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

Original post made on Jun 3, 2020

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 and civil rights advocates.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, June 3, 2020, 4:59 PM

Comments (69)

15 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Stanford
on Jun 3, 2020 at 5:15 pm

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.


45 people like this
Posted by Lazy Bureaucrats...
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 3, 2020 at 5:23 pm

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.


51 people like this
Posted by SRB
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 3, 2020 at 6:01 pm

@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


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

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.


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

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


54 people like this
Posted by Noya
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 3, 2020 at 6:26 pm

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.


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

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.


54 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 3, 2020 at 6:40 pm

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).


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

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?


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

@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.


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

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.


25 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Mayfield
on Jun 3, 2020 at 7:27 pm

@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...


10 people like this
Posted by ReallyLiveHere
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 3, 2020 at 7:37 pm

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


18 people like this
Posted by billionaires
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 3, 2020 at 7:38 pm

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


11 people like this
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 3, 2020 at 7:57 pm

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.


18 people like this
Posted by Karen
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 3, 2020 at 8:05 pm

Nanny state.


21 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 3, 2020 at 8:10 pm

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.


8 people like this
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 3, 2020 at 8:13 pm

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.


32 people like this
Posted by Kevin B
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 3, 2020 at 8:22 pm

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.


2 people like this
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 3, 2020 at 8:26 pm

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!


27 people like this
Posted by Obama
a resident of Stanford
on Jun 3, 2020 at 8:33 pm

You must obey!


5 people like this
Posted by x
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 3, 2020 at 8:52 pm

[Post removed.]


35 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 3, 2020 at 8:57 pm

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.


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

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.


32 people like this
Posted by Arthur
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 3, 2020 at 9:42 pm

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.


21 people like this
Posted by Kasha
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 3, 2020 at 9:59 pm

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.


37 people like this
Posted by Another Giveaway
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2020 at 10:11 pm

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.


2 people like this
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 3, 2020 at 10:19 pm

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 3, 2020 at 10:24 pm

Reminds me of a song:

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

Web Link


14 people like this
Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 3, 2020 at 10:29 pm

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.


8 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 3, 2020 at 11:05 pm

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


27 people like this
Posted by Rebecca Eisenberg
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:02 am

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.


9 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:24 am

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


10 people like this
Posted by Anthony Warren
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 4, 2020 at 3:15 am

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


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

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.


9 people like this
Posted by Just me
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 4, 2020 at 7:41 am

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


19 people like this
Posted by Jack
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 4, 2020 at 8:22 am

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


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

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!!!


13 people like this
Posted by Family Friendly
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 4, 2020 at 8:34 am

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.


45 people like this
Posted by Deborah
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 4, 2020 at 8:55 am

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.


8 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2020 at 10:02 am

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.


20 people like this
Posted by Scotty
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 4, 2020 at 10:06 am

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


17 people like this
Posted by Noya
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 4, 2020 at 10:12 am

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


22 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 4, 2020 at 10:18 am

@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.


12 people like this
Posted by BLM
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 4, 2020 at 10:27 am

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.


9 people like this
Posted by oldPA
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 4, 2020 at 10:41 am

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?


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

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....


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

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.


12 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:12 am

@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.


12 people like this
Posted by Jonathan Brown
a resident of Ventura
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:14 am

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.


15 people like this
Posted by Laruie
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:18 am

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


10 people like this
Posted by PAgirl
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:20 am

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.


16 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:35 am

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.


10 people like this
Posted by ofer
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:35 am

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.


Like this comment
Posted by Bikermom
a resident of Mayfield
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:39 am

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.


14 people like this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:06 pm

Sanity prevailed. The curfew has been lifted.


16 people like this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:09 pm

And also Thank You LaDoris Cordell!

You officiated at our wedding 30 years ago. :)


14 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:36 pm

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.


4 people like this
Posted by Jon Klein
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 4, 2020 at 1:01 pm

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.


7 people like this
Posted by RP
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 4, 2020 at 1:03 pm

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.


9 people like this
Posted by David
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 4, 2020 at 1:05 pm

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


7 people like this
Posted by maurice druzin
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 4, 2020 at 3:21 pm

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


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

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.


5 people like this
Posted by emde
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 5, 2020 at 9:14 am

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.


1 person likes this
Posted by Stewart
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 5, 2020 at 11:23 am

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.


9 people like this
Posted by Michele Dauber
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 6, 2020 at 8:33 am

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.


10 people like this
Posted by mjh
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 6, 2020 at 4:52 pm

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?


1 person likes this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 6, 2020 at 7:34 pm

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.


3 people like this
Posted by George
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 11, 2020 at 7:19 am

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.


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