Town Square

Judy Kleinberg'w CHILLING statements!!!

Original post made by James, Greenmeadow, on Aug 14, 2006

We, in Palo Alto, have many concerns about the Patriot Act, NSA surveillance, etc.

But here comes one of our own, Judy Kleinberg, to threaten us by turning our own comments, on public forums (or local coffee houses) over to the police. Unbelievable!!!

Here is her quote from the 8/13 PADN (related to the recent crime wave in PA, with racial description issues included):

"We need to clamp down before someone gets the wrong idea", said Kleinberg, who has forwarded some of the more "disturbing" messages she has come across to the Police Department.

"I'm not here to be an ethics cop, but it's wrong to be putting these statements out there", she said. "There's no purpose. To me, it's morally unethical and dangerous."

In other words, Judy thinks any statements that are not "morally ethical" (to her), should be forwarded to the cops. Should we now be thinking that the local police will be demanding access to PADN or Weekly computers, in order to identify those who disagree with Judy?


Forget the Patriot Act, we have much more serious issues on the local home front.


Posted by John
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 14, 2006 at 5:03 pm

I think that you're misinterpreting what Mayor Judy meant. My take on her statement is that she shared the concerns of those who wrote the messages and that she was psssing their comments on to the police -- not "reporting them" to the police.

Posted by John
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 14, 2006 at 5:06 pm

Pardon me for not reading carefully. I agree with you James.

Posted by Free speech lover
a resident of College Terrace

on Aug 15, 2006 at 8:08 am

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Posted by Danielle
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 15, 2006 at 1:56 pm

While I disagreed with Jim Birch on many issues, the person he asked to "tone it down" was abusing free speech rights. That person used innuendo and falsehoods to make really insulting attacks on various persons in and out of public office. The speaker that Birch tried to quiet down also happened to be an attorney (how he ever passed the bar is beyond me), and knew just what he was doing as he insulted one person after another. Thank goodness that speaker has pretty much disappeared from public view. I hear he's lately been in Berkeley, on to another "cause" that designed to benefit his self-image as professional provocateur. Good riddance!

Posted by Free speech lover
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 16, 2006 at 6:31 am


WHile I think I know the incident you are referring to, I was referring to a general attitude by Jim Birch of trying to stifle criticism--he did it with David Packard, the Unions and other people and groups.
By the way, I also disagree with you about the incident you mentioned.

Posted by Chris Saari
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 17, 2006 at 2:24 pm

So, some Palo Alto residents, understandably upset and fearful about the rise in crime in our city, make suggestions and comments on discussion boards. Some of these comments - made by fearful residents after all, like the one proposing ID checks in parks, are unworkable and maybe insensitive.

The mayor might have taken this as an opportunity to reassure residents that the city is doing something to effectively combat the crime threats, and to calm worried residents. Instead, she chooses moral grandstanding and the mildly authoritian tactic of turning the comments of people with whom she disagrees over to our already obviously overburdened police department.

So instead of finding the criminals terrorizing our neighborhoods, the police are spending part of their time investigating the thought crimes of the mayor's critics.

To be sure, it is distressing, if not totally unexpected, to think we might have a few closet racists among our presumably enlightened citizenry. But it is downright repulsive - 'chilling' as James says - to find that our mayor is an out-in-the-open authoritian censor.

It's no wonder we find so many comments on these forums posted anonymously or by first name only. Actions like Kleinberg's only serve to suppress discussion and dialogue in our community. She should be ashamed of herself.

(I assume the police know where to find me if they want to talk to me about this post.)

Posted by Danielle
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 17, 2006 at 3:56 pm

This is really a stretch. It's full of all kinds of illogical extentions and beliefs that simply don't hold water. "authoritarian censor"? ""thought crimes"?

And I could say back to you, "paranoia".

I, for one, am happy about the fact that any local leader has the courage and leadership to say that certain kinds of speech - although acceptable within the tenets of free speech rights - are downright distateful, and out of bounds relative to community standards. Our mayor deserves a pat on the back.

Hate speech, or speech that incites hate speech, should be challenged, always.

Posted by James
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 17, 2006 at 4:56 pm

Danielle: Call any of us "paranoid", if you will. That is a standard retort from those who don't want a rational dsicussion.

I have not seen any "hate speech", but even so, it is NOT illegal, and it should NOT be reported to the police by the mayor of this city. What are the police to do with the mayor's charges? Look for names, tap phones, run patrols... all without probable cause? Would they have warrants?

I oppose the Patriot Act and the NSA abuses - now we have much larger issues here at home.

Danielle, please let us know what you mean. Should we people of Palo Alto be frightened to say what we mean?

Why not WELCOME all comments, as long as they are legal (and the vast majority free speech is legal).

Actually, this is getting spooky!

Posted by Chris Saari
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 18, 2006 at 2:17 pm


There is a lot of speech on these comment boards that I find distasteful. No one says that the mayor, or any other citizen, can't counter such speech with contrary comments or speeech of her own.

But if you think it's not at least a little scary when the mayor turns over people whose speech she doesn't like to the police department, then you're really not paying attention.

By the way, I notice you're one of those who posts without giving a full name. Is there a reason you're afraid of identifying yourself?

Posted by Danielle
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 18, 2006 at 3:20 pm

spookiness is in the eye of the beholder, some behold spookiness more than others do - live and let live

Posted by Walter E. Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 19, 2006 at 12:10 pm

One person's hate speech is another person's rejection of the soft racism of lower expectations.

Posted by paly resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 20, 2006 at 9:18 pm

you are way overreacting.
she is also taken more than a bit out of context.
people, calm down.
get real.

Posted by James
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 21, 2006 at 6:01 pm

Care to explain about "out of context"?

I started this thread, because I saw a real threat. I still do.

Please explain what was taken out of context. Be specific.

Posted by Enoch Choi
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 21, 2006 at 6:55 pm

The specific comments our Mayor were concerned about pertained to generalizing the behavior of a few to apply to an entire race and using race to screen for criminal behavior. The racial breakdown of those caught so far "red handed" have been from every race, including the race of the original commenter.

I applaud the Mayor for standing against racial stereotyping.

Posted by James
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 21, 2006 at 7:29 pm


Your's is a reasonable response to what you have heard, from your point of view. But what is the Mayor of this town doing by turning over dissenting views to the police?

Does this not concern you?

Posted by Walter E. Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 24, 2006 at 4:02 pm

"We need to clamp down before someone gets the wrong idea", said Kleinberg, who has forwarded some of the more "disturbing" messages she has come across to the Police Department"

Palo Alto, bastion of political correctness.

Posted by Paul
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 25, 2006 at 5:15 pm

Get your facts straight! This "quote" is totally out of context (did you get it from the daily rag?). I heard her speak and she said we needed to clamp down on the crime, not free speech. And the messages (she said only two) were forwarded to the police chief to get her advice about how to respond about messages on group listserves that were pinning the crime on racial groups, not to "inform" on anyone or interfere with anyone's free speech.

Stop being so inflammatory and distorting what the mayor did. We have real problems in this town and the mayor's call for racial tolerance and civility is not one of them -- on the contrary, it's refreshing.

Posted by James
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 25, 2006 at 7:07 pm


What "crime' are you talking about?

If the Mayor is reporting something to the police, is it a "crime' that they are not already aware of?

To ascribe a majority of crimes, whatever they may be, to a racial grouping is NOT a crime.

Free speech is only a "crime", under very rare circumstances.

Please explain, Paul.

Posted by Chris Saari
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 25, 2006 at 8:39 pm

I don't think Paul is distorting what the mayor said. The Daily News may be distorting what the mayor said, but Paul is responding appropriately to what the Daily News reported, and he quotes their story accurately.

One would think that the Mayor would protest a story that falsely portrays her as a censor. And the Daily News quite clearly does that. So far, the Mayor hasn't demanded a retraction, and the Daily News hasn't issued one.

The Mayor reads these forums. Maybe it's time for her to make her own case. She probably knows that silence sometimes speakes louder than words.

Posted by Kate W.
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 30, 2006 at 2:46 am

Kleinberg's husband is a judge who is well known for stifling free speech. His most recent stunt was to approve Apple Computer's request to seize the servers and electronic data of bloggers who wrote about products that the company didn't want disclosed. The plan was to have law enforcement physically remove computers from the homes and businesses of those targetted by Apple. Thankfully an appeals court overturned the decision and restored a little bit of the First Amendment to the blogosphere. He should have been impeached from the bench for that one.

Posted by Walter E. Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 30, 2006 at 8:39 pm

If the proscription on generalization and profiling were absolute then discourse would be impossible. It is legitimate to note that the racial makeup of arrested are roughly congruent to the population but irrelevant except when someone is proposing actually punitive policing. Hypersensitivity of expression makes true discussion impossible. Telling an injured party he is more wrong for insensitively descibing the injuring party than that party was to injure is just plain stupid - and consistent with public PC policy.

Posted by Brooke
a resident of University South
on Sep 2, 2006 at 12:26 am

What do you want to bet that Kleinberg posted on this thread under the name "Paul"? Can you just hear her saying, in her nasaly Hillary Clintonesque voice "Did you get it from the daily rag?" I mean who calls the Daily News "the daily rag" except the politicans who are savaged by it every day? And the rest of "Paul's" defense of Kleinberg felt a bit too specific -- like how would he know how many emails Kleinberg gave the police chief?