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Facing a lawsuit, Palo Alto looks to permanently expand Foothills Park access

Original post made on Oct 22, 2020

Spurred by a lawsuit from a coalition that includes the ACLU and the NAACP, Palo Alto is preparing to permanently abolish a long-standing policy of limiting Foothills Park access to residents and their guests.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, October 22, 2020, 5:38 PM

Comments (109)

62 people like this
Posted by Roland Luo
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 22, 2020 at 7:09 pm

Roland Luo is a registered user.

In order to access Foothill Park checking DL and paying non-resident entrance fee should still be required.
This is to protect those in the park and pay for park ranger protection and park maintenance. Palo Alto residents don't need to pay since we already pay taxes since day one to purchase and maintain such a wonderful place.


34 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 22, 2020 at 7:55 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

On our Community Calendar there is an entry for Hidden Villa in Los Altos Hills. They are using a reservation system for entry with a $10.00 fee. That looks like a reasonable approach. The reservation system limits the number of people in the park.


23 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 22, 2020 at 9:10 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

@Roland Luo "...paying non-resident entrance fee should still be required. ... Palo Alto residents don't need to pay since we already pay taxes since day one to purchase and maintain such a wonderful place."

Correction: From the staff report page 4 lines 1-2 (Web Link): "could provide a resident discount not exceeding 25% of the non-resident fee."

If no charge for residents, non-residents can enter for free. If non-residents were to be charged a fee of $6, residents would have to be charged at least $4.50.

The proposed settlement also forbids giving Palo Alto residents preferential access except in the rentals of the Oak Grove Group Picnic Area and Towle Campground (pg 3, next-to-last paragraph).

--

@Resident 1-Adobe Meadows: My reading of the Staff report is that reservations are not allowed except as above. Otherwise, it is strictly first-come.
The limit on people in the park is currently 1000. The proposed settlement would allow the City to adjust this number.


12 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 22, 2020 at 9:23 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

People throughout this process continually argued that Los Altos Hills People would flood the FHP. It is interesting that they have a park and a system. Given the covid restrictions it is a good idea. Yes - we can take an idea from some other city. It is a good idea. FHP is not in the center of the city but in a very fragile area relative to fire. This is a great way to monitor who is in the park at any time.


52 people like this
Posted by jc
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 22, 2020 at 11:37 pm

jc is a registered user.

Pretty annoyed that, as described, residents don't even get priority reserving the picnic tables on weekends and holidays when there is high demand. My hikes are usually impromptu, often depending on the weather at that particular moment. I wonder if residents can no longer visit for impromptu hikes and picnics and instead can only book and pay in advance for a time slot during weekday office hours, will there be a big drop off in residents using the park? And if it is raining, extra smokey, or a heatwave, how easy will it be to get a refund? Will the inconvenience and extra planning required to book in advance impact support for the not insignificant budget needed to keep the park open to the public?

Perhaps that young Los Altos Hills neighbor who has spent so much time and energy publicising and lobbying so hard to have access to the park will lobby her city to buy the park and pay for its maintenance.


92 people like this
Posted by richard c brand
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 23, 2020 at 12:10 am

richard c brand is a registered user.

PA Council members:
Go walk up to the back of the chambers and look for Kirke Comstock. That is my Brother in law who served for several years on the Council including having his house bombed while serving as Mayor and was the lead who saved this property in the Foothills from being developed into multi acre housing.
Kirke learned of the owners of the wild property, the Lee family who were considering offers from developers to sell off and have it developed into single family housing, in this pristine property in the foothills. Kirke reached out to SC County but they were not willing to provide the needed financial support needed to upgrade and develop the mostly wild property into a park. Too far away from San Jose which has the majority of the County voters.
So Kirke, committed to saving this pristine Foothill property, decided to raise the necessary funds in the only way he could, with a bond measure backed by the city.
To get that passed by the Palo Alto voters, it had to restrict access to the Park as Santa Clara County would still not provide sufficient funding to support unlimited public use of the property and services needed to support the infrastructure need to support county-wide public access. But the county renegaded.
So why is our council including present member and close friend of Comstock Liz Kniss, not standing up to support Kirke's and his fellow council members vision?
Please for the full story.
Now they along with the NAACP with no research into history, are





42 people like this
Posted by Andrew Boone
a resident of another community
on Oct 23, 2020 at 7:26 am

Andrew Boone is a registered user.

Kudos to Adrian Fine and Allison Cormack for pushing the City Council to abolish another one of its many racist policies. Sad that it took a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to do so. When both the ACLU and NAACP are suing you, that should be a wake-up call that your racism has gotten out of hand. Especially offensive is Lydia Kou’s idea that we should vote on civil rights, and only restore Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly IF a majority of residents agree. Vote Kou off the council instead.


40 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 23, 2020 at 9:24 am

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

>"People throughout this process continually argued that Los Altos Hills People would flood the FHP."

>"When both the ACLU and NAACP are suing you, that should be a wake-up call that your racism has gotten out of hand."

^ Is this Foothills Park debacle over (1) open access for wealthy, mostly white upper middle class residents from LAH, or (2) open access for poorer people of color seeking an alternative outdoor experience?

The class struggle is officially over.


8 people like this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 23, 2020 at 10:18 am

Me 2 is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


22 people like this
Posted by Riley2
a resident of Menlo Park
on Oct 23, 2020 at 10:25 am

Riley2 is a registered user.

I guess I don’t understand the argument from some Palo Altans that use of the park should be restricted to city residents because their taxes support it. How is Foothill different from other municipal parks, like Bedwell-Bayfront in Menlo Park, which are open to the public?


51 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 23, 2020 at 10:35 am

Anonymous is a registered user.

During the last 20 years the number of annual visitors to Foothills Nature Preserve has been consistently about 152,000.   This usage averaged out to 416 people PER DAY.  If Palo Alto now allows 1000 people daily (250% more) to access this open space IT WILL BE RUINED (aka "heavily impacted").

As Palo Alto moves to open this precious open space to the public they need to make the daily maximum number of visitors something reasonable. Personally, I think 420 would be a reasonable number.  

Palo Alto, as a community, has preserved this precious native habitat for over 60 years. I sure hope that it does not allow it to be loved to death, over used, heavily impacted at this important turning point in their tenure and stewardship.


66 people like this
Posted by Barron Parker Too
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 23, 2020 at 11:25 am

Barron Parker Too is a registered user.

This is a perfect example of the Tragedy of the Commons. Palo Altans -- get your hikes in while you can, because our park is going south.

Opening the park to everyone will adversely impact those of us who often go up for a hike, because there will be a hefty fee and you may find it at capacity (1000 !!) and closed, And the large number of visitors will degrade the environment, to an extent that we do not even know.

Why the rush? The reasonable action is to approach this scientifically: estimate the number of people and their impact. The only fair approach is to put it on a ballot, once the environmental impact is understood, so that we can make an informed decision. Why would we allow the ACLU to stampede us into a foolish and ignorant action based on social justice nonsense -- calling the policy "racist"?

Let's stop and take a breath. Go up to the park. Imagine it filled with the hordes of visitors we find in our other local mountain parks. And let the City Council know your opinion.


39 people like this
Posted by Whatever
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 23, 2020 at 11:34 am

Whatever is a registered user.

Liberals= all feelings, touchy feely until there is a shooting up there or out of control parties by out of town people.

Then the police will be called and people will complain about police being to tough etc..you cannot make this stuff up.




102 people like this
Posted by cmarg
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 23, 2020 at 11:34 am

cmarg is a registered user.

So tired of people using the racist card. Please let's focus on facts and not throw in what ever the latest buzz is today. Please let the people of Palo Alto vote and help decide on a way to open it to others (that pay given we pay with our taxes). If it needs to be open to everyone, it should become a national park versus a city park. Please look at the facts of why it has been a Palo Alto only park. It has nothing to do with racism. It is about funding!


32 people like this
Posted by Jim Colton
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 23, 2020 at 11:40 am

Jim Colton is a registered user.

Andrew,

What has free speech got to do with any of this?


18 people like this
Posted by Whatever
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 23, 2020 at 11:41 am

Whatever is a registered user.

Just like affordable housing push by all the libs: all for affordable housing just not in my neighborhood or on my street!

Like Pelosi and the others as they advocate for public housing behind their gated houses/mansions.


76 people like this
Posted by rita vrhel
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 23, 2020 at 11:43 am

rita vrhel is a registered user.

What happened to the Democratic process called the City Council meeting which was held to discuss Foothills Park aka Preserve? A plan was devised and voted upon. It was a step by step process to evaluate opening the Preserve under a "revenue neutral" plan and then a vote in 2020.

But wait!!! that was not good enough.. A "lawsuit" was filed and the City folded. Will be interesting to see "all" the terms the City is agreeing to.

First the Hotel President and now Foothill Preserve. Wonder what the next "I did not get my way so I will sue" lawsuit will be?

I personally do not have an issue with the Preserve being opened to non-residents; it already was M-F. But I have a huge problem with how it is being done. I hope the settlement terms will allow for PA to take steps to preserve the Preserve. Referendum anyone?


70 people like this
Posted by Council rolled over
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 23, 2020 at 11:47 am

Council rolled over is a registered user.

I am sad to hear the council agreed to such a bad deal. At very least, residents should not be charged a fee and non residents should or else limit non-residents, e.g. to 100 per day. They also should have set the daily limit much lower such as 250 or 500 total. A thousand visitors a day would ruin the park. In addition, they should ban dogs and playing music.


82 people like this
Posted by m h park
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 23, 2020 at 11:55 am

m h park is a registered user.

Foothill is a NATURE PRESERVE not just a picnic place or hiking trail. Palo Alto owns this land and has NO OBLIGATION to share it with anyone. I have a nice backyard. Does that mean I should share it with my neighbors? Opening up the park will necessitate extra maintenance that Palo Alto will have to pay. I see no reason to have to share a park just because it is there. We own it and it should be for us to share with our guests since we pay for the maintenance. Period. Council members should have the guts to stick up for the ownership.
.


44 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 23, 2020 at 12:05 pm

Anonymous is a registered user.

During the last 20 years, on average, each Palo Alto resident has used Foothills 2.5 times each year. If the 490,000 residents of the 8 closest neighboring cities were to do the same, there will be 1,225,000 (over one million) visitors each year (which means 3,400 people who want to visit Foothills EVERY DAY).

Foothills is very likely to fill to its maximum capacity most days of the year. Instead of a nature preserve, Foothills will become just another urban park full of people: wide manicured paths for safe jogging and walking dogs, crowded picnicking areas, lots of human noise, bicycles on trails where they are prohibited, and in general pushing nature ever farther away. As a "nature preserve" it will be ruined.

Palo Alto needs to LIMIT THE NUMBER OF DAILY OCCUPANTS.


40 people like this
Posted by anon1234
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 23, 2020 at 12:12 pm

anon1234 is a registered user.

I think many of the posters correctly observe that the main goal for this area is conservation of native species; Flora and Fauna.
Regardless of who the people are that use the park and where they live, in no way should that use negatively impact the native species.
It would be wise to eliminate any use of fire for grilling or recreation at the park and to restrict the number of auto parking spots.
I dont know if amplified music is already prohibited but that should also be considered.


9 people like this
Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Oct 23, 2020 at 12:48 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

Regardless of the lawsuit, the outcome, our opinions, etc. -- way too much time and money have been spent on this. Access to a park isn't worth all this.


75 people like this
Posted by Cormack & --What a pair
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2020 at 12:48 pm

Cormack & --What a pair is a registered user.

Alison Cormack and Adrian Fine once again arrogantly scold the public as they ignore the history of the nature preserve.

The history is Palo Alto offered our neighbors in Los Altos and Los Altos Hills the opportunity to help fund the purchase and maintenance of the property that abuts all of our communities. They declined. So Palo Alto went ahead and purchased the land and maintained it as a nature preserve, minimizing costs by restricting the number of visitors and opening it only to PA residents. This was a reaction to LAH and Los Altos, not a racist action. Has anyone asked our wealthy neighbors if they'd like to help NOW? We should...before we open it up to them and take on the added costs of their impacts on the land. This will be a grand giveaway to our mostly white, rich neighbors who have never stepped up to help maintain the preserve.

This is not about racism, but Adrian Fine and Alison Cormack's remarks have encouraged the ACLU to engage, ignoring the actual history of the dispute. You would think, from their comments, that Palo Alto doesn't open its many parks and community facilities to all. That is simply not the case at all, and I support that inclusion. However, this is a nature preserve, not a park. Access has to be limited to PRESERVE nature. If access is limited, the people who have funded the preserve's purchase and maintenance should have priority.

LAH and Los Altos can well afford to help pay for maintenance and insurance of the preserve. Their mansions greatly benefit from the expansive, natural views our tax dollars provide. You can bet, if there is ever a wildfire up there, they will be first in line to sue Palo Alto for damages to their opulent properties. The city should engage them. Alison and Adrian, demonstrate leadership and get staff started on that instead of arrogantly scolding the public.

With extra money for maintenance, maybe we can open it up more broadly....safely, while maintaining the preserve for the wild creatures and plant life that live there.


70 people like this
Posted by Jonathan Brown
a resident of Ventura
on Oct 23, 2020 at 12:49 pm

Jonathan Brown is a registered user.

I agree with Barron Parker Too. At the very least, the City Council should honor the process it set in motion already and proceed with a science- and data-based approach. The city is setting a terrible precedent that filing a lawsuit paves the way for one interest group to circumvent due political process and get everything it wants in closed-door negotiations. The lawyers are probably spending more time and money negotiating a settlement than it would have taken to file a motion for judgment on the pleadings to dismiss this frivolous suit. LaDoris Cordell, the NAACP, and the ACLU should be ashamed to make such a mockery of our democratic process and run roughshod over environmentally sensitive habitat while doing so. The new City Council should get a chance to weigh in, but instead it seems lovers of Foothills Park will fall victim to a GOP-style, Amy Coney Barrett-type rush job. Get ready for the finger-pointing when fire started from a carelessly tossed joint incinerates this magical preserve forever.


12 people like this
Posted by Hal
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Oct 23, 2020 at 1:30 pm

Hal is a registered user.

I have yet to experience a rolling blackout to our cities power. How long do you think it will be before someone "next door" would like to join in on our exclusive grid after the city financed for their own power company?


88 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 23, 2020 at 1:34 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

Who didn't see this coming?

The army of whiny "everything is systemic racism" activists cannot fathom the idea that a city park maintained for city residents (regardless of race) is somehow "racist."

It is a shame that some of our "leaders" have caved in to these radicals.


84 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 23, 2020 at 1:36 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

The city should fight this stupid lawsuit on the basis on principle alone. It is frivolous and without true merit. Sadly, California is rapidly turning into George Orwell's "Animal Farm" right before our eyes.


58 people like this
Posted by jc
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 23, 2020 at 2:00 pm

jc is a registered user.

How about not agreeing to the lawsuit. Instead close Foothills Park to all visitors for a year. In the meantime, continue with the ecology study as planned to provide a baseline for the impact of any future re-opening and increased use.

Closing Foothills Park for a year and not having to staff it or pay for the costly maintenance contract for the bathrooms and trash, etc. will help our bottom line while city revenues have such a huge shortfall. We still have our three other nature preserves, all of which are open to non-residents.


39 people like this
Posted by Hulkamania
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 23, 2020 at 2:33 pm

Hulkamania is a registered user.

It's a sad day...


74 people like this
Posted by Get a Backbone
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 23, 2020 at 3:24 pm

Get a Backbone is a registered user.

Once again, just whisper "lawsuit" and the city caves. I can't begin to count the number of times I've seem this egregious threat used and the city always gives in. We could at least try to refute the lawsuit. Sorry, LaDoris, love ya, but this is not and never has been a issue of racism.


75 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 23, 2020 at 3:40 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

My secondary objection to this lawsuit is that it seeks to subvert democracy, both the Council decision (in their 3-August meeting) and the expected referendum in 2022 on this very issue.
My primary objection is that this is yet another precedent in a long line of such subversions of democracy. Lose a vote in Council, or find an established City policy not to your liking? Mention "lawsuit" to City Hall and the City Attorney will tell us that we can't afford justice. This particularly applies when the will of the citizenry is contrary to the interests of a segment of the city's political establishment.

A subsidiary objection is that most of the discussion by City Council on this lawsuit was conducted in two closed sessions. City Hall has repeatedly gotten us in trouble by its behind-closed-door meetings. For example, we lost over 75 affordable housing units in the President Hotel -- some say well over 100 -- because the City Manager and the Mayor met privately with the developer and gave the developer assurances that the building could be converted to a boutique hotel despite that being against City ordinances. Although the City Manager and Mayor had no authority to make such representations and the developer knew that they didn't, when the Council threatened to follow the law, the developer said "lawsuit".

Settling/surrendering will only further encourage frivolous lawsuits against the City.

The lawsuit was so sloppily prepared that the first submission was rejected for unspecified deficiencies in the signatures.

The Staff report claims in footnote 2 on page 2 (Web Link) that the lawsuit isn't about racial discrimination but free speech. However, if you read the text of the lawsuit, it is all about racial discrimination with free speech barely mentioned.

For more details, my critique of the lawsuit appeared in my blog of 12-October "Foothills Park Pseudo-Lawsuit: Is the City going to cave-in & defame its residents as "racists"?" (Web Link)


14 people like this
Posted by Franc123
a resident of another community
on Oct 23, 2020 at 4:31 pm

Franc123 is a registered user.

Those who take issue with the racism charge are ignorant of Palo Alto’s history - where, for decades, home ownership was explicitly denied to people of color. Haven’t you ever wondered why East Palo Alto exists? Or, as a corollary, why Menlo Park’s high school is completely different demographically from Paly? If you are interested in answers, a good place to start is the book “The Color of Law”, the first chapter of which describes this very community. The exclusivity of Foothill Park is merely a vestige of that racist tradition.


35 people like this
Posted by Corey Levens
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 23, 2020 at 5:28 pm

Corey Levens is a registered user.

Let's be honest here. The effect of this settlement is basically going to be another fee assessed largely on residents of Palo Alto in order to use the Park. There may be a short-lived increase in "out-of-towners" using the Park at first, but, over time, the number of non-Palo Altans using the Park will drop dramatically. The Park is just not that convenient to get to, even for Palo Altans; and, if you live outside of Palo Alto, the number of other parks and trails you can go to that are far superior to Foothills is large. Why pay a fee for Foothills when you can visit better trails closer to home that will probably be charging the same amount or less? When everything settles down, it will be overwhelmingly Palo Altans using the Park...except now we will all have to pay to use it. Great work.


42 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 23, 2020 at 5:44 pm

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

> "Those who take issue with the racism charge are ignorant of Palo Alto’s history...Haven’t you ever wondered why East Palo Alto exists?"

^ Affordability...at the time.

FYI...EPA was once a WHITE community.
Over the decades, it transitioned towards Asian residents, then African Americans, followed by Hispanics & more recently Pacific Islanders.

Now what this demographic change has to do with Foothills Park...I haven't the foggiest.




69 people like this
Posted by JB
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 23, 2020 at 6:46 pm

JB is a registered user.

Wow, this makes me furious! We were already going to open up the park to non-residents next year on a one-year experimental basis. Now, Molly Stump and Ed Shikada have decided to open the park to all people on a permanent basis and make us pay for this. We never even voted for these people! Why a permanent basis? That's crazy. I'm so mad that these 2 people caved in to a lawsuit by LaDoris Cordell, the ACLU (of which I am a member and usually support proudly), and the NAACP. This is a nature preserve, not an urban park that should be open to all. Our taxes have paid for this for years, and all of our other parks are now open to non-residents (including Arastradero, which has become very overcrowded). I vote for the deer, the turkeys, the bobcat that my husband saw the other day, and the other wonderful wildlife that inhabits this peaceful park. I believe strongly in the Black Lives Matter movement, but this is not a racist issue. As somebody else wrote above, any non-resident can already enter the park for free Monday through Friday. I applaud Lydia Kou's stand against this knee jerk reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement and hope that the city council does not roll over and give away such a precious resource. They rolled over when they confronted the President Hotel lawsuit, and I don't want to see them cave in again. At the very least, let Palo Alto residents vote on this. This park is the main reason that we have paid high rents in Palo Alto for many years. I'm terrified that it will be ruined.


14 people like this
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Oct 23, 2020 at 7:08 pm

chris is a registered user.

Will the Weekly ask the City Council candidates to weigh in on this issue?

It seems like we should know whether they will support or reverse this policy if they are elected.

There is no need to take action in November. Lawsuits can drag on for years with minimal legal expenses.


42 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 23, 2020 at 7:19 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

@JB "Now, Molly Stump and Ed Shikada have decided to open the park to all people on a permanent basis..."

They may have pushed for a specific decision, but it was a majority vote of the Council. If the public were to know the vote, I presume it would have been in the staff report (Web Link).
I see the vote from the public session of Council on 3-August, but nothing from this session.


8 people like this
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Oct 23, 2020 at 7:23 pm

chris is a registered user.

Will Kuo and Tanaka sell out their supporters the day before the election and after most of their supporters have cast their ballots?


6 people like this
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Oct 23, 2020 at 7:25 pm

chris is a registered user.

The vote has not happened yet. It is on November 2.


6 people like this
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Oct 23, 2020 at 7:32 pm

chris is a registered user.

There is a way to settle 2 lawsuits with one agreement that will be a win-win for everyone.

To settle this lawsuit, PA should agree to build affordable housing. For people who need a place to live, affordable housing is more important than being able to come to Palo Alto from their substandard housing to take a walk in a park that is a long drive away. In any case, the new residents of affordable housing will be Palo Alto residents who will be able to visit Foothills.

At that same time, the city can avoid another even more expensive law suit over its housing inaction.

So:

2 expensive lawsuits avoided
more lower-income people will have access to Foothills
more affordable housing

Win-win-win


25 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 23, 2020 at 7:38 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

@Chris "It seems like we should know whether they will support or reverse this policy if they are elected."

What the new Council will do is irrelevant. If the current Council votes to settle, the settlement includes having the Court impose a permanent injunction prohibiting the City government from seeking to reverse the opening of the Preserve, either by ordinance or by an initiative.

> "There is no need to take action in November."
Maybe. But the City Council majority voting in closed (confidential) session decided to have it on the November 2 agenda.


30 people like this
Posted by Conservative
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 23, 2020 at 9:52 pm

Conservative is a registered user.

It takes only $50 to file a frivolous lawsuit. Now the city quickly obliged and wants to sell the people of Palo Alto.
And it won't be long before people are called racists for simply breathing the air. Haha ^_^


24 people like this
Posted by GaryB
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 23, 2020 at 10:01 pm

GaryB is a registered user.

We already pay a fee in our taxes, non-residents should pay a fee sufficient to cover costs. There's more at stake than the BS argument that this is somehow racist or that surrounding communites are somehow deprived (ignoring the other 20+ parks nearby). There is the incentive for land use and protection.

Would the city have stood up alone to pay to protect land back then or in the future if the people knew that they'd pay the entire cost of the commons for everyone else? Would neighboring cities ever join in to support open land if they think they can sit back and let another city pay the whole thing?

We pay our city lawyer something like $300K/year. Fight on this point to the end.


10 people like this
Posted by Please bring humanity back to Palo Alto
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 23, 2020 at 10:08 pm

Please bring humanity back to Palo Alto is a registered user.

Just a reminder that many of us (esp. those who bought 20+ years ago under Prop 13) are likely not paying very much towards our City's budget to operate Foothills Park. It's a complete embarrassment that we have had 2 suits against us by the ACLU in the past 6 months. Some complain about why don't we get preferential reservations for picnic tables, when we need to ask ourselves: what is going on that we live in a City that continues to violate basic human rights?


32 people like this
Posted by Midtown Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 24, 2020 at 6:03 am

Midtown Resident is a registered user.

Suggest contacting each City council member and/or attending the 11/2 City Council meeting virtually via Zoom to comment - otherwise this settlement, which is unfair to Palo Altans, will be rapidly pushed thro, will not be changeable, and will further encourage frivolous lawsuits against the City. This settlement gives Palo Alto legal liability for the park, the responsibility to pay for and manage it, yet essentially will require Palo Altans to pay twice to use the park (once as taxpayers, then again for entry, since the City can't possibly run the park for free) and doubles park attendance with no plan or baseline study in place. This overuse will most certainly rapidly degrade the park. There is essentially one week to speak up. Please note that this is past the 11-day period when any mailed comments or emailed comments to the entire City Council will be included in the packet given to Council members before the vote Nov 2. Contact each Council member thro their individual page on the City web site. As a Palo Alto citizen, do not let yourself be saddled with cost and liability and at the same time lose access to the park which would be mandated to run on a first come/first serve basis.


16 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 24, 2020 at 9:16 am

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

>"Get ready for the finger-pointing when fire started from a carelessly tossed joint incinerates this magical preserve forever."

^ Most pot smokers save their unfinished joints as discarding them would be considered very wasteful.

Cigarette butts are another issue.


12 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 24, 2020 at 10:16 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

The ACLU keeps popping up in the papers for all types of nuanced activities. And yes - most of what they do is "nuanced" only producing parts of a situation and ignoring the basic elements.

Example: "children from immigration situations need to be reunited with parents". Note - the parents have been notified and they do not want their children returned to the parents' country. They brought them here for a reason and do not want them back. The ACLU and the judicial system do not want to recognize that fact.

It is just a reason to employ a bunch of politicos just out of college who need to exercise their learning process.

"FHP exclusion of non-residents is racist." That is a contorted logic with no basis in fact. Entry is specific to people who live in PA and that address is on their DMV license.

Side note: I grew up in LA and lived for a time in Manhattan Beach. A number of the local professional basketball team lived in very pricey homes on the beach and enjoyed playing volleyball on the beach when not playing basketball. Because that is where they live. And many of your Hollywood protestors live in very pricey homes and areas which demonstrates their hypocrisy and desire to get their face on TV.

If you go along with the law suit and conceded to these people then you are inviting more of their nuanced activity which has been contorted to fit what ever the current political gripe is. And we do not have the money to do that. And your resident taxpaying homeowners are not going to pay up for this nonsense.


31 people like this
Posted by Julian Gómez
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 24, 2020 at 10:17 am

Julian Gómez is a registered user.

Good ole' Palo Alto city administration. When faced with the prospect of actually having to work to earn their pay, they simply buckle.

There is nothing "controversial"" about this topic. By your own reporting, well over 80% of the population of Palo Alto does not support this measure. This issue started with a politician trying to make a name for himself. But there's also you doing your best to support it, which is why you're using clickbait headlines.

Again, with such an astounding lack of support, why do you feature this topic so often. And why do you NEVER feature the opposition who, again, is the overwhelming majority. Obviously, it's because you decided to slant your coverage.

I wonder if there's a way to sue the city administration to make them do their job...


38 people like this
Posted by LeeB
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 24, 2020 at 10:44 am

LeeB is a registered user.

I believe that this decision short circuits a reasonable process that was previously agreed upon by the Council, and would have ended in a ballot measure. The proposed opening of the park to avoid litigation demonstrates a profound antagonism toward democratic governance and a profound lack of respect for Palo Alto's residents. Using the mindless dog whistle of "racism" cannot obscure or excuse violating our rights to decide.


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Downtown North

on Oct 24, 2020 at 1:44 pm

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


15 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 24, 2020 at 1:45 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

The AG for this state now has over 100 law suits against the federal government and other states and is proud of it. And the ACLU is everywhere and anywhere. That is a major political issue right now - using the judicial system to legislate.

So that is what you all have voted on? WOW - you voted for this and this is what you get. If the city concedes on this then there will be no end in site to the number of law suits that will be used to manipulate non-issues. How to make a non-issue an issue? Get a bunch of activist and the ACLU to produce a nuanced argument that eliminates any critical facts.


11 people like this
Posted by Reginald Williams
a resident of Triple El
on Oct 24, 2020 at 2:20 pm

Reginald Williams is a registered user.

You can have restrictions, but a residents only policy is unconstitutional. For example

Warren v. Fairfax County

Leydon v. Greenwich

Why waste money on a court case the city would lose? There's a reason it's the only residents only public park in California.

I'm sure some here are lawyers, but most people here don't know better than the staff of lawyers and the City Attorney herself.

The capacity for the park is flexible for preservation. Besides, Palo Alto has a jobs to housing ratio of 3.5 to 1. Those workers (teachers, firefighters, cops, essential workers) are very much a part of the community, and contribute plenty of taxes toward the park.


17 people like this
Posted by jc
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 24, 2020 at 2:22 pm

jc is a registered user.

So when is San Francisco going to get sued for its Camp Mather that only residents can use?


13 people like this
Posted by jc
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 24, 2020 at 2:24 pm

jc is a registered user.

We have more city parks open for use by our neighbors than most other cities, and some of them like Rinconada are heavily used.

I think it is time for the city to get out of the business of running an expensive to maintain nature preserve.


10 people like this
Posted by Paly02
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 24, 2020 at 3:03 pm

Paly02 is a registered user.

I'm impressed by the number of people here who think they know better than the ACLU and the NAACP


25 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 24, 2020 at 4:05 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Paly 02 - glad you are impressed. Note that we live in Palo Alto and have very smart people here. Also note that any activist group out there is trained to challenge the status quo and recognize that what ever points are brought up are not the whole story - only pieces of a story to promote an outcome. The ACLU is paid to produce an outcome. And as we have seen with our own local legislators they will produce what ever nonsense is required to fuel an outcome. In fact of late they are brazenly lying on the hopes they will not be challenged. After a while this gets SO OLD! I creates a whole lack of trust in the local judicial system. Which is very sad.


22 people like this
Posted by Old Palo Alto
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 24, 2020 at 4:37 pm

Old Palo Alto is a registered user.

Increasing traffic on Page Mill is going to make cycling exponentially more dangerous. A traffic study should be done and improvements should be performed before more traffic is allowed into Foothill Park.


19 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 24, 2020 at 5:01 pm

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

>"...what is going on that we live in a City that continues to violate basic human rights?"

^ Human rights? Sounds a bit extreme if referring to park access.

No comparison to actual (aka REAL) human rights violations taking place in other parts of the world.

>"A traffic study should be done and improvements should be performed before more traffic is allowed into Foothill Park."

^ Maybe something along the lines of a 'shuttle' service (EV) to alleviate traffic gridlock & pollution?


7 people like this
Posted by TimR
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 24, 2020 at 5:09 pm

TimR is a registered user.

"Scarp election" says it all. We are becoming a nation of rule by dictators. People are too stupid to be trusted with big decisions like this!


19 people like this
Posted by jc
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 24, 2020 at 5:26 pm

jc is a registered user.

Seems to me those who filed this lawsuit can't wait to bask in the personal limelight of publicity they can generate for themselves by showing up Palo Alto up to be a bastion of white privilege.

It will be disappointing to them if Palo Alto rolls over and settles. But either way it's a win win if this gets picked up by the national press. An ego trip demonstrating how they stood up to racist Palo Alto and won, or loudly proclaiming for all to hear their self righteous outrage at how entrenched Palo Alto residents are in their white privileged racist attitudes.


7 people like this
Posted by Reginald Williams
a resident of Triple El
on Oct 24, 2020 at 5:40 pm

Reginald Williams is a registered user.

It is becoming evidently clear that most people haven't actually read the solidity of the lawsuit...


60 people like this
Posted by Lawyer
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2020 at 7:37 pm

Lawyer is a registered user.

I’m a lawyer and read the filings on this. Seems legally thin to me.
And it’s narrative of Palo Alto history is cherry picked and sloppy.
The city is extremely risk adverse, is overly worried about it’s reputation (our history is no more racist than other towns around us of the era and notably less in particular ways).
It seems once again the city council will likely make a bad decision based on bad legal advice.


52 people like this
Posted by Lawyer
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2020 at 8:15 pm

Lawyer is a registered user.

One other thing, Mr. Williams, if you and your fiance, Raven Malone had lived here longer than a few short months, you would know that our City Attorney isn't the basket many of us would put our eggs in for safe keeping, shall we say.

Her office has had problems writing unambiguous ordinances that subsequently caused problems, she has adivised city council wrongly as to quorum number needed for critical votes when time was of the essence, divised waivers that were to significantly improve the chances to save the President Hotel residences, but in fact did nothing of the kind.


35 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 24, 2020 at 8:20 pm

Anonymous is a registered user.

Foothills Nature Preserve is not an appropriate nor desirable location for public "freedom of speech" gatherings. It is 20 to 25 minutes from any city center and requires traveling over a winding road in a mountainous area. Attempts to portray its closure to the general public as a "freedom of speech" restriction is going to be challenging. It is NOT a downtown urban park where rallies and marches and public speeches would take place. A simple video of the ride from the junction of 280 and Page Mill Road up to the preserve will convince any judge of this fact.


8 people like this
Posted by Reginald Williams
a resident of Triple El
on Oct 24, 2020 at 9:30 pm

Reginald Williams is a registered user.

Foothills Nature Preserve still counts as a public forum, the city would lose, just as many other cities before it.


9 people like this
Posted by PaloAltoCitizen
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 25, 2020 at 8:25 am

PaloAltoCitizen is a registered user.

To write to the City Council members individually use this string:
[email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]


20 people like this
Posted by Oh well.....
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 25, 2020 at 11:06 am

Oh well..... is a registered user.

Thank-you Richard Brand for your comment. It was both informative and comprehensive. Many of those commenting don't know the history of Foothill Park or probably don't care. Heck, most if not all the elected city council members don't know how the park evolved and why the city purchased it. Don't know why this issue has become priority one on the council list. All the years I've lived in Palo Alto and visited the park I never found a problem driving into the front gate as there was no one to prevent you from entering. The park was generally empty.
Guess folks generally choose to complain and probably have never been to the park. Oh well....


24 people like this
Posted by eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 25, 2020 at 3:34 pm

eileen is a registered user.

I was there around noon on Saturday and it was packed! Every parking site was taken and cars were parking on the side of the roads. The barbeque area was filled with many lively groups. Most without masks.
The trails were also busy and I noticed a few poop bags left on the ground.
(I guess for others to dump!) Can we please keep the dogs at home? Anyway, I'd rather go during the week from now on for the peace and quiet I grave. Hopefully, we can keep the count down on the weekends so the deer will not be spooked!


62 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 25, 2020 at 4:10 pm

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

>"I was there around noon on Saturday and it was packed!"

>"Anyway, I'd rather go during the week from now on for the peace and quiet..."

^ Parking gridlock, lively mask-free crowds (during times of a pandemic), dog poop bags scattered about...a sneak preview of the the new & improved, totally egalitarian Foothills Park?









10 people like this
Posted by JB
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 26, 2020 at 1:14 pm

JB is a registered user.

Palo Alto Citizen, thanks so much for giving us the individual emails to the city council members. I just sent my email to them and hope it will make a difference. Take care, everybody, and stay safe.


7 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 26, 2020 at 1:22 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Just like to add here that I have received solicitations for donations from the ACLU. They want you to join their organizations as a donor so that they can pursue wild-ass law suits. My brother is a member of their organization.

I donate to Judicial Watch which investigates wild-ass schemes in the government. It takes a lot of money to uncover financial schemes by our elected leaders. And those that are appointed - not elected.


5 people like this
Posted by PaloAltoCitizen
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 26, 2020 at 2:04 pm

PaloAltoCitizen is a registered user.

These are the INDIVIDUAL people who are listed
as the plaintiffs in the lawsuit:

Plaintiff Gwen Gasque
Plaintiff Laura Martinez
Plaintiff Alysa Cisneros
Plaintiff Geoffrey Paulsen
Plaintiff Bridget Grant-Fraser
Plaintiff Donald McDougall
Plaintiff Kimberly Bomar
Plaintiff Kimberly Bomar
Plaintiff Sarah Longstreth
Plaintiff Ladoris Hazzard Cordell


2 people like this
Posted by Paly02
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 26, 2020 at 7:17 pm

Paly02 is a registered user.

So I just looked up Judicial Watch on Twitter and their president lets us know that the Deep State is willing to blow up the Constitution......

so..... I'mma stick with the ACLU and NAACP, TYVM


16 people like this
Posted by Leslie York
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 27, 2020 at 2:49 am

Leslie York is a registered user.

"Some complain about why don't we get preferential reservations for picnic tables, when we need to ask ourselves: what is going on that we live in a City that continues to violate basic human rights?"

Oh, please. Since when is entry to a park a "basic human right"?


30 people like this
Posted by Leslie York
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 27, 2020 at 3:48 am

Leslie York is a registered user.

The citizens of Palo Alto own the park and pay for its upkeep. It is they who should make the final decision regarding park access by means of a referendum: put it to a vote on the ballot by the stakeholders, i.e. the citizens of Palo Alto. When I went to Paly we were taught that this is the very essence of democracy.

Allowing people into the park free of charge who contribute nothing to its upkeep, not even paying a per-car fee for non-residents, just sticks in my craw. People who want something for nothing are playing the race card to get their way. City management has responded to these strongarm tactics by undemocratically and unilaterally caving in.

In addition to the basic upkeep of the park, also consider the potential costs of fire and law enforcement. It will, after all, be a wide-open public area and those necessities will need to be addressed. Suppose there is a fire or a shooting up there ...


23 people like this
Posted by eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 29, 2020 at 9:59 pm

eileen is a registered user.

Why can't I play tennis and swim at Ladera swim and tennis club? Isn't it my constitutional right to be able to go there? I know that the residents of Ladera pay for the swim club but it is racist to keep others out. Maybe I'll get a bunch of my friends together and sue the club.


12 people like this
Posted by CEQA Required
a resident of Monroe Park
on Oct 30, 2020 at 11:38 am

CEQA Required is a registered user.

I just looked at the staff report, and it says this action is categorically exempt from CEQA per Section 15301. Looking at that section of CEQA, it says “The key consideration is whether the project involves negligible or no expansion of use.”

This proposed ordinance is clearly an expansion of use that will impact traffic in Los Altos Hills on Page Mill Road. It will endanger residents there, bicyclists, and pedestrians on that narrow windy road.


18 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 30, 2020 at 11:42 am

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

>"Why can't I play tennis and swim at Ladera swim and tennis club? Isn it my constitutional right to be able to go there? I know that the residents of Ladera pay for the swim club but it is racist to keep others out."

^A good point...after all, America is the 'home of the brave & land of the FREE'...as in 100% open access admittance to anyplace/anywhere?

Next targets....the Bohemian & Commonwealth clubs.


1 person likes this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 31, 2020 at 9:56 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

So now we are in deep waters. South PA with it's Eichler's and other brand name homes were built on open land in the late 1950's. Back in the day Lockheed Martin in Sunnyvale and Ford Aerospace / SSL in Palo Alto and it's predecessor companies were the biggest employers in this city - along with SU. FACC had buildings on Charleston east of 101 now owned by Google. Also buildings on the East Meadow Circle. We were talking about those days at an event - remembering the great softball teams, golf teams, tennis teams, all with great enjoyment.

And the POOR people who now work for the ascending companies that have NO employee teams - other than who can hack the most companies. Sorry - the millennials and X's have truly lost out. Clueless.

These companies were Equal Opportunity Employers and had "people of color' at all levels of management. We sit around now and shake our heads at where did it all go?

So now we have newcomers of a different generation throwing stones. People who live in those neighborhoods pay for use of those clubs. It is not FREE.

I am a member of the Commonwealth Club - any one can join - just pay the fee. Unfortunately the events are now truncated. And of late they have pandered to the far liberal left. Most of their events involved the selling of author books. The author present and available for book signings. Interesting whether you agreed or not with their ideas.

And the Bohemian Club? You need to be sponsored and you need to pay big bucks. Have relative who was a member. I was there for a "family" day. They put on a big show that started with the various military anthems. Is that what bugs some people?

People who pander to the far liberal left have carved out their own "clubs". Who cares? Why do you care? If it not your cup of tea then why do you care? If sitting around your house and grossing about what other people are doing then you are in trouble. Get off your Chair and get moving - go do something constructive.

You want to be an "activist"? I read these nutball letters to the editor in the papers. People sitting in their kitchens trying to manage the world. I am going to go and VOTE now.


2 people like this
Posted by Giraffe
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 31, 2020 at 12:12 pm

Giraffe is a registered user.

I am not a lawyer, but I agree with the earlier comment by Reginald Williams that Palo Alto would lose the lawsuit.

- The ban was enacted in 1969. Yes there was racial unrest at that time. I graduated from college in 1969. Does not automatically mean there is a connection between racial unrest and either event. If there was a causal connection between unrest and the ban, the claimants should prove it.

- It appears that there is a difference between a 'public park' and a 'public forum'. Maybe restrictions can be applied to a 'public park', but not to a 'public forum. For example, see Leydon v. Town of Greenwich.

The claimants in the Foothill Park lawsuit want the park to be ruled to be a 'public forum', eg:
section 2:
> It is also a place where people are encouraged to gather for discussion, learning,and celebrations.Its interpretive center contains space that is regularlybooked for meetings. The Oak Grove, an area for gatherings ofup to150 people,is proclaimed by the City to be “a wonderful place for events of all sorts, from weddings to graduation parties to reunions.

Section 4 claims "The Ordinance violates non-residents’ fundamental right of travel, which has been repeatedly reaffirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court and the California Supreme Court"
Is driving into a dead end park considered 'travel'? Aren't there lots of roads where access is restricted? From what I could find, the fundamental right is about travel between states.

It appears to me that the claimants would win the suit because the 'park' would be ruled to be a 'public forum', to which access cannot be denied I guess. So, I think all the racial stuff in the lawsuit is irrelevant. Yes, Palo Alto has a history of racial injustice, but I don't see any proof that the injustice had anything to do with the ban.


1 person likes this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 31, 2020 at 3:38 pm

Me 2 is a registered user.

I see two options here:

1. Close it to everyone and let it really be a nature preserve. Fire all the rangers and tear down all the buildings. No one would blame us when we're in a COVID-19 budget squeeze.

2. Clear it out and make room for housing.

I personally like the #2.


18 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 31, 2020 at 3:49 pm

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

> "These companies were Equal Opportunity Employers and had "people of color' at all levels of management. We sit around now and shake our heads at where did it all go?"

^ The Hewlett-Packard Company of the 1950s-late 70s (the 'pre-Carly' days) was once like that...with a broad ethnic diversity at all levels of supervision & management (with the possible exception of the executive wing).

>"And the POOR people who now work for the ascending companies that have NO employee teams - other than who can hack the most companies. Sorry - the millennials and X's have truly lost out. Clueless."

^ That's what happens when winners & losers + not keeping score at youth games are replaced by 'participation awards' where EVERYONE is a winner...for the sake of self-esteem.

Competition has now become uncool...unless one is a professional athlete where money is on the line.

One thing is for certain...Millennials & Gen Y'ers are very adept at thumb coordination...possibly due to a preoccupation with video games & smartphones...no teamwork required.

The Foothills Park debacle boils down to one issue...that exclusivity and/or limited access is now considered politically incorrect.




1 person likes this
Posted by Nancy Ng
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 31, 2020 at 4:05 pm

Nancy Ng is a registered user.

Really fellow towns people, when the ACLU and NAACP are suing you it’s time to peel off the liberal façade admit to systemic racism.


17 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 31, 2020 at 4:41 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

@Nancy Ng

Has it not occurred to you that the ACLU and NAACP are corrupted organizations that no longer stand for, or even oppose, what their former reputations were.
For example, the NAACP has long been a paid endorser of unpopular causes, such as Bit Tobacco. The ACLU renounced freedom of speech -- claiming that there a more important factors when the speech is contrary to their politics -- and has refused to fight racial discrimination as a principle, instead choosing which races can be discriminated against and which deserve "positive discrimination".

This is part of broader institutional failure. Not only do we now find broad support among "journalists" for suppression and censorship of information that they disagree with, but major journalistic institutions are not shy about becoming propaganda outlets.

And it is easy to get thousands of lawyers to sign petitions opposing due process of law for political opponents.

And on and on.


17 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 31, 2020 at 5:16 pm

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

>"Not only do we now find broad support among "journalists" for suppression and censorship of information that they disagree with, but major journalistic institutions are not shy about becoming propaganda outlets."

^ Which is why I take both CNN & Fox News with a grain of salt.

Editorial (i.e. biased) opinion is not objective news reportage.




1 person likes this
Posted by Nancy Ng
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 31, 2020 at 7:12 pm

Nancy Ng is a registered user.

So, Douglas, you don’t like ACLU or NAACP; what about systemic racism in our Little bubble?


7 people like this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 31, 2020 at 7:49 pm

Me 2 is a registered user.

"what about systemic racism in our Little bubble?"

Nancy, rather than throw around the phrase du jour so easily, why not tell us exactly what you mean by "systemic racism?"

Your definition please.

And concrete examples.


1 person likes this
Posted by Nancy Ng
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 31, 2020 at 10:07 pm

Nancy Ng is a registered user.

Sure. Systemic racism is not the “ phrase du jour”; it is the reality of American life, even here in Palo Alto. It is the historic and ongoing inequality born in slavery and Jim Crow; and manifested in employment, education, housing and criminal justice. In my family experience it has been manifested in numerous racial micro aggressions in school, in blatant discrimination in class placement, in police harassment, in being followed in stores. It is not the racism of individuals; it is not cross-burning. But it is real snd ever present. It is a White problem.


3 people like this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 31, 2020 at 10:30 pm

Me 2 is a registered user.

"In my family experience it has been manifested in numerous racial micro aggressions in school, in blatant discrimination in class placement, in police harassment, in being followed in stores"

Concrete examples?


1 person likes this
Posted by Nancy Ng
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 1, 2020 at 1:45 am

Nancy Ng is a registered user.

Me2 “concrete examples”- that is privilege to think that my real examples are not just what you want. Justice in these times demands that we look snd listen.


5 people like this
Posted by PaloAltoCitizen
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 1, 2020 at 6:36 am

PaloAltoCitizen is a registered user.

Nancy Ng wrote: " ... it has been manifested in numerous racial micro aggressions in school, in blatant discrimination in class placement, in police harassment, in being followed in stores"

I experienced all of this (and more) during my multi-year residency in a non-tourist part of Mexico where there is rampant prejudice and discrimination against gringos (and especially gringas). You can experience it in Hawaii, where many locals are prejudiced against haoles. In the mainland USA, this is viewed as a "White problem", but it is a HUMAN problem that exists in most cultures. Just saying it is a "White problem" is a prejudiced statement; a broad generalization that cannot be applied to every single white person. As a species, homo sapiens are xeonphobic.

So YES, our USA culture should try very hard to get rid of this horrible human trait !! Let's stop pointing fingers, accusing, being angry at complete strangers just because they are asking for clarification, and let's work for understanding and a common commitment to change, which starts with understanding what the problem is.

Here is a concrete example:
I walk into Las Palmas corner grocery store along with multiple other customers. A security guard immediately starts following me around (just me!), everywhere I go in the store. If I go down one aisle, he follows. If I stop, he stops. He follows me the entire time that I am in that store until I leave. Since I am the only gringo ("white USA citizen") among those entering the store, I believe that this is the reason the guard is following me around. Since this happens many many times at different stores in this little town, I come to believe that it is prejudice against gringos.

Here is another example:
I go into a malasada bakery in Makaha (on the Island of Oahu, Hawaii) and stand with dozens of other customers waiting to be served. The clerk offers to serve one customer after another, many of whom arrived AFTER me. Not until all the customers are gone, and only I am left, does the clerk offer to serve me. This happens a few times at different stores. I come to the conclusion it is because I am haole and the clerks are prejudiced.

This is what I believe Nancy Ng is saying her family experiences, but I do not know for sure. I too would like to here her stories, her specific examples from the Bay Area, home to all of us. Which stores? Which schools? Which police officers?


41 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 1, 2020 at 6:45 am

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

According to wikipedia....

>"Palo Alto is one of the five most expensive cities in the United States to live in and its residents are among the highest educated in the country."

^ If the above is true, why are we even having these discussions (and petty lawsuits) regarding park access?

This is not a race issue but one of city residency-required entrance protocols as the park was financed exclusively by the City of Palo Alto sans any federal funding.

As for park admittance... it is no different than a homeowner having the RIGHT to admit guests into their private residency at their own discretion.

When the NAACP & ACLU lawyers are all willing to invite anyone into their private homes because not doing so would be considered racist or non-politically correct...perhaps we can take this open-access park discussion further.




9 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 1, 2020 at 11:03 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

From where I am sitting the influx of people in FHP is driving the deer/animal population outward to wherever. [Portion removed; dogs are allowed on leash in FP on weekdays.]

So now a totally untenable situation has been created which now is showing the consequences of that action - chaos in the hills for the animals which now are on the streets trying to evade the throngs. And of course since the traffic has now increased you have all types of drivers in all types of conditions as to alcohol who are now driving on that road.

If a deer/animal appears on the road and you brake the nose of the car goes downward and the animal will now flip into the front window of the car. If you try and dodge it go off the side of the road into whatever and possibly flip - which is what happened here - I suspect. These are well know results of auto vs animal.

Yes - there is a bottom line - the city is conceding based on an illogical argument that has no relevance to results of their argument. Groups make ideological arguments with no specifics as to end results of those actions. Do not accept any argument from anyone that has to consequences as to financial liability, personal liability, short and long term predictable consequences. People in ideological arguments have no training in risk assessment.


9 people like this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 1, 2020 at 2:36 pm

Me 2 is a registered user.

"that is privilege to think that my real examples are not just what you want. Justice in these times demands that we look snd listen."

I am listening - just waiting to listen to concrete examples.


1 person likes this
Posted by Anon anon...
a resident of Green Acres
on Nov 1, 2020 at 4:24 pm

Anon anon... is a registered user.

Hang in there @Nancy Ng. The white dominant culture always has a sliding scale of "evidence" and "concrete examples". Whatever you say will never be enough. Your lived experience is not enough evidence for the dominant culture. I hear you, though. I know this bias and discrimination exists. The other thing whiteness loves to do is define the terms of the argument. This "is only about who pays for the park - we get to decide who comes in because money.". We all know that there are at most a handful of residents only setups like this in the whole country. It's a bad look. Whiteness also really howls at being called racist. This is racist even if Palo Alto never intended it to be racist. If we as citizens of this town allow an unintended racist policy to continue - it's still racist and so are we. Keep speaking up @Nancy Ng!!


7 people like this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 1, 2020 at 4:48 pm

Me 2 is a registered user.

"The white dominant culture always has a sliding scale of "evidence" and "concrete examples"."

Funny that you speak of "white culture," of which I am not a part.


1 person likes this
Posted by Anon anon...
a resident of Green Acres
on Nov 1, 2020 at 5:14 pm

Anon anon... is a registered user.

We're all in the soup of white dominant culture...


7 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 1, 2020 at 7:20 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

@Me 2

You need to understand that belonging to "white culture", aka "Whiteness", is about values and doesn't involve the color of your skin. Some of the prominent White Supremacists today are non-Whites. And various prominent White Supremacist organizations are very racially diverse and inclusive, including being led by non-Whites. Similarly, if you want to find Nazis, no better place to start looking than in Orthodox synagogues. And the number of women in "the patriarchy" is truly astounding.

Or at least according to what is said by the Woke-ees, Critical Race Theorists ... And based upon what they currently claim the words mean.

If you want to check whether you embrace "White Culture", I suggest that you web search for "Aspects and Assumptions of White Culture" which *was* part of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture. It was removed from their website because too many African-Americans, in fits of White Supremacy, found it to be extremely racist against Blacks. However, it can still be found in many online news articles of that time, for example "In Smithsonian Race Guidelines, Rational Thinking and Hard Work Are White Values", Newsweek, 2020-07-17 (Web Link).


3 people like this
Posted by Nancy Ng
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 1, 2020 at 7:33 pm

Nancy Ng is a registered user.

Me2 says,”I am listening - just waiting to listen to concrete examples.”
Although I am not willing at this time to share the personal identification my family members without their express permission I would suggest that you read back to the Palo Alto Online reports of the speakers at the George Floyd March earlier this year.
I find it disheartening that rather than understand accounts of racism , there seems to be a defensive dismissal of lived experience.
There certainly is discrimination in other countries and states. But there is racism right here; there is blatant elitism right here. It is not a question of whether or not we believe that systemic racism exists in our town but to open our eyes and ears and recognize its reality,
Our task as citizens is not, I think, to maintain our privilege but to promote true justice for all.


8 people like this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 1, 2020 at 10:41 pm

Me 2 is a registered user.

You seem to attribute a lot of things to "white supremacy." Actually, what's systemic is not necessarily "racism," but economic disparity and lack of social mobility, regardless of race. There is a correlation, but not necessarily direct causation between the two, as there are powerful African Americans (Oprah, LeBron James, Obama) and disenfranchised "whites" or European Americans (coal miners in West Virginia and a swath of the heartland being devastated by the opioid epidemic that is supplied by Chinese manufacturing, ironically enough).

It's a cheap brainless shortcut to just attribute disparities to race when actually it comes down to economic opportunity. Or lack thereof.

But what's really galling is the "white savior complex" that limo liberals tend to have when it comes to minorities. That is more systemic racism than anything else. There's an interesting thread in Reddit discussing the whole "defund police" effort in Oakland, where, interestingly enough, the ones in downtrodden neighborhoods -- that tend to be less "white" -- are the ones that want to keep, or increase, OPD funding.

It's the overeducated in safe neighborhoods that are the ones clamoring for defunding. The ones that don't have to live with the results of defunding.


1 person likes this
Posted by Anon anon...
a resident of Green Acres
on Nov 1, 2020 at 10:53 pm

Anon anon... is a registered user.

Oh @Nancy Ng! It seems like this thread has gone off into some strange territory. I hope you don't feel the need to try to rebut these claims. "Black people are racist too! There are powerful black people too!" These obscure the problem at hand. There is a lawsuit. It alleges a bunch of things. The City can litigate this, gain national attention, and probably not prevail on the merits. The cost will be prestige as well as dollars. Palo Alto cares about not SEEMING racist above all. Whiteness cares about appearances, and retaining power, influence and prestige. Some Palo Altans feel aggrieved, and will continue to feel aggrieved. They will never give an inch and agree that there is systemic racism. That's their right. They will still end up sharing this park with...the other. Maybe that will be a small victory. It might change a few minds along the way.


8 people like this
Posted by Reginald Williams
a resident of Triple El
on Nov 2, 2020 at 6:29 am

Reginald Williams is a registered user.

I feel like I shouldn't have to explain this to a comment with 32 likes.

Public parks are public, private residences are private. Which is obviously a bad comparison. This is almost an echo chamber.


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Posted by Squidsie
a resident of another community
on Nov 2, 2020 at 8:02 am

Squidsie is a registered user.

As reliably liberal Palo Alto is discovering, it is a lot more fun to demand that OTHERS share what they own, than to share what YOU own. Perhaps something to think about when voting on some grand utopian scheme which others will be forced to pay for.


28 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 2, 2020 at 8:48 am

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

As some others have pointed out, open access to Foothills Park is also an environmental impact concern.

And if certain entrance numbers are initiated & required to curb this impact,
imagine the potential PA resident outrage when/if they are not allowed to enter while others from 'out of town' are.

While racism is convenient leverage for
the NAACP & ACLU to promote their respective agendas, perhaps Palo Altans against open access should enlist the support of the Sierra Club, Audubon Society & Friends of the Earth to assist in emphasizing the potential damage to this preserve if it becomes over run.

Then again, the race card players may in turn accuse these naturalist organizations of being racist as well.

Anything is possible nowadays.


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Downtown North

on Nov 2, 2020 at 1:09 pm

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


8 people like this
Posted by LeeB
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 2, 2020 at 8:50 pm

LeeB is a registered user.

Am listening to the City Council discussion of the FHP action. First time I've zoomed into a meeting and have to admit that my respect for the Council and City Staff's dedication to public service is increasing by the minute! During open remarks, 18 folks spoke up and at least four were either opposed for reasons of undemocratic/covert process, or suggested more restriction than the staff recommended. The remainder of the callers were very much in favor of opening the park for a variety of reasons ranging from benevolent views of sharing to what I can only describe as strident claims of systemic racism, elitism, and "blots on Palo Alto's reputation." Including two of our council candidates, Raven and Rebecca.
I was coming around to agreeing to open based on the fairness arguments, but honestly, when you accuse me of being a racist I stop listening. When you call me racist simply because you don't agree with my views, you're lost the right to being heard.
Many people on this thread appear to be opposed to opening FHP; why weren't you speaking in this council meeting?


6 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 2, 2020 at 10:41 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

@LeeB "Many people on this thread appear to be opposed to opening FHP; why weren't you speaking in this council meeting?"

Many of us have spoken up on this, either at earlier Council meetings or in email for this meeting or the earlier one.
There is a bit of futility in doing so.
-- Mayor Adrian Fine has declared that he doesn't think voters should have a voice "You don't vote on civil rights".
-- Councilmember Alison Cormack described the opposition as wanting to "demand people's papers", a well-established piece of imagery intended to evoke parallels to Nazis.

As a blogger here on Palo Alto Online (Web Link) I have been writing about this topic -- both the Foothills Preserve controversy and the bullying by the likes of the people you cited -- but people appear to be emotionally drained by the COVID situation and the election.


Like this comment
Posted by JH
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 2, 2020 at 11:21 pm

JH is a registered user.

Anyone can explain why San Francisco Botanical Garden can offer FREE admission to SF residents but charges a fee for non-residents. But PA is not allowed to do that? Is there any difference between the two?


2 people like this
Posted by PaloAltoCitizen
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 3, 2020 at 7:31 am

PaloAltoCitizen is a registered user.

Mr Fine and Ms. Cormack do not care a whit what the citizens of Palo Alto think or want. They think they know better.

Opening Foothills to 1000 visitors a day is their goal and they don't care what happens to the land/animals (meaning the Nature Preserve). They only care about getting their way. They are ADAMANTLY against democracy and when asked to put this issue on a City ballot said: "You don't put civil rights to a vote."
Apparently, destroying precious open space is a "civil right".


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