Town Square

Post a New Topic

Police auditor to investigate 'racial-profiling'

Original post made on Nov 28, 2008

The police auditor whose investigation is expected to shed light on Palo Alto's debate over racial profiling will receive $205 per hour for his services if the City Council approves his contract Monday night.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, November 28, 2008, 2:52 PM

Comments (23)

Posted by anon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 28, 2008 at 4:12 pm

What a waste of money!!!!!!!!!! Unbelieveable.

Posted by Kerry
a resident of Southgate
on Nov 28, 2008 at 5:01 pm

Will this auditor also try to determine if the recent black-on-white/asian violent crime spree was a form of racial profiling that constitutes a hate crime?

Palo Alto police and the DA absolutely refused to look at this question when Herbert Kay was savaged by a crew of Samoans from EPA.

Posted by a watcher
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Nov 28, 2008 at 6:49 pm

To Kerry, maybe the reason there was a refusal to look at the Herbert Kay case is because according to old news publications at first the suspects were described as being (black) African Americans.

Posted by An Observer
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 28, 2008 at 10:44 pm

The police auditor should look at a lot more things going on within the police department. Not just racial profiling.

The stories on the street indicate there is a lot of abuse by a few police officers.

There is open refusal to look into law breaking crimes going on in certain areas of the city. There is simply no enforcement of many law breaking activities that occurr every day.

Posted by Carlos
a resident of Green Acres
on Nov 29, 2008 at 12:31 am

This just confirms once again that our city leaders are so out of touch w/ the real issues and concerns that we face as residents of this great community.

Please remember all this nonsense and waste of taxpayers' money next time we have a local election.

Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Nov 29, 2008 at 5:47 am

For the sake of argument...

Let us assume that the police chiefs comments were just a guffaw and not a revelation of actual practices.

Further assume that no illegal racial profiling by the PAPD does occur.

With those two assumptions held to be true-- we still have a situation where this issue has attracted international attention. Again, for the sake of argument assume that it's not deserved.

It would seem to me to be a bargain to only pay $20,000 for a report which (if the above assumptions are valid) should show no racial profiling. If only all nightmare PR probems could be squelched so easily.

Or can it be? (only your auditor knows for sure)

Posted by Jim
a resident of another community
on Nov 29, 2008 at 11:58 am

I could do the audit for half that much. $100/hour.

Posted by Harry
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 29, 2008 at 1:29 pm

Unbelieveable, what a waste of money. They already forced the chief out, now they was to spend the city's money.

Posted by qq
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 30, 2008 at 12:11 am

Was this another no-bid contract? ;-)


Posted by fireman
a resident of another community
on Nov 30, 2008 at 1:21 pm

Audit? or buy an excuse,a way out. Kind of a settlement? for the leaders of this city to the public that they need to mislead to settle down the ones crying for the truth?

Posted by Confused
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 1, 2008 at 11:12 am

So you're telling me that the HR Commission has never brought this up before ("acknowledged that they don't know what to make of the statistics and asked for more narrative in the demographic reports.")? Maybe they should be auditted too!
If they thought there was a problem, why didn't they say something before? Instead that money is going to waist. I'd like to know what the communications are between the HR Commission and the statistian at the Police Department? If you look up the positions at the police department there is no person who holds that title. So who is running these stats and interpreting them? We all know it's not the Chief, so who is it? Have they brought up these issues prior to the data being published? Have they spoken with the Commission? Maybe that money should be better used in opening up a position for a real statistian at the police department because for all we know the data is skewed since there has not been one intellectual person speaking for the stats or providing proof that there is/is not statistical significance to their study.

Posted by Opinionated
a resident of Duveneck School
on Dec 1, 2008 at 11:20 am

#1 No business would EVER consider such an Audit without multiple bidders.
#2 How can the Auditors "project" that this issue will be completely finalized in 100 hours? ($20K dived by $205)
#3 This should be a "not to exceed $20,000" package
#4 I agree with A Noun Ea Mus, (a resident of the Professorville neighborhood, on Nov 29, 2008 at 5:47 am), that it might be cheap PR but this might snowball and cost $100K in new training, $100K in additional followup Audits, $100K for this or that. No end in sight.
#5 I would encourage ANY Palo Alto Citizen to enroll in the Citizen Police Academy Class, or at a minimum stop and talk to a Police Officer downtown and than and only than, be allowed to express an opinion as to the degree of racism in the P.A. Police Department.
I'm sorry, but from my personal observation, I don't need to spend $20,000 to find out that ANY P.A. Police Department Officer would save anyone's life if asked to do so. That's ANY White, Black, Asian, European, Indian, Chinese, any life, without pre-conditions!
#6 Only because it is "politically correct" to bash anyone mentioning "African-Americans", or any other race, gender or minority, does not mean giving "Carte Blanche" to engage in a verbal lynching of career professionals. Instead what the affected minorities should engage in, is getting an apology (done) and use the pulpit of publicity, caused by the "political incorrectness" and talk, speak and educate those caught and the public at large, about the hurt, the feelings experienced by the comments etc.
Anything else is revenge, hatred itself and a mob sponsored bullying.
#7 I trust I will get bombarded with hate mail myself.
#8 YES WE CAN - (I mean that.)

Posted by roz
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 1, 2008 at 2:17 pm

So racial profiling is illegal even if you know the race of the criminal you're looking for.
Think about how other countries protect America from terrorist infiltration by profiling air passengers before they're allowed to board a plane coming here.
Think about how our troops in Iraq or Afghanistan protect themselves by looking for particular headwear.
Think about how we protect our embassies and consulates from attack by watching out for who comes to the protective perimeter.
Can you imagine that maybe we're wrong? Maybe profiling SAVES lives?
Maybe we should support our police instead of wasting taxpayer money on statistica surveys?

Posted by Outragous
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 1, 2008 at 3:21 pm

And how much to recall this bogus Council?

a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 1, 2008 at 6:16 pm

What a supreme joke. I'm loving the irony. The hypocrisy.

I guess the first place this auditor will have to start is with the Palo Alto Unified School District. Yes, Palo Alto, we have a Middle School named, in part, for one of the biggest racists of our times.

Lewis Madison Terman. Known of course, for his role in developing the Stanford-Binet IQ test.

What else is he known for? He was prominent as a eugenenicist and was a member of the Human Betterment Foundation. What is a eugenicist?
What is the belief system of a eugenicist?

Well, here is an excerpt from Stanford Magazine: HIS SUPPORT OF the gifted was heartfelt, but an equally fundamental part of Terman's social plan was controlling the people at the other end of the intelligence scale. Both were aims of eugenics, a movement that gained momentum early in the 20th century.

The eugenicists of Terman's day held that people of different races, nationalities and classes were born with immutable differences in intelligence, character and hardiness, and that these genetic disparities called for an "aristogenic" caste system. Traits like feeblemindedness, frailty, emotional instability and "shiftlessness," they believed, were controlled by single genes and could be easily eliminated by controlling the reproduction of the "unfit." In the United States, the movement peddled a topsy-turvy form of Darwinism, claiming that the "fittest" (defined as well-to-do whites of Northern European ancestry) were reproducing too slowly and in danger of being overwhelmed by the inferior lower strata of society. America was jeopardized from within, eugenicists warned, by the rapid proliferation of people lacking intelligence and moral fiber. From without, the threat was the unchecked arrival of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe. Together these groups would drag down the national stock.

Terman's letters and published writings show that he shared these beliefs and argued for measures to reverse society's perceived deterioration. He was a member of the prominent eugenics societies of the day. "It is more important," he wrote in 1928, "for man to acquire control over his biological evolution than to capture the energy of the atom." Yet he wasn't a renegade howling from the fringe. Eugenics was "hugely popular in America and Europe among the 'better sort' before Hitler gave it a bad name," as journalist Nicholas Lemann puts it. Luminaries who supported at least part of the early eugenic agenda include George Bernard Shaw, Theodore Roosevelt, Margaret Sanger, Calvin Coolidge and Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. In fact, Terman sat on the boards of two eugenics organizations with Stanford's first president, David Starr Jordan.

Early eugenicists managed to push through several laws. Thirty-three states, including California, passed measures requiring sterilization of the feebleminded. As a result, more than 60,000 men and women in mental institutions were sterilized -- most against their will and some thinking they were getting an emergency appendectomy. In 1924, Congress set quotas that drastically cut immigration from eastern and southern Europe. Though pressure to stem immigration had come from many sources, including organized labor, the quotas had an undeniably racist taint. Terman cheered these efforts.

EUGENIC AGENDA: Terman endorsed a 1922 circular calling for a movement "to stem the tide of threatened racial degeneracy."

Courtesy Stanford Archives

MORE OF HIS PUBLISHED STATEMENTS: Terman promoted his test, known colloquially as the "Stanford-Binet" test, as an aid for developmentally disabled children. It is now used today, despite varying degrees of controversy, as a general intelligence test for adults. The test is currently in its fifth revision.Terman's initial studies were even more troublesome. He administered English tests to Spanish-speakers and non-schooled African-Americans, concluding:"High-grade or border-line deficiency... is very, very common among Spanish-Indian and Mexican families of the Southwest and also among negroes. Their dullness seems to be racial, or at least inherent in the family stocks from which they come... Children of this group should be segregated into separate classes... They cannot master abstractions but they can often be made into efficient workers... from a eugenic point of view they constitute a grave problem because of their unusually prolific breeding" (The Measurement of Intelligence, 1916, p. 91-92).Terman's biased tests gave "scientific" proof that, for many Whites, justified racial discrimination, segregation, and even eugenics.Unlike Binet and Simon, whose goal was to identify less able school children in order to aid them with the needed care required, Terman proposed using IQ tests to classify children and put them on the appropriate job-track. He believed IQ was inherited and was the strongest predictor of one's ultimate success in life.

Terman's biased tests gave "scientific" proof that, for many Whites, justified racial discrimination, segregation, and even eugenics.

Hmm, Lewis Terman. David Starr Jordan. Two men, two middle schools named after them. Two schools in PALO ALTO. (Terman is actually named also in honor of Lewis Terman's son, Fred Terman Web Link Two middle schools where children of ALL races and iq's receive education.

So what I get from this is we are out to take down and virtually handcuff the people who put their lives on the line to protect us, who have to work with whatever facts and statistics and reports that are at their disposal so they can do their jobs properly. At the same time, we laud a brilliant man who was an unabashed racist and who put his own personal racist spin on his study results which caused societal harm to many by naming a public middle school after him AND another middle school after a like thinking associate. (again from Stanford Magazine: During the 1930s, as the brutality of Nazi policies and the scientific errors of eugenic doctrines became clearer, the eugenics movement withered in the United States and Terman inched away from his harshest views. Later in life, he told friends he regretted some of his statements about "inferior races." But unlike several prominent intelligence-testers, such as psychologist Henry Goddard and sat creator Carl Brigham, Terman never publicly recanted.)

Hey, AUDITOR, here's $250 for an hour of your time. Our City cannot afford for you to take down our Police Department AND our School system. You see, that would be a direct conflict of interest to the City powers that be.

So take your computer and go HOME. We don't need you here. Once again, it's all PC Hypocrisy.

a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 1, 2008 at 6:29 pm

To Outrageous: I'm with you. If we are going to dump the Chief, let's dump 'em all. Clean sweep. I personally would love to see a mixed City council of all races, political parties and varied belief systems. It would be interesting to have a secondary Council, one without a personal political agenda... unpaid yet elected volunteer positions, that worked closely with the community and our neighboring Cities as well as Stanford to gather intelligence and input directly from residents and others with a direct interest in Palo Alto that they could then put into a cohesive form to present to the Council when the Council considers or rules on matters that directly affect City Policy.

Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Dec 1, 2008 at 7:22 pm


Thanks for the historical info re: Terman.

Some of what you've said is obviously continuing in PA, e.g. Illegal Hispanics used in service and unskilled work.

I don't see the connection with your conclusion however.

Could you expand on how eugenics and the current situation in the PAPD are related?

a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 1, 2008 at 7:48 pm

The whole point is that they are wasting our money. We pay a lot of money to live in Palo Alto. We paid a lot of money in resources to pay for this March on our City. A March that was called for by someone in another city. Our Mayor and certain members of the City Council went all out to show their solidarity and adamant objections to what they deemed 'racial profiling'. To say that it is societally wrong. To grandstand and make speeches that really amounted to pandering.

My question is, where has all this awareness and outrage been before this? We have two schools in our City honoring men who engaged in and supported racial profiling, but because that is deemed to be 'history' and cannot possibly be of any political use to our Mayor and City Council TODAY, they don't care. Truth? They haven't cared all along.

They only care NOW because it can serve them politically. Our City government has a hot button right now that suits some of our local politicians personal agenda's that can be traced to other matters, such as the Children's Theater, and they are using this current situation to get what they want; and using our money to pay for an auditor to basically justify their actions. I believe if memory serves me correctly, and I am just too tired to look it up, this City has already been accused of and had an audit for racial profiling in the past. Check this out, from 2004, you may find it very interesting:

Web Link

It could be about what is happening now, with Chief Johnson on the other 'side'....

Do you really think that this time the auditor will find no racial profiling? Yeah, sure. That is about as likely as me waking up tomorrow and finding out I've been asked to participate in the Victoria Secret Christmas Show. Neither is very likely to happen.

Posted by Another View
a resident of another community
on Dec 1, 2008 at 8:29 pm

It's interesting that this one consultant contract---which would address the concerns of ethnic minorities---is held up for ridicule. Let's look at all the PA consulting contracts and see how absurd are the terms of the ones that affect white citizens are.

Posted by YouShouldKnow
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 1, 2008 at 9:18 pm

Or, let's look at another way. How many contracts have been awarded simply because the contractor is a minority? We can play this game all day!

Posted by fools in charge SOP
a resident of another community
on Dec 3, 2008 at 2:03 am

Questioning suspects who fit the description.... how novel.

Profiling works!

That's why it's used all over the world.

Should we (our police) simply round up EVERYONE and detain EVERYONE because a few idiots whine about PC?

Fools are PC and should be allowed to suffer from the very perpetrators who will menace them eventually because the fools want everyone to be free to act like wild animals.
Fools support a bizarre wild west type of society.
I suggest you all should be ready to defend yourselves because the fools in charge aim to fleece you of every last cent, destroy your protection(the police) and then turn the meanest most dangerous criminals free to roam at will.

Don't let it happen. Fight to the last breath or your world and your children will be destroyed.

Sounds apocalyptic? Well, I am looking farther ahead into the future than the next local election.

Good luck.

Posted by Add it up
a resident of Duveneck School
on Dec 3, 2008 at 7:02 am

Add up all the comments here and either "we the blogging citizens" are full of ... you know what, or the council is either sitting on their ears or is listening to some music the like of which I can't hear.
City Council: Wake up and take a survey of what you citizens truly want you to do!

Posted by YouShouldKnow
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 3, 2008 at 9:22 am

The City Council couldn't care less. So few bloggers. Besides, we aren't EAST Palo Altans...for THEM the Mayor and select members of the Council get their butts out on a SUNDAY no less and roll out the Red Carpet for reasons that amount to some politically correct opportunistic bull feces. The idea is lovely, but the reality wasn't there.

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


Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Palo Alto Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

Boichik Bagels is opening its newest – and largest – location in Santa Clara this week
By The Peninsula Foodist | 0 comments | 2,498 views

I Do I Don't: How to build a better marriage Page 15
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,020 views

By Laura Stec | 2 comments | 900 views


Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund

For the last 30 years, the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund has given away almost $10 million to local nonprofits serving children and families. 100% of the funds go directly to local programs. It’s a great way to ensure your charitable donations are working at home.