News

Commissioner resigns after council declines to consider opening Foothills Park to non-residents

Ryan McCauley led the effort to craft a 'pilot program' to allow people outside of Palo Alto to visit open space

Ryan McCauley, seen above in a Nov. 15, 2019 episode of Palo Alto Online's weekly news show "Behind the Headlines," submitted his resignation from the Palo Alto Parks and Recreation Commission on June 23. Photo by Palo Alto Online.

A member of the Parks and Recreation Commission who has led the effort to open Foothills Park to non-residents announced his resignation Tuesday, a day after the City Council decided not to take up the politically charged topic until after its summer break.

Ryan McCauley, who led an ad hoc committee that proposed a pilot program to allow a limited number of non-residents to Foothills Park, announced his resignation in a letter to Mayor Adrian Fine. McCauley criticized the council for ignoring the recommendations of both its Parks and Recreation Commission and its Human Relations Commission, which had both recommended that the council repeal a law that makes it illegal for residents outside of Palo Alto to enter the nature preserve unless they are accompanied by a resident.

The latest bid to repeal the policy appeared to have been gaining momentum, with the Human Relations Commission making its recommendation to abolish its restriction as part of a broader effort to promote social justice and inclusiveness. McCauley also pointed in his resignation to a letter from more than 130 faith, civic and environmental leader and organizations, including the NAACP and American Civil Liberties Union.

The restriction on Foothills Park has been in effect since the 1960s. In recent years, several council members had proposed opening up access, though the council has not formally considered the proposal. Opponents of the restrictions have argued that the law is overly restrictive and discriminatory against those who have been historically kept out of Palo Alto by policies such as redlining and blockbusting. Supporters have argued that allowing more visitors would degrade the park's pristine natural setting, diminishing the very qualities that make the park special. Other opponents of expanding access have argued that because other cities did not help Palo Alto purchase the park in 1959, their residents should not be allowed to visit it.

The Parks and Recreation Commission issued its recommendation to allow non-residents to visit Foothills Park in November. The council was scheduled to consider it on Tuesday but voted on Monday to postpone its discussion until after its summer break, citing a heavy workload on its June 22 and June 23 agendas. Council members voted 5-2 on Monday night, with Fine and Councilwoman Alison Cormack dissenting, to take the item off its agenda. It did not set a new date for the discussion.

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The decision to postpone the item drew instant rebukes from residents, including retired Judge LaDoris Cordell, a former city councilwoman who submitted a letter threatening a lawsuit if the council doesn't immediately agree to stop enforcing its ban on non-residents.

In his resignation letter, McCauley cited the resolution that the City Council passed earlier this month in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. In the resolution, he noted, the council cited its obligation "to protect and serve everyone, no matter who they are or where they come from." By moving to delay the Foothills Park discussion, he wrote, the council "hollowed out those thoughtful words."

"As our nation struggles to redress historic injustices, the City Council has sustained a policy that crudely discriminates by zip code, knowing that such discrimination disparately affects those whose racial and socioeconomic backgrounds do not match those of the typical Palo Altan," McCauley wrote. "I joined the Parks & Recreation Commission to help improve our community resources and I have worked faithfully with some great people to bring much needed reform on this issue. But I cannot abide the Council majority's deliberate and politically calculated inaction."

McCauley also requested that the person who replaces him on the commission reflect the diversity of the region.

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Commissioner resigns after council declines to consider opening Foothills Park to non-residents

Ryan McCauley led the effort to craft a 'pilot program' to allow people outside of Palo Alto to visit open space

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Thu, Jun 25, 2020, 10:45 am

A member of the Parks and Recreation Commission who has led the effort to open Foothills Park to non-residents announced his resignation Tuesday, a day after the City Council decided not to take up the politically charged topic until after its summer break.

Ryan McCauley, who led an ad hoc committee that proposed a pilot program to allow a limited number of non-residents to Foothills Park, announced his resignation in a letter to Mayor Adrian Fine. McCauley criticized the council for ignoring the recommendations of both its Parks and Recreation Commission and its Human Relations Commission, which had both recommended that the council repeal a law that makes it illegal for residents outside of Palo Alto to enter the nature preserve unless they are accompanied by a resident.

The latest bid to repeal the policy appeared to have been gaining momentum, with the Human Relations Commission making its recommendation to abolish its restriction as part of a broader effort to promote social justice and inclusiveness. McCauley also pointed in his resignation to a letter from more than 130 faith, civic and environmental leader and organizations, including the NAACP and American Civil Liberties Union.

The restriction on Foothills Park has been in effect since the 1960s. In recent years, several council members had proposed opening up access, though the council has not formally considered the proposal. Opponents of the restrictions have argued that the law is overly restrictive and discriminatory against those who have been historically kept out of Palo Alto by policies such as redlining and blockbusting. Supporters have argued that allowing more visitors would degrade the park's pristine natural setting, diminishing the very qualities that make the park special. Other opponents of expanding access have argued that because other cities did not help Palo Alto purchase the park in 1959, their residents should not be allowed to visit it.

The Parks and Recreation Commission issued its recommendation to allow non-residents to visit Foothills Park in November. The council was scheduled to consider it on Tuesday but voted on Monday to postpone its discussion until after its summer break, citing a heavy workload on its June 22 and June 23 agendas. Council members voted 5-2 on Monday night, with Fine and Councilwoman Alison Cormack dissenting, to take the item off its agenda. It did not set a new date for the discussion.

The decision to postpone the item drew instant rebukes from residents, including retired Judge LaDoris Cordell, a former city councilwoman who submitted a letter threatening a lawsuit if the council doesn't immediately agree to stop enforcing its ban on non-residents.

In his resignation letter, McCauley cited the resolution that the City Council passed earlier this month in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. In the resolution, he noted, the council cited its obligation "to protect and serve everyone, no matter who they are or where they come from." By moving to delay the Foothills Park discussion, he wrote, the council "hollowed out those thoughtful words."

"As our nation struggles to redress historic injustices, the City Council has sustained a policy that crudely discriminates by zip code, knowing that such discrimination disparately affects those whose racial and socioeconomic backgrounds do not match those of the typical Palo Altan," McCauley wrote. "I joined the Parks & Recreation Commission to help improve our community resources and I have worked faithfully with some great people to bring much needed reform on this issue. But I cannot abide the Council majority's deliberate and politically calculated inaction."

McCauley also requested that the person who replaces him on the commission reflect the diversity of the region.

Comments

Supply & Demand
Green Acres
on Jun 25, 2020 at 11:41 am
Supply & Demand, Green Acres
on Jun 25, 2020 at 11:41 am
91 people like this

Doesn't make sense from the beginning. Service renders service pay. From the beginning we asked other cities to join, but no one join why has to open to outsiders now especially it is the last pristine place that Palo Altan owned and cherish!


A nice guy
Midtown
on Jun 25, 2020 at 12:03 pm
A nice guy, Midtown
on Jun 25, 2020 at 12:03 pm
98 people like this

McCauley claims that our park policy "crudely discriminates by zip code". Cry me a river; I'm so sorry that we discriminate against the Los Altos Hills zip code 94022, which is the 3rd MOST EXPENSIVE in the United States.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 25, 2020 at 12:07 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 25, 2020 at 12:07 pm
70 people like this

I thought I was done with this, but two things should be said in light of the resignation of Park Commissioner.

First, is that zip codes have nothing to do with this. EPA shares its zip code with part of Palo Alto and those residents are allowed in.

Second, The Park Commissioner should look into the funding allocated in the budget for parks and maintenance before getting so upset as to resign. He of all people should know about the difficulties of maintaining any park, of trail maintenance, of cleanup of litter, of the cost of keeping restroom facilities clean. He should know that more visitors would mean more costs and his pilot proposal would not bring in enough money to cover the costs of added visitors, probably not even cover the costs of implementing the machinery to collect the entrance fee. Has anyone even looked into how much the pilot would cost in person hours alone?


Julian Gómez
Midtown
on Jun 25, 2020 at 12:16 pm
Julian Gómez, Midtown
on Jun 25, 2020 at 12:16 pm
46 people like this

Lots of lip service, never an actual plan. No loss.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 25, 2020 at 12:16 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 25, 2020 at 12:16 pm
65 people like this

Every one has a job description, a set of priorities dictated by the city government, and a budget from which to perform the job within the overall budget dictated for that job / location. The Parks and Rec Department has a large number of fields to maintain, and rent out to various organizations - both youth and adult. All of those locations require some manpower to maintain both the grounds and the buildings on the grounds - restrooms, etc. Right now there is not enough budget to keep a ranger at FHP to over see on a daily basis that people are not tearing up the place, harassing the animals, and destroying the plants, trees, and shrubbery. Also children in the lake - a potential problem. If the budget is not there then there is no deal.
And the comment about diversity - PA has a diverse population - my street is very diverse. Not sure if they have any interest in going to FHP - maybe they have other ideas concerning how to spend their free time. Does it occur to anyone that the people who they are referring to - the diverse people -would rather go to some other venue where all of their friends hang out? They would rather go to a sports complex? A ball park? Maybe "parks" are not their thing unless there is a large family barbecue like we see at Rinconada on a weekend. And those people like Rinconada - they have their spaces rented there and there is good parking.
We don't have to solicit diverse people from some other location just to provide the "appearance" of diversity. We have diversity - tired of hearing about it.

So what is the performance evaluation on this "manager" Have all of our parks been maintained correctly within the available budget? Do we have our summer baseball locations all signed up? Have we coordinated our playing field locations with SU where we are sharing fields? Has this "manager" done what is expected or was he hired by "special interest" to push an agenda? Why do I think that he was hired to push an agenda by a select number of people.


Anonymous
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 25, 2020 at 12:25 pm
Anonymous, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 25, 2020 at 12:25 pm
32 people like this

I agree with everything posted above.


Family Friendly
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 25, 2020 at 12:54 pm
Family Friendly, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 25, 2020 at 12:54 pm
58 people like this

They used to say that false patriotism was the last resort of scoundrels. Now, it's apparently identity politics.


Sally
Downtown North
on Jun 25, 2020 at 1:05 pm
Sally, Downtown North
on Jun 25, 2020 at 1:05 pm
26 people like this

Funny thing is, City Council didn't even say no. They just delayed the issue because of the tons of things on their plate. The last meeting ended at close to 1am.

Is he trying to score points for a council run? Is he really so impatient that he would remove his voice from the committee?

I am no fan of this council, and I actually support opening Foothill with a fee for cost recovery in place... but this seems theatrical. (I would prefer citizens chosen at random over every member except Tanaka and Kou.)


Novelera
Midtown
on Jun 25, 2020 at 1:28 pm
Novelera, Midtown
on Jun 25, 2020 at 1:28 pm
63 people like this

Buy-bye, Ryan. Don't let the door hit you in the hindquarters on the way out.


Gus L.
Barron Park
on Jun 25, 2020 at 1:32 pm
Gus L., Barron Park
on Jun 25, 2020 at 1:32 pm
37 people like this

Adios, Have a Nice Park day in Los Altos for Los Altan's


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 25, 2020 at 1:49 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 25, 2020 at 1:49 pm
7 people like this

So what do "Diverse People" like to do? The younger kids are at the classes put on by the city for dance, crafts, swimming, tennis, golf. Those are "activity classes" done with other children with adult supervision to have a fun event. The teen agers have picked their classes in sports, music, computer, theatre - or are out with a team sport for soccer, little league, basketball. Next age up is more aggressive soccer, baseball, basketball, band, computer skills.

So who are we talking about here? OLD PEOPLE. Who want to escape their neighborhoods.
They have local parks if they just want to sit there. And there are parks all over the hills that have deer to look at. But OLD PEOPLE do not like to drive up Page Mill Road because all of the people on bikes are racing down and crowding the road that has steep drop-offs. More want to go to a park that is down lower and easier drive to.
I only go twice a year for reserved parties in which we have to pay. And people cannot bring their dogs. Any argument you want to post on this has to make actual, real life sense.
It is fine the way it is. Any resident who wants to go can - is they have any interest.


Another PA Resident
Community Center
on Jun 25, 2020 at 2:13 pm
Another PA Resident, Community Center
on Jun 25, 2020 at 2:13 pm
25 people like this

[Post removed.]


Think of the deers
Los Altos Hills
on Jun 25, 2020 at 2:59 pm
Think of the deers, Los Altos Hills
on Jun 25, 2020 at 2:59 pm
66 people like this

As a resident of LAH, I do not support opening this park to the general public (and I have have been rejected from entering). I do believe that the reason it is so special is for the lack of foot traffic.

I hate to think of all the wild life that would disappear from the fear of the additional humans inside. This fact is more evidenced by all the anecdotal evidence of wild life appearing in the cities all over the world during the pandemic.

It's about time we stop thinking only about us, humans. Let the animals be.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 25, 2020 at 3:33 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 25, 2020 at 3:33 pm
13 people like this

From where I am sitting we have not defined the real problem here. Parks and Rec is a big job with a big budget. And we make money when we are hosting teams, AYSO and up in age to adult. That is a very defined job definition. It requires a lot of interchange with sports organizations, the school sports fields, and running tournaments and marathons. But all we are talking about is one park in the system. And this person is quitting because he did not "liberate" the park for all of those "diverse" people who are storming the gates to get in. So what was he hired to do? Was he hired to run a successful sports program that all people of all color participate in - or torch the place and set up a potential set of problems due to unintended consequences.

And Mr Lee of HR is appearing on FB with his disgruntlement about how the city is interacting with the police.

From where I am sitting this whole mess is due to who ever hired these people and what was expressed as their main job. Is some influence outside the city directing who is hired and then getting these people to forego their job descriptions? What is the agenda of the person who hired them? We are not a satellite city to some bigger city - San Jose. We are not taking direction from San Jose - I hope.

Between now and whenever we need to get straight on how this city is managed and run - with well defined job descriptions and qualified people to do those jobs.


Aesculus CA
Ventura
on Jun 25, 2020 at 4:36 pm
Aesculus CA, Ventura
on Jun 25, 2020 at 4:36 pm
49 people like this

For those who want to keep Foothills Park closed to non-Palo Altans, have you EVER visited another city's park? Maybe San Francisco's Golden Gate park? San Diego's Balboa Park? NYC's Central Park?

If so, did you always pay an admission fee or mail that city a check to help maintain their park? If not, did you expect that the residents of that city should subsidize your visit?

Our continued resident requirement stinks of elitism and racism.
It is time to take action NOW.


Family Friendly
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 25, 2020 at 4:39 pm
Family Friendly, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 25, 2020 at 4:39 pm
24 people like this

@Resident,

I think the problem may be that it's *not* a big job. All of our local public servants and employees seem to see our little town as just a stepping stone to more lucrative and powerful positions.

Usually, that's done by virtue signaling, attention seeking, and patronage in hope of a state-level job. In this case, a few of them seem to want to bust down the gates and make Foothill a regional park with a bigger budget -- using false accusations of racism and threats of mob violence if needed.


Resident
Midtown
on Jun 25, 2020 at 4:45 pm
Resident, Midtown
on Jun 25, 2020 at 4:45 pm
46 people like this

Good riddance to him!
"McCauley also requested that the person who replaces him on the commission reflect the diversity of the region."
Good god am I tired of these self-flagellating cringeworthy SJWs.
How about we get back to hiring people based on qualifications instead of based on skin color??


chris
University South
on Jun 25, 2020 at 5:12 pm
chris, University South
on Jun 25, 2020 at 5:12 pm
3 people like this

Did this McCauley get paid or was he a volunteer?


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 25, 2020 at 6:29 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 25, 2020 at 6:29 pm
14 people like this

So now we are comparing FHP to the big parks in SF? Those parks are run by the state and city and have a different budget. And how are those parks doing?
If people want to make a comparison then do your research on Google and find out the history of the parks and how they are funded. I donate to the Golden Gate National Park Services. I donate to the State Park Services, and Filoli - a National Trust property. If that is your basis of comparison then become a member of those organizations and pay your dues. You will get notifications of events that are being presented. Realize that there are huge staffs of paid and volunteer staff that help run those parks.


George
Midtown
on Jun 25, 2020 at 6:31 pm
George, Midtown
on Jun 25, 2020 at 6:31 pm
6 people like this

If we're going to keep Foothills closed, I don't see why we couldn't also be closing off other city parks. Why should we be allowing foreigners into Hoover Park? Or Mitchell Park? Or Johnson Park?

Gate them all off and require Palo Alto citizenship to let anyone in.


Midtown Resident
Midtown
on Jun 25, 2020 at 6:32 pm
Midtown Resident, Midtown
on Jun 25, 2020 at 6:32 pm
12 people like this

I think a lot of us are open to some type of pilot program, but we need to know exactly what it is. It's not clear to me if we are talking about up to 50 additional people each weekend day or 50 additional cars, which could potentially be more like 200 or more extra folks each weekend day.

Also, what percentage of the parking spots would that constitute? as there are a very limited number. When the park was used by significantly more folks back some years ago, what was the impact on the park? And were there more maintenance and ranger staff employed at that time? $6.00 per day is $600 extra dollars per weekend, say over 30 weekends when the weather is conducive to park use. That's $18,000. What would the increased costs be, and where are they estimated and spelled out, and does the amount of money charged cover those costs? Are we talking about 50 extra people x perhaps 60 weekend days? That is 3000 extra folks per year, likely not too significant of an impact. Or is this 50 carloads of extra folks, more like 12,000 or more extra folks per year during high-use periods? That certainly might require additional maintenance and staffing.

This is not about racism, historical redlining, etc. This is about potentially sharing a park that Palo Alto citizens have protected for many years in a way that doesn't destroy it, doesn't overcrowd it or the parking so that the folks paying for it can't use it (an issue at Arastradero Preserve), and provides for trail maintenance and emergency response to assure the safety of all users.

This is really important. I think the way the issue is being put forward by folks advocating to "open the park", including accusations of racism and threatened lawsuits, is causing resentment in the community. Instead, please present the exact proposal and the numbers and studies to show it actually makes sense. And if it doesn't, please be reasonable about allowing us to modify the proposal before adopting it.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 25, 2020 at 6:47 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 25, 2020 at 6:47 pm
9 people like this

This runs into another story in the papers - how the San Jose Mayor is voted in - and what his job description is. Right now the City Manager is running San Jose and does all of the hiring and firing. Mayor Sam gets to go and represent the city but has less responsibility than other mayors in other cities of the same size. So next election San Jose will join the big boy cities and Mayor Sam will be fully in charge.
That set-up in San Jose is similar to that in Palo Alto. Decisions are being made and the PACC gets to maneuver around those decisions.
We need to think about how this city is run - who is in charge - and what authority the PACC actually has. The recent events concerning FHP suggest that there have been many behind the curtain activities which include more people than the PACC or city staff. It appears that much of that maneuvering is occurring at the county level.

Bottom line is that the city has to get it's act together regarding what it is in charge of - who is in charge - and how those functions are funded.


TuppenceT
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 25, 2020 at 7:05 pm
TuppenceT, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 25, 2020 at 7:05 pm
49 people like this

Thank you for your service Mr. McCauley - I appreciate your work on many issues in Palo Alto. This is not one of them, and since you took the role of advocate for a cause that I do not support, I am not sorry to see you leave.

Palo Alto, County parks and Midpen offer hundreds of acres of parks and miles and miles miles of trails with free access all around Foothills Park. So this was never about lack of parkland for an underserved population. Since keeping one park and its wildlife protected from over use and and degradation was against your principles, then its good that you are leaving.


merry
Palo Alto Hills
on Jun 25, 2020 at 7:49 pm
merry, Palo Alto Hills
on Jun 25, 2020 at 7:49 pm
19 people like this

Glad to
See u go.


DTNResident
Downtown North
on Jun 25, 2020 at 8:35 pm
DTNResident, Downtown North
on Jun 25, 2020 at 8:35 pm
35 people like this

So we have a "Deep State" guy in the Parks Department of the City of Palo Alto who knows what's best for the city council schedule more than the elected officials.

The council had other things to do and postponed discussing this issue in the middle of completely revising the budget and operations of the city in the middle of the biggest revenue collapse in the city's history, but I guess that wasn't a good enough reason? I guess they should take care of non-residents' issues before those of the residents? And what would he have done if the elected council decided the answer was no, which is how all but a fraction of the city is leaning?

This is what social justice warriors do. It's embarrassing. They get their thrills by giving away things that never belonged to them in the first place. I'll bet his back yard has a fence and it's not open to all. He should feel free to change that instead, and butt out of the decisions regarding the schedule of a council to which he was never elected.


Rebecca Eisenberg
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 25, 2020 at 8:52 pm
Rebecca Eisenberg, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 25, 2020 at 8:52 pm
2 people like this

I applied twice to be a commissioner on the Park & Rec Commission but wasn't selected. Had I been fortunate to have received that appointment, lord knows I would not have given it up the first time I lost a major battle -- even this one, which I do wholly support. Plus - this battle was not even lost yet, it only was delayed.

In the past several weeks, losing battles to the city council was an daily, hourly, minute-after-minute occurrence for residents who spoke at city council meetings. Against the wishes of thousands of speakers and letter-writers to the council, they nonetheless unilaterally terminated most of the Cubberley lease, depriving the school district of $4 million and rendering numerous nonprofits and child care centers without a home. They cut funding for one of the best programs in our city if not our state - the Palo Alto Children's Theatre. They defunded teen programs, the arts, community services for seniors, library hours, fire fighters, and KZSU radio (which would have cost them only $20,000!). And, the city council laid off hundreds of middle and low-income city wage jobs, without giving the highest paid executives and staff in the local government any salary cut whatsoever that wasn't accompanied by an equally large or bigger number of days off. Last night, they gave a Chicago-based real estate speculation firm a gift worth potentially $100 million, allowing them to convert the apartment building they purchased, and from which they illegally evicted 200 residents, into a wholly unnecessary luxury hotel, in violation of state law, local zoning requirements, community wishes, and common sense. Yet not once did the City Council take any action even to consider closing the billion-dollar tax loopholes that allow our city's wealthiest real estate investors and biggest employers to exploit our town without paying a dime into our coffers. There have been a lot of lost battles.

I recognize that it can feel personally painful to have a valid, important, and popular cause ignored by the city council without explanation. Just ask the 200 or so teenage and young adult callers and letter writers who for months have been trying to get the city council's attention so that the Vote16 measure (a measure that has been successful in many other cities) can be put on the ballot. They were not asking the city council to make any decision - just to put on the ballot. The measure was one-sentence long and already written. The council only needed to agree it could go on the ballot. But the city council did not even pay them lip service. What a avoidably terrible experience the city gave young people the first time to attempted to engage in democracy.

That said - the Vote16 kids are not letting this brush-off convince them to give up. The Vote16 kids -- and adults who support them, like me -- are still fighting. Sometimes, like with this city council, nothing good happens without a fight, and even with a fight, the good still may not happen. But that doesn't mean we should give up! It just means we have to fight harder, or smarter.


Kevin
Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Jun 25, 2020 at 9:00 pm
Kevin, Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Jun 25, 2020 at 9:00 pm
10 people like this

The proposal from the P&RC was submitted to the Council in November 2019, and they've been sitting on it ever since. They really don't want to have to make a decision on it.


chris
University South
on Jun 25, 2020 at 9:36 pm
chris, University South
on Jun 25, 2020 at 9:36 pm
9 people like this

With four seats on the CC up for election this year, all of these grievances by a relatively small number of highly vocal citizens can be given close scrutiny of a hard-fought election in November.

If people are really dissatisfied with the current council members, they will be defeated. These issues are too important to leave to a group who dominate Zoom time. Let the full electorate pick the representatives they trust to make decisions in the best interest of the entire city. That is how a representative democracy works. Every debate should not be put to a vote of the electorate.


PA FTW
another community
on Jun 25, 2020 at 9:45 pm
PA FTW, another community
on Jun 25, 2020 at 9:45 pm
11 people like this

Allow only Palo Alto and East Palo Alto residents to use the park for free. Everyone else pays $15 per visit.
BOOM! Problem solved.


former resident
Mountain View
on Jun 25, 2020 at 10:46 pm
former resident, Mountain View
on Jun 25, 2020 at 10:46 pm
4 people like this

I grew up in Palo Alto and would be delighted to be able pay $6 to go to Foothills Park once in awhile.

It's not a bad thing that Palo Alto keeps Foothills Park nice for the wildlife and the people by effectively limiting the number of people who go there.

Is it racist? Sure, I guess. It sounds like the original intent wasn't racist, but was financial. Anyone can argue any perspective, but at the end of the day, is it a sound policy to open the park to a certain number of non-residents/day and charge them? Will it assist with Palo Alto's budget shortfall?


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on Jun 25, 2020 at 11:13 pm
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on Jun 25, 2020 at 11:13 pm
11 people like this

I think Mr. McCauley could use the newfound slack in his schedule to lobby Matt Sonsini (Gunn class of 1984, from Evergreen Terrace) his fellow attorney, and CEO of Sobrato and former head of philanthropy for that group, to donate forty acres in Ventura as a park dedicated to Palo Alto’s history of diversity and inclusion, perhaps named for Al Young a Palo Altan who is a poet laureate of our great state.


Stephen
College Terrace
on Jun 26, 2020 at 6:48 am
Stephen, College Terrace
on Jun 26, 2020 at 6:48 am
12 people like this

Maybe we should close the Dish to Palo Alto residents on weekends. Stanford students and families can’t access Foothills Park


Anonymous
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 26, 2020 at 9:15 am
Anonymous, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 26, 2020 at 9:15 am
2 people like this

Man Jeff Paulson (Canopy ties) on right now KGO AM radio 810 Nikki Medoro show - a ratger new morning now -stating Palo Alto is racist. And Selfish. Claims his family originated the park. Sympathetic interviewer Nikki nodding her head virtually. Should be on a podcast later. Other cities not contributing yo upkeep, not noting other cities invited tomcontribute at the start. Be careful what tou believe on the Nikki Medoro show,
“A lot of people are calling this discrimination by zip code,” direct quote of Nikki Medoro.
Born out of fear, and racism , etc.


TorreyaMan
Palo Verde
on Jun 26, 2020 at 10:28 am
TorreyaMan, Palo Verde
on Jun 26, 2020 at 10:28 am
14 people like this

I'm tired of all of the rationalizations to keep Foothills Park limited to PA residents, particularly both the historical reason based on purchase and the increased cost rationale. Simply put, the way it should be is that I use other city parks without cost or residency limitation, and the residents of those cities should reciprocally be able to use ALL of Palo Alto's parks. Nothing more is of importance.


Skeptical
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2020 at 10:39 am
Skeptical, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2020 at 10:39 am
19 people like this

Resigned over a 2 month delay? Why so impatient? Has he not done anything with the City before?

This appears to be a cheap publicity stunt for his future ambitions.


Open The Park
Greenmeadow
on Jun 26, 2020 at 11:29 am
Open The Park, Greenmeadow
on Jun 26, 2020 at 11:29 am
11 people like this

I thank him for asking that the person who replaces him is a more diverse candidate! It’s very important that white people continue to make space for people of color.

And I continue to not understand why everyone is so angry at the concept of a more open Foothills. Why the fuss? It’s a beautiful park and no one should not be able to go visit it. Let’s save the anger for dismantling racist systems...


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2020 at 11:45 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2020 at 11:45 am
13 people like this

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

>> “A lot of people are calling this discrimination by zip code,” direct quote of Nikki Medoro.
>> Born out of fear, and racism , etc.

Posted by TorreyaMan, a resident of Palo Verde

>> I'm tired of all of the rationalizations to keep Foothills Park limited to PA residents, particularly both the historical reason based on purchase and the increased cost rationale. Simply put, the way it should be is that I use other city parks without cost or residency limitation, and the residents of those cities should reciprocally be able to use ALL of Palo Alto's parks. Nothing more is of importance.

Misuse of "racist" in this context. By exactly the same reasoning, any location that anybody can't afford to live in anywhere is "racist". If I can't afford a penthouse apartment next to Central Park in NYC, is that "racist"? How about a nice hilltop location in Los Altos Hills. "Racist"? The reality is that when I went to a *crowded* Foothills Park last Saturday, when they were checking IDs on the way in, the majority (I did a headcount) of people I encountered there were people of color. I'm guessing most of them were affluent.

Let's use the word "racist" for real racism. Like the black kid in another thread stopped for riding a bicycle while black. Who, I guess, wasn't "trying hard enough". (see another thread). We have lots of real racism to choose from.

Getting back to the "can anybody live anywhere" question: before the massive takeover of the City by developers, when I first moved here, there were various enclaves around the city that were quite affordable. Unfortunately, that has changed, obviously. The less-affluent have been pushed out.

The obvious solution is that when SRP office space ages out, tear it down and build housing-only. At some point, the jobs/housing balance will be restored, and "affordable housing" will no longer be an oxymoron. Stop hyper-gentrifying the Peninsula. Housing-only.


dont think much of cordell
Midtown
on Jun 26, 2020 at 12:13 pm
dont think much of cordell, Midtown
on Jun 26, 2020 at 12:13 pm
26 people like this

"retired Judge LaDoris Cordell, a former city councilwoman who submitted a letter threatening a lawsuit if the council doesn't immediately agree to stop enforcing its ban on non-residents."

Don't like the law? Intimidate instead by suing to stop it, rather than try to get the law changed. And from a judge, of all things!


Me 2
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 26, 2020 at 12:14 pm
Me 2, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 26, 2020 at 12:14 pm
3 people like this

"The obvious solution is that when SRP office space ages out, tear it down and build housing-only. At some point, the jobs/housing balance will be restored, and "affordable housing" will no longer be an oxymoron. Stop hyper-gentrifying the Peninsula. Housing-only."

I agree - If you really want to address racism, then make it more affordable to live/buy in Palo Alto. It will keep from people gentrifying people of color out of EPA.

That's why if you truly want to address it versus all this fake virtue signaling is to rezone Foothill Park to allow for a gigantic mixed housing development (no BMRs).

Oh, too scary? Then stop with this racism stuff. You're not addressing the real problem. Only making yourself feel better but not really doing anything of substance.


Judith Wasserman
Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jun 26, 2020 at 12:32 pm
Judith Wasserman, Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jun 26, 2020 at 12:32 pm
6 people like this

1. To those unfamiliar with the Palo Alto board/Commission system: They are unpaid, volunteer (and often thankless) positions.
2. To (anonymous) Resident Adobe Meadows: I am an OLD PERSON!! and I love Foothills Park and who are you to tell me where to go?


rsmithjr
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 26, 2020 at 1:34 pm
rsmithjr, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 26, 2020 at 1:34 pm
6 people like this

Judith Wasserman,

Thanks! I am an old person myself (been here most of the last 53 years).

I always thought that old folks were the most discriminated-against group, now I have a chance to see it up close and personal.


Also Outraged at unfair treatment to LAH rich residents
Community Center
on Jun 26, 2020 at 1:35 pm
Also Outraged at unfair treatment to LAH rich residents, Community Center
on Jun 26, 2020 at 1:35 pm
10 people like this

I too am outraged that after spending millions on their Los Altos Hill houses the nearby LAH residents are not given free access to the park even through Los Altos refuses to help with the costs despite our massive budget cuts and COVID-19. If we do provide increased access it should ONLY be for East Palo Alto residents


rsmithjr
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 26, 2020 at 1:41 pm
rsmithjr, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 26, 2020 at 1:41 pm
9 people like this

I have a different vision of our future. It is built on more use of technology and a lot of telecommuting. Some features:

1. Companies will need less office space in already crowded areas.
2. Low-income housing can be built in more accessible places. No need to fight big battles with neighborhoods in Palo Alto. No need to try to force developers to do what they don't want to do.
3. Traffic will be reduced since fewer people will be commuting. [Note that the city's commuting option--walk, bike, public transport, ride sharing--are of questionable use. The city has already deep-sixed its modest public transport effort.]
4. Education, heathcare, etc., will also use more online tools.


S_mom
Community Center
on Jun 26, 2020 at 1:48 pm
S_mom, Community Center
on Jun 26, 2020 at 1:48 pm
7 people like this

What about just opening it up to EPA? That keeps Los Altos out and satisfies the goals of those who want to open it up, without opening it up to huge numbers of new potential visitors.


learnest
Los Altos Hills
on Jun 26, 2020 at 1:53 pm
learnest, Los Altos Hills
on Jun 26, 2020 at 1:53 pm
5 people like this

When Foothills Park was first opened with the ban on people other than Palo Alto residents, in view of the fact that Los Altos Hills was directly across Page Mill Road from the park entrance, with tongue-in-cheek I submitted a proposed resolution to the Los Altos Hills Council to put up signs at the entrance to Central Drive there saying "OPEN TO THE PUBLIC EXCEPT FOR RESIDENTS OF PALO ALTO." Though that would have conveyed a good message, it was not adopted.


Senor Blogger
Palo Verde
on Jun 26, 2020 at 3:01 pm
Senor Blogger, Palo Verde
on Jun 26, 2020 at 3:01 pm
15 people like this

The fact is Palo Alto owns the park. Period.
If you want a park, go buy one. Don't you all have something more meaningful, or thoughtful, or patriotic, to do with your time or resources. the next step will be to insist that the parkland be developed. Maybe a hotel will go better on the site... or maybe luxury homes.
Go do something meaningful.


Jimmy
University South
on Jun 26, 2020 at 3:25 pm
Jimmy, University South
on Jun 26, 2020 at 3:25 pm
6 people like this

It's just another action in a long line of NIMBYism in this town and it is what it is. They kick the can another 2 months down the road to keep 'outsiders' out of 'our' spaces. 2 months will be a majority of the summer. They don't want to look like are rejecting those who can't afford to live here while exactly doing that.

The proposal was for 50 people a day at $6 each. That's entirely reasonable and everyone worrying about more people messing up the nature and sanctity of the park haven't looked at the attendance numbers. It's dropped so much that 50 people wouldn't even be a blip. Plus people are paying for their share of attendance. People just want exclusion for the sake of exclusion. People are arguing against the idea that 'others' will ruin their space, and not the reality of it being a few more people a day. The miserly attitude of this community is disheartening to say the least.


Chet
Mountain View
on Jun 26, 2020 at 3:32 pm
Chet, Mountain View
on Jun 26, 2020 at 3:32 pm
2 people like this

While I was curious to see what actual Palo Alto residents thought about the restricted park access, I was sort of surprised to see how many Palo Alto residents (the majority?) in the above comments are against sharing this park. If it's a "Palo Alto for Palo Altans only" vibe you're going for messaging broadly, well done.


Evan
Crescent Park
on Jun 26, 2020 at 3:38 pm
Evan, Crescent Park
on Jun 26, 2020 at 3:38 pm
3 people like this

What an embarassment. I grew up going to Foothills, camping there, playing frisbee and BBQ'ing. They're some of my fondest memories.

And now, because my driver license has a Menlo Park address, I can't go there unless accompanied by a friend. And all my friends have been priced out of Palo Alto.

Y'all should be ashamed.


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on Jun 26, 2020 at 4:45 pm
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on Jun 26, 2020 at 4:45 pm
3 people like this

I’m in favor of opening the Foothills Park to all comers, all our neighbors.
To pay for the increased maintenance I hope the 43 individuals, corporations, businesses and landlords — “Friends of...” whose names are on the plaque at Lytton Plaza also give here. I will match their median gift.


Nelson
Fairmeadow
on Jun 26, 2020 at 5:44 pm
Nelson, Fairmeadow
on Jun 26, 2020 at 5:44 pm
1 person likes this

[Post removed.]


chris
University South
on Jun 26, 2020 at 7:23 pm
chris, University South
on Jun 26, 2020 at 7:23 pm
7 people like this

Of all the issues facing Palo Alto now, this is probably the least important.

Speaking of hypocrisy, how many of these people pushing to open the park are doing anything to make more housing available in Palo Alto to the people they are concerned about? Potentially greater access to a relatively inaccessible park is like a breadcrumb.


EPA not allowed
East Palo Alto
on Jun 26, 2020 at 8:58 pm
EPA not allowed, East Palo Alto
on Jun 26, 2020 at 8:58 pm
2 people like this

Someone near the top mentioned EPA residents sharing a PA zip code were allowed, so I had to look it up. Not true.
This proof of residency document for Foothills Park reads like a visa application: Web Link


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 26, 2020 at 9:04 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 26, 2020 at 9:04 pm
7 people like this

Evan reports that he is in the Crescent Park neighborhood but his license shows Menlo Park. Evan - when you board a plane they will ask if you actually live at the address on your license. They ask if you license is current. You better fix your license since it is now a very important document.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2020 at 11:33 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2020 at 11:33 pm
5 people like this

No. The article said it was a zip code issue. I said that the zip code has nothing to do with it. I said those Palo Alto residents with a shared EPA zip code could get in. It is not the zip code, that enables someone to enter but the Palo Alto address.

Zip codes have nothing to do with this issue.


Keep it closed
Downtown North
on Jun 27, 2020 at 1:05 am
Keep it closed, Downtown North
on Jun 27, 2020 at 1:05 am
13 people like this

The City of Palo Alto owes the current residents of the city over 100 acres of accessible park space based on the current population density of the city and the contents of the comprehensive plan for the city. They have failed for decades to add more park space as they have crammed in tens of thousands of more people.

One would think that the Parks and Rec. commission would be looking for funding and space from the city and developers for all the missing park space. It is clear from the recent shelter in place orders that park space is so crowded that they had to close the parks because they were over crowded. Imagine the next pandemic after they have added thousands more people that the state is demanding that we house in this polluted over crowded bay-area.

This Parks and Rec. representative and all the others on the commission are failing at their job if all they can spend their time doing is turning the group into a bunch of virtue signalling mindless followers to open Foothills park (a non-issue) rather than actually working to get real park space for the residents of the city. How do we end up with these people on the committee and is it possible to get normal mindful people to apply?


TuppenceT
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 27, 2020 at 8:12 am
TuppenceT, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 27, 2020 at 8:12 am
8 people like this

@EPA not allowed
94303 includes EPA and part of PA


Jimmy
University South
on Jun 27, 2020 at 9:34 am
Jimmy, University South
on Jun 27, 2020 at 9:34 am
4 people like this

The website specifically excludes EPA addresses. If your ID doesn't say Palo Alto, you aren't welcome.

"Forms of proof of residency/identity NOT ACCEPTED:
-E. Palo Alto or East Palo Alto addresses (East Palo Alto is in San Mateo County)"


Supply & Demand
Green Acres
on Jun 29, 2020 at 7:11 am
Supply & Demand, Green Acres
on Jun 29, 2020 at 7:11 am
3 people like this

If you are not a Palo Alto resident and doesn't pay property tax. You should not join the committee or discussion. This is not just access issue but also a budget issue.
Golden Gate park etc. they are either a National Park, State Park or Regional park they have different criteria for budgeting or access.
Palo Altan Paid to buy this park from beginning and paid to keep it up until now. If you don't pay from the beginning you should not have a voice on this issue. We owned the property and we don't have any issue with you.


Wow
Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jun 29, 2020 at 9:49 am
Wow , Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jun 29, 2020 at 9:49 am
9 people like this

A temper tantrum? How immature. Take your white guilt with you. Rinconada Pool and our parks’ picnic tables are already overrun by nonresidents. Our taxes pay for it same as country club members pay their dues. We should be able to vote on this, it’s our tax money.


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