Around Town | November 18, 2022 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - November 18, 2022

Around Town

FAMILY TIES ... "We sometimes call ourselves a blueberry in a bowl of tomato soup," John Hamilton, mayor of Bloomington, Indiana, told about 200 people during a climate summit at Gunn High School on Nov. 12, referring to his city's liberal politics in a red state. Hamilton was part of a sizeable Hoosier contingent representing Palo Alto's only domestic "sister city" that came to town last week for a series of events that included, among other events, tours of the Palo Alto Art Center and Stanford's; a dinner organized by the Rotary Club; an economics roundtable with the Chamber of Commerce; a discussion on civil discourse coordinated by Vicki Veenker, founder of Sibling Cities USA; and a concert featuring Indiana University's Onia Quartet and Stanford's Emerging String Quartet. During the climate summit, Hamilton highlighted some of the differences and similarities between the two cities, which last year formalized their "sibling city" relationship. "We have lots of water, we don't have forest fires, but we have lots of challenges," he said, citing Indiana's recent cuts to the credit people get for generating electricity and selling it to their local grid. For Bloomington leaders and their Palo Alto counterparts, this was the biggest face-to-face gathering after a year of Zoom meetings. In the coming year, the two cities plan to build on their partnership by holding virtual and in-person conversations with members of the broader communities in the two cities, which includes faith-based institutions and libraries. The goal is to improve civility through conversation.

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