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Guest Opinion: Palo Alto needs reform now

Original post made on Jun 5, 2020

Our country continues to contend with the horrific killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. Across the country, people are exercising their right to protest against these injustices. As a country and a city, we must face the reality that we have systemic issues that disproportionately affect black people and that need to be addressed now.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, June 5, 2020, 12:00 AM

Comments (92)

53 people like this
Posted by Winter
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 5, 2020 at 7:21 am

The PAPD has adopted 2 of 8 components of the "8 Can't Wait" policies. They are:
-Require warning before shooting, and
-Duty to intervene
The Palo Alto City Council should adopt the other 6 components immediately given the huge effect it would have in reducing police violence in our city, mostly toward black and brown people.

That choke and strangleholds are allowed by the PAPD is appalling given it leads to many deaths every year in this country, and of course mostly of people of color. And to ban shooting at moving vehicles is a no brainer.

Requiring "comprehensive reporting" is badly needed here and was a factor in last years $572,500 payout by the city to settle the lawsuit filed by a Latino Palo Altan who was brutalized by a PAPD Sargeant, now retired with full benefits. There was no Use of Force Report filed by any Officer of that incident.

We currently have another claim filed with the city alleging PAPD brutality against another Latino Palo Altan who was hospitalized with broken face bones and a concussion at the hands of a veteran Police Agent. No charges were filed against the victim.

We can protest, we can hold signs - and we should. Black and Brown Lives Matter. But only actions show they matter, so the City must now take action to show it takes police violence seriously and means to stop it. It certainly can't deny, given recent incidents, that it happens here in Palo Alto.



27 people like this
Posted by Winter
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 5, 2020 at 7:25 am

I meant to include the link to the "8 Can't Wait" site. It is interactive. Tap on each of the 8 boxes for a short explanation of each. And you can dial in towns to see which of the 8 if any they have adopted.

Web Link


5 people like this
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 5, 2020 at 9:16 am

Ventura is a historically black neighborhood in Palo Alto.
I hope Rev. Kaloma Smith leans in on what becomes of that neighborhood, especially with Sobrato and Wheatley salivating at the profits in the upzoning deal. (Fry's and the expansion)
I also think Palo Alto could use a Black History Museum, as part of the Palo Alto History Museum.
In a related story, I hear that Verve Records is going to release a recording make here in 1968 of Thelonious Monk playing at Palo Alto High School soon after MKL was killed.
I had a Marcus Shelby concert on the books at The Mitch in April when the pandemic hit and when we reschedule that maybe we can have him double down on the socially conscious element of his work; for instance, he has done programs with Angela Davis. (Stanford Lively Arts does a lot of this as well, but we the town not gown can do our share, too). Marcus by the way came and played when Mildred Howard built her bottle house at King Plaza, a few years back.
I also want to shout out to the amazing George Floyd mural on cardboard that is taped to the plywood that it protecting the Apple store on Uni - it is so well done that it made me wonder if Apple itself or the landlord Elizabeth Wong had covertly commissioned it - i.e. are looters less likely to demolish something that seems hip to BLM.
There's a bench at Cubberley for Bill Green the US champion in 1980 in the 400 -- I actually think that if we re-open Cubberley we could change the name to Bill Green Center.
I usually don't tip my hand like this but I am really tripping on a Nicole Butler Lisa Harris jazz and voice program based on the writings of Octavia Butler, "earthseed".
I'm a white guy but a lot of my work in the arts involves my wanting to learn more about Black Culture.
Lastly, I think Aram James does a lot on the public safety front, and of course LaDoris Cordell is a treasure. Maybe we should name something for her.
Two hundred and fifty years ago some white people named this area for a very tall tree. It's time to name for something here for a pillar of justice like LaDoris.


6 people like this
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 5, 2020 at 9:28 am

I also think that the scrutiny of Zach Perron and Wayne Benitez show that Palo Alto is very serious about the values that Rev. Kaloma Smith articulates here.


35 people like this
Posted by Greer Stone
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 5, 2020 at 10:07 am

The Palo Alto City Council needs to act immediately to implement all 8 of the “8 Can’t Wait” policies. I’m relieved we already have a policy requiring police officers to intervene when another officer is exceeding the use of force necessary, but our requirement that police officers provide a warning before using lethal force is woefully inadequate. Our use of force policy only requires that a "verbal warning should precede the use of deadly force". It also only requires "probable cause" for the officer to use deadly force (a pretty low standard for an individual who has the power to choose to take a life). The difference between "should" and "shall" in law means everything, and Palo Alto needs to strengthen this language.

The murder of George Floyd is heartbreaking and outrageous. As a Social Studies teacher at Gunn High School I have wrestled with the right words to provide to my students in order to offer them an explanation for how this systemic failure continues to rip open these ancient and ongoing wounds in our society. Unfortunately, the inherent biases in our criminal justice system and society are not going to go away over night, but we can begin to make meaningful changes here at home. Adopting the “8 Can’t Wait” reforms, strengthening the existing language in our police department’s use of force policies, exploring the possibility of an independent civilian review board, and requiring diversity in new hires and promotions, will all be great first steps. As Martin Luther King Jr. so prophetically stated, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” Palo Alto, let’s bend that arc together.

These are issues I have focused on closely over my career, both as an attorney and teacher, and also as the former chair of the Palo Alto Human Relations Commission, and the current vice-chair of the Santa Clara County Human Rights Commission, and the current chair of the Santa Clara County Justice Review Committee (my opinion here is only my own and should not necessarily be considered the view of the SCC HRC).


15 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2020 at 10:14 am

I agree with the "8cantwait" list, but, I think a couple more point need to precede the list.

First, since police officers are sworn civil servants, I assume that they swear allegiance to the US Constitution as a part of a swearing in ceremony. I think that a review should become a more formal part of the process. Specifically, the 14th Amendment, which is the basis of the 1875, 1957, 1960, and 1964-1968 Civil Rights laws, as well as numerous court cases, actions by the ICC, etc, should be reviewed in detail prior to swearing in police officers. Officers should be required to specifically uphold the 14th Amendment and the Federal Law that followed.

Second, one of the things that I have learned from widely-scattered interactions with law enforcement over the decades is that all too often a them-vs-us mentality develops where *all* of us regular citizens are viewed as "other". There is no doubt that some of us are treated much worse than others, but, I think it would help if a process were put in place to remind (even rehabilitate) officers that their job is to protect and serve (all of) us -- the public. Legitimate review, and second guessing, of events resulting in injury and death have to be accepted. This happens in many other areas of human endeavor-- airline pilots, doctors and nurses, etc., all undergo such reviews. Police cannot continue to be exempt from review. They work for us, we don't work for them. Officers who can't accept that need to find another line of work. And officers need to understand and accept that before they are sworn in.


21 people like this
Posted by Winter
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 5, 2020 at 10:38 am

Let me add that for those PAPD officers who resist inappropriate use of force and aspire to truly protect and serve all people justly, we need policies that support them to do so. 8Can’tWait can support Officers and the public alike.


19 people like this
Posted by Mitchell Zimmerman
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 5, 2020 at 10:55 am

This resident of Palo Alto for the last 44 years agrees completely with Rev. Smith and the other writers that Palo Alto should adopt the "Eight Can't Wait" policies governing the use of force by police. These reasonable policies are completely consistent with community safety, and have moved other communities toward fewer deaths at the hands of police, fewer injuries, and more actual cooperation between communities and the police.


13 people like this
Posted by Sally-Ann Rudd
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 5, 2020 at 11:10 am

The acrimony that resulted when it was proposed to change the name of Jordan Middle School should remind everyone that we have as much baggage as any other community.


13 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 5, 2020 at 11:14 am

This is a good start, Rev., and I would argue we need even more restructuring to solve the root of the issue. We stand with BLM!!!


15 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2020 at 11:41 am

Thank you, Reverend Smith.

One thing in particular that would help in Palo Alto is if we had a fund to pay salaries for city council members whose income is under a certain threshold. There was an article recently in the Weekly about the outsized administrator salaries in Palo Alto, but City Council members get a $600/month honorarium only. No wonder City Council members are almost exclusively very wealthy, let's face it, white residents from the north side of town. There should be better economic and racial diversity on our council, and one of the ways to make this happen is to make City Council a salaried position for anyone whose income doesn't otherwise support being on Council.


7 people like this
Posted by Ron
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 5, 2020 at 11:59 am

No one brings up attitude. You steer your interactions with attitude. A bad attitude gets met with a bigger attitude and they both want to win. It is interesting to see that things can be done or explained in a nice way diffusing escalating anger. I work in a restaurant and its kindness training. Kindness isn't bad. Were all trying to survive.


9 people like this
Posted by Andrea Temkin
a resident of Ventura
on Jun 5, 2020 at 1:06 pm

@Mark Weiss Thank you for bringing attention to the Ventura neighborhood and future changes that will impact the character of the neighborhood. I have lived in Ventura for over 25 years and it has been the perfect place for my mixed race family. My neighbors and I have attended multiple meetings sponsored by the City including one at the former neighborhood school with the entire City Council. Every time, we have used our voices to speak up for the preservation of a neighborhood that is diverse in cultures and socioeconomic status. We will continue to honor the Black and Japanese peoples who built many of the original homes in Ventura, including mine, by pushing for fair and equitable housing as a mainstay of any new development in our area.

#Black Lives Matter #End White Silence


14 people like this
Posted by ALB
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 5, 2020 at 1:21 pm

Congresswoman Anna Eshoo said in her town hall that police officers need more education. The former chief of police for San Jose, MacNamara, was a thoughtful and respected police chief with a doctorate from Harvard. He was from the Bronx. He was a disciplined and amiable man. If police officers knew about history, sociology, psychology and neurology then perhaps their style would not be authoritarian but authoritative. Yes abolish all high-speed car chases, tasers and choke holds. Some police officers do possess emotional intelligence and know how to DIFFUSE a situation. Here is an example where this was not so. In one case in Palo Alto a female officer in Barron Park was so invested in her thinking that a neighbor was on drugs when in fact this middle-aged woman was experiencing neurological distress. The record shows that the officer would not permit the EMS assistance to arrive and kept them at least one block away from the this woman begging for help. The woman was denied assistance for several minutes and could have died. Why was the officer so invested in this thinking that the woman was on drugs? Brain tumors can impact language, memory and motor skills. The Palo Alto police need more education. Congresswoman Eshoo is asserting that they should all be required to have a B.A. The times we live in require more education and knowledge.

Take a cold fish-eye look at the history of the militarization of the police forces in our country with regard to equipping them with tanks, bazookas etc. This divides the citizenry, the very people that the police are instructed to protect. It appears that the police are at war with citizens. This is overkill to militarize our police.

We all have to be humbled by the societal changes before us. These protests are long overdue. Why are all of these black men and women being killed. The systemic racism in this country boils over and simmers for decades and decades. All of the ancestors of white people came out of Africa originally in various waves. Why do people have white skin? As the migrants went north there was little sunlight and skin lightened so vitamin D could be absorbed. It is that simple. Stanford geneticists have proven this so by finding the same DNA from a specific tribe in other continents.

Nat King Cole could not buy a house in a fashionable neighborhood in LA. Willy Mays was turned away in SF. These true stories are not too long ago. The KKK were in Palo Alto. Jackie Robinson was spat on and called every name in the book when he was allowed to play in the major leagues in 1946. Palo Alto and Los Altos had redlining. My fear is that they still do. We have to teach people how we want to be treated. I want the city council, mayor and city manager to organize with OTHERS outside the city to learn how to best improve our police departments training etc. Please research where there are successful training curriculum in other departments to improve our force. No more racial profiling.
And KEEP the independent police auditor.




I





40 people like this
Posted by Don't do anything extra
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 5, 2020 at 1:51 pm

Foothills park has nothing to do with this. And the city has a big budget deficit. It needs to restrict access or incur more costs. Take this off your list.


34 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2020 at 2:15 pm

I second the comment about Foothills Park. It has nothing to do with this.

It is upsetting that not only is this on the list, but it is the first thing mentioned on the list.

Any Palo Alto resident and their guests can enter the Park.


30 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto does not need a black history museum
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 5, 2020 at 2:26 pm

Palo Alto's Police do not need to be put under the rules proposed. They are copied and pasted from big city posts.


PS
Let us be clear: Palo Alto does not need a black history museum (one of the comments).


34 people like this
Posted by Dan
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 5, 2020 at 2:34 pm

I third the comment about Foothills park. It is restricted to Palo Alto residents without regard to race, sex, etc., so putting it first on this list seems off base. It is actually a vestige of the city's desire to not foot the entire bill for purchasing the land and maintaining the park back when the nature preserve was created.


19 people like this
Posted by PA
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 5, 2020 at 5:28 pm

I wonder if anyone can show data that PAPD is systemically racist?

Would love to see that before placing these restrictions.


25 people like this
Posted by Facts Matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2020 at 5:44 pm

Dear Rev Kaloma. You wrote:
>we have systemic issues that disproportionately affect black people and that need to be addressed now

With all due respect, I'm not seeing evidence of this in national statistics on people killed by police (which is the forefront claim of BlackLivesMatter, which I assume is what is prompting this piece). Perhaps local statistics are different?

The facts show that proportional to criminal activity blacks are killed *less frequently* by police than what one may expect:

WSJ 6/2/2020 Web Link:
"African-Americans were about a quarter of those killed by cops last year (235), a ratio that has remained stable since 2015. That share of black victims is less than what the black crime rate would predict, since police shootings are a function of how often officers encounter armed and violent suspects. In 2018, the latest year for which such data have been published, African-Americans made up 53% of known homicide offenders in the U.S. and commit about 60% of robberies, though they are 13% of the population."

This is not to say that there are no bad actors anywhere, but to accuse our Police Departments of *systemic* prejudice is a very serious charge, and can thus be very divisive if not backed up by evidence. For regular citizen activists to try to micro-manage the kinds of maneuvers our policemen can or cannot do in life-and-death situations and split second decision-making could put the policeman’s own life in danger and thus actually lead to resentment on their part.

All policemen require good training. No one is denying there can be room for improvement. But please let’s not be divisive by raising accusations of systemic prejudice. (I hope Police Depts reading this know there are residents who are grateful for what you are doing and who do *not* believe your system is prejudiced. Don't be afraid to respectfully ask for *evidence* of racial bias and to insist on taking crime rates based on race into consideration.)

Police training should not be specific to race. Keep in mind that a police officer is 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male is to be killed by a police officer. (See link above for details.)

And: city residency is not the same as race. Those are separate things. The Foothills Park concern is irrelevant, with all respect. It’s too bad for people *of any race or income or age* who do not live in PA, regarding access to that park. Not defending the policy, just saying that race and residency (or income) are different concepts and should not be conflated when convenient for an agenda.

I’d encourage an evidence-based focus on things that can unite us rather than unsubstantiated accusations that divide us. (Yes, this is a different narrative than what you are hearing out there, and I urge you to consider whether it has merits.)

Peace.

(For those w/out access to the WSJ link above, this is helpful as well: Web Link)


22 people like this
Posted by TimR
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 5, 2020 at 6:29 pm

I also agree with the Foothills Park comment. Use has gone up a lot recently, and twice over the last two weeks I have encountered cyclists on the trails (young kids). And for someone like me who runs there, that's a horrible development (tires wreck the trails). I can only imagine how bad things would get if we had more people up there, and even fewer rangers to enforce the rules. And it's not like non-residents are without other options. There are Open Space Preserves up and down the Peninsula, all of which are very nice, making Foothills nothing special, expect that it's nearby for Palo Alto residents. There is NO shortage of outdoor experiences in the hills. More impact on Foothills Park would not benefit anyone.


4 people like this
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 5, 2020 at 6:41 pm

1) Greer Stone : should run for council you came very close to being seated last time and history proves we might need your voice;
2) Ms Temkin: When Danny McCallister died in 2007, a fairly large number of former Gunn and Cubberley athletes and some Paly types discussed a fund in his name to identify future leaders who remind us of Danny, and award a prize. Having met Carol Smallwood Mullin a Paly grad and mother of a Viking basketball star, there is some hope to reignite this concept: her family foundation does this type of work already; Actually this is an aside but I’m also closer now to Akira Tana who like Danny was once Gunn’s quarterback but also knows a lot about the history of the Japanese here;
3) that somebody here would knee-jerk reject a black history initiative here shows that I am on the right track; I gave a talk on the history of jazz here to PAHA, The content was probably 25% black; add in sports and business figures and we are on our way;
4) eight hours later let me up my bid: I am going to ask Matt Sonsini the CEO of Sobrato to donate 40 acres for a park here dedicated our history of diversity and inclusion. (Matt went to gunn and in fact despite having a famous name grew up in a modest house near Ventura.


7 people like this
Posted by relentlesscactus
a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2020 at 8:02 pm

> I also think Palo Alto could use a Black History Museum, as part of the Palo Alto History Museum.

It would consist of a small, empty room.

> I am going to ask Matt Sonsini the CEO of Sobrato to donate 40 acres for a park here dedicated our history of diversity and inclusion.

I'm sure Matt appreciates all of us knowing that here first. That should go well for your upcoming negotiations. Please, keep us all informed.


19 people like this
Posted by relentlesscactus
a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2020 at 8:23 pm

re: Foothill Park

Those of you who want Foothill Park left out of the discussion don't understand the politics being espoused here. This is a political ideology that anything that is disproportionate by race cannot be continued or is racist and part of white supremacy. If you don't believe me, look up any Youtube video with the keywords "whiteness", "white supremacy", and "critical race theory". Foothill Park, simply by being exclusive to a community perceived as white, is a racist institution. This goes far beyond equality, equal justice, police reform, etc. All of which need much work. Go in with eyes wide open.


17 people like this
Posted by Mike Hunt
a resident of Ventura
on Jun 5, 2020 at 9:04 pm

The best thing about keeping Foothills Park exclusively Palo Alto is keeping out all that Los Altos Hills Riff Raff! I love it when someone with a 10 million dollar house bitches about how they can't get into Foothills Park.


20 people like this
Posted by JR
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 5, 2020 at 9:34 pm

Palo Alto is far more diverse than LAH and other wealthy bedroom towns that surround Foothills Park. Keep Foothills Park for diverse Palo Alto residents, not for wealthy white landowners.


1 person likes this
Posted by relentlesscactus
a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2020 at 10:12 pm

@JR - you didn't watch the youtube video topic; if you want to really understand what's going on, you need to watch. If you had, you would understand, it's just one person of whiteness condemning another person of whiteness with even more privilege; but from the perspective of people of color, under this belief system, it's all part of white supremacy, and Foothill Park is just a symbol of white supremacy in its exclusivity. The reverend didn't "accidentally" list Foothill Park first.


Like this comment
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 6, 2020 at 1:50 am

@relent-
Sobrato has a large philanthropic presence, and in fact Sonsini rose out of the foundation before helping the company as a whole. I spoke to Tim Steele of that company the year they purchased the Fry’s site. My original concept was a football fiend and I tried to reach a former St Francis NFL player there. My ask is more ambitious for sure but a) my contact there is now CEO and b) the BLM tie-in is relevant.
Maybe we can rename Foothill Park sic that’s how I say it for a woman or a person of color.


Like this comment
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 6, 2020 at 2:00 am

Chase Lyman, who incidentally shares a September 4 birthday with Beyoncé, Damon Wayans and Richard Wright (“Native Son” ).
I would recommend honoring former CA poet laureate Al Young.


2 people like this
Posted by relentlesscactus
a resident of another community
on Jun 6, 2020 at 8:11 am

> Maybe we can rename Foothill Park sic that’s how I say it for a woman or a person of color.

That's very funny MW. Rename Foothill for a woman or person of color, while excluding people from East Palo Alto. The optics for Palo Alto would be stellar.


2 people like this
Posted by ALB
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 6, 2020 at 12:15 pm

Correction: apology to the great Willie Mays. In my earlier post I has misspelled his named.


4 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 6, 2020 at 12:48 pm

It's not just about police brutality that needs reforming; it's almost everything in America. The gang rap culture also contributes to violence and craziness due to their bad messages. There are many blacks and Hispanics that I hear speak Ebonics and street talk. Pitbull, the American rapper and singer, speaks Ebonics.
Education, health, and dental care should be free and not capitalistic. Housing should be affordable. Overgenerous city pensions and salaries of each city in America must be reformed to cut out the waste, so city residents and taxpayers don't have to make up the losses of the funds. We should protest peacefully where our money is being wasted on from the city and federal governments. We must make sure hard working people of all races can get ahead in life.
The looters are uneducated and immoral. They should have to help clean up the damage they caused as well as clean all graffiti and litter.


10 people like this
Posted by Ray
a resident of Monroe Park
on Jun 6, 2020 at 12:59 pm

Agree with everything except Foothills Park. Foothills Park has nothing to do with this.


9 people like this
Posted by Kasha
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 6, 2020 at 1:48 pm

Agree with Foothils park comments. Foothills park has nothing to do with this. Also another great comment about looters. Make them clean up all the damage they made. Who is suppose to do that? I doubt people want to spend their tax money on cleaning after them instead of putting those money in education or something good.


16 people like this
Posted by Being A Good Citizen Counts!
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 6, 2020 at 2:55 pm

Have you noticed that the Chinese rarely have confrontational issues with the police outside of urban gang altercations?

This is because we respect authority and do not antagonize law enforcement or give them reason to force the issue.

Our parents stress obedience almost to the obsequiousness. Perhaps others should consider doing the same.


Like this comment
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 6, 2020 at 3:04 pm

I would open the park but charge non-residents a higher fee.
Non-residents and people of color get a lot of use out of our parks that’s always been true.
La Doris Cordell would probably not want her name on a park that was not open to non-residents.
But the nature of the environment up there does merit restrictions.
Peninsula open space district represented by Palo altan Karen Holman is a good place for everyone to visit.
But more to the point it’s very inspiring to see 10,000 people gather at City Hall today for black lives matter.


7 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 6, 2020 at 3:46 pm

@Being a Good Citizen, do you think the Chinese government's reaction to the Tiananmen Square protests is something to which the US should aspire? I don't.

Respect for authority is something to be earned and when "authority" oversteps its bounds, kills people, violates their rights. steals from them for political gain or sheer vindictiveness like the SALT taxes imposed on the "rich Blue" states, it's not worthy of respect.


13 people like this
Posted by Creative writing class for MV | MV brings free-flow association to a fine art.
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 6, 2020 at 5:36 pm

I do not understand why this paper's online comments are 30% by the same author, article after article. Is this a creative writing class? MV brings free-flow association to a fine art. I find his views and self expression to be more and more annoying as he seems to think we need to read (take this page) 7 (seven) reactions.


8 people like this
Posted by Creative writing class for MW | MW brings free-flow association to a fine art.
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 6, 2020 at 5:42 pm

I do not understand why this paper's online comments are 30% by the same author, article after article. Is this a creative writing class? MW brings free-flow association to a fine art. I find his views and self expression to be more and more annoying as he seems to think we need to read (take this page) 7 (seven) reactions.


4 people like this
Posted by Laura Bajuk
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jun 6, 2020 at 6:42 pm

The conversation around racism often involves a reference to history. There are so many stories about our community over time which are unknown, or only partly remembered. Pastor Smith and members of his congregation are working with the Palo Alto Museum to bring the stories of the Black experience forward in the new Palo Alto Museum. A distinct part of the community, yes, but also so like other stories here... because this town has attracted the best and brightest since its start, which should be celebrated and understood.


7 people like this
Posted by Evergeen Mike
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 6, 2020 at 7:48 pm

Foothills Park is at the top of the list? Why? This is a financing issue, not a policing issue. While I may have mixed feelings about Foothill Park being resident only, my tax dollars go to maintain it. Figure out a reasonable way to share the expense with other cities, or charge residents of other cities for access. But let's not muddy important issues of police training, responsibility, and management with a relatively minor (albeit longstanding) tiff about park funding. There are plenty of parks in the area.


4 people like this
Posted by Re Foothills Park, Shame On Palo Alto
a resident of another community
on Jun 6, 2020 at 9:58 pm

Those who think residential requirements at Foothill Park have nothing to do with this can't recognize it's one of Palo Alto's most racist rules, by impact, not by intention.

Foothills Park has signs that say residents only, and no dogs. To any person of color in EPA who sees those signs, it basically reads keep those on the otherwise of the 101 out. You literally don't even need this hypothetical, a respected leader in the Black community says the rules are offensive to him, and privileged Palo Alto residents brush it aside. Shame on you Palo Alto.

Protesting injustice far way may make you feel better, but what does it mean if you don't change policies in your own town?


2 people like this
Posted by Dog Owner
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 6, 2020 at 11:26 pm

@Re Foothills Park, Shame On Palo Alto

[Portion removed.] There are no signs saying "no dogs" because, like with Arastradero and Baylands, dogs are allowed during the week at Foothills Park.


8 people like this
Posted by Bruce Reyes-Chow
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 7, 2020 at 12:03 am

I full heartedly agree and support the thoughts as put forward by my colleague, Pastor Smith.

In fact, as some communities are exploring, I would push even further to look at reallocating funding to programs that would replace some of the community engagement roles that the police currently. Until then, #8cantwait is the least we can do to repair relationships and avoid future oppressive interactions.

I am new the PA, arriving here about a year ago from San Francisco, and while there is much to love and appreciate about my new town, like any community, there are ways in which hospitality and welcome are not lived well (Foothills in a perfect example). Like any community, there is work today. Like any community there is history that must be lamented. Like any community changes must be made in order to grow into a better version of itself.

Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow
Pastor, First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto


3 people like this
Posted by Alvin
a resident of Professorville
on Jun 7, 2020 at 1:53 am

[Post removed.]


10 people like this
Posted by Alvin
a resident of Professorville
on Jun 7, 2020 at 3:04 am

Two more comments to my original post.

Rev. Smith refers to "protests against the injustices" without once mentioning the rioting, looting, assaults, and murders that swept across the country in almost every major city and many smaller communities. No mention of the black Oakland Federal Officer (Patrick Underwood), former St. Louis Captain (David Dorn), both murdered by the rioting mobs?

[Portion removed.]

Regarding the protesters - who were in fact peaceful in Palo Alto - did not any of these people ever consider protesting the greatest government human rights violation since the internment of Japanese during WWII? I'm talking about the business lockdowns and Shelter-in-place orders in effect since March.

[Portion removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by Sign at Foothill Park
a resident of another community
on Jun 7, 2020 at 6:36 am

Sign at Foothill Park
Web Link
Be better Palo Alto than this.


4 people like this
Posted by Walter McMillan
a resident of Greene Middle School
on Jun 7, 2020 at 8:02 am

We said -> black lives matter
NEVER said -> only black lives matter
We know -> All lives matter
We just need YOUR HELP with #blacklivesmatter because BLACK LIVES are in DANGER.

Thank You


10 people like this
Posted by Evergeen Mike
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 7, 2020 at 8:14 am

Would someone explain to me why resident-only Foothill Park is an affront to people of color from EPA? Foothill Park is almost 10 miles from EPA. The closer towns are Los Altos Hills, Los Altos, Menlo Park, Stanford, Mountain View, Portola Valley, and maybe some others. The signs at Foothill Park aren't directed at people from the other side of 101; they keep out any non-resident, whether they live in Ravenswood or Loyola.


1 person likes this
Posted by Racism
a resident of another community
on Jun 7, 2020 at 8:49 am

When a person of color tells you something feels racists (focusing on impact not intent), and people respond by saying it’s not racists, that’s literally a form of racism in taking away someone’s felt experience. As long as the demographics of this city correlate with race (and similar community facilities are not available in nearby community of color), Palo Alto’s resident only signs reek of racism.


5 people like this
Posted by Susan Phinney Silver
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 7, 2020 at 10:54 am

We totally support these important and common sense measures. Thank you so much Reverend Smith for this. I hope that our City Council will enact these.
Susan (Member of First Pres Palo Alto)


6 people like this
Posted by Alvin
a resident of Professorville
on Jun 7, 2020 at 10:59 am

Thanks for censoring my comments (sarcasm). Palo Alto Online not interested in a honest debate, only allowing comments that fit the narrative.

The middle is seeing through all of this. Covid false alarm, now the rioting. Get ready for another four years of Trump.


5 people like this
Posted by Bret
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2020 at 11:27 am

I fully agree with Rev. Smith's points here. I am so grateful that we have a voice like his in our community. I think that many of the comments here betray a lack of understanding of what people of color experience in our local communities as well as across the country. Palo Alto in particular needs to make space perspectives outside of Palo Alto's typically insulated and wealthy voices. Thank you Rev. Kaloma A. Smith!


7 people like this
Posted by Mary Alice Thornton
a resident of Professorville
on Jun 7, 2020 at 11:48 am

That you, Kaloma! Let's start with city hiring practices, police hiring, training, policies. #8can'twait is needed now. Please, City Council, now is the time for structural change in Palo Alto.

Mary Alice Thornton
First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto


7 people like this
Posted by Dave Thornton
a resident of Professorville
on Jun 7, 2020 at 12:21 pm

I join others in supporting Kaloma's recommendations as an important and critical beginning point toward real change. This is the time to act, not just talk. A time for genuine leadership in our self-described "progressive" city.

Dave Thornton
First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto


18 people like this
Posted by Millenial pastor
a resident of Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Jun 7, 2020 at 12:25 pm


Confuscating Black Lives Matter and Foothill Park only diverts the conversation to say if you don’t agree with my demands then you are racist.

Is this the message this pastor is sending?
Is this pastor trying to create a divide in Palo Alto?


5 people like this
Posted by Mohan S Iyer
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jun 7, 2020 at 12:43 pm

Thank you, Rev Kaloma, for showing us a clear and concrete way to respond locally. I’m not a PA resident (MP), but attend church at First Pres Palo Alto. I found your calls to action illuminating. Even here, we can no longer rest on our laurels and think we are doing OK because we are decent people who do decent things. That’s clearly no longer enough — to just go about thinking I am not racist; I need to actively counter racism in overt and covert forms and be an anti-racist.


3 people like this
Posted by Martha Maris
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 7, 2020 at 1:29 pm

While I live in Mountain View now, I lived in Palo Alto years ago and still attend church at the First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto. I care very much about this community and agree with Pastor Smith that we need to advocate for real and significant systemic change in Palo Alto. Now is the time to act .


3 people like this
Posted by The Outsider
a resident of Portola Valley
on Jun 7, 2020 at 1:37 pm

Remember it's "Innocent before proven guilty." There is due process.
Herd mentality is what's happening in law enforcement, workplaces, religion, and other groups and problematic. People who are in a group tend to conform to the group's thinking and actions even if they are unethical. Sometimes it's because of fear of not belonging, fear of retaliation and termination. I worked in places where the superiors were evil and mistreated the group, but no one spoke out and would go along with everything. I was brave and spoke out, but I faced retaliation and possible termination from the superiors and HR. The rest of the group did not support me like they should. So I totally understand the other three police officers' actions while their superior trainer had his knee on George Floyd. We should not judge all of them the same until the facts are out.
Remember it's "Innocent before proven guilty." There is due process.


Like this comment
Posted by I'm Alvin too!
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 7, 2020 at 2:13 pm

[Post removed.]


18 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 7, 2020 at 2:20 pm

I do not justify what happened to Mr. Floyd and wished he was still alive, but I also do not make him to be an angel, model citizen, or hero in his lifetime either.
After several arrests for theft and drug possession, in 2007, Floyd was charged with armed robbery in a home invasion, which he "forced his way inside the residence, placed a pistol against the complainant’s abdomen, and forced her into the living room area of the residence.
People are exploiting his death, calling him a gentle giant, and making profit from it. I hope his family will take some of their Gofundme profit and give back to their community after the destruction and looting or maybe start a foundation to help others.


Like this comment
Posted by Educate me!
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 7, 2020 at 2:32 pm

@Alvin, since you're a professor, at least that's what I assume since you are from professorville, can you educate me why the shelter in place is the greatest human rights violation since the internment of the Japanese in WW2?
Afaik we weren't forced to be housed in "tar paper-covered barracks of simple frame construction without plumbing or cooking facilities of any kind". Like the Japanese were at that time? I really need to know since if you educate me I will protest that fact with my Smith and Wesson that they can only pry from my "cold dead hands"


2 people like this
Posted by KPI
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jun 7, 2020 at 2:51 pm

Thank you to Rev. Kaloma Smith for this generous, thoughtful, and to-the-point essay. For anyone who is tempted to think that racism is not a real issue in Palo Alto: it may be illuminating to have a conversation with some black residents about whether they have ever been inappropriately treated or stopped while walking (or even driving) through Palo Alto’s tree-lined streets. When I have done this, I have discovered to my dismay that racial profiling is alive and well, even here. And the issue of exclusive resident access to city facilities like Foothills Park is indeed a complicated one—but I believe that we can’t honestly address it without simultaneously talking about the redlining and other historical practices that helped to create the segregated neighborhoods and cities in which we now find ourselves.

I now live in a neighboring city but have lived in or around Palo Alto for most of my life, and I attend church in Palo Alto (FPCPA). We on the south Peninsula like to think that we are a thoroughly progressive and well-integrated community—but the truth is that we still have a long way to go. The good news is that we can begin that work, now. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Rev. Smith and others who graciously invite us, over and over, to be our better selves.


3 people like this
Posted by Peace
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 7, 2020 at 3:25 pm

Blacks and all races must also change their cultures if they want more respect and do more to emphasize education, etiquette, and kindness.
The gang rap culture's lyrics and music videos are obscene, bad, and violent. Some say all police officers are bad, but that's the same as someone saying all blacks are bad. We must not generalize.
I hear loud rap music booming from cars, windows shaking, and my heart is beating.
Example: Kanye West lyrics to some of his songs are obscene and now he's moved on to the Christian religion, Jesus Christ, and teaming up with Joel Osteen, the pastor who scams people to donate money to his lavish lifestyle. Tyler Perry sold his private jet to pastor Kenneth Copeland who also scams people in the name of Christ. Kanye West has his own clothing line of tshirts and clothing with holes and charges big bucks for them. Cultures must be more respectful and send the right messages, so we can live together in peace.


10 people like this
Posted by The Usual
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 7, 2020 at 4:15 pm

Blacks are slaughtering each other, killing police officers at rates 18 times higher than police officers kill unarmed blacks, and voting the police out of their communities — run by black mayors and chiefs of police — so that things are guaranteed to get worse....

Somehow, this is all your fault, asians and whites.. No one can ever explain why, but they seem quite certain.


2 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2020 at 5:32 pm

Posted by The Usual, a resident of Midtown

>> Blacks are slaughtering each other, killing police officers at rates 18 times higher than police officers kill unarmed blacks,

Interesting statistic. Would you mind posting a link for the source?


2 people like this
Posted by Cynthia
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 7, 2020 at 5:41 pm

I support the recommendations in Police Reform, Practices, and Diversity in leadership and hiring. Our experiences in Palo Alto have been generally positive except when my husband and his brother (who are persons of color) were profiled one evening when they were driving downtown and they were stopped by police for no reason. Probably would not have happened had they been white?! Fortunately, that was the end of that and there was no escalation.


2 people like this
Posted by Joanna
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 7, 2020 at 5:58 pm

Second to this entire article.

One thing I would add to making diverse voices represented in leadership is about the citizen's advisory board.

The Chief created a citizen's advisory board last year, and asked people to join. However, there was no specific emphasis on reaching out to underrepresented groups in our community, and I would venture to guess that the racial composition of that board isn't very diverse. Although, he did of course take the time to ask Mark Zuckerberg to join, as if he needed any more influence on this city's daily functioning that he already has....

Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 7, 2020 at 7:04 pm

I'm going to amend my previous comment, and change my long-held stance on this issue: yes, make Foothills Park free (and also rename it!!!).
We could create a Friends of The Park group to raise additional funds to increase the maintenance on the park that having it open to all comers would create. Look at Lytton Plaza - also a park here -- as precedent -- there's a plaque on the wall outside the pizza parlor that has the names of about 40 people who put up half the cash to have the Plaza renovated in 2008-2009 - I'm sort of being ironic or shrewd in that racism is what prompted all that work. I'm offering them a do-over.
I think people should start packing the Parks Commission meetings in Palo Alto to work on this plank of Rev Kaloma's agenda. Or write to commisoners directly, maybe targeting as potential allies LaMere because he coaches Paly athletes or Mott because he's hip.
(I also have a plank or plan about naming hoops in our parks after famous local players: Lin, Loscutoff, Lockhart, Harbaugh, Wyden).
Thirty hours later, I'm still pretty charged up about yesterday's rally. I came late and was so far away that I could barely hear the speakers. But that's a good thing.


Like this comment
Posted by @Mark Weiss
a resident of another community
on Jun 7, 2020 at 8:20 pm

You inspire me! Thank you for listening, thinking, and doing what you do.


13 people like this
Posted by How rude! Enough!
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Jun 7, 2020 at 8:44 pm

@markw get your own blog. 9 comments on this article is simply rude.


4 people like this
Posted by Alvin
a resident of Professorville
on Jun 7, 2020 at 8:54 pm

@anon. "Interesting statistic. Would you mind posting a link for the source?"

Heather MacDonald referenced the statistic posted above by the Usual ("Blacks...killing police officers at rates 18 times higher than police officers kill unarmed blacks") on the Op-ed Page of the WSJ on Tuesday, June 2nd, titled “The Myth of Systemic Police Racism.” You can look it up.


3 people like this
Posted by Alvin
a resident of Professorville
on Jun 8, 2020 at 12:53 am

@I'm Alvin Too. Nice moniker. I never said I supported Trump - but trust me, the flyover states feel differently than us liberal coastal elites - and the Clorox ingestion idea is absurd I agree. The Twitter issue is more complicated and depends on whether you think platform providers who inject themselves into others' tweets should still be immune from suit.

Ugly? No comment.

@Educate Me. If you think that quarantining the healthy, restricting freedom of movement, prohibiting people from earning a living to feed their families and stave off starvation are not gross human rights violations (40 million forcibly unemployed since mid-March), not to mention denying necessary medical treatments to everyone not named Covid, then I don't know what to tell you.

I said the forced lock downs and distancing were worst SINCE Internment, which implies that Internment of the Japanese was even more massive human rights abuse, atrocity and permanent stain on this country...though the long term impact of years of lost lives, economic devastation and destroyed livelihoods and pain, due to the lock downs, will exceed that of Internment. And sadly, we are nowhere close to bottoming out of the lock downs.


1 person likes this
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 8, 2020 at 6:18 am

[Post removed.]


3 people like this
Posted by Evergeen Mike
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 8, 2020 at 11:51 am

Regarding the comment by "Resident" that George Floyd was not an angel or hero. You are right; he was neither. What he is is a martyr, killed as many others have been at the hands of the police, who are charged with protecting us.

We do not have two sets of laws, one for the angels among us and another set of much harsher laws for those who do not meet these high standards. Under our system of government, called innocent until proven guilty, each person is supposed to be treated the same, something called equal justice for all. These principles are given lip service, rather than being followed.

When there is a killing or injury of a person at the hands of the police, I see two consistent responses: First there are reports about the person's history of supposed crimes or misdeeds. This defames and denigrates the victim and suggest that these offenses were related to or justify the police brutality. The second thing which I notice is that police issue a report which is substantially inaccurate, correcting it only when forced by contradictory video and never corrected if no video exists.

Whatever Floyd did in the past (and in this case, long past) is irrelevant. The officer who pressed his knee into his neck until he died, and kept it there for two minutes after he stopped breathing, knew nothing about his past offenses. Even if he had known, this is no justification for the officer's actions.

I know little about Floyd or any of the many other martyrs to police brutality. The efforts to shift the discussion from police actions to the victim is reprehensible.


3 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 8, 2020 at 12:31 pm

Watch John Oliver's excellent piece on the need for police reform and the concept of "qualified immunity" which is why police continue to get away with brutality and immunity.
Web Link


5 people like this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 8, 2020 at 1:31 pm

Hilarious. We have residents in other communities telling us that Palo Alto needs reforming.

"Reform" your community first.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2020 at 1:54 pm

Posted by Alvin, a resident of Professorville

>> You can look it up.

I can't. It is behind the WSJ paywall. But, *you* could follow the reference and post the source where the data is.


6 people like this
Posted by Rev. Geoff Browning
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 8, 2020 at 7:07 pm

I agree with Pastor Kaloma and urge the City Council to adopt and implement all eight of these recommendations as soon as possible. De-escalation is particularly important not only as a policy but in training.

For all of these policies, it is important that promotions be conditional on how well each officer follows and accomplishes these criteria in the community.


1 person likes this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 9, 2020 at 4:35 am

For an article about race relations it is surprising to me that the first issue raised
of importance in Foothill Park admissions policy. Just because East Palo Alto has
the same same name as Palo Alto. Not the same cities, not even in the same county.
Seems like a bad naming choice. Foothills Park is not really doing that great and
putting a lot more people back there is not a sensible policy.

As far as choke holds, I guess that is the best that can be done, but that is one of the
solutions that has been tried before and does not seem to have worked.

It is not the choke hold, it is one one using the choke hold, it is how long and how hard
those choke holds are kept on for and the state of the victim.

Let's also acknowledge that in some cases the criminals being stopped contribute to
the confusion and escalation of violence. When officers are doing their jobs it is not
helpful for crowds to be yelling at them. When they get yelled out like that the first
response to is do the opposite of what is being yelled out,

The people in these crowds are always yelling, they cannot breath, or he is choking, whether
that is true or not. It is the nature of these crowds. I don't think we are going to see any
changes in human nature anytime soon.

It might be more helpful to make a rule that when one officer is working to subdue a
suspect that other officers need to make sure he has back up and help him to avoid him
from having to use too much force.

Another suggestion is to psycho profile recruits before they go into the force and not
after there is already some issue like this,


3 people like this
Posted by Peace Out
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 9, 2020 at 6:47 am

Evergreen Mike missed the point of the Resident's message and misconstrued it as does social media and other news outlets. The facts is what matters.
To chokehold anyone is wrong. But the media needs to report Mr. Floyd to be a black man who died from excessive force of the police and call out for police policy reform.
There is no need to say anymore about Mr. Floyd in order to sensationalize the news. Fake news is not good and causes more harm than good.


Like this comment
Posted by Evergeen Mike
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 9, 2020 at 9:01 am

Misconstrue what? @Resident mentioned Floyd's arrest record and his family's GoFundMe, not the chokehold which lead to his death. What was the point that I missed?


2 people like this
Posted by Lisa Altieri
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 11, 2020 at 8:09 am

As a Palo Alto resident for 20 years, it is upsetting to hear some of the comments posted here. If you don't understand why there is a call to open Foothill Park or any of the other calls to action in Rev. Smith's letter, please take time to read and learn and understand before you comment. Take this moment to learn about what Black people in America have experienced and imagine what it would be like to experience this. There is sound, solid research backing all of the reforms and actions called for in Rev. Smith's letter. Thank you Rev. Smith for your courage and leadership. I am in support. Resources: Web Link, Web Link, Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by Evergeen Mike
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 11, 2020 at 9:24 am

Lisa -- Your links point to websites about police reform. What is the relationship between police reform and Foothill Park?


4 people like this
Posted by REAL Palo Alto History
a resident of another community
on Jun 11, 2020 at 9:35 am

quote: "Ventura is a historically black neighborhood in Palo Alto...I also think Palo Alto could use a Black History Museum,"

^^^ Ventura WAS a predominantly African-American neighborhood due to the affordability of its homes during the late 1940s & 1950s and because of the quasi-segregationist practice & mentality of 'white' Palo Alto during that timeframe.

South Palo Alto (south of Page Mill Road) was home to many minorities including African-Americans, Japanese-Americans, Hispanics and Filipino residents as most were of the working class.

I grew up in the California Avenue area during the late 1950s through early 1960s.
Neighborhoods such as Evergreen and Southgate were 100% white and the old Mayfield School on El Camino Real was about the only elementary school in Palo Alto with a significant mixture of white and minority enrollment. For those students who relied on PAUSD buses to get to school, the Evergreen/Southgate buses were 100% white while the Ventura buses were roughly 95% minority. Students who lived in nearby College Terrace (100% white) and parts of South Palo Alto between Page Mill Road and Olive Street usually walked to school.

Terman Junior High School and Gunn High School absorbed the south of Page Mill Road ethnic demographic while the white students residing in Southgate went to Paly.

A black history museum in Palo Alto primarily based on a few noteworthy musicians passing through town is overkill and unnecessary as countless musicians of many different ethnicities have performed either in Palo Alto or at Stanford University.

If anything, a portion of the Palo Alto Museum devoted the segregationist history of Palo Alto would be far more enlightening and educational as it would also illustrate the variety of subservient jobs (i.e. garbage men, gardeners, domestic help, dry cleaners etc.) minorities often took in order to feed, clothe, and house their families.

The white history of Palo Alto can easily be devoted to the various Palo Alto neighborhoods NORTH of California Avenue along with its predominantly all white city councils and school boards.

Palo Alto is no different than any other predominantly white American city except for its emerging 40% Asian population (from mainland China) which is relatively recent.


3 people like this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 11, 2020 at 2:36 pm

"(its emerging 40% Asian population (from mainland China)"

Uh, no. Where did this random, incorrect statistic come from?


2 people like this
Posted by Lisa Altieri
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 12, 2020 at 8:47 am

Mike, the best person to ask would be Rev. Smith and I defer to his reply, or the reply of any other black person in our community. The third link I posted is from the Obama Foundation which includes general education resources Web Link. I am not an expert, but I would recommend reading any resource that educates about racism and specifically the institutional racism and experience for Black people in the U.S. In particular, I would recommend the Color of Law by Richard Rothstein about redlining and the devastating impacts to Black communities. Black people have been institutionally restricted from home ownership and many other resources and opportunities available to white people. To have a park that is restricted, right near by is just another example of this. The right thing to do is open the part and welcome our neighbors.


4 people like this
Posted by REAL Palo Alto History
a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2020 at 12:48 pm

> Uh, no. Where did this random, incorrect statistic come from?
@Me2
Palo Alto Demographics
According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of Palo Alto was:
White: 59.68%
Asian: 32.61%
Two or more races: 4.60%
Black or African American: 1.55%
Other race: 1.07%
Native American: 0.31%
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.19%

^ Note the above figures as I said
'emerging' Asian population in Palo Alto. 40% is not a far cry from 32% given recent and ongoing PA home sales to our newly arrived residents from abroad.

In time, they will have a larger noteworthy and collective voice/impact on all PACC and PAUSD decisions.

And rightfully so as many will be contributing to the exhorbitant residential property taxes based on the appraised values of their $5M+ Palo Alto homes.

Palo Altans living and clinging to the past are fooling themselves.


7 people like this
Posted by Evergeen Mike
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 12, 2020 at 1:07 pm

Lisa -- Your assumption is that I am ignorant about racism and need remedial education. You assert is that this will allow me to understand a position which you advocate, but you are unable to articulate or provide even the slightest justification.

I can assure you that your assumptions are incorrect. I have a reasonable understanding about the history of race relations. Your arrogant assertion is that you know better, that I don't, even if all you can do is echo (suitably outraged) someone else's opinion.

There's no relationship between Foothill Park and home ownership. Opening the park will have zero affect on home ownership by Blacks in Palo Alto or anywhere else.

There's no relationshp between Foothill Park and police brutality. Opening the park will not change police policy.

There's no relationship between Foothill Park and education or opportunities for African-Americans. Opening the park will not change funding for schools in East Palo Alto or address Black unemployment.

I've always heard the slogan "Keep your eyes on the prize". The issue of Foothill Park is a distraction.


6 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 14, 2020 at 2:10 am

Floyd was NOT a martyr; he was a VICTIM of excessive unjustified police force. Definition of martyr - one who suffers persecution and death for advocating, renouncing, refusing to renounce, or refusing to advocate a religious belief or cause as demanded by an external party.



4 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 16, 2020 at 8:30 am

Rev. Smith didn't indicate that the list is prioritized in any particular order and I kinda doubt he thinks opening Foothills Park is more important than training, diversity, and adopting all 8 of the #8cantwait policies. Opening the park would be more symbolic than practical and I think right now the focus needs to be on those immediate changes that can make a practical difference.

I'm not too sure we will get where we need to go b/c Palo Alto has a strange way of prioritizing things. Addressing Systemic Racism was Item 10 of 10 on CC's agenda last night. To be fair, Items 1 - 5 were on the Consent Calendar. Councilmember Kou tried to get Item 10 moved up on the list so that it could be heard earlier, but to no avail. More important to the majority on CC: weed abatement, CDBG, SB743 (vehicle miles traveled v level of service) and the Cubberley lease. The discussion of Item 10 did not begin until after 10:30. I doubt residents endorse that organization of priorities.

If our City Manager and Mayor want addressing systemic racism to get the priority attention it requires they must at least give the subject priority placement on the agenda.


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Downtown North

on Jun 22, 2020 at 9:08 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


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