Instead, the city is arguing in its formal response letter that the commercial components of these projects would add to the demand for affordable housing and, as such, only exacerbate the problem.
The City Council voted 5-2 on Monday night to approve its response letter to the December report, which compared Palo Alto's policies on affordable housing with those of Mountain View and issued recommendations for both cities to boost their supplies of below-market-rate apartments. Palo Alto bore the brunt of the criticism from the grand jury, which noted that the city was on pace as of 2019 to meet just 10% of its targets for low-income housing in the 2015-2023 cycle of the Regional Housing Needs Allocation process.
The city's response agreed with several of the grand jury's recommendations, including its calls for Palo Alto to identify ways to raise money to subsidize affordable housing projects and to consider both mixed-use projects and 100% affordable housing developments in its housing plans.
The city pointedly rejected, however, the suggestion from the grand jury that it depend more on "area plans" to boost its housing stock.
"The City is not persuaded that area plans are inherently a solution to providing more affordable housing," the city's response states. "Rather, the City believes the primary challenges to affordable housing are economic, and the same economics apply equally in both the presence and absence of specific plans."
Judge tosses Black Lives Matter mural lawsuit
A Santa Clara County Superior Court judge on Thursday tossed a lawsuit from six Palo Alto police officers who claimed that the city discriminated against them by allowing a Black Lives Matter mural to remain in front of City Hall with images that they found offensive.
The six officers — Eric Figueroa, Michael Foley, Chris Moore, Robert Parham, Julie Tannock and David "Heath" Ferreira — claimed in a lawsuit last year that the city engaged in "discrimination and harassment" by failing to remove iconography in a mural that the city commissioned in June 2020. A collaboration by 16 teams of artists, the mural was painted on Hamilton Avenue, with each artist (or team) painting a letter. The city removed the artwork in November of that year.
The six officers took issue with two specific images in the mural: a picture of Assata Shakur, a civil rights activists who became a fugitive after being convicted for shooting a state trooper, and an image of a black panther, which the lawsuit alleged represented the New Black Panther Party.
In a tentative ruling published this week, Superior Court Judge Socrates Peter Manoukian disagreed with that argument and found that the officers did not adequately allege any adverse employment action taken against them by the city that would support a claim of discrimination. The ruling also rejected the notion that the city's failure to remove the mural had anything to do with any "protective class" that the officers belonged to. Being a police officer, he noted, "is not a protective class."
— Gennady Sheyner
Woman caught with $19K+ in stolen property
Palo Alto police arrested a woman Saturday after they found more than $19,000 in stolen property from Victoria's Secret in the trunk of her vehicle at Stanford Shopping Center.
Officers responded to a 4:43 p.m. report of a shoplifter at the mall located at 180 El Camino Real, police said in a press release issued Monday.
The security officer at Victoria's Secret had reported that a woman who was in the store allegedly committed prior thefts and concealed clothing into a bag she had brought with her into the store.
When the woman allegedly left the store with more than $1,600 in unpurchased merchandise, the police were waiting to apprehend her.
Police said the trunk of her vehicle contained more than $19,000 worth of Victoria's Secret merchandise from stores in Fairfield and San Jose, in addition to a previous theft in Palo Alto. The woman is also accused of stealing two iPads from Victoria's Secret stores as well possessing another license plate from a car that was not her own.
The woman, a 20-year-old San Francisco resident, was arrested on suspicion of two felonies — commercial burglary and possession of stolen property — and two misdemeanors: possession of stolen property and possession of burglary tools.
— Bay City News
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