated. "Moreover, by making presence on public streets anywhere in these cities unlawful, these measures give police too much discretion over whom to arrest and will lead to selective and biased enforcement.

"In short, these measures will only repeat the very problems that our communities are protesting."

ACLU also submitted a letter to Shikada on Wednesday asking him to rescind the curfew order, which it argued violates the public's constitutional rights. Protests constitute "an exercise of rights squarely protected by the First Amendment.

"Their lawful efforts to stop excessive force by law enforcement have been met, at times, with excessive force and now a curfew that improperly curtails their constitutional rights," the ACLU letter states. "If anything, the imposition of a curfew — a signature measure of a police state — in direct response to protests regarding police accountability demonstrates the importance of these protests. We therefore urge you as strongly as possible to take immediate action to uphold the U.S. and California Constitutions."

Former Palo Alto Mayor Pat Burt also questioned the legality of the Palo Alto order. Because the curfew has "no relationship to the COVID emergency," he wrote, can powers granted to the city manager under one basis of a health safety emergency be used to address an unrelated risk?

He also questioned whether the city's new curfew meets the requirement that "extraordinary circumstances" be balanced against civil liberties.

"Does the mere risk of civil unrest, in the absence of significant illegal unrest or rioting in the city, legally justify a new emergency or a broad and extended curfew under the current declaration?" Burt asked in his list of questions. "Is the risk of escalated organized vandalism and theft equivalent to rioting or civil unrest that would be required for a citywide curfew?"

For Cordell, the answer is a resounding "No." She called the curfew "police power run amok" and said she hopes the council will direct Shikada to withdraw it.

"I think this is excessive, and I want it revoked," Cordell said.

Comments

resident
Stanford
on Jun 3, 2020 at 5:15 pm
resident, Stanford
on Jun 3, 2020 at 5:15 pm
15 people like this

The Mercury-News reports on the "boogaloo" white terrorist network: Web Link

Several of their members have been arrested on charges of planning to bomb cities around the USA while mixing in with anti-racist protests. Were any of them heading to the Bay Area? I'm sure law enforcement knows more than they are letting on. If a curfew for a few days prevents terrorists attacks, I do not mind.


Lazy Bureaucrats...
Downtown North
on Jun 3, 2020 at 5:23 pm
Lazy Bureaucrats..., Downtown North
on Jun 3, 2020 at 5:23 pm
45 people like this

Ten Day Ed.

Apparently, his office needs even more employees if we are to expect nuanced decisions that can unfold over time as facts warrant... maybe an extra Assistant City Manager or two?

How do emergency powers due to Covid apply to possible looters due to racist policing? Only the logic of the syndicate matters, I guess.


SRB
Mountain View
on Jun 3, 2020 at 6:01 pm
SRB, Mountain View
on Jun 3, 2020 at 6:01 pm
51 people like this

@Palo Alto Online

The ACLU of Northern California also sent this letter to the City of Palo Alto, demanding it rescinds the curfew but also demanding a slew of documents within 24 hours:

Web Link


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 3, 2020 at 6:12 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 3, 2020 at 6:12 pm
64 people like this

So glad to read the well-reasoned arguments against this draconian measure. I'm also disappointed to see the vague boilerplate from our PR / Communications staff in its response to all the residents complaining to the city council because it ignores WHY this decision was made.

Pity the poor restaurants who stocked up and rehired for Friday's first dinner service in 3 months!

"Dellenbach also noted that out-of-town crews have stolen from shops like Victoria's Secret and Nordstrom's for years. Now, cities are framing the activity as "looting" and using it as a justification for curfews."

Specific answers to Dellenbach's point above would be nice, especially since the differentiation between thieves and looters is getting lost in some residents' posts and stokes more racism, fear and name-calling.


Gennady Sheyner
Palo Alto Weekly staff writer
on Jun 3, 2020 at 6:26 pm
Gennady Sheyner, Palo Alto Weekly staff writer
on Jun 3, 2020 at 6:26 pm
17 people like this

Thank you, @SRB. I updated the story accordingly.


Noya
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 3, 2020 at 6:26 pm
Noya, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 3, 2020 at 6:26 pm
54 people like this

Shikada should be fired for keeping 67000 people and their pets indoor on HOT days and not allowing us to cool off and exercise in the evening. What an awful management style.


The Ed who cried wolf
Midtown
on Jun 3, 2020 at 6:29 pm
The Ed who cried wolf, Midtown
on Jun 3, 2020 at 6:29 pm
66 people like this

Misuse of the COVID-19 emergency declaration will just make it harder to convince residents to shelter in place when the second COVID-19 wave hits.

Is it really too much to expect our city manager and mayor to exercise the emergency powers they’ve been given with a bit of common sense?

Our liberal city normally trusts government to do the right thing, but once this trust is lost it becomes much harder to regain it.


Resident
Downtown North
on Jun 3, 2020 at 6:40 pm
Resident, Downtown North
on Jun 3, 2020 at 6:40 pm
54 people like this

So City Manger made a tenuous association to COVID to put in place a unilateral 10 day curfew starting at 8:30 pm?

Meanwhile Mountain View has no curfew. And Los Altos only has a curfew at 11pm for Teenagers loitering.
San Mateo County has a 2 day curfew ending tomorrow at 5am.

But Shakida is still justifying his move, saying a man with a machete was running around? I guess Redwood City, Menlo Park, and Atherton folks feel safe. So do Mountain View and Los Altos. But it seems Shakida thinks Palo Alto folks are in grave danger, so he instituted a 10 day curfew? Is that what Shakida is saying between the lines? That his move was justified, even if he used a pandemic related reason to piggy back his curfew?

And Mayor Adrian Fine is saying as a city council and Mayor, he had no ability other than to be told what City Manager Ed Shakida unilaterally decided? Fine seems to be excusing himself of responsibility this curfew? Article says Fine thought a THREE day curfew was okay.

Someone please explain why our neighboring city, Mountain View has no curfew and Los Altos basically has no curfew and Redwood city and Menlo Park only had a 2 day curfew?

So Fine is not responsible. He just supported Shakida's 10 day curfew.
Fine points to Shakida.
Shakida points to some unknown machete man and potential danger.
So for a city that has a bit over 66,000 residents with peaceful protests and no looting, Shakida and Police Chief Jonsen (with Fine's implicit consent) instituted a unilateral blanket 10 day curfew.

Why did Redwood city and Menlo Park and Atherton think ONLY a 2 day curfew precisely ending tomorrow at 5am is okay while Shakida, Fine and Police Chief are still saying that they think they need to "reassess the situation" tomorrow?

What does Mountain View, Los Altos, Atherton, Menlo Park and Redwood Cities all know that Palo Alto City Manager Shakida, Police Chief Jonsen and City Mayor Adrian Fine do not know?

FIVE cities surrounding our city are completely okay with no curfew or a curfew ending at 5am tomorrow. Palo Alto staff (along with Fine) meanwhile still assert that things need to be "reassessed" tomorrow.

Maybe we can save some tax payer dollars here and skip the "reassessment tomorrow" with Shakida, Fine and Jonsen just asking RWC, Menlo Park, Atherton, Mountain View and Los Altos CC and Police Chief and City Managers to share what information that Palo Alto city clearly doesn't have access to (so they need to wait and see tomorrow for further assessment).


small business owner
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2020 at 6:58 pm
small business owner, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2020 at 6:58 pm
44 people like this

I thank the city for setting the curfew. All those against this probably are not small business owners- and probably can't imagine what its like to fear more business loss - maybe evening destruction. Shame on those that are whining about a few days of curfew....Please think about the small businesses that have lost almost everything due to COVID and now are in fear every night. Are a few days of curfew really going to hurt you so much?


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 3, 2020 at 7:14 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 3, 2020 at 7:14 pm
35 people like this

@Small business owner. I doubt your small business is a restaurant or cafe that spent money to stock up and rehire in anticipation of Friday's opening only to be blindsided by the city's costly but ineffective staff of outreach / pr / communications "professionals" who remain immune to budget cuts while less costly part-timers and librarians who do real work get laid off.

Sloganeering is no substitute for good management and timely communication to those involved.


resident
Stanford
on Jun 3, 2020 at 7:17 pm
resident, Stanford
on Jun 3, 2020 at 7:17 pm
9 people like this

San Francisco says they are ending their curfew tomorrow morning: Web Link

They must feel that whatever danger they had expected has passed. I would be surprised if Palo Alto's curfew continued into the weekend.


Joe
Mayfield
on Jun 3, 2020 at 7:27 pm
Joe, Mayfield
on Jun 3, 2020 at 7:27 pm
25 people like this

@Small business owner - if you want to be safe, are 10 days really enough? Why not keep us under curfew year round!

The whining is all yours...


ReallyLiveHere
Fairmeadow
on Jun 3, 2020 at 7:37 pm
ReallyLiveHere, Fairmeadow
on Jun 3, 2020 at 7:37 pm
10 people like this

I get that people are scared. Quite a few freak out when they see a black jogger. When this is over, we will probably find out that that's all the "scouting " used to justify this curfew was. Keeping it in place is completely rediculous


billionaires
Barron Park
on Jun 3, 2020 at 7:38 pm
billionaires, Barron Park
on Jun 3, 2020 at 7:38 pm
18 people like this

It's not the businesses, it's the billionaires like Zuckerberg, who want to keep their homes safe:
Web Link


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on Jun 3, 2020 at 7:57 pm
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on Jun 3, 2020 at 7:57 pm
11 people like this

I feel a lot better about the whole shindig having read the words of General James Mattis in the Atlantic.
Web Link

The Atlantic is now owned by a Palo Alto entity. I noticed their offices were not boarded up, although American Express and Morgan were.


Karen
Crescent Park
on Jun 3, 2020 at 8:05 pm
Karen, Crescent Park
on Jun 3, 2020 at 8:05 pm
18 people like this

Nanny state.


YIMBY
Palo Verde
on Jun 3, 2020 at 8:10 pm
YIMBY, Palo Verde
on Jun 3, 2020 at 8:10 pm
21 people like this

Hey Gennady,
Please include the link to the ACLU demand letter in your story. It is an amazing letter. And all should read it.
Web Link
Thanks.


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on Jun 3, 2020 at 8:13 pm
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on Jun 3, 2020 at 8:13 pm
8 people like this

I am glad to hear from LaDoris Cordell. I don't know her well but I distinctly remember my parents talking about meeting her, back in the late 1980s, because they all went to the same 6 a.m. aerobics classes at the Terman/JCC.

I do worry that these protests are different or that they are hacked by well-organzied thugs and foreign agents. (Ok, and little green men). I'm chill with staying home for a night or two.

My experience also comes from living in SF during the Rodney King riots, going to Glide to hear Rev. Cecil Williams speak for the very first time, having a police line to separate us liberals and idealists from the escalating looters downtown and ulitmately feeling that whatever the reaction to Rodney King verdict should have been, it could have waited until the looters were done.
And in some ways I've worked 26 years in reaction to those nights --swearing off corporate capitalism, working on community events and in the arts, moving back to the 650.

Whatever we decide to do locally and with our country to respond to these intermingled set of challenges, can wait until next week and will likely take months or years or lifetimes.

I do not believe that young mayor Fine and new-guy Ed made these decisions in a vacuum. Let's not rock the boat too much.

I spend a lot of time at King Plaza and Lytton Plaza. See you, soon.


Kevin B
Barron Park
on Jun 3, 2020 at 8:22 pm
Kevin B, Barron Park
on Jun 3, 2020 at 8:22 pm
32 people like this

Still no acceptable answers from the city manager or mayor about what prompted this mistake. The curfew is unreasonable and unwarranted, and the city government can’t waive it off with vague promises of “threats” and “scouting.” Release actual safety information to the public, assuming it wasn’t the prank twitter post floating around and city hall is just grasping at a chance to play the authoritarian.


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on Jun 3, 2020 at 8:26 pm
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on Jun 3, 2020 at 8:26 pm
2 people like this

Web Link

I also just read or skimmed the letter from the ACLU to our community and our leaders, paid and elected. I think it is an overreach. The lady doth protest too much. I note that the author, Shilpi Agarwal and her director Abdi Soltani are both Stanford grads. I remember Abdi from his undergrad days, I would see him at meetings and also at women's soccer games. The author also has time at the SF public defender's office, working with people like Matt Gonzalez, the late Jeff Adachi and the current DA Chesa Boudin.

Let Palo Alto govern Palo Alto!

On the other hand, and not to be frivolous, when this is over and life goes back to normal I am going to ask this person to write a letter about the First Amendment at Lytton Plaza and our relatively recent ordinance restricting amplified music to certain hours, which likewise is not "narrow tailored".

I gotta go, to walk my dog one last time before curfew hits!


Obama
Stanford
on Jun 3, 2020 at 8:33 pm
Obama, Stanford
on Jun 3, 2020 at 8:33 pm
27 people like this

You must obey!


x
College Terrace
on Jun 3, 2020 at 8:52 pm
x, College Terrace
on Jun 3, 2020 at 8:52 pm
5 people like this

[Post removed.]


Resident
Downtown North
on Jun 3, 2020 at 8:57 pm
Resident, Downtown North
on Jun 3, 2020 at 8:57 pm
35 people like this

Someone said: " I do not believe that young mayor Fine and new-guy Ed made these decisions in a vacuum. Let's not rock the boat too much."

When did Palo Alto City become a city where we pay over exorbitant salaries for a City manager to make a 10 day curfew and it's waived away with a "meh... no big deal... he is a new guy"

Ed Shakida was working at the City before he became City manager.

And is the responsibility of being a Mayor of a city with more than 66,000 residents in it an INTERNSHIP? We vote in young man and that's his excuse for lacking common sense?

So Palo Alto City is now an internship site for young or inexperienced folks to make decisions over 66,000 people and make radical decisions in a bubble when 5 other surrounding cities are using common sense? How hard was it to google "curfew Mountain View" or at the very least pick up the phone and ask?

Excuses, excuses. One is young and lacking experience (and common sense to even reach out and ask advice from someone older or more experienced). Another is incompetent.. sorry inexperienced.

let's keep passing the buck and excuses why for this mistake has happened. Let's not be accountable. Seems par for the course for how Palo Alto city runs.


All about me me me!
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2020 at 9:26 pm
All about me me me!, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2020 at 9:26 pm
15 people like this

All of San Mateo County had instituted a curfew as well. Relax, folks - it won't go on for much longer if the conditions suggest the threat of looting is reduced. Crazy how there is no tolerance for a little inconvenience. Seems like a lot of folks think everyone is else is failing - the school board, the city, the county (OK, if you said D.C. then that's a different story). Feel free to step up be part of the solution then. And then tell us how "easy" it is to address all these issues we are facing today.


Arthur
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 3, 2020 at 9:42 pm
Arthur, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 3, 2020 at 9:42 pm
32 people like this

The June 8 council Meeting agenda should be changed to add a review and full disclosure regarding the reasons, names of those involved, legal underpinnings, and process used in declaring a curfew through June 10 covering all of Palo Alto. If there was ever a time for transparency AND accountability, this is it.


Kasha
Midtown
on Jun 3, 2020 at 9:59 pm
Kasha, Midtown
on Jun 3, 2020 at 9:59 pm
21 people like this

Why do we need to wait until damage is done instead of preventing it! There was a threat in social media on June, 1st about looting in Palo Alto and Mountain View. I think they did a good job for not letting it happen. Because of curfew all businesses are safe. Does it worth it? Can we help our community and police by staying home after 8:30 pm to prevent violence and looting? All peaceful protests take place during the day and evening.


Another Giveaway
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2020 at 10:11 pm
Another Giveaway, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2020 at 10:11 pm
37 people like this

Shikada and Fine's decision to impose a 10 day curfew is really not that hard to understand.

Both Fine and Shikada owe their careers in government to wealthy real-estate interests. These same wealthy real-estate interests needed to be reassured their assets on University Avenue and in the Stanford Mall would be protected... at ANY cost.


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on Jun 3, 2020 at 10:19 pm
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on Jun 3, 2020 at 10:19 pm
2 people like this

[Post removed.]


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on Jun 3, 2020 at 10:24 pm
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on Jun 3, 2020 at 10:24 pm
Like this comment

Reminds me of a song:

(We do what we want!! The singer and co author was from here)

Web Link


common sense
Midtown
on Jun 3, 2020 at 10:29 pm
common sense, Midtown
on Jun 3, 2020 at 10:29 pm
14 people like this

Our civic leaders are running a big science experiment. They were telling us with COVID-19 not to gather in groups, keep social distancing, shelter in place, etc. Parking lots to parks were closed. Fines were threatened.

Now they are encourage assembly of people to protest. Masses of people standing shoulder to shoulder.

If we don't see an increase of COVID 19, increase in hospitalizations, we will know the shelter in place restrictions, the closing of businesses was all a bunch of baloney.

If we do see an increase of COVID 19, increase in hospitalizations, we know our leaders are political hacks who were not willing to stand up to the mob to safeguard public health.


Resident
Barron Park
on Jun 3, 2020 at 11:05 pm
Resident, Barron Park
on Jun 3, 2020 at 11:05 pm
8 people like this

Why is too hard to every body to stay home for 10 days nobody is going to die for staying home
You can do alot of things during the day time no body is going to die because the weather is hot or because you can't walk you dog at night
Now this days every body want to sue every body for no reason if people wants money work for it


Rebecca Eisenberg
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:02 am
Rebecca Eisenberg, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:02 am
27 people like this

This article, and the related stories, mark very starkly the misplaced priorities of our local government.

As millions of Americans conduct peaceful sit-ins (as photographed above) to mourn and decry the avoidable tragic murders of countless black and brown men and women at the hands of the police, Palo Alto's mayor and city manager worry about .... potential looting of the Apple Store?

More than a hundred million people watched something I hoped I -- and my children -- would never see in our lifetimes: we watched one human being extinguish the life of another without shame or remorse. While most of us are busy trying to come to terms with the horror of George Floyd's murder at the hands of 4 armed police officers, Palo Alto leaders are worried about the noise caused by the justified outrage of our OWN community members. While I try futilely to explain to my two children (and myself) how four officers whose jobs were to protect the peace, instead killed a man who pled for his life ... . Palo Alto bemoans the need for shops to put boards on their windows (a common sight on less tony main streets).

Instead of a curfew, Palo Alto could have declared 10 days of contemplation and education, to foster conversations amongst people who live here and those who protect the peace, with those who fear leaving their homes lest they be killed BY the police. Maybe also we could discuss different perspectives on what it means to feel safe, and whether armed officers are the most appropriate means of peace-keeping.

We could have seized upon this latest terrifying series of events to come together to discuss, and to make plans to ensure that the tragic murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Michael Lorenzo Dean, Eric Reason, Christopher McCorvey, Christopher Whitfield, Atatiana Jefferson, Dominique Clayton, Pamela Turner, Botham Jean, Antwon Rose II, Stephon Clark, Ronell Foster, Aaron Bailey, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Philando Castile, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, and Ahmaud Arbery, among so many others, are not repeated in our community. These are difficult, but important, conversations, and 10 days would not do them justice - but it would be a start.

Instead, we put the police in charge, and worried about potential loss of corporate property.

I know we can do better than this.


musical
Palo Verde
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:24 am
musical, Palo Verde
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:24 am
9 people like this

Whoa there, Resident of Barron Park. 10 days x 66,000 people is 1800 YEARS of house arrest. That's like 25 LIFETIMES.


Anthony Warren
East Palo Alto
on Jun 4, 2020 at 3:15 am
Anthony Warren, East Palo Alto
on Jun 4, 2020 at 3:15 am
10 people like this

Please, someone tell me I'm not living in a Republic that is heading to third world status.


No City Attorney
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2020 at 6:57 am
No City Attorney, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2020 at 6:57 am
22 people like this

Molly Stump, our well paid City Attorney, apparently absented herself from this curfew debacle and instead of the city getting her normal questionable legal advice, seemingly got none. What city would impose a 10-day curfew based on speculation about something that could be prevented without consulting its lawyer?

Mayor Adrian Fine, strongly supported the illegal curfew as stated June 2nd article and again here, expressing sympathy with shopowners who have had to shelter in place for 3 months, but none for the 67,000 residents who have been subjected to the same. But now he sending out a finger-to-the-wind tweet telling everyone how he is all about working to reduce the impact and duration, and end it. No leadership from him.


Just me
Barron Park
on Jun 4, 2020 at 7:41 am
Just me, Barron Park
on Jun 4, 2020 at 7:41 am
9 people like this

Let's just be honest. City leaders are afraid of our neighbors in East Palo Alto. That is why the curfew was imposed.


Jack
Midtown
on Jun 4, 2020 at 8:22 am
Jack, Midtown
on Jun 4, 2020 at 8:22 am
19 people like this

The most oppressive curfew by length in the nation. Likely unconstitutional.


long-time resident
Downtown North
on Jun 4, 2020 at 8:24 am
long-time resident, Downtown North
on Jun 4, 2020 at 8:24 am
21 people like this

MASSIVE OVER-REACH

- 10-day curfew!!!!
- absolutely no looting in Palo Alto so far (or in Mtn View, or Sunnyvale, or RWC)
- police are managing property protection as regular course of business
- dubious legality of curfew issued under COVID-19 emergency declaration

what kind of City Council is letting Shikada run amok like this? Time to review his contract!!!


Family Friendly
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 4, 2020 at 8:34 am
Family Friendly, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 4, 2020 at 8:34 am
13 people like this

The rioters and looters across the Bay Area are to blame — not our local officials, who are just trying to prevent it from coming here.


Deborah
College Terrace
on Jun 4, 2020 at 8:55 am
Deborah, College Terrace
on Jun 4, 2020 at 8:55 am
45 people like this

I sent the following letter to all Palo Alto City Council members on Tuesday evening, shortly after I learned of the curfew. No response from Council members. Not a peep of introspection or reflection by any of them.

Dear Mayor Fine and City Council Members:

I read the City Manager’s “Declaration . . . Imposing a Curfew” with great consternation and dread for our democracy. Three aspects of this Declaration are particularly troubling.

First and foremost, the Municipal Code section on which the City Manager explicitly relies does not appear to give him the legal authority to impose a unilateral curfew. The City Manager may “Request the city council to proclaim the existence or threatened existence of a ‘local emergency’ if the city council is in session, or to issue such proclamation if the city council is not in session, subject to ratification by the city council within seven days thereafter or the proclamation shall have no further force or effect.” Palo Alto Mun. Code section 2.12.050(c)(1). “’Local emergency’ means the duly proclaimed existence of conditions of disaster or of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property within the territorial limits of the city of Palo Alto caused by such conditions as air pollution, fire, flood, storm, epidemic, riot, or earthquake or other conditions, other than conditions resulting from a labor controversy, which conditions are or are likely to be beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment, and facilities of the city of Palo Alto and require the combined forces of other political subdivisions to combat.” Palo Alto Mun. Code section 2.12.020(a)(3).

According to the City’s website, the Council was in session both yesterday, June 1, and today, June 2, but did not agendize the potential declaration of a “local emergency” for either day. Under these circumstances, the Code does not empower the City Manager to simply declare an emergency on his own without the assent of the Council. Under Code section 2.12.050, he is required to seek the Council’s proclamation of a “local emergency” as a precondition to imposing any curfew. Given the frequency with which the Council is meeting via teleconference these days, I suspect a court would find the City’s Manager’s unilateral declaration to be dubious, at best, and likely ultra vires (beyond his legal authority). I urge the Council to take this matter up immediately and suspend the City Manager’s Declaration until the City adheres to proper legal procedures.

Second, even if a one-night emergency curfew were warranted by actual last-minute evidence, a 10-day curfew is arbitrary and unsupported by any actual evidence. Why not 5 days, or 30? The Declaration states that “Palo Alto law enforcement have observed scouting behavior in Palo Alto, including in and around the Stanford Mall and downtown retail core; local and regional law enforcement intelligence-gathering suggests that planning is underway for additional organized criminal activity that could very quickly threaten harm to persons and property, and that such activity is imminent.” Whether such vague speculation would be sufficient to obtain a criminal warrant – a highly questionable proposition – it certainly does not justify a 10-day curfew. I grew up in Los Angeles County, where some 10 million people reside today. That diverse county, which saw significant looting and vandalism in the 1965 and 1992 racial justice protests and faces similar challenges today, is implementing a day-by-day evening curfew in response to many real incidents over the last several days; its daily decision will presumably be based on evidence that develops each day. Here, in placid, homogenous – dare I say it, boring -- Palo Alto, there has been no similar activity. Instead, the mere rumor of “organized criminal activity” or some “scouting behavior” observed by police officers is apparently enough to send everyone scurrying inside for the next 10 days. Scouting behavior? Really? You mean the presence of people of color who don’t “belong” in Palo Alto? As Council members serving in the present era of Black Lives Matter, police brutality, and ongoing systemic racism, you need to ensure that our local law enforcement does better – much, much better – than that.

But even assuming that there is some kernel of factual truth to support the police department’s speculation, why is it that our highly-paid force cannot handle this matter without locking down 67,000 residents already under the stress of “sheltering in place”? Before Palo Alto can declare a local emergency justifying a curfew, it must find that there is evidence of “extreme peril to the safety of persons and property” that is “likely to be beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment, and facilities of the city of Palo Alto and require the combined forces of other political subdivisions to combat.” If local law enforcement is truly concerned that ill-intended individuals are planning to vandalize businesses in Stanford Shopping Center or along University or California Avenues or elsewhere, the force should increase its presence in those target areas during the evening and overnight in order to create visible deterrence. As you know, with most businesses shut down, those commercial districts are relatively empty at night in any event, making it much easier to identify anyone who might have bad intentions. If such temporary nighttime surges of police presence over the next week or so is “beyond” the capability of the Palo Alto force of roughly 90 officers, as the City would need to conclude in order to lawfully justify the declaration of a “local emergency” and the imposition of a broad-scale curfew, then we need a different police force. Palo Alto line officers are very well compensated (according to the 2021 budget at page 43, the City’s 83 non-management officers earn, on average, $315,000 per year in salary and benefits, considerably more than the average local resident, and its police management team earns a whopping average salary and benefit package of $430,00 per year). During the week of May 20-27, this significantly-sized and well-paid police force dealt with nine “violent crimes,” including five domestic/family disputes and four robberies, according to the Palo Alto Weekly’s Pulse compendium. That leaves a lot of hours in the work day. As part of the wrenching budget process this year, the Council agreed to preserve most of the public safety programs. Frankly, if local law enforcement cannot figure out how to plan for and manage the rumored acts of potential vandalism without locking down tens of thousands of law-abiding residents, then the Council needs to take a very long, very hard look at what public safety value, exactly, we taxpayers are receiving in return for a police department budget of more than $40 million per year.

Third and perhaps most troubling, please think about the implications of your silence in the wake of the City Manager’s unprecedented, unsupportable, and likely unlawful action. What are the consequences for our democracy when an unelected (but, again, very highly-paid and autonomous) city manager can unilaterally and single-handedly lock down an entire population and threaten citizens with criminal charges for taking an evening stroll along the quiet residential streets of this bland place? I’m not personally concerned because I am not normally out on the streets at night, but as a nation, we are wading through some extremely treacherous waters. With the current presidential administration in Washington, D.C., and the increasing militarization of local law enforcement all across the country, our very democracy stands on an existential precipice. Do you really want to empower a single municipal bureaucrat, in collusion with an overly-anxious police chief, to bully and threaten local residents into submission without an ounce of public debate or process, under the ruse of an “emergency”? Think about it. Read “How Democracies Die” by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Zablatt, if you haven’t. They die not through bloody military coups, but through the accumulation of incremental and seemingly “legitimate” deprivations in the name of “law and order,” piled one atop the other. Death by a thousand cuts.

I urge you: Wake up and look out at what is happening across this nation – indeed, across the world. Don’t stoke the irrational fears of the hard right with police crackdowns and municipal curfews. Lead by stepping up and making our public safety officers do the jobs they are so handsomely paid to do. Don’t sacrifice democracy for expediency.

Thank you.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2020 at 10:02 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2020 at 10:02 am
8 people like this

Posted by Mark Weiss, a resident of Downtown North

>> I do not believe that young mayor Fine and new-guy Ed made these decisions in a vacuum. Let's not rock the boat too much.

I get it that we need to give them the benefit of the doubt in an emergency. Maybe a large group of well-organized criminals did have something really, really big planned.

When this is over, we need the full story. What if there never was a genuine emergency? So far, we have one car with stolen property in it. I'm sure the police have more information about more incidents, and, naturally, they don't want to reveal it while there is still a threat. But, a ten-day general curfew is a huge imposition. When this is over, we have a right to know.

OBTW, if this is all about a planned attack like the 2015, and then, January 2020 thefts at Bloomingdales Web Link -- then, the city needs to come up with a different plan to address these vulnerabilities than shutting us all in and shutting the city down.


Scotty
Green Acres
on Jun 4, 2020 at 10:06 am
Scotty, Green Acres
on Jun 4, 2020 at 10:06 am
20 people like this

I see Washington DC dropped their curfew tonight. I’m sure the mean streets of Palo Alto will be just fine as well.


Noya
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 4, 2020 at 10:12 am
Noya, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 4, 2020 at 10:12 am
17 people like this

@billionaires - so we get 10 days detention so our police force can protect the Zuckerberg lair?


Annette
College Terrace
on Jun 4, 2020 at 10:18 am
Annette, College Terrace
on Jun 4, 2020 at 10:18 am
22 people like this

@Deborah of College Terrace: nice letter to CC. Thank you for taking the time to compose a thoughtful set of remarks. Hopefully, CC will heed your advice.

Focusing narrowly on Palo Alto: it's time for accountability and, as necessary, some changes in personnel. Recent events and the pandemic emphasize the importance of leadership. Like every place else, Palo Alto needs people on CC and in management at City Hall who are experienced, capable, knowledgable and resourceful. It is pathetic and highly concerning that members of the public are pointing out what should have been obvious to the City Manager, the City Attorney, and the Mayor. Time and time again we are told that we must pay the most to attract and retain the best. And yet, here we are in a position that suggests that approach isn't working too well.


BLM
Greenmeadow
on Jun 4, 2020 at 10:27 am
BLM, Greenmeadow
on Jun 4, 2020 at 10:27 am
12 people like this

Curfews are bad because they create more opportunity for police to abuse their power against citizens, especially black ones. There is no need for a curfew put in place just because of peaceful protest. In most cases, protests become violent because of the police, and giving them another reason to stop people gives them even more power, which they don’t need. Also, it’s not fair to workers who have their hours cut because their stores need to obey curfew. The real issue here is not looters but the racism built into our entire political and social systems. Actual looters are not a part of the cause, they’re just taking advantage, and although looting is not great, by implementing a curfew you stifle those who are using their voices to protest the injustices caused by police departments across the country. Instead of a curfew we need legislation that protects those who need it and limits the power of the police.


oldPA
Downtown North
on Jun 4, 2020 at 10:41 am
oldPA, Downtown North
on Jun 4, 2020 at 10:41 am
9 people like this

We should ask the killed Fed agent and ex police chef, and those store owners in Emeryville, SF, and other parts of the country, what they think about curfew before/after all those looting happen?


Oh well...
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 4, 2020 at 10:58 am
Oh well..., Old Palo Alto
on Jun 4, 2020 at 10:58 am
8 people like this

Kinda a strange country where politicians and civil employees can now shutdown entire economy's, enact stay at home orders, and then top it off with law enforcement arresting folks that dare go outside after a certain hour. Oh well....


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:10 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:10 am
8 people like this

We have a bunch of high level elected and news leaders all over the country making decisions for the public which they on a personal level disregard.

The lady Gov of Michigan told everyone they had to stay in over Memorial Day weekend and not go up north. But her husband did to put their boat in the water. She would like to be the VP. We have the Cuomo CNN newsperson saying he is staying in his basement but gets photographed out side visiting another property without a face mask. We have the lady mayor of Chicago saying stay in but she goes to the barber shop. And Pelosi shows off a freezer filled with high end ice cream on a late night show. Where was she? In her house in SF? In her house in Napa? In her house in Kona-Kailua Hawaii in the gated resort with a high end hotel? Or in the Hotel on the HA property in their supply area? I don't believe that she had that much ice cream in her own house in a freezer that is an industrial size unit. She does not have an industrial size freezer in her house in SF dedicated to ice cream.

Bottom line is that we have all types of people making unilateral decisions which affect each persons individual well being regarding their families and business.
So no one is in their houses except US. Each individual has a POV based on their own personal story and their parents stories. Parents flow down grudges, hurt feelings, and happy events. Each child bakes that into their adult perception of how things are suppose to go down. That includes our Mayor, and Governor. The public as a group has to exert some common sense as to the validity of those demands and the right of the person to make those demands. We are now over the top regarding the stay in policy. Our city lawyer needs to tell him to back off and function consistent with the other cities in our area. Our business people need to make a living and save their businesses.


Resident
Downtown North
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:12 am
Resident, Downtown North
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:12 am
12 people like this

@OldPA, check out that old Tom Cruise movie, "Minority Report" where the "pre-crime" division tracks down criminals before the crime is committed, through the insights of the psychic "pre-cogs." Seems like a good idea, up until it really, really isn't. (Based on the Philip Dick short story for you sci fi fans.)

Yes, stopping crime before it happens is a good idea, but trampling civil liberties is a big trade off. "10 Day Ed," as he'll be known going forward, is not the right person to be making that trade-off for our community.


Jonathan Brown
Ventura
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:14 am
Jonathan Brown, Ventura
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:14 am
12 people like this

Well said LaDoris Cordell! It's time for us to take back our liberty so we can act on positive feelings rather than fear and oppression.


Laruie
Green Acres
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:18 am
Laruie, Green Acres
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:18 am
15 people like this

Fine your priority has always been profit over the community. You should be ashamed!


PAgirl
Crescent Park
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:20 am
PAgirl, Crescent Park
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:20 am
10 people like this

Agree so much with the comments on the Curfew. It's ridiculous and has arguably been put in place based on underlying bias and racism.

It's another thing to cause stress and anxiety in our community.

A complete over-reach.

The decision makes are showing how completely out of touch they are with reality and the needs of their community.

Please remove the curfew and let's focus on getting our lives back to a new and safe normal.


Crescent Park Mom
Crescent Park
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:35 am
Crescent Park Mom, Crescent Park
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:35 am
16 people like this

Maybe you all missed the Twitter traffic over the last few days encouraging looters to meet at Stanford Mall at 10:30pm, or to "go to whte ppls houses in Palo Alto"? They even posted Mark Zuckerbergs actual Palo Alto and SF addresses! I'm good with the curfew until things die down. Organized looters/vandals are mixing in with peaceful protesters and taking advantage of everyone. We're just starting to open up. I don't want to wait months for Stanford mall to get cleaned up. I don't want our cute downtown areas and small family-owned businesses destroyed. They are struggling already and I'm ready to go back to them. I know, if the curfew no longer becomes necessary, it will end. It benefits no leaders of our town to keep us indoors.


ofer
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:35 am
ofer, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:35 am
10 people like this

Unfortunately, this unprecedented infringement of our basic rights can only happen because we already gave these rights away as a result of the Corona scare. When we let the authorities keep us in-home quarantine for three months with no strong evidence that it makes much of a difference (see Sweden's and it's entire scientific community advocating against closer) than why not have a 10 days curfew for no reason?

For all of you that think this is unrelated, open your eyes.

A big part of the anger is that people are socially distancing, something that should be considered a long term issue for social animals that we are. Not to mention the economic issues facing many.

Corona poses a real threat to people of advanced age and for people with prior health issues and these people need to be protected. However, closing us all including schools children is counter-productive and was proven unnecessary as demonstrated by the Swedish example.

Look at the data, Sweden had no closure and has a death rate per one million citizens, roughly in the middle of Europe. See Web Link and sort by death per Million (4th column for the end).

Hence, we have a large test with over 10 million people, no closure, and similar results to the rest of Europe. Yes, higher death than Norway but much lower death than Belgium. Still, we have endured a total closure, unprecedented in human history, for three months and still going. For such an extreme measure you expect strong evidence, but that is not the case.

If that is OK if keeping us social animal distancing for everyone, with no compelling evidence, then a 10 nights curfew with no reason is fine as well.


Bikermom
Mayfield
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:39 am
Bikermom , Mayfield
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:39 am
Like this comment

Where is everyone wanting to go at night? I Mena nothing is open, you can't babe large gatherings and the theaters are closed. I'm worn out by life anyway and just want to go to bed by then.


Rick
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:06 pm
Rick, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:06 pm
14 people like this

Sanity prevailed. The curfew has been lifted.


Rick
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:09 pm
Rick, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:09 pm
16 people like this

And also Thank You LaDoris Cordell!

You officiated at our wedding 30 years ago. :)


Annette
College Terrace
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:36 pm
Annette, College Terrace
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:36 pm
14 people like this

The Mayor and City Attorney and City Manager would be smart to consult with LaDoris Cordell in the future BEFORE dinking around with civil liberties. She has always been a voice of reason for this community.


Jon Klein
Barron Park
on Jun 4, 2020 at 1:01 pm
Jon Klein, Barron Park
on Jun 4, 2020 at 1:01 pm
4 people like this

There seems to be a fair amount of paranoid behavior in the community. I bicycled by the Wells Fargo on El Camino @ San Antonio (Mt. View) this morning and there were workers boarding up the windows. Go figure.


RP
Community Center
on Jun 4, 2020 at 1:03 pm
RP, Community Center
on Jun 4, 2020 at 1:03 pm
7 people like this

I can't agree with Ms. Cordell's comments.

--The balance we need to think about is not between the people and the police (they take their job seriously and do it well). The balance is between civil liberty and civil safety. Our council leaned toward the latter, and I think them for that.

--Localities that put curfews in place after looting occurred make the point for the council. Acting after the fact is called closing the barn doors after the cows are gone. We can't know what might have been prevented, but the steps taken seem reasonable.

We all need to be willing to sacrifice to keep things safe.


David
Barron Park
on Jun 4, 2020 at 1:05 pm
David, Barron Park
on Jun 4, 2020 at 1:05 pm
9 people like this

Nonsense move. Need to reverse it immediately. What is the motive behind this?


maurice druzin
Crescent Park
on Jun 4, 2020 at 3:21 pm
maurice druzin, Crescent Park
on Jun 4, 2020 at 3:21 pm
7 people like this

Lots of second guessing, but if businesses were damaged, everyone would have criticized them for not acting soon enough!
This was a reasonable decision


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 4, 2020 at 3:47 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 4, 2020 at 3:47 pm
9 people like this

The more we stay in our homes the more we encourage the lawless to roam around and get into trouble. We did not have this problem before when there were a lot of people out and about. The more regular people you put in a location the harder it is for the up and coming "gangsta" people to run free and do what ever they want. Stop handing out free tickets to them to ravage the place with no interference. It is all in the mind set.

Most people do not go out to have anything but a nice time. If people have played sports as children and adults then the mind set says you know how to handle yourself and not be intimidated by aggressive behavior. That is what we teach our athletes - both male and female.

As a side note we have had a number of organizations that use our street as a parking lot for their employees. Think again companies - keep all of your employees and guests on your property. A lot of unintended consequences going on here. No overnight on residential streets. No employee parking on residential streets.


emde
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 5, 2020 at 9:14 am
emde, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 5, 2020 at 9:14 am
5 people like this

I don't see how curfew affect free speech and gathering and constitution rights. There is still a lot of time for free speech from 5:00 am to 8:30pm. You may request to change to 10:00 pm. For ordinary people, I don't see not going out after 8:30 pm makes any difference. But most violence occurs after dark. It is just safe.
Most comments don't mind the curfew. Activists, and a few vocal residents. rule the world. And if violence or damage should happen, they should be responsible.


Stewart
Charleston Gardens
on Jun 5, 2020 at 11:23 am
Stewart, Charleston Gardens
on Jun 5, 2020 at 11:23 am
1 person likes this

This is all a smoke screen with the pandemic hoax destroys the middle and upper middle class.
Computer generated figures of death . Controlled Pcr tests which can control the amount of people who test positive for Covid and the regular deaths that are being counted as Covid. While these politicians lessen your leash or strengthen it when even they want. Wake up it's all an illusion as you are being herded for the poisonous vaccine and the brown shirts contact tracers to control and monitor your every move. Stop focusing on this other nonsense and focus on your liberties as powers make you a slave by wearing those ridiculous paper thin masks. Why dont you wear goggles? Your eyes have the same mucus membranes as your nose. Have you heard of hypoxia/CO2 poisoning when you wear those masks as body continues to weaken.


Michele Dauber
Barron Park
on Jun 6, 2020 at 8:33 am
Michele Dauber, Barron Park
on Jun 6, 2020 at 8:33 am
9 people like this

Ed Shikada is massively incompetent and should not be in a position of authority. He bungles everything he touches and is rude and arrogant. The PAPD has a well documented (in this paper) history of police abuse and Shikada has done zero to address it. The City Council is a clown car full of worthless blowhards.


mjh
College Terrace
on Jun 6, 2020 at 4:52 pm
mjh, College Terrace
on Jun 6, 2020 at 4:52 pm
10 people like this

Am I mistakedn, but wasn't it Ed Shikada who recommended to the council after he was appointed that the annual police audit go through his office instead of being independent and reporting directly to council?


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 6, 2020 at 7:34 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 6, 2020 at 7:34 pm
1 person likes this

Where is the Governor? He is not a "new guy" - he was the vice-governor before he was governor and the mayor of San Francisco. Every county is different, every city is different, but excess is still excess. How does he let the City Manager of a city - which is not a major city - make excessive demands on the residents. We are a small, suburban city with a population which is generally not a problem. We do not have a history of raging gangs. Why are we floating around with no central theme that is consistent with the rest of the peninsula. Does anyone ever read about Sunnyvale? San Mateo? The governor needs to take a more positive and definitive position on what the cities are suppose to be doing. Now Los Angeles is going the opposite direction and digging themselves deeper into the hole. He needs to direct his attention to that major city.


George
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 11, 2020 at 7:19 am
George, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 11, 2020 at 7:19 am
3 people like this

In retrospect, shutting down the economy and locking up the entire workforce and driving tens of thousands of small businesses out of business - and much more - will seem like the dumbest and cruelest act of self destructive behavior ever. It will be seem as a contributing factor in the level of violence in the riots. It will stand as a testament to how costly it is to elect symbols rather that talent (what could be more racist than deciding candidates and winners based on skin color - if the goal is to be a color-bling society we seem to be moving in the wrong direction). Frustrated and going broke people burst into the streets. The images were sometimes peaceful but too often out of control, organized riot and theft. The world brought to our youth by Facebook and Twitter - two of several organizations that pose the MOST danger to our society - the world in underground and cynical and perversely misinformed. It is a world where too many can say whatever and even trigger mayhem. The truth is that we have done pretty well as a nation in recent decades. The racism myth is wrong. We elected a black President - not possible without whites and others joining in at the ballot box. We still don't know why the cop, who knew him, killed Floyd. We still don't know why we all know that antics has been out there with the express intention of causing as much chaos as possible (check their back packs) ever since the WTO riots in Seattle (currently under siege by them) and no one does anything. We know BLM is significantly violent - in many ways a modern incarnation of the Black Panthers but our corporations are falling over themselves to fund them. Crazy. A generation misinformed and the rise of the internet are destroying too much. For the good of all has been hijacked by the left and governance is on it's knees bowing to it.
The science isn't there to continue this lockdown. The justification isn't there for suspending constitutional rights. Now that everyone was allowed to go out and reek havoc the dictatorial controls should be lifted. People should be informed - accurately - but trusted to conduct their lives. Now.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Not sure?